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Ahmad ibn Fadlan

Ibn Fadlan was a 10th-century Arab Muslim traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his Risala. His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial. Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. However, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Richard N. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or the dates of his birth and death. Primary sources documents and historical texts reveal that Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was a faqih, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence and faith, in the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir, it appears certain from his writing that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Abbasid Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to 921 and his self-reported travels.

Ibn Fadlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to the iltäbär of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış. On 21 June 921, a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad; the purpose of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the converted Bulgar peoples living on the eastern bank of the Volga River in what is now Russia. Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor and lead counselor for Islamic religious doctrine and law. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar Khaganate, Oghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River, the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rus, i.e. the Varangians on the Volga trade route.

All told, the delegation covered some 4000 kilometers. Ibn Fadlan's envoy reached the Volga Bulgar capital on 12 May 922; when they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khan, presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph's letter, but was criticized for not bringing with him the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of the Bulgars. For a long time, only an incomplete version of the account was known, transmitted as quotations in the geographical dictionary of Yāqūt, published in 1823 by Christian Martin Frähn. Only in 1923 was a manuscript discovered by Zeki Validi Togan in the Astane Quds Museum, Iran; the manuscript, Razawi Library MS 5229, consists of 420 pages. Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan's text. Additional passages not preserved in MS 5229 are quoted in the work of the 16th century Persian geographer Amīn Rāzī called Haft Iqlīm.

Neither source seems to record Ibn Fadlān's complete report. Yāqūt offers excerpts, several times claims that Ibn Fadlān recounted his return to Bagdad, but does not quote such material. Meanwhile, the text in Razawi Library MS 5229 breaks off part way through describing the Khazars. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories; the Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, Ibn Fadlan's mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details in his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. One scholar calls it an "illuminating episode" in the text where Ibn Fadlan expresses his great anger and disgust over the fact that the Khan and the Volga Bulgars in general are practicing some form of imperfect and doctrinally unsound Islam.

In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their respective society. Many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were "like asses gone astray, they have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to reason". A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs or Rūsiyyah. Western scholarship has assumed that he was describing Volga Vikings, the North Germanic tribes travelling the Volga trade route, though the identification of the people Ibn Fadlān describes is uncertain; the Rūs appear as traders. They are described as having bodies tal

Ghana Railway Corporation

Ghana Railway Corporation operates the railways of Ghana. The Ghana Railway Company Limited is a public-sector body with responsibility for the efficient management of the national rail system so as to enhance the smooth movement of goods and passengers. Operations began in 1898 under the Gold Coast Civil Service with headquarters in Sekondi; the headquarters were transferred to Takoradi after the building of Takoradi Harbour, railways and ports were jointly administered as the Ghana Railway & Ports Authority. In 1976, SMCD 95 separated the railway from ports as the Ghana Railway Corporation; the company enjoyed the status of a public corporation until 19 March 2001, when it became a limited liability company. The original 304-kilometre Eastern Railway was built in 1923 by the British for the purpose of hauling minerals and cocoa. Construction of the Ghana Railways started before there were any port facilities, locomotives and other equipment had to be lightered over the beach. In 2010, a contract was signed to construct a railway from Paga to Kumasi.

The railway network in Ghana resembles a large capital "A" with 3 components - a "Western Division" from Secondi/Takoradi to Kumasi, an "Eastern Division" from Accra to Kumasi, a "Central Division" from Huni Valley to Kotoku. The 953 km network includes branch lines on the "Western Division" to Prestea and Awaso, a branch line to Kade on the "Central Division", branch lines to Tema and Shai Hills on the "Eastern Division". Little of the railway network remains in operation. Accra to Tema, Accra to Kotoku, Awaso to Dunkwa and south to Takoradi are the only parts that are known to be in operation. Little is known about the current operating state of the rest of the system; the following table outlines the dates of construction of the various parts of the railway network. Note 1 - Tarkwa to Prestea is a branch line on the Western Division that services manganese mines. Note 2 - Kojokrom is the junction of the line to Secondi; the other leg serves the port of Takoradi. Note 3 - Dunkwa to Awaso is a branch line on the Western Division that services bauxite mines.

