3 People Stabbed At The Hague Mall

(THIS ARTICLE SO COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

The Hague stabbing: Several hurt in attack at department store

Police in the Grote Marktstraat in The HagueImage copyright EPA
Image caption The attack happened in a busy shopping area

At least three people have been stabbed in an attack at a department store in a busy shopping street in The Hague, Dutch police say.

Police are searching for a man aged between 45 and 50, wearing a grey jogging tracksuit, who they believe may be behind the attack.

Images on social media showed emergency services at the scene amid crowds of Black Friday shoppers.

The condition of those injured and the motive for the attack remain unclear.

The incident happened at the Hudson’s Bay store in the city’s Grote Market or main market square area, local reports say.

Video posted to social media showed dozens of shoppers running in the busy shopping street.

Police have urged the public to contact them if they witnessed the attack or see anyone matching the description of the suspect.

They also requested that anyone with images or footage of the incident send it to police.

Map of the Netherlands with The Hague and Amsterdam marked

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“Stabbing incident with multiple wounded on the Big Market Street in The Hague. Emergency Services are on the scene. More information to follow from this account,” police tweeted in Dutch.
Police have asked eyewitnesses to come forward and said the situation is “complex.”
The incident happened at a busy shopping street in the center of the city.
The news comes hours after a man was shot dead in central London by police officers, in a terrorist stabbing incident that left a number of people injured.
This is a developing story. Please return for updates.
Stabbing incident
Map data ©2019 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google

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<img src=”data:;base64,

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“Stabbing incident with multiple wounded on the Big Market Street in The Hague. Emergency Services are on the scene. More information to follow from this account,” police tweeted in Dutch.
Police have asked eyewitnesses to come forward and said the situation is “complex.”
The incident happened at a busy shopping street in the center of the city.
The news comes hours after a man was shot dead in central London by police officers, in a terrorist stabbing incident that left a number of people injured.
This is a developing story. Please return for updates.

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

There is some dispute over which city in the United States can claim the nickname of the City of Bridges. Portland, Oregon, claims the name in honor of the 12 bridges in the city limits that span the Willamette River, according to Open Oregon. While Portland’s bridges are well-traveled, those 12 bridges pale in comparison with fellow contender Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania city disputes Portland’s claim to be the City of Bridges. They want the nickname for themselves, according to WBUR, because of the 446 bridges crisscrossing the Pittsburgh city limits. But are 446 bridges enough to earn them the claim to fame of having the most bridges in the world? Check out the five cities in the world with the most bridges.

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Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

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Number of Bridges: 391

According to Venezia Autentica, there are an incredible 391 bridges in the city of Venice. It’s no wonder Venetians need all those bridges. They’ll need them to cross the more than 150 canals within city limits. Bridges in Venice were originally built from wood and laid flat across the canals, making it easy for horses and carts to traverse the city. But when residents found that boats were a more efficient means of transporting goods in the watery city, it changed the way they built bridges. Builders altered bridge designs to include an archway to allow boats to pass underneath.

The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. According to Best Venice Guides, the bridge was incredibly expensive to build. But determined wealthy merchants of the time wanted to create a stand-out piece of architecture. It’s been one of the hallmarks of the Grand Canal for more than 400 years since it was completed in 1591.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

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Number of Bridges: 446

Pittsburgh might want to claim that it has the most bridges in the world, but it only comes in at number four on our list. Still, according to the BBC, it has an impressive 446 bridges. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spends more than $150 million each year keeping all those bridges in good condition. It’s no surprise that steel makes up those bridges, either, as Pittsburgh is often called “Steel City.” The name doesn’t come from the bridges, though. Rather, it’s due to the area’s history with the steel industry. That’s also why they named the local football team the Steelers.

According to Visit Pittsburgh, the most recognizable bridges in the city are the Three Sisters. Said to be the only trio of identical bridges in the United States, this set of bridges crosses the Allegheny River, connecting the two halves of the city.

