Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

There’s nothing more romantic than the sight of two people wedding in holy matrimony. Between the pretty clothes, the cover band, and the open bar, there’s a lot to enjoy. But the flip side of a harmonious wedding is a cantankerous divorce.

Does the U.S. have the highest divorce rate in the world? The most reliable data with international divorce rates is from 2016 (actual rates can be found here). But even then, every nation has its own reporting criteria, which can create inconsistencies. But let’s take a look at contributing factors on a national level and explore why divorce happens.

DAILY QUE

Global Divorce

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The countries with the highest divorce rates, measured as number of divorces per 1,000 people, as of 2016 are:

  1. Russia (4.7) *Latest available Russian data is from 2013.
  2. Aruba (3.5)
  3. Belarus (3.4)
  4. United States (3.2)
  5. Latvia (3.1)
  6. Lithuania (3.1)
  7. Denmark (3.0)
  8. Kazakhstan (2.9)
  9. Cuba (2.8)
  10. Costa Rico (2.7)

Notable mentions: Guam (4.0) and Puerto Rico (3.2), which are U.S. territories.

Greenland, Donald ‘The Idiot’ Trump Shows His ‘Shallow Ass’ Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

How Greenland explains Donald Trump’s entire presidency

(CNN)Donald Trump won’t be going to Denmark in 10 days. Because the Danes won’t sell him Greenland.

 

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“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night. “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
It’s easy to dismiss this episode as just another Trumpian flight of fancy that didn’t work out. But take a minute and you start to realize that the whole Greenland incident, which lasted a total of five days, is broadly emblematic of the entire approach that Trump has taken to being president. The Greenland episode is the Trump presidency.
Consider how we got here:
1) The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday that Trump has repeatedly quizzed aides on the possibility of buying Greenland.
2) On Sunday, before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey to head back to Washington, Trump addressed the story for the first time. Here’s the key part of what he said (bolding is mine): “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly, I’d be. Strategically, it’s interesting, and we’d be interested.’ But we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that.”
3) Denmark’s government freaks out. “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland,” Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister, told the newspaper Sermitsiaq on Sunday. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
4) Trump cancels the Denmark trip, citing Fredericksen’s comments that Greenland isn’t for sale.
5) Trump is asked about the whole thing and tells reporters that he thought the prime minister’s statement (that the idea of selling Greenland to the US was “absurd”) was “nasty” and “inappropriate.”
What a whirlwind!
Now consider the Greenland purchase in the context of Trump’s broader presidency. It meets all the criteria that have come to define his “modern-day presidential” approach to the job.
*Come up with a totally off-the-wall idea, with a whiff of America-gets-its-way-no-matter-what in there
*Idea leaks — or the White House leaks it as a trial balloon — to the media, with the caveat that his aides aren’t sure if he is serious about it
*Downplay idea, insisting the media got it wrong — even while leaving the door open to doing the deal if the other side is open to it
*Take ball and go home when off-the-wall idea is rejected, jeopardizing relationship with longtime strategic ally
See, the Greenland story really does have it all! It is the Trump presidency in microcosm. He says and does absolutely wild things. Even his top staffers aren’t sure how serious he is about it, and, therefore, don’t know whether to actually pursue it. The idea leaks to the media and immediately becomes a thing. Trump freelances, making up his views as he goes. A semi-serious conversation about whether any of this is even possible begins even as the intended target starts to freak out. Trump, either spurred or spurned by all of the attention, leans in — to it all. Then it all unravels because, as we later learn, he was winging it all along. There was never any “there” there — just Trump saying stuff.
(A quick sidebar on the this-is-all-a-strategic-distraction from gun control or immigration, etc., argument: No, it isn’t. Is there anything you have seen in Trump’s time in office that would lead you to believe that he is capable of that sort of strategic planning and execution? It’s readily apparent at this point that Trump is just saying stuff — and then reacting to how those things land with the general public. There is no three-dimensional chess. There’s not any kind of chess being played.)
Greenland was never for sale. Mexico was never going to pay for the wall. His inauguration crowd was never the largest in history. There was not blame on both sides in the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville. Immigrants were never invading our country in hordes. Background checks were never going to happen.
You get the idea. It’s the Trump presidency.

