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Under Pressure From China, Milan Reverses Plans To Honor The Dalai Lama



MILAN - Under mounting pressure from the Chinese government, Milan's city council cancelled a vote planned this week that would have awarded honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama, the Italian daily Il Messagero reported.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who has gathered similar honors over the years from Rome, Venice and other cities around Europe, is scheduled to visit Milan next week where the Italian city's representatives had previously signed a resolution committing to plans for the honorary citizenship.

But Italian press reported that pressures against the vote was mounting from Chinese representative and from the Italian foreign ministry. Milan will host the 2015 Universal Exposition and, according to La Repubblica, the council didn't want to jeopardize relations with China, which was the first country to formalize its participation to the event.

The final city council vote to reverse the plans to give the Dalai Lama the keys to the city was 16-12, with three abstensions. Milan's left-leaning mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, who abstained, said that the decision was taken "to try to avoid that some levels of enmity in the world could be accentuated." The mayor added the he still plans to welcome the Dalai Lama to Milan's city hall, Palazzo Marino.

But Democratic party council member Pietro Tatarella, who voted in the minority, wasn't buying it. "Today, I am ashamed to be a representative of a council and a city that are scared."

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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