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New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

Vietnam, Con Dao Island

 

„The isolated 16-island archipelago of Con Dao 110 miles off the mainland’s southeastern coast, was a place most Vietnamese wanted to forget. For 113 years, this island was home to one of the country’s hardest prison systems, established by French colonists in 1862 and later ruled by South Vietnamese and American forces. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, at which point the prisons were closed.

 

These days, officials on government-sponsored group tours make pilgrimages to the crumbling stone prisons, which have been turned into museums that depict the suffering endured by their comrades.

But despite, or perhaps because of, its ugly history, Con Dao is one of Southeast Asia’s most untouched and breathtaking getaways.

 

A lack of development and, until recently, of access has also helped to keep the islands’ beaches empty and immaculate. The azure waters are brimming with Vietnam’s best coral reefs, and the forests bustle with macaque monkeys and black squirrels.

Indeed, efforts to preserve Con Dao’s natural beauty are unrivaled in the rest of Vietnam. Of the archipelago’s total area, 83 percent is protected by the Con Dao National Park, including over 50 square miles that make up the country’s first marine reserve.

With help from organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Development Program, the park has just won approval for a $16.5 million development plan through 2020, which will finance natural resource protection, research and eco-tourism.

 

For now, Con Dao’s slow, friendly rhythms and spectacular beauty remain largely undisturbed.”

 

„The New York Times”

 

Visit.Org New York Team visited our partner nonprofit organization Museum at Eldridge Street in New York, United States.

 

The Museum at Eldridge Street is a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the history and beauty of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and promoting active participation with the Jewish tradition.

 

Museum at Eldridge Street Tour: Explore this National Landmark

visit.org/united-states/museum-at-eldridge-street/museum-...

 

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Tso Moriri Lake, Korzok, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

 

This is a 120 sq km Fresh Water Lake at an altitude of 4595 m above MSL.

 

On EXPLORE : July 19, 2007

 

Dedicated to the Tamil Song which inspires me time and again !! :

"Pon maaalaip pozhuthu

idhu oru pon maalaip pozhudhu

vaanamagal naanugiraal vaeru udai poonugiraal ...."

"....vaanam enakkoru bhoadhi maram

naalum enakkadhu saedhi tharum

oru naal ulagam needhi perum

thirunaal nigazhum thaedhi varum

kaelvigalaal vaelvigalai naan seyvaen"

  

Inside of Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) in Jaipur, India. Hawa Mahal, built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, is one of the most important monuments of Jaipur.

Visit.Org Visual Design Consultant Sarah Greenberg visited our partner nonprofit organization Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation in Kyansimbi Village LC1, Uganda.

 

Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation supports Ugandan youth and women as well as the preservation of rural village culture by reducing the need for outward migration through sustainable tourism practices.

 

Uganda Animal Tour: Encounter Big Game at Kibaale National Park

visit.org/uganda/africa-sustainable-tourism-care-foundati...

Visit.Org Visual Design Consultant Sarah Greenberg visited our partner nonprofit organization Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation in Kyansimbi Village LC1, Uganda.

 

Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation supports Ugandan youth and women as well as the preservation of rural village culture by reducing the need for outward migration through sustainable tourism practices.

 

Uganda Animal Tour: Encounter Big Game at Kibaale National Park

visit.org/uganda/africa-sustainable-tourism-care-foundati...

冬の京都 雪の残る「聚碧園」

Sanzen-in is located in Ohara in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. The temple is in a prominent scenic location among the many other temples in the Ohara area. The first Sanzen-in was built when the great priest Saicho founded Enryaku-ji on Hiei-zan in the 8th century after returning from China where he studied Buddhism. The temple was moved to the present site in the latter half of the 15th century, when Kyoto had been devastated by wars. Historically, members of the Imperial family served for many generations as the heads of the temple. The Amida-Nyorai Sanzon Buddhist statue housed in the temple has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. The temple is widely known for its lovely display of hydrangeas in early summer and maples in autumn.

 

www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/kyoto/ohara.html

 

-Japan National Tourism Organization

 

This late afternoon magic stayed only for few minutes........and we were the blessed ones to reach at the right moment.

  

National Highway 1D (NH 1D), also known as Srinagar-Leh Highway, is a National Highway entirely within the state of Jammu & Kashmir in North India that connects Srinagar to Leh in Ladakh. It is one of the only two roads that connect Ladakh with the rest of India, the other being Leh-Manali Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway was declared as National Highway in 2006.

The old Central Asian trade route Srinagar-Leh-Yarkand was also known as the Treaty Road, after a commercial treaty signed in 1870 between Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Thomas Douglas Forsyth.

Weather conditions

Even nowadays, heavy snowfall at highest passes blocks traffic, cutting Leh from Srinagar for some six months each year. During springtime, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) plows snow and repairs damages caused by landslides. Zoji La pass received reportedly some 18 m (59 ft) of snowfall in 2008.

Geography

For most part, NH 1D runs through extremely treacherous terrain and follows the historic trade route along the Indus River, thus giving modern travelers a glimpse of villages which are historically and culturally important. The road generally remains open for traffic from early June to mid-November. The total length of NH 1 is 422 km.

The two highest passes on NH 1D include Fotu La at 4,108 m (13,478 ft) elevation and Zoji La at 3,528 m (11,575 ft) elevation.

Dras, located some 170 km from Srinagar at elevation of 3,249 m (10,659 ft), is the first major village over the Zoji La pass. The village is inhabited by a population of mixed Kashmiri and Dard origins, having a reputation of being the second coldest permanent inhabited spot in the world after Siberia, with temperatures dropping to −45 °C (−49 °F).

History

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the road was only a track, impassable even with ponies. Goods, mainly pashmina wool, were carried by porters from Yarkand and Tibet for Kashmir shawl industry.

In the 19th century, the route was improved, allowing pony caravans to pass. This work was started after Dogra General Zorawar Singh conquered Ladakh region from the Sikh Empire during 1836–1840 Trans-Himalayan campaign and princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed when the British sold Kashmir to maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846 Treaty of Amritsar.

In April 1873, the Kashmir government allocated 2,500 rupees annually for upkeep of the Treaty Road and associated serais.

During the 1950s, tensions rose in Ladakh region. China had quietly been building a military road spanning some 1,200 km from Xinjiang to western Tibet. The road was discovered by Indians in 1957 and this was confirmed by Chinese maps showing the road in 1958. The political situation eroded, culminating in 1962 in the Sino-Indian War.

The road on the Chinese side gave PLA an advantage as a reliable supply line, giving the Indian Army impetus to build a road for supply and mobilisation of their own troops. The building started from Sringar in 1962, reaching Kargil in two years. This was the basis of modern Srinagar-Leh Highway. Building the road was hazardous task, given the challenging geographical location, and maintaining the road is still unenviable task.

Restrictions on civilian traffic were lifted in 1974.

This highway was used as mobilisation route by the Indian Army during Pakistani occupation of Kargil in 1999, known as Operation Vijay.

( Source : Wikipedia)

  

One of the most beautiful and serene places I have ever visited even though it is so busy. Durlston is large and there are many places where you can get away from the crowds. I took a walk along the coastal path to the Dancing Ledges 3 miles away and was rewarded with astounding views. As you walk along the top of the cliffs you get stunning views across a blue sea and see many different types of birds. I saw Guillemots, Razorbills, Shag, Fulmar, Gannet, Kittiwake, and Gulls along the cliffs. Other birds present included Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Whitethroat, Kestrel, Raven and Stonechat. I was lucky enough to see a Barking Deer or Muntjac as they are also known.

I also had a little pot of locally made Honeycombe Hash flavoured Purbeck ice cream.

  

www.durlston.co.uk/

   

Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve, situated 1 mile from Swanage in Dorset, is a fabulous 280 acre countryside paradise, consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology and fascinating wildlife there is always something different to see.

   

www.durlston.co.uk/index.php?nid=51&id=32

  

About Durlston Country Park

Situated in the south-east corner of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset (grid ref SZ 03 77), a mile south of Swanage, lies Durlston Country Park – 280 acres of very special countryside.

 

The Country Park was established in the 1970s by Dorset County Council, and 30 years of careful management by the Ranger team have resulted in a superb site that everyone can enjoy.

Wildlife and Landscape

Few places in Britain equal Durlston: The bare statistics merely hint at the amazing diversity of wildlife: 33 species of breeding butterfly, over 250 species of bird recorded, 500 wildflowers, 500 moths and thousands of other invertebrates.

Durlston's special qualities stem from a combination of geography, geology, history and careful management which has created a mosaic of nationally important wildlife habitats: sea-cliffs, downs, ancient meadows, hedgerows, woodland, and dry-stone walls – each with their characteristic plants and animals.

 

History

Wildlife apart, there are plenty of other things to see: The history of Durlston can be detected in the now dry, glacial river valley, the ancient Saxon field systems, two types of quarry – the inland Purbeck Stone Quarr, and the Portland limestone cliff quarry known as Tilly Whim Caves.

High on the ridge remain the footings of a Napoleonic telegraph station, and Anvil Point Lighthouse adds further interest to a visit.

