Monday, December 31, 2012

British visitors head back to Kenya's beaches

Kenya’s tourism industry suffered badly during the summer, but visitors from all over Europe are finally returning to coastal resorts following successful efforts by government forces to secure the country’s border with Somalia.

The Foreign Office has lifted its advice against travel to the islands of Lamu and Manda, reverting to its former position of advising against travel only within 60km (about 40 miles) of the Somali border. “It’s a huge relief,” one hotelier on Lamu told me. “Instead of facing another winter paying staff out of our savings, we are welcoming back regular guests and have no concerns about their security while they are here.”

Lamu’s resorts were booked up for Christmas and New Year, but there are still plenty of rooms in January and February, including over half-term week. Kizingo (00254 733 954770; a friendly, comfortable “no-news, no-shoes” beach lodge on the southern tip of Lamu Island offers a full-board week for £875 per person next spring, based on two sharing a thatched cottage. Here there’s the chance to swim with dolphins, tour the mainland by bicycle, and explore the back alleys of Lamu Town.

The adjacent Kizingoni (00254 203 882763; is a collection of luxury hideaways popular with British celebrities, who often pop next door for a drink at Kizingo’s lively bar. Thanks to Lamu’s popularity with the rich and famous, the standard of accommodation is high.

Elsewhere on Kenya’s coast, many hotels are showing their age, though the service remains superb. An exception is the recently opened Swahili Beach Resort, on Diana Beach, south of Mombasa. “It’s a new generation, five-star beach resort and we’re getting superb feedback,” said Stuart Britton, managing director of Somak Holidays, one of the biggest tour operators to Kenya. “Our customers are also pleased with their experiences at the smaller boutique hotels, such as the Tijara Beach and Afrochic.”

Somak (020 8423 5282; has scaled back its minibus tours of Kenya’s wildlife parks as prices for more luxurious air safaris have fallen. For example, a 14-night holiday combining its “Cheetah Safari” (six sharing a minibus) with a week at the Swahili Beach costs £2,540 per person. But for another £700 you can fly between game parks in a light aircraft and enjoy more intimate safari drives in smaller, open vehicles led by an experienced nature guide.

For sun-worshippers, Kuoni (0844 488 0417; has good offers based on scheduled flights (there are no charters this winter). A fortnight in a four-star beach hotel costs about £1,650 per person half board, with the option of an overnight excursion to Tsavo National Park for an extra £300 per person when bought locally. For independent travellers, there are some attractive prices listed with the online agent – including a week at the Tembo Village Resort in Watamu, Kenya’s loveliest white-sand beach, for just £347 per person b&b.

The good news for those who have to spend a night in Nairobi before catching a regional flight is the opening – at last – of a smart hotel close to the international airport: Eka Hotel (00254 719 045000; charges £135 for a double room. For real character, join the safari pilots at Wilson Airport’s historic Aero Club of East Africa (00254 206 000479; where basic double rooms cost £75.

The price of flying internally in East Africa is likely to fall in 2013 as Fastjet (, part owned by easyJet’s founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, expands its low-cost model into Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This has prompted the national airline, Kenya Airways, to launch its own budget brand, JamboJet, which it hopes will start operations in the latter half of the year.

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Hobbit film sparks interest in New Zealand

Travel websites have reported a significant growth this month in searches and bookings to the country following the launch of the JRR Tolkien-inspired film.

The flight search website Skyscanner reported a 102 per cent increase in worldwide flight searches to New Zealand this month compared to December 2011, including a 117 per cent rise in searches to Wellington, the country’s capital city.

The travel booking website Expedia had an 84 per cent increase in flight bookings to the country in December.

Bookings for New Zealand in 2012 went up by 30 per cent last month for hotel booking website, with a 100 per cent rise in bookings for the small town of Matamata alone, where much of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel were filmed.

Bookings from the US at Air New Zealand, which launched its first Hobbit-themed aircraft last month, were nearly doubled on the day before the world premiere in Wellington and increased by a third in Japan following a Hobbit promotion, reported The New Zealand Herald.

“We have seen an increased demand for New Zealand since The Hobbit was released and this is likely to continue into the new year,” said Nikki Davies, marketing director of the tour operator Trailfinders.
“Forward bookings for 2013 are up by almost 10 per cent so far this year,” she added.