New York City, New York, USA

New York City, New York, USA

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Number of Bridges: 789

The New York City Department of Transportation says they manage 789 bridges within the city. The actual number of bridges in NYC could be higher, though. There are many bridges in the city that aren’t under the department’s control. But 789 bridges is still an impressive number. Possibly the most famous bridge in the city is the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge opened in 1883, according to History.com, and cost more than $320 million to build (in today’s dollars).

While crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a rite of passage for most visitors to the city, it isn’t the busiest bridge in the city. That honor goes to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, according to the NYC Department of Transportation. Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, it spans the East River and carries more than 170,000 vehicles each day. The bridge originally opened in 1909 and was renamed in honor of former mayor Ed Koch in 2010. Whether you call it the Queensboro Bridge, the 59th Street Bridge, or the Ed Koch Bridge, it’s an impressive cantilevered bridge that’s served the city for more than one hundred years.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Number of Bridges: 1281

Venice isn’t the only city with an impressive network of canals and bridges. The Venice of the North, Amsterdam, surpasses it in number of bridges. According to Amsterdam for Visitors, the city has 165 canals and an amazing 1281 bridges. That network developed because Amsterdam sits on what was originally swampland. As people moved into the city, they drained sections of the swamp to create dry land on which to build. The canals surrounded the new areas, allowing the residents to get around via small boats. They were also handy for defensive reasons, making it harder to attack the city.

There are a lot of beautiful bridges in Amsterdam, and the pedestrian-friendly city makes it easy to get around to see them all. Hopping on one of the canal tours may be the best way to see the bridges, though, as you can glide under them while a guide tells you about the history. If you are lucky, you’ll see a few of the most famous bridges, including the Torensluis Bridge. According to I Am Amsterdam, this bridge was built in 1648, making it the oldest bridge still standing in the city.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

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Number of Bridges: More than 2300

Hamburg takes the number one spot on this list. The Telegraph reports that the German city has more than 2300 bridges. The bridges of both cities were born from a similar issue: too much water. Practically surrounded by water, Hamburg sits at a marshy fork in the Elbe. It’s thanks to that location that Hamburg is the second busiest port in Europe, according to Amusing Planet. Large container ships come in and out of the city every day. So while all that water helped to build a strong economy in Hamburg, it also meant those bridge builders had to get busy creating ways for vehicles and pedestrians to get around. And get busy they did, as the city has more bridges than all the other cities on our list combined.

Not only is the number impressive, but the architecture of the bridges themselves is pretty incredible, too. One of the most famous bridges in Hamburg is the Kolbrand Bridge, which was completed in 1974. The bridge carries more than 38,000 vehicles each day, according to Hamburg Port Authority. The bridge was never intended to handle that much traffic, though. So if you want to see this beautiful bridge, you’ll want to book your tickets to Hamburg soon. Authorities are in talks to start replacing the bridge in the next few years.

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 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.

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).

4 Important WWII Locations to See

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Important WWII Locations to See

World War II changed the planet as we know it forever. According to historians, it was the largest and deadliest war in history, with more than 30 countries sending soldiers to fight for six long, arduous years. The war began with the invasion of Poland by the Nazis in 1939 and lasted until the Allies emerged victorious in 1945. With a war this big and this long, it’s no surprise that its pivotal battles were spread out all over the world. Here are four important locations to see if you want to delve deeper into the history of World War II.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park, United States

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The Manhattan Project was the code name of the top secret collection of engineers, nuclear physicists and military personnel who were given the task of producing an atomic weapon during World War II. This led to the scientific field being advanced in leaps and bounds as the group got closer and closer to creating the thing that would ultimately bring an end to the war: the atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park spans three of the “most significant” locations that played a role in the building of the bomb: Los Alamos, New Mexico, Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Dunkirk, France

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Movie buffs will recognize the name of this French city from a recent film that depicted the events of “Operation Dynamo,” the evacuation of soldiers from French, Belgian, Canadian and British units from Dunkirk. All in all, over 330,000 soldiers were rescued from the Battle of France using both navy boats and civilian vessels in an evacuation that lasted from May 26th to June 4th, 1940. You can visit the sites of this battle today and walk along the same beaches where these soldiers fought to escape with their lives.

