Category Archives: Educational

quotation: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)


Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigor. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) Discuss

make music part of your life series: Alexander Glazunov – Concert Waltz Nr. 2


Alexander Glazunov – Concert Waltz Nr. 2

historic musical bits: BEETHOVEN Piano Trio No.7 ‘Archduke’ | E.Gilels, L.Kogan, M.Rostropovich | 1956


BEETHOVEN Piano Trio No.7 ‘Archduke’ | E.Gilels, L.Kogan, M.Rostropovich | 1956

The Papacy Through History: Popes of the Catholic Church


Popes of the Catholic Church

 - (Public Domain)The Papacy Through History

With the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis in 2013, there have been 266 popes in the history of the Catholic Church. The pope is the spiritual leader of Catholicism and the visible head of the Catholic Church. He is the successor to Saint Peter, the first among the apostles and the first pope of Rome. Taken together, the following articles provide a comprehensive list of all the popes of the Catholic Church, divided up by historical era, as well as the years that they reigned.

Biographies of the popes will be linked off of each article; check back often to see which biographies have been added.

Peru


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other uses, see Peru (disambiguation).
Republic of Peru

  • República del Perú  (Spanish)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: “Firme y feliz por la unión” (Spanish)
“Firm and Happy for the Union”
National seal:

Gran Sello de la República del Perú.svg

Gran Sello del Estado  (Spanish)
Great Seal of the State

 
Capital
and largest city
Lima
12°2.6′S 77°1.7′W
Official languagesa
Ethnic groups (2013[1])
Demonym Peruvian
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
 –  President Ollanta Humala
 –  Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano
Legislature Congress
Independence from the Kingdom of Spain
 –  Declared 28 July 1821 
 –  Consolidated 9 December 1824 
 –  Recognized 2 May 1866 
Area
 –  Total 1,285,216 km2 (20th)
496,225 sq mi
 –  Water (%) 0.41
Population
 –  2015 estimate 31,151,643 (41st)
 –  2007 census 28,220,764
 –  Density 23/km2 (191st)
57/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
 –  Total $403.322 billion[2]
 –  Per capita $12,638[2]
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
 –  Total $217.607 billion[2]
 –  Per capita $6,819[2]
Gini (2012) positive decrease 45.3[3]
medium · 35th
HDI (2014) Steady 0.737[4]
high · 82nd
Currency Nuevo sol (PEN)
Time zone PET (UTC−5)
Date format dd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Drives on the right
Calling code +51
ISO 3166 code PE
Internet TLD .pe
a. Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are co-official in the areas where they predominate.

Peru (Listeni/pəˈr/; Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw [pɪɾʊw];[5] Aymara: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: About this sound República del Perú ), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.[6]

Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures spanning from the Norte Chico civilization in Caral, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty with its capital in Lima, which included most of its South American colonies. Ideas of political autonomy later spread throughout Spanish America and Peru gained its independence, which was formally proclaimed in 1821. After the battle of Ayacucho, three years after proclamation, Peru ensured its independence. After achieving independence, the country remained in recession and kept a low military profile until an economic rise based on the extraction of raw and maritime materials struck the country, which ended shortly before the war of the Pacific. Subsequently, the country has undergone changes in government from oligarchic to democratic systems. Peru has gone through periods of political unrest and internal conflict as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 25.8 percent.[7] Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 30.4 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

History

Main article: History of Peru

Prehistory and Pre-Columbian period

Main article: Ancient Peru

 
Sculpted Chavin head embedded in one of the walls of the temple of

 
A Moche ceramic vessel from the 5th century depicting a man’s head

The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 9,000 BC.[13] Andean societies were based on agriculture, using techniques such as irrigation and terracing; camelid husbandry and fishing were also important. Organization relied on reciprocity and redistribution because these societies had no notion of market or money.[14] The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BC.[15] These early developments were followed by archaeological cultures that developed mostly around the coastal and Andean regions throughout Peru. The Cupisnique culture which flourished from around 1000 to 200 BC[16] along what is now Peru’s Pacific Coast was an example of early pre-Incan culture. The Chavín culture that developed from 1500 to 300 BC was probably more of a religious than a political phenomenon, with their religious centre in Chavin de Huantar.[17] After the decline of the Chavin culture around the beginning of the Christian millennium, a series of localized and specialized cultures rose and fell, both on the coast and in the highlands, during the next thousand years. On the coast, these included the civilizations of the Paracas, Nazca, Wari, and the more outstanding Chimu and Mochica. The Mochica who reached their apogee in the first millennium AD were renowned for their irrigation system which fertilized their arid terrain, their sophisticated ceramic pottery, their lofty buildings, and clever metalwork. The Chimu were the great city builders of pre-Inca civilization; as loose confederation of cities scattered along the coast of northern Peru and southern Ecuador, the Chimu flourished from about 1150 to 1450. Their capital was at Chan Chan outside of modern-day Trujillo. In the highlands, both the Tiahuanaco culture, near Lake Titicaca in both Peru and Bolivia, and the Wari culture, near the present-day city of Ayacucho, developed large urban settlements and wide-ranging state systems between 500 and 1000 AD.[18]

