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Geography of Iraq

The geography of Iraq is diverse and falls into five main regions: the desert, Upper Mesopotamia, the northern highlands of Iraq, Lower Mesopotamia, the alluvial plain extending from around Tikrit to the Persian Gulf. The mountains in the northeast are an extension of the alpine system that runs eastward from the Balkans through southern Turkey, northern Iraq and Afghanistan reaching the Himalayas; the desert is in the southwest and central provinces along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and geographically belongs with the Arabian Peninsula. Most geographers, including those of the Iraqi government, discuss the country's geography in terms of four main zones or regions: the desert in the west and southwest. Iraq's official statistical reports give the total land area as 438,446 km2, whereas a United States Department of State publication gives the area as 434,934 km2; the uplands region, between the Tigris north of Samarra and the Euphrates north of Hit, is known as Al Jazira and is part of a larger area that extends westward into Syria between the two rivers and into Turkey.

Water in the area flows in cut valleys, irrigation is much more difficult than it is in the lower plain. The southwest areas of this zone are classified as semi-desert; the northern parts, which include such places like the Nineveh Plains and Zakho consist of Mediterranean vegetation. The vegetation cyclically dries out and appear brown in the arid summer and flourish in the wet winter. An Alluvial plain extends to the Persian Gulf. Here the Tigris and Euphrates rivers lie above the level of the plain in many places, the whole area is a river delta interlaced by the channels of the two rivers and by irrigation canals. Intermittent lakes, fed by the rivers in flood characterize southeastern Iraq. A large area just above the confluence of the two rivers at Al Qurnah and extending east of the Tigris beyond the Iranian border is marshland, known as Hawr al Hammar, the result of centuries of flooding and inadequate drainage. Much of it is permanent marsh, but some parts dry out in early winter, other parts become marshland only in years of great flood.

Because the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates above their confluence are silt- laden and frequent flooding deposit large quantities of silty loam in much of the delta area. Windborne silt contributes to the total deposit of sediments, it has been estimated that the delta plains are built up at the rate of nearly twenty centimeters in a century. In some areas, major floods lead to the deposit in temporary lakes of as much as thirty centimeters of mud; the Tigris and Euphrates carry large quantities of salts. These, are spread on the land by sometimes excessive irrigation and flooding. A high water table and poor surface and subsurface drainage tend to concentrate the salts near the surface of the soil. In general, the salinity of the soil increases from Baghdad south to the Persian Gulf and limits productivity in the region south of Al Amarah; the salinity is reflected in the large lake in central Iraq, southwest of Baghdad, known as Bahr al Milh. There are two other major lakes in the country to the north of Bahr al Milh: Buhayrat ath Tharthar and Buhayrat al Habbaniyah.

Between Upper and Lower Mesopotamia is the urban area surrounding Baghdad. These "Baghdad Belts" can be described as the provinces adjacent to the Iraqi capital and can be divided into four quadrants: northeast, southeast and northwest. Beginning in the north, the belts include the province of Saladin, clockwise to Baghdad province, Diyala in the northeast and Wasit in the southeast and around to Al Anbar in the west; the northeastern highlands begin just south of a line drawn from Mosul to Kirkuk and extend to the borders with Turkey and Iran. High ground, separated by broad, undulating steppes, gives way to mountains ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 meters near the Iranian and Turkish borders. Except for a few valleys, the mountain area proper is suitable only for grazing in the foothills and steppes. Here, are the great oil fields near Mosul and Kirkuk; the northeast is the homeland of most Iraqi Kurds. The desert zone, an area lying west and southwest of the Euphrates River, is a part of the Syrian Desert and Arabian Desert, which covers sections of Syria and Saudi Arabia and most of the Arabian Peninsula.

The region, sparsely inhabited by pastoral bedouins, consists of a wide stony plain interspersed with rare sandy stretches. A ramified pattern of wadis–watercourses that are dry most of the year–runs from the border to the Euphrates; some wadis carry brief but torrential floods during the winter rains. Western and southern Iraq is a vast desert region covering some 64,900 square miles two-fifths of the country; the western desert, an extension of the Syrian Desert, rises to elevations above 1,600 feet. The southern desert is known as Al-Dibdibah in the east. Both deserts are part of the Arabian Desert. Al Hajarah has a complex topography of rocky desert, wadis and depressions. Al-Dibdibah is a more sandy region with a covering of scrub vegetation. Elevation in the southern desert averages between 1,000 and 2,700 feet (


Ginda'i is a reservoir located in the Kilte Awula’ilo woreda of the Tigray Region in Ethiopia. The earthen dam that holds the reservoir was built in 1998 by SAERT. Dam height: 19.5 metres Dam crest length: 483 metres Spillway width: 23.2 metres Original capacity: 793170 m³ Dead storage: 142405 m³ Reservoir area: 13.5 haIn 2002, the life expectancy of the reservoir was estimated at 20 years. Designed irrigated area: 54 ha Actual irrigated area in 2002: 6 ha The catchment of the reservoir is 11.16 km² large. A net erosion map for the Ginda’i catchment shows that sediment deposition occurs at the footslopes, while the maximum erosion rate occurred on the steepest slopes. Erosion rates in the cultivated lands are low, as in the Ginda’i catchment croplands are located on slopes which are less than 5% steep; the reservoir suffers from rapid siltation. Part of the water that could be used for irrigation is lost through seepage.

