Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
According to a New York Times report, a plume of radiation has traveled to the East Coast and minimal levels of radioactivity have been detected in Charlottesville.
"There are very minute levels, just traces of radiation. The two principle isotopes we can expect to find are Iodine 131 and Cesium 137," explained Grant Goodell, a research professor in the University of Virginia department of environmental sciences.
Iodine 131 and Cesium 137 are dangerous byproducts that in large amounts can cause cancer.The levels are so small, however, experts are adamant there's not enough radiation in Charlottesville to do any damage.
To put the level of radiation in prospective, Professor Goodell says the amount of radiation is no more than what one would find in a banana.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."
President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts
On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.
In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Saturday, November 6, 2010
So when the Canadian couple hit it big in the lottery this year, they decided to give it away -- all of it. Since their July win, the elderly couple has donated nearly every cent of their $11.2 million winnings to charity. Call it the Larges' largess.
"What you've never had, you never miss," Violet Large, 78, told The Chronicle Herald in Canada. She and her 74-year-old husband, who live in Nova Scotia, said they first made sure their family was taken care of. But then, she said, they decided the money was "a big headache."
So in a matter of just four months, they gave away the rest of their millions to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local churches, according to The Chronicle Herald. They also donated money to the hospitals where Violet Large was fighting cancer this year.
The Larges play the lottery twice a week and say they'd never won more than $1,000 before this year. But July 14 was different. After choosing numbers in "Lotto 649" that day, Violet Large said she first thought they'd won only $10. Then, she took a closer look and was in shock. "'Oh my God,'" she said she told Allen that day at the couple's home, according to the Truro
Daily News. "I said, 'Come and check these numbers.'"
But Allen Large, a retired steel worker, said he was more concerned with his wife's health than with the cash. "That money that we won was nothing," he said. "We have each other."
Violet, who has completed her treatment, told the paper that she and Allen were happy to be done with the money and have no interest in living extravagantly. "We're the lucky ones," she said. "I have no complaints." The humble couple, who did not immediately return a call for comment today from AOL News, will not say how much they gave to each charity.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
At the same time, the famed monument is also reopening its third story, closed since the 1970s, which offers a breathtaking view of Rome.
The two new attractions aim to boost visitor numbers at the site, which is already Italy's single most visited monument at some 19,000 people a day.
Crowds were already flocking to get up to the 33 meter (108 feet) third ring to enjoy its spectacular views Friday, while fans of ancient bloodletting will have to wait until Tuesday when groups of 25, strictly by reservation, will take the first steps by members of the public into the underground pits.
According to Colosseum site director Rossella Rea, the gladiatorial areas are all the more fascinating because "they were completely buried in the 5th century AD and have been perfectly conserved."
"They never suffered the depredation which the surface parts of the monument were victims to," ANSA quoted her as saying.
The so-called 'hypogeum' (literally, 'underground') has been restored in a project that has also installed new, muted lighting.
Rea said the aim was to recapture "some of the atmosphere" of the breathless moments before the games commenced, when the armored or naked fighters and the wild animals were hauled up through 80 trapdoors.
The visit starts from the Porta Libitinaria, named after the goddess of the dead Libitina, through which the gladiators marched in and from which their corpses were taken out, ANSA said.
Construction on the city's iconic monument started between 70 and 72 AD under the Emperor Vespasian.
It was completed in 80 AD by his son Titus. Titus inaugurated it with 100 days of games including the recreation of a sea battle between Romans and Greeks.
Friday, August 13, 2010
City Hall said Friday that Giorgia Boscolo had passed the practical exam to become a gondolier. She is the first woman to pass this test, considered the most difficult of those required to pilot a boat on Venice's canals.
Boscolo must pass one further test, a written, multiple-choice exam, in order to join the guild of official gondoliers.
Deputy Mayor Sandro Simionato says her success breaks "900 years of male dominance" in the profession, and that it will likely inspire more women to try.
A German woman once won the right to transport guests of a Venice hotel, but only aboard the hotel's gondola.
According to the ANSA news agency, Boscolo is a 24-year-old mother of two.
The White House says President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE'-tree med-VYEH'-dyev) Thursday morning to express his condolences for the losses his country has suffered. The wildfires have been sparked by the hottest summer ever recorded in Russia, and Moscow's death rate has doubled to 700 people a day.
The White House says several U.S. agencies, including the Defense Department, and the state of California are airlifing firefighting equipment to Russia to help combat the fires.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
"I am sad—selling off your islands or areas that belong to the people of Greece should be used as the last resort," said the director of one property agency. "But the first thing is to develop the economy and attract foreign domestic investment to create the necessary infrastructure. The point is to get money."