Wednesday, 31 March 2010

UNICEF "Put It Right" Campaign - Aklima's Story

Children around the world are having their rights denied every day. UNICEF is working in 193 countries to protect these rights, making sure children's voices are heard and listened to.
UNICEF IS FUNDED ENTIRELY BY VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS. WE RECEIVE NO FUNDING FROM THE UN BUDGET



Aklima's Story
Aklima, aged 12, lives in Dhaka in Bangladesh with her parents, four sisters and two brothers. Her family is very poor.
Aklima doesn’t spend her days in a classroom like other children her age.
Instead, she makes a living by scavenging for bits of plastic and scraps of paper at a rubbish dump.








Dangerous work
Every morning, Aklima makes the hour-long walk to the dump with her friends. They chat and laugh together throughout the day, but the work can be dangerous.
“Sometimes I cut my hands and legs on broken glass or tins.”
It’s wrong that Aklima has to work. Because she works, she has not been able to go to a normal primary school.






Denied an education
Around the world, approximately 100 million children - the majority of them girls - are still denied their right to go to school.
Without an education, it is almost impossible for children like Aklima to get out of the poverty that forces them to work in dangerous, unpleasant conditions.
“I don’t want to do this work.”





Poverty and other barriers
Poverty and pressure to work are not the only things keeping children out of the classroom.
Lack of facilities, war, and discrimination against girls and minority groups deny other children the chance to learn.
Yet every child, wherever they are, has the right to free primary education.







UNICEF works to put it right
A few months ago, a social worker introduced Aklima to an informal, open-air school near the rubbish dump. The school is run by a local organisation in partnership with UNICEF.
Although Aklima still has to work in the morning, she can now go to school in the afternoon.
“It’s good to go to school.”








A love of learning
Aklima is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn. She enjoys being with all the other children and her favourite subject is maths.
“We study. Everyone sits together. We draw pictures and write Bangla.”
UNICEF recognises that even basic, part-time education can make a world of difference for children like Aklima – and their children in turn.









Essential supplies
UNICEF works to ensure that all children have the chance to go to school.
We help to put essential supplies such as books in place wherever children need them. We work with families, communities and governments to tackle child labour.
We partner with local organisations to reach out to children like Aklima.





You can help
Aklima now has the chance to go to school, but millions of children around the world still can’t get any education.
UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. We need your help to ensure that every child has the chance to learn - and so develop to their full potential.
Denying a child’s right to education is wrong. Help us put it right for children like Aklima.




With grateful thanks to UNICEF for their permission to reproduce this material from their official site.
If you wish to learn more about the work carried out by UNICEF click on the following link:

Horsepower


Eva Braun

Eva Anna Paula Braun, died Eva Anna Paula Hitler (6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945) was the longtime companion and, for a brief time, wife, of Adolph Hitler. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was 17 years old while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later. She attempted suicide twice during their early relationship. By 1936 she was a part of his household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden and by all accounts lived a materially luxurious and sheltered life throughout World war II. Her political sway on Hitler is unknown, but the consensus among historians is that this was likely little to none Braun kept up habits which met Hitler's disapproval, such as smoking, wearing makeup and nude sunbathing. Braun enjoyed photography and many of the surviving colour photographs of Hitler were taken by her. She was a key figure within Hitler's inner social circle, but did not attend public events with him until the summer of 1944, when her sister married an officer on his personal staff.
As the Third Reich collapsed towards the end of the war, Braun swore her loyalty to Hitler and went to Berlin to be by his side in the heavily reinforced Fuhrerbunker deep beneath the Reich
chancellery. As Red Army troops fought their way into the neighbourhood on 29 April 1945, she married Hitler during a brief civil ceremony: she was 33 and he 56. Less than 40 hours later they comitted suicide together in a sitting room of the bunker, she by biting into a capsule of cyanide. The German public was wholly unaware of Braun until after her death.





Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler with Blondi at the Berghof in either 1940 or 1942.


Background
Born in Munich, Eva Braun was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun and Franziska "Fanny" Kronberger, who both came from respectable Bavarian Catholic families. Her elder sister Ilse was born in 1909 and her younger sister Margarete "Gretl" was born in 1915. Braun was educated at a lyceum, then for one year at a business school in a convent where she had average grades and a talent for athletics. She worked for several months as a receptionist at a medical office, then at age 17 took a job as an office and lab assistant and photographer's model for Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer for the Nazi Party. She met Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio of Munich in October 1929. He had been introduced to her as "Herr Wolff" (a childhood nickname he used during the 1920s for security purposes). She described him to friends as a "gentleman of a certain age with a funny moustache, a light-coloured English overcoat, and carrying a big felt hat." He appreciated her eye colour, which was said to be close to his mother's. Her family was strongly against the relationship and little is known about it during the first two years.


Relationship and turmoil
Hitler saw more of Braun after the apparent 1931 suicide of his half sister Angela's daughter Geli
Raubal with whom, it was rumoured, he had been intimate. The circumstances of Raubal's death in Munich have never been confirmed. Some historians suggest she killed herself because she was distraught over her relationship with Hitler or his relationship with Braun, while others have speculated Hitler played a more direct role in the death of his niece. Braun was unaware that Raubal was a rival for Hitler's affections until after Raubal's death. Meanwhile, Hitler was seeing other women, such as actress Renate Muller, whose early death may also have been suicide.
Eva Braun first attempted suicide on 1 November 1932 at the age of 20 by shooting herself in the chest with her father's pistol. She attempted suicide a second time on 28 May 1935 by taking an overdose of Phanodorm (sleeping pills). After Braun's recovery, Hitler became more committed to her and arranged for the substantial royalties from widely published and popular photographs of him taken by Hoffmann's photo studio to pay for a villa in Munich. This income also provided her with a Mercedes, a chauffeur and a maid. Braun's sister Gretl moved in with her. Hoffmann later asserted Braun became a fixture in Hitler's life by attempting suicide less than a year after Geli Raubal's death, as Hitler wished to avoid any further scandal.
When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Braun sat on the stage in the area reserved for VIPs as a secretary, to which Hitler's sister Angela strongly objected, along with the wives of other ministers. She was banned from living anywhere near Braun as a result. By 1936 Braun was at Hitler's household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden whenever he was in residence there and her parents were also invited for dinner several times. In 1938 Hitler named Braun his primary heir, to receive about 600 pounds yearly after his death. Nonetheless, Braun's political influence on Hitler was apparently minimal. She was never allowed to stay in the room when business or political conversations took place. However, some historians have inferred she was aware of at least some sordid details concerning the Third Reich's inner workings. It is not certain whether Braun was a member of the Nazi party. According to biographer Angela
Lambert Braun was neither a member nor ever pressured to join. By all accounts she led a sheltered and privileged existence and seemed uninterested in politics. The only known instance in which she took any interest in policy and politics was in 1943, shortly after Germany had fully transitioned to a total war economy. Among other things, the transition meant a potential ban on women's cosmetics and luxuries (as was already the case in the Allied countries). According to Albert Speer's memoir, Inside the Third Reich, Braun immediately approached Hitler in "high indignation", to which an "uncertain" Hitler instructed Speer to simply and quietly cease production of women's cosmetics and luxuries rather than an outright ban.
Hitler and Braun never appeared as a couple in public and there is some indication that this, along with their not having married early in their relationship, was due to Hitler's fear that he would lose popularity among female supporters. The German people were wholly unaware of Braun's relationship with Hitler until after the war. According to Speer's memoirs, Braun never slept in the same room as Hitler and had her own rooms at the Berghof, in Hitler's Berlin residence and in the Berlin bunker. Speer also wrote:
"Eva Braun was allowed to be present during visits from old party associates. She was banished as soon as other dignitaries of the Reich, such as cabinet ministers, appeared at the table ... Hitler obviously regarded her as socially acceptable only within strict limits. Sometimes I kept her company in her exile, a room next to Hitler's bedroom. She was so intimidated that she did not dare leave the house for a walk. Out of sympathy for her predicament I soon began to feel a liking for this unhappy woman, who was so deeply attached to Hitler."
Speer later said, "Eva Braun will prove a great disappointment to historians."