 
The citadel of Machu Picchu, an iconic symbol of pre-Columbian Peru

In the 15th century, the Incas emerged as a powerful state which, in the span of a century, formed the largest empire in pre-Columbian America with their capital in Cusco.[19] The Incas of Cusco originally represented one of the small and relatively minor ethnic groups, the Quechuas. Gradually, as early as the thirteenth century, they began to expand and incorporate their neighbors. Inca expansion was slow until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when the pace of conquest began to accelerate, particularly under the rule of the great emperor Pachacuti. Under his rule and that of his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui, the Incas came to control upwards of a third of South America, with a population of 9 to 16 million inhabitants under their rule. Pachacuti also promulgated a comprehensive code of laws to govern his far-flung empire, while consolidating his absolute temporal and spiritual authority as the God of the Sun who ruled from a magnificently rebuilt Cusco.[20] From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, from southern Colombia to Chile, between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Amazon rainforest in the east. The official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu which can be translated as “The Four Regions” or “The Four United Provinces.” Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning local sacred Huacas, but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti, the sun god and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama.[21] The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the “child of the sun.”[22]

Conquest and Colonial period

 
Lima in the early 19th century, near the Monastery of San Francisco

 

 
Main façade of the Cathedral of Lima and the Archbishop’s palace

Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca became emperor when he defeated and executed his older half-brother Huascar in a civil war sparked by the death of their father, Inca Huayna Capac. In December 1532, a party of conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in the Battle of Cajamarca. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military conflicts, it was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory and colonization of the region known as the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital at Lima, which became known as “The City of Kings”. The conquest of the Inca Empire led to spin-off campaigns throughout the viceroyalty as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin as in the case of Spanish efforts to quell Amerindian resistance. The last Inca resistance was suppressed when the Spaniards annihilated the Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba in 1572.

The indigenous population dramatically collapsed due to exploitation, socioeconomic change and epidemic diseases introduced by the Spanish. Viceroy Francisco de Toledo reorganized the country in the 1570s with gold and silver mining as its main economic activity and Amerindian forced labor as its primary workforce.[23] With the discovery of the great silver and gold lodes at Potosí (present-day Bolivia) and Huancavelica, the viceroyalty flourished as an important provider of mineral resources. Peruvian bullion provided revenue for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network that extended as far as Europe and the Philippines.[24] Because of lack of available work force, African slaves were added to the labor population. The expansion of a colonial administrative apparatus and bureaucracy paralleled the economic reorganization. With the conquest started the spread of Christianity in South America; most people were forcefully converted to Catholicism, taking only a generation to convert the population. They built churches in every city and replaced some of the Inca temples with churches, such as the Coricancha in the city of Cusco. The church employed the Inquisition, making use of torture to ensure that newly converted Catholics did not stray to other religions or beliefs. Peruvian Catholicism follows the syncretism found in many Latin American countries, in which religious native rituals have been integrated with Christian celebrations.[25] In this endeavor, the church came to play an important role in the acculturation of the natives, drawing them into the cultural orbit of the Spanish settlers.

By the 18th century, declining silver production and economic diversification greatly diminished royal income.[26] In response, the Crown enacted the Bourbon Reforms, a series of edicts that increased taxes and partitioned the Viceroyalty.[27] The new laws provoked Túpac Amaru II‘s rebellion and other revolts, all of which were suppressed.[28] As a result of these and other changes, the Spaniards and their creole successors came to monopolize control over the land, seizing many of the best lands abandoned by the massive native depopulation. However, the Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian. The Treaty of Tordesillas was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal. The need to ease communication and trade with Spain led to the split of the viceroyalty and the creation of new viceroyalties of New Granada and Rio de la Plata at the expense of the territories that formed the viceroyalty of Peru; this reduced the power, prominence and importance of Lima as the viceroyal capital and shifted the lucrative Andean trade to Buenos Aires and Bogotá, while the fall of the mining and textile production accelerated the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Eventually, the viceroyalty would dissolve, as with much of the Spanish empire, when challenged by national independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These movements led to the formation of the majority of modern-day countries of South America in the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru.[29] The conquest and colony brought a mix of cultures and ethnicities that did not exist before the Spanish conquered the Peruvian territory. Even though many of the Inca traditions were lost or diluted, new customs, traditions and knowledge were added, creating a rich mixed Peruvian culture.[25]

Independence

 
The Battle of Ayacucho was decisive in ensuring Peruvian independence.

