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Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the temporary restoration of order during the Batavian Revolution. One of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which used to be capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, it is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building; the gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, a boulevard of linden trees which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs. Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate was a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but of European unity and peace.

In the time of Frederick William, shortly after the Thirty Years' War and a century before the gate was constructed, Berlin was a small walled city within a star fort with several named gates: Spandauer Tor, St. Georgen Tor, Stralower Tor, Cöpenicker Tor, Neues Tor, Leipziger Tor. Relative peace, a policy of religious tolerance, status as capital of the Kingdom of Prussia facilitated the growth of the city; the Brandenburg Gate was not part of the old Berlin Fortress, but one of eighteen gates within the Berlin Customs Wall, erected in the 1730s, including the old fortified city and many of its suburbs. The new gate was commissioned by Frederick William II of Prussia to represent peace and was named the Peace Gate, it was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans, the Court Superintendent of Buildings, built between 1788 and 1791, replacing the earlier simple guardhouses which flanked the original gate in the Customs Wall. The gate consists of six to each side, forming five passageways. Citizens were allowed to use only the outermost two on each side.

Its design is based on the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, is consistent with Berlin's history of architectural classicism. The gate was the first element of "Athens on the River Spree" by architect Langhans. Atop the gate is a Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, sculpted by Johann Gottfried Schadow; the Brandenburg Gate has played different political roles in German history. After the 1806 Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Napoleon was the first to use the Brandenburg Gate for a triumphal procession, took its Quadriga to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and the Prussian occupation of Paris by General Ernst von Pfuel, the Quadriga was restored to Berlin, it was now redesigned by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for the new role of the Brandenburg Gate as a Prussian triumphal arch. The goddess, now Victoria, was equipped with the Prussian eagle and Iron Cross on her lance with a wreath of oak leaves; the Quadriga faces east, as it did when it was installed in 1793.

Only the royal family was allowed to pass through the central archway, as well as members of the Pfuel family, from 1814 to 1919. The Kaiser granted this honour to the family in gratitude to Ernst von Pfuel, who had overseen the return of the Quadriga to the top of the gate. In addition, the central archway was used by the coaches of ambassadors on the single occasion of their presenting their letters of credence to council; when the Nazis ascended to power, they used the gate as a party symbol. The gate survived World War II and was one of the damaged structures still standing in the Pariser Platz ruins in 1945; the gate was badly damaged with holes in the columns from nearby explosions. One horse's head from the original quadriga survived, is today kept in the collection of the Märkisches Museum. Following Germany's surrender and the end of the war, the governments of East Berlin and West Berlin restored it in a joint effort; the holes were visible for many years following the war. Vehicles and pedestrians could travel through the gate, located in East Berlin, until the day after construction began on the Berlin Wall on Barbed Wire Sunday, 13 August 1961.

West Berliners gathered on the western side of the gate to demonstrate against the Berlin Wall, among them West Berlin's mayor, Willy Brandt, who had returned from a federal election campaign tour in West Germany earlier the same day. It was closed throughout the Berlin Wall period, which ended on 22 December 1989; when the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the wall was demolished, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin. Thousands of people gathered at the wall to celebrate its fall on 9 November 1989. On 22 December 1989, the Brandenburg Gate border crossing was reopened when Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor, walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German prime minister. Demolition of the rest of the wall around the area took place the following year. During 1990, the quadriga was removed from the gate as part of renovation work carried out by the East German authorities following the fall of the wall in November 1989. Germany was reunified in October 1990.

The Brandenburg Gate was refurbished on 21 December 2000, at a cost of six million euros. It was once again opened on 3 October 2002 following extensive refurbishment, for the 12th anniversary of German reunification. Br

Lorraine Klaasen

Lorraine Klaasen is a London, Ontario-based world music singer. Her mother was South African jazz singer Thandi Klaasen, she has performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, her international itinerary has included the United States and the Caribbean. She and her mother are reputed as two of Nelson Mandela's favorite musicians. In 2013, at the 42nd Annual Juno Awards, Klaasen won a Juno in the World Music Album of Year category for her latest album A Tribute to Miriam Makeba. Lorraine Klaasen was raised in Soweto, South Africa, she was influenced by South Africa's musical giants of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina and Busi Mhlongo and friends of her mother, Thandi Klaasen. She launched her career at a young age, accompanying her mother to live performances all over South Africa and neighboring states of Mozambique and Swaziland, she got into musical theater and toured across Europe arriving in Canada where she settled in Montreal.

Klaasen's musical repertoire has been infused with a blend of Quebec and French African influences, along with several African languages and her band musicians' Caribbean roots to create an eclectic sound. As a promoter of the performing arts for Canadian youth, Klaasen has lent her support to various groups and organizations such as RapSohD Talented Teens Canada. Lorraine won the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in 1997 for her their work and musical talent. Lorraine Klaasen was nominated and subsequently won the 2013 Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year for her album Tribute to Miriam Makeba, released in 2012. Klaasen lives in London, Ontario Canada living in Montreal, Canada. 2000: African Connexion 2008: Africa Calling 2012: A Tribute to Miriam Makeba Pata Pata, 2012 Africa Calling, 2008 Lorraine Klaasen official website Justin Time Records Profile MySpace Page

2017 St. Petersburg raid

On 13–14 December 2017, Russian security authorities arrested seven members of an ISIL terrorist cell during a police operation in St. Petersburg; the suspects were alleged to have plotted suicide bombings in St. Petersburg on the weekend of 16–17 December 2017, with the Kazan Cathedral among the targets. Both the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the Russian Federal Security Service were involved in the operation. Russia has become one of the main targets of jihadists since it began a military campaign against various Islamist groups in Syria. In October 2015, an airplane with Russian tourists was blown up over Egypt on its way to St. Petersburg. In August 2016, two men with firearms and axes attacked a police station on the Shchelkovskoye highway near Moscow. In April 2017, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a car at the St. Petersburg metro. In August 2017, a single terrorist organized a series of attacks, including mass killings and arson, in the center of Surgut. Three days earlier the FSB had arrested three suspected members of a similar group in Moscow, where they were plotting attacks during the New Year holidays and the upcoming presidential campaign.

According to a statement, a "large number of explosives used to make homemade bombs, automatic rifles and extremist literature" were seized during a police operation on 13 and 14 December. Seven people were arrested. During the operation, the officers destroyed a laboratory that the suspects had used to manufacture explosive devices; the FSB issued a video of one of the detainees being questioned. "I was supposed to make the explosives and... pack them into bottles with projectiles attached" he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked US President Donald Trump and the head of the CIA for helping prevent a potential terror attack on St. Petersburg. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on 17 December that Trump had spoken to Putin. Trump spoke to CIA Director Mike Pompeo "to congratulate him, his talented people, the entire intelligence community on a job well done!" Representing new US national security strategy, Trump said that "many people in the thousands, could have been killed" in this attack.

In turn, Pompeo described the event as an example of a positive partnership between Russia and the United States. 2017 Saint Petersburg Metro bombing 2016 Shchelkovo Highway police station attack Notre Dame Cathedral bombing attempt Strasbourg Cathedral bombing plot Islamic terrorism in Europe