P. K. Iyengar

Padmanabha Krishnagopala Iyengar, was an Indian nuclear physicist, known for his central role in the development of the nuclear program of India. Iyengar served as the director of BARC and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, he raised his voice and opposition against the nuclear agreement between India and the United States and expressed that the deal favoured the United States. During his last years of his life, Iyenger engaged in peace activism and exhorted the normalization of bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. Iyengar joined the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Department of Atomic Energy in 1952 as a junior research scientist, undertaking a wide variety of research in neutron scattering, he got shifted to Atomic Energy Establishment when it was formed in 1954. In 1956, Iyengar was trained in Canada working under Nobel laureate in Physics Bertram Neville Brockhouse, contributing to path-breaking research on lattice dynamics in germanium. At the DAE, he built up and headed the team of physicists and chemists that gained international recognition for their original research contributions in this field.

In 1960s, he indigenously designed the PURNIMA reactor and headed the team that commissioned the reactor on 18 May 1972 at BARC. When Ramanna took over as director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in 1972, the mantle of directorship of the Physics Group was handed over to Iyengar, he was one of the key scientist in the development of India's first nuclear device. The team, under Raja Ramanna tested the device under the code name Smiling Buddha on 18 May 1974. Iyengar played a leading role in the peaceful nuclear explosion at Pokharan-I, for which he was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 1975. Iyengar took over as Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in 1984; as director, one of his first tasks was to take charge of the construction of the Dhruva reactor, the completion of, in question, bring it to a successful conclusion under his leadership. Recognizing the importance of transferring newly developed technology from research institutes to industry, he introduced a Technology Transfer Cell at the BARC to assist and speed the process.

He motivated basic research in fields ranging from molecular biology, to chemistry and material science. He nucleated new technologies like lasers and accelerators, which led to the establishment of a new Centre for Advanced Technology, at Indore. Iyengar was appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy in 1990, he was appointed as chairman of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Under his leadership the Department of Atomic Energy vigorously pursued the nuclear power programme with the commissioning of two new power reactors at Narora and Kakrapar, continued with the development of new reactor systems, such as liquid-sodium based fast reactors. Equal emphasis was laid on enhanced production of heavy water, nuclear fuel and special nuclear materials, he initiated proposals for the export of heavy-water, research reactors, hardware for nuclear applications to earn precious foreign exchange. Regarding Iyengar's involvement in Indian cold fusion research, the Indian newspaper Daily News and Analysis wrote: "Iyengar pioneered cold fusion experiments in the 1980s to prove the hypothesis that nuclear fusion can occur at ordinary temperatures under certain scenarios.

The experiments were discontinued after Iyengar's exit from the nuclear establishment by some conservative scientists." Iyengar has been the recipient of honours. After retirement Iyengar served in various positions such as member of the Atomic Energy Commission, scientific advisor to the Government of Kerala, on the board of the Global Technology Development Centre, president of the Indian Nuclear Society, a member of the Inter-governmental Indo-French Forum, besides serving on various national committees. Iyengar’s interests focused on advances in nuclear technology for nuclear applications, issues of nuclear policy and national security, science education and the application of science in nation-building, he participated in various international meetings on non-proliferation issues. Most as a founder trustee of the Agastya International Foundation, he focused on rural education and instilling creativity and scientific temperament in rural children and government school teachers, he was instrumental in drawing the support of the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education to help launch Agastya’s rural science fairs and its first mobile science lab in 2002.

Padma Bhushan Bhatnagar Award Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Award for the Physical Sciences Raman Centenary Medal of the Indian Academy of Science Bhabha Medal for Experimental Physics of the Indian National Science Academy R. D. Birla Award of the Indian Physics Association Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award Homi Bhabha Medal P. K. Iyengar's Website Biography of P. K. Iyengar at the Wayback Machine Video interview of P. K. Iyengar with M. Srinivasan hosted by Steven Krivit on YouTube Agastya International Foundation

George Miller Bligh

Captain George Miller Bligh was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars rising to the rank of Captain. He was present aboard HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, was badly wounded during the action, he was present in the cockpit during the death of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. Bligh was born in 1780, the only son of Richard Rodney Bligh, to become an Admiral, his first wife Ann Worsley; the younger Bligh followed his father into the navy, joining his father's ship HMS Alexander as a midshipman in 1794. Shortly after this a French squadron captured Alexander in an action on 6 November 1794. Bligh became a prisoner of war at Brest, spending six months there until he was able to escape and return to England, he went on to serve aboard a number of ships, including HMS Brunswick, HMS Agincourt, HMS Quebec, HMS Endymion. He was promoted to lieutenant while serving aboard Endymion in 1801, he returned to serving aboard the Brunswick after this, before being transferred aboard Nelson's flagship HMS Victory in 1804.

