Downtown Toronto

24 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Downtown Toronto seen from Toronto Islands © Arild Vågen/cc-by-sa-4.0

Downtown Toronto seen from Toronto Islands © Arild Vågen/cc-by-sa-4.0

Downtown Toronto is the main central business district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located entirely within the district of Old Toronto (neighbourhoods in Toronto), it is approximately 17 square kilometres in area, bounded by Bloor Street to the northeast and Dupont Street to the northwest, Lake Ontario to the south, the Don Valley to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west. It is also the location of the municipal government of Toronto and the Government of Ontario. The area is made up of Canada’s largest concentration of skyscrapers and businesses that form Toronto’s skyline. Downtown Toronto has the third most skyscrapers in North America exceeding 200 metres (656 ft) in height, behind New York City and Chicago.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Champasak Town

23 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Champasak is a small town in southern Laos, on the west bank of the Mekong River about 40 km south of Pakse, the capital of Champasak Province. The town was once the seat of the Kingdom of Champasak, an independent Lao state which was abolished by the French in 1945 when they created the Kingdom of Laos, but the last King of Champasak had his palace in Pakse.   read more…

Portrait: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

23 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch © U.S. National Archives and Records Administration - Ralph Alswang

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch © U.S. National Archives and Records Administration – Ralph Alswang

Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton and was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor. During her tenure Ginsburg wrote notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia (1996), Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000). Between O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Phongsali

22 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Phongsali © Stefan Auth

Phongsali © Stefan Auth

Phongsali or Phongsaly is the capital of Phongsaly Province. It is the northernmost provincial capital in Laos, opposite Attapeu in the south. The town has about 6,000 inhabitants. It lies at approximately 1,430 meters elevation on the slopes of Mount Phu Fa (1,625 meters). Phongsali has summer temperatures around 25-30 °C, with frequent rain. In winter, from November to March, it is cool and mostly sunny, with daytime temperatures between 10-18 °C.   read more…

Rue Gouraud in Beirut

22 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Karan Jain/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Karan Jain/cc-by-sa-2.0

Rue Gouraud is a mixed residential and commercial street in Gemmayzeh, a neighborhood in the Rmeil district of Beirut in Lebanon. It is named after French General Henri Gouraud. Gemmayze, and Rue Gouraud specifically, competes with the trendy village-type neighborhood of Badaro, as one of Beirut’s bohemian quarters. the district is full of narrow streets and historic buildings from the French era. The neighborhood is well known today for its trendy bars and pubs, cafes, restaurants and lounges, most of which are directly located on Rue Gouraud.   read more…

Theme Week Laos

21 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang © flickr.com - Allie Caulfield/cc-by-2.0

Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang © flickr.com – Allie Caulfield/cc-by-2.0

Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxôn Lao), is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. At the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast and Thailand to the west and southwest. It is a one-party socialist republic, espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, under which non-governmental organizations have routinely characterized the country’s human rights record as poor, citing repeated abuses such as torture, restrictions on civil liberties, and persecution of minorities. There is a distinct rainy season from May to November, followed by a dry season from December to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cold and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse (Geography of Laos and List of cities in Laos). In 1993 the Laos government set aside 21 percent of the nation’s land area for habitat conservation preservation. The country is one of four in the opium poppy growing region known as the “Golden Triangle“. According to the October 2007 UNODC fact book Opium Poppy Cultivation in South East Asia, the poppy cultivation area was 15 square kilometres (5.8 sq mi), down from 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) in 2006.   read more…

University of London

21 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Universities, Colleges, Academies

Senate House © An Siarach

Senate House © An Siarach

The University of London is a federal research university located in London. As of March 2020<, the university consists of 17 member institutions and three central academic bodies. The university has around 48,000 distance learning external students and 178,735 campus-based internal students, making it the largest university by number of students in the United Kingdom.   read more…

Ateneum in Helsinki

18 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

Goddess of Art and Caryatids © Paasikivi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Goddess of Art and Caryatids © Paasikivi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ateneum is an art museum in Helsinki, Finland and one of the three museums forming the Finnish National Gallery. It is located in the centre of Helsinki on the south side of Rautatientori square close to Helsinki Central railway station. It has the biggest collections of classical art in Finland. Before 1991 the Ateneum building also housed the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.   read more…

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

16 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Hassan II Mosque (Grande Mosquée Hassan II) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s second tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau under the guidance of King Hassan II and built by Moroccan artisans from all over the kingdom. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside ground.   read more…

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