Abd al-Rahman II

Abd ar-Rahman II was the fourth Umayyad Emir of Córdoba in the Al-Andalus Iberia from 822 until his death. Abd ar-Rahman II was born in Toledo, the son of Emir Al-Hakam I. In his youth he took part in the so-called "massacre of the ditch", when from 700 to 5,000 people came to pay homage to the princes who were killed by order of Al-Hakam, he succeeded his father as Emir of Córdoba in 822 and engaged in nearly continuous warfare against Alfonso II of Asturias, whose southward advance he halted. In 837, he suppressed a revolt of Jews in Toledo, he issued a decree by which the Christians were forbidden to seek martyrdom, he had a Christian synod held to forbid martyrdom. In 844, Abd ar-Rahman repulsed an assault by Vikings who had disembarked in Cádiz, conquered Seville and attacked Córdoba itself. Thereafter he constructed a fleet and naval arsenal at Seville to repel future raids, he responded to William of Septimania's requests of assistance in his struggle against Charles the Bald's nominations.

Abd ar-Rahman was famous for his public building program in Córdoba where he died in 852. He made additions to the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. A vigorous and effective frontier warrior, he was well known as a patron of the arts, he was involved in the execution of the "Martyrs of Córdoba"

Claire Sterling

Claire Sterling was an American author and journalist whose work focused on crime, political assassination, terrorism. Her theories on Soviet bloc involvement in international terrorism and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, presented in The Terror Network and The Time of the Assassins were politically influential and controversial. Sterling was born in New York, she earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Brooklyn College, worked as a union organizer. After receiving a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1945, she became the Rome correspondent of "a fly-by-night American news agency." When it folded, she joined The Reporter, which she wrote for until it ceased publication in 1968. Sterling began writing her second book after losing her job at The Reporter, she wrote for various newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post and Reader's Digest. She married Thomas Sterling, a novelist, in 1951. After spending their honeymoon in Italy the two moved there.

They had two children. She died of cancer in a hospital in Arezzo, her first book, titled Our Goal was Palestine, was published by Victor Gollancz under her maiden name Claire Neikind in 1946, it is described as'an American journalist writes of her experiences in a refugee ship.' She was at this time reportedly'the Rome correspondent of the Overseas News Agency', a covert British propaganda operation run by British Security Co-ordination, set up in New York City by the British Secret Intelligence Service upon the authorisation of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Sterling's second book revisited the 1948 death of Jan Masaryk, the Czechoslovak foreign minister, which she blamed on Soviet or Czechoslovak Stalinists. More controversial were her books The Terror Network and The Time of the Assassins. In the former book, translated into 22 languages, she claimed that Soviet Union was a major source of backing behind terrorist groupings around the world; the book was read and appreciated by Alexander Haig and William Casey, but its arguments were dismissed by the CIA's Soviet analysts.

Sterling was the first to claim that the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John II had been ordered by the Bulgarian Secret Service, a theory that became known as the "Bulgarian Connection" She was one of three journalists who developed and published details supporting the theory - the others were Paul Bernard Henze, a propaganda expert and former CIA station chief in Turkey, Michael Leeden, associated with the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, a right-wing think tank. Leeden had strong connections with a faction of the Italian secret service linked to the Propaganda Due secret masonic lodge, which first revealed the fraudulent proposed attack on the Pope by the Soviet Minister of Defence Dmitry Ustinov; the three journalists wrote articles and appeared on television and her and Henze's books, were enthusiastically reviewed. Individually, or as a team, the two were invited as guests on to the three principal American networks and programmes on British television.

They insisted that no expert who supported a contrasting view be interviewed with them on the same programme and, in most cases, the producers obliged. The Sterling-Henze duo was able to monopolise coverage of the story. In the American media, for a certain time, it became impossible to express a different view and anyone who did was considered unpatriotic at best; the "Bulgarian Connection" theory has been, in detail and attributed to bias by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent; the Time of the Assassins dealt with the assassination attempt and advanced this now-discredited theory. Her last two books dealt with the Sicilian Mafia and post-Communist globalized organized crime, respectively. Our Goal Was Palestine The Masaryk Case The Terror Network The Time of the Assassins Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia Thieves' World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime Bart Barnes. "Claire Sterling, Investigative Writer, Dies". Washington Post.