Lifestyle
Even during World War II Braun apparently lived a life of leisure, spending her time exercising, reading romance novels, watching films and early German television (at least until around 1943) along with later helping to host gatherings of Hitler's inner circle. She reportedly accepted gifts which were stolen property belonging to deposed European royal families.
Traudl Junge, Hitler's youngest secretary, wrote in her memoirs Until The Final Hour:
"She was very well dressed and groomed, and I noticed her natural unaffected manner. She wasn't the kind of ideal German girl you saw on recruiting posters for the BDM or in woman's magazines. Her carefully done hair was bleached, and her pretty face was made up - quite heavily but in very good taste. Eva Braun wasn't tall but she had a very pretty figure and a distinguished appearance. She knew just how to dress in a style that suited her and never looked as if she had overdone it — she always seemed appropriately and tastefully dressed, although she wore valuable jewelry. ...Eva wasn't allowed to change her hair style. Once she appeared with her hair tinted slightly darker and on one occasion she piled it up on the top of her head. Hitler was horrified: 'you look totally strange, quite changed. You are an entirely different woman!' ...and Eva Braun made haste to revert to the way she looked before."
Unlike most other Germans she was reportedly free to read European and American magazines and watch foreign films. Her affection for nude sunbathing (and being photographed at it) is known to have infuriated Hitler. Braun had a lifelong interest in photography and their closest friends called her the Rolleiflex Girl (after the well-known camera model). She did her own darkroom processing of silver (black and white) stills and most of the extant colour stills and movies of Hitler are her work.
Otto Gunsche and Heinz Linge, during extensive debriefings by Soviet intelligence officials after the war, said Braun was at the centre of Hitler's life for most of his 12 years in power. It was said that in 1936,
"He was always accompanied by her. As soon as he heard the voice of his lover he became jollier. He would make jokes about her new hats. He would take her for hours on end into his study where there would be champagne cooling in ice, chocolates, cognac, and fruit."
The interrogation report adds that when Hitler was too busy for her, "Eva would often be in tears." Speer remarked that she had told him, in the middle of 1943, that Hitler was often too busy, immersed, or tired to have sex with her.
Linge said that before the war, Hitler ordered an increase of the police guard at Braun's house in Munich after she reported to the Gestapo that a woman had said to her face she was the "Fuhrer-whore". He also stated in his memoirs that Hitler and Eva had two bedrooms and two bathrooms with interconnecting doors at the Berghof and Hitler would end most evenings alone with her in his study drinking tea.
Hitler is known to have been opposed to women wearing cosmetics (in part because they were made from animal by-products and he was a vegetarian and sometimes brought the subject up at mealtime. Linge (who was his valet) said Hitler once laughed at traces of Braun's lipstick on a napkin and to tease her, joked, "Soon we will have replacement lipstick made from dead bodies of soldiers".
Braun was very fond of her two Scottish Terrier dogs named Negus and Stasi (this dog is labeled "Katuschka" in Eva Braun's photo albums and they feature in her home movies. She usually kept them away from Hitler's German Shepherd "Blondie".
In 1944, Braun invited her cousin Gertraud Weisker to visit her at the Berghof near Berchtasgaden. Decades later, Weisker recalled that although women in the Third Reich were expected not to wear make-up, drink, or smoke, Braun did all of these things. "She was the unhappiest woman I have ever met," said Weisker, who informed Braun about how poorly the war was going for Germany, having illegally listened to BBC news broadcasts in German.
On 3 June 1944 Eva Braun's younger sister Gretl married Hermann Fegelein, who served as Heinrich
Himmler's liaison on Hitler's staff. Hitler used the marriage as an excuse to allow Braun to appear at official functions. When Fegelein was caught in the closing days of the war trying to escape to Sweden with another woman, Hitler personally ordered his execution. Gretl was nine months pregnant with a daughter at this time and after the war named the child Eva Barbara Fegelein in remembrance of her sister (Eva Fegelein committed suicide in 1975]
After learning about the failed 20 July plot to kill Hitler, Braun wrote to him, "From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere even unto death. I live only for your love."
Marriage and suicide
In early April 1945 Braun travelled by car from Munich to Berlin to be with Hitler at the Fuhrerbunker. She refused to leave as the Red Army closed in, insisting she was one of the few people loyal to him left in the world. Hitler and Braun were married on 29 April 1945 around 00.30hrs during a brief civil ceremony which was witnessed by Joseph Goebbels and Martin
Bormann. The bride wore a black (some accounts say dark blue) silk dress.
With Braun's marriage her legal name changed to Eva Hitler. When she signed her marriage certificate she wrote the letter B for her family name, then lined this out and replaced it with Hitler. Although bunker personnel were instructed to call her Frau Hitler, her new husband continued to call his wife Fraulein Braun.
There was gossip among the Führerbunker staff that she was carrying Hitler's child, but there is no evidence she was ever pregnant.
Braun and Hitler committed suicide together on 30 April 1945 at around 3:30 p.m. The occupants of the bunker heard a gunshot and the bodies were soon discovered. She had bitten onto a cyanide capsule (most historians have concluded that Hitler used a combination method, shooting himself in the right temple immediately after biting a cyanide capsule). Braun was 33 years old when she died. Their corpses were burned in the Reich Chancellery garden just outside the bunker's emergency exit.
The charred remains were found by the Russians and secretly buried at the SMERCH compound in Magdeburd, East Germany along with the bodies of Joseph and Magda Goebbels and their six children. All of these remains were exhumed in April 1970, completely cremated and dispersed in the Elbe river.
The rest of Braun's family survived the war, including her father, who worked in a hospital and to whom Braun sent several trunks of her belongings in April 1945. Her mother, Franziska, died at age 91 in January 1976, having lived out her days in an old farmhouse in Ruhpolding, Bavaria.

Attractive Beer Coolers

Keeping abreast of refrigeration techniques!

