Saudi: Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta as 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 12:00
Rescued migrants rest aboard the Ocean Viking ship at the Mediterranean Sea, August 21, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video. MSF via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
France said Friday it will take 150 of the 356 migrants disembarking from a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the 150 will be welcomed in France “in the coming days.”

He added: “Together, we managed to build a European solution.”

The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking, with a stated passenger capacity of around 200, picked up the people in four rescue efforts off Libya from Aug. 9-12.

The migrants are being disembarked in Malta from the vessel and distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

MSF welcomed Malta’s decision to take ashore the migrants rescued. But the group also questioned why it took so long, calling for permanent European solutions.

Jay Berger, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders on board the Ocean Viking, said: “We are relieved that the long ordeal for the 356 people on board with us if finally over but was it necessary to keep them waiting for two weeks of torment?”

In a statement, he added: “This is about people who have fled desperate conditions in their homelands and have survived the horrific violence in Libya.”

He said once the rescued migrants have left the ship, the Ocean Viking will continue with its mission after restocking supplies and refueling.

The European Union also welcomed Malta’s decision and the pledges made by the European countries to welcome the migrants.

EU Migration Commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos said in a statement that “these commitments must now be honored and materialized swiftly.”

The EU’s border and asylum agencies will help screen people before they are relocated.

5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

Europe is made up of 50 fascinating countries, each of which has its own individual charm while also sharing similarities with its neighbors. From the heartland of two of the world’s greatest civilizations, to Mediterranean islands and mountainous regions, it is a continent of immense diversity. Its cities are often considered among the most romantic on the planet and visited year-round by couples and honeymooners. Here’s five spots to visit for when you want to add a touch of romance to your travels.

Amsterdam

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Rent a bike and explore the endless miles of canals that meander around the Dutch capital. Stop at a waterfront bar for lunch and admire a cityscape characterized by medieval merchant houses. At night, antique street lamps illuminate the cobblestone streets to create a fairytale-like setting. If biking sounds too energetic, consider renting a boat, or go one better by staying overnight on a houseboat. In summer, bring a picnic to Vondelpark and be sure to cross to quieter Amsterdam-Noord to hang out in the shadow of a windmill. Of course, there’s the coffee shops and a superb collection of museums to visit, too.

Budapest

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Budapest straddles the mighty Danube with magnificent works of architecture rising up on both sides of the river. Soak up the sights from one of the benches that line the embankment, traverse the zigzagging alleyways of Castle Hill and find a quiet spot to snuggle in the leafy grounds of the Citadella. After a busy day of sightseeing, you’ll want to indulge in some therapeutic treatments at thermal spas, such as Rudas Baths and Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Finish your evening with a champagne and sunset Danube cruise.

Florence

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Forget Rome and Venice and opt for this glorious city in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. Renaissance art and architecture give Florence an old-world charm like no other, and you can pass the time strolling hand in hand through the narrow lanes of the Centro Storico. Take breaks at pavement cafes and grab a gelato at a traditional ice cream parlor. Sit on the steps of Piazzale Michelangelo for exquisite views of the city, and don’t miss the sunsets on the Arno River. If you simply want to relax, head to the beautiful gardens of Giardino Bardini and Giardino di Boboli.

Mykonos

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From kicking back on secluded beaches during the daytime, to dinner and drinks at Little Venice, Mykonos is a dream come true for couples. Jump on a quad bike and feel the breeze in your hair as you travel the twisting, hilly roads to stunning beaches. Agios Sostis and Lia Beach are two of many perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming in crystalline waters. Dress up for some excellent photo opportunities in Little Venice, whose quaint whitewashed and blue houses could have been lifted straight from a movie set. Why not take a snorkeling tour and spot exotic fish together?

Vienna

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Once home to the House of Habsburg, Austria’s imperial capital has enchantment at the turn of every corner. With labyrinthine lanes, arcaded courtyards and grand palaces, the Old City is a wonderful place to amble aimlessly and discover hidden treasures. Ride a horse-drawn carriage between major attractions or see the city from the water on a Danube river cruise. Make sure to spend an evening at either the Burgtheater or Vienna State Opera. Smell the roses in springtime at Volksgarten and follow footpaths through Vienna Woods. December’s Christmas markets add another welcome dose of romance.

