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Pop John Paul II

Pope John Paul II is the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century. Born Karol Josef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, to a Polish army officer in Wadowice in Poland, John Paul II attended an underground seminary during the World War II German occupation and was ordained a priest in 1946. After studying in Rome and at the University of Krakow, he was appointed professor of ethics at the University of Lublin in 1956....

What is Esperanto?

What is Esperanto?

Esperanto is an artificial international language created by Dr Ludovic Lazarus Zamenof between 1877-85. Zamenhof, who grew up in Warsaw, Poland, was convinced that a common language would be necessary to resolve many problems as language barriers helped to aggravate problems between nations. Zamenhof realised that none of the major European languages, French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Russian could be made universal as they were all difficult languages to learn. The difficulty in mastering grammar would put native speakers at an advantage with respect to those who did not speak them fluently....

War Memorial for Child Soldiers

War Memorial for Child Soldiers

Where: New York, USA September 23, 2000: “Everyone was dying. You saw the legs or hands of your friends lying in front of you. It was so horrifying, you couldn’t make sense of it. It was hell… Boys lay on the ground for three or four days without being buried. We were fighting around their corpses.” This is how Rashid, an Ethiopian high school student, described his experience of fighting on the Badme front in 1999....

Three Nations or One?

Three Nations or One?

August 19: Tang Weijiang is an angry man. He is suing the famous Japanese company Canon for causing him mental distress! Reason – Tang, a Chinese, was furious that the company making a particular brand of printer, in its publicity video, had given the impression that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were three separate countries. He is demanding $12 million in compensation. Three Nations or One? [Illustration by Sudheer Nath] While the island of Hong Kong has come back to China after being under British control for almost 100 years, Taiwan broke away from China more than 50 years ago to declare independence....

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

September 23: Twelve-year-old Fatima Abdeljamid is creating waves at the Sydney Olympics and for all the right reasons. She is one of two Bahraini nationals and among the very few from the Middle East nations to compete in the Olympics. Fatima, a swimmer, and Myriam al-Hili, an athlete, have been invited to the Sydney Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is a gesture that is meant to encourage Muslim women from Islamic nations to take part in the Games....

World Hunger Figure Reaches One Billion

Where: Rome, Italy June 22, 2009 : The global financial meltdown is responsible for pushing the figure for the world’s hungry people to a record one billion. This means hunger now affects one in six people. These depressing figures, which show a rise of 100 million over 2008, were released by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). A human being who consumes fewer than 1,800 calories a day is certified hungry. War, drought, political instability, high food prices and poverty were cited as the causes that spread hunger over so many millions....

World Environment Day on June 5: Become an Earth Warrior

Where: Worldwide June 4, 2009 : World Environment Day is observed every year on June 5. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. The guiding principle is that people have to take responsibility for the environment. The earth’s rain forests are disappearing, chemicals have poisoned our air, marine life is dying in our polluted seas, and harmful waste and toxins have reached even the least populated corners of the globe. The wake up call for earth’s citizens for 2009 is “Your Planet Needs You — UNite to Combat Climate Change”....

Four Nation Hockey Tournament in Chandigarh

Where: Chandigarh, India February 10, 2009 : The Punjab Gold Cup, a four nation hockey tournament, was organized by the state government of Punjab in Chandigarh. Hosts India, captained by Sandeep Singh, got a chance to test their skills against New Zealand, European champions Holland, and world-cum-Olympic champions Germany. The final match went to Holland, who defeated the home team 2-1. This didn’t dampen the spectators’ enthusiasm, though. The myth that only cricket can pull crowds in India was busted....

Sea Levels Rising At Alarming Rates

Where: Copenhagen, Denmark March 12, 2009 : A scientific conference on climate change was held during the week in Copenhagen. Environmental experts there announced that sea levels are rising almost twice as fast as the United Nations had forecast just two years ago. Both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice caps have been melting at increasing rates. Scientists now say that sea levels will rise by anything between 50cm and 100cm by the year 2100. The 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted that they would rise by between 18cm and 59cm by 2100....

Swimming in Trouble

Swimming in Trouble

July 1: All governments and leaders talk about children as the “future” of the nation – a “strong” nation. They specially talk about the need to encourage sports among children from an early age. But if you ask the young swimmers who participated in the National Swimming Championship for the 11 and 13-year-old category recently, they will tell you how nonsensical these statements are. For they have a horror story to tell. Two weeks ago, all the star swimmers of India in the 11 and 13-year-old category travelled to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh....

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