The foreign currency exchange group Travelex reported a rise in demand for New Zealand dollars since the Hobbit premiere this month, with a 26 per cent increase in pre-orders for New Zealand dollars compared to this time last year.

"We predict the number of visitors will rise after families watch the movie during the Christmas break and see the spectacular scenery," said David Swann from Travelex.
Travel companies have responded to the surge in interest with new Hobbit-themed itineraries and packages.
Crystal Cruises recently announced a cruise itinerary which includes a guided tour of the Hobbiton set, where passengers can dine at The Green Dragon Inn, the hobbits’ favourite drinking hole in the film which is now a working pub.

Trailfinders has also introduced a new Hobbiton Express Day Tour from Auckland for 2013, which includes a journey through 'Middle Earth' and the Hobbiton set, including visits to 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the Party Tree and Green Dragon Inn.

New Zealand was named ‘favourite worldwide country’ this year by readers in the Telegraph Travel Awards last month.

upcoming laptop 2013

Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C Review

Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C
Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C is a lightweight mid-range gaming laptop with Intel Core i7-3610QM, AMD Radeon HD 7670M GPU, 750GB hard drive and 8GB of RAM. The laptop delivers sufficient computing and multimedia performance. Priced at 999 euro, the Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C is significantly cheaper than more serious gaming behemoths. The 15-incher machine comes with a diverse array of ports; a couple of USB 3.0 ports, VGA port, full-sized HDMI port. The laptop uses 15” 1366 x 768 full HD LED-backlit display, which unfortunately shows annoying reflection when used outdoors.
The upper mid-range hardware configuration offers adequate performance for average gaming. Skyrim scores about 35fps at high detail settings, but slumps to 19fps when battery-saving mode is enabled. The notebook pleasantly hums at 32dB at idle with occasional clacking noise from the hard drive. It runs for 5 hours 40 minutes at idle, with minimal brightness and WLAN turned off; and slightly more than one hour under full load with maximum display brightness.

AMD will Release Brazos 2.0 Processors in 2013

AMD Brazos 2.0 Processors
Netbook users would be familiar with AMD’s APU solutions, which combines a processor and integrated graphics solution. Unlike Intel’s built-in graphics capability, AMD’s platforms work more like dedicated graphic cards, allowing fluid full HD video playback and DirectX 11 representations. After releasing the highly efficient C50/C60 and the more powerful E350/E450, the company released the E2-1800, which turned out to be a disappointment with its slight performance increase compared to the E450.
In 2013, we would start to see ultra-portable laptops running the new E2-2000 dual-core processor clocked at 1.75GHz. The APU will feature 1MB of cache the Radeon HD7340 GPU (538-700MHz). From the technical standpoint, this would easily look like AMD’s attempt to rebrand the earlier E2-1800, as the 50MHz clock increase would offer nearly indiscernible performance boost during daily usages.
Significant improvements wouldn’t arrive until AMD releases APUs with 28nm Kabini core, which will be aimed to replace all Brazos chips in the market.

Asus BU400A Ultrabook Will be Available in 2013

Asus BU400A Ultrabook

Consumers will start seeing the Asus BU400A ultrabook with touchscreen display in January 2013. The machine is aimed for enterprise use and although it doesn’t look quite as svelte as Asus’ Zenbook lineup, the BU400A is still a lightweight enough for any traveling businessperson. The laptop features a spill-resistant keyboard, HD display and solid carbon frame, as well fingerprint scanner, trusted protection module and data encryption.
The anti-shock system would easily protect the data stored within the mechanical hard drive. A more ultrabook-like version comes with a SSD for extra performance and reliability. The BU400A supports Windows 8 OS and its features, including the gestures. Weighing about 3.6lbs, the sleek laptop features SD card ports, VGA and USB 3.0.
In terms of processing and graphical powers, Asus BU400A will be equipped with 3rd generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia NVS 5200M graphic card. The Computrace LoJack and Intel’s Anti-Theft technology would help users retrieve stolen or lost notebooks and prevent harmful intrusions to enterprise data.