5 European Cities That Are Breathtaking in Spring

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 European Cities That Are Breathtaking in Spring

Spring is the perfect season to visit Europe. Airfare and lodging options are more reasonable, and museums and attractions aren’t as crowded. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, which European city should you choose? Here’s a list of potential destinations that are absolutely breathtaking in the spring.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

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Ideal for travelers with a modest budget, Budapest is a city that lies on both banks of the Danube. The city was initially three separate towns of Buda, Óbuda and Pest until they were combined in the year 1873. Today, you can visit Budapest in the springtime, stroll down cobblestone streets and enjoy food-themed festivals that highlight Chilean and Moroccan cuisine. Visit the historic Jewish quarter, go to the opera or see a play at a theater. Don’t forget to check out the Aquincum, a museum housing the reconstructed remains of an ancient Roman city.

Paris, France

Paris, France

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Sure, Ella Fitzgerald sang the praises of “April in Paris.” But May and June are even better. That’s because during those two months, the sun is out for 16 hours before it finally sets. This allows you to enjoy so many outdoor activities like sipping wine at a cafe in the sun, strolling by the banks of the Seine or taking a romantic boat ride with your significant other.

What’s spring without flowers? Fortunately, Paris offers plenty of green space for quiet reflection and relaxation. The city boasts over 100 gardens, from simple pocket parks to more flamboyant ones such as the Tuileries.

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland

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Arts lovers will definitely need to consider a springtime visit to Glasgow, Scotland. Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to check out the work of various artists, including the designs of artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in the year 1868 and is considered one of Scotland’s most influential artists. If you visit Glasgow in April, you shouldn’t miss Glasgow International, a bi-annual art festival featuring contemporary art.

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Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne, Switzerland

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Located on Lake Geneva, Lausanne is a Swiss city that offers medieval architecture and beautiful vineyards. A quaint mixture of holiday resort and commercial town, Lausanne is a wonderful place to visit in the spring. Tiny, narrow roads and winding alleyways comprise the city, and many of those roads and alleys contain cafes and quaint shops. The city abounds with opportunities to eat mouthwatering cuisine. And if you visit Lausanne in the spring, don’t forget to visit its parks which boast Mediterranean plant species. There’s plenty to satisfy art lovers too. Art museums, theater, music productions and ballet performed by the world-renowned Béjart Ballet are just a few of the cultural activities available in Lausanne.

Lisse, Netherlands

Lisse, Netherlands

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When you think of Netherlands, you think of tulips. Lots of them. And that’s exactly what you’ll get when you visit Lisse, Netherlands, in the spring. If flowers are your thing, check out Keukenhof, a lovely garden located in Lisse. It has 7 million planted flower bulbs, making it one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Flowers are planted in a specific pattern to fit a theme that changes each year. So the effect will always be stunning, no matter how many times you visit Keukenhof over the years. And, of course, since this is the Netherlands, the garden has plenty of tulips. Don’t miss the rare black tulips that are featured there as well.

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

Unless you magically skipped world history in school, you’ve probably learned of the biggest ancient cultures over the years. Whether it was the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, or the aboriginal peoples of Australia, we know that this world has served as a home to shifting civilizations over the centuries. But while some cultures like those mentioned above tend to get consistent attention, others are lesser-known and are usually limited to academic communities. If you thought you knew about ancient cultures, here are four often-overlooked civilizations to expand your knowledge even further.

Caral Supe

Credit: Rudimencial / iStock

Location: Modern-day Peru

When you think of ancient cultures based in modern Latin America, we usually think of the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations. And maybe if you’re more well-read on the topic, you might know of the Olmec. But the region is rich in distinctive Pre-Columbian civilizations, including the Caral Supe. This culture dates back to 5,000 BCE and is centralized around the Supe River in Peru. The Caral Supe are also known as the Note Chico. So, what makes this civilization so unique?

Even though the culture pre-dates the ceramic age, archeologists were able to find a major site called the Sacred City of Caral-Supe with intact structures that included six massive pyramids, numerous temples, various plazas, and an amphitheater. While the site was first “discovered” by earlier archeologists in 1905, it was left untouched until a 1994 excavation because it didn’t contain gold, silver, or pottery. In fact, those six pyramids are so massive that they were initially mistaken for hills. Today the Sacred City of Caral-Supe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can visit.

Indus/Harappan

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Location: Modern-day Pakistan & India

The Indus or Harappan civilization is one of the earliest recorded on the Indian subcontinent. However, not much is known about them since researchers have yet to crack their ancient language to translate any of their writings, drawings, or stone carvings. The culture existed between 3300 and 1600 BCE and occupied a region that stretched between Pakistan and India in the Indus Valley—hence their name.