Note 4 - Huni Valley is the junction of the Central Division with the Western Division. Note 5 - Achiasi to Kade is now a branch line on the Central Division, it used for cocoa transportation. Oda was an important station on this branch. Note 6 - Kotoku is the junction of the Central Division with the Western Division; the following table lists some of the stations and flagstops that existed at one time on the three Divisions. There may be more. In the latter days of operation on these lines few of them were in service. Note 1 - No passenger service. Note 2 - Note 3 - Station/stop may no longer be in service. Railway coupling - AAR coupler Brake - Air brake axleload - 16T The system is single-track with the exception of about 30 km of double track between Takoradi and Manso on the Western Line. Railway gauge is 3'6"; the latest proposals in 2006 for upgrade and expansion include conversion of 1,067 mm to 1,435 mm. In 2007 a consortium led by Dubai-based Kampac Oil Co signed a US$1.6 billion concession to develop the 1,067 mm Western Railway.

Over five years a 500-kilometre line is to be constructed from Awaso to Hamile near the border with Burkina Faso. The government awarded a US$1.4 billion concession for the Eastern Railway to Peatrack earlier in the year. In March 2015 it was announced that a new suburban service linking Sekondi and Takoradi would begin by the end of 2015; the US$100 million project, managed by Amanda Holdings, involves the rebuilding of 30 of 1067mm gauge track to standard gauge, the acquisition of two DMUs for service. The Accra - Nsawam and Kumasi - Ejisu suburban lines are to be rebuilt. In July 2007, contract signed as part of the ECOWAS rail plan, intended to link Ghana to Burkina Faso. In February, a Korean engineering study group examined the proposed new lines and gauge conversion from 1,067 mm to 1,435 mm. Two diesel multiple units ordered from China CNR Corporation's Tangshan plant for a shuttle service from Accra to Tema; each unit comprises two motor cars with Vossloh Kiepe and Voith traction equipment, plus four trailer cars.

In October 2010 the DMUs were launched. The line was commissioned in October 2010. A plant to manufacture concrete sleepers is to be set up in 2008 at the strategic railway junction at Huni Valley. Rail transport in Ghana Transport in Ghana Ministry of Transportation Railways in Ghana Addresses Rethinking rail Ghana Railway Corporation Managing Director Rehabilitation of railway line on course MyJoyOnline 16 March 2007 Development.

Leiopathes glaberrima

Leiopathes glaberrima is a species of black coral of the order Antipatharia found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Seas deep water habitats. A slow-growing species, it is among the oldest living animals on the planet. L. glaberrima grows in a sympodial manner. The skeleton is composed of a spiny keratin-like material, laid down in concentric layers; this is overlain by a layer of living tissue. Each of these has six non-retractile tentacles. Mucus coating the surfaces gives rise to the specific epithet glaberrima, "smoothest"; the distribution of L. glaberrima is not known, but it is present in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It is present off the coasts of Hawaii, it is present in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Malta at depths of between 250 to 400 m where it constitutes a dense coral forest which enhances the biodiversity of the area. It is known from the northern Gulf of Mexico, where more than one colour form exists. In the deep waters off Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, Leiopathes glaberrima is the dominant species in what have been called "coral gardens", where it is associated with other scleractinian corals and zoanthids.

The areas are characterised by strong turbulent currents and the corals grow on steep rocky terraces. The colonies are a metre or more high, with four or five per square metre; the majority of Leiopathes glaberrima colonies have white polyps. Associated animals include soft corals, crabs, stalked barnacles, numerous species of fish, the cushion star Peltaster placenta, squat lobsters and the spiny lobster Palinurus elephas; the ecosystem is damaged by deep water fishing activities including trammel nets and long lines which break the colonies or get tangled in them. Although the feeding habits of this species have not been studied, black corals grow in areas with steady currents and are fan-shaped, orientating themselves at right angles to the flow; the polyps tend to be expanded all the time, the mouth can stretch to three times its normal size to accommodate large prey items such as copepods and chaetognaths. The surface of the coral is covered by mucus which can trap food particles; this coral is a slow-growing species, with an estimated growth rate of less than 10 µm per year.

