Figure skating

Ice Skating, Dancing, Competition

“Wow, did you find that!? I requested the skater sitting on the seat next to me. I’d just witnessed the most wonderful leap as I was putting on my skates in the lobby, preparing to step onto the ice for the first time following a virtually decade-long hiatus. The skater alongside me answered nonchalantly,”Oh, that?
I won’t ever forget that day because up until that point I had never seen a leap like that up close and in person. I’d just seen ice skating on tv, where professional figure skaters appeared to perform jumps effortlessly, almost as though they were just dancing, rather than barreling down the ice rink at 20 mph. And, I must tell you that nothing prepares you to find that sort of speed and power up close. What I remember is that I saw David’s skates at almost eye level as they reached the top of the planks that day- almost 4 feet off the floor! That is what I call flying!
At this time, I got to see a whole lot of terrific skating like that all the time. Seeing the raw energy of the jump, and the ideal landing made me want learn how to jump and twist and do those tricks I saw the other skaters do, and I became determined to do what David did this day… She introduced me the notion of learning how to roller skate or ice skate because she believed a hobby with a workout facet would be good for my health. Originally, I thought about roller blading, but the roads around our house were irregular, and had lots of cracks, which made it hard to roller blade, so I picked ice skating since there was an ice hockey rink near our house. It was that easy!
I returned to the game at age 21, and ever since that time, I have learned many spins and lots of jumps and all of the moves in between. And yes… I the reverse I watched David perform that fateful day. Through time I took on new components, practiced themtook quite a few drops, got back up and eventually mastered them.
I’ll let you know, there’s no better feeling in the world than learning how to spin so fast it feels like you are floating over the ice, or the short weightlessness you feel when executing a jump – it is almost like flying. And learning how to control your borders, the way to stick the landing and continue through footwork like it were a melody performed before you. It took years to master some of those moves but they’ve been the best years of my life, since I did not just learn the physical motions, but gained the confidence that comes with mastering difficult physical patterns!
As well as learning components, I learned a few other things along the way too such as discipline and perseverance, attention to detail and elegance, strength, and confidence – all of which have served me well on and off the ice. I spent many hours in the rink drilling and working hard on my components and that I did this as frequently as possible not because somebody told me to, but since I loved it! I even went so far as to take gymnastics and dance courses to be able to enhance body awareness and elegance, and that I cross trained off the ice so I could become strong and confident. All this spilled over into other areas of my life and created the person I am now.
I must mention that I did nearly all my skating as an adult. I realize ice skating as a sport can be intimidating, particularly for adults, but no matter your age, you can participate at any level you would like to. And the best aspect of studying ice skating as an adult is that you get to select how often you participate in this remarkable sport.
Another fantastic part is that there is not a learning barrier. You can take lessons from a professional coach, or just get a learn-to-skate program and practice by yourself, at your own pace and comfort level. The main thing for adults to see is that everyone can learn (men and women ) and nobody is too old! During my years, I have fulfilled all ages and individuals from all walks of life on the ice and have formed great friendships and come to understand that everyone can learn how to skate!
I have been teaching skating for more than 15 years now and I really like passing on the fire of the remarkable sport! Come join me on the ice, and I would like to share the joys and private development it can bring into your life!

India and Tibet

Mountain, Tibet, Blue Sky, The Scenery

Tibet remains one of the difficult diplomatic and political, and ethical challenges for the entire world.

Considering that China’s defeat of independent Tibetan army in 1949 and the signing of an agreement by the then Tibetan authorities, the situation was rife for debate and conflict: The government of China recognizes Tibet as autonomous provincial entity of the mainland China but the government of Tibet in Exile seeks independence for Tibet. And there are other disputes that include what constitutes Tibet i.e. the geography of Tibet.

Dalai Lama who is the symbolic head of the Tibet government in exile was welcomed to India in 1950’s and since then the Dalai Lama has made Dharma Shala (in India) his dwelling. Needless to say, the government of China has been very displeased with this arrangement. Moreover, in China’s view Tibet also includes Arunachala Pradesh — a state in India.