Even though archeologists and anthropologists have been unable to decipher their language, the Harappan left behind structures that provide clear insight into their capabilities and ingenuity. This culture is best known for its advanced sewage and drainage systems, well-built granaries, and impressive walls. And according to artifacts, the Harappan believed in dentistry, too. So what happened to this culture? Experts believe climate change was the culprit that caused sustained rainfall reduction. This led to population decline as groups left in search of wetter regions.

Sanxingdui

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Location: Modern-day China

Ancient cultures can be found nearly anywhere in the world. It can be hard to believe, in some cases, that there could be anything from pre-civilizations to long-standing cultures. But even in a country like China—which has a rich and ancient history—the current culture wasn’t the first. The Sanxingdui is a Bronze Age culture that lived in what is now the Sichuan province of China. So what do we know about this culture? Sadly, aside from beautiful artwork that has been discovered over the years, the Sanxingdui is a bit of an enigma. To date, no written words have ever been found from the archeological sites.

The culture is best known for creating massive carvings out of bronze and intricate engravings on delicate materials like jade. Artifacts from their settlements were first discovered in 1929 with later discoveries in 1986 unearthing eight-foot-tall statues. Experts theorize that geological events led to the settlement’s abandonment somewhere between 1200 to 1100 BCE. Geologic evidence shows that a possible earthquake and landslide took place 2,800 to 3,000 years ago that could have cut off their access to the Minjiang River. But a nearby settlement, Jinsha, features nearly identical artifacts that point to the possibility that the Sanxingdui relocated there.

The Bell-Beakers

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Location: Modern-day Europe & northern Africa

Who built Stonehenge? Experts have proof that the Bell-Beakers heavily contributed to creating this unique structure. However, the culture is so obscure that they’re named purely for their most commonly-found artifact—shaped pottery that looks like an upside down bell. The Bell-Beakers are believed to have lived between 2800 and 1800 BCE and occupied lands across Europe from the present-day United Kingdom to the Czech Republic and as far south as northern Africa.

More recent research has shown that the Bell-Beakers weren’t the first people who inhabited the present-day U.K., but they ultimately became the dominant genetic contributors. DNA evidence of prehistoric skeletons reveal that a massive migration occurred over the course of hundreds of years, nearly replacing the previous Neolithic cultures. Present-day Brits have more in common genetically with the Bell-Beakers than the Neolithic peoples.

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5 Oldest Cities in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Oldest Cities in Europe

Walking through any country in Europe is like stepping back in time. There are cathedrals in Italy that are hundreds of years old. There are castles in Britain that have been standing since medieval times. There are ruins of ancient civilizations in Greece and Ireland waiting to be explored. Some of the oldest cities in the world are located in Europe, and many of them date back nearly ten thousand years (which seems pretty incredible for people who live in relatively young countries like the United States). Here is a look at the five oldest cities in Europe, as well as some insight into their long and storied history.

Lisbon, Portugal

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According to its tourism website, Lisbon, Portugal, is one of the least-visited capitals in the world. Established in 1,200 B.C. by the Phoenicians, Lisbon is the fifth oldest city in Europe, and and also one of the oldest cities in the world. After the Celts settled the area, the Phoenicians built a civilization here called Ulissipo. This civilization was later conquered by the Greeks. Then it was taken over by the Carthaginians. After that, the city was seized by the Romans, then the Germans, then Islamic conquerors, all the time absorbing bits and pieces of all of these cultures. Finally, after changing hands (and names) a few more times, things settled down, and Lisbon became a stable and important city due to its location on the sea and the expansion of Portugal’s maritime trade.

Chania, Greece

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Greece is home to nearly all of the oldest cities in Europe, beginning with the fourth oldest, Chania. While it is difficult to say with certainty when most cities were founded, most sources agree that Chania has been in existence since around 4,000 B.C. Ruins have been found in the area that date back to the Minoan period (which took place between 2,100 and 1,100 B.C.), but other artifacts suggest that the city’s history goes back even further, to the latter part of the Stone Age. The site is rich in historical finds, such as pottery, paintings and coins, many of which you can see in museums today. The city was reportedly destroyed sometime in the 800s, but was rebuilt by the Venetians as the modern, beautiful, coastal city that stands there today.

