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Rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley drafted today in 1957 while spending Christmas at Graceland, shipped to Germany

Elvis Presley is seen in this undated file photo in Army uniform at Company ‘D’ 1st Battalion 32nd Armor, barracks area, in Friedberg, Germany

(quote)

By December of 1957, Elvis Presley was twenty-three years old, healthy, rich, and more famous than he could ever dreamed. Everything he touched turned to gold. It was as if nothing could get in his way. That is, until December 10, 1957, when Elvis received a letter from the Memphis Draft Board notifying him that he was up for the next military draft. Army, Navy, and Air Force recruiters immediately called to offer him special enlistment opportunities if he signed up before being drafted. The Navy even offered to form an "Elvis Presley Company" that would include soldiers from the Memphis area. Elvis declined all the enlistment offers and decided to take his changes with the draft. On December 19, nine days after he received his initial draft notification, Elvis got final word from the Memphis Draft Board; he was to report for induction into the Army on January 20, 1958, the very same day he was scheduled to start filming King Creole.

Elvis Presley smiles for a photo in his Army uniform  read more »

10 of the best cities offering quality life measured by traffic congestion, air quality, and personal safety

Zurich, Switzerland

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Zurich, Switzerland
Mercer score: 108
GDP: $300.9 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 7,581,520 (total country); 347,517 (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.74 years

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria
Mercer score: 107.9
GDP: $319.7 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 8,205,533 (total country); 1,825,287 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.36 years

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada
Mercer score: 107.6
GDP: $1.274 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 33,212,696 (total country); 560,000 (total city)
Life expectancy: 81.16 years

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand
Mercer score: 107.3
GDP: $112.6 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 4,173,460 (total country); 1.18 million (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.24 years

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany
Mercer score: 107
GDP: $2.833 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 82,369,548 (total country); 1,332,650 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.1 years

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia
Mercer score: 106.3
GDP: $766.8 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 20,600,856 (total country); 4,297,100 (total city)  read more »

"Land of Cheese" Asturias, Spain: thousands of caves hidden in hills used by residents for centuries to age cheese

Raquel Viejo in her cheese cave, where she stores Cabrales, a blue cow's cheese named after the town in Asturias where it was first made

(quote)

We were in Asturias, a sliver of northern Spain that rests on the Bay of Biscay, and I had been drawn there by the region’s tagline: “The Land of Cheese.”

My pilgrimage had led me to the bat cave last September where I was following Raquel Viejo, a local woman whose family has lived in Asturias for generations. The specialty of the region — and what was stored on those shelves — is Cabrales, a blue cow’s cheese named after the town in Asturias where it was first made.

Asturias, a sliver of northern Spain that rests on the Bay of Biscay, calls itself The Land of Cheese. There are thousands of caves hidden in the hills of this rugged region, and for centuries residents have been using them to age cheese

There are thousands of caves hidden in the hills here, and for centuries residents have been using them to age cheese. The specifics of each brand of cheese in various regions of Spain are regulated by a denomination of origin, or D.O., and Cabrales’s says it must be stored in cavelike conditions for at least two months so the good bacteria can kill off the bad.  read more »

Piracy renewed: almost 40 ships seized by Somali pirates & more than $150m(£101m) in ransoms paid so far this year

three British security guards board a helicopter to be transferred to a Royal Navy vessel

Troubled waters & age-old problem renewed: pirates inspired by Johnny Depp’s antics or by oil - the new treasure?

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Three escape pirate-hijacked tanker

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Three British guards jumped overboard and were rescued from the water after battling in vain to prevent pirates hijacking a chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia. The Liberian-flagged Biscaglia came under "sustained and heavy attack" early Friday morning, Nick Davis, Director of Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS), said in a statement. The three APMSS-employed security guards -- all former British servicemen -- mounted "sustained non-lethal resistance" but were unable to stop the attackers seizing control of the ship, Davis said.

The trio were airlifted to safety by a German naval helicopter and flown to a French frigate after the vessel summoned assistance from coalition warships. They were later transferred to a British Royal Navy ship. All three were unhurt, Davis said. "I have spoken with my team leader on the phone and he informs me that the level of violence was significant and forced them reluctantly to leave the vessel after every effort was made to ensure the safety of the ships crew," Davis said. Pirates continued to shoot at the three in the water, Davis said. "The hijacked vessel with pirates in control then attempted to run them down."  read more »

Vendée Globe yacht race: 23k-mile round-the-world alone, non-stop no-assist, via South Pole and back in 60ft monohulls

Marc Thiercelin had to pull out of the Vendée Globe race because of damage to his yacht’s mast

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The French do not lack for creativity, and some of it has been expended over the years to develop sports events. The French were the driving force behind the modern revival of the Olympics. They played a vital role in starting soccer’s World Cup and European Cup, which is now better known as the Champions League, and in Alpine skiing’s World Cup. They also dreamed up the Tour de France and the Vendée Globe yacht race.

all aboard: Ellen MacArthur onboard her BT sponsored boat is anticipating the best Vendee race ever

That last event is surely the most obscure. But in France, the Vendée Globe is a major happening - a quadrennial opportunity for Gallic sea dogs and landlubbers alike to reacquaint themselves with the iceberg-infested dangers of the southern oceans and man’s (and woman’s) capacity for salt-stained, sleep-starved solitude. The concept is brutal if attractively simple: competitors race alone around the South Pole and back in 60-foot monohulls without stopping. There are strict limits on outside assistance once the sailors leave Les Sables d’Olonne on the west coast of France.

Vendee Globe route  read more »

Travel: Berlin in Pictures. Potsdamer Platz, Bode Museum(Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum), Reichstag iconic glass dome, Brandenburg Gate

Potsdamer Platz: the centerpiece of Berlin

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Berlin is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million within its city limits, Berlin is the country's largest city. It is the second most populous city and the ninth most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area, comprising 5 million people from over 190 nations.

Potsdamer Platz, the centerpiece of Berlin, is a collection of futuristic high-rise office buildings and a pedestrianised forum with shops, cinemas, cafes and restaurants designed by some of the world's most celebrated architects.

Bode Museum and Fernsehturm

The Bode Museum belongs to the group of museums on Museum Island in Berlin and is a historically preserved building. The museum was designed by architect Ernst von Ihne and completed in 1904. Originally called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum after Emperor Frederick III, the museum was renamed in honor of its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956.

inside the Reichstag dome, designed by Norman Foster

The current Reichstag dome is an iconic glass dome constructed on top of the rebuilt Reichstag building in Berlin. It was designed by architect Norman Foster and built to symbolize the reunification of Germany. The distinctive appearance of the dome has made it a prominent landmark in Berlin.  read more »

Diwali, path/array of lights. Festival of Lights, victory of good over evil, celebrated to dispel darkness and light up lives

Diwali is marked by the lighting of lamps like these being prepared by a laborer in Amritsar

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Diwali/Deepavali is a Sanskrit word which means path or array of lights and signifies the victory of good (light) over evil (darkness). members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) light earthen lamps assembled to form the word peace on the eve of Diwali in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, Oct. 27, 2008 Many legends are associated with Diwali. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Lights," where people light deyas (small clay pots filled with coconut oil and a cotton like string(wick)is inserted) to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual. Officially, it fell on Oct. 28 this year.

In India, a land of festivals,Diwali is celebrated with fervor and gaiety. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, throughout the country to dispel darkness and light up their lives.

women light lamps in Ahmedabad, Western India, on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights  read more »

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