Thus there are lots of issues of possible dispute between India and China with respect to Tibet. But over time China and India have allowed the status quo prevail for the sake of Bat Poop Both countries are focused on economic growth and development.

However, the coming Olympic games in summer, and Tibet’s recent energetic and loud demands and protests all around the world for liberty and Dalai Lama’s nuanced stance (of both supporting the Olympic games and the aspirations of the Tibetans for liberty ) in the context of longstanding support of India for Dalai Lama has made it a knotty situation.

Here’s the crux of the problem: should India be centered on its own immediate national interests based on evaluation of geo-political, territorial, economic and safety problems? Or if India be an agent for fostering cultural and religious freedom and diversity consistent with its customs (even though it led to serious consequences to immediate political and economic interests)? The reply to these questions will determine India’s answer to the present Tibetan turmoil such as the relay of Olympic torch in New Delhi later in April.

Saab Defense Contract

Air Force, Aircraft, Saab, J 35 Dragon

Early this month, Saab Group, that’s the biggest producer of defence in Sweden, declared its withdrawal from an global trade deal with Venezuela about weapons. It must be mentioned that the Swedish company was among the significant suppliers of weapons to the South American nation. But, Saab said that it could no longer continue with this kind of global trade deal.

According to Saab Group, it couldn’t sell anti-tank and anti-aircraft apparatus to the Latin nation because of an arms ban imposed by the US on Venezuela. Under the embargo, defence manufacturers couldn’t sell to Venezuela any weapon, which can be made in the united states or that has one or more US-made pieces. Before the arms coverage, Melbourne fl squirrel removal, which is a subsidiary of Saab Group, had provided the South American nation with weapons during the previous twenty years. The current embargo though has finished the worldwide trade deal on arms between the Swedish company and Venezuela.

It must be said that during the previous decades, Sweden had provided anti-tank rifles, rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft missiles into Venezuela that amounted to about $150 million. Currently, Venezuela isn’t involved in a new International Trade deal on weapons. However, experts said that President Hugo Chavez would soon discover the need to replace its older weapons and boost its missile supply.

The embassy of the USA in Sweden commended the compliance of the Saab Group to the embargo that resisted the trade of weapons to countries that did not fully cooperate with the struggle against terrorism led by the US government. Venezuelan officials were taken by surprise after the new was published. Defence Minister Raul Isaias Baduel advised to reporters that the government wasn’t officially informed by Bofors about its withdrawal from the worldwide trade deal on arms. But he said he would be discussing the issue with Mr. Chavez so as to think of an official reaction to the news.

Following the news came out, a military officer said that Venezuela is also considering to negotiate an international trade deal with Switzerland about weapons. He added that although the doorway of Sweden had already closed, other nations would soon open for Venezuela. Mr. Chavez was able to close the deal because the weapons manufactured in Russia do not comprise US-made pieces. Before the worldwide trade deal between the two nations, the US had warned Russia not to sell arms to Venezuela.

Thailand

Children, Fishing, Teamwork, Together

Thai premier Surayud Chulanont has responded to escalating violence in Thailand’s southernmost areas by travel to the region and making his most recent move towards ending decades of violence.

The insurgency in southern Thailand has received significant media attention in the aftermath of a string of violent incidents based in the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

The history of the separatist movement can be traced back to the early twentieth century when in 1902 Patani was annexed by Thailand (then called Siam). Seven decades after Thailand was given sovereignty over the area from a treaty with Great Britain. Patani was split into the three aforementioned states, along with two districts of Songkhla, in 1933.

Patani was a Malay Sultanate and because of this over three quarters of the populace from the three southern provinces today are Muslim. Whilst having some linguistic and cultural similarities with the Malays of Malaysia, Thailand’s southern Malay community keeps a distinct identity and sense of independence.