 
Map of the Republic of Peru in the mid 1820s

In the early 19th century, while most of South America was swept by wars of independence, Peru remained a royalist stronghold. As the elite vacillated between emancipation and loyalty to the Spanish Monarchy, independence was achieved only after the occupation by military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar.

The economic crises, the loss of power of Spain in Europe, the war of independence in North America and native uprisings all contributed to a favorable climate to the development of emancipating ideas among the criollo population in South America. However, the criollo oligarchy in Peru enjoyed privileges and remained loyal to the Spanish Crown. The liberation movement started in Argentina where autonomous juntas were created as a result of the loss of authority of the Spanish government over its colonies.

After fighting for the independence of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, José de San Martín created the Army of the Andes and crossed the Andes in 21 days, a great accomplishment in military history. Once in Chile he joined forces with Chilean army General Bernardo O’Higgins and liberated the country in the battles of Chacabuco and Maipú in 1818. On 7 September 1820, a fleet of eight warships arrived in the port of Paracas under the command of general Jose de San Martin and Thomas Cochrane, who was serving in the Chilean Navy. Immediately on 26 October they took control of the town of Pisco. San Martin settled in Huacho on 12 November, where he established his headquarters while Cochrane sailed north blockading the port of Callao in Lima. At the same time in the north, Guayaquil was occupied by rebel forces under the command of Gregorio Escobedo. Because Peru was the stronghold of the Spanish government in South America, San Martin’s strategy to liberate Peru was to use diplomacy. He sent representatives to Lima urging the Viceroy that Peru be granted independence, however all negotiations proved unsuccessful.

 
San Martín proclaiming the independence of Peru. Painting by Juan Lepiani

The Viceroy of Peru, Joaquin de la Pazuela named Jose de la Serna commander-in-chief of the loyalist army to protect Lima from the threatened invasion of San Martin. On 29 January, de la Serna organized a coup against de la Pazuela which was recognized by Spain and he was named Viceroy of Peru. This internal power struggle contributed to the success of the liberating army. In order to avoid a military confrontation San Martin met the newly appointed viceroy, Jose de la Serna, and proposed to create a constitutional monarchy, a proposal that was turned down. De la Serna abandoned the city and on 12 July 1821 San Martin occupied Lima and declared Peruvian independence on 28 July 1821. He created the first Peruvian flag. Alto Peru (Bolivia) remained as a Spanish stronghold until the army of Simón Bolívar liberated it three years later. Jose de San Martin was declared Protector of Peru. Peruvian national identity was forged during this period, as Bolivarian projects for a Latin American Confederation floundered and a union with Bolivia proved ephemeral.[30]

Simon Bolivar launched his campaign from the north liberating the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Battles of Carabobo in 1821 and Pichincha a year later. In July 1822 Bolivar and San Martin gathered in the Guayaquil Conference. Bolivar was left in charge of fully liberating Peru while San Martin retired from politics after the first parliament was assembled. The newly founded Peruvian Congress named Bolivar dictator of Peru giving him the power to organize the military.

With the help of Antonio José de Sucre they defeated the larger Spanish army in the Battle of Junín on 6 August 1824 and the decisive Battle of Ayacucho on 9 December of the same year, consolidating the independence of Peru and Alto Peru. Alto Peru was later established as Bolivia. During the early years of the Republic, endemic struggles for power between military leaders caused political instability.[31]

19th century to present

 

Between the 1840s and 1860s, Peru enjoyed a period of stability under the presidency of Ramón Castilla through increased state revenues from guano exports.[32] However, by the 1870s, these resources had been depleted, the country was heavily indebted, and political in-fighting was again on the rise.[33] Peru embarked on a railroad-building program that helped but also bankrupted the country. In 1879, Peru entered the War of the Pacific which lasted until 1884. Bolivia invoked its alliance with Peru against Chile. The Peruvian Government tried to mediate the dispute by sending a diplomatic team to negotiate with the Chilean government, but the committee concluded that war was inevitable. Chile declared war on 5 April 1879. Almost five years of war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica, in the Atacama region. Two outstanding military leaders throughout the war were Francisco Bolognesi and Miguel Grau. Originally Chile committed to a referendum for the cities of Arica and Tacna to be held years later, in order to self determine their national affiliation. However, Chile refused to apply the Treaty, and neither of the countries could determine the statutory framework. After the War of the Pacific, an extraordinary effort of rebuilding began. The government started to initiate a number of social and economic reforms in order to recover from the damage of the war. Political stability was achieved only in the early 1900s.