Anne Frank House, Netherlands

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When I was growing up, my favorite book was The Diary of Anne Frank. While many people could think of World War II as something that happened somewhere else, to someone else, Anne’s diary brought people who weren’t born until decades later right into the heart of it, and showed them how the war affected people on a personal, human level. Today, the house in the Netherlands in which Anne and her family were hiding from the Nazis when she wrote that diary has been turned into a museum. You can visit and immerse yourself even more into Anne’s world to see where and how she lived before she became another innocent casualty of the terrible war.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Poland

Credit: Dmitrijs Mihejevs/Shutterstock

The most important World War II location on our list is a somber place, a place that should have never existed. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest concentration camp built by the German Nazis. Millions upon millions of men, women and children came through this camp, with more than 1.1 million of them dying here. The museum and memorial on this spot hold relics, archives and other artifacts from the war and serve as a way to educate people about the aspects of history that cannot be repeated.

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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3 Cities That Are Located in Two Countries

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

3 Cities That Are Located in Two Countries

Human history is messy, as is readily apparent from the criss-cross of disjointed borders drawn across the globe. While some of these divisions remain hotbeds of persisting political contention and turmoil, others have been rendered so arbitrary as to be functionally nonexistent. The most significant historical event in easing border tensions across Europe was the formation of the European Union. The divisions between European nation states that divided many twin cities only by borders on paper were relaxed to the point that many of these cities function legally as one.

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Cieszyn – Poland & Czech Republic

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Cieszyn is a small town of 36,000 residents that sits on the Olza river, dividing Poland and the Czech Republic. It is one of the oldest towns in Poland, once serving as the capital of Duchy Cieszyn. Throughout the 19th century, it constituted the region of Cieszyn Silesia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Following World War I, the city was divided between the newly-created states of Poland and Czechoslovakia, across the river, but it remained connected with a series of bridges.

In 2004, Poland and the Czech Republic joined the EU and abolished border controls in the town. Technically, there are two cities: Cieszyn, Poland, and Český Těšín, Czech Republic, but the city functions ostensibly as a single entity. Modern Cieszyn serves as a historical bedrock of Protestantism in Poland. It is also rather small with a total area of 11 square miles and an annual film festival.

Kerkrade/Herzogenarth – Netherlands & Germany

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The town of Kerkrade draws its origins from an 11th century settlement by the name of Rode that was once inhabited by Augustinian monks and currently sits in the Netherlands. However, up to 1815, the city was part of the town of Herzogenarth in Germany until the Congress of Vienna redrew the Dutch-German border. The new border ran directly through a road in Kerkrade, which, throughout World War II, was heavily fortified by Germans.

With the EU came the relaxation of borders across Europe, and the border wall between the Netherlands and Germany on Nieuwstraat Street, short enough to be stepped over by pedestrians, was abolished. Kerkrade and Herzogenarth now share public services and identify as a “binational city” that works in tandem toward economic development. Every four years, the city hosts the World Music contest for amateur, professional, and military bands. It’s also home to colorful parades and festivities during carnival in the spring.

Luxembourg – Luxembourg, Belgium, France, & Germany

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The capital city of Luxembourg is a political and economic powerhouse. It has the third highest GDP per capita in the world and serves as a de facto capital of the European Union. Its influence extends across the world as do its national boundaries. The Luxembourg metropolitan area stretches across the borders of Belgium, France, and Germany.

Due to its complex history of strategic importance, as well as its geographic location, Luxembourg’s culture and language bear a diverse history of influences. Many locals speak English, French, and German. Some of its historical landmarks include preserved medieval architecture, such as Corniche, the “most beautiful balcony in Europe.” But it hasn’t stayed in the past—there’s free WiFi available throughout the entire city.

