President Biden Signs $1 Trillion Bill To Upgrade America's Infrastructure Into Law

After months of negotiations, US lawmakers finally reached an agreement to allocate $1.2 trillion to much-needed public works projects. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021, includes $550 billion in new spending. The rest will be reallocated from already existing projects and funds. Here are some of the many infrastructure improvements that can be expected across the country over the next five years.

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Celebrate Hanukkah With These Fun Traditions

Hanukkah is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. The eight-day-long winter festival begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month of the Jewish calendar. This year, the celebrations will extend from November 28th, 2021, to December 6th, 2021. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates the victory of good over evil and is a happy occasion with many fun traditions.

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Australian Hero Dog Honored For Saving Koalas From Bushfires

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, as is the case here, they even have tails! On Oct 11, 2021, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) honored Bear, an Australian Koolie, with the "Animal of the Year" Award. The six-year-old pooch helped save over 100 koalas from the devastating bushfires that swept across New South Wales (NSW), Australia, from June 2019 to May 2020.

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Adjust Your Clocks! Daylight Saving Time Ends On November 7, 2021

Those of you still recovering from last weekend's Halloween festivities will be pleased to know that Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends on November 7, 2021. On Sunday, most North Americans will move their clocks back by an hour, ensuring them an extra hour of sleep. The simple act will also afford them an extra hour of daylight during the shorter winter days.

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Diwali, The Indian Festival Of Lights Explained

Few Indian festivals are as anticipated, or as widely celebrated, as Diwali. Also called Deepavali, or Festival of Lights, the five-day event, which starts on November 2, 2021, is observed by over a billion people worldwide. The ancient tradition dates back over 2,500 years and is one of the major holidays celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists.

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The Origin Of Some Spooky Halloween Traditions

Few countries celebrate Halloween with as much fervor and excitement as the US. Children and adults alike observe the occasion by dressing in creative costumes, gorging on candy, and decorating homes and front yards with spooky skeletons and jack-o’-lanterns. Meanwhile, enterprising entrepreneurs cash in on the holiday with creative haunted houses, corn mazes, and hayrides. So, how did all the fun customs come about? Read on:

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Artificial Intelligence Helps Complete Beethoven's Unfinished Symphony

Ludwig van Beethoven is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians that ever lived. The German composer and pianist completed 722 musical works— including nine symphonies — despite being completely deaf during the last decade of his life. Unfortunately, the maestro died while still working on his 10th Symphony. Now, a team of musicians and scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to complete the artist's final masterpiece.

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Massachusetts 8th Graders Instigate Legislation To Clear The Name Of The Final Salem "Witch"

The infamous Salem witch trials, which took place in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693, were a dark period in America's legal history. More than 200 people were wrongfully accused of practicing witchcraft, and 20 were executed. In the 328 years since, most of the accused have been cleared of any crimes. However, for reasons unknown, Elizabeth Johnson Jr., who was just 22 at the time, was never pardoned. Now, thanks to the hard work of an eighth-grade class from North Andover Middle School, MA, her name may finally be cleared.

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Should A Blank Canvas Be Considered Art? One Dutch Artist Certainly Thinks So!

A mirror coated in red paint, a banana stuck to the wall with duct tape, and an invisible sculpture — these are just a few of the abstract artworks that have recently sold for astounding amounts. Now, Dutch artist Jens Haaning has taken the genre to a whole new level. His aptly named "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN" masterpiece, comprising two empty frames, have set a local museum back 534,000 Danish krone ($84,000)!

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The Columbus Day Debate

The second Monday in October has traditionally been known as Columbus Day in honor of the Italian explorer's "discovery" of the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, the US federal holiday, which will be celebrated on October 11 this year, has always been controversial due to the European settlers' cruel treatment of the Native American people.

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This Ingenious Portable Desalination Device Makes Seawater Drinkable

Humans have flown to the Moon and may even make it to Mars. But providing clean water to all remains a challenge. The World Health Organization estimates that one in three people globally still do not have easy access to clean water. While desalinating ocean water is an obvious solution, the current process is both expensive and harmful for the environment. Now, some Malaysian students may have found a cheaper, more sustainable way to transform seawater into drinkable water.

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France's Arc de Triomphe Gets A Temporary Artistic Makeover

One of the world's most iconic landmarks just got transformed into a work of art. From September 18 to October 3, 2021, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, will be embellished with 25,000 square meters of shimmering silvery-blue plastic fabric, held in place by 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) of red rope. The installation, dubbed "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped," is the brainchild of the late artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

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Retired Circus Elephants Move To New Home With Plenty Of Room To Explore

After years of intense public pushback, the now-shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally announced the retirement of their Asian elephant performers in 2016. While the decision was a resounding victory for animal lovers and activists, it raised a new issue. The mighty pachyderms were raised in captivity and lacked the skills to survive in the wild. Now, thanks to Florida-based White Oak Conservation, the animals have a new home — one where they can roam freely.

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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually in the US from September 15th to October 15th. The event honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of American Latinx and Hispanic communities. This includes all residents from — or descendants of someone from — Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The commemoration began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. It was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

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These Amazing Paralympians See No Challenges, Just Opportunities

The pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which took place from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, 2021, attracted a record number of competitors. A total of 4,403 athletes — 2,550 male and 1,853 female — competed across 22 sports and 23 disciplines. Here are a handful of the incredible men and women whose determination and grit shattered stereotypes and exhibited the amazing opportunities that can come from following your dreams.

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America's 20-Year War In Afghanistan Has Ended

The longest war in American history has ended. On August 31, 2021, a US aircraft carrying the remaining US officials in Afghanistan lifted off from Kabul, ending the nation's almost 20-year presence in the country. The chain of events leading to the long, drawn-out war began early on September 11, 2001.

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