Argos, Greece

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Argos, Greece, is located on the Argolid plain in the Peloponnese. It is historically significant due in part to the fact that it is one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Just like with Chania, Argos’ official founding date is uncertain, but it is thought to have been settled around 5,000 B.C. People have lived in this area since prehistoric times, and continue to live there today. The ancient version of Argos was built on two large hills, Aspis and Larissa, and was a very significant setting for much of the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods of history. Today, visitors can still see the remains of Mycenaean tombs and theaters, and can walk along the same paths that the city’s founding fathers did so many centuries before.

Athens, Greece

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According to The Telegraph, Athens, one of Greece’s most well-known cities, has been inhabited since 5,000 B.C., and likely much earlier. Like many Greek cities, this one has a particularly interesting origin story based in mythology. Legend has it that the city got its name after the goddess Athena won a contest against the water god Poseidon. They were competing to see whose powers were more valuable, with Athena planting an olive seed and Poseidon bringing forth a stream of water from a rock. The olive tree that grew there was deemed more important as it brought life to the area, and the city was named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. The city later went on to become the birthplace of democracy. Just like in Argos, many of the original structures of the city still stand, so tourists to the area can see first-hand where all of these incredible things happened.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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There is much debate over which city is truly the oldest in Europe (as this is a very difficult thing to prove), but many people believe Plovdiv, Bulgaria, is number one. This city was reportedly founded in about 6,000 B.C. It was built around an important hill called Nebet Tepe, and was expanded and strengthened by the Thracians over the course of the Iron Age. It changed names and hands many times after this, and continued to be inhabited for thousands of years due to its ideal military position (any place with a hilltop lookout is a good place to direct an army) and its status as an important trade center. Today, one can still see evidence of all of the cultures that came before, including the remains of a partially unburied Roman stadium, which peeks out from beneath the city’s main street.

10 Etiquette Rules to Know Before Visiting Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Etiquette Rules to Know Before Visiting Europe

As the majority of Americans are the descendants of European immigrants, you’d think there would be more cultural similarities between the two. But thanks to a few centuries of separation, there are certain differences that have cropped up that are always getting American tourists into trouble, as well as ruining our reputation abroad. Bone up on your European etiquette by following these 10 tips.

In General | Don’t Tip Like an American

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Tipping culture in America is out of control. Put simply, we’re entrenching ourselves in a custom that shortchanges (pun intended) everyone. In contrast, most countries in Europe operate without tipping, so while staff are aware that Americans are prone to tipping, they’re neither expecting it nor depending on it. Instead, use tipping the way we say it works here at home, by which we mean throw a bartender or waiter a few extra euro only when the service is truly exceptional.

In General | Don’t Rush Your Meal

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On a related note, since waitstaff isn’t working for tips, they’re not focused on turnover and won’t check in on your meal as often as someone might in America. That creates a certain amount of dissonance between the paces of American and European meals. We don’t mean to insult American waitstaff, but the emphasis on tips also emphasizes turnover, which can rush diners. European staff is more focused on doing a good job than a fast one, so relax and enjoy your meal.

In General | Dress Yourself Up a Bit

Credit: Willy Barton/Shutterstock

To the untrained eye, it might seem like most Europeans are on their way to some kind of meeting, with most people in pants that aren’t jeans and shirts that aren’t T. If you’re abroad in Europe, it’s best to take a cue from this and pack clothes that fit the setting. Button-downs, nicer pants and more formal footwear are a good idea. In fact, on that last point, Americans take a lot of flak overseas for our proclivity for sneakers. Unless you’re doing a lot of outdoorsy walking or playing a lot of sports, you might be best served leaving the Nikes at home.

Continental Europe | End Your Meal at 5:25

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Apparently there’s an American dining style, which, for all the jokes we hear about Golden Corral and cheeseburgers, we think might just be Europeans making fun of us again. Instead, we think it’s safer to go with the Continental style. When you’ve finished your meal, place your utensils at the 5:25 position on your plate.  Traditionally, the fork’s tines would be facing down, but modern dining etiquette allows them to be left up as well. That will show your server you’ve eaten everything you want to and they can come to clear your place, all without interrupting the flow of your evening.

Portugal & Rome | It’s Not Rude to Refuse Extra Snacks

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It’s not a guarantee that someone’s going to do it to you, but sometimes servers will bring unrequested snacks to the table in restaurants in Rome and Portugal. If that happens in America, in our experience at least, it’s on the house. Not so much overseas. You’ll probably find these on the bill at the end of your meal, which could potentially cause some problems, particularly if you’re traveling on a budget. Don’t feel too bad about refusing these dishes, since you’re going to be paying for them anyway. On the flip side, you could eat them too. But again, don’t feel bad saying no.