A specimen collected from a depth of 450 m off Hawaii was estimated by radiocarbon dating in 2006 to have an age of around 2377 years. More another Hawaiian specimen of Leiopathes glaberrima, the central portion of a basal holdfast, was found to have an age of 4265 years, is believed to be the oldest recorded marine organism

Alexander Charles Garrett

Alexander Charles Garrett was an American Episcopal bishop, born in Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1855, was curate of East Worldham, Hampshire and until 1869 served as a missionary in British Columbia. In 1870 he became rector of St. James's Church, San Francisco, in 1872 dean of Trinity Cathedral, Omaha. In 1874 he was appointed Missionary Bishop of northern Texas and retained the seat after the formation of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas on December 20, 1895. Garrett wrote: A Charge to the Clergy and Laity of North Texas Historical Continuity Baldwin Lectures on the Philosophy of the IncarnationOn the death of Daniel Sylvester Tuttle in April 1923, Garrett became presiding bishop. At that time he was 91 years old and blind, he remained Bishop of Dallas and Presiding Bishop until his death in 1924. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.. New International Encyclopedia. New York: Dodd, Mead. Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury

Hambledon Church

Hambledon Church as it is known locally is an evangelical Anglican Church in Hambledon, United Kingdom. Hambledon Church is part of a parish with Busbridge Church connected to the large village or small town of Godalming, Surrey. Together Busbridge and Hambledon Church have six Sunday congregations ranging from traditional to modern and contemporary services; the Patrons are the Church of England Charitable Trust. Hambledon Church was founded by Ranaulf Flambard before 1086. There are detailed records of Christian worship taking place on the site since before the 14th century. A roll of Rectors on the West wall of the church records Rectors from 1301 to the present Rector and vicar with special responsibility in the village; the half-county of the West of Surrey was in the Diocese of Winchester but benefitted from closer connections to its charitable and spiritual senior leaders on the establishment in the early 20th century of a more local cathedral and clergy on establishment of the Diocese of Guildford.

The building has a tall square, wood-shingled bell-cot at the western end with double louvred-windows to either side. It has a pyramidal roof over the bellcote topped by a weathervane finial. Buttressing supports the west end with a quatrefoil roundel window over two lancet windows below, all with linked hood moulds. One'decorated style' two-light window and one plate tracery window to south side has mouldings above. There are gabled offset buttress between lancet north chapel windows underneath mouldings with sill bands and string courses linking windows with the buttresses and the building has a cornice. Much of this ornamentation was added in 1846 and the building is listed in the initial architectural protected status category of Grade II. A popular service that follows the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with hymns led by an organist. Contemporary and relaxed style with groups for children on all Sundays except the first of each month. On the first Sunday there is an all age service with Messy Church activities and worship.

Music is led by a band. Holy Communion is offered on the third Sunday of each month. Busbridge and Hambledon Church Website

Mikhail Mishaqa

Mikhail Mishaqa or Michael Mishaka known as Doctor Mishaqa, was born in Rashmayyā, is reputed to be "the first historian of modern Ottoman Syria" as well as the "virtual founder of the twenty-four equal quarter tone scale". Mishaqa's memoir of the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war is valuable to historians, as it is the only account written by a survivor of the massacre of Syrian Christians in Damascus, Syria. Mikhail's great-grandfather, Jirjis Mishaqa I, converted to Greek Catholicism. Jirjis' father, Youssef Petraki, an ethnic Greek and Christian Orthodox, moved from Corfu, Greece to Tripoli, Lebanon to pursue the silk trade; as such, named himself after an Arabic term describing the process of filtering silk fibers, mishaqa. Mikhail's father, Jirjis Mishaqa II, moved to Deir al-Qamar controlled by the Shihabs, to escape the religious repression of al-Jazzar, the governor of Sidon, he began a career as a goldsmith but became a scribe and chief treasurer for the Amir of Mount Lebanon, Bashir II's household.

According to Leila Fawaz, Mikhail was well-educated. In such ways, Mishaqa continued to educate himself, he taught himself became a doctor. In 1848, Dr. Mishaqa converted from Greek Catholicism to Protestantism, after coming in contact with American Protestant missionaries. According to Touma, Mishaqa was the first theorist to propose a division of the octave into twenty-four equal intervals, this being the current basis of the Arab tone system. However, Mishaqa's work Essay on the Art of Music for the Emir Shihāb is devoted to the topic but makes clear his teacher Sheikh Muhammad al-‘Attār was one of many familiar with the concept, although al-‘Attār did not publish his writings on the subject. Mishaqa's most important works as a historian include the much quoted A Response to a Proposition by Beloved Ones and Miha’il Dimashqi's similar History of events which took place in Syria on its coast and the Mount in 1782-1841. Maqam Protestantism in Lebanon Habib Hassan Touma; the Music of the Arabs, trans.

Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8. Maalouf, Shireen. "Mikhā'il Mishāqa: Virtual Founder of the Twenty-Four Equal Quartertone Scale", Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 123, No. 4. Pp. 835–40. Zachs, Fruma. "Mikhail Mishaqa - The First Historian of Modern Syria", British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 67–87