The eminent Victorian, George Burt, left a legacy of fascinating artefacts. These include the 'Great Globe' – 40 tons of Portland limestone, cast-iron bollards from the City, St Martin's and other parts of London, and Durlston Castle itself – all linked by scenic cliff-top paths with Victorian panels quoting poetry and facts of interest.

 

Facilities

The Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre is a must for all - recent wildlife sightings, daily and monthly displays all ensure the latest information for visitors.

 

There are also live pictures from the seabird colony on the cliffs and sound from an underwater hydrophone.

A Ranger is always available to help you make the most of your visit.

Family Activities

Guided Walks and Events

A full programme of events – guided walks, boat trips, talks, children's events and other activities run throughout the year.

 

Paths and Trails

Four clearly waymarked Trails, each with its own information leaflet provide an ideal introduction to Durlston.

All Trails begin at the Visitor Centre.

A network of Public Footpaths criss-cross the site, with good access to the South-west Coast Path.

 

Education

Each year, thousands of school children and students use Durlston as an educational resource. A wide range of sessions and other educational facilities are provided by the Rangers to help them get the most from their visit.

 

Community

Friends of Durlston

The Park has always had close ties with the local community, and the Friends of Durlston organisation provides a focus for goodwill and support.

Over 700 Friends provide an enormous amount of practical help – from running the Visitor Centre counter and updating our wildlife records, to monitoring butterflies and building dry stone walls.

There is also a thriving social side to the 'Friends', with illustrated talks held monthly and other events throughout the year.

 

Achievements

Awards

The County Council's policy of 'Conservation for Public Enjoyment' has formed the basis of the Park's management for 30 years.

This, combined with the support of the Friends, has led to both organisations being jointly awarded the prestigious English Nature SSSI Award.

In 2006 Durlston recieved both the Royal Horticultural Society's 'Conservation and Environment Award' for outstanding conservation work

In 2008, for the third time, we were awarded the 'Green Flag', recognising the quality of amenities for visitors.

In 2010, Durlston was voted 2nd in a competition to find Britain's Favourite Park, organised by the Keep Briatin Tidy Group.

Designations

As an internationally important site for wildlife and geology, Durlston is protected by a host of designations. Durlston forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Purbeck Heritage Coast (which holds a Council of Europe Diploma for it's management).

Most of the Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and since 1997, a Special Area of Conservation. Most of the Park is also designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, while in 1997, the Dorset and East Devon Coast was awarded World Heritage Site status for its geological importance.

In June 2008, Durlston was awarded National Nature Reserve Status by Natural England in recognition of the national importance of Durlston for wildlife.

This long list of accolades and designations that highlight the site's importance and provide a reminder of the great care that must be taken to conserve this wonderful facility for future generations.

At any time of year, a visit to Durlston is a memorable experience. Despite its popularity, there is still the peace and quiet to enjoy the natural splendours of the area, and no matter how many times you visit there is always something new to see and enjoy.

  

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

Details of Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) in Jaipur, India. Hawa Mahal is probably the most recognised building in Jaipur.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra

   

Petra (Greek "πέτρα" (petra), meaning stone; Arabic: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ) is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduit system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans,[2] it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction.[2] It lies on the slope of Mount Hor[3] in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage".[4] Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of "the 40 places you have to see before you die".

  

Geography

 

Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans, and the center of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress, but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

Excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis. The area is visited by flash floods and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought, and enabled the city to prosper from its sale.[6][7]

Although in ancient times Petra might have been approached from the south on a track leading around Jabal Haroun ("Aaron's Mountain"), across the plain of Petra, or possibly from the high plateau to the north, most modern visitors approach the site from the east. The impressive eastern entrance leads steeply down through a dark, narrow gorge (in places only 3–4 m (9.8–13 ft) wide) called the Siq ("the shaft"), a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks and serving as a waterway flowing into Wadi Musa. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (popularly known as "the Treasury"), hewn into the sandstone cliff.

A little further from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called en-Nejr, is a massive theatre, so placed as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view. At the point where the valley opens out into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect. The amphitheatre has been cut into the hillside and into several of the tombs during its construction. Rectangular gaps in the seating are still visible. Almost enclosing it on three sides are rose-coloured mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures, and lined with knobs cut from the rock in the form of towers.

   

History

Evidence suggests that settlements had begun in and around Petra in the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt (1550-1292 BC). It is listed in Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna letters as Pel, Sela or Seir. Though the city was founded relatively late, a sanctuary existed there since very ancient times. Stations 19 through 26 of the stations list of Exodus are places associated with Petra.[8] This part of the country was Biblically assigned to the Horites, the predecessors of the Edomites.[9] The habits of the original natives may have influenced the Nabataean custom of burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves. Although Petra is usually identified with Sela which means a rock, the Biblical references[10] refer to it as "the cleft in the rock", referring to its entrance. The second book of Kings xiv. 7 seems to be more specific. In the parallel passage, however, Sela is understood to mean simply "the rock" (2 Chronicles xxv. 12, see LXX).

On the authority of Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews iv. 7, 1~ 4, 7) Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. sacr. 286, 71. 145, 9; 228, 55. 287, 94) assert that Rekem was the native name and Rekem appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls[11] as a prominent Edom site most closely describing Petra and associated with Mount Seir. But in the Aramaic versions Rekem is the name of Kadesh, implying that Josephus may have confused the two places. Sometimes the Aramaic versions give the form Rekem-Geya which recalls the name of the village El-ji, southeast of Petra.[citation needed] The Semitic name of the city, if not Sela, remains unknown. The passage in Diodorus Siculus (xix. 94–97) which describes the expeditions which Antigonus sent against the Nabataeans in 312 BC is understood to throw some light upon the history of Petra, but the "petra" referred to as a natural fortress and place of refuge cannot be a proper name and the description implies that the town was not yet in existence.

 

The name "Rekem" was inscribed in the rock wall of the Wadi Musa opposite the entrance to the Siq,[12] but about twenty years ago the Jordanians built a bridge over the wadi and this inscription was buried beneath tons of concrete[citation needed].

More satisfactory evidence of the date of the earliest Nabataean settlement may be obtained from an examination of the tombs. Two types have been distinguished: the Nabataean and the Greco-Roman. The Nabataean type starts from the simple pylon-tomb with a door set in a tower crowned by a parapet ornament, in imitation of the front of a dwelling-house. Then, after passing through various stages, the full Nabataean type is reached, retaining all the native features and at the same time exhibiting characteristics which are partly Egyptian and partly Greek. Of this type there exist close parallels in the tomb-towers at el-I~ejr in north Arabia, which bear long Nabataean inscriptions and supply a date for the corresponding monuments at Petra. Then comes a series of tombfronts which terminate in a semicircular arch, a feature derived from north Syria. Finally come the elaborate façades copied from the front of a Roman temple; however, all traces of native style have vanished. The exact dates of the stages in this development cannot be fixed. Few inscriptions of any length have been found at Petra, perhaps because they have perished with the stucco or cement which was used upon many of the buildings. The simple pylon-tombs which belong to the pre-Hellenic age serve as evidence for the earliest period. It is not known how far back in this stage the Nabataean settlement goes, but it does not go back farther than the 6th century BC.

 

A period follows in which the dominant civilization combines Greek, Egyptian and Syrian elements, clearly pointing to the age of the Ptolemies. Towards the close of the 2nd century BC, when the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms were equally depressed, the Nabataean kingdom came to the front. Under Aretas III Philhellene, (c.85–60 BC), the royal coins begin. The theatre was probably excavated at that time, and Petra must have assumed the aspect of a Hellenistic city. In the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris, (9 BC–40 AD), the fine tombs of the el-I~ejr [?] type may be dated, and perhaps also the great High-place.

  

Roman rule

In 106 AD, when Cornelius Palma was governor of Syria, that part of Arabia under the rule of Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of Arabia Petraea, becoming capital. The native dynasty came to an end, but the city continued to flourish. A century later, in the time of Alexander Severus, when the city was at the height of its splendor, the issue of coinage comes to an end. There is no more building of sumptuous tombs, owing apparently to some sudden catastrophe, such as an invasion by the neo-Persian power under the Sassanid Empire. Meanwhile, as Palmyra (fl. 130–270) grew in importance and attracted the Arabian trade away from Petra, the latter declined. It seems, however, to have lingered on as a religious centre. A Roman road was constructed at the site. Epiphanius of Salamis (c.315–403) writes that in his time a feast was held there on December 25 in honor of the virgin Khaabou (Chaabou) and her offspring Dushara (Haer. 51).[

  

Decline

  

The narrow passage (Siq) that leads to Petra

Petra declined rapidly under Roman rule, in large part from the revision of sea-based trade routes. In 363 an earthquake destroyed many buildings, and crippled the vital water management system.[13] The ruins of Petra were an object of curiosity in the Middle Ages and were visited by Sultan Baibars of Egypt towards the end of the 13th century. The first European to describe them was Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

Because the structures weakened with age, many of the tombs became vulnerable to thieves, and many treasures were stolen. In 1929, a four-person team, consisting of British archaeologists Agnes Conway and George Horsfield, Palestinian physician and folk-lore expert Dr Tawfiq Canaan and Dr Ditlef Nielsen, a Danish scholar, excavated and surveyed Petra.

