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Queen:"reflection, meditation and prayer make us better people"; remained constant is "family, friendship & good neighborliness"
Watch the Queen's Christmas Day message 2013 in full
The Queen reflected on prominent events from the past year during her Christmas broadcast - from the service that marked the 60th anniversary of her coronation to the birth of Prince George
"balance between action and reflection"
"reflection, meditation, prayer help to renew us"
"family, friendship, neighborliness"
"principle and service"
Her broadcast began with the Queen telling her audience how a man she once knew gained a clearer insight into the world after spending a year in a plaster cast recovering from a back operation.
She said: "He read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable. Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly.
"We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock."
The Queen, who was dressed in a single crepe wool primrose dress which she wore to William and Kate's wedding in April 2011, also said in her broadcast: "As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph.
"It was a happy occasion, bringing together four generations."
The Queen also looked back over the past 12 months to the 60th anniversary of her coronation, celebrated with a national service in June.
She said: "I myself had cause to reflect this year, at Westminster Abbey, on my own pledge of service made in that great church on Coronation Day 60 years earlier. read more »
"Harmony", the ever-biggest word carved by 2 popes, floating in the sky which has no boundaries of religions, or claimed regions
[Dec 29, 2013] Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has shared a holiday meal with his successor, Pope Francis.
The two men dined together at Francis's residence, the Santa Marta hotel on the Vatican City grounds, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said on Saturday.
Francis had extended an invitation for a holiday meal when he paid a call on his predecessor December 23 at a monastery on the Vatican's grounds to offer Christmas greetings, Vatican Radio said. read more »
Intelligent and Kind: mammal dolphins, whales and humans have fun together/ rescue each other - stunning stories, photos, videos
calf floating alongside mother whale beneath whale-watching ship
Swimming along with curious whale calf and mother was nerve-racking
Moko the dolphin enjoys playing with swimmers, pushes kayaks along
a whale that helped a drowning athlete
2nd whale stays by side of friend tangled in rope until she's freed
grateful whale nuzzled each of her rescuers/divers in turn and flapped around
dolphins rescue surfer (severely injured) from becoming shark’s bait
7-Day-Old Baby Dolphin Rescued In Uruguay
Wild Dolphin "Asks" Divers to Help Free Itself from Hook
(Video Comment by M13: "And in JAPAN... they hunt dolphins by cutting off a BABY dolphins fin... then throwing it back in the water. And while its family refuses to leave the crying baby... then can take their time to kill the entire family one by one.") read more »
Man enjoys surfing? So do swans! Person of 2013: Pope #1, Snowden #2; Legend Lady Chang'e and Jade Rabbit (solar-powered rover)
Mick Fanning at the Pipe Masters this week
Absolutely amazing: black swans frolicking off shore near Gold Coast, catching waves in and out
Forbes "Pope Francis Is Time's Person Of Year 2013; Snowden Is No. 2"
uk.Reuters - "He is a strange guy," Putin said of Snowden, "I don't get what he is thinking." "Basically he doomed himself to a pretty difficult life. What will he do next, I don't even imagine. But it's clear now that we won't give him away, he should feel safe here." Snowden flew to Moscow from Hong Kong in June and got stuck in the transit zone after US revoked his passport and urged countries not to let him pass.
read more »
Complete Works of Shakespeare covered in Hindu deities, smuggled into prison, accompanied Nelson Mandela in solitary confinement
"A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."
"I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles."
"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."
- Nelson Mandela
Locked in solitary confinement on Robben Island, newspapers were banned and letters from loved ones a rare treat. Where did he find the inspiration to continue his long struggle for freedom?
A tattered book covered in luminous Hindu deities might have seemed like a strange choice for the South African leader. But the beatifically smiling women on the cover knew something the prison wardens didn't. Inside was the "Complete Works of Shakespeare," and the historic text became a source of strength for Mandela and his fellow inmates during their darkest days. read more »
Tiny islands get tense attention while vast Pacific ocean is deadly poisoned by nuclear radiation but ignored like Cinderella
Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) - Taiwan will express its deep concerns to Japan if Japanese authorities interfere with Taiwanese civilian aircraft flying through an area where the two countries' airspace zones overlap, an official said Tuesday. "If our Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) notifies us of such a case, we will immediately hold serious consultations with Japan" and ask it to refrain from such actions, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao at a news conference Tuesday. read more »
Why int'l experts not step in? Fukushima, Japan: 1,331 used fuel rods =14,000 x atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Fukushima, Japan. Highly dangerous and unprecedented removal of highly radioactive nuclear fuel rods begins on Nov18
The fuel assemblies are in a 32 x 40 feet concrete pool, the base of which is on the fourth story of the damaged reactor building. The assemblies - which contain plutonium, one of the most toxic substances known - are under 23 feet of water.
If the fuel rods - there are 50-70 in each of the assemblies, which weigh around 661 pounds and are 15 feet long - are exposed to air or if they break, catastrophic amounts of radioactive gases could be released into the atmosphere.
The 1,331 used fuel rod assemblies contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.
“Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date,” say independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt in a recent World Nuclear Industry Status Report.
28 Signs That the West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried with Nuclear Radiation from Fukushima
8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima. read more »