As far back as the 1930s there was a drive to set up an independent southern state. The movement has taken many forms and the ideology has changed between a desire to establish this independent state and a desire to set up cultural autonomy.

The resurgence of violence in the turn of this new millennium has cast a deathly shadow over Thailand’s southernmost place. The problems haven’t been aided by the words and actions of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his administration who until 2004 insisted that criminal gangs, rather than insurgents, were responsible for the violence.

Attempts to establish a conversation with the insurgents have been riddled with issues surrounding the anonymity of the movements’ leaders.

On August 31, 22 banks were concurrently murdered in Yala, whilst on September 16 six bike bombs killed four people in Hat Yai as strikes overran in the neighboring province.

The military coup and present political volatility in Thailand has done little to quell the friction from the South and strikes have persisted.

The Kru Se Mosque incident happened when 32 insurgents sought refuge in Pattani’s most sacred place of worship following a coordinated assault on 100 police outposts.

The demonstration became a massacre once the army used tear gas to control the crowd. Shooting began shortly afterwards and dozens of sailors were piled up, piled as many as five individuals high in trucks and driven for five hours. 85 men perished in all, 78 of whom suffocated from the trucks.

The newly-installed premier’s pledge to rid the southern states of violence has thus far been ineffective as strikes continue to break out on an almost daily basis. Surayud said that his government is only going to use peaceful means to end the century tensions, although there’s been no mention of the potential for an independent state. Surayud has rather made clear his intentions are to unite Thailand.

The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre was recently revived, after a five year absence, and is now led by Phranai Suwannarat that has been charged with instilling peace to the area.

The present government has been quite vocal about the negative implications of the former government’s actions, but as of yet it’s uncertain how the newly-revived body will handle the circumstance.

Surayud has already done what Thaksin refused to: he’s apologized. However, this is just a single step on an already long trip which will most likely take years to finish. If Thailand is to unite itself then steps must be taken to eliminate the feelings of alienation felt by the country’s Muslim population.

Cyprus

Cyprus, Coast, Cliff, Cavo Greko

The gorgeous Isle of Cyprus is a popular destination for holiday makers from all around Europe especially the British. However not everyone knows that part of the country is under occupation by an invading army. They’ve announced the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or TRNC since it’s also been called but sadly no other country in the world recognizes it. Actually most countries including those inside the U.N. and the E.U run trade embargoes against North Cyprus. Air Travel to the North of the Island can be banned by most states and tourist wishing to see there should fly into Turkey first.

The events in Cyprus leading to the 1974 invasion were turbulent to say the least and some observers assert that the Turks used this as a justification. During the British occupation of the Island there was a powerful political move towards”Enosis” or union with Greece which many Greek Cypriots considered to be their motherland. There was a long battle with the British for independence and from the desire for Enosis was born EOKA or Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston translated in English to National Organization of Cypriot Fighters. These guerrilla fighters were heralded as national heroes in Cyprus’s battle for liberty and there are lots of monuments erected in their memory dotted around the Island. In 1971 after the overthrow of the authorities in Greece from the military junta EOKA b was formed in Cyprus with a renewed emphasis on Enosis with the mainland.

The final outcome of the struggle saw the creation of a coalition style government with representation by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots in accordance with a percentage scale. The Greek Cypriots of course being in the majority, which directed their Turkish compatriots to whine that they had been under represented. The truth is following suggested changes in the constitution the Turks withdrew from the Islands government amid a period of inter-communal violence and many of the Turkish Cypriot population retreated into defensive enclaves.

Thousands of Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes with only what they could carry leaving all their property and businesses supporting. Even today (2007) these displaced Cypriots still consider themselves refugees as well as the Cyprus government shares their opinion. The Turkish authorities encouraged nationals to move to North Cyprus and contains tens of thousands of it’s troops stationed there also. Since Turkey expressed her desire for ascension to the European Union that the”Cyprus problem” is beneath the international spot light and all those involved are trying to work out a solution.