  

T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

In October, 1917, Lawrence, as part of a general effort to divert Turkish military resources away from the British invasion of North Africa, led a small force of Syrians and Arabians in defending Petra against a much larger combined force of Turks and Germans. The Bedouin women living in the vicinity of Petra and under the leadership of Sheik Khallil's wife were recruited to fight in the defense of the city. The defenders were able to completely devastate the Turkish/German forces.[

  

Religion

 

The Nabataeans worshipped the Arab gods and goddesses of the pre-Islamic times as well as a few of their deified kings. One, Obodas I, was deified after his death. Dushara was the main male god accompanied by his female trinity: Al-‘Uzzá, Allat and Manāt. Many statues carved in the rock depict these gods and goddesses.

The Monastery, Petra's largest monument, dates from the 1st century BC. It was dedicated to Obodas I and is believed to be the symposium of Obodas the god. This information is inscribed on the ruins of the Monastery (the name is the translation of the Arabic "Ad Deir").

Christianity found its way to Petra in the 4th century AD, nearly 500 years after the establishment of Petra as a trade center. Athanasius mentions a bishop of Petra (Anhioch. 10) named Asterius. At least one of the tombs (the "tomb with the urn"?) was used as a church. An inscription in red paint records its consecration "in the time of the most holy bishop Jason" (447). After the Islamic conquest of 629–632 Christianity in Petra, as of most of Arabia, gave way to Islam. During the First Crusade Petra was occupied by Baldwin I of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and formed the second fief of the barony of Al Karak (in the lordship of Oultrejordain) with the title Château de la Valée de Moyse or Sela. It remained in the hands of the Franks until 1189. It is still a titular see of the Catholic Church.[16]

Two Crusader-period castles are known in and around Petra. The first is al-Wu'ayra and is situated just north of Wadi Musa. It can be viewed from the road to "Little Petra". It is the castle of Valle Moise which was seized by a band of Turks with the help of local Muslims and only recovered by the Crusaders after they began to destroy the olive trees of Wadi Musa. The potential loss of livelihood led the locals to negotiate surrender. The second is on the summit of el-Habis in the heart of Petra and can be accessed via a flight of steps that begins near the tomb complex known as "the Monastery".

According to Arab tradition, Petra is the spot where Moses (Musa) struck a rock with his staff and water came forth, and where Moses' brother, Aaron (Harun), is buried, at Mount Hor, known today as Jabal Haroun or Mount Aaron. The Wadi Musa or "Wadi of Moses" is the Arab name for the narrow valley at the head of which Petra is sited. A mountaintop shrine of Moses' sister Miriam was still shown to pilgrims at the time of Jerome in the 4th century, but its location has not been identified since.

 

Threats to Petra

The site suffers from a host of threats, including collapse of ancient structures, erosion due to flooding and improper rainwater drainage, weathering from salt upwelling, improper restoration of ancient structures, and unsustainable tourism.[18] The latter has increased substantially, especially since the site received widespread media coverage in 2007 during the controversial New Seven Wonders of the World Internet and cell phone campaign.[19]

In an attempt to reduce the impact of these threats, Petra National Trust (PNT) was established in 1989. Over this time, it has worked together with numerous local and international organizations on projects that promote the protection, conservation and preservation of the Petra site.

  

Petra today

On December 6, 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site.

In 2006 the design of a Visitor Centre began. The Jordan Times reported in December 2006 that 59,000 people visited in the two months October and November 2006, 25% fewer than the same period in the previous year.[

  

In popular culture

Petra was the main topic in John William Burgon's Poem Petra. Referring to it as the inaccessible city which he had heard described but had never seen. The Poem was awarded the Newdigate Prize in 1845 :

“It seems no work of Man's creative hand,

by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

a rose-red city half as old as time.”

 

In 1977, the famous Lebanese Rahbani brothers wrote the musical "Petra" as a response to the Lebanese Civil War.-[22]

The site is featured in films such as: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights, Passion in the Desert, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It was recreated for the video games Spy Hunter (2001), King's Quest V, Lego Indiana Jones and Sonic Unleashed and appeared in the novels Left Behind, Appointment with Death, The Eagle in the Sand and The Red Sea Sharks, the nineteenth book in The Adventures of Tintin series. It featured prominently in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery novel Last Act in Palmyra.

In Blue Balliett's novel, Chasing Vermeer, the character Petra Andalee comes from the site.[23] In Agatha Christie's, "Appointment with Death" (1938), the mysterious and enigmatic Petra is the setting for a murder mystery featuring Hercule Poirot.

The Sisters of Mercy filmed their popular music video for "Dominion/Mother Russia" in and around Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") in February 1988.

Petra was featured in episode 3 of the 2010 series "An Idiot Abroad"

   

Sister cities

• Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Mada'in Saleh in Saudi Arabia

 

Visit.Org New York Team visited our partner nonprofit organization Museum at Eldridge Street in New York, United States.

 

The Museum at Eldridge Street is a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the history and beauty of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and promoting active participation with the Jewish tradition.

 

Museum at Eldridge Street Tour: Explore this National Landmark

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Sanibel is a city in Lee County, Florida, United States, on Sanibel Island. The population was 6,469 at the 2010 census, with an estimated 2012 population of 6,741. It is part of the Cape Coral Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Sanibel is a barrier island a collection of sand on the leeward side of the more solid coral rock of Pine Island.

The city incorporates the entire island, with most of the city proper at the east end of the island. After the Sanibel causeway was built to replace the ferry in May 1963, the residents asserted control over development by establishing the Sanibel Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 1974 helping to maintain a balance between development and preservation of the island's ecology. A new, higher bridge, permitting passage without a bascule bridge (drawbridge) of tall boats and sailboats, was completed in late 2007.

Due to easy causeway access, Sanibel is a popular tourist destination known for its shell beaches and wildlife refuges. More than half of the island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Island hosts the Sanibel Historical Village and a variety of other museums and theaters, as well as many non-profit organizations like the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and the Sanibel Sea School. In August 2004, Hurricane Charley hit the island causing mandatory evacuation for the residents and resulting in the most storm damage to the island in 44 years.

Sanibel is a city in Lee County, Florida, United States, on Sanibel Island. The population was 6,469 at the 2010 census, with an estimated 2012 population of 6,741. It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Sanibel is a barrier island – a collection of sand on the leeward side of the more solid coral-rock of Pine Island.

The city incorporates the entire island, with most of the city proper at the east end of the island. After the Sanibel causeway was built to replace the ferry in May 1963, the residents asserted control over development by establishing the Sanibel Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 1974 helping to maintain a balance between development and preservation of the island's ecology. A new, higher bridge, permitting passage without a bascule bridge (drawbridge) of tall boats and sailboats, was completed in late 2007.

Due to easy causeway access, Sanibel is a popular tourist destination known for its shell beaches and wildlife refuges. More than half of the island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Island hosts the Sanibel Historical Village and a variety of other museums and theaters, as well as many non-profit organizations like the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and the Sanibel Sea School. In August 2004, Hurricane Charley hit the island causing mandatory evacuation for the residents and resulting in the most storm damage to the island in 44 years.[

 

location : Kyoto Ohara Sanzen-in Temple ,Kyoto city. Japan

 

冬の京都 大原 三千院 庭園「聚碧園」

 

Sanzen-in is located in Ohara in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. The temple is in a prominent scenic location among the many other temples in the Ohara area. The first Sanzen-in was built when the great priest Saicho founded Enryaku-ji on Hiei-zan in the 8th century after returning from China where he studied Buddhism. The temple was moved to the present site in the latter half of the 15th century, when Kyoto had been devastated by wars. Historically, members of the Imperial family served for many generations as the heads of the temple. The Amida-Nyorai Sanzon Buddhist statue housed in the temple has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. The temple is widely known for its lovely display of hydrangeas in early summer and maples in autumn.

 

www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/kyoto/ohara.html

 

-Japan National Tourism Organization

Visit.Org Head of Orgs Engagement Emilie Cuillard visited our partner nonprofit organization Casa Illary in Pisco, Peru.

 

Casa Illary is a nonprofit organization that provides children from the villages of San Jacinto and Santa Clara with balanced meals and quality education in order to combat poverty in the region.

 

Paracas Adventure Tour: Wildlife and Stargazing in the Desert

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Visit.Org Visitor Amy E McAndrews visited our partner nonprofit organization Ecobiosfera El Triunfo in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico.

 

Ecobiosfera El Triunfo promotes the conservation of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable, innovative initiatives that involve the local population.

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: Bird-Watching Trek

visit.org/mexico/ecobiosfera-el-triunfo/chiapas-adventure...

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: The Biodiversity of El Triunfo

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Visit.Org Visual Design Consultant Sarah Greenberg visited our partner nonprofit organization Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation in Kyansimbi Village LC1, Uganda.

 

Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation supports Ugandan youth and women as well as the preservation of rural village culture by reducing the need for outward migration through sustainable tourism practices.

 

Uganda Animal Tour: Encounter Big Game at Kibaale National Park

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New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

The national economy of the Philippines is the 45th largest in the world, with an estimated 2010 gross domestic product (nominal) of $189 billion.Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.Major trading partners include China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia.Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).