5 Must-See Sites in Scandinavia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Must-See Sites in Scandinavia

Would you like an enthralling adventure with serenity and peace? Scandinavia is a once-in-a-lifetime must-see trip. Several must-see places in Scandinavia grab the undivided attention of visitors due to their distinctiveness.

Koli National Park – Finland

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This is one of the most stunning places in Scandinavia. It offers the best hiking and views in Finland. This park provides a fresh outlook on life with its natural wonders. Hike among the rivers, green mountains, and unspoiled summit of the mountains, where you’ll get the most beautiful vantage point. From here, you can see the Finnish countryside and relish in the stunning sunsets and sunrises.

If hiking is not your thing, the daring can enjoy river rafting, canoeing, skiing, and cycling at Koli National Park. The moss-covered woodlands with shimmering waterfalls are nature at its finest. This magical, positive space is the closest to heaven on Earth.

Øresund Bridge – Denmark & Sweden

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The Øresund Bridge connects Sweden and Denmark. First planned in 1936, bridge construction began in 1995 with the opening in 2000. Unexpected delays included finding undetonated World War II bombs in the construction path. Yet, the project was completed three months ahead of schedule. It is the longest rail and road bridge in Europe.

Found 30 feet beneath the water exiting at the Danish island of Amager, one experiences the sloping drive in this bridge. Stretching 5 miles across with a 2.5-mile underwater portion, it unites Denmark and Sweden across the Øresund Strait. This amazing design of human architecture and construction is a must-see.

Stockholm Archipelago – Sweden

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Stockholm Archipelago has more than 20,000 islands distributed within the Baltic Sea. Return to a time when the Vikings sailed the seas and eagles and seals still roam. Numerous nature hiking and biking trails wind a zigzag pattern over the landscape. Navigating among the islands is a kayaker’s, paddler’s, and boaters’ paradise.

This is a must-see-and-eat place for the foodies at heart. Savor the edible delights of different foods from farm shops while basking in an astounding place defined by natural beauty. The climate is favorable to the wandering visitor with cool breezes and sunny days.

Royal Danish Horticultural Society Garden – Denmark

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Created in 1830, this Copenhagen standout the oldest horticultural society in Scandinavia. The running theme is of an English-style garden that brings a sense of serenity and soothing calm to the visitor. Melodic waters bubble from the numerous fountains that pepper the gardens. One cannot help but feel relaxed, silent, and invigorated sipping from the spring water wells.

Formerly Frederiksberg Palace of a Danish royal family, the garden is a place for inspiration and self-reflection, as bikes and jogging are not allowed. Walk among perennial grounds, ancient statues, old growth trees, and water gardens to discover both exquisite design and yourself.

Lofoten Islands – Norway

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This is one of the magnificent must-see places on Earth where you can view the Northern Lights. Located north of the Arctic Circle, near the North Pole, the aurora light show is generated by the disturbance of the solar winds through the magnetosphere. This natural light occurrence adds a mystical quality to your journey. The colors are sprinkled throughout the night sky and Arctic light while your backdrop is the icy mountains and glacial fjords. Other activities include kayaking, canoeing, and hiking with your personal guide.

If you love the outdoors and thirst for exploration with photo opportunities, Scandinavia has fascinating choices. Plan your travels, shut off the stress of the outside world for a time, and relax on these perfect Scandinavian undertakings.

7 Countries With the Tallest People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Countries With the Tallest People

In a landmark study published in eLife Sciences Publications in 2016, researchers examined the growth trends of almost 19 million people in 187 countries during the 100 years from 1896 to 1996. The results revealed the tallest and shortest people in each country, separated by sex. Many of the same countries fell on both lists. But some interesting outliers placed in the top ten countries with the tallest men, while women from the same countries were absent from the top ten. Similarly, women from Ukraine, Slovakia, and Belarus placed in the top ten countries with tallest women, but men from the same countries did not place. The following list combines the averages of both on the list to reveal the seven countries with the tallest people.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

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The landlocked Czech Republic is sandwiched between Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia, countries which don’t fall on the tallest people of the world list. Slovakia’s women do land at number six on the list, but the men are no place to be found. On average, people from the Czech republic are 1.80 meters tall (about 5 feet 9 inches tall).

