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Beauty & diplomacy, charm & compassion for refugee. Joanne Herring, Charlie Wilson, Avrakotos: trio ended Afghan war

Joanne Herring in Afghanistan with the mujahideen

History won’t forget each one who deploys diplomacy rather than weaponry to end war which inevitably imposes tremendous suffering on humanity. History remembers that a team of three once did the impossible, ending the Afghan war, ending misery of refugees due to war. The trio also won "Charlie Wilson's War" (a movie based on the true story stars Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson), Julia Roberts (Joanne Herring) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Gust Avrakotos).

Charlie Wilson's War (2007) starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, based on George Crile's book Charlie Wilson's War

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Charles Wilson  read more »

Longest full solar eclipse of century turns day to night in Asia, celestial show inspiring awe & fear in millions

Top left: moon passes between sun & earth during solar eclipse as seen in Changsha, Hunan province, China; Bottom left: partial solar eclipse silhouettes birds surrounding minaret of shrine of Sufi Saint Bah-ud-din Zakria in Multan, Pakistan; Top right: dragonfly flies in sky during total solar eclipse in Seoul. South Korea; Bottom right: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has seen what scientists say is the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century taken from the national observatory on Iojima island, Japan

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The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century was visible in a 155 miles corridor as it traveled half the globe and passed through the world's two most populous nations, India and China. The eclipse began at 5:28am local time (2358 GMT) in India and lasted up to a maximum of 6 minutes and 39 seconds when it hit the Pacific Ocean. Total eclipses are caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the Earth, covering it completely to cast a shadow on Earth. Wednesday's was the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting six minutes and 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse until 2132.  read more »

40 yrs ago: "we choose to go to the moon."It was hard. Now for mankind to keep Earth green, it's to be much harder

Photo: as Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder of Apollo 11's Lunar lander, he made his famous quote, ‘One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind!’; Inset: President John F. Kennedy

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July 20, 1969 saw the first human footsteps on the moon. John F. Kennedy remarked, "we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard." Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, after he snapped the historic Earthrise photo on December 1968, said, "we came all this way to explore the moon and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, took with him tree seeds from a Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweet Gum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. After Roosa's return to Earth, the original seeds were germinated by the U.S. Forest Service and the result was "moon trees." Moon trees now grow in many places. A Moon Sycamore also shades Roosa's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

Left: A second generation Sycamore 'moon' tree was newly planted in celebration of Earth Day 2009 & the 40th Anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing at the National Arboretum. Right: Earthrise, as seen by the Apollo 8 crew  read more »

"..and that's the way it is." Newsman, veteran, Walter Cronkite's journey fr reporting WWII, Vietnam War, Iraq War...

CBS news legend Walter Cronkite, hailed as ‘the most trusted man in America’ during his 18 years as anchor of the Evening News

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Journey of Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) covered Allied invasion of Normandy, WWII... He wept as he announced John F Kennedy's assassination, shouted encouragement when the Apollo astronauts lifted off for the moon and was the nightly conduit of information on America's Vietnam War nightmare for families across the nation. 30 years ago, news anchorman Walter Cronkite would finish up his hourly news broadcast to the nation of America by saying, "...and that's the way it is."

Left: Walter Cronkite receives the Scripps Institute of Oceanography award for his efforts in highlighting science in the media; Right: WEWS Jenny Crimm with Walter Cronkite  read more »

Bravo! Most creative, productive int'l competition to save planet: Pakistan, 300 people planted 541176 trees a day

India managed to set a Guinness World Record just last month for the most trees planted in one day, with a tally of 447,874 individual saplings planted, but Pakistan has managed to up that even more Wednesday

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WWF has awarded Pakistan’s Environment Minister Leaders of the Planet title, an award to recognize individuals making a significant personal contribution to the global fight against climate change. Without mechanical equipment, covered in mud, and sweating in temperatures up to 37° Celsius, Pakistan set the Guinness World Record for tree planting, beating India in a most healthy & productive international competition contributing to endangered forests. 541,176 young mangroves trees were planted by 300 volunteers in just one day, breaking the previous 447,874 record held by India.

Pakistan set the Guinness World Record for tree planting, beating India in a healthy and productive international competition contributing to preserving fragile and endangered forests. With 541,176 young mangroves trees planted by 300 volunteers from the local fishermen communities just in one day, the country broke the previous 447,874 record held by historical rival India.

little Pakistani girl helps plant a tree  read more »

Fête Nationale (14 July). Bastille, once symbol of despotism, absolute power & terror, now symbol of French Revolution & freedom

9 Alphajets from the French Air Force's Patrouille de France, or French Aerobatic Patrol, fly in formation over the Arc de Triomphe, trailing the colours of the French flag

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Fête Nationale is celebrated all over France and in many countries. On July 14, 1789, the Bastille, prison in Paris, a symbol of despotism, absolute power & terror, was turned into a symbol of French Revolution & freedom.

The Bastille was a prison in Paris originally called the Chastel Saint-Antoine. It was built between 1370 and 1383 (under kings Charles V and Charles VI) to serve as a fortress for the protection of the city against Anglo-Burgundian forces during the Hundred Years' War. The four-and-a-half-story building, surrounded by its own moat, was located at the eastern main entrance to medieval Paris. It had eight closely-spaced towers, roughly 77.1 ft. (23.5m) high, which surrounded 2 courtyards & the armory. The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The event is celebrated annually on July 14 in France and many other countries, officially called the Fête Nationale.

Eugene Delecroix’s painting entitled: Liberty Leading the People  read more »

Racing star in Tour de France '09 to win: Sebastien Joly thanks Lance Armstrong for support. Both cancer survivors

Tour de France riders Lance Armstrong and Sebastien Joly

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Racing star. Cancer survivor. U.S. cycling legend & 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong returns to competition primarily to promote his foundation against cancer. He has survived testicular cancer and retired from racing on July 24, 2005, but returned to competitive cycling in January 2009. Tour de France rider Sebastien Joly has thanked fellow cancer survivor Lance Armstrong for his support when he was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. Sébastien Joly (born June 25, 1979 in Tournon) is a French professional road racing cyclist. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer on June 25, 2007, the day of his 28th birthday. Now, both are courageously cycling in the on-going 96th Tour de France cycling race (July 4-26) over 196.5 kilometers (122 miles) with start in Marseille and finish in La Grande-Motte, southern France. Among the 21 stages, there are 7 mountain stages, ridiculously difficult, which make the legend of the Tour.

the pack passes through a tunnel during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 196.5 kilometers (122 miles) with start in Marseille and finish in La Grande-Motte, southern France, Monday July 6, 2009  read more »

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