 

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country's total labor force of around 38.1 million, the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 13.8% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 13.7% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 46.5% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56.2% of GDP.

 

The unemployment rate as of July 2009 stands at around 7.6% and due to the global economic slowdown inflation as of September 2009 reads 0.70%. Gross international reserves as of February 2010 are $45.713 billion. In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2%; in 2008, 56.9%. Gross external debt has risen to $66.27 billion. The country is a net importer.

  

The Philippine Stock Exchange with the statue of Benigno Aquino, Jr.After World War II, the country was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan. However, by the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility. The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.The Philippines has enjoyed sustained economic growth during first decade of the 21st century. However, as of 2010, the country's economy remained smaller than its neighbors in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia from both GDP and GDP per capita (nominal).

 

The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis affected the economy, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the peso and falls in the stock market. But the extent it was affected initially was not as severe as that of some of its Asian neighbors. This was largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the government, partly as a result of decades of monitoring and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth. There have been signs of progress since. In 2004, the economy experienced 6.4% GDP growth and 7.1% in 2007, its fastest pace of growth in three decades. Yet average annual GDP growth per capita for the period 1966–2007 still stands at 1.45% in comparison to an average of 5.96% for the East Asia and the Pacific region as a whole and the daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2.

 

Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon—Metro Manila in particular—gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country.Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the "Next Eleven" economies.But China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.

 

The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong City, the Colombo Plan, and the G-77 among other groups and institutions

   

A late afternoon landscape.

 

National Highway 1D (NH 1D), also known as Srinagar-Leh Highway, is a National Highway entirely within the state of Jammu & Kashmir in North India that connects Srinagar to Leh in Ladakh. It is one of the only two roads that connect Ladakh with the rest of India, the other being Leh-Manali Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway was declared as National Highway in 2006.

The old Central Asian trade route Srinagar-Leh-Yarkand was also known as the Treaty Road, after a commercial treaty signed in 1870 between Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Thomas Douglas Forsyth.

Weather conditions

Even nowadays, heavy snowfall at highest passes blocks traffic, cutting Leh from Srinagar for some six months each year. During springtime, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) plows snow and repairs damages caused by landslides. Zoji La pass received reportedly some 18 m (59 ft) of snowfall in 2008.

Geography

For most part, NH 1D runs through extremely treacherous terrain and follows the historic trade route along the Indus River, thus giving modern travelers a glimpse of villages which are historically and culturally important. The road generally remains open for traffic from early June to mid-November. The total length of NH 1 is 422 km.

The two highest passes on NH 1D include Fotu La at 4,108 m (13,478 ft) elevation and Zoji La at 3,528 m (11,575 ft) elevation.

Dras, located some 170 km from Srinagar at elevation of 3,249 m (10,659 ft), is the first major village over the Zoji La pass. The village is inhabited by a population of mixed Kashmiri and Dard origins, having a reputation of being the second coldest permanent inhabited spot in the world after Siberia, with temperatures dropping to −45 °C (−49 °F).

History

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the road was only a track, impassable even with ponies. Goods, mainly pashmina wool, were carried by porters from Yarkand and Tibet for Kashmir shawl industry.

In the 19th century, the route was improved, allowing pony caravans to pass. This work was started after Dogra General Zorawar Singh conquered Ladakh region from the Sikh Empire during 1836–1840 Trans-Himalayan campaign and princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed when the British sold Kashmir to maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846 Treaty of Amritsar.

In April 1873, the Kashmir government allocated 2,500 rupees annually for upkeep of the Treaty Road and associated serais.

During the 1950s, tensions rose in Ladakh region. China had quietly been building a military road spanning some 1,200 km from Xinjiang to western Tibet. The road was discovered by Indians in 1957 and this was confirmed by Chinese maps showing the road in 1958. The political situation eroded, culminating in 1962 in the Sino-Indian War.

The road on the Chinese side gave PLA an advantage as a reliable supply line, giving the Indian Army impetus to build a road for supply and mobilisation of their own troops. The building started from Sringar in 1962, reaching Kargil in two years. This was the basis of modern Srinagar-Leh Highway. Building the road was hazardous task, given the challenging geographical location, and maintaining the road is still unenviable task.

Restrictions on civilian traffic were lifted in 1974.

This highway was used as mobilisation route by the Indian Army during Pakistani occupation of Kargil in 1999, known as Operation Vijay.

 

( Source : Wikipedia)

  

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

Sandstone wall with wooden door at Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) in Jaipur, India. Hawa Mahal, built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, is one of the most important monuments of Jaipur.

Switzerland (in German: Schweiz, in French: Suisse, in Italian: Svizzera and in romanche: Svizra), officially Swiss Confederation (in German: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, in French: Confédération suisse, in Italian: Confederazione Svizzera, in Romansh: Confederaziun svizra And in Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica - hence its ISO code is CH-), is a landlocked country located in central Europe and has a population of 8 139 600 inhabitants (2013) .9 Switzerland is a republic Confederate of 26 states, called cantons. Bern is the seat of the federal authorities, while the country's financial centers are located in the cities of Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Lugano.10 Switzerland is the fourth richest country in the world, according to its GDP per capita, with 83 718 US Dollars (2011) .7

It limits the north with Germany, the west with France, the south with Italy and the east with Austria and Liechtenstein. It is characterized diplomatically by its neutral foreign relations policy, having not participated actively in any international conflict since 1815. Switzerland is home to several international organizations, such as the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, The Universal Postal Union, as well as one of the two UN offices in Europe, as well as hosting FIFA, the largest body of football in the world, and UEFA, the largest body of European football; Is also the seat of the IOC, the highest body responsible for the realization of the Olympic Games and FIDE, the largest body of chess in the world.

Switzerland is a multilingual confederation and has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. The date of its creation as State was set 1 of August of 1291 according to the tradition. Due to this reason, the national holiday is celebrated every year on 1 August.

Today, it is perceived as one of the most developed countries in the world. Because of its policy of neutrality, the country is home to a large number of immigrants from nations on several continents, and is therefore considered one of the most culturally diverse European countries. Finally, it is internationally recognized for its mountain tourism and its watches, chocolates, knives, benches, railways and cheese.11

 

The Swiss name comes from Schwyz, name of one of the cantons of Waldstätten that formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederation.12 The toponym of the canton dates from the year 972 and comes from the old high German Suittes, word related to the verb swedan that means "Burn, sear" (Icelandic svíða, Danish and Swedish svide "scorching"), referring to the felling and burning by which a wooded area is burned to build some houses in the area (artiga) .13 Use of the name for this area was extended to denote the whole canton, and after the Swabian War in 1499 was gradually used to name the entire confederation. The German name of Switzerland for the country, Schwiiz, is homonymous to the one of the canton and its capital, reason why to distinguish it is used a certain article in d'Schwiiz to refer to the country and the simple form Schwiiz for the canton and the city .

The ancient name of the country, Helvetia, derives from the word Helvetii, a Celtic tribe that inhabited the Swiss plateau before the time of the Romans. The first mention of the name Helvetti dates from the year 300 a. C.14 The names of the Neolithic Confoederatio Helvetica or Helvetia were introduced when Switzerland became a federal state in 1848, dating back to the Helvetic Republic.

 

Suiza (en alemán: Schweiz, en francés: Suisse, en italiano: Svizzera y en romanche: Svizra), oficialmente Confederación Suiza (en alemán: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, en francés: Confédération suisse, en italiano: Confederazione Svizzera, en romanche: Confederaziun svizra y en latín: Confoederatio Helvetica —de ahí que su código ISO sea CH—), es un país sin salida al mar ubicado en la Europa central y que cuenta con una población de 8 139 600 habitantes (2013).9 Suiza es una república confederada de 26 estados, llamados cantones. Berna es la sede de las autoridades federales, mientras que los centros financieros del país se encuentran en las ciudades de Zúrich, Basilea, Ginebra y Lugano.10 Suiza es el cuarto país más rico del mundo, según su PIB per cápita, con 83 718 dólares estadounidenses (2011).7

Limita al norte con Alemania, al oeste con Francia, al sur con Italia y al este con Austria y Liechtenstein. Se caracteriza diplomáticamente por su política de relaciones exteriores neutral, sin haber participado activamente en ningún conflicto internacional desde 1815. Suiza es la sede de varias organizaciones internacionales, como la Organización Mundial del Movimiento Scout, la Cruz Roja, la Organización Mundial del Comercio, la Unión Postal Universal, así como una de las dos oficinas de la ONU en Europa, además de ser sede de la FIFA, máximo organismo del fútbol a escala mundial, y de la UEFA, mayor ente del fútbol europeo; también es sede del COI, máximo organismo encargado de la realización de los Juegos Olímpicos y de la FIDE, máximo organismo del ajedrez en el ámbito mundial.

Suiza es una confederación multilingüe y cuenta con cuatro idiomas oficiales: alemán, francés, italiano y romanche. La fecha de su creación como Estado se fijó el 1 de agosto de 1291 de acuerdo con la tradición. Debido a este motivo, cada año se celebra la fiesta nacional el 1 de agosto.