In any case, visitors of all heights can’t visit the Czech Republic without spending time in Prague. This cosmopolitan Eastern European city is a favorite for travelers who want all the hustle, bustle, culture, and history of Paris, London, and Rome. Visitors can tour historical sites like concentration camps, experience authentic Czech food and beer, and visit fairytale castles like the red-roofed Cesky Krumlov.

Latvia

Latvia

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Latvia, one of the Baltic States that lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, is home to the tallest women in the world. Throughout the centuries, Latvia has been invaded by many regional powers, creating a diverse culture which embraces art and creativity. If you travel to Latvia, your first stop may be the capital of Riga. The city’s central market, art museum, and ample historical sites provide a great starting point to learn about the country before you head out of the city to enjoy the unspoiled wilderness.

Estonia

Estonia

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The other Baltic State with really tall people is Estonia. It’s relatively small compared to other countries on this list, but don’t underestimate Estonia. Its grandeur comes from its progressiveness and strides in technology which continue to foster entrepreneurship. Visitors will appreciate the preservation of medieval architecture in the Old Town of Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn. While Tallinn offers all the conveniences of a world-class European city, those who want to get away from it all can head to one of the country’s 2,000 islands in the Baltic Sea. You can camp, visit national parks and nature preserves, and visit the castles dotted throughout the countryside.

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Belgium

Belgium

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Belgium didn’t make the list of the top ten countries with the tallest women, but Belgian men are the second tallest in the world. This Western European country has a divided history with two distinct cultures that must be explored during your next visit. The French-speaking Walloons make up about one-third of the Belgian population. They live primarily in the south and east areas of the country. The Flemings, who speak a Dutch dialect, are the majority who live throughout the rest of the country. You’ll notice language differences, especially in signs throughout the country. But no matter the language, don’t forget Belgium is the country of waffles, beer, fries, and chocolate.

Serbia

Serbia

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At 1.82 meters (approximately 5 feet 10 inches) tall on average, people from Serbia are pretty close to the top of the list. Part of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia is a landlocked Balkan state with exceptionally tall men and women. Serbia and its capital, Belgrade, have always straddled the East/West divide. This created a multi-ethnic and multicultural society which draws visitors from throughout Europe and around the world. Belgrade is especially famous for its outstanding nightlife. Those who venture outside of the capital will also find storybook forests, ski resorts, and thermal spas for outdoor fun, rest, and relaxation.

Denmark

Denmark

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Denmark is the only Scandinavian country, and one of the only two Western European countries, to make the list of seven countries with the tallest people. The average height of a person born in Denmark is 1.826 meters. The country occupies many islands and a small peninsula, where you find its capital, Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of the most well-organized cities in the world. Also, Denmark is a country of fairy tales. In addition to being the home of famous writer Hans Christian Andersen in Odense, Copenhagen is home to the famous Little Mermaid statue. Visitors can also visit the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park, a staple of the city since the mid-1800s, or visit the ruins of Hammershus Slot, the largest castle in Europe.

Netherlands

Netherlands

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When you think of the Netherlands, you may think of windmills, riding bicycles through tulip fields, and Van Gogh. You can now add tall people to your list. Dutch men are the tallest in the world, and Dutch women are the second tallest in the world. On average, people in Netherlands are 1.838 meters tall (approximately 6 feet).

Israel among world’s top 10 most innovative countries — global index

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel among world’s top 10 most innovative countries — global index

Switzerland tops list, followed by Sweden and US; Jewish state has climbed steadily in rankings since 2015

Participants at the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference, Israel's largest international Hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VC’s, angel investors and leading multinationals, held at the Old Train Station complex in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Participants at the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference, Israel’s largest international Hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VC’s, angel investors and leading multinationals, held at the Old Train Station complex in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Switzerland is the world’s most innovative country for a second consecutive year while Israel made the top 10, a global indicator showed Wednesday.

