Districts of Germany

In all German states except of the three city states, the primary administrative subdivision higher than a Gemeinde is the Landkreis or Kreis. Most major cities in Germany are not part of any Kreis, but instead cumulate the functions of a municipality and a Kreis. Kreise stand at an intermediate level of administration between each German state and the municipal governments within it; these correspond to level-3 administrative units in the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, are equivalent to counties in the United States. The similar title Reichskreis referred to groups of states in the Holy Roman Empire; the related term Landeskommissariat was used for similar administrative divisions in some German territories until the 19th century. The majority of German districts are "rural districts", of which there are 294 as of 2017. Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not belong to a district, but take on district responsibilities themselves, similar to the concept of independent cities.

These are known as "urban districts" —cities which constitute a district in their own right—and there are 107 of them, bringing the total number of districts to 401. As of 2016 26 million people live in these 107 urban districts. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are some cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants which are not urban districts, for example Recklinghausen, Paderborn, Bergisch Gladbach and Moers; these cities take over many district responsibilities themselves, although they are still part of a larger rural district. Midsize towns can perform particular administrative functions of the district as well to provide common services to the local citizens; the classification as "midsize" town is based on a town's registered population, but varies from state to state. A special type of rural districts includes the three Kommunalverbände besonderer Art, a fusion of a district-free town with its adjacent rural district: besides the Regionalverband Saarbrücken, from 1974 until 2007 called "Stadtverband Saarbrücken", there is the Hanover Region since 2001 and the Städteregion Aachen since 2009.

Aachen, Hanover and Göttingen retain certain rights of an urban district. According to common federal and state laws, the districts are responsible for the following tasks: The building and upkeep of "district roads" Other building plans which cover more than one local authority's area Caring for national parks Social welfare Youth welfare The building and upkeep of hospitals The building and upkeep of state schools of secondary education Household waste collection and disposal Car registration Accommodation of foreign refugees Electing the Landrat or Landrätin, the chief executive and representative of the districtDistricts can perform additional functions, based on varying local laws in each region: Financial support for culture The building of pedestrian zones and bicycle lanes Financial support for school exchanges The building and upkeep of public libraries Revitalisation of the economy Encouraging tourism The management of state-run adult education colleges All these tasks are carried out by local authorities operating together.

Urban districts have these responsibilities and those of the municipalities. The district council is the highest institution of a rural district and is responsible for all fundamental guidelines of regional self-administration; this council is elected directly every five years, except in Bavaria where it is elected every six years. The administrative seat of a rural district is located in one of its largest towns. However, district council and administrative seat of some rural districts are not situated within the district proper, but in an adjacent district-free city. Most of those rural districts are named after this central city as well. Moers is the biggest city in Germany, neither an urban district, nor the district seat of its rural district; the highest administrative position of a rural district is an officer known as Landrat or Landrätin, responsible for the district's day-to-day administration and acts as its representative for official purposes. In parts of northern Germany, Landrat is the name of the entire district administration, which in southern Germany is known as Kreisverwaltung or Landratsamt.

In urban districts similar administrative functions are performed by a mayor, in most greater cities by the Lord Mayor. Rural districts in some German states have an additional administrative committee called Kreisausschuss; this committee is led by the Landrat and includes a number of additional voluntary members. It takes over certain administrative functions for the district, following decisions of the district council. However, the exact role and regulations of this panel vary between different states; the city where the office of the district's administration is located is called Kreisstadt ("district

904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron

The 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 320th Bombardment Wing at Mather Air Force Base, where it was inactivated on 30 September 1986; the squadron was first activated in January 1941 as the 14th Reconnaissance Squadron, which participated in anti-submarine warfare patrols after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the Gulf of Mexico before being redesignated the 404th Bombardment Squadron and moving to Alaska to participate in combat in the Aleutian Islands, where it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation. After the war, the squadron remained in Alaska until it was inactivated in 1947; the 904th Air Refueling Squadron was activated at Mather in 1959 and provided air refueling support for its wing's Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses and other USAF aircraft until it was inactivated in 1989. In 1985 the two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit. In 2002, the consolidated squadron was converted to provisional status as the 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and assigned to Air Mobility Command.

There have been no known deployments of the squadron as an expeditionary unit. The squadron was first activated in January 1941 as the 14th Reconnaissance Squadron in the Southeast Air District at Miami Municipal Airport and attached to the 44th Bombardment Group; the squadron was equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberators. In June the squadron moved to MacDill Field, where the 44th Group and its three assigned squadrons were located. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron began to participate in antisubmarine patrols. In May 1942, the squadron was redesignated the 404th Bombardment Squadron and assigned to the 44th Group; as the rest of the 44th Group, acting as an Operational Training Unit began intensive training for deployment to the European Theater of Operations, the squadron was detached from the 44th and sent to reinforce the 28th Composite Group in Alaska in July 1942. The squadron's 1942 move to Alaska in July 1942 was in response to the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands.