Internal struggles after the war were followed by a period of stability under the Civilista Party, which lasted until the onset of the authoritarian regime of Augusto B. Leguía. The Great Depression caused the downfall of Leguía, renewed political turmoil, and the emergence of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA).[34] The rivalry between this organization and a coalition of the elite and the military defined Peruvian politics for the following three decades. A final peace treaty in 1929, signed between Peru and Chile called the Treaty of Lima, returned Tacna to Peru. Between 1932 and 1933, Peru was engulfed in a year-long war with Colombia over a territorial dispute involving the Amazonas department and its capital Leticia. Later, in 1941, Peru became involved in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, after which the Rio Protocol sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. In a military coup on 29 October 1948, Gen. Manuel A. Odria became president. Odría’s presidency was known as the Ochenio. Momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right, but followed a populist course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights were severely restricted and corruption was rampant throughout his régime. Odría was succeeded by Manuel Prado Ugarteche. However, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Peruvian military to depose Prado and install a military junta, led by Ricardo Pérez Godoy. Godoy ran a short transitional government and held new elections in 1963, which were won by Fernando Belaúnde Terry who assumed presidency until 1968. Belaúnde was recognized for his commitment to the democratic process. In 1968, the Armed Forces, led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, staged a coup against Belaúnde. Alvarado’s regime undertook radical reforms aimed at fostering development, but failed to gain widespread support. In 1975, General Francisco Morales Bermúdez forcefully replaced Velasco, paralyzed reforms, and oversaw the reestablishment of democracy.

 
Areas where the Shining Path was active in Peru

Peru engaged in a brief successful conflict with Ecuador in the Paquisha War as a result of territorial dispute between the two countries. After the country experienced chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion old soles. The per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru’s GDP dropped 20% at which national reserves were a negative $900 million. The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of violent rebel rural insurgent movements, like Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA, which caused great havoc throughout the country. Concerned about the economy, the increasing terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, and allegations of official corruption, Alberto Fujimori assumed presidency in 1990. Fujimori implemented drastic measures that caused inflation to drop from 7,650% in 1990 to 139% in 1991. Faced with opposition to his reform efforts, Fujimori dissolved Congress in the auto-golpe (“self-coup”) of 5 April 1992. He then revised the constitution; called new congressional elections; and implemented substantial economic reform, including privatization of numerous state-owned companies, creation of an investment-friendly climate, and sound management of the economy. Fujimori’s administration was dogged by insurgent groups, most notably Sendero Luminoso, which carried out terrorist campaigns across the country throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Fujimori cracked down on the insurgents and was successful in largely quelling them by the late 1990s, but the fight was marred by atrocities committed by both the Peruvian security forces and the insurgents: the Barrios Altos massacre and La Cantuta massacre by Government paramilitary groups, and the bombings of Tarata and Frecuencia Latina by Sendero Luminoso. Those incidents subsequently came to be seen as symbols of the human rights violations committed during the last years of violence.

 
Lima, 2009.

During that time in early 1995, once again Peru and Ecuador clashed in the Cenepa War, but in 1998 the governments of both nations signed a peace treaty that clearly demarcated the international boundary between them. In November 2000, Fujimori resigned from office and went into a self-imposed exile, avoiding prosecution for human rights violations and corruption charges by the new Peruvian authorities. Since the end of the Fujimori regime, Peru has tried to fight corruption while sustaining economic growth.[35]

A caretaker government presided over by Valentín Paniagua took on the responsibility of conducting new presidential and congressional elections. Afterwards Alejandro Toledo became president in 2001.

On 28 July 2006 former president Alan García became President of Peru after winning the 2006 elections. In May 2008, Peru became a member of the Union of South American Nations.

On 5 June 2011, Ollanta Humala was elected President.

Government and politics

Main article: Politics of Peru

 
Congress sits in the Palacio Legislativo in Lima.

Government

Main article: Government of Peru

Peru is a Presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system. Under the current constitution, the President is the head of state and government; he or she is elected for five years and can only seek re-election after standing down for at least one full term and during his term.[36] The President designates the Prime Minister and, with his or her advice, the rest of the Council of Ministers.[37] Congress is unicameral with 130 members elected for five-year terms.[38] Bills may be proposed by either the executive or the legislative branch; they become law after being passed by Congress and promulgated by the President.[39] The judiciary is nominally independent,[40] though political intervention into judicial matters has been common throughout history and arguably continues today.[41]

The Peruvian government is directly elected, and voting is compulsory for all citizens aged 18 to 70.[42] Congress is currently composed of Gana Perú (47 seats), Fuerza 2011 (37 seats), Alianza Parlamentaria (20 seats), Alianza por el Gran Cambio (12 seats), Solidaridad Nacional (8 seats) and Concertación Parlamentaria (6 seats).[43]

Foreign relations

 
The VI Summit of the Pacific Alliance: President of Peru, Ollanta Humala is first from the right.