Retina Macbook Air Will Be Unveiled in 2013

MacBook Air

Analysts say that there will be some big changes in Apple’s lineup in 2013. The company may introduce a Retina Display version of MacBook Air along with Retina iPad Mini in 2013. The new MacBook could have the new Mac OS X 10.9 under the hood and the iOS 7 would be released some point next year too.
Loyal Apple fans should get excited with other new devices the company plan to release in 2013. For example, huge Apple TV sets with screen sizes somewhere between 42” and 55” would be available for about $2000 at around Christmas 2013. The TV will serve as a hub that connects multiple iDevices near the area. The TV may include FaceTime, Siri and support for iOS apps.
Along with the Retina MacBook Air, the company will also launch the iPad Mini 2, which currently lacks full-HD resolution. This would address one significant issue that plagues the original iPad Mini. The display technology would also significantly enhance user experience for MacBook Air owners.

Intel Bay Trail-T Laptops Will be Released in 2013

Intel Bay Trail-T Laptops

The Bay Trail-T is a direct follow-on of the current Clover Trail platform. With the 22nm architecture, these new processor models will require only half the power consumption of the 32nm Clover Trail. A leaked document shows that a machine running Bay Trail-T can go for about 11 hours, whereas the older Clover Trail offers only 9 hours of operational time with the same battery capacity.
The Bay Trail-T has bumped the number of cores to four, with clock rate ranging from 1.5GHz to 2.1 GHz, which means the new platform should provide nearly 60 percent of performance increase compared to the Clover Trail.
Bay Trail-T processors are fully optimized for Windows 8 notebooks, with the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics solution, also used by the current Ivy Bridge chips. This would allow Bay Trail-T machines to have up to 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution and three-fold boost in performance

Touchscreen Notebook Manufacturers May Face Serious Supply Problems in 2013

New Notebook

PC maker looking delivers a large number of touchscreen notebooks may suffer supply problems in 2013. Major vendors like Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, Sony and Dell are struggling to acquire a steady supply of touchscreen component for their notebooks. Current touch panel makers are still concentrating on huge demands in smartphones and tablet market.
Also, there is almost no indication that consumers want touch-based Windows 8 notebooks, although the new OS version is fully optimized for touch operations. Acer expects that touchscreen notebooks will account for 15 to 30 percent of its total shipment in 2013, if Windows 8 successfully reshapes the PC industry by encouraging people to use the touch-based interface more.
As touch panels makers are still fully committed to satisfy demands in mobile industry, notebook vendors will experience poor yield rates. Compal further reiterates this prediction that in 2013 the biggest hurdle for touch-based notebooks is not the lack of demand but supply.

How Windows 8 Would Affect Laptop Market in 2013?

Windows 8 Laptop
It is an undeniable fact that Microsoft Windows is dominating the computing world with its appealing user-friendly interface and support for a wide range of devices. Although some would quickly argue that Windows OS isn’t the best in the market, Microsoft has improved significantly and Windows 7 was often praised as its best Windows version yet. Windows 8 will arrive soon and the market would be inundated with new PCs and laptops designed specifically for the new OS.
If you are planning to purchase a Windows 8 laptop next year, there are a few changes to consider. Touch capability may finally arrive to laptops, as Windows 8 interface are fully optimized for both mouse/keyboard input and touch. It is also important to expect a lot of convertibles and hybrids, as Windows 8 finally allows these devices to work properly. It is also quite possible that there will be close integration between Windows Phone 8 smartphones and Windows 8 laptops.

Laptops with Haswell Processor Will Be Released in 2013

Laptops with Haswell Processor
Some new laptops released in 2013 are expected to deliver twice the performance and battery life with the new Intel “Haswell” Core processor. The new processor family will succeed Intel’s current mainstream processor family, the Ivy Bridge. Haswell will deliver twice the battery live and double the performance of Ivy Bridge. When used in Ultrabooks, this could be equal to approximately 6 to 8 hours of battery life.
The processor giant shed some light on the processor last September at the Intel Developer Forum. It claimed that the power consumption has been reduced sharply to the point where Haswell processor can run in tablets. The most power-efficient model of Ivy Bridge draws 17 Watts, while low-power versions of Haswell processors will draw 10 Watts during idle.
More powerful 15 Watts and 17 Watts models are also available for standard laptops. Haswell tablets running Windows 8 could reach performance levels never achieved before in the mobile industry. The ultrabook market has stagnated following the slumping PC industry and the Haswell processor family can create a spark that everybody needs.