It flew long-range bombardment missions of enemy targets in the Aleutians during 1942 and 1943. The following year it attacked the Kuril Islands, for which it was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation; the squadron remained in Alaska. In late 1944, Eleventh Air Force modified two B-24D aircraft for ferret missions; these aircraft were assigned to the 404th, although mission tasking was performed directly by the Eleventh Air Force Signal Office. Ferret missions began in January 1945, one of these aircraft was lost on a mission on 1 May 1945; the squadron continued to fly long-range reconnaissance operations from Shemya Army Air Base until it was inactivated in 1947. The 904th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy was activated on 1 March 1959 by Strategic Air Command at Mather Air Force Base, California, as the air refueling component of the 4134th Strategic Wing. Operating Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, it provided air refueling support to the B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers of its parent wing and other USAF units as directed.

The squadron transferred to the 320th Bombardment Wing in 1963 when SAC replaced its Major Command controlled strategic wings with Air Force controlled bombardment wings that inherited the honors earned by World War II bombardment groups. The 904th deployed to the western Pacific region to support combat operations of deployed SAC units and tactical aircraft over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1969; the squadron earned two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards during the 1960s. In 1985, the 904th and the 404th Bombardment Squadron were consolidated when the United States Air Force combined inactive units that had served in World War II with squadrons, established after the war ended; the squadron was inactivated with its parent wing in 1989. Its equipment and personnel were reassigned to other units. In 2002, the squadron was converted to provisional status and assigned to Air Mobility Command as the 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. 404th Bombardment Squadron Constituted as the 14th Reconnaissance Squadron on 20 November 1940Activated on 15 January 1941 Redesignated 404th Bombardment Squadron on 22 April 1942 Redesignated 404th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy in 1944 Inactivated on 5 January 1947Consolidated with the 904th Air Refueling Squadron as the 904th Air Refueling Squadron on 19 September 1985904th Air Refueling Squadron Constituted as the 904th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 9 February 1959 Activated on 1 March 1959Consolidated with the 404th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985Inactivated on 1 October 1989 Redesignated 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and converted to provisional status on 12 June 2002 Southeast Air District, 15 January 1941 44th Bombardment Group, 25 February 1942 28th Composite Group c. 21 September 1942 Eleventh Air Force, 20 October 1945 – 5 January 1947 4134th Strategic Wing, 1 March 1959 320th Bombardment Wing, 1 February 1963 – 1 October 1989 Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate anytime after 12 June 2002 Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 1941–1947 Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1959–1986 List of United States Air Force air refueling squadrons B-24 Liberator units of the United States Army Air Forces This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

Cahill, Bill. "Ferret: Evolution of a Design Concept". Air Power History. Air Force Historical Foundation. 62. Re

Kyoto State Guest House

Kyoto State Guest House is one of the two state guesthouses of the Government of Japan. The other state guesthouse is the Akasaka Palace. During the Edo period a Garden House and multiple mansions of aristocrats stood in the northeastern part such as of the Yanagihara family and Kushige family; the Kyoto Imperial Palace is in the northern part of Kyōto-Gyoen National Garden. It was constructed in 1331 and the Emperors lived there until 1869. There are Sentō Imperial Palace gardens. In 1994, to commemorate the twelve-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the ancient capital of Heian-kyō, there was growing momentum toward building a Japanese-style guest house in Kyoto. In October 1994, approval was obtained from the Cabinet of Japan for "the construction of a guest house facility." The government decided to build a state guest house within the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. In March 2002, construction of the Kyoto State Guest House started. Construction completed in February 2005 and the Kyoto State Guest House was opened on 17 April 2005.

The total floor space of the new facility is 16,000 m² and the lot is 20,140 m². Since July 2016 the Kyoto State Guest House's all-year public opening started, it was designed by Nikken Sekkei. The Western-style of the Akasaka State Guest House contrasts with the Japanese-style buildings of the Kyoto State Guest House; the first state guest after the opening of the Kyoto State Guest House was Nguyễn Minh Triết, former President of Vietnam. It consists of the “true garden” in front of the entrance, the central “row garden” in the hall, the “grass garden” facing the guest room. A modern Japanese-style garden of “Ichiya Niwaya” was created by Kyoto gardeners with Sano Tōemon as a masterpiece under the supervision of Hiromasa Amagasaki. Akasaka Palace