Peruvian foreign relations have historically been dominated by border conflicts with neighboring countries, most of which were settled during the 20th century.[44] Recently, Peru disputed its maritime limits with Chile in the Pacific Ocean.[45] Peru is an active member of several regional blocs and one of the founders of the Andean Community of Nations. It is also a participant in international organizations such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar served as UN Secretary General from 1981 to 1991. Former President Fujimori’s tainted re-election to a third term in June 2000 strained Peru’s relations with the United States and with many Latin American and European countries, but relations improved with the installation of an interim government in November 2000 and the inauguration of Alejandro Toledo in July 2001 after free and fair elections.

Peru is planning full integration into the Andean Free Trade Area. In addition, Peru is a standing member of APEC and the World Trade Organization, and is an active participant in negotiations toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Military and law enforcement

Main article: Peruvian Armed Forces

The Peruvian Armed Forces are the military services of Peru, comprising independent Army, Navy and Air Force components. Their primary mission is to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As a secondary mission they participate in economic and social development as well as in civil defense tasks.[46] Conscription was abolished in 1999 and replaced by voluntary military service.[47] The armed forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and to the President as Commander-in-Chief.

The National Police of Peru is often classified as a part of the armed forces. Although in fact it has a different organisation and a wholly civil mission, its training and activities over more than two decades as an anti-terrorist force have produced markedly military characteristics, giving it the appearance of a virtual fourth military service with significant land, sea and air capabilities and approximately 140,000 personnel. The Peruvian armed forces report through the Ministry of Defense, while the National Police of Peru reports through the Ministry of Interior.

Regions

Clickable map of the regions of Peru

Peru is divided into 25 regions and the province of Lima. Each region has an elected government composed of a president and council that serve four-year terms.[48] These governments plan regional development, execute public investment projects, promote economic activities, and manage public property.[49] The province of Lima is administered by a city council.[50] The goal of devolving power to regional and municipal governments was among others to improve popular participation. NGOs played an important role in the decentralisation process and still influence local politics.[51]

Regions

quotation: The good befriend themselves. Sophocles


The good befriend themselves.

Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC) Discuss

Make music part of your life series: Romanian Rhapsody George Enescu


Romanian Rhapsody George Enescu

picture of the day: An early photograph of Stonehenge taken July 1877


An early photograph of Stonehenge taken July 1877https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Stonehenge_1877.JPG

Pope Francis sends support for Day for Life in England and Wales Vatican Radio


Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his good wishes and support to the Catholic Church in England and Wales for this Sunday’s Day for Life. Day for Life is the day dedicated to praying for the protection of human life and raising awareness about its meaning and value at every stage and in every condition.

The Apostolic Nuncio to the United Kingdom, Archbishop Antonio Mennini received the letter from the Pope and conveyed it to the Bishop for Day for Life, Bishop John Sherrington. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing “upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion of the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death.”

Day for Life 2015 focuses on Catholic teaching about appropriate treatment at the end of life. The essential message for the Day is ‘How do we cherish life while we can and accept death when it comes?’

Bishop Sherrington said: “Catholics cherish and celebrate the gift of life but they are not vitalistic in saying that life must be preserved at all costs. Rather, judgements are to be made about types of treatment, taking into account the benefits and burdens of the treatment as well as the person’s total medical condition and well-being. This means there is no obligation to pursue medical treatment when it no longer has any effect or, indeed, harms the patient, or where the risks or burdens of the treatment outweigh the likely benefits. Sometimes difficult decisions need to be made and the views of family and experts are needed. But in such situations these two questions can guide us: “Is this decision loving life?” and “Is this decision accepting the inevitability of death? Please pray that we will always value the precious gift of life.”

Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales. The Day is celebrated in England and Wales this Sunday (26 July) and in Ireland on 4 October 2015. It was celebrated in Scotland on 31 May 2015.

The proceeds of the Day for Life collection to be held in parishes in England and Wales on Sunday 26 July 2015 assist the work of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and other life-related activities supported by the Church.

via Pope Francis sends support for Day for Life in England and Wales Vatican Radio.

Angelus Domini 2015.08.02 : Reserve your seat…


Angelus Domini 2015.08.02

today’s holiday: World Champion Bathtub Race


World Champion Bathtub Race

In 1967, the British Columbian city of Nanaimo decided to mark its centennial anniversary with a race in its Nanaimo Harbor. Thus was born the International World Championship Bathtub Race, the main event of the four-day Nanaimo Marine Festival. The 36-mile race features homemade entries that have the shape and design of a tub and run on a boat motor that does not exceed eight horsepower. Other festival events include a Sail Past on Wheels Fun Parade, a “Kiddies Karnival,” and a fireworks show. More… Discuss