France | Put Your Bread Right on the Table

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You might think going out to a French meal means you’re going to have more knives, forks, bowls, glasses and plates than you know what to do with. That might be true for all but the last, as you’ll at least be lacking a bread plate. The French place their bread right on the table next to their plates in all but the fanciest dining experiences. It’s weird at first, but by the end, you’ll probably be wondering why you were scared to do it in the first place.

Great Britain | Don’t Mess With the Tea

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While it might be the Irish who have the British beat on per capita tea consumption, the British are the sticklers for how people should take it. You’ll have it with milk and no sugar and be thankful for it, especially since it was a Brit who made it for you and offered it to you in the first place.

It’s also understandable if you want to ignore this particular piece of advice if you find yourself having tea in the U.K. Just know you could get some looks.

Norway | Don’t Talk to People You Don’t Know … Unless They’re Drunk

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Norwegians are a surprisingly reserved nation. We say surprisingly because their major claim to fame is the Viking penchant for outgoing behavior. But a modern Norwegian has assured us it’s a bad idea to talk to people we don’t know in virtually every conceivable situation. Buses, trains, walking around, in shops, they’re pretty much all off limits for the kind of random amiability Americans are reasonably accustomed to. Though, they did clarify that all bets are off once alcohol’s entered the picture. Evidently the only thing standing between us and being friends with any random person in Norway is a few pints.

Ireland | Buy Your Round

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Essentially, when a small group of friends or family goes out drinking and plans on staying out for some time, it falls to each person to buy everyone else’s drinks, but usually only once. To put a finer point on it, if you go out with five friends, each friend should expect to buy five drinks. If you try to skip one, or genuinely don’t know what’s happening, you’ll find some bad blood with people who are otherwise hard to upset.

Greece | Nodding Means No

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Nodding is such a common behavior for us that it almost feels like a human instinct instead of invented behavior. But the people of Greece basically switch our “yes” and “no” head movements, which we assume has led to many a misunderstanding between American tourists and Greek locals. We commend anyone for trying to adjust to the new head indicators, but it might be better to simply switch to verbal responses while you’re there.

American Christians Love The Father Of Habitual Liars And His Puppets

American Christians Love The Father Of Habitual Liars And His Puppets

 

I used to think that the people in the U.S. who call themselves Christians would never ever back a person who is well known to be a constant liar, I have realized that I was wrong. After all when a person is know to lie constantly how could anyone ever trust anything that comes out of their mouth? Even when such a person is telling you things that you want to hear, then you are the one who is a total idiot for listing to them and believing that what they are telling you is the truth. Top that with the knowledge of the fact that this liar is a total idiot who basically knows nothing about the real world or your life experiences. I am totally embarrassed that we have such a person as our President. If Ms. Hillary had won (which she actually did by 3 million votes) we would still have had a habitual liar for our President. About the only differences in the two is that she is actually smart and that it is believed by some that she has her own set of balls, that is compared to Mr. Trump who has never had any.

 

I have studied the Book of Revelation for decades now and there was only one part of it that I was having trouble with and this comes back around to the people who consider themselves to be Christians here in the States. I know that what I am getting ready to write will anger many people, Christians and non-Christians alike but I refuse to lie just to try to sugarcoat the truth. Near the end of days the Devil himself will sit upon the Temple Mount as the King of the world. The Great Whore of Revelation is the Catholic Church who will sit upon the seven continents and the Babylon of Revelation is “the eternal city”, Rome. The Devil’s army will destroy the Catholic Church and God will destroy Rome. The Catholic Church has fornicated with the world now for two centuries, the “Church” is the “Bride of Christ” that He is coming back to get but this ‘Bride’ is highly unholy and will be destroyed. There will be a time where 10 Nations will control most all of the world’s governments and they will give their power to “the Beast”, the Devil. Then the 10 powerful Nations will filter down to three and they will attack Israel and will not leave one stone upon another. You have the Orient which will be controlled by the atheistic China, the middle of the three will be Europe which will be controlled by the atheistic Nation of Russia, then you come to the Americas. Here had been my quandary, what Nation besides the U.S. would be strong enough to gather the other Nations together as one to go and fight against Israel. I had thought that it would be impossible for it to actually be the the U.S. but I have been proven wrong by how our Nations people have fallen in behind the evil Demonic Republican and Democratic political parties.