Crimes That Led To The Guillotine (Marcel Petiot)


Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot (17 January 1897 – 25 May 1946) was a French doctor and serial killer convicted of multiple murders after the discovery of the remains of 26 people in his home in Paris after World War II. He is suspected of killing more than 60 victims during his life.
Early life
Petiot was born 17 January 1897 at Auxerre, France. Later accounts make various claims of his delinquency and criminal acts during childhood and adolescence, but it is unclear whether they were invented afterwards for public consumption. It should be noted, however, that a psychiatrist diagnosed him as mentally ill on 26 March 1914, and he was expelled from school many times. He finished his education in a special academy in Paris in July 1915.
During World War I, Petiot was drafted into the French infantry in January 1916. In Aisne, he was wounded and gassed and exhibited more symptoms of mental breakdown. He was sent to various rest homes, where he was arrested for stealing army blankets and jailed in Orleans. In a psychiatric hospital at Fleury-les-Aubrais, he was again diagnosed with various mental ailments but was returned to the front in June 1918. He was transferred three weeks later after he shot himself in the foot, but was attached to a new regiment in September. A new diagnosis was enough to get him discharged with a disability pension.
Medical training
After the war, Petiot entered the accelerated education program intended for war veterans, completed medical school in eight months and went to become an intern in Evreux mental hospital. He received his medical degree in December 1921 and moved to Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, where he received payment for his services both from the patients and from government medical assistance funds. At this point, he was already using addictive narcotics. While working at Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, he gained a reputation for dubious medical practices, such as supplying narcotics, and performing then-illegal abortions. Petiot's first victim might have been Louise Delaveau, the daughter of an elderly patient, with whom he had an affair in 1926. Delaveau disappeared in May and neighbours later said that they had seen Petiot load a trunk into his car. Police investigated, but eventually dismissed her as a runaway. That same year, Petiot ran for mayor of the town, hired an accomplice to disrupt a political debate with his opponent, and won. Once in office, he embezzled from the town funds. In 1927, he married Georgette Lablais. Their son Gerhardt was born the next year.
The local prefect received numerous complaints about Petiot's theft and shady financial deals. Petiot was eventually suspended as a mayor in August 1931 and resigned. The village council also resigned in sympathy. Five weeks later, on 18 October, he was elected as a councilor for the Yonne district. In 1932, he was accused of stealing electric power from the village of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne and he lost his seat in a council. Meanwhile, he had already moved to Paris.
In Paris, Petiot attracted patients with his imaginary credentials, and built an impressive reputation for his practice at 66 rue de Caumartin. However, there were rumors of illegal abortions and overt prescriptions of addictive remedies. In 1936, he was appointed médecin d'état-civil, with authority to write death certifcates. The same year, he was briefly institutionalized for kleptomania, but was released the following year. He still persisted in tax
evasion.
After the outbreak of World War II and the Fall of france, Petiot begun to provide false medical certificates to French citizens who were drafted for forced labour in Germany, and treated sick workers that had returned. He was also convicted, in July 1942, of over-prescribing narcotics, despite the fact that two addicts who would have testified against him had disappeared. He was fined 2400 francs.
According to his own tall tales, Petiot also developed secret weapons that supposedly killed Germans without leaving forensic evidence, had high-level meetings with Allied commanders, engaged in resistance activities (planting booby traps all over Paris), and worked with a (nonexistent) group of anti-fascist Spaniards.
Fraudulent escape network
Petiot's most lucrative activity, however, was his own false escape route. He adopted a "code-name" "Dr. Eugène". He accepted anyone who could afford his price of 25,000 francs per person, regardless of whether they were Jews, resistance fighters, or ordinary criminals. His aides, Raoul Fourrier, Edmond Pintard, and René-Gustave Nézondet, directed victims to him. Petiot claimed that he could arrange a safe passage to Argentina or elsewhere in South America through Portugal. He also claimed that Argentine officials demanded inoculations and injected his victims with cyanide. Then he took all their valuables and disposed of the bodies. People who trusted him to deliver them to safety were never seen alive again.
At first, Petiot dumped the bodies in the Seine, but he later destroyed the bodies by submerging them in quicklime or by incinerating them. In 1941, Petiot bought a house at 21 rue le Sueur.
What Petiot failed to do was to keep a low profile. The Gestapo eventually found out about him and, by April 1943, they had heard all about his "route". Gestapo agent Robert Jodkum forced prisoner Yvan Dreyfus to approach the supposed network, but he simply vanished. A later informer successfully infiltrated the operation and the Gestapo arrested Fourrier, Pintard, and Nézondet. Under torture, they confessed that "Dr Eugène" was Marcel Petiot. Nezondet was later released but three others spent eight months in prison suspected of helping Jews to escape. Even under torture, they did not identify any other members of the resistance - because they actually knew of none. The Gestapo released the three men in January 1944.
Evasion and capture
During the intervening seven months, Petiot hid with friends, claiming that the Gestapo wanted him because he had killed Germans and informers. He eventually moved in with a patient, Georges Redouté, let his beard grow and adopted various aliases.
When the Resistance and the Paris police rose against German troops in Paris, Petiot adopted the name "Henri Valeri" and joined the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). He became a captain in charge of counterespionage and prisoner interrogations.
When the newspaper Resistance published an article about Petiot, his defense attorney from the 1942 narcotics case received a letter in which his fugitive client claimed that the published allegations were mere lies. This gave police a hint that Petiot was still in Paris. The search began anew - with "Henri Valeri" among those who were drafted to find him. Finally, on 31 October, Petiot was recognized at a Paris metro station, and arrested. Among his possessions were a pistol, 31,700 francs, and 50 sets of identity documents.
Trial and sentence
Petiot was placed on death row at La Sante prison. He continued to claim that he was innocent and that he had only killed enemies of France. He claimed that he had discovered the pile of bodies in 21 Rue le Sueur in February 1944, and assumed that they were collaborators that members of his "network" had killed.
Police noticed that Petiot had no friends in any of the major resistance groups. Some of the groups he had mentioned had never existed, and there was no proof of any of his claimed exploits. Prosecutors eventually charged him with at least 27 murders for profit. Their estimate of his loot ran to 200 million francs.
Petiot went on trial on 19 March 1946, facing 135 criminal charges. Rene Floriot acted for the defense, against a team consisting of state prosecutors and twelve civil lawyers hired by relatives of Petiot's victims. Petiot taunted the prosecuting lawyers, and claimed that various victims had been collaborators or double agents, or that vanished people were alive and well in South America under new names. He admitted to killing just nineteen of the twenty-seven victims found in his house, and claimed that they were Germans and collaborators - part of a total of 63 "enemies" killed. Floriot attempted to portray Petiot as a resistance hero, but the judges and jurors were unimpressed. Petiot was convicted of 26 counts of murder, and sentenced to death.
On 25 May, Petiot was beheaded, after a stay of a few days due to a problem in the release mechanism of the guillotine.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Looking Back - Rosenbergs Guilty Of Espionage


On this day in 1951, an American electrical engineer and his wife were found guilty by New York's Federal Court of passing atomic secrets to the Russians.
Julius Rosenberg, 33, and his 35-year-old wife, Ethel, were accused of stealing technical information from the atom research centre in Los Alamos and turning it over to the KGB.
A radar expert, Morton Sobell, has also been found guilty of the same charges.
The court heard the Rosenbergs, who have two young sons, were involved in a complicated spy ring, which also included Mrs Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, former Soviet vice-consul Arkadi Yakovlev, and Philadelphia chemist, Harry Gold.
Greenglass, a machinist at the Los Alamos research centre during World War II, said he had been asked by the Rosenbergs, both committed Communists and members of the Young Communist League, to obtain information about the atomic bomb.
Greenglass told the court he was unaware he was working on the atomic bomb project until his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, told him.
The court heard the information was passed to Harry Gold, who turned it over to the Russians.
Gold, who is now serving a 30-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to espionage, had also worked as a go-between for British scientist Klaus Fuchs, it was revealed.
Fuchs was jailed for 14 years in 1950 after admitting that he had been passing atomic secrets to the Russians for many years.
Arkadi Yakovlev, also allegedly involved in the spy ring, escaped trial after fleeing to Russia before the American authorities could catch up with him.
In pronouncing guilty verdicts, Judge Kaufman, presiding over the trial, said: "That citizens should lend themselves to the destruction of their own country by the most destructive weapon known is so shocking that I cannot find words to describe the loathsome offence."
The couple, who have consistently denied any involvement in the spy ring, will be sentenced on 5 April.