Actualmente, se percibe como uno de los países más desarrollados del mundo. Por su política de neutralidad, el país alberga gran cantidad de inmigrantes provenientes de naciones de varios continentes, por lo que es considerado como uno de los países europeos con mayor diversidad cultural. Finalmente, es reconocida internacionalmente por su turismo de montaña y por sus relojes, chocolates, navajas, bancos, ferrocarriles y quesos.11

 

El nombre Suiza proviene de Schwyz, nombre de uno de los cantones de Waldstätten que conformaron el núcleo de la Antigua Confederación Suiza.12 El topónimo del cantón data del año 972 y procede del antiguo alto alemán Suittes, vocablo relacionado con el verbo swedan que significa «quemar, chamuscar» (cf. islandés svíða, danés y sueco svide «chamuscar»), haciendo referencia a la tala y quema mediante el cual se quema una zona boscosa para construir algunas viviendas en la zona (artiga).13 El uso del nombre para esta área se extendió para denominar a todo el cantón, y después de la Guerra de Suabia en 1499 gradualmente se utilizó para nombrar a toda la confederación. El nombre en alemán de Suiza para el país, Schwiiz, es homónimo al del cantón y su capital, por lo que para distinguirse se emplea un artículo determinado en d'Schwiiz para referirse al país y la forma simple Schwiiz para el cantón y la ciudad.

El antiguo nombre del país, Helvetia, deriva de la palabra Helvetii, una tribu celta que habitó en la meseta suiza antes de la época de los romanos. La primera mención del nombre Helvetti data del año 300 a. C.14 Los nombres del neolatín Confoederatio Helvetica o Helvetia fueron introducidos cuando Suiza se convirtió en un Estado federal en 1848, remontándose a la República Helvética.

  

Visit.Org New York Team visited our partner nonprofit organization Museum at Eldridge Street in New York, United States.

 

The Museum at Eldridge Street is a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the history and beauty of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and promoting active participation with the Jewish tradition.

 

Museum at Eldridge Street Tour: Explore this National Landmark

visit.org/united-states/museum-at-eldridge-street/museum-...

Part of Agra Fort in Agra, India. The fort was built by the Mughals, can be more accurately described as a walled city in Agra, India.

Does It Matter What You Call It?: Genocide or Erasure of Palestinians

By KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON

November 27, 2006

 

PLEASE READ

 

During an appearance in late October on Ireland's Pat Kenny radio show, a popular national program broadcast daily on Ireland's RTE Radio, we were asked as the opening question if Israel could be compared to Nazi Germany. Not across the board, we said, but there are certainly some aspects of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians that bear a clear resemblance to the Nazis' oppression. Do you mean the wall, Kenny prompted, and we agreed, describing the ghettoization and other effects of this monstrosity. Before we could elaborate on other Nazi-like features of Israel's policies, Kenny moved on to another question. Within minutes, while we were still on the air, a producer handed Kenny a note, which we later learned was a request from the newly arrived Israeli ambassador to Ireland to appear on the show, by himself. Several days later, on the air by himself, the ambassador pronounced us and our comparisons of Israeli and Nazi policies "outrageous."

 

What else? We were not surprised or disturbed by his outrage. We had just spent two weeks in the West Bank witnessing the oppression, and it was a sure bet that, even had he not been fulfilling his role as propagandist for Israel, the ambassador would not have known the first thing about the Palestinian situation in the West Bank because he had most likely not set foot there in any recent year. In retrospect, we regret not having used even stronger language. Having at that point just completed our fifth trip to Palestine since early 2003, we should have had the courage and the insight to call what we have observed Israel doing to the Palestinians by its rightful name: genocide.

 

We have long played with words about this, labeling Israel's policy "ethnocide," meaning the attempt to destroy the Palestinians as a people with a specific ethnic identity. Others who dance around the subject use terms like "politicide" or, a new invention, "sociocide," but neither of these terms implies the large-scale destruction of people and identity that is truly the Israeli objective. "Genocide" -- defined by the UN Convention as the intention "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group" -- most aptly describes Israel's efforts, akin to the Nazis', to erase an entire people. (See William Cook's The Rape of Palestine for a discussion of what constitutes genocide.)

 

In fact, it matters little what you call it, so long as it is recognized that what Israel intends and is working toward is the erasure of the Palestinian people from the Palestine landscape. Israel most likely does not care about how systematic its efforts at erasure are, or how rapidly they proceed, and in these ways it differs from the Nazis. There are no gas chambers; there is no overriding urgency. Gas chambers are not needed. A round of rockets on a residential housing complex in the middle of the night here, a few million cluster bomblets or phosphorous weapons there can, given time, easily meet the UN definition above.

 

Children shot to death sitting in school classrooms here, families murdered while tilling their land there; agricultural land stripped and burned here, farmers cut off from their land there; little girls riddled with bullets here, infants beheaded by shell fire there; a little massacre here, a little starvation there; expulsion here, denial of entry and families torn apart there; dispossession is the name of the game. With no functioning economy, dwindling food supplies, medical supply shortages, no way to move from one area to another, no access to a capital city, no easy access to education or medical care, no civil service salaries, the people will die, the nation will die without a single gas chamber. Or so the Israelis hope.

  

Surrender vs. Resistance

 

A major part of the Israeli scheme -- apart from the outright land expropriation, national fragmentation, and killing that are designed to strangle and destroy the Palestinian people -- is to so discourage the Palestinians psychologically that they will simply leave voluntarily -- if they have the money -- or give up in abject surrender and agree to live quietly in small enclaves under the Israeli thumb. You wonder sometimes if the Israelis are not succeeding in this bit of psychological warfare, as they are succeeding in tightening their physical stranglehold on territory in the West Bank and Gaza. Overall, we do not believe they have yet brought the Palestinians to this point of psychological surrender, although the breaking point for Palestinians appears nearer than ever before.

 

The anger and depression, even despair, in Palestine are palpable these days, far worse than we have previously encountered. We met two Palestinians so discouraged that they are preparing to leave, in one case uprooting family from a Muslim village where roots go back centuries. The other case is a Christian young person, also from an old family, who sees no prospects for herself or anyone and who feels betrayed by her Catholic Church for having abandoned Palestine's Christians. She would rather just be elsewhere. A Palestinian pollster who has tracked attitudes toward emigration recently reported that the proportion of people thinking about leaving has jumped from about 20 percent, where it has long hovered, to 32 percent in a recent poll, largely because of despair arising from intra-Palestinian factional fighting and from Hamas' inability to govern thanks to crippling Israeli, U.S., and European sanctions.

 

Nothing like one-third of Palestinians will ultimately leave or even attempt to leave, but the trend in attitudes clearly points to the kind of despair that is afflicting much of Palestine. One thoughtful Palestinian writer with whom we spent an evening feels so defeated and so oppressed by Israeli restrictions that he thinks Hamas should abandon its principled stand and agree to recognize Israel's right to exist, in the hope that this concession might induce the Israelis to lift some of the innumerable restrictions on Palestinian life, end the military siege on Palestinian territories and the land theft, and in general ease the day-to-day misery that Palestinians endure under occupation. Asked if he thought such a major Hamas concession would actually bring meaningful Israeli concessions, he said no, but perhaps it would ease the misery a little. It was clear he holds out no great hope. His village's land is gradually disappearing underneath the separation wall and expanding Israeli settlements.

 

We met westerners who have lived in the West Bank, working on behalf of the Palestinians for various NGOs for a decade and more, who are planning to leave out of frustration at seeing the situation worsen year after year and their own work increasingly go for naught. Many other western human rights workers and educators, particularly at venerable institutions like the Friends' School in Ramallah and Bir Zeit University, are being denied visas by the Israelis as part of their deliberate campaign to keep out foreign passport holders, including thousands of ethnic Palestinians who have lived in the West Bank with their families and worked for years. The Israeli campaign to deny residency and re-entry permits is a deliberate attempt at ethnic cleansing, a hope that if a husband or wife is barred, he or she will remove the rest of the family and Israel will have fewer Palestinians to deal with. In addition, the entry denial campaign targets in particular anyone, Palestinian or international, who might bring a measure of business prosperity to the Palestinian territories, or education, or medical assistance, or humanitarian assistance.

 

The campaign against foreigners who might help the Palestinians or bear witness for them became particularly vicious in mid-November when a 19-year-old Swedish volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement escorting Palestinian children to school was brutally attacked by Israeli settlers in Hebron as Israeli soldiers watched. The young woman, Tove Johansson, was walking through an Israeli army checkpoint with several other volunteers when they were set upon by a group of approximately 100 settlers chanting, "We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!" A settler hit Johansson in the face with a broken bottle, breaking her cheekbone, and as she lay bleeding on the ground, the settlers cheered and clapped and took pictures of themselves posing next to her. The Israeli soldiers briefly questioned three settlers but made no arrests and conducted no investigation. In fact, they threatened the international volunteers with arrest if they did not leave the area immediately. The assault was so raw and brutal that Amnesty International issued an alert warning internationals to beware of settler attacks. The U.S. media have not seen fit to report the incident, which was clearly part of a longstanding effort to discourage witnesses to Israeli atrocities and deprive Palestinians of any protection against the atrocities.

