KALININGRAD

Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal state of the Russian Federation that is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea and has the city of Kaliningrad as its administrative center.

Until 1945, Kaliningrad was known as Königsberg, the former capital of East Prussia,  but after its World War II victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union annexed the city and the surrounding area.

Kaliningrad’s ultimate strategic value to Russia is that it functions as a warm-water port as well as a staging area for military exercises. Russia has held frequent exercises in the region and Moscow has often threatened to place nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, which borders multiple NATO states.

Strange, isn’t it?

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ZABID

Zabid is one of the oldest towns in Yemen and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

The Great Mosque of Zabid was built in 628 AD and the town was the capital of Yemen from 13th to the 15th century.

Zabid is under rebel control of Huthi rebels, which are backed by Iran. The government, backed by Saudi Arabia, has been closing in on it as it makes its way to Hodeida, an important port.

Zabid is under threat as the government military looms in on Huthi rebels.

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DRESDEN, NIJINSKY, PICASSO, BELGRADE

The Headlines:

Dresden in 1900.

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Vaslav Nijinsky (1899-1950) in “L’après-midi d’un faune”, 1912.

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, 1907.

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Russian Tsar building, Belgrade.

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SIEGFRIED SASSOON

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On Passing The New Menin Gate
by Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

 

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,-
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever’, the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

 

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* The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

THE GREAT ST. MARTIN CHURCH

The Great Saint Martin Church is a Romanesque Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. Its foundations (circa 960 AD) rest on remnants of a Roman chapel, built on what was then an island in the Rhine. The church was later transformed into a Benedictine monastery. The current buildings, including a soaring crossing tower that is a landmark of Cologne’s Old Town, were erected between 1150-1250. The church was badly damaged in World War II; restoration work was completed in 1985.

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