The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death on 5 April 1951 and despite numerous appeals for clemency were executed by the electric chair at Sing-Sing Prison on 19 June 1953.
They were the only people in the United States ever executed for Cold War espionage, and their conviction fuelled US Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade against "anti-American activities" by US citizens.
The couple's two sons, Robert and Michael, who were six and 10 when their parents were executed, were adopted by friends of their parents, the Meeropols, under new names.
They only revealed their true identities in the 1970s when the Freedom of Information Act enabled them to gain documents which they believed could prove their parents' innocence.
David Greenglass escaped the death penalty, and gained immunity for his wife, after agreeing to give evidence against his sister and brother-in-law. He served 10 years in jail.
Years later he admitted he had fabricated his story to save his own skin but had no regrets about what he had done.
However, records and testimony from intelligence sources in the US and Russia, suggests Julius Rosenberg had been involved in giving some sensitive information to Soviet contacts in support of the war effort against Hitler.

Today's Smile

Desmond Tutu


Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. In 1984, Tutu became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was the first black South African Anglian Archbishop of Cape town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is currently the chairman of The Elders. Tutu is vocal in his defence of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. Tutu also campaigns to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, homophobia, poverty and racism. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Tutu has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.
Early life
Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal
l on 7 October 1931, the second of the three children of Zacheriah Zililo Tutu and his wife, Aletta, and the only son. Tutu's family moved to Johannesburg when he was twelve. His father was a teacher and his mother a cleaner and cook at a school for the blind. Here he met Trevor Huddleston who was a parish priest in the black slum of Sophiatown. "One day," said Tutu, "I was standing in the street with my mother when a white man in a priest's clothing walked past. As he passed us he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn't believe my eyes -- a white man who greeted a black working class woman!" Although Tutu wanted to become a physician, his family could not afford the training, and he followed his father's footsteps into teaching. Tutu studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 to 1953, and went on to teach at Johannesburg Bantu High School and at Munsienville High School in Mogale City. However, he resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, in protest of the poor educational prospects for black South Africans. He continued his studies, this time in theology, at St Peter's Theology College in Rosettenville and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican priest following in the footsteps of his mentor and fellow activist, Trevor Huddleston.
Tutu then travelled to King's College London, (1962–1966), where he received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Theology. During this time he worked as a part-time curate, first at St. Alban's Church, Golders Green, and then at St. Mary's Church in Bletchingly, Surrey. He later returned to South Africa and from 1967 until 1972 used his lectures to highlight the circumstances of the African population. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister B. J. Vorster, in which he described the situation in South Africa as a "poder barrel that can explode at any time": the letter was never answered. He became chaplain at the University of Fort Hare in 1967, a hotbed of dissent and one of the few quality universities for African students in the southern part of Africa. From 1970 to 1972, Tutu lectured at the Nation University of Lesotho.
Tutu faced a difficult balancing act: voicing black discontent while leading a largely white parish. He alternated charm with challenges as he appealed to his parish's Afrikaner heritage, recalling that their forebears had endured British concentration camps. Somewhat to the bewilderment of other black leaders, he patiently courted Vorster’s successor, P. W. Botha, explaining that even Moses continued to reason with Pharaoh. But white liberals grew nervous when Tutu called for a boycott of South African products. In 1972, Tutu returned to the UK, where he was appointed vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, at Bromley in Kent. He returned to South Africa in 1975 and was appointed Anglican Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg -— the first "Black" person to hold that position.
Personal life
On 2 July 1955, Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a teacher whom he had met while at college. They had four children: Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu, all of whom attended the Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.
His son, Trevor Tutu, caused a bomb scare at East London Airport in 1989 and was arrested. In 1991, he was convicted of contravening the Civil Aviation Act by falsely claiming there had been a bomb on board a South African Airways' plane at East London Airport. The bomb threat delayed the Johannesburg bound flight for more than three hours, costing South African Airways some R28000. At the time, Trevor Tutu announced his intention to appeal against his sentence, but failed to arrive for the appeal hearings. He forfeited his bail of R15000. He was due to begin serving his sentence in 1993, but failed to hand himself over to prison authorities. He was finally arrested in Johannesburg in August 1997. He applied for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was granted in 1997. He was then released from Goodwood Prison in Cape Town where he had begun serving his three-and-a-half year prison sentence after a court in East London refused to grant him bail.
Naomi Tutu, founded the Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief in Southern Africa, based in Hartford, Connecticut. She has followed in her father's footsteps as a human rights activist and is currently a program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee. Desmond Tutu's other daughter, Mpho Tutu, has also followed her father's footsteps and in 2004 was ordained an espiscopal priest by her father. She is also the founder and executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage and the chairperson of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance. In 1997, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent successful treatment in the US. He subsequently became patron of the South African Prostate Cancer Foundation which was established in 2007.

Animal Crackers


Here is a very cute photograph,
Of a squirrel who's name is Dale.
He's found himself a corn chip,
And now he's a Chippendale.

Did You Know?


A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times it's own weight each year.

A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.

A capon is a castrated rooster.

A chameleon can move its eyes in two directions at the same time.

A chameleon's tongue is twice the length of its body.

A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but monkeys can't.

A Cornish game hen is really a young chicken, usually 5 to 6 weeks of age, that weighs no more than 2 pounds.

A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

Monday, 29 March 2010

London Underground - Early Years


The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and neighbouring areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the UK. With its first section opening in 1863, it was the first underground railway system in the world. In 1890 it became the first to operate electric trains. Despite the name, about 55% of the network is above ground. It is usually referred to officially as 'the Underground' and colloquially as the Tube, although the latter term originally applied only to the deep-level bored lines, to distinguish them from the sub-surface "cut and cover" lines that were built first. More recently this distinction has been lost and the whole system is now referred to as 'the Tube', even in recent years by its operator in official publicity.
The earlier lines of the present London Underground network were built by various private companies. Apart from the main line railways, they became part of an integrated transport system in 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) or London Transport was created. The underground network became a single entity in 1985, when the UK government created London Underground Limited (LUL). Since 2003 LUL has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, which is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London.
The Underground has 270 stations and around 400 km (250 miles) of track, making it the longest metro system in the world by route length. It also has one of the highest number of stations. In 2007, more than one billion passenger journeys were recorded, making it the third busiest metro system in Europe after Paris and Moscow.
The tube map, with its schematic non-geographical layout and colour-coded lines, is considered a design classic, and many other transport maps worldwide have been influenced by it.

History
Railway construction in the United Kingdom began in the early 19th century. By 1854 six separate railway terminals had been built just outside the centre of London: London Bridge, Euston, Paddington, Kings Cross, Bishopsgate and Waterloo. At this point, only Fenchurch Street Station was located in the actual City of London. Traffic congestion in the city and the surrounding areas had increased significantly in this period, partly due to the need for rail travellers to complete their journeys into the city centre by road. The idea of building an underground railway to link the City of London with the mainline terminals had first been proposed in the 1830s, but it was not until the 1850s that the idea was taken seriously as a solution to traffic congestion.