Bligh was present at Trafalgar as commander of Victory's forecastle, where he was wounded in the head and hit by a musket ball in the breast, becoming one of the high proportion of officers to be killed or wounded in the battle. Victory's signal Lieutenant John Pasco was wounded in the battle, while Lieutenant William Ram was killed. Bligh was carried below to be seen by the surgeon William Beatty, he was in the cockpit during the last hours of the mortally wounded Nelson's life, was depicted in Arthur William Devis's painting The Death of Nelson, 21 October 1805. Bligh is depicted dazed from a head wound, with his left hand over the wound in his side. Bligh recovered in time to be present at Nelson's funeral, he was in a mourning coach on the morning of 8 January, along with Captain Henry William Bayntun, who had commanded HMS Leviathan at Trafalgar, Captain Thomas Hardy, of the Victory, as well as fellow Victory lieutenant Andrew King. Bligh was promoted to commander on 25 January 1806, in the rewards bestowed to those who had fought at Trafalgar.

He was appointed to command the sloop HMS Pylades and despatched to escort a convoy from Falmouth to the Mediterranean. Bligh remained in command of the Pylades for the next three years, distinguishing his time aboard her with the capture of the French privateer Grand Napoleon on 2 May 1808. A few days earlier, on 26 April, Bligh had captured the French tartane St Honoré, carrying 700 musket barrels and locks. Bligh was promoted to post-captain on 27 December 1809 and by early 1810 he was aboard HMS Glatton, escorting a convoy back to England from Malta, he was appointed to the 18-gun sloop HMS Acorn, part of the British squadron protecting their base on the island of Lissa. When three suspicious sails were sighted early in the morning of 28 November, the British squadron put to sea, leaving Bligh, in Acorn, in charge of the station while the rest of the squadron fought an action the next day that resulted in a British victory. Bligh was appointed to the frigate HMS Araxes in 1814, sailed her to serve on the Jamaica station.

He returned to Britain in July 1816, where Araxes was paid off and Bligh went ashore. He does not appear to have been employed again at sea. Bligh married Catherine Haynes on 2 December 1817, he was buried at Alverstoke. Citations References

2007–08 Scottish Challenge Cup

The 2007–08 Scottish Challenge Cup was the 17th season of the Scottish Challenge Cup, competed for by all 30 members of the Scottish Football League. The defending champions were Ross County. Ross County were eliminated in the second round after a 2–0 home defeat to eventual champions St Johnstone; the final was played on 25 November 2007, between Dunfermline Athletic and St Johnstone, at Dens Park in Dundee. St Johnstone won 3–2, it was their first cup win in their 122-year existence. Dunfermline Athletic received a random bye into the second round. Source: BBC Sport Partick Thistle received a random bye into the second round. Source: BBC Sport Source: BBC Sport BBC Scottish Cups page Scottish Football League Challenge Cup page

Coal trimmer

A coal trimmer or trimmer is a position within the engineering department of a coal-fired ship which involves all coal handling tasks, starting with the loading of coal into the ship and ending with the delivery of the coal to the stoker or fireman. The trimmers worked inside the coal bunkers located on top between the boilers. Trimmers used shovels and wheelbarrows to move coal around the bunkers in order to keep the coal level, to shovel the coal down the coal chute to the firemen below, who shoveled it into the furnaces. If too much coal built up on one side of a coal bunker, the ship would list to that side. Trimmers were involved in extinguishing fires in the coal bunkers. Fires occurred due to spontaneous combustion of the coal; the fires had to be extinguished with fire hoses and by removing the burning coal by feeding it into the furnace. Of the engineering crew, the trimmers were paid the least; the working conditions of a trimmer were poor as a result of their environment: the inside of a coal bunker was poorly lighted, full of coal dust, hot due to residual heat emanating from the boilers.

There were 73 trimmers aboard the coal-fed ocean liner RMS Titanic. During the sinking of the ship, these men disregarded their own safety and stayed below deck to help keep the steam-driven electric generators running for the water pumps and lighting. Only 20 trimmers were among those. Torsten Billman, a Swedish graphic artist and mural painter – himself a coal trimmer and stoker on various merchant ships from 1926 to 1932 – has portrayed the hard work in coal bunkers and stokeholes