 

Palestinian resistance does figure in this dismal story. In the same small village where one of our acquaintances is uprooting his family, others are building, building small homes and multi-story apartment buildings, simply as a sign of resistance. International human rights volunteers are still trying to reach the West Bank and Gaza to assist Palestinians. When we told one Palestinian friend about our conversation with the writer who wants Hamas to concede Israel's right to exist, his immediate reaction was "absolutely not." He is himself a secular Muslim, a Fatah supporter, does not like Hamas and did not vote for Hamas in last January's legislative elections, but he fully supports Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist until Israel recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to exist as a nation. "Why should I recognize you until you get out of my garden?" he wondered.

 

Our friend Ahmad's views reflect the general feeling among Palestinians: a poll conducted in September by a Palestinian polling organization found that 67 percent of Palestinians do not think Hamas should recognize Israel in order to satisfy Israeli and international demands, while almost the same proportion, 63 percent, would support recognizing Israel if this came as part of a peace agreement in which a Palestinian state was established -- in other words, if Israel also recognized the Palestinians as a nation. Surrender is not yet on the horizon.

 

On the possibility of pulling up stakes and leaving Palestine, Ahmad was equally adamant. "Why should I leave and then have to fight to get back later? Empires never last." He mentioned the Turks and the British and the Soviets, "and the Americans and the Israelis won't last either. It may take a long time, but we can wait." He was angrier than we have ever previously seen him, and more uncompromising -- and with good reason: the separation wall is now within a few yards of his home and demolition is threatened. Ahmad and some neighbors have been fighting the wall's advance in court and succeeded in stopping it for over a year, but construction is moving ahead again. He already has to drive miles out of his way to skirt the wall on his way to work and will be able to exit only on foot when the wall is completed -- assuming his house is not demolished altogether.

 

But he is not giving up. He thinks suicide bombers are "a piece of shit," but he believes the Palestinians have to resist in some way, if only by throwing stones, and he sees some kind of explosion in the offing. If Palestinians do nothing at all, he said, "the Israelis will just relax" and will feel no pressure to cease the oppression. Palestinians everywhere are keeping up the pressure. Haaretz correspondent Gideon Levy described a cloth banner displayed in Beit Hanoun immediately after Israel's devastation of that small Gaza city during the first week in November. "Kill, destroy, crush -- you won't succeed in breaking us," declared the banner.

 

Palestinians in Beit Hanoun, as well as throughout Gaza and the West Bank, have been putting up resistance to their own incompetent, quisling leadership, as well as to Israel. It has not escaped the notice of the Palestinian man in the street that, while Israel slaughters men, women, and children in Beit Hanoun and continues its march across the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mamhud Abbas has been cooperating with the U.S. and Israel to undermine the democratically elected Hamas government. The U.S. is arming and training a militia that will protect Abbas' and Fatah's narrow factional interests against Hamas' fighters, in what can only be termed an open coup attempt against the legally constituted Palestinian government.

 

Few Palestinians, even Fatah supporters, condone this U.S. interference or Abbas' traitorous acquiescence. "Fatah are thieves," a local leader who is a Fatah member himself told us. "Hamas won because we wanted to get rid of the thieves." He thinks that if there were an election today, "ordinary people" -- by which he means people not associated with either Fatah or Hamas -- would win. In each house, he said, "we find one son with Hamas, another son with Fatah, so how is a father going to support one or the other?" It is perhaps this knowledge that they cannot fight each other without destroying the nuclear and the broader Palestinian family, and that they must not succumb to Israeli and U.S. schemes to fragment Palestinian society, that have motivated the intensive Palestinian efforts to achieve some kind of unity government.

  

Around the West Bank

 

In Bil'in, the small town west of Ramallah that has seen a non-violent protest against the wall by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals every Friday for almost two years, the village leader, Ahmad Issa Yassin, talked about the lesson his youngest son learned after being arrested last year at age 14 in an Israeli raid. "He is more courageous now, more ready to resist," Yassin said. "So am I." We first met this boy a few months before his arrest, a particularly friendly young man with a sweet smile. He greeted us again this year with another warm smile and bantered with us as we took his picture. He gave no hint of having spent two months in one of Israel's worst prisons or of the horror of having been arrested in a Nazi-style middle-of-the-night raid. Perhaps he threw stones at the Israeli soldiers who converge on his village at least once a week and respond to non-violent protests with live ammunition, rubber bullets, teargas, concussion grenades, and batons. This boy was no terrorist. On the other hand, the Israelis may have turned him into a young man willing to fight terror with terror a few years from now.

 

Yassin walked us to his olive grove, half destroyed, on the other side of the wall. The Israelis allow the villagers access to lands that now lie on Israel's side of the wall, but there is only one gate, manned by Israeli soldiers who may or may not bestir themselves to open it. The villagers' names are all on a list of Palestinians authorized to pass through the gate. At this particular village, one of many whose lands have been cut off from the village, protesters have established an outpost or, as they call it, a "settlement" on the Israeli side to stake a claim to the land for the village even though it now lies on Israel's side in the path of an expanding Israeli settlement. The Palestinian "settlement" consists of a small building, a tent where a couple of activists maintain a constant vigil, and a soccer field for a bit of normality.

 

Yassin took us uphill on a dirt path running alongside the wall, which in this rural area consists of an electronic fence, a dirt patrol road on each side where footprints can be picked up, a paved patrol road on the Israeli side, and coils of razor wire on each side -- encompassing altogether an area about 50 meters wide, where olive groves once stood. We waited at the gate in the electronic fence while Yassin called several times to the Israeli soldiers, whom we could see lounging under a tent canopy on a nearby hillside. When they finally came to the gate, they checked Yassin's name against their list of permitees, recorded our names and passport numbers, and officiously warned us against taking pictures in this "military zone." As we made our way across country to the Bil'in outpost, Yassin pointed out olive trees burned and uprooted by Israelis and, at the outpost right next to the stump of a tree that had been cut down, a new tree sprouting from the old one.

 

We talked for a while with a Palestinian activist from the village and a young British activist who had both been sleeping late into the morning, after enjoying a Ramadan meal, the Iftar, late the night before. When we returned to the gate, the Israeli soldiers were even slower arriving to open it, obviously totally bored with their duty. The following Friday at the weekly protest, they enjoyed a little more excitement as protesters managed to erect ladders to scale the fence. The soldiers responded with batons and teargas.

 

The resistance goes on, but so does the Israeli encroachment. We took away with us two striking impressions: the little olive tree being carefully nurtured as a sign of renewal and resistance, and in the near distance the constant sound of bulldozers and earth-clearing equipment working on the Israeli settlement of Modiin Illit, being built on the lands of Bil'in and other neighboring villages.

 

Elsewhere, signs of the Israeli advance override the continuing signs of Palestinian resistance. In the small village of Wadi Fuqin southwest of Bethlehem, a beautiful village sitting in a narrow, fertile valley between ridge lines that is being squeezed on one side by the wall, still to be constructed, and on the other by the already large and rapidly expanding Israeli settlement of Betar Illit, we saw more destruction. The settlement is dumping vast tonnages of construction debris down onto the village, so that its fields are gradually being swallowed. This was more evident this year than when we visited last year. The settlement's sewage often overflows onto village land through sewage pipes evident high up on the hillside. Israeli settlers swagger through the village increasingly, as if it were theirs, swimming in the many irrigation pools that are fed by natural springs dating back to Roman times.

 

In the village of Walaja, not far away to the north, nearer Jerusalem, Ahmad took us to visit friends of his. The village is scheduled to be surrounded completely by the wall because it sits near the Green Line in the midst of a cluster of Israeli settlements. We sat in a garden of fruit trees with a family whose house is on a hill overlooking a spectacular valley and hills beyond. Jerusalem sits on another hill in the distance. We commented that, except for the Israeli settlements across the valley, the place is like paradise, but our host responded with a cynical laugh that actually it is hell. Even beautiful scenery loses its appeal when one is trapped and surrounded.

 

In another encircled village that we visited last year, Nu'man, the approximately 200 residents are also trapped between the wall, now completed, on one side and the advancing settlement of Har Homa, which covets the village land, on the other. Although last year, with the wall incomplete, we could drive in, this year we were denied entry at the one gate in. With Ahmad, we tried to talk to four obviously intimidated young Palestinian men waiting across the patrol road from the gate to gain entry to their homes, but the Israeli soldiers told them not to talk to us; one of them said a few words to Ahmad but never took his eyes off the Israeli guardpost. We drove off and left them to their plight. We could have tried to get to the village with an arduous cross-country walk, but we did not.

  

"Grand" Terminals

 

With the near completion of the separation wall, the Israelis have systematized the West Bank prison. Since August 2005, the number of checkpoints throughout the West Bank has risen 40 percent, from 376 to 528, according to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which carefully tracks the numbers and types of Israeli checkpoints, as well as other aspects of the Israeli stranglehold on the Palestinians. As part of the systematization, a series of elaborate terminals now manage the humiliation of Palestinians at major checkpoints, particularly around Jerusalem. The terminals are huge cages resembling cattle runs, which direct foot traffic in snaking lines that double back and forth. At the end of the line are a series of turnstiles, x-ray machines, conveyor belts, and other accoutrements of heavy security. Any Palestinian entering Jerusalem from the West Bank to work, to visit family, to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to go to school, or for medical treatment must have a hard-to-obtain permit from Israel. The turnstiles and other security barriers are controlled remotely by Israeli soldiers housed behind heavy bullet-proof glass.