The annual Global Innovation Index — compiled by World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD — ranks 129 world economies on 80 parameters including research, technology and creativity.

Switzerland was followed by Sweden, the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, Singapore and Germany, with Israel rounding out the top 10.

The Jewish state was placed 11th in 2018, 17th in 2017, 21st in 2016, and 22nd in 2015.

India, where the announcement was made, was ranked 52nd but has leaped up the rankings in recent years, WIPO assistant director-general Naresh Prasad said.

The report came as the International Monetary Fund downgraded global growth and warned of a “precarious” 2020 amid trade tensions, continued uncertainty and rising prospects for a no-deal Brexit.

The report’s authors said spending on innovation was still growing and appeared resilient despite the slowdown.

But they also warned of signs of waning public support for research and development in high-income economies usually responsible for pushing the innovation envelope, and increased protectionism.

“In particular, protectionism that impacts technology-intensive sectors and knowledge flows poses risks to global innovation networks and innovation diffusion,” the report said.

“If left uncontained, these new obstacles to international trade, investment, and workforce mobility will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity and diffusion across the globe.”

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Saudi’s: Denmark Backs European-led Naval Mission to Hormuz Strait

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

 

Denmark Backs European-led Naval Mission to Hormuz Strait

Friday, 26 July, 2019 – 11:15
British frigate HMS Montrose. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Denmark welcomed on Friday a British government proposal for a European-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz aimed at ensuring the safety of shipping in the strategic waterway.

“The Danish government looks positively toward a possible contribution to such initiative,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement. “The initiative will have a strong European footprint”.

Britain has sought to assemble the mission in Hormuz, used by tankers carrying about a fifth of the world’s oil, following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged ship in what London said was an act of “state piracy”.

The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy, three senior diplomats said on Tuesday.

EU-member Denmark is among the world’s biggest seafaring nations and home to the world’s biggest container shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk, which sails in the high-tension area.

“The Royal Danish Navy is strong and capable and would be able to contribute actively and effectively to this type of engagement,” said Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen.

A final decision would still need to be discussed in parliament.

On Thursday, the UK government said it was offering British-flagged ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz a Royal Navy escort.

The Department for Transport said that if ships give advance notice of their plans they will be escorted by frigate HMS Montrose, either individually or in groups.

The escort is not compulsory, and Britain has limited naval resources in the region.

On Friday the Montrose arrived too late to prevent the tanker Stena Impero from being seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested Wednesday that Stena Impero could be released if the UK takes similar steps to hand back an Iranian oil tanker seized by the Royal Navy off Gibraltar earlier this month.

4 Most Powerful Passports in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Most Powerful Passports in the World

Wouldn’t it be great to travel around the world and never have to worry about going through a lengthy process of applying for a visa. For some, their nation’s passports grant them hassle-free entry to hundreds of far-off countries. For others, diplomatic relations hamper the ability to move around at will.

Here we have the four most powerful passports in the world according to statistics compiled by London-based citizenship and residence advisory Henley & Partners, though, since there are a few ties, the list really stands at nine. Using information gathered from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the firm classifies passports by the ease of which they can obtain visa-free and/or visa-on-arrival admission.

Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden

Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden

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Four European nations, three of which are Nordic countries, share fourth place with the ability to enjoy visa-free travel to 187 countries. Throughout much of Europe, people from these countries not only enjoy ease of entry but are also classified under the Freedom of Movement act. This human rights act grants individuals the possibility to choose where they live and work. Curiously, Finland, Denmark and Sweden (in that order) made the top 10 of the UN’s 2019 World Happiness Report. Is there be a direct correlation between happiness and freedom to travel? Italians meanwhile can set off on adventures to mysterious places such as Benin, Comoros and Guyana with just their passport in hand.

Germany and France

Germany and France

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The Germans and French go one better in third place by having visa-free travel to 188 countries. Since the statistics were first published in 2006, Germany has maintained a top five position and increased their visa-free access by 59. France has done better still in fostering preferable visa relations with 60 new nations. As with their European counterparts in fourth place, the Germans and French can also make use of the Freedom of Movement act. Adventurous citizens of both can pack their bags and set off for lesser-known nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu.