Nobody can predict how many issues of the long standing dispute will be settled but emotions on either side still run deep. Visitors to Cyprus notably the Famagusta area will see that lots of small business owners proudly display old photos of assumptions they left behind in 1974. The disputes over property being sold for development in North Cyprus also continues to add fuel to the political fire also. There’s little doubt that both sides still have a ways to go before they expect to find any answers to the issues regarding the occupation of North Cyprus.

The Flag of Mexico

Mexican Flag, Flag, Mexico, Coat Of Arms

He Flag of Mexico is rich with historical symbolism. The tricolors of green, white and red with the coat-of-arms centered in the white middle stripe were adopted by Mexico after their independence from Spain during the War of Independence in 1821.

There have been adjustments to the flag during history but the coat of arms has ever featured a majestic eagle holding a serpent on top of a cactus. The present coat of arms was designed in 1968 by Helguera. Legend says that the Aztecs, then a nomadic tribe wandering throughout Mexico, were awaiting a sign from the gods telling them were to build their capital city. After drifting for two hundred years, they saw this mythical eagle on a little island in Lake Texcoco and built their capital, Tenochtitlan, where the most important plaza in Mexico City is now located.

Over time the three colors of green, white and red on the flag have remained the same but the meaning of these colors has changed. The green stripe represents Independence from Spain or can signify Hope. The white stripe represents purity of the Catholic faith or Unity.

After the flag of Mexico is paraded in front of a crowd, bystanders increase their right arm, place their hands on their chest parallel to the center. The hand is flat with the palm facing the ground. This salute is known as the El Saludo Civil de la Bandera Nacional. On February 24 each year a national party, Dia de la Bandera, Flag Day is held.

Israel’s Occupation

Barbed Wire, Jerusalem, Holy Land

A rather interesting thing to read on a extremely popular political Website is it not? But this is precisely what is happening as sympathizers and mislead do-gooders promote Palestinians and their plight. If you’ll remember Israel recent caved into demands and gave back land, which it had settlers on, but did that stop the murderous suicide bombings? Yet 1 blogger using a selective and very short memory conditions;

Again this is only opinion and selective interpretation of global law. And what happens when you give details to these bloggers online? They just go away for a couple of hours to spew their misdirection someplace else and assault you spelling, sentence structure or typing mistakes look at this comment from a supporter of Hamas and International Terrorism who said;

. .but I truly wonder why I bother with closed minded people..please go see for yourself.”

You have attacked my character, education, reading, religion (you guessed initially, as I have none), my nation, my army and now when you’re attacking me typing? Irrelevant, as you had a miss stroke on the term”error”

Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas including a full out war; if this is what is necessary to insure safety of its people and/or an assault on the Iranian Nuclear Plants, research centers, as they’ve promised to”Blow Israel off the map” And is funding Hamas.

Truly the USA has every right to induce action with Iran including and not limited to; full scale embargo and sealing off the borders of the nation where nothing gets in or out or attack on the Nuclear Enrichment research and development facilities that are being used to create nuclear bombs. Iran is a nation-state, which affirms insurgents in Iraq and worldwide terrorists. No amount of white wash will convince me not to take a hard line on these matters. We have to protect the American People, our allies and assets no matter what. No matter what! Consider this in 2006.

Bees are Dieing

Sunflower, Bee, Honey Bee, Flower

The 2008 calendar indicates another spring has arrived in North America and also the indications of the new season are everywhere. Buds have appeared on trees, heralding the coming of new leaves. The increased daylight and the warming sun act as harbingers for the appearance of flowering plants that will shortly begin their summer cycle of expansion. Nurseries and home improvement stores; such as, Home Depot and Loews, are selling crops, rakes, shovels, compost, and fertilizer.

