Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tiger Woods at the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am Tournament

Photo: US professional golfer Tiger Woods drives the ball down range at the inaugural Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am Tournament, part of the AT&T National PGA Tour event in July 2007.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Interior of the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The construction of the first basilica was begun by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine I, in AD 327 and was completed in Ad 333. That structure was burnt down in the Samaritan Revolt of AD 529. The current basilica was rebuilt in Ad 565 by the Emperor Justinian I. When the Persians invaded in AD 614, they did not destroy the structure, because, according to legends, their commander Shahrbaraz was moved by the depiction inside the church of the Three Magi wearing Persian clothing. So he ordered that the building be spared. The Crusaders made repairs and additions to the building during the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem with permission and help given by the Byzantine Emperor. Over the years, the compound has been expanded. Currently it covers about 12,000 square meters. Now the church is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities, all of them maintaining monastic communities on the site.

The church was one of the direct causes for French involvement in the Crimean War against Russia.

Main entrance to Bethlehem from Jerusalem

Most of the entrances and exits from the Bethlehem to the rest of the West Bank are currently subject to Israeli check posts and roadblocks, and subject to Israeli security directives. Travel for Bethlehem's Palestinian residents from the West Bank into Israel-annexed Jerusalem is regulated by permits, acquiring of which has become difficult, though Israel has erected a terminal to ease transit.

Birthplace of Jesus Christ in the Grotto of the Nativity

Photo: This Silver Star, beneath the altar in the Grotto of the Nativity, marks the spot believed to be the Birthplace of Jesus Christ.

The antiquity of this tradition is attested by the Christian apologist Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), who noted in his Dialogue with Trypho that the Holy Family had taken refuge in a cave outside of town: “Joseph took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found Him (Chapter LXXVIII).

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; Jesus’ birthplace

Photo: The Silver Star marks the place where Jesus Christ was born according to Christian tradition. The site is located in Bethlehem, precisely in the cave under the Church of the Nativity.

The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and it is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam.

Wikipedia states about Jesus in Islam, "In Islam, Jesus is considered a Messenger of God who had been sent to guide the People of Israel with a new scripture. The Quran, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, mentions Jesus 25 times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions (but not Quran) narrate that he will return to Earth near the Day of Judgment to restore justice and defeat "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist. Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was a mortal man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God, emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness. Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Quran, such as al-Massif (the messiah; the anointed one), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming".

Israel Palestinian territories and western Jordan

Map: annotated satellite image of Israel, the Palestinian territories and western Jordan, highlighting principal geographical features: based on NASA satellite image of Israel in January 2003.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. James Church in Medjugorje, Herzegovina

Photo: St. James Church in Medjugorje, in the Herzegovina region

Međugorje, a town located in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 25 km southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia, is now best known due to claims of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to six Croats since 24 June 1981, and is now visited by thousands of pilgrims from around the world as a Marian shrine.

16th century Ottoman 9-barrel volley gun

The Ottoman Empire, also known by its contemporaries as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was an Islamic empire that lasted from 1299 to November 1, 1922 as an imperial monarchy, or July 24, 1923 de jure, as a state. It was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey, officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923.

Ottoman artillery was famous for the size of its cannon and their number, from the highly mobile antipersonnel Abus gun to the massive Great Turkish Bombard. As late as 1809 massive stone-firing guns were used with some effect against British ships during the Dardanelles Operation, throwing 800-pound marble cannon balls which were able to sheer off a main mast of a ship of the line.

Ireland’s Aer Lingus Airbus A320-200

Photo: by Arpingstone Adrian Pingstone shows Aer Lingus Airbus A320-200 landing at Heathrow Airport, London on 28 July 2007

Aer Lingus, the former national airline of the Republic of Ireland, is one of the airlines based in Ireland, apart from Ryanair, Aer Arann and CityJet. The country has five main international airports; Dublin Airport, Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove), Cork Airport, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport (Knock).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Great barracuda at Paradise Reef, Mexico

Photo: the great barracuda fish hovering in the current at the Paradise Reef, Cozumel, Mexico.

The great barracuda is a species of salt water ray-finned fish (binomial name: Sphyraena barracuda), growing over 6 feet long, found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated as AMNH), established in 1869, is built in Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture, a style of Romanesque Revival named after the architect Henry Hobson Richardson, incorporating a very free revival style of 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish and Italian Romanesque characteristics.

AMNH, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, is one of the largest, most famous museums in the world, comprising 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories and a very renowned library. It has a mammoth collection of over 32 million specimens.

Photo dated 7 Jan 2007 shows side entrance of AMNH.

Early Christian martyrs’ last prayer in Rome

Painting (1883) of early Christians being slaughtered for entertainment in the Colosseum in Rome by French painter and sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 - 10 January 1904). The artist is known for the style known as Academicism, and the range of his oeuvre included historical paintings, Greek mythology, Orientalism and portraits.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

The picture of the 2004 tsunami at Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand on 26 December 2004, photo by David Rydevik, Stockholm, Sweden.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, with a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3 the second largest earthquake ever recorded, was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The resultant tsunami hit 14 countries inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high; one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were the hardest hit.

Tsunamis are sea waves with long wavelength of long wave periods triggered by sudden movement of large volumes of water. In the open ocean the distance between two wave crests can be over 100 kilometers, and the wave periods can vary from five minutes to one hour. Such tsunamis can travel at speeds of 600 to 800 kilometers per hour, depending on the depth of water in the sea or ocean. Large tsunami waves, caused by an earthquake or a submarine (underwater) landslide, can overrun coastal areas on the path of tsunami in a matter of minutes. Tsunamis can also travel thousands of kilometers across the ocean and wreak destruction on far off shores hours after the earthquake that generated them.