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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 »

Of 679 whales killed in 2008-09 hunt in Antarctica, 304 were female. 4 lactating & 192 pregnant at time of death

Left: A minke whale and her calf being towed up the rear ramp of the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No 2; Right: the slain carcass of a minke whale tied to the Japanese harpoon ship Yushin Maru 2

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Nearly a Third of Whales Killed in Japan Antarctic Hunt are Pregnant, Whaling Commission Hears This Week

Japan whale cuisine: on the menu, alongside local staples such as whale sashimi, were new creations including whale spring rolls, whale bacon and even an Italian cheese whale cutlet

MADEIRA, Portugal - Data provided by the Japanese government has revealed a large number of pregnant and lactating female whales killed. The data was made public at the International Whaling Commission meeting Monday, June 22, 2009.

a minke whale harpooned by the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No 2  read more »

72 years ago today, iconic Golden Gate Bridge finished construction ahead of schedule & $1.3 million under budget

pillar of Golden Gate Bridge

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*update* 2019
Street cleaning cost doubled in 5 years from $33.4 million (2012-2013), to $65.4 million in the current 2017-2018 budget.

4,200 foot long main suspension span
clearance above high water averages 220 feet (67 m)
2 towers rise 746 feet (191 feet taller than the Washington Monument)
length: 8,980ft (2,737m), or 1.7mi (2.7 km)
Width: 90ft (27.4m), 6 lanes, pedestrians and bicycles
opening in 1937, then both the longest and the tallest suspension bridge in the world

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, turned 72 years old on Wednesday. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful, and most photographed, bridges in the world. Its 4,200 foot long main suspension span was a world record that stood for 27 years. It is still the second longest in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which links Staten Island to Brooklyn in New York. The bridge's two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument.  read more »

Sydney. Surf Lifesaving: voluntary lifeguard services and competitive surf sport originated in Australia in 1906

competitors run to the water during the start of the Open Women's Board Race final, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships

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Surf lifesaving originated in Australia in 1906 in response to drownings at local beaches in Sydney. It comprises key aspects of voluntary lifeguard services and competitive surf sport and has expanded globally to other countries including New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. Such groups became necessary following the relaxing of laws prohibiting daylight bathing on Australian beaches. Volunteer groups of men were trained in lifesaving methods and patrolled the beaches as lifesavers looking after public safety.

a competitor from Northcliffe competes in the Open Men's Board Race semifinal, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships  read more »

Vauban's streets are nearly "car-free": on outskirts of Freiburg, Germany - suburban pioneers give up their cars

many residents of Vauban, Germany have carts that attach to bicycles for hauling toddlers and groceries

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VAUBAN, Germany - Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” - except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home. As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called “smart planning.”

To make sure that residents can live in Vauban without a car, it is a ‘mixed use’ community: stores, banks and restaurants are sprinkled along the main street of Vauban, and that street is within walking distance of all homes  read more »

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