 

I do know that actual Christians will never fall in line like that but the problem is a financial one for most all people. The time is not far off that currency will be worthless, everything that we can buy, sale, trade or eat will be done through the chip in our hands, forearms. When you can’t work, buy food, gas, transportation or a place to live, most all people will give in, even those who call themselves Christians. For those of you who have never bothered to read or study the Book of Revelation, it says very plainly what Armageddon is. It is when Satan gatherers the Nations together to fight against Christ and His Angels at His return. I had always hoped that the U.S. would never be part of the Devils unholy army but Christians backing and voting for habitual liars has proven that hope to be an empty one. May God have mercy on our ignorant Souls because the Devil sure as Hell, will not. When Christ returns the Devil and His Angels will be cast straightway into Hell as they have already had their judgement day. All that will be left will be the humans who were tricked, fooled into believing in and Worshiping the Beast and the humans will be crushed like grapes in a wine press and their blood will run to the horses reins. Then, everyone of us will have a date at the Judgement Seat of Christ whether we did or did not fall in line with our evil Satanic Leaders.

108 degrees in Paris: Europe is shattering heat records this week

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

108 degrees in Paris: Europe is shattering heat records this week

Paris reported its highest temperature ever this week as Europe’s second major heat wave of the summer continues.

People in Eindhoven, North Brabant, The Netherlands cool down in a kiddie pool in front of a restaurant during record heat.
Record heat has gripped Europe this week, as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium set new all-time temperature highs.
 Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Europe is now baking under its second heat wave this month, but this latest is one for the record books.

On Thursday, Paris set its all-time temperature high, reaching 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The United Kingdom’s Met Office reported that London’s Heathrow Airport reached 98.4 degrees, a record for July. Cambridge, England, heat climbed to 100.5 degrees, marking only the second time triple-digit temperatures have been recorded in the United Kingdom.

Several countries also set all-time heat records this week: The Netherlands heated up to 105.3 degrees. Germany reached 106.7. Temperatures in Belgium soared to 103.8.

Greta Thunberg

@GretaThunberg

42,6 °C in Paris. The heat records are not just being broken all over the place… they are being smashed.
New record in Paris by over 2° and in Lille by almost 3° C… https://twitter.com/meteofrance/status/1154401878177996800 

Météo-France

@meteofrance

42,6 °C relevés @paris à 16h32, et la température pourrait encore augmenter #Canicule #vigilancerouge

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The high temperatures have done more than make people sweat; French officials observed that drownings are up 30 percent compared to the same time last year, with at least 60 deaths indirectly attributed to the ongoing heat as more unskilled swimmers sought relief in the water.

At least five deaths in France have directly resulted from the heat. Such fatalities can occur when prolonged exposure to high temperatures prevents the body from cooling off, leading to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Police in the UK have also recovered bodies of swimmers this week. Health officials in Belgium issued a code red warning for the whole country.

The searing weather has also degraded infrastructure across Europe. Two nuclear reactors at a power plant in France shut down because the water they used for cooling became too hot. The heat forced trains to slow down in the UK due to risks of heat causing rails to expand. The weather may also have contributed to the breakdown of a Eurostar train in Belgium on Wednesday that stranded more than 600 passengers in a sweltering tunnel for two hours. Heat is also threatening iconic landmarks like the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Its roof collapsed in a fire in April, but the cathedral’s chief architect Philippe Villeneuve warned that high temperatures could dry out the church’s fragile masonry and lead to more structural failures.

Cyclists in the ongoing Tour de France have even strapped on ice vests to stay cool.

A cyclist of the Netherlands’ Jumbo-Visma cycling team wears a special plastic bib with several pockets filled with ice due to a heat wave during the Tour de France cycling race  on July 23, 2019.
A cyclist of the Netherlands’ Jumbo-Visma cycling team wears a special plastic bib with several pockets filled with ice due to a heat wave during the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2019.
 Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Europe’s ongoing heat wave is a reminder of just how vulnerable we are to extreme heat, even in wealthy parts of the world that have the resources to cope. And the risks of extreme temperatures are only increasing as populations grow and the climate changes.

Europe’s ordinarily temperate climate makes it more vulnerable to extreme heat

Countries in Europe are vulnerable to extreme heat for several reasons. One is that triple-digit temperatures are unusual across the continent. As a result, people aren’t used to the extreme heat and are unprepared to deal with it by staying hydrated or taking frequent breaks away from high temperatures.