Indeed, the recognizable signs of spring are everywhere. But once again this year, there’s a real problem in nature which is tempering agricultural enthusiasm for the upcoming growing season. It is an issue which was first identified in 2006. The problem continues to be the disappearance of the honey bee. Once again there is little progress to report from research into this mystery surrounding the honey bee named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

CCD happens when all adult bees disappear from the hive, leaving the honey and pollen behind. Few, if any, dead bees are located around the hive. Between 50 and 90 percent of the commercial honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in america have been afflicted with CCD and the issue is making it difficult for U.S. commercial beekeepers to pollinate plants. About a quarter of beekeeping operations were affected by CCD during the 2006-2007 winter . It’s estimated that up to 70% of honey bees in the United States have just disappeared due to Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem has continued throughout the winter of 2007-2008.

In addition to the continuing problem of CCD, believe news reports indicate significant regional problems with dying honey bees this spring in america. Western Washington State has a developing agricultural crisis as bees are dying from a new pathogen named Nosema Ceranae. This fungus attacks the bee’s gut, making it impossible to process food and the bee eventually starves to death.

In general, the numerous problems with disappearing and dying honey bees are quickly taking a toll on the entire United States beekeeping industry. It has been reported that the amount of keepers who produce more than 6,000 pounds of honey annually has dropped out of 2,054 in 2005, (the year before keepers started experiencing colony collapse) to about 1,100 annually.

Internationally, a lack of a sufficient number of honey bees is responsible this spring for problems in blueberry pollination in Canada. The Fraser Valley produces about one-fifth of the planet’s blueberries, but no longer has a sufficient number of honey bees to encourage its blueberry pollination, and honey bees are now being imported for pollination.

However, bee keepers complain about a lack of research funding and the slow pace of governmental response since the amount of honey bees proceeds in decline.

It is now estimated that almost half of Italy’s 50 billion bee population died annually. That bee mortality rate will have a drastic influence on the country’s 25-million-euro honey sector (which could plummet by at least 50% in 2008) and wreak havoc on fruit crops. The global bee outbreak has also hit France, Germany, Britain, Brazil, and Australia.

The increased cost of energy in food production and transport has already led to a world food price inflation of 45 percent in the past nine months alone. There are serious global shortages of rice, wheat, and corn. The rising cost of food has recently been responsible for deadly clashes in Egypt, Haiti, and many African states.

But if the population of the honey bee continues to decrease, global events from higher prices and shortages of food will have only just begun. The pollination of the honey bee is vital to agriculture and the world’s food supply. With no honey bee, prices of vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, and dairy prices will spiral much greater.

The disappearance of the honey bee poses a threat to eating premium ice cream also. The business is launching a new flavor this spring called Vanilla Honey Bee to raise consumer awareness about the problem. Proceeds from the sale of this ice cream will be used to fund CCD research.

The ramifications to our lifestyle and diet are enormous, but government’s reaction to the developing food crisis has been slow and limited. The evaporating honey bee issue has not been discussed in any Presidential debate or in any campaign forum. In fact, both of our major political parties have been silent on the problem.

Hopefully, American politicians on the campaign trail in the 2008 United States presidential election like Haagen- Daz products. The reality is that Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream may be the only way to bring the candidates focus on some serious, developing, agricultural crisis. A world without sufficient honey bee pollination will produce a food crisis of economic, national, and worldwide ramifications. Indeed, it is another year with no solution to the problem of disappearing honey bees.

Snakes in Canada

Snakes, Reptiles, Animal, Wild, Wildlife

How can Manitoba garter snakes endure the cold Canadian prairie winter? Yet snakes for sure can’t survive if really frosty frozen. How on earth do these animals endure the cold Canadian winters? The answer simply is that these snakes seek refuge in the floor under the chilly”frost” line and basically hibernate there doing the long winter season.

The red-sided garter snake that’s known to occupy the”Interlake” areas of the Canadian province of Manitoba ranges farther north than any other snake in North America, winters in communal dens, which occasionally can comprise up to 8,000 snakes.