Ultrabooks in 2013 Will Have Touch Capability

New Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks are known for their elegant, lightweight and slim design that delivers full-scale performance without sacrificing battery life. These devices are more portable than standard laptops and can be used anywhere. Despite its small footprint, they have all the features you need, including SSD drive and USB 3.0 ports.
Apparently, some manufacturers are noticing the eventual convergence between tablets and notebooks. Some tablets models can transform into netbooks with their docks or integrated physical keyboard, and in turn, some ultrabooks models in 2013 will have touch capability. This would significantly close the gap between two computing devices and offer consumers significantly much more options.
Future release of touch-capable ultrabooks is announced during the Annual One Summit in New Delhi, India. Intel and Microsoft are currently working to develop an exceptional touch experience in Windows 8 environment. Intel has also worked with Nuance to create an immersive voice-based capability, which allows voice commands on PC and laptops.

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Flexible Samsung phone 'ready in early 2013'

Samsung will soon begin mass production of phones with displays using plastic rather than glass, a move that will make mobile devices unbreakable and bendable.

The company is sampling the displays with "a few customers", reports the Wall Street Journal, and is "in the last phase of development" for the devices, which are expected to be released in the first half of next year, according to its source.
Using a plastic polymer instead of glass, Samsung has produced displays that can roll and bend, and survive falls and blows from the clumsiest of customers.
Samsung is seeking to differentiate itself from other mobile brands in an increasingly cutthroat marketplace, and flexible displays could boost their profile by offering a unique product.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), used in televisions and smartphones, have made the flexible phone technology possible, as they are compact and can withstand being placed on ductile materials such as plastic and foil.
More than a year has gone by since Samsung showcased its Galaxy Skin, which purported to offer a high-resolution 800×480 flexible OLED screen and eight megapixel camera, and has still yet to be released.

Companies are also trialling the technology for potential use in digital posters and clothes with digital displays.
The 2012 Plastics show in Birmingham this week showcased some of the technology, although consumers will have to wait at least until the new year before they become commercially available.

By 2013, computers will be 1000 times faster

London: Get ready for the next-generation computers and smart phones that are up to 1,000 times faster than the systems you use today.
Computer maker IBM is developing “skyscraper” computers using huge sandwiches of silicon chips by sticking layer after layer of chips covered with tiny components together.
The process, for which IBM has roped in glue maker 3M, will make PCs and smart phones up to 1,000 times faster than the existing ones and are expected to be available in market as early as 2013.
3M currently makes heat resistant glues, adhesives used in the aerospace industry and sticky tapes, but the hi-tech glues created for IBM could actually be the key step towards making the next evolutionary leap in computing, the Daily Mail reported.
The attempts at piling chips vertically - known as 3D packaging - has so far been suffering from overheating. But, the new glues could potentially conduct heat through a stack of densely-packed chips and away from logic circuits that could be burnt out by the heat. The research aims to create “stacks” of up to 100 layers of silicon, the report said.
Mike Bowman, marketing manager for 3M, said, “This material fits underneath computer chips when they’re attached to printed circuit boards - the unique part of what we’re doing is that our glue conducts heat out to the edge of the sandwich. “Our glue will spread heat more evenly through the chip. With conventional chips, with just one or two layers, but once you’re stacking chips, the problem can become very severe.”
According to the researchers, a ball of advanced adhesive is placed between layers of chips, allowing up to 100 chips to be stacked without overheating.
”Today’s chips including those containing 3D transistors are in fact 2D chips that are still very flat structures,” Bernie Meyerson, a vice president of IBM research, said in a statement.
So far, most increases in computing power have been driven by scientific breakthroughs that allow chip makers to etch ever-smaller circuits onto ever-smaller chip wafers. The new ‘3D’ approach could accelerate gadgets such as tablet computers to unheard-of new speeds.
“Our scientists are aiming to develop materials that will allow us to package tremendous amounts of computing power into a new form factor - a silicon skyscraper,” said Meyerson. “We believe we can advance this, and create a new class of semiconductors - faster, with lower power usage, ideal for tablets and smart phones.”
Other 3M glues are used in hi-tech industries such as solar power, as well as in markedly lower-tech environments such as carpentry.
Both companies did not speculate on a release date for the new technology, but insiders said such versions could be on the market as early as 2013.

Make Your Own Laptop A Touch Screen

Today's artist is not limited to pencil and paper. The digitization of the world has long been a part of the creative crowd and with the availability of touch screen laptopstoday even the most amateur can get a taste of expressing art directing into digital form.