And because super-high temperatures in Europe are so rare, buildings are not designed to cope with it. Air conditioning isn’t common — about 2 percent of German homes are air-conditioned — and most homes and offices are designed to stay warm in European winters rather than passively cool off in scorching summers.

Another factor in Europe’s heat wave is that 72 percent of the population lives in cities and suburbs surrounded by heat-trapping concrete and asphalt, so people are densely concentrated in areas that warm up more than their surroundings.

These heat islands continue to dissipate heat even after the sun sets, so nighttime temperatures stay high. That poses another health risk since it means people have a harder time finding relief from the heat, adding to their cumulative heat exposure. People who already have an underlying condition like high blood pressure stand to suffer the most.

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After an exceptionally hot day for some, it’s going to be a warm and humid evening with temperatures barely dropping overnight

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History has shown us that heat waves in Europe can be extremely deadly. In 2003, a heat wave almost as intense as the current one killed upward of 70,000 people across the continent, mainly among the elderly in homes that became too hot. Since then, European health officials have taken heat far more seriously, proactively issuing public health alerts and opening public cooling centers during periods of extreme heat. The death tolls of subsequent heat waves have not come anywhere close.

However, the planet is getting hotter, and heat waves will only become longer, more frequent, and more intense. And Europe is already getting a lot of heat. All of Europe’s hottest summers in the past 500 years have been in the last 17 years.

“Such intense and widespread heatwaves carry the signature of man-made climate change,” said Johannes Cullmann, director of World Meteorological Organization’s climate and water department, in a statement on Wednesday. “This is consistent with the scientific finding showing evidence of more frequent, drawn out and intense heat events as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures.”

And because of climate change, evening temperatures have been rising faster than daytime temperatures.

Forecasters now expect rain and thunderstorms in the UK and parts of the continent over the next few days, which should help people cool off. But the future still holds more heat for the region.

5 of the Most Stunning Churches from Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 of the Most Stunning Churches from Around the World

Even if you’re not a religious person, there’s something humbling and awe-inspiring about the masterful architecture of beautiful churches. You can’t help but appreciate the design and effort that went into building these structures. And, you just might be surprised to find that there are eye-catching cathedrals around the world, not just in Europe.

St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City

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Of course, we start with Europe because this is really where grandiose churches and cathedrals began. While most people might focus on France, probably one of the most iconic religious structures is also the home of the Roman Catholic Church. Next time you head to Rome, be sure to take a trip to the Vatican to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, which is technically located in Vatican City, a papal state within Italy.

The structure took roughly 120 years to build between 1520 and 1626. It is considered one of the best examples of Italian Renaissance design and was a collaborative effort from some of the era’s top creatives: Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Even though St. Peter’s Basilica is the oldest church in the world and carries significant symbolism for Catholics worldwide, it is not the mother church of the Catholic Church or even the primary cathedral for the Diocese of Rome.

Las Laras Sanctuary – Ipiales, Colombia

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South America contains one of the largest demographics of practicing Catholics in the world. For a nation steeped in magical realism, the story behind Las Laras Sanctuary makes perfect sense. In 1754, an indigenous woman and her daughter claimed that they experienced a religious vision when the Mother Mary appeared to them after lightning hit a stone while they sought refuge during a storm.

Their location, Las Laras, became a religious pilgrimage site as countless followers visited it to marvel at the image of the Virgin Mary in stone—which you can still see today. A shrine was initially built in the mid-18th century, and in 1802, the shrine was converted into an actual cathedral. Today, the current Las Laras Sanctuary is a reimagination from the older sitem, built in the early 20th century. However, it’s an architectural feat because it rises 330 feet above the canyon bottom and includes a bridge that spans 160 feet to the other end of the canyon.

Notre-Dame Basilica – Montreal, Canada

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It’s understandable that a country with close ties to Europe would follow in its architectural traditions. Montreal is located in Quebec, one of the two provinces in Canada that speak French. The Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal is the first Gothic Revival style cathedral in the country. The sanctuary is best known for its colorful interior and accents. Colorful touches aren’t just limited to stained glass windows. In fact, various portions of the cathedral are painted bold blues, purples, reds and greens.