Dalmatia


Dalmatia

Dalmatia, a historic region of Croatia, is located on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea roughly extending from Rijeka (Fiume) to the Gulf of Kotor. It is generally mountainous, with a coastal lowland famed for its scenic beauty and resorts. The population is largely composed of Roman Catholic Croats. However, Eastern Orthodox Serbs and some Italians also live in the area, mainly at Zadar, the historic capital. Dalmatia lends its name to what article of clothing? More… Discuss

make music part of your life series: Johann Strauss II – Morgenblätter – Walzer, Op. 279


Johann Strauss II – Morgenblätter – Walzer, Op. 279

word: coppice


coppice

Definition: (noun) A thicket or grove of small trees or shrubs, especially one maintained by periodic cutting or pruning to encourage suckering, as in the cultivation of cinnamon trees for their bark.
Synonyms: thicket, brush, copse, brushwood
Usage: They determined on walking round Beechen Cliff, that noble hill whose beautiful verdure and hanging coppice render it so striking an object from almost every opening in Bath. Discuss.

great compositions/performances: Mozart – Symphony No. 35 in D, K. 385 (Haffner)


Mozart – Symphony No. 35 in D, K. 385  (Haffner)

make music part of your life series: Johannes Brahms – Clarinet Sonata In E Flat Major Op. 120 No. 2


Johannes Brahms – Clarinet Sonata In E Flat Major Op. 120 No. 2

historic musical bits: Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme (Rostropovich/Kondrashin)


Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme (Rostropovich/Kondrashin)

today’s holiday: Golden Days


Golden Days

Golden Days is a celebration in Fairbanks, Alaska, of the discovery of gold there on July 22, 1902, and the Gold Rush days that followed. This is the largest summertime event in Alaska. The week of activities includes “Fairbanks in Bloom,” billed as the farthest-north flower show, a rubber ducky race, beard and hairy-leg contests, drag races, a golf tournament, concerts, and a grand parade. There’s also a Felix Pedro look-alike contest. Felix Pedrone (remembered as Felix Pedro) was the Italian immigrant who first found gold on a creek near what is now Fairbanks. More… Discuss

quotation: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)


Though it is possible to utter words only with the intention to fulfill the will of God, it is very difficult not to think about the impression which they will produce on men and not to form them accordingly. But deeds you can do quite unknown to men, only for God. And such deeds are the greatest joy that a man can experience.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Discuss

today’s birthday: Selman Waksman (1888)


Selman Waksman (1888)

Waksman was a Russian-American biochemist and microbiologist whose study of organic substances and their decomposition led to the discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin. His four decades of research at Rutgers University in New Jersey led to the discovery of more than a dozen “antibiotics,” a term for antibacterial microbial metabolites he coined in 1941. In 1952, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of streptomycin and its value in treating what disease? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear; Wiley Post Becomes First Pilot to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo (1933)


Wiley Post Becomes First Pilot to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo (1933)

In 1931, American aviator Wiley Post flew around the world with navigator Harold Gatty in 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes, breaking the previous record of 21 days. They published an account of their trip in Around the World in Eight Days. Two years later, Post became the first person to fly around the world alone, a feat he completed in just 7 days and 19 hours. Post died in 1935 when his plane crashed in Alaska with what famous entertainer on board? More… Discuss

The Dandelion


The Dandelion

The dandelion is a perennial herb with a yellow flower head and notched leaves. The flower matures into a globe of fine filaments, called the “dandelion clock.” These downy seed carriers are often blown apart by children playing outdoors. Though many consider the dandelion a lawn pest, it is actually quite useful: its young leaves can be eaten as salad greens and the ground, roasted roots are often consumed as a coffee substitute. What beverage is made from the dandelion’s flowers? More… Discuss

word: amylum


amylum

Definition: (noun) A complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice.
Synonyms: starch
Usage: She was on a strict diet and avoided foods with high levels of amylum, sugar, and saturated fat. Discuss.

today’s holiday: Osorezan Taisai


Osorezan Taisai

Mt. Osore, located on the Shimokita Peninsula in the north of Honshu, Japan, is a spiritual center for many Japanese. It is known as a place where departed souls congregate. During the Osorezan Taisai Festival, or Osorezanrei Grand Festival, people flock to the mountain at Mutsu City, Aomori Prefecture, where psychics endeavor to summon the spirits of the dead by chanting. The priests who cross the weathered slopes of the mountain in procession add to the festival’s grim and ghostly atmosphere. More… Discuss

quotation: Miguel de Cervantes


I do not say a proverb is amiss when aptly and reasonably applied, but to be forever discharging them, right or wrong, hit or miss, renders conversation insipid and vulgar.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) Discuss

today’s birthday: Gregor Mendel (1822)


Gregor Mendel (1822)