Most artists, or anybody for that matter, have the foresight to purchase a laptop designed specifically with touch screen technology. And while many computers have the life expectancy of two to five years, most people don't have the inclination to fork over extra money for a new laptop. Most people simply didn't know there exist such a feature.

Regardless of your specific situation, anyone who desires the touch screen laptop functionality now can have it for less than two hundred dollars by the way of the TabletLaptop by NAVIsis. It allows for the touch screen functionality as an add-on option.

The minimum PC requirements are easy enough that only the dinosaurs of computers won't be able to meet. In fact, if you have a laptop any less than the minimum requirements, and you would like to upgrade, just go out and buy a new laptop. They aren't even expensive these days. But back to the point, most Windows home operating systems with a Pentium 500MHz or equivalent will do. The input is the later version USB 1.1 so every machine with a USB will do and an optical disk drive for the CD.

Some of the cool features are programmed to work integrated with Microsoft products. For example, in Microsoft Outlook, the add-on allows for creating and sending handwritten emails. The device is easy to install and allows for all the standard features of a touch screen laptop or tablet pc such as dynamically manage and control objects and applications without the need for a mouse.

The main complaint observable is that it further complicates the intended mobility of a laptop. The website promises a compact design, and as compact it can be, there is a physical size requirement that no amount of innovation, to today's knowledge, can eliminate. An effective detriment the laptops purpose of being portable.

Some specific design problems as differentiates the add-on from acting completely like a true native touch screen tablet. These laptops, such as the Toshiba touch screen laptop, offer a swivel screen that flips and twists and folds backwards that an ordinary laptop with an add-on cannot. Being able to fold backwards allows the user to write on the screen much more intuitively than a regular laptop screen.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Visakhapatnam district

Visakhapatnam district is located in Andhra Pradesh
Visakhapatnam district
Location in Andhra Pradesh, India
Country India
StateAndhra Pradesh
 • District collectorSeshadri IAS
 • Superintendent of policeG.Srinivasa Rao IPS
Time zoneIST (UTC+5:30)

HistoryBuddhist Era:Visakhapatnam history goes back to the 6th century BCE. Its name can be found in Hindu and Buddhist texts that date back to ancient times. Vizag, as Visakhapatnam is often referred to, has been mentioned by Panini and Katyayana in their writings of the fourth century BC. The city was also a part of the Kalinga kingdom, which was later conquered by the great Emperor, Ashoka. Visakha District is a large Buddhist Remnants Hub with many sites documented and undocumented from North to south border of the district along the coast line.


According to the 2011 census Visakhapatnam district has a population of 4,288,113,[3] roughly equal to the nation of New Zealand[4] or the US state ofKentucky.[5] This gives it a ranking of 44th in India (out of a total of 640) and 5th in its state.[3] The district has a population density of 384 inhabitants per square kilometre (990 /sq mi) .[3] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 11.89%.[3] Visakhapatnam has a sex ratio of 1003 females for every 1000 males,[3]and a literacy rate of 67.7%.[3]
Visakhapatnam district has a population of 4,288,113 people of which 57.95% is urban as of 2011 census.[1]
Scheduled Caste Population291,219 (7.6%)
Scheduled Tribe Population557,572 (14.55%)


Visakhapatnam district is the central hub for industry and education in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Visakhapatnam district hosts the "Vizag Steel plant". To acquire this plant a huge mass movement arose, using the slogan "visakha ukku andhrula Hakku", (meaning - Steel for Vizag is the right of Andhraites; ukku - steel and hakku - right), which finally got the steel plant to the city


The Andhra Pradesh government is seriously considering building a new International Airport because of the region's growing importance. Also, a second major port called Gangavaram on the southern side of Dolphin's Nose is stepping up to cater the needs of imports and exports.