South Korea

South Korea

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With visa-free travel possible to 189 nations, South Korea takes second place and starts the Asian domination at the top end of the list. South Korea ranked 11th in 2006 but thanks to the addition of an incredible 74 new visa-free arrangements since, it now has one of the most desirable passports. The entire European continent opens its doors to South Koreans. The citizens can also delight in free and stressless visa arrangements with Caribbean islands and much of Latin America.

Japan and Singapore

Japan and Singapore

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The prize for the most powerful passport in the world goes to Japan and Singapore. Their citizens can visit 189 countries either visa-free or by a visa-on-arrival agreement. They beat South Korea to the top spot based on the fact that they also have visa-free entry to the world’s four largest economies of China, India, the European Union and United States. Only four nations have this power, the others being Brunei and San Marino. Japan has established new visa-free relations with 61 new nations since 2006 while Singapore has increased their total by 67. With either of these passports in hand you could travel by land from Portugal to Malaysia and only need to prearrange an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) visa for Pakistan.

9 Beautiful European Cities By The Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE DISCOVERER BLOG)

 

Europe’s long and varied coastline is dotted with settlements whose inhabitants have, for centuries, made their living from the sea. Today, many feature historic mansions, charming historic squares and quaint harbors that draw as many tourists as fishermen. Though some have grown into cities, others are constrained by the physical landscape to remain impossibly beautiful coastal towns.

Rovinj, Croatia

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The gem of Istria covers a tiny headland, huddled around a harbor full of fishing boats. For centuries, the steeple of St Euphemia has risen like a beacon from the mass of terracotta roofs which surround it. On the ground, explore cobbled streets and narrow alleyways to discover a liberal scattering of gift shops, cafés and bijou apartments.

Portree, Scotland

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The largest town on Scotland’s Isle of Skye welcomes visitors with the sight of rows of brightly-painted cottages. Life centers around the busy harbor, but those with time on their hands are advised to take a hike. The Scorrybreac trail and the path up the headland known locally as The Lump are two of the best local walks.

Oia, Greece

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Few Greek towns have made such an impact as Santorini’s Oia, and you only have to set eyes on the place to understand why. The town’s whitewashed homes and businesses cling to the rocky flanks of the dormant volcano overlooking the azure lake that fills its caldera. Its intense beauty has drawn artists and photographers for years, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Vernazza, Italy

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Though visitors would not be disappointed with any of the Cinque Terre settlements, there’s something about Vernazza that’s especially compelling. The cupola-topped bell tower of Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church stands tight against the waterfront but for the best views, climb the steps to the tower of the ruined Castello Doria and look out over the glittering sea.

Tavira, Portugal

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There are many contenders for stunning coastal towns along Portugal’s beautiful Algarve, but Tavira is a stand out. The town itself is located inland of a long sandy beach and the salt pans are home to a wide variety of seabirds including waders, spoonbills and flamingos. In the heart of the medieval town, you’ll find a castle built in the 13th century on the site of a mosque and Santa María do Castelo Church, which houses the tombs of seven knights allegedly ambushed by the Moors.

Visby, Sweden

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Located on the Baltic coast, the Hanseatic port of Visby lies on the island of Gotland. Its 13th-century ramparts, historic warehouses and the former homes of wealthy merchants make this one of the most delightful towns in Sweden. Pull up a chair at one of the pavement cafés that grace Stora Torget, the main square, and people watch over a cup of coffee. But when you can drag yourself away, the Gotland Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the town’s Viking past.

Cadiz, Spain

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In their rush to tick off the sights of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, visitors sometimes overlook Cadiz, but to do so would be a shame. In the 17th and 18th centuries, merchants built watchtowers to ensure they knew their ships had returned to port. Today, 126 of the 160 remain. Get a bird’s-eye view from the Camera Obscura at the top of Torre Tavira before taking a stroll at ground level to gaze up at these interesting structures.

Aeroskobing, Denmark

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Nicknamed “the fairytale town of Denmark,” Aeroskobing, or Ærøskøbing as it’s written in Danish, is a stunner of a coastal town. Cobbled streets, winding alleyways and historic houses give the place bags of character. Don’t miss the Priors House, which dates from 1690, the town’s cook house – built to reduce the risk of fire breaking out on the wooden boats that docked in port – and Ærøskøbing Church in the market square, the third to grace this spot.