A film clip "The Open Mind - "The Terror Network"" is available at the Internet Archive A film clip "The Open Mind - An Update on "The Terror Network"" is available at the Internet Archive Claire Sterling papers at the Hoover Institution Archives

Llandudno railway station

Llandudno railway station serves the seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales, is the terminus of a 3 miles long branch line from Llandudno Junction on the Crewe to Holyhead North Wales Coast Line. The station is managed by Transport for Wales. Llandudno Victoria station, the lower terminus of the Great Orme Tramway, is a 15-minute walk from the main station; the first station and the branch line was constructed by the St. George's Harbour and Railway Company and opened on 1 October 1858; the trains at first ran to and from Conwy station until the completion of Llandudno Junction station. The line was soon absorbed by the London and North Western Railway, which in turn became part of the London and Scottish Railway in 1923. Vaughan Street in Llandudno was laid out in 1858 as the station approach road; as the first station had become inadequate to cope with increasing usage, the present Llandudno station buildings and frontage together with five platforms and an extensive glass roof were erected in 1892 and the station still has the Victorian carriage road between the two principal platforms.

Platforms 4 & 5 had been disused since 1978 with the tracks to the platforms being disconnected and dismantled in 2012. The southernmost half of the glass roof was removed some decades ago, the remainder was cut back again in 1990. Half of the station frontage, disused for years was demolished in May 2009; the station retains its semaphore manual signal box. In recent years, plans were unveiled for the transformation of the station into a Transport Interchange, which would involve the demolition of the disused part of the frontage and the introduction of new passenger facilities. Following the provision of funding, reconstruction began in 2013 and the £5.2 million scheme was completed in the summer of 2014. The work included a 130 space car park, a glazed concourse, a bus interchange, new taxi rank, a shop/cafe. There are a new entrance and improvements to the platforms; the ticket office is staffed part-time. A self-service ticket machine is provided for use outside these times and for collecting advance purchase tickets.

There are toilets and a waiting room on the concourse. Train running information is provided by digital information screens and automated announcements. Step-free access is available to all platforms. Transport for Wales provides an hourly service to Manchester Piccadilly via Colwyn Bay, Prestatyn, Flint and Warrington. Two daily services on this route run to Crewe rather than Manchester and certain trains are extended through to Manchester Airport. Transport for Wales operates an hourly shuttle to Llandudno Junction which connects with services to Bangor & Holyhead and for services to Birmingham New Street and South Wales, they operate one weekday direct service from Llandudno to Cardiff Central via Wrexham General without any change being required at Llandudno Junction. Transport for Wales provides four trains per day along the Conwy Valley Line serving Llanrwst, Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. On summer Sundays TfW Rail operate a half-hourly shuttle service to Llandudno Junction until early evening.

In addition, two trains a day run down the Conwy Valley Line to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Virgin Trains West Coast used to run a direct afternoon service to London Euston, but this service was discontinued at the December 2008 timetable change - it instead now terminates at Chester. However, from December 2022 this will service will be restored as part of the West Coast Partnership franchise but will only operate in the summer months. Mitchell, Vic. Bala to Llandudno. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 114-120. ISBN 9781906008871. OCLC 668198724. Mitchell, Vic. Rhyl to Bangor. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 64-70. ISBN 9781908174154. OCLC 859594415. Allen, David. "Seaside signalling in North Wales". RAIL. No. 342. EMAP Apex Publications. Pp. 40–42. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699. Train times and station information for Llandudno railway station from National Rail Llandudno and North Wales Train Services 1947 and 2003 Virgin Trains restore through London to Llandudno Service