Tourist Spots in Visakhapatnam District

  • Visakhapatnam is famous for its natural harbour, Ship building unit, Steel plant, Oil refineries, Dolphin's Nose Hills, and Ramakrishna beach. Rushikonda beach. It is industrial city in Andhra pradesh.
  • Bhimunipatnam is 40 KM from Visakhapatnam and is famous for its natural sea port. Old Dutch Constructions and BuddhistMonastery Ruins
  • Simhachalam lies in the outskirts of main city. It is famous for the Sri varaha narasimha swami temple.
  • Araku Valley is 112 KM away from Visakhapatnam. It is famous for the scenic beauty it offers to the travelers by Train or Road. The area of the valley is roughly 36 km², and the altitude is between 600 and 900 meters above sea level. It is renowned for its association with the Tribal culture & customs.
  • Thotlakonda lies to the north of Visakhapatnam which consists of a Buddhist Monastic Complex remnants and rock cut cisterns on the hilltop at mangamaripeta.
  • Bavikonda is another famous Hilltop Buddhist Monastic Complex remnant site near to Thotlakonda along the beach road to Bhimili from Vizag
  • Gudilova is famous for the temple of Lord shiva and Lord Ranganatha swamy located on a small hillock between two big hills in outskirts of Visakha city along the eastern Ghats, it is a natural picnic spot also. Located on the state highway of Pendurthi and 7 km from Anandapuram of Visakhapatnam.
  • The Borra Caves, also called Borra Guhalu (Telugu: బొర్రా గుహలు, in Telugu language ‘Borra’ means something that has bored into the ground and ‘guhalu’ means caves), are located on the East Coast of India, in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku valley.

George Washington

George Washington
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, serving as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He also presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution established the position of President of the republic, which Washington was the first to hold.

Washington was elected President as the unanimous choice of the 69 electors in 1788, and he served two terms in office. He oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion, and won acceptance among Americans of all types.

His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Further, the peaceful transition from his presidency to the presidency of John Adams established a tradition that continues into the 21st century. Historically, Washington has been widely regarded as the "father of his country".

Washington was born into the provincial gentry of Colonial Virginia; his wealthy planter family owned tobacco plantations and slaves. After both his father and older brother died when he was young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful William Fairfax, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War.
Chosen by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Washington managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and almost captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the British in two battles, retook New Jersey and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781.
Historians laud Washington for his selection and supervision of his generals, encouragement of morale and ability to hold together the army, coordination with the state governors and state militia units, relations with Congress and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. In battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies. After victory had been finalized in 1783, Washington resigned as Commander-in-chief rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to American republicanism.

Dissatisfied with the weaknesses of Articles of Confederation, in 1787 Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution. Elected unanimously as the first President of the United States in 1789, he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton's programs to pay off all state and national debt, to implement an effective tax system and to create a national bank (despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson).
Washington proclaimed the United States neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Great Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs.

Washington's "Farewell Address" was an influential primer on republican virtue and a warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He retired from the presidency in 1797 and returned to his home, Mount Vernon, and his domestic life where he managed a variety of enterprises. He freed all his slaves by his final will.

Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism.
At his death, Washington was hailed as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years, the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history, Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism, especially in France and Latin America. He is consistently ranked among the top three presidents of the United States, according to polls of both scholars and the general public.

Source: Wikipedia

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (pronounced; 19 May 1881 (Conventional) – 10 November 1938) was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him (and forbidden to any other person) in 1934 by the Turkish parliament.

Atatürk was a military officer during World War I.Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns gained Turkey independence.

Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, westernized and secular nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced.The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.
Early years
Following graduation, Mustafa Kemal was assigned to the Fifth Army based in Damascus as a Staff Captainin the company of Ali Fuat (Cebesoy) and Lütfi Müfit . He joined a small secret revolutionary society of reformist officers led by a merchant Mustafa Elvan (Cantekin) called Vatan ve Hürriyet ("Motherland and Liberty"). On 20 June 1907, he was promoted to the rank of Senior Captain (Kolağası) and on 13 October 1907, assigned to the headquarters of the Third Army in Manastır.
He joined the Committee of Union and Progress, with membership number 322, although in later years he became known for his opposition to, and frequent criticism of, the policies pursued by the CUP leadership. On 22 June 1908, he was appointed the Inspector of the Ottoman Railways in Eastern Rumelia (Doğu Rumeli Bölgesi Demiryolları Müfettişi).In July 1908, he played a role in the Young Turk Revolution which seized power from Sultan Abdülhamid II and restored the constitutional monarchy.