Fowey, England

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Pronounced “Foy,” well-heeled Fowey made its money on the export of china clay, which these days manifests itself in the pastel-colored houses and cosy pubs that jostle for position around this characterful Cornish harbor. The town that inspired Daphne du Maurier to write Rebecca makes a handy base for sampling the famous local mussels and for exploring the rest of the Polperro heritage coastline.

Enthusiastic advocate for independent travel and passionate geographer, Julia considers herself privileged to earn a living doing something she loves. When not roaming the globe, you’ll find her windswept but smiling, chatting away to her two dogs as they wander the Essex marshes.

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The 10 Happiest Countries In The World (Hint: The U.S. Is Not One Of Them)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Happiest Countries in the World

10

Happiest Countries in the World

The United Nations recently released its World Happiness Report for 2019. The report took into account a number of factors, including social support, freedom, corruption and life expectancy. The results seem to prove that having a healthy work-life balance and a strong sense of community often lead to happiness. And since happy countries are great places to visit, you may want to put some of these countries on your bucket list. Here are the 10 happiest countries in the world.

Austria

Austria

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In 2019, Austria jumped two spots to finally make the top 10 list of happiest countries in the world. This may be due to the fact that Austrians are simply satisfied with their lives, according to the OECD Better Life Index. Getting outdoors, including hiking and skiing, is relatively easy since 62% of the country is covered by the Alps. And since Austria is firmly situated between many countries, Austrians have access to the rest of Europe on their dependable high-speed railways.

Canada

Canada

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Canadians are known to be some of the nicest people in the world, and it appears that nice people are also happy people. Although it fell from the seven spot, Canada remains in the top 10 with a population of friendly, hockey-loving residents. And with its growing population of immigrants, Canada is becoming a more culturally diverse country. When you add beautiful national parks, universal health care and an abundance of outdoor activities, Canada becomes more appealing by the second.

New Zealand

New Zealand

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Consistently ranked as one of the friendliest places in the world, New Zealand is also one of the happiest. Residents of New Zealand are notoriously laid-back, which helps them achieve a healthy work-life balance. It probably helps that New Zealand is an island paradise that contains an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, like mountain-biking, skiing and hiking.

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Sweden

Sweden

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The long winters and cold climate doesn’t seem to be a happiness deterrent for the Swedes. Home to a mixed economy, the Swedish government plays a large role in controlling the country’s industries. While this does make taxes rather high, Swedes do benefit in a number of ways. From the average five weeks of paid vacation to 480 days of parental leave, the people of Sweden take advantage of some nice perks.

Switzerland

Switzerland

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The Swiss may have a reputation for staying neutral, but that doesn’t stop them from being happy. Or maybe they’re happy because of their neutrality? Switzerland hasn’t taken part in a war for 172 years, which means the country’s coffers haven’t been emptied for military expenses. And as a country renowned for its top-notch skiing and breathtaking vistas, it certainly must be a nice place to live. Best of all, with an average 35.2-hour work week, the Swiss have more time to get outside and enjoy life.

Netherlands

Netherlands

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The Netherlands’ high ranking in the happiness index may be attributed to a healthy work-life balance. Ranked number one in this category by the OECD Better Life Index, the Dutch people are the best at juggling commitments between work, family and personal life. Since almost everyone uses a bicycle to commute, the Dutch have endorphin-producing exercise ingrained into their everyday habits. Add in a low crime rate and a relaxed café culture, and it’s clear that living in the Netherlands has its perks.

Iceland

Iceland

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Iceland’s happiness doesn’t solely depend upon monetary success. In fact, the financial meltdown of 2008 didn’t hurt the overall happiness of Icelanders, even though many of them came upon hard times. Whether it’s because they’re descendants of Vikings, or because they get enough omega-3 from all the fish they eat, the people of Iceland are resilient. This trait, when paired with the country’s optimism, has created a tight-knit national community.