Mendel was an Austrian monk who laid the mathematical foundation for the science of genetics. While working in his monastery’s garden in 1854, he began planning the experiments that led him to identify the basic principles of heredity. By crossing different varieties of pea plants, he determined that each parent plant contributes a “factor”—now known as a gene—to its offspring for a particular trait. His findings went unrecognized until the 20th century, when they were rediscovered by whom? More… Discuss

YMCA


YMCA

The Young Men’s Christian Organization (YMCA) was founded in London in 1844 and has as its objective the development of values and behaviors that are consistent with Christian principles; membership is not limited to Christians, however, and women and girls have been accepted as members since World War II. In North America, the YMCA is usually perceived to be primarily a community sports facility, but in practice it utilizes a broad range of other programs, such as what? More… Discuss

quotation: Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends. Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Discuss

picture of today: Douglas ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan



Douglas ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan

Pilot Douglas Corrigan sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly across the Atlantic from New York to Ireland, but he was turned down on the grounds that his plane was in poor condition. Corrigan seemed to accept the ruling, but when he took off from New York on July 17, 1938, he banked sharply to the east and headed out over the ocean. Twenty-eight hours and 13 minutes later, Corrigan landed in Ireland, innocently explaining that his 180-degree wrong turn must have been due to a faulty compass. No one believed Corrigan’s explanation, especially the aviation authorities in both Ireland and America, who suspended the rebellious pilot’s license and ordered his aircraft dismantled. Upon his return to America, ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan was greeted as a hero. More than a million people lined New York’s Broadway for a ticker-tape parade honoring the man who had flown in the face of authority.

Photo: Library of Congress

Saint of the Day for Friday, July 17th, 2015: Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne


quotation: A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. Agatha Christie (1890-1976) Discuss


A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) Discuss

historic musical bits: Claude Debussy: La Mer; Philharmonia Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan (1953)


Claude Debussy: La Mer; Philharmonia Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan (1953)

Sokolov – Bach-Brahms Chaconne for the left hand alone


Sokolov – Bach-Brahms Chaconne for the left hand alone.wmv

great compositions/performances: Rachmaninov – Concerto 1 – Pletnev


Rachmaninov – Concerto 1 – Pletnev

 

make music part of your life series: Willem van Twillert plays, J.S. Bach, Bist du bei mir (BWV 508), Hinsz-organ, Leens


Willem van Twillert plays, J.S. Bach, Bist du bei mir [BWV 508], Hinsz-organ, Leens [NL]

historic musical bits: Igor Stravinsky – Pastorale, pour violon solo et bois


Igor Stravinsky – Pastorale, pour violon solo et bois

historic musical bits: Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan


Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan

Vatican applauds Iran nuclear deal, calls for commitment to make it ‘bear fruit’ :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)



Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi SJ speaks with journalists during a July 14, 2014 press conference. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi SJ speaks with journalists during a July 14, 2014 press conference. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

by Elise Harris

Vatican City, Jul 14, 2015 / 07:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After global powers reached an agreement with Iran Tuesday limiting the country’s nuclear activity, the Vatican said the deal was an important step and expressed their hope the fruits would spread to more than just the nuclear field.

“The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ said in a July 14 statement, shortly after the announcement of the deal.

“It constitutes an important outcome of the negotiations carried out so far, although continued efforts and commitment on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit.”

He said the Holy See hopes these fruits will not be limited to just the nuclear sphere, “but may indeed extend further.”

On Tuesday representatives of the United States, Iran and other nations met in Vienna, reaching a long-awaited deal aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions.

Negotiations between Iran and six world powers – the U.S., the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany official began in 2013 with the election of Hassan Rouhani, the seventh and current president of Iran.

The formal July 14 announcement of the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” comes at the end of more than two weeks of intense discussion, during which negotiators surpassed three self-imposed deadlines, the original having been set for June 30.

According to CNN, the U.S. congress is reported to have 60 days to review the plan.

After the April 2 agreement on the initial framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the head of the U.S. Bishops’ international peace committee, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., offered his support, and called on the U.S. Congress not to “undermine” the deal.

His warning came as the Senate was set to debate the bipartisan Corker-Menendez bill, S. 615, which allowed congress to make the review of the final agreement with Iran.

The framework set in April reduced the number of Iran’s centrifuges by two-thirds, down to just over 6,000. It limited the level of uranium that may be enriched and the amount of low-enriched uranium stockpiled. No new uranium enrichment facilities may be constructed for 15 years.

The underground nuclear facility at Fordow must be turned into a research facility, and cannot research uranium enrichment there for 15 years.

Nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be lifted if the country abides by the framework, but sanctions related to “terrorism, human rights abuses and ballistic missiles” will remain.

Bishop Cantu warned Congress not to get in the way of the final agreement, the “alternative” to which “leads toward armed conflict.”