In 1910 he was called to the Ottoman provinces in Albania.At that time Isa Boletini was leading Albanian uprisings in Kosovo and there were revolts in Albania.In 1910 he met with Eqerem Vlora. Later, in the autumn of 1910, he was among the Ottoman military observers who attended the Picardie army manoeuvres in France.In early 1911, he worked at the Ministry of War (Harbiye Nezareti) headquarters in Istanbul for a short time.
Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912)
Later in 1911, he was assigned to the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet (present-day Libya) to fight in the Italo-Turkish War, mainly in the areas near Benghazi, Derna and Tobruk.

A massive Italian amphibious assault force of 150,000 troops had to be countered by 20,000 Bedouins and 8,000 Turks (a short time before Italy declared war, a large portion of the Ottoman troops in Libya were sent to the Ottoman province of Yemen in order to put down the rebellion there, so the Ottoman government was caught with inadequate resources to counter the Italians in Libya; and the British government, which militarily controlled the de jure Ottoman provinces of Egypt and Sudan since the Urabi Revolt in 1882, didn't allow the Ottoman government to send additional Ottoman troops to Libya through Egypt; causing the Ottoman soldiers like Mustafa Kemal to go to Libya either dressed as Arabs (risking imprisonment if noticed by the British authorities in Egypt), or through very few available ferries (the Italians, who had superior naval forces, effectively controlled the sea routes to Tripoli).
However, despite all the hardships, Mustafa Kemal's forces in Libya managed to successfully repel the Italians in a number of occasions, such as the Battle of Tobruk on 22 December 1911.

During the Battle of Derna on 16–17 January 1912, while Mustafa Kemal was assaulting the Italian-controlled fortress of Kasr-ı Harun, two Italian planes dropped bombs on the Ottoman forces and a piece of limestone from a damaged building's rubble entered Mustafa Kemal's left eye; which caused a permanent damage on his left eye's tissue, but not a total loss of sight. After receiving medical treatment for nearly a month (he attempted to leave the Red Crescent's health facilities early after only two weeks, but when his eye's situation worsened, he had to return and resume the treatment) on 6 March 1912 Mustafa Kemal became the Commander of the Ottoman forces in Derna.
He managed to defend and retain the city and its surrounding region until the end of the Italo-Turkish War on 18 October 1912. Mustafa Kemal, Enver Bey, Fethi Bey and the other Ottoman military commanders in Libya had to return to Ottoman Europe following the outbreak of the Balkan Wars on 8 October 1912, due to which the Ottoman government agreed to surrender the provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica (present-day Libya) to the Kingdom of Italy with the Treaty of Ouchy (First Treaty of Lausanne) signed ten days later, on 18 October.

Source: Wikipedia

Greek mythology

Greek mythology
Greek mythology are myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices.

They were a part of religion in ancient Greece and are part of religion in modern Greece and around the world as Hellenismos. Modern scholars refer to, and study, the myths in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece, its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is embodied, explicitly, in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures. These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homer's epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices.

Myths also are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

Archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently in the decoration of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles.

In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes.
Source : Wikipedia

Chariots of the gods

Chariots of the gods
Hugh & Colleen Ganzter watched entranced as the raths of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra began their annual journey in Puri. On a humid monsoon day, you can experience Puri's epiphany. So did a million other people.

They streamed down side streets and lanes and little winding alleys, poured into the broad Grand Road till it became a flowing river of humanity. And still more surged in, packed tighter and tighter till all we could see from our grandstand in the terrace of the palace was a sea of heads streaked with snaking currents of saffron, red and white as sects and cults merged with flood of devotees.
In the morning the frisson of festivity had been electric. The huge raths may have been shifted to the far end of Grand Road where zestful crowds clanged cymbals, thudded drums, danced and sang. A street-side langar got ready to serve steaming poori-bhaji to eager pilgrims. After breakfast, the police cleared a path for hurrying heralds lofting standards and banners, stopped at the gate of the palace.

The Gajapati Maharaja, dressed in white robes with a plumed and jewelled turban, and the sash and cummerbund of office, emerged accompanied by the head priest. He stepped into a silver palanquin as his Ganga dynasty ancestors had done ever since they had built the great temple by the shore of the Bay of Bengal a thousand years ago.

The flags and standards tracked his passage through the jubilant crowd. Then, using a golden broom, he carefully and ceremonially swept the forecourt of the huge raths, signalling the start of the divine trio's annual yatra from their temple on the second day of the shukla pakshya (waxing moon) in the month of Ashadh, to the Gundicha temple, at the end of the Grand Road.