These winter dens are known as”hibernacula” or just”winter dens”. Some of the largest concentrations of them are from the region west of Lake Winnipeg, in the”Interlake” area of Manitoba west of the significant centres of Gimli and Winnipeg Beach. These dens are sinkholes from the local limestone stone produced simply when underground caverns have dropped. The consequent fissures and cracks in the limestone bedrock provide the snakes access to depths below the frost line, a requirement since winter temperatures in the area can often dip to minus forty degrees centigrade which translates to – 40 degrees Fahrenheit also. Its so cold in these areas the local have electrical”block” from the engine blocks of the cars that they plug into regular ac electric jacks so as to start their cars at the dead of their – 40 degrees January winter temperatures.

You would think that you’re seeing a sight of more snakes in one location than anywhere else in the world and you’re most likely correct.

By early autumn these exact same garter snakes are now fat and company with a great deal of carbohydrates and fat out of their summer of feeding. As soon as they return to their dens that they won’t feed again for another six or seven weeks. They’ll live off their fat reserves from the summer feedings. Interestingly these very same snakes appear to reach the dens sooner than need be – in fact it could be a month of so before they actually have to arrive. This is still another adaptation time and learnt tested from character. As the autumn days get shorter and winter is nearer, temperatures are usually on the cooling trend. Snakes being cold blooded become lethargic during the cooler weather.

It might be chilly outside – very cold – yet these intelligent garter snakes, who combined with character sit tight hibernating in temperatures which are a few degrees above freezing. You may well believe that these simple garter snakes are smarter than lots of the folks you meet on your travels. Its like they know to plan ahead, to conserve food and energy and escape the cold and go”south” for the winter.

7 Species of Turtles

Turtle, Animals, Water Creature

The world is full of turtles. But how many different kinds of turtles are there? Many turtles are on the brink of extinction and many others are on the endangered list. Let us take a look at the different sorts of turtles that can be seen around the world.

  1. Sea Turtles – These sorts of turtles are truly marine animals. They vary in size from nearly 2 1/2 feet to approximately 7 feet in carapace length. The shells of these kinds of turtles are heart shaped or oval in appearance. Their limbs are flippers instead of legs and are unable to encourage the turtle when on land. Sea turtles can no longer pull their heads back into their shells like other sorts of turtles. The sea turtles are one of the most endangered of the turtle families as urban growth has infringed on their nesting sites.
  2. Snapping Turtles – There are only three species in this family of turtles. Such turtles all have large heads and a strong jaw with the upper jaw being hooked. They cannot fully retract their limbs or head in their shell and have fairly long tails. Such turtles have been roaming the earth for 65 million years. They have quite a diverse habitat in addition to mating habits and diet.
  3. Pond Turtles – This is the largest group of turtles and can be found all around the world. Some species of pond turtles are carnivores while some are herbivores. They have many predators such as alligators and raccoons. These species are typically the kinds of turtles which are used in the pet trade.
  4. Mud or Musk Turtles – These kinds of turtles emit an unpleasant odor when they’re disturbed. They feed on aquatic insects, small fish and amphibians in addition to any crustacean they could find. The adults are rarely preyed upon by other animals; rather their eggs are coveted by an assortment of animals.
  5. Tortoises – These kinds of turtles can boast the distinction of being the largest turtles that live on land. Tortoises feed on flowers, grasses and fruits though they’ve been known to feast on carrion. Normally, tortoises have heavy scales and feet that aren’t webbed. Their closest relatives are the pond turtles.
  6. Softshell Turtles – These sorts of turtles can live in various kinds of waters with a soft bottom being required. Their shells aren’t hard, but instead are covered with a leather-like skin. They spend the majority of their time buried in mud.
  7. Even though they are sea turtles, they’re a class unto themselves. They can be found swimming the waters of this planet regardless of if the waters are cold or warm. Their jaws lack strength so feed mostly on jellyfish. The adults don’t have any known predators, instead it is the eggs and the hatchlings that are most vulnerable to predators. The leatherback is a truly endangered species because of erosion and evolution of the shores where the females land ashore to make their nests and lay their eggs.