 

The cages are currently painted a bright, cheerful blue, but it's a fair bet that when they are older and worn, the paint job will not be renewed. Adding to the false cheer, the Israelis have erected incongruous welcoming signs at the terminals. Most egregious is the giant sign at the Bethlehem terminal. "Peace be with you," it proclaims in three languages to travelers leaving Jerusalem for Bethlehem. This is on a giant pastel-colored sign erected by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, as if travel through this terminal were the ordinary tourist lark. At the Qalandiya terminal between Ramallah and Jerusalem, a large cartoon-like red rose welcomes Palestinians with a sign in Arabic. Early this year when the terminal was opened, the rose was on a sign that proclaimed, in three languages, "The hope of us all." Apparently embarrassed at being caught so red-handed in their hypocrisy, the Israelis removed the sign, preserving only the rose, after a Jewish activist stenciled over it the words that once graced the entrance to Auschwitz, "Arbeit Macht Frei" -- work makes you free. There is still a sign saying in three languages, "May you go in peace and return in peace." The Israelis still don't really get it.

 

Nor do the Americans. The terminals, advertised as a way to "ease life" for Palestinians by prettying up the checkpoints of old and making passage more efficient, were paid for out of U.S. aid monies designated originally for the Palestinian Authority (before the Hamas election) but diverted to Israel's terminal-building enterprise -- helping Israel make Palestinian humiliation more efficient. Steven Erlanger in the New York Times, among others, fell for the scam, noting when the Bethlehem terminal opened in December last year that the terminals were aimed at "easing the burden on Palestinians and softening international criticism." He labeled the Bethlehem terminal a "grand" gateway for Christians visiting Jesus' birthplace -- not acknowledging that Christians had been visiting for two millennia without benefit of turnstiles and concrete walls.

 

The burden on Palestinians has not been significantly eased as far as we could tell. We spent some time watching at several of the terminals -- feeling like voyeurs of Palestinian misery. At Qalandiya, about 100 people stood waiting to pass through three locked turnstiles. A young Israeli woman soldier sat in a glassed-in control booth barking commands at them. Our friend Ahmad speaks Hebrew as well as Arabic and could not even make out which language she was speaking in. There was no reason for her anger or for her decision to lock the turnstiles. When she saw us observing, carrying a camera, she shook her finger in an apparent warning against taking pictures. They don't like witnesses. Immediately after this, she unlocked the turnstiles.

 

We walked through after everyone else who had been waiting, and Ahmad took us to the waiting area on the other side where Palestinians from the West Bank apply for permits to enter Jerusalem. About 50 people were waiting. A middle-aged man walked up to us and began telling his story. He was scheduled for neurosurgery at Maqassad Hospital in East Jerusalem in two days, according to a certificate from the hospital, written in English and clearly intended for Israeli permit authorities. He had already been waiting for six days -- three futilely sitting in this waiting area and a previous three when the Israelis had closed the terminal altogether for Yom Kippur. He was beginning to fear he would never get his permit and, as he expressed his frustration and desperation, he began to cry. He asked that we take his picture holding the certificate and tell the world. We did, but we will never know if he obtained his permit in time, or at all.

 

At another terminal, leading from al-Azzariyah, the biblical Bethany, into Jerusalem, a soldier screamed at us -- quite literally, his face red, blood vessels standing out on his neck -- when he saw us taking pictures of his soldier colleagues questioning Palestinians before they entered the terminal area, a pre-screening for the screening at the terminal. We told the soldier we thought pictures would be all right; this terminal was run after all by the Ministry of Tourism and so must be a tourist attraction. But our flippancy didn't go over well. He pushed us toward an exit gate, screaming that this was the "Ministry of Gates" and that we had to get out. We managed to remain inside until Ahmad, who was talking to another Israeli soldier, finished and exited with us. Maybe we saved one or two Palestinians from scrutiny by distracting a couple of soldiers -- or maybe unfortunately we just delayed them further.

 

At a third checkpoint, this a makeshift one set up temporarily at an opening in the wall where the concrete barrier is still incomplete, we watched as a growing crowd of Palestinians wanting to enter Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque tried to negotiate with two young Israeli soldiers. It was a Friday in Ramadan and, although these Palestinians had permits to enter Jerusalem, their names were not on the authorized list at this particular checkpoint. They had to go, according to Israel's administrative fiat, to the main terminal from their area into the city. As the crowd gathered, more Israeli soldiers arrived. The crowd included women as well as men, and several children. Being watched by a couple of Americans who probably appeared more patronizing than helpful clearly did not improve the mood of most of the crowd.

 

One little boy of about five, dressed neatly in a tie and pressed white shirt, stood looking at the commotion for a few minutes, standing slightly apart from his father, and suddenly burst into tears. A few minutes later, the soldiers exploded a concussion grenade, and most of the crowd dispersed. It's the Israeli way: make them cry, run them off in fear. We left, embarrassed by our own inadequacy.

  

Terminology

 

Is it genocide when a little boy is made to cry because belligerent armed men intimidate him, intimidate his father, and ultimately run them off; when they are forbidden from performing their religious ceremonies because a belligerent government decides they are of the wrong religion; when their town is encircled and cut off because a racist state decides their ethnic identity is of the wrong variety?

 

You can argue over terminology, but the truth is evident everywhere on the ground where Israel has extended its writ: Palestinians are unworthy, inferior to Jews, and in the name of the Jewish people, Israel has given itself the right to erase the Palestinian presence in Palestine -- in other words, to commit genocide by destroying "in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group."

 

As we debate about and analyze the Palestinian psyche, trying to determine if they have had enough and will surrender or will survive by resisting, it is important to remember that the Jewish people, despite unspeakable tragedy, emerged from the holocaust ultimately triumphant. Israel and its supporters should keep this in mind: empires never last, as Ahmad said, and gross injustice such as the Nazis and Israel have inflicted on innocent people cannot prevail for long.

   

Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

 

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. They spent October 2006 in Palestine and on a speaking tour of Ireland sponsored by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

ORIGINAL PHOTO: Mohamed Abed, Beit Lahiya, Occupied Gaza Strip, November 23, 2006 (image shows the sister of Mohamed al-Jarjawi, age 20, killed by Israelis, weeping outside his hospital room).

IMAGE ALTERATION: /anomalous

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

Visit.Org Head of Orgs Engagement Emilie Cuillard visited our partner nonprofit organization Humacchuco in Humacchuco, Peru.

 

The community of Humacchuco (Huascar & Huandy) continues to support the welfare of the environment of the Huascaran National Park and its natural beauty.

 

Peru Discovery Tour: Get a Taste of Andean Culture in Humacchuco

visit.org/peru/humacchuco/peru-discovery-tour-get-a-taste...

 

Huascaran National Park Hiking Tour: See Peru's Natural Beauty

visit.org/peru/humacchuco/huascaran-national-park-hiking-...

Visit.Org Visitor Amy E McAndrews visited our partner nonprofit organization Ecobiosfera El Triunfo in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico.

 

Ecobiosfera El Triunfo promotes the conservation of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable, innovative initiatives that involve the local population.

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: Bird-Watching Trek

visit.org/mexico/ecobiosfera-el-triunfo/chiapas-adventure...

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: The Biodiversity of El Triunfo

visit.org/mexico/ecobiosfera-el-triunfo/chiapas-adventure...

日本,北海道,洞爺湖晨景。

Japan National Tourism Organization :

www.jnto.go.jp/eng/

Jaipur, India - Jul 27, 2015. People visit Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, India. Hawa Mahal, built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, is one of the most important monuments of Jaipur.

La zona de conservació del Ngorongoro (NCA) és una zona de conservació inscrit a la llista del Patrimoni de la Humanitat per la UNESCO, des de 1979 i ampliat el 2010. Està situat a 180 km a l'oest d'Arusha als altiplans dels cràters deTanzània. Dins s'hi troba el cràter del Ngorongoro, una gran caldera volcànica.

 

La zona de conservación del Ngorongoro (NCA) es una zona de conservación inscrito en la lista del Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO, desde 1979 y ampliado en 2010. Está situado a 180 km al oeste de Arusha a los altiplanos de los cráteres deTanzània. Dentro se encuentra el cráter del Ngorongoro, una gran caldera volcánica.

 

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area, is recognized by one private organization as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.] The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of the Arusha Region. It has been reported in 2009 that the government authority has proposed a reduction of the population of the conservation area from 65,000 to 25,000. There are plans being considered for 14 more luxury tourist hotels, so people can access "the unparalleled beauty of one of the world's most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries", however, the people who own the land have had few benefits from tourism. None of the senior level positions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are yet held by a member of the local Maasai pastoralists, who, in 2013, were aided by an international Avaaz campaign from being evicted from pastures bordering Serengeti National Park in order to facilitate the interests of a private luxury safari company.

Part of Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) at sunnt day in Jaipur, India. Jaipur, known as the Pink city, is a major tourist destination in India.

Visit.Org Head of Orgs Engagement Emilie Cuillard visited our partner nonprofit organization Humacchuco in Humacchuco, Peru.