Norway

Norway

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As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Norway is quite well-off. Even though the country is known to be dark and cold, Norwegians have a surprisingly upbeat attitude about life. A common saying in Norway goes “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” which shows how a little positivity can go a long way.

Denmark

Denmark

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The Danish concept of hygge has recently taken the world by storm and is a notion that speaks volumes about the country’s culture. Roughly translated to “cozy,” hygge is a lifestyle trend abided by the people of Denmark. Indulging in a cup of hot cocoa after playing outside in the snow or curling up with a good book while rain pitter-patters on the roof — these moments of “intentional intimacy” define hygge, according to LiveScience. Have you ever heard that it’s the little things in life that make you happy? For the people of Denmark, this seems to be true.

Finland

Finland

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Ranked the happiest country in the world for two straight years, the people of Finland are quite content. And this happiness isn’t limited to the born-and-bred Finnish people. Finland’s immigrants also rank the happiest in the world. As the co-editor of the World Happiness Report, John Helliwell, said, “It’s not about Finnish DNA. It’s about the way life is lived.” Another Scandinavian country that places community and work-life balance at the forefront of its priorities, Finland’s equal society and supportive networks are chief in finding happiness.

Faroe Islands: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This North Atlantic Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Faroe Islands

Introduction The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was attained in 1948.
History The early history of the Faroe Islands is not well-known. Irish hermits (monks) settled in the sixth century, introducing sheep and oats and the early Irish language to the islands. Saint Brendan, who lived circa 484–578, is said to have visited the Faroe Islands on two or three occasions (512-530 AD), naming two of the islands Sheep Island and Paradise Island of Birds.

Later (~650 AD) the Vikings replaced the early Irish and their settlers, bringing the Old Norse language to the islands, which locally evolved into the modern Faroese language spoken today. The settlers are not thought to have come directly from Norway, but rather from the Norwegian settlements in Shetland, Orkney, and around the Irish Sea, and to have been so-called Norse-Gaels.

According to Færeyinga Saga, emigrants who left Norway to escape the tyranny of Harald I of Norway settled in the islands about the end of the ninth century. Early in the eleventh century, Sigmund, whose family had flourished in the southern islands but had been almost exterminated by invaders from the northern islands, escaped to Norway and was sent back to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway. He introduced Christianity and, though he was subsequently murdered, Norwegian supremacy was upheld. Norwegian control of the islands continued until 1380, when Norway entered the Kalmar Union with Denmark, which gradually evolved into Danish control of the islands. The reformation reached the Faroes in 1538. When the union between Denmark and Norway was dissolved as a result of the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Denmark retained possession of the Faroe Islands.

The trade monopoly in the Faroe Islands was abolished in 1856 and the country has since then developed towards a modern fishing nation with its own fleet. The national awakening since 1888 was first based on a struggle for the Faroese language, and thus more culturally oriented, but after 1906 was more and more politically oriented with the foundation of the political parties of the Faroe Islands.

On April 12, 1940, the Faroes were occupied by British troops. The move followed the invasion of Denmark by Nazi Germany and had the objective of strengthening British control of the North Atlantic (see Second Battle of the Atlantic). In 1942–43 the British Royal Engineers built the only airport in the Faroes, Vágar Airport. Control of the islands reverted to Denmark following the war, but in 1948 a home-rule regime was implemented granting a high degree of local autonomy. The Faroes declined to join Denmark in entering the European Community (now European Union) in 1973. The islands experienced considerable economic difficulties following the collapse of the fishing industry in the early 1990s, but have since made efforts to diversify the economy. Support for independence has grown and is the objective of the government.

Geography Location: Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 7 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
Area – comparative: eight times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,117 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Climate: mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
Terrain: rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
Natural resources: fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Land use: arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2005)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Marine Dumping associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution
Geography – note: archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
People Population: 47,511 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.6% (male 4,882/female 4,904)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 16,353/female 14,668)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 3,041/female 3,663) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 35 years
male: 34.8 years
female: 35.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.543% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 14.12 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.996 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.115 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.045 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.49 years
male: 76.06 years
female: 82.93 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.15 children born/woman
Diana Qeblawi

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