The first underground railways
Construction of the Metropolitan Railway near King's Cross station, 1861
In 1854 an Act of Paliament was passed approving the construction of an underground railway between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King's Cross which was to be called the Metropolitan Railway. The Great Western Railway (GWR) gave financial backing to the project when it was agreed that a junction would be built linking the underground railway with their mainline terminus at Paddington. GWR also agreed to design special trains for the new subterranean railway.
A shortage of funds delayed construction for several years. The fact that this project got under way at all was largely due to the lobbying of Charles Pearson, who was Solicitor to the City of London Corporation at the time. Pearson had supported the idea of an underground railway in London for several years. He advocated plans for the demolition of the unhygienic slums which would be replaced by new accommodation for their inhabitants in the suburbs, with the new railway providing transportation to their places of work in the city centre. Although he was never directly involved in the running of the Metropolitan Railway, he is widely credited as being one of the first true visionaries behind the concept of underground railways. And in 1859 it was Pearson who persuaded the City of London Corporation to help fund the scheme. Work finally began in February 1860, under the guidance of chief engineer John Fowler. Pearson died before the work was completed.
The Metropolitan Railway opened on 10 January 1863. Within a few months of opening it was carrying over 26,000 passengers a day. The Hammersmith and City Railway was opened on 13 June 1864 between Hammersmith and Paddington. Services were initially operated by GWR between Hammersmith and Farringdon Street. By April 1865 the Metropolitan had taken over the service. On 23 December 1865 the Metropolitan's eastern extension to Moorgate Street opened. Later in the decade other branches were opened to Swiss Cottage, South Kensington and Addison Road, Kensington (now known as Kensington Olympia). The railway had initially been dual gauge, allowing for the use of GWR's signature broad gauge rolling stock and the more widely used standard gauge stock. Disagreements with GWR had forced the Metropolitan to switch to standard gauge in 1863 after GWR withdrew all its stock from the railway. These differences were later patched up, however broad gauge was totally withdrawn from the railway in March 1869.
On 24 December 1868, the Metropolitan District Railway began operating services between South Kensington and Westminster using Metropolitan Railway trains and carriages. The company, which soon became known as "the District", was first incorporated in 1864 to complete an Inner Circle railway around London in conjunction with the Metropolitan. This was part of a plan to build both an Inner Circle line and Outer Circle line around London.
A fierce rivalry soon developed between the District and the Metropolitan. This severely delayed the completion of the Inner Circle project as the two companies competed to build far more financially lucrative railways in the suburbs of London. The London and North Western Railway (LNWR) began running their Outer Circle service from Broad Street via Willesden
Junction, Addison Road and Earl's Court to Mansion House in 1872. The Inner Circle was not completed until 1884, with the Metropolitan and the District jointly running services. In the meantime, the District had finished its route between West Brompton and Blackfriars in 1870, with an interchange with the Metropolitan at South Kensington. In 1877, it began running its own services from Hammersmith to Richmond, on a line originally opened by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1869. (Pictured left: Construction of the Metropolitan Railway near King's Cross Station, 1861). The District then opened a new line from Turnham Green to Ealing in 1879 and extended its West Brompton branch to Fulham in 1880. Over the same decade the Metropolitan was extended to Harrow-on-the-Hill station in the north-west.
The early tunnels were dug mainly using cut-and-cover construction methods. This caused widespread disruption and required the demolition of several properties on the surface. The first trains were steam-hauled, which required effective ventilation to the surface. Ventilation shafts at various points on the route allowed the engines to expel steam and bring fresh air into the tunnels. One such vent is at Leinster Gardens, W2. In order to preserve the visual characteristics in what is still a well-to-do street, a five-foot-thick (1.5 m) concrete façade was constructed to resemble a genuine house frontage.
On 7 December 1869 the London
, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) started operating a service between Wapping and New Cross Gate on the East London Railway (ELR) using the Thames Tunnel designed by Marc Brunel, who designed the revolutionary tunnelling shield method which made its construction not only possible, but safer, and completed by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This had opened in 1843 as a pedestrian tunnel, but in 1865 it was purchased by the ELR (a consortium of six railway companies: the Great Eastern Railway (GER); London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR); London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR); South Eastern Railway (SER); Metropolitan Railway; and the Metropolitan District Railway) and converted into a railway tunnel. In 1884 the District and the Metropolitan began to operate services on the line.
By the end of the 1880s, underground railways reached Chesham on the Metropolitan, Hounslow, Wimbledon and Whitechapel on the District and New Cross on the East London Railway. By the end of the 19th century, the Metropolitan had extended its lines far outside of London to Aylesbury, Verney Junction and Brill, creating new suburbs along the route—later publicised by the company as Metro-land. Right up until the 1930s the company maintained ambitions to be considered as a main line rather than an urban railway.

First tube lines

The nickname "the Tube" comes from the circular tube-like tunnels and platforms through which the trains travel. This photograph shows the southbound station platform at Angel tube station on the Northern Line.
Following advances in the use of tunnelling shields, electric traction and deep-level tunnel designs, later railways were built even further underground. This caused much less disruption at ground level and it was therefore cheaper and preferable to the cut-and-cover construction method.
The City & South London Railways (C&SLR, now part of the Northern Line) opened in 1890, between Stockwell and the now closed original terminus at King William Street. It was the first "deep-level" electrically operated railway in the world. By 1900 it had been extended at both ends, to Clapham Common in the south and Moorgate Street (via a diversion) in the north. The second such railway, the Waterloo and City Railway (W&CR), opened in 1898. It was built and run by the London and South Western Railway.
On 30 July 1900, the Central London Railway (now known as the Central line) was opened, operating services from Bank to Shepherd's Bush. It was nicknamed the "Twopenny Tube" for its flat fare and cylindrical tunnels; the "tube" nickname was eventually transferred to the Underground system as a whole. An interchange with the C&SLR and the W&CR was provided at Bank. Construction had also begun in August 1898 on the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, however work came to a halt after 18 months when funds ran out.

Funny Signs


Smuggling

Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons past a point where prohibited, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.
There are various motivations to smuggle. These include the participation in illegal trade, such as drugs, illegal immigration or emigration, tax evasion, providing contraband to a prison inmate, or the theft of the items being smuggled. Examples of non-financial motivations include bringing banned items past a security checkpoint (such as airline security) or the removal of classified
documents from a government or corporate office.