“(O)ur Committee continues to oppose Congressional efforts that seek to undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multi-party agreement more difficult to achieve and implement. The alternative to an agreement leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church,” he said.

Iran’s hostility to its neighbors in the Middle East is all the more reason for the international agreement on its nuclear program, Bishop Cantu insisted.

“As we have noted in the past, Iran’s statements and actions have threatened its neighbors, especially Israel, and contributed to instability in the region,” he said. “We hope the agreement is a first step in fostering greater stability and dialogue in the Middle East.”

Pope Francis also praised the plan in his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on Easter Sunday, saying that “in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework that had been recently been agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”

via Vatican applauds Iran nuclear deal, calls for commitment to make it ‘bear fruit’ :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

picture of the day: The Trinity Atomic Bomb Test



The Trinity Atomic Bomb Test

Just before dawn on July 16, 1945, the first atomic test bomb was exploded at a site called Trinity in the New Mexican desert. It was the culmination of 28 months of intense scientific research conducted under the leadership of physicist Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (seen above) under the code name Manhattan Project. The successful atomic test was witnessed by only one journalist, William L. Laurence of the New York Times, who described seeing the blinding explosion: ‘One felt as though he had been privileged to…be present at the moment of the Creation when the Lord said: Let There be Light.’ Oppenheimer’s own thoughts from the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita were very different: ‘I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.’

Photo: Library of Congress

Saint of the Day for Thursday, July 16th, 2015: St. Carmen


Image of St. Carmen

St. Carmen

According to my resources, the name Carmen is a derivation of Carmel which is one of the titles given to Our Blessed Mother, namely, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is the patronal feast of the … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

quotation: Robert Louis Stevenson


To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: First Test of a Nuclear Weapon (1945) One of the darkest day in human history!


First Test of a Nuclear Weapon (1945)

Called the Trinity test, the first test of a nuclear weapon was conducted by the US in New Mexico on what is now White Sands Missile Range. The detonation of the implosion-design plutonium bomb—the same type used on Nagasaki, Japan, a few weeks later—was equivalent to the explosion of approximately 20 kilotons of TNT, and is usually considered the beginning of the Atomic Age. It is said that the scientists who observed the detonation set up a betting pool on what the result would be. Who won? More… Discuss

word: flapjack


flapjack

Definition: (noun) A flat cake of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle.
Synonyms: flannel-cake, battercake, flapcake, hotcake, pancake, griddlecake
Usage: His flapjacks were so thin and light that they could have passed for crêpes. Discuss.

today’s holiday: St. Swithin’s Day


St. Swithin’s Day

When Swithin, the bishop of Winchester, England, died in 862, he was buried according to his wish, outside the cathedral in the churchyard, in a place where the rain from the eaves poured down. This request was reversed after his canonization, when clerical authorities tried to move his remains to a site within the church. According to legend, the heavens opened and there was a heavy rainfall—a show of the saint’s displeasure. This led to the popular belief that if it rains on St. Swithin’s Day, it will rain for 40 days; but if it is fair, it will be dry for 40 days. More… Discus

Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Discuss

today’s birthday: Inigo Jones (1573)


Inigo Jones (1573)

Jones was one of England’s first great architects. After studying in Italy, he brought Renaissance architecture to England. His best known buildings are the Queen’s House at Greenwich, London, and the Banqueting House at Whitehall, which is often considered his greatest achievement. For his design of Covent Garden, London’s first square, Jones is credited with the introduction of town planning in England. Jones was also involved in stage design for theater and is credited with what innovations? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: John Ball Is Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered (1381)


John Ball Is Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered (1381)

Ball, an English priest and social reformer, gained fame as a roving preacher advocating ecclesiastical poverty and social equality, which brought him into conflict with the archbishop of Canterbury. He was jailed three times and excommunicated in 1376. Four years later, he became one of the instigators of the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381—the first great popular rebellion in English history—and was later captured and hanged, drawn, and quartered. His unconventional behavior earned him what nickname? More… Discuss

Medicine Men


Medicine Men

As far back as Paleolithic times, Native Americans and other traditional peoples have believed the medicine man to be in possession of supernatural healing powers, such as the ability to inflict pain, promote fertility, and secure good hunting and fishing. Many Native Americans regarded illness as resulting from the entry of malignancy into the body; accordingly, their medicine men try to cast out the illness using ritual techniques such as bloodletting, the application of herbs, and what else? More… Discuss

word: gegenschein


gegenschein

Definition: (noun) A faint glowing spot in the sky, exactly opposite the position of the sun.
Synonyms: counterglow
Usage: The gegenschein is so faint that it cannot be seen if there is any moonlight or if it falls in the vicinity of the Milky Way. Discuss.

Canal Saint-Martin: the Paris tourist hotspot full of rubbish — The Observers (@Observers) July 14, 2015