Also interesting is the fact that the stained glass windows don’t depict common scenes from the Bible. Instead, the windows show the history of Montreal. The church was initially built in 1672 and began various refurbishing and renovation projects in 1785. In 1824, a congregation boom served as the catalyst for a completely new build, giving way to the current iteration of the Notre-Dame Basilica. Construction on Notre-Dame ended completely in 1891.

Church of St. George – Lalibela, Ethiopia

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Depending on how plugged in you are to religious trivia, you may or may not be surprised to find out that the largest population of Christians is actually in Africa. The Church of St. George, located in Lalibela, Ethiopia, is the oldest structure on this list and is the only one that is not a place of worship for Catholics. Built from volcanic tuff—the only material used in creating the church—construction occurred between the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Church of St. George is one of the most recognizable symbols for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, a division of the Episcopal faith. The church was commissioned by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, who wanted to recreate Jerusalem. Because it is a rock-hewn church, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral – Singapore

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Last but not least, Asia also makes this list. There are a number of beautiful cathedrals and churches across the continent, many of which are popular destination wedding sites. But Singapore often tops the list when you look at Asia because of the variety of classically built structures. And, if you have even a passing knowledge of Singapore’s colonial history, this shouldn’t be surprising.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral traces its roots to Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who personally selected the land where the church stands today. The first version of the church was completed in 1837, but multiple lightning strikes caused the cathedral to be condemned in 1852. Undeterred, parishioners set to work planning the church’s replacement and opted to design it in the Early English Gothic style. Construction on the second version was completed in 1862.

Which churches do you think are the most stunning? Have you had the chance to visit any of these beautiful places yet? If not, be sure to add them to your next vacation itinerary.

5 Fairy Tale Castles in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5

Fairy Tale Castles in Europe

Fairy tales are meant to transport us to different realms, which is precisely what these five castles in Europe also do. Their architecture, setting and enticing histories make visitors feel like they too will live happily ever after.

Eilean Donan, Scotland

Eilean Donan, Scotland

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Melancholic, solitary and robust are some of the terms that define Eilean Donan. Probably the most popular castle in Scotland, it is located on the top of an island on Loch Duich and has been used as a stage for a number of films. A sole glance will bring to mind traditional bagpipes and the fairy tale troops scenes where soldiers and horses gallop through the stone arch bridge. During the winter months, the fog is very heavy around the castle, creating a mysterious air.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

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While the castle is an incredible construction, it’s necessary to highlight all of Prague, with its cathedral, palaces and streets. In winter, the contrast between snowflakes and street lights paint a beautiful picture. The statues on the Charles Bridge always capture attention.

Indeed, Prague itself is like a fairy tale. A succession of ambitious rulers kept on improving the original Czech buildings dating back to the ninth century, meaning that we can now see a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles.

And Prague Castle is an idyllic place that seems to truly come from a fairy tale. The sun’s rays sneak between the different spaces, giving it a magical air.

Tintagel Castle, England

Tintagel Castle, England

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Another enchanting location that brings to mind the story of a child who drew a sword from a stone to become king. In effect, the legend of King Arthur has always been related to the island of Tintagel, which Richard, Earl of Cornwall probably knew when he ordered for the castle to be built in the year 1233.

Today, what has remained of Tintagel Castle immerses visitors in a very eerie atmosphere, for it stands between ruins, a cliff and calm surroundings right next to the Atlantic.

Pena Palace, Portugal

Pena Palace, Portugal

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In Sintra, it’s impossible to take a step without tripping over a palace or castle. Visitors can explore the ruins of Castelo dos Mouros, which offers wonderful views of the city, and the fantastic Quinta da Regaleira. However, you can truly feel like you’re living in a fairy tale in the Pena Palace, which stands out in the town center because of its tall chimneys.

Somewhere buried under the walls of the current structure, are the remains of a medieval convent. And this is only one of the treasures that it hides inside. The Palace is actually divided into three buildings, linked by a succession of fountains, courtyards and different rooms. The tiles are also striking, bearing Moorish designs. It is one of the few medieval palaces of Islamic origin found in Portugal.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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This 19th-century German castle is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful castles in the world. In fact, every year it receives thousands of visitors and has constantly been a source of inspiration for the cinema, most notably in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Located in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle stands in an area of ​​great natural beauty with lakes and mountains, a wonderful set that further enhances its spectacular and imposing presence. Even the smallest detail was taken into account in order to obtain an architectural masterpiece. Its interior is as astounding as the facade, with a large collection of handicraft pieces. Visitors can appreciate some incredible views of the Alps from inside of the main bedroom.