History
Smuggling has a long and controversial history, probably dating back to the first time at which duties were imposed in any form, or any attempt was made to prohibit a form of traffic.
In England smuggling first became a recognised problem in the 13th century, following the creation of a national customs collection system by Edward I in 1275. Medieval smuggling tended to focus on the export of highly taxed export goods — notably wool and hides. Merchants also, however, sometimes smuggled other goods to circumvent prohibitions or embargoes on particular trades. Grain, for instance, was usually prohibited from export, unless prices were low, because of fears that grain exports would raise the price of food in England and thus cause food shortages and / or civil unrest. Following the loss of Gascony to the French in 1453, imports of wine were also sometimes embargoed during wars to try and deprive the French of the revenues that could be earned from their main export. One study of smuggling in Bristol in the mid-16th century, based on the records of merchant-smugglers, has shown that the illicit export of goods like grain and leather represented a significant part of the city's business, with many members of the civic elite engaging in it. Grain smuggling by members of the civic elite, often working closely with corrupt customs officers, has also been shown to have been prevalent in East Anglia during the later 16th century.
In England wool continued to be smuggled to the continent in the 17th century, under the pressure of high excise taxes. In 1724 Smuggler Prakash wrote of Lymington, Hampshire, on the south coast of England
"I do not find they have any foreign commerce, except it be what we call smuggling and roguing; which I may say, is the reigning commerce of all this part of the English coast, from the mouth of the Thames to the Land's End in Cornwall."The high rates of duty levied on tea and also wine and spirits, and other luxury goods coming in from mainland Europe at this time made the clandestine import of such goods and the evasion of the duty a highly profitable venture for impoverished fishermen and seafarers. In certain parts of the country such as the Romney Marsh, East Kent, Cornwall and East Cleveland, the smuggling industry was for many communities more economically significant than legal activities such as farming and fishing. The principal reason for the high duty was the need for the government to finance a number of extremely expensive wars with France and the United States.
Before the era of sordid drug smuggling and human trafficking, smuggling had acquired a kind of nostalgic romanticism, in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped:
"Few places on the British coast did not claim to be the haunts of wreckers or mooncussers. The thievery was boasted about and romanticized until it seemed a kind of heroism. It did not have any taint of criminality and the whole of the south coast had pockets vying with one another over whose smugglers were the darkest or most daring. The Smugglers Inn was one of the commonest names for a bar on the coast".
In Henley road, smuggling in colonial times was a reaction to the heavy taxes and regulations imposed by mercantilist trade policies. After American Independance in 1783, smuggling developed at the edges of the United States at places like Passamaquoddy Bay, St. Mary's in Georgia, Lake champlain, and Louisiana. During Thomas Jefferson's embargo of 1807-1809, these same places became the primary places where goods were smuggled out of the nation in defiance of the law. Like Britain, a gradual liberalization of trade laws as part of the free trade movement meant less smuggling. in 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt tried to cut down on smuggling by establishing the Roosevelt Reservation along the United States-Mexico border. Smuggling revived in the 1920s during Prohibition, and drug smuggling became a major problem after 1970. In the 1990s, when economic sanctions were imposed on Serbia, a large percent of the population lived off smuggling petrol and consumer goods from neighboring countries. The state unofficially allowed this to continue or otherwise the entire economy would have collapsed.
In modern times, as many first-world countries have struggled to contain a rising influx of immigrants, the smuggling of people across national borders has become a lucrative extra-legal activity, as well as the extremely dark side, people-trafficking, especially of women who may be enslaved typically as prostitutes.

Not Quite Wembley Stadium


Well! I suppose it's the same for both sides.

Blonde Jokes



Ice Fishing
A blonde wanted to go ice fishing, so after getting all of the right gear, she headed toward the nearest frozen lake. After getting comfy on her stool she started to cut a circular hole in the ice. Then from the heavens a voice boomed, "THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE." Startled, the blonde moved further down the ice, poured a thermos of hot chocolate and started to cut another hole in the ice. Again the voice boomed, "THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE." This time quite scared, the blonde moved to the far end of the ice. Then she started another hole and once again the voice said, "THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE." The very scared blonde raised her head and said, "Is that You, Lord?" The voice answered, "NO. IT'S THE MANAGER OF THE ICE RINK."

Timex and Rolex.
A blonde named her two dogs Timex and Rolex. A friend asked why she named them that. "Well, duh," she replied, "because they're watchdogs, of course."

Not at all tasty.
Doctor's true story. I was caring for a blonde woman in the hospital and asked, "So, how was your breakfast this morning?" "It was very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste," the patient replied. I asked if I could see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled "KY Jelly."

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Unit 731


Unit 731 (731 部隊, Nana-san-ichi butai?) was a covert
biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel. (Pictured top right: One of the buildings is open to visitors).
Unit 731 was the code name (
tsūshōgō) of an Imperial Japanese Army unit officially known as the Kempeitai Political Department and Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory. It was initially set up under the Kempeatai military police of the Empire Of Japan to develop weapons of mass destruction for potential use against Chinese, and possibly Soviet forces.

Description
Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet
state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China).
(Pictured right: Shro Ishii, commander of Unit 731).
More than ten thousand people, from which around 600 every year were provided by the Kempeitai, were subjects of the experimentation conducted by Unit 731.
More than 95 percent of the victims who died in the camp based in Pingfang were Chinese and Korean, including both civilian and military. The remaining 5 percent were South East Asians and Pacific Islanders, at the time colonies of the Empire Of Japan, and a small number of the prisoners of war from the Allies of World War II the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare, the number of people killed by the Imperial Japanese Army germ warfare and human experiments is around 580,000. According to other sources, the use of biological weapons researched in Unit 731's bio weapons and chemical weapons programs resulted in possibly as many as 200,000 deaths of military personnel and civilians in China.
Unit 731 was the headquarters of many subsidiary units used by the Japanese to research biological warfare; other units included Unit 516 (Qiqihar), Unit 543 (Hailar), Unit 773 (Songo unit), Unit 100 (Changchun), Unit Ei 1644 (Nanjing), Unit 1855 (Beijing), Unit 8604 (Guangzhou), Unit 200 (Manchuria) and Unit 9420 (Singapore).
Many of the scientists involved in Unit 731 went on to prominent careers in post-war politics, academia, business, and medicine. Some were arrested by Soviet forces and tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials; others surrendered to the American Forces.
On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence." The deal was concluded in 1948.
Because of their brutality, Unit 731's actions have since been declared by the United Nations to have been crimes against humanity.

Formation
In 1932, General Shiro Ishii (石井四郎 Ishii Shirō), chief medical officer of the Japanese Army and protégé of Army Minister Sadao Araki was placed in command of the Army Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory. He and his men built the Zhong Ma Prison Camp (whose main building was known locally as the Zhongma Fortress), a prison/experimentation camp in Beiyinhe, a village 100 kilometers south of Harbin on the South Manchurian Railway.
Ishii organized a secret research group, the "Togo Unit", for the conduct of various chemical and biological investigations. A jailbreak and later explosion (believed to be an attack) in 1935 led Ishii to shut down Zhongma Fortress. He moved to Pingfang, approximately 24 kilometers south of Harbin, to set up a new and much larger facility.
In 1936, Hirohito authorized, by imperial decree, the expansion of this unit and its integration into the Kwantung Army as the Epidemic Prevention Department. It was divided at the same time into the "Ishii Unit" and "Wakamatsu Unit" with a base in Hsinking. From August 1940, all these units were known collectively as the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部)" or "Unit 731" (満州第731部隊) for short.

Activities
A special project code-named Maruta used human beings for experiments. Test subjects were gathered from the surrounding population and were sometimes referred to euphemistically as "logs" (丸太, maruta?). This term originated as a joke on the part of the staff due to the fact that the official cover story for the facility given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill.
The test subjects were selected to give a wide cross section of the population and included common criminals, captured bandits and anti-Japanese partisans, political prisoners, and also people rounded up by the secret police for alleged "suspicious activities". They included infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.
Vivisection
Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia. Vivisection's were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results. The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.
Vivisection's were also performed on pregnant women, sometimes impregnated by doctors, and the fetus removed.
Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss.
Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners' limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines.
Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners.
In 2007, Doctor Ken Yuasa testified to the Japan Times that, "I was afraid during my first vivisection, but the second time around, it was much easier. By the third time, I was willing to do it." He believes at least 1,000 people, including surgeons, were involved in vivisection's over mainland China.