 

The community of Humacchuco (Huascar & Huandy) continues to support the welfare of the environment of the Huascaran National Park and its natural beauty.

 

Peru Discovery Tour: Get a Taste of Andean Culture in Humacchuco

visit.org/peru/humacchuco/peru-discovery-tour-get-a-taste...

 

Huascaran National Park Hiking Tour: See Peru's Natural Beauty

visit.org/peru/humacchuco/huascaran-national-park-hiking-...

Bali / INDONESIA.

***********************

We are delighted to announce that your image has been commended in the top 50 images in the Smile Category in the Open Competition of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. (www.flickr.com/photos/paza140/11095706383/)

 

Your work has been selected from 139,554 images entered from 166 countries. This is an incredible achievement.

 

Your name will be announced to press and on our website on 4th February. The winners of each category will be announced on 18th March.

 

The reason I write to you now, is that we need your image may be used on our website, for promotional material and will be shown digitally at Somerset House, as part of World Photo, London from 1st – 18th May.

 

The high-resolution will be live as of 10th February, and the deadline for uploading your images is 17th February.

 

As a commended photographer, we would to like to offer you a free access pass to the World Photography Awards exhibition. Your name will be on the door. Please bring ID.

 

Following the 4th February announcement, we encourage you to highlight your achievement through your website and/or social platforms. We have created photographer’s badges for your use in such announcements, which can be downloaded here (worldphoto.org/2014-swpa-badges/open-commended/).

 

For more detailed information regarding the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition and World Photo London, please visit worldphoto.org/2014exhibition

 

Stay tuned to our website on 4th February to see the full shortlist released!

 

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to let us know.

 

Many congratulations once again,

World Photography Organisation

  

__________________________

Open Competition Commended Smile Category (3rd page):

www.worldphoto.org/images/image-gallery/21083/?page=3

__________________________

 

Open Competition Shortlist:

worldphoto.org/about-the-sony-world-photography-awards/20...

 

Open Competition Commended:

www.worldphoto.org/galleries/swpa-galleries/2014-sony-wor...

 

Open Competition Commended Smile Category:

www.worldphoto.org/images/image-gallery/21083

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

We have been staying with my friend of seventeen years, Brian Reilly. He asked if I could post one of his favourite quotes with one of my photos, so here it is:

 

Whatever the Mind Can Conceive it Can Achieve. W.Clement Stone (1902-2002)

Brian has just started a personal development article website at Internal Workings if you would like to check it out.

 

About the photo:

 

From Japan National Tourism Organisation:

 

The Sagano and Arashi-yama districts are located in the western part of Kyoto City. In the 8th century, aristocrats often came to this area of rice fields and bamboo woods to enjoy the colored leaves, or to go boating. The landscape today is still reminiscent of that period. Tenryu-ji Temple, a World Cultural Heritage Site, was erected in the 14th century by the then shogun, Ashikaga Takauji, in a gesture of mourning for the Emperor. It is one of the Kyoto-gozan (Five Major Temples of Kyoto), and the garden located there is designated as a special national scenic spot.

 

The Sagano area has a number of temples such as: Daikaku-ji Temple (national treasure); Jojakko-ji Temple with its Taho-to Tower; Nison-in Temple with a standing statue of Buddha Shaka-nyorai and a statue of Buddha Amida-nyorai; Jikishi-an with a standing statue of Buddha Shaka-nyorai (national treasure); Seiryo-ji Temple with a statue of Buddha Shaka-nyorai (national treasure); and the Adashi-no-Nenbutsu-ji Temple, famous for the Sento-Kuyo, or the Thousand Lantern Memorial Service, held there every August.

 

Togetsu-kyo Bridge spans the Hozu-gawa River at the foot of Mt. Arashi-yama. It is 250 meters long and still retains its 17th century appearance, despite renovations made using steel. In the summer evening, people write their wishes on 'toro' lanterns and let them float away on the Hozu-gawa River. This beautiful sight is called "Manto-Nagashi," or the floating of ten-thousand lanterns.

 

View On Black

 

View Original Size

From the outside this time...

 

Technique/Processing

 

Really nothing fancy this time. The most complicated thing about this shot was to get all the lines lined up ;-)

 

P.S.: I mirrored the image horizonatally, in order to have the Apple logo right - it looked strange otherwise.

 

----------------------------------------

 

Info

 

The Big Apple is a nickname or moniker for New York City. It was first popularized in the 1920s by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is due to a promotional campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, known now as NYC & Company.

 

Although the history of the Big Apple was once considered a mystery, research over the past two decades, primarily by noted amateur etymologist Barry Popik and Professor Gerald Cohen of Missouri University of Science and Technology, has provided a reasonably clear picture of the term's history. Prior to their work, there were a number of false etymologies, of which the most ridiculous was the claim that the term derived from a New York brothel whose madam was known as Eve. This was subsequently exposed as a hoax and has been replaced on the source web site with more accurate information.

 

The Big Apple was first popularized as a reference to New York City by John J. Fitz Gerald in a number of New York Morning Telegraph articles in the 1920s in reference to New York horse-racing. The earliest of these was a casual reference on May 3, 1921:

 

J. P. Smith, with Tippity Witchet and others of the L. T. Bauer string, is scheduled to start for "the big apple" to-morrow after a most prosperous Spring campaign at Bowie and Havre de Grace.

 

Fitz Gerald referred to the "big apple" frequently thereafter. He explained his use in a February 18, 1924, column under the headline "Around the Big Apple":

 

The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York.

 

Two dusky stable hands were leading a pair of thoroughbred around the "cooling rings" of adjoining stables at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans and engaging in desultory conversation.

 

"Where y'all goin' from here?" queried one.

 

"From here we're headin' for The Big Apple," proudly replied the other.

 

"Well, you'd better fatten up them skinners or all you'll get from the apple will be the core," was the quick rejoinder.

 

Fitz Gerald's reference to the "dusky" stable hands suggests the term's origin may lie in African-American culture. Support for this is found in the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper that had a national circulation. “Ragtime” Billy Tucker, a vaudeville/ragtime performer and writer for the Defender, there used "big apple" to refer to New York in a non-horse-racing context on September 16, 1922:

 

I trust your trip to 'the big apple' (New York) was a huge success and only wish that I had been able to make it with you.

 

The same writer had earlier used "Big Apple" as a reference to a different city, Los Angeles. This example, from May 15, 1920, is the earliest known use of "Big Apple" to refer to any city. It is possible that the writer simply understood "Big Apple" as an appropriate nickname for any large city:

 

Dear Pal, Tony: No, Ragtime Billy Tucker hasn't dropped completely out of existence, but is still in the 'Big Apple', Los Angeles.

 

By the late 1920s, New York writers other than Fitz Gerald were starting to use "Big Apple" and were using it outside of a horse-racing context."The Big Apple" was a popular song and dance in the 1930s. Walter Winchell and other writers continued to use the name in the 1940s and 1950s.

 

By the 1960s, "the Big Apple" was known only as an old name for New York. In the early 1970s, however, the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau (now NYC & Company, the official marketing and tourism organization for New York City), under the leadership of its president, Charles Gillett, begin promoting "the Big Apple" as the city's moniker. It has remained popular since that time. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1997 signed legislation designating the southwest corner of West 54th Street and Broadway, the corner on which John J. Fitz Gerald resided from 1934 to 1963, as "Big Apple Corner."

 

Since 1980, the New York Mets baseball team has featured a "Home Run Apple" that rises when a Mets player hits a home run at Shea Stadium and Citi Field.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Apple

 

---------------------------------------------

 

You can license my photos through Getty images

Visit.Org Visual Design Consultant Sarah Greenberg visited our partner nonprofit organization Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation in Kyansimbi Village LC1, Uganda.

 

Africa Sustainable Tourism Care Foundation supports Ugandan youth and women as well as the preservation of rural village culture by reducing the need for outward migration through sustainable tourism practices.

 

Uganda Animal Tour: Encounter Big Game at Kibaale National Park

visit.org/uganda/africa-sustainable-tourism-care-foundati...

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

The Bowen River is a river in northern Fiordland, New Zealand. The river runs south for 8 kilometres (5 mi) before flowing from a hanging valley to become the 162-metre (531 ft) Lady Bowen Falls and draining into the head of Milford Sound. The falls are named for Diamantina Bowen, wife of George Bowen, the fifth Governor of New Zealand.

 

The falls provide electricity for the Milford Sound settlement by feeding a small hydroelectric scheme, and are also the water source for the settlement.

 

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

Visit.Org Visitor Amy E McAndrews visited our partner nonprofit organization Ecobiosfera El Triunfo in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico.

 

Ecobiosfera El Triunfo promotes the conservation of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable, innovative initiatives that involve the local population.

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: Bird-Watching Trek

visit.org/mexico/ecobiosfera-el-triunfo/chiapas-adventure...

 

Chiapas Adventure Tour: The Biodiversity of El Triunfo

visit.org/mexico/ecobiosfera-el-triunfo/chiapas-adventure...

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-ZEE-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

 

Somewhere between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that were to become New Zealand, and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

 

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

 

source: Wikipedia

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