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.

Luxembourg: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This European Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Luxembourg

Introduction Founded in 963, Luxembourg became a grand duchy in 1815 and an independent state under the Netherlands. It lost more than half of its territory to Belgium in 1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy. Full independence was attained in 1867. Overrun by Germany in both World Wars, it ended its neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area.
History The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today Luxembourg Castle) by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes in 963. Around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a small state of great strategic value. In 1437, the House of Luxembourg suffered a succession crisis, precipitated by the lack of a male heir to assume the throne, that led to the territory being sold to Philip the Good of Burgundy.[3] In the following centuries, Luxembourg’s fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and the French, among others. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands. The Congress of Vienna formed Luxembourg as a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Confederation, with a Confederate fortress manned by Prussian troops.

The Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839 reduced Luxembourg’s territory by more than half, as the predominantly francophone western part of the country was transferred to Belgium. Luxembourg’s independence was reaffirmed by the 1839 First Treaty of London. In the same year, Luxembourg joined the Zollverein. Luxembourg’s independence and neutrality were again affirmed by the 1867 Second Treaty of London, after the Luxembourg Crisis nearly led to war between Prussia and France. After the latter conflict, the Confederate fortress was dismantled.

The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.

Luxembourg was invaded and occupied by Germany during the First World War, but was allowed to maintain its independence and political mechanisms. It was again invaded and subject to German occupation in the Second World War in 1940, and was formally annexed into the Third Reich in 1942.

During World War II, Luxembourg abandoned its policy of neutrality, when it joined the Allies in fighting Germany. Its government, exiled to London, set up a small group of volunteers who participated in the Normandy invasion. It became a founding member of the United Nations in 1946, and of NATO in 1949. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and, in 1999, it joined the euro currency area. In 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held in Luxembourg.

Geography Location: Western Europe, between France and Germany
Geographic coordinates: 49 45 N, 6 10 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 2,586 sq km
land: 2,586 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries: total: 359 km
border countries: Belgium 148 km, France 73 km, Germany 138 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: modified continental with mild winters, cool summers
Terrain: mostly gently rolling uplands with broad, shallow valleys; uplands to slightly mountainous in the north; steep slope down to Moselle flood plain in the southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Moselle River 133 m
highest point: Buurgplaatz 559 m
Natural resources: iron ore (no longer exploited), arable land
Land use: arable land: 27.42%
permanent crops: 0.69%
other: 71.89% (includes Belgium) (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 1.6 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.06 cu km/yr (42%/45%/13%)
per capita: 121 cu m/yr (1999)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: air and water pollution in urban areas, soil pollution of farmland
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography – note: landlocked; the only Grand Duchy in the world
Politics Luxembourg is a parliamentary democracy headed by a constitutional monarch. Under the constitution of 1868, executive power is exercised by the Governor and the cabinet, which consists of several other ministers. The Governor has the power to dissolve the legislature and reinstate a new one, as long as the Governor has judicial approval. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the Supreme Court.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, a unicameral legislature of sixty members, who are directly elected to five-year terms from four constituencies. A second body, the Council of State (Conseil d’État), composed of twenty-one ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation.

The Grand Duchy has three lower tribunals (justices de paix; in Esch-sur-Alzette, the city of Luxembourg, and Diekirch), two district tribunals (Luxembourg and Diekirch) and a Superior Court of Justice (Luxembourg), which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. There is also an Administrative Tribunal and an Administrative Court, as well as a Constitutional Court, all of which are located in the capital.

People Population: 486,006 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.6% (male 46,729/female 43,889)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 163,356/female 160,425)
65 years and over: 14.7% (male 29,206/female 42,401) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 39 years
male: 38 years
female: 40 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.188% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 11.77 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.43 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 8.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.18 years
male: 75.91 years
female: 82.67 years
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