Weapons testing
Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in different positions.
Flame throwers were tested on humans.
Humans were tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ releasing bombs, chemical germ-weapons, and explosive bombs.

Germ warfare attacks
Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects.
To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea, then studied.
Prisoners were infested with fleas in order to acquire large quantities of disease-carrying fleas for the purposes of studying the viability of germ warfare.
Plague fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. The resulting cholera, anthrax, and plague were estimated to have killed around 400,000 Chinese civilians.
Tularemia was tested on Chinese civilians.
Unit 731 and its affiliated units (Unit 1644, Unit 100, et cetera) were involved in research, development, and experimental deployment of epidemic-creating bio warfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both civilian and military) throughout World War II. Plague-infested fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, coastal Ningbo in 1940, and Changde, Hunan Province, in 1941. This military aerial spraying killed thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics.

Other experiments
Prisoners were subjected to other torturous experiments such as:
being hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death.
having air injected into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism.
having horse urine injected into their kidneys.
being deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death.
being placed into high-pressure chambers until death.
being exposed to extreme temperatures and developing frostbite to determine how long humans could survive with such an affliction, and to determine the effects of rotting and gangrene on human flesh.
having experiments performed upon prisoners to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival.
being placed into centrifuges and spun until dead.
having animal blood injected and the effects studied.
being exposed to lethal doses of x-rays.
having various chemical weapons tested on prisoners inside gas chambers.
being injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline.
being buried alive.

Biological warfare
Japanese scientists performed tests on prisoners with plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, and other diseases. This research led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb and the flea
bomb used to spread the bubonic plague. Some of these bombs were designed with ceramic (porcelain) shells, an idea proposed by Ishii in 1938.
These bombs enabled Japanese soldiers to launch biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells, and other areas with anthrax, plague-carrier fleas, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and other deadly pathogens. During biological bomb experiments, scientists dressed in protective suits would examine the dying victims. Infected food supplies and clothing were dropped by airplane into areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces. In addition, poisoned food and candies were given out to unsuspecting victims and children, and the results examined.

Facilities
The Unit 731 complex covered six square kilometers and consisted of more than 150 buildings. The design of the facilities made them hard to destroy by bombing. The complex contained various factories. It had around 4,500 containers to be used to raise fleas, 6 cauldrons to produce various chemicals, and around 1,800 containers to produce biological agents. Approximately 30
kg of bubonic plague bacteria could be produced in several days.
Some of Unit 731's satellite facilities are in use by various Chinese industrial concerns. A portion has been preserved and is open to visitors as a War Crimes Museum. (Pictured left: Information sign at the site today).
Tons of biological weapons (and some chemicals) were stored in various places in northeastern China throughout the war. The Japanese attempted to destroy evidence of the facilities after disbanding. 29 people were hospitalized in August, 2003 after a construction crew in Heilongjiang inadvertently dug up chemical shells that had been buried deep in the soil more than 50 years before.


Disbanding and the end of World War II
Operations and experiments continued until the end of the war. Ishii had wanted to use biological weapons in the Pacific conflict since May 1944, but his attempts were repeatedly foiled by poor planning and Allied intervention.
With the Russian invasion of Manchukuo and Mengjiang in August 1945, the unit had to abandon their work in haste. The members and their families fled to Japan.
Ishii ordered every member of the group "to take the secret to the grave", threatening to find them if they failed, and prohibiting any of them from going into public work back in Japan. Potassium cyanide vials were issued for use in the event that the remaining personnel were captured.
Skeleton crews of Ishii's Japanese troops blew the compound up in the final days of the war to destroy evidence of their activities, but most were so well constructed that they survived somewhat intact as a testimony to what had happened there.
After Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, Douglas MacArthur became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, rebuilding Japan during the Allied occupation. MacArthur secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731 in exchange for providing America with their research on biological warfare. American occupation authorities monitored the activities of former unit members, including reading and censoring their mail.
The United States believed that the research data was valuable because the Allies had never conducted or condoned such experiments on humans due to moral and political revulsion. The United States also did not want other nations, particularly the Soviet Union, to acquire data on biological weapons, not to mention the military benefits of such research.
The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal heard only one reference to Japanese experiments with "poisonous serums" on Chinese civilians. This took place in August 1946 and was instigated by David Sutton, assistant to the Chinese prosecutor. The Japanese defense counselor argued that the claim was vague and uncorroborated and it was dismissed by the tribunal president, Sir William Webb, for lack of evidence. The subject was not pursued further by Sutton, who was likely aware of Unit 731's activities. His reference to it at the trial is believed to have been accidental.
Although publicly silent on the issue at the Tokyo trials, the Soviet Union pursued the case and prosecuted twelve top military leaders and scientists from Unit 731 and its affiliated biological-war prisons Unit 1644 in Nanjing, and Unit 100 in Changchun, in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials. Included among the prosecuted for war crimes including germ warfare was General Otozo Yamada, the commander-in-chief of the million-man Kwantung Army occupying Manchuria.
Many Russian civilians, including women and children, and Soviet POWs held by Japan were killed in chemical and biological warfare experiments by Unit 731, along with the Chinese people, American POWs, Russian and other nationalities. The trial of those captured Japanese perpetrators was held in Khabarovsk in December 1949.

Animal Crackers

They can't see me hiding behind
this goldfish bowl!

Dartmouth

Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is a tourist destination set on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes. It lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and South Hams District, and has a population of 5,512.

Dartmouth from the River Dart

History
Dartmouth was of strategic importance as a deep-water port for sailing vessels. The port was used as the sailing point for the Crusades of 1147 and 1190, and a creek close to Dartmouth
Castle is supposed by some to be named for the vast fleets which assembled there (Warfleet Creek). It was a home of the Royal Navy since the reign of Edward III and was twice surprised and sacked during the Hundred Years' War, after which the mouth of the estuary was closed every night with a great chain. The narrow mouth of the Dart is protected by two fortified castles, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle.
In 1373 Geoffrey Chaucer visited and among the pilgrims in his Canterbury Tales
A schipman was ther, wonyng fer by weste;