A red fire tanker may spray a plume of water over the crowd as pilgrims danced in ecstatic devotion. Slowly, ponderously, the black and red chariot of Subhadra rolled into view. It was crammed with saffron-clad servitors clanging gongs, waving cheerily. The chariot moved on, the crowd flowed in behind it. Cameras clicked and flared around.

Two young pandas sat astride the white, wooden, horses. Worshippers on our terrace joined their hands and bowed deeply in obeisance till this, the last and most powerful ratha, had passed. The three chariots began to shrink with distance as they drew closer to Gundicha temple where the deities would rest for eight days before making the return journey to the main temple.

The great cacophony of celebration began to subside as the crowds dispersed in the soft light of sunset, laughing and clapping, charged by their twelve-hour close encounter with their gods. Even we felt unusually vitalized by it all.

Source: The Indian Times

Akbar the Great

Akbar the Great
Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar , also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (15 October 1542  – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor.

He was of Timurid descent; the son of Emperor Humayun, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of northern and central India.

He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached a zenith as compared to his predecessors.
Akbar was 13 years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi (February 1556), following the death of his father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun descendants of Sher Shah Suri, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he decisively defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu.

It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of it as an emperor. As an emperor, Akbar solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Hindu Rajput caste, and by marrying a Rajput princess.
Akbar's reign significantly influenced art and culture in the country. He was a great patron of art and architecture He took a great interest in painting, and had the walls of his palaces adorned with murals.

Besides encouraging the development of the Mughal school, he also patronised the European style of painting. He was fond of literature, and had several Sanskrit works translated into Persian and Persian scriptures translated in Sanskrit apart from getting many Persian works illustrated by painters from his court.

During the early years of his reign, he showed intolerant attitude towards Hindus and other religions, but later exercised tolerance towards non-Islamic faiths by rolling back some of the strict sharia laws.His administration included numerous Hindu landlords, courtiers and military generals.
He began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars would debate religious matters with Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians and Portuguese Roman Catholic Jesuits. He treated these religious leaders with great consideration, irrespective of their faith, and revered them.

He not only granted lands and money for the mosques but the list of the recipients included a huge number Hindu temples in north and central India, Christian churches in Goa.

Source: Wikipedia

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning) and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan).

The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.

The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. Of these eight damaged, two were raised, and with four repaired, six battleships returned to service later in the war.

The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded.

Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters.

The following day (December 8), the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been strong,disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy".

Source: Wikipedia

Commemoration of the birth of Jesus

Commemoration of the birth of Jesus
Christmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass") is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by millions of people around the world.

A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide.Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations,is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians,and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.

The precise year of Jesus' birth, which some historians place between 7 and 2 BC, is unknown. His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East.

The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived, as well as the date of celebration of the southern solstice (i.e., the Roman winter solstice), with a sun connection being possible because Christians consider Jesus to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied in Malachi 4:2.
The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2012, there is a difference of 13 days between the modern Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar.

Those who continue to use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6 on what for the majority of the world is January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova celebrate Christmas on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7; the Church of Greece and all Greek Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25.

The popular celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.

Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.

Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

Commemorating Jesus' birth
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy. The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth. Depending on one's perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story.

These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.

On Christmas Day, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.

According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. A manger (that is, a feeding trough) is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states Mary "wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (KJV); and "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them" (NIV). Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child.
Popular tradition also holds that three kings or wise men (named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) visited the infant Jesus in the manger, though this does not strictly follow the Biblical account.

The Gospel of Matthew instead describes a visit by an unspecified number of magi, or astrologers, sometime after Jesus was born while the family was living in a house (Matthew 2:11), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the young child Jesus.

The visitors were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of a king of the Jews. The commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.

Christians celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are other devotions and popular traditions. In some Christian denominations, children re-enact the events of the Nativity with animals to portray the event with more realism or sing carols that reference the event.

Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crèche, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. Prior to Christmas Day, the Eastern Orthodox Church practices the 40-day Nativity Fast in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, while much of Western Christianity celebrates four weeks of Advent.

The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve, and many families' major observation of Christmas actually falls in the evening of this day.

A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a stable with livestock and include Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in the manger, the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep, the angels, and the Star of Bethlehem.

Source: Wikipedia