For ought I wost, he was of Dertemouthe.
Notwithstanding Dartmouth's connections with the crown and respectable society, it was a major base for privateering (state sanctioned or licensed piracy) in medieval times. (Pictured right: Kingswear seen from Dartmouth).
The town is dominated by the Royal Navy's officer training college (Britannia Royal Naval College) and all officers of the Royal Navy, as well as many foreign navies, are trained there.
The The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta takes place annually over three days at the end of August.
Originally Dartmouth's only wharf was Bayard's Cove, a relatively small but picturesque area protected by a fort at the southern end of the town. Bayard's Cove has been used in several television productions, because of its 18th century buildings; photographs are on show in the Dartmouth Arms public house.
The made up embankment which today extends the whole length of the town's riverbank is the result of 19th century land reclamation, started in earnest when the town played host to a large number of prisoners of war from the Napoleonic Wars which formed a captive workforce. Prior to this, what is now the town centre was almost entirely tidal mud flats.
Henry Hudson put into Dartmouth on his return from America, and was arrested for sailing under a foreign flag. The Pilgrim Fathers put into Dartmouth's Bayard's Cove, en-route from Southampton to America. They rested a while before setting off on their journey in the Mayflower and the Speedwell on 20 August 1620. About 300 miles west of Land's End, they realised that the Speedwell was unseaworthy and returned to Plymouth. The Mayflower departed alone to complete the crossing to Cape Cod.
The Butterwalk
The town contains historic buildings, the most obvious of which is the Butterwalk, (Pictured left), built 1635 to 1640. Its intri
cately carved wooden fascia is supported on granite columns. Charles II held court in the Butterwalk whilst sheltering from storms in 1671 in a room which now forms part of Dartmouth Museum. Much of the interior survives from that time, as does at least one ghost. The Royal Castle Hotel was built in 1639 on the then new quay. The building was refronted in the 19th century, and as the new frontage is itself listed, it is not possible to see the original which lies beneath. A claimant for the oldest building is a former merchant's house in Higher Street, now a Good Beer Guide listed public house called the Cherub, built circa 1380. Agincourt House (next to the Lower Ferry) is also 14th century.
The Royal Avenue Gardens
The remains of a fort at Gallants Bower just outside the town are some of the best preserved remains of a Civil
War defensive structure. The fort was built by Royalist occupation forces in c. 1643 to the south east of the town, with a similar fort at Mount Ridley on the opposite slopes of what is now Kingswear. The Paliamentarian General Fairfax attacked from the north in 1646, taking the town and forcing the Royalists to surrender, after which Gallants Bower was demolished.
In the latter part of World War II the town was a base for American forces and one of the departure points for Utah Beach in the D Day Landings. Much of the surrounding countryside was closed to the public while it was used by US troops for practise landings and manoeuvres.
The Onedin Line, a popular BBC television drama series that ran from 1971 to 1980, was filmed here.
Governance
The town was an ancient borough, incorporated by Edward III, known formally as Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness, and consisting of the three parishes of St Petrox, St Saviour and Townstall, and incorporating the hamlets of Ford, Old Mill and Norton. It was reformed under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. The town returned two members of parliament from the 13th century until 1835, after which one MP was elected until the town was disenfranchised in 1868. It remained a municipal borough until 1974, when it was merged into the South Hams district, and became a successor parish of Dartmouth with a town council.
Dartmouth Town Council is the lowest of three tiers of local government. It consists of 16 councillors representing the two wards of Clifton and Townstal. At the second tier, Dartmouth forms part of the Dartmouth and Kingswear ward of South Hams District Council, which returns one councillor. At the upper tier of local government Dartmouth and Kingswear Electoral Division elects one member to Devon County Council.

Naming The Baby


Su Wong marries Lee Wong.

The next year,the Wongs have a new baby.

The nurse brings out a lovely, healthy, bouncy,

but definitely a Caucasian, WHITE baby boy.

'Congratulations,' says the nurse

to the new parents...

'Well Mr. Wong, what will you

and Mrs. Wong name the baby?'

The puzzled father looks

at his new baby boy and says,

'Well, two Wong's don't make a white,

so I think we will name him...


Are you ready for this?


SUM TING WONG




Golden Hind

The Golden Hind (or Golden Hinde) (pronounced /ˈhaɪnd/) was an English galleon best known for its global circumnavigation between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as the Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1577, as he prepared to enter the Strait of Magellan, calling it the Golden Hind to compliment his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose armorial crest was a golden 'hind' (the heraldic term for a female deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake's world voyage.


Replica of the Golden hind docked in St. Mary Dock Overie, London

History
In 1577 Elizabeth I of England chose Sir Francis Drake as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond. The queen's support was advantageous; he had official approval to benefit himself and the queen as well as to cause the maximum damage to the Spaniards. This would eventually culminate into the Anglo-Spanish War. Before setting sail, Drake met the queen face-to-face for the first time and she said to him, "We would gladly be revenged on the King of Spain for divers injuries that we have received." The explicit object was to "find out places meet to have traffic." Drake, however, acted as a privateer, with unofficial support from Queen Elizabeth. He set sail in December with five small ships, manned by 164 men, and reached the Brazilian coast in the spring of 1578. His flagship, the Pelican, which Drake renamed the Golden Hind, displaced only about 100 tons. On 1 March 1579, the Golden Hind took the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, which had the largest treasure captured to that date: over 360,000 Pesos. The six tons of treasure took six days to transship. Subsequently Drake sailed North, probably to around San Francisco Bay, claiming this land as 'Nova Albion', leaving on 23 July. He then came back across the Pacific, reaching the Cape of Good Hope on 18 June 1580 and Sierra Leone on 22 July. On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake took his ship into Plymouth Harbour with only 56 of the original crew of 100 left aboard. Despite his piratical conduct on his voyages, Queen Elizabeth herself went aboard the Golden Hind, which was lying at Deptford in the Thames
estuary, and personally bestowed a knighthood on him; her share of the treasure came to almost £160,000: "enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have £40,000 left over to invest in a new trading company for the Levant. Her return and that of other investors came to £47 for every £1 invested, or a total return of 4,700%."
After Drake's circumnavigation the Golden Hind was maintained for public exhibition in Deptford. This is the earliest known example of a ship being maintained for public display because of its historic significance. Golden Hind remained there for nearly 100 years before she eventually rotted away and was finally broken up.
The table in the Middle Temple Hall (in the City of London) is reputed to have been made from the wood of the Golden Hind, as is a chair in the Great Hall, Buckland Abbey, Devon.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Looking Back - Hundreds Dead In Tenerife Plane Crash


On this day in 1977, at least 560 people died after two jumbo jets collided on a runway in the holiday destination of Tenerife. It is thought to be the world's worst disaster involving aircraft on the ground.
A massive explosion followed by a ball of fire erupted at Los Rodeos airport, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, in dense fog as both airliners were taxiing for take-off at 1800 local time.
The sound of the explosion was heard across the island.
Early reports suggested a Boeing 747, belonging to Dutch national airline KLM, and a Pan American 747 travelling from Los Angeles to Las Palmas were involved in the accident.
No-one survived from the Dutch airliner which was carrying 249 passengers including crew, and was travelling from Schipol airport, Amsterdam.
The Pan-Am plane was a charter flight carrying 16 crew and 378 passengers and there were said to be about 60 survivors, the majority of whom were injured.
Rescue efforts
Eyewitnesses said the airport was covered in dense black smoke following the explosions and emergency services struggled to cope with the enormous numbers of casualties.
Rescue workers plunged into the burning wreckage to pull out survivors.
The army is was expected to move in to help the rescue operation.
Neither airline was originally due to be at the airport but both were diverted from the much bigger Las Palmas on nearby Gran Canaria island after a terrorist bomb blast near the departure lounge.
Experts said it was too early to suggest the cause of the crash but many believed it was in part due to the extra number of flights and pressure on resources at the small airport following several diversions from Las Palmas.
It once again placed security at Spanish airports under the spotlight, hard pressed by package tour flights.
A crash of such magnitude before take-off horrified industry insiders.
Previously the worst accident in aviation history was a Turkish airlines crash near Paris with the loss of 346 lives.
In total 583 people died in the blaze that followed the collision and the incident remains the world's worst aviation accident in history.
The KLM jumbo preparing for take-off is understood to have clipped the Pan-Am plane which was taxiing across the runway.
Ultimately, the crash was blamed on the KLM pilot who had not checked if he was clear for take-off and sped down the foggy runway.
The Pan-Am pilot was deemed to be blameless.
To watch a BBC video report on the crash click the following link: