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Hauran

The Hauran spelled Hawran or Houran) is a region that spans parts of southern Syria and northern Jordan. It is bound in the north by the Ghouta oasis, eastwards by the al-Safa field, to the south by Jordan's desert steppe and to the west by the Golan Heights. Traditionally, the Hauran consists of three subregions: the Nuqrah and Jaydur plains, the Jabal al-Druze massif, the Lajat volcanic field; the population of the Hauran is Arab, but religiously heterogeneous. The region's largest towns are al-Ramtha and al-Suwayda. From the mid-1st century BCE, the region was governed by the Roman Empire's Herodian and Nabatean client kings until it was formally annexed by the empire in the 2nd century CE; the Hauran prospered under Roman rule and its villages functioned as self-governing units, some of which developed into imperial cities. The region continued to prosper in the Byzantine era, during which different Arab tribes ruled the Hauran on Byzantium's behalf, including the Salihids and Ghassanids until the Muslim conquest in the mid-630s.

For much of the Islamic era until Ottoman rule, the Hauran was divided into the districts of al-Bathaniyya and Ḥawrān, which corresponded to the Classical Batanea and Auranitis. Medieval Muslim geographers variously described these districts as prosperous, well-watered and well-populated. Under the Romans, the grain of Batanea and the wine of Auranitis were important for imperial trade, throughout its history, the Hauran was the major source of the Levant's grain; the region saw a decline in the 17th century until increased demand for Syrian grain and improved security led to the agricultural revival and re-population of the Hauran in the mid-19th century. The region historically benefited as a key transit area on the traditional Hajj caravan route to Mecca and the Hejaz railway; the Hauran remained Syria's breadbasket until being supplanted by northern Syria in the mid-20th century, which coincided with its separation from interdependent areas due to international borders and the Arab–Israeli conflict.

Nonetheless, it persisted as an important commercial transit area into the 2000s. During the Syrian Civil War, sparked in the Hauran in 2011, it became a major conflict zone between rebels and government forces in the Daraa Governorate campaign until the government reasserted control in 2018; the wide availability of basalt in the Hauran led to the development of a distinct vernacular architecture characterized by the exclusive use of basalt as a building material and a fusion of Hellenistic and Roman styles. The durability of basalt is credited for the Hauran's possession of one of the highest concentrations of well-preserved Classical-era monuments in the world. Hauran towns such as Bosra, Shahba, Umm al-Jimal and numerous others contain Roman temples and theaters, Byzantine-era churches and monasteries, forts and bathhouses built by successive Muslim dynasties. Though its geographic definition may vary, the Hauran consists of the following subregions: the Hauran plain, which forms the heart of the region.

The region is bound to the north by the Ghouta and Marj plains around Damascus and to the south by the desert steppe of Jordan. Its western boundary is marked by the Ruqqad tributary, it is eastwardly bound by the al-Safa desert steppes. Geographer John Lewis Burckhardt, writing in 1812, defined it as follows: To the south of Jabal Kiswah and Jabal Khiyara begins the country of Hauran, it is bordered on the east by the rocky district of Lajat, by the Jabal Hauran, both of which are sometimes comprised within the Hauran... To the southeast, where Bosra and Ramtha are the farthest inhabited villages, the Hauran borders upon the desert, its western limits are the chain of villages on the Hajj road, from Ghabaghib as far south as Ramtha... Hauran comprises therefore part of Trachonitis and Iturea, the whole of Auranitis, the northern districts of Batanea; the plain of Hauran stretches between the Marj plain of Damascus southward into modern-day Jordan where it borders Jabal Ajlun to the southwest and the desert steppe to the south and southeast.

To the west is the Golan plateau and to the east are the uplands of Jabal Hauran. The plain has been divided into the northern Jaydur and the southern Nuqrah; the former is identified with the ancient Iturea, while the latter is identified with the ancient Batanea. The much larger Nuqrah extends northward to the approaches of al-Sanamayn, being bound to the east by the Lajat and Jabal Hauran, it forms the heart of the Hauran plain. Al-Nuqra is a recent appellation, meaning "the cavity" in Arabic; the Jaydur extends northwest from al-Sanamayn to the minor lava field located at the foothills of Mount Hermon. A common feature throughout the Hauran is the basaltic topography, though altitude and soil vary between the Hauran's subregions The Nuqrah and Jabal Hauran consist of arable land derived from decomposed basaltic, volcanic rock; the Nuqrah is a low plateau measuring 100 by 75 kilometers with an average elevation of 600 meters above sea level. Its land is characteri

Esoko

Esoko is an agricultural profiling and messaging service. It is a response to the explosive growth of cellular services in Africa. Managed on the web and delivered via mobile, agribusiness and projects use Esoko to collect and send out market data using simple text messaging; the Esoko platform provides automatic and personalized price alerts and sell offers, bulk SMS messaging, stock counts and SMS polling. A private initiative based in Accra, Esoko was built and is supported by a team of over 60 local developers and support staff. Along with the technology, Esoko has a partner support program focused on capacity building and financial sustainability, with an emphasis on market data enumeration and business development services. Esoko began as TradeNet in 2005 with the encouragement of the UN's FAO, in partnership with FoodNet in Uganda. Focused on agricultural marketing it provided current market data via SMS and the web to stakeholders within the agriculture and trade sectors in developing countries.

In 2005 TradeNet signed a three year agreement with USAID's MISTOWA program to adapt the product and make it available to their target beneficiaries. Esoko was described as'a simple sort of eBay for agricultural products across a dozen countries in West Africa'. In April 2009 TradeNet rebranded as Esoko; the name Esoko originated from the Swahili name Soko. The eSoko name was an idea brought from the eRwanda Project in Rwanda where they have a different version of eSoko, owned by the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2008, the eRwanda Project granted permission to TradeNet to use the name Esoko. Esoko is active in 16 countries through different partnership agreements. Mark Davies, Jim Forster, International Finance Corporation, Soros Economic Development Fund

Battle of Valmy

The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. The action took place on 20 September 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris. Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez stopped the advance near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne. In this early part of the Revolutionary Wars—known as the War of the First Coalition—the new French government was in every way unproven, thus the small, localized victory at Valmy became a huge psychological victory for the Revolution at large; the outcome was unexpected by contemporary observers—a vindication for the French revolutionaries and a stunning defeat for the vaunted Prussian army. The victory emboldened the newly assembled National Convention to formally declare the end of monarchy in France and to establish the First French Republic. Valmy permitted the development of the Revolution and all its resultant ripple effects, for that it is regarded by historians as one of the most significant battles in history.

As the French Revolution continued, the monarchies of Europe became concerned that revolutionary fervor would spread to their countries. The War of the First Coalition was an effort to stop the revolution, or at least contain it to France. King Frederick William II of Prussia had the support of Great Britain and the Austrian Empire to send the Duke of Brunswick towards Paris with a large army. In the war's early encounters of mid-1792, French troops did not distinguish themselves, enemy forces advanced dangerously deep into France intending to pacify the country, restore the traditional monarchy, end the Revolution; the French commander Charles Dumouriez, had been marching his army northeast to attack the Austrian Netherlands, but this plan was abandoned because of the more immediate threat to Paris. A second army under General François Kellermann was ordered to link up with him in a mutual defense. Just over half of the French infantry were regulars of the old Royal Army, as were nearly all of the cavalry and, most the artillery, which were regarded as the best in Europe at the time.

These veterans provided a professional core to steady the enthusiastic volunteer battalions. Combined, Dumouriez' Army of the North and Kellermann's Army of the Centre totalled 54,000 troops. Heading towards them was Brunswick's coalition army of about 84,000, all veteran Prussian and Austrian troops augmented by large complements of Hessians and the French royalist Army of Condé; the invading army handily captured Longwy on 23 August and Verdun on 2 September moved on toward Paris through the defiles of the Forest of Argonne. In response, Dumouriez halted his advance to the Netherlands and reversed course, approaching the enemy army from its rear. From Metz, Kellermann moved to his assistance, joining him at the village of Sainte-Menehould on 19 September; the French forces were now east of the Prussians, behind their lines. Theoretically the Prussians could have marched straight towards Paris unopposed, but this course was never considered: the threat to their lines of supply and communication was too great to be ignored.

The unfavorable situation was compounded by bad weather and an alarming increase in sickness among the troops. With few other options available, Brunswick prepared to do battle; the troops trudged laboriously through a heavy downpour—"rain as of the days of Noah", in the words of Thomas Carlyle. Brunswick headed through the northern woods believing. At the moment when the Prussian manœuvre was nearly completed, Kellermann advanced his left wing and took up a position on the slopes between Sainte-Menehould and Valmy, he centered his command around an old windmill, which he razed to prevent enemy artillery spotters from using it as a sighting location. His veteran artillerists were well-placed upon its accommodating ridge to begin the so-called "Cannonade of Valmy". Brunswick moved toward them with about 34,000 of his troops; as they emerged from the woods, a long-range gunnery duel ensued and the French batteries proved superior. The Prussian infantry made a cautious, fruitless, effort to advance under fire across the open ground.

As the Prussians wavered, a pivotal moment was reached when Kellermann raised his hat and made his famous cry of "Vive la Nation". The cry was repeated again and again by all the French army, had a crushing effect upon Prussian morale; the French troops sang "La Marseillaise" and "Ça Ira", a cheer went up from the French line. To the surprise of nearly everyone, Brunswick retired from the field; the Prussians rounded the French positions at a great distance and commenced a rapid retreat eastward. The two engaged forces had been equal in size, Kellermann with 36,000 troops and 40 cannon, Brunswick with 34,000 and 54 cannon, yet by the time Brunswick retreated, casualties had risen no higher than three hundred French and two hundred Prussians. The precipitous end to the action provoked elation among the French; the question of why the Prussians withdrew has never been definitively answered. Most historians ascribe the retreat to some combination of the following factors: the defensible French position together with the growing numbers of reinforcements and citizen volunteers with their discouraging and unexpected élan which persuaded the cautious Brunswick to spare himself a dangerous loss of manpower when the Russian invasion of Poland had raised concerns for Prussia's defensibility in the east.

Others have put forward more shadowy motives for the decision, including a secret plea by Louis XVI to av

Mjällby

Mjällby is a locality situated in Sölvesborg Municipality, Blekinge County, Sweden with 1,254 inhabitants in 2010. It is located on the Listerlandet peninsula; the town has traditionally lived of fishing. The nearby harbour of Nogersund is the third largest fishery harbour in Sweden; the fishery industry is dominant on the peninsula. Listerlandet is the fur farming centre of Sweden. Fur farming is under heavy political debate in Sweden. Mjällby is known for its football team which has played in the Swedish national football league a few times. Among footballfans in Sweden the team of Mjällby AIF is known as "the team that always returns". In September 2009 the team once again qualified for the highest division and played five seasons in Allsvenskan before being relegated at the end of the 2014 season; the mathematician Lars Hörmander was born in Mjällby. A suburb of the town built by a local housing company was unofficially known for around 40 years by locals as Negerby because of the black chimneys on the houses.

In 2012 the use of this name was reported by a journalist and following the public outcry the housing company decided to use the temporary name of Slottsstaden

Head of a Tyrant

Head of a Tyrant or Judith and Holofernes is a 1959 Italian-French historical film directed by Fernando Cerchio and starring Massimo Girotti, Isabelle Corey and Renato Baldini. It is part of the boom in Sword-and-sandal productions during the late 1950s; the film is based on the story of Judith Beheading Holofernes. A 1929 film Judith and Holofernes was inspired by the tale. Massimo Girotti as Holophernes Isabelle Corey as Judith Renato Baldini as Arbar Yvette Masson as Rispa Gianni Rizzo as Ozia Camillo Pilotto as Belial Lucia Banti as Servant Girl Ricardo Valle as Isaac Leonardo Botta as Gabriele Franco Balducci as Galaad Luigi Tosi as Irasa Gabriele Antonini as Brother Daniela Rocca as Naomi Enzo Doria as Daniel Judith of Bethulia Parish, James Robert. Film Directors Guide:Western Europe. Scarecrow Press, 1976. Head of a Tyrant on IMDb

Solomon Kane

Solomon Kane is a fictional character created by the pulp-era writer Robert E. Howard. A late 16th–early 17th century Puritan, Solomon Kane is a somber-looking man who wanders the world with no apparent goal other than to vanquish evil in all its forms, his adventures, published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales take him from Europe to the jungles of Africa and back. Howard described him as a tall and gloomy man of pale skin, gaunt face and cold eyes, all of it shadowed by a slouch hat, he is dressed in black and his weaponry consists of a rapier, a dirk, a brace of flintlock pistols. During one of his adventures his friend N'Longa, an African shaman, gave him a juju staff that served as a protection against evil but could be wielded as a weapon, it is revealed in another story, "The Footfalls Within", that this is the mythical Staff of Solomon, a talisman older than the Earth and unimaginably powerful, much more so than N'Longa knew. In the same adventure with N'Longa, Kane is seen using a musket as well.

When Weird Tales published the story "Red Nails", featuring Conan the Barbarian, the editors introduced it as a tale of "a barbarian adventurer named Conan, remarkable for his sheer force of valor and brute strength. Its author, Robert E. Howard, is a favorite with the readers of this magazine for his stories of Solomon Kane, the dour English Puritan and redresser of wrongs". Most of the Solomon Kane stories were first published in Weird Tales; the order of publication, does not coincide with the order in which the stories were written. First published in Weird Tales, August 1928, alternatively titled "Solomon Kane"; this was the first Solomon Kane story published. In France, Kane finds a girl attacked by a gang of brigands led by a villain known as le Loup; as she dies in his arms, Kane determines to avenge her death, the trail leads from France to Africa, ending with Kane's first meeting with N'Longa. First published in Weird Tales, January 1929. In England, Kane is on his way to the hamlet of Torkertown, must choose one of two paths, a route that leads through a moor or one that leads through a swamp.

He is warned that the moor route is haunted and all travelers who take that road die, so he decides to investigate. First published in Weird Tales, June 1929. In Germany Kane meets a traveler named Gaston L'Armon, who seems familiar to Kane, together they take rooms in the Cleft Skull Tavern. First published in Weird Tales, Part 1, June 1930. Kane goes to Africa on the trail of an English girl named Marylin Taferal, kidnapped from her home and sold to Barbary pirates by her cousin; when he finds the hidden city of Negari, he encounters Nakari, "the vampire queen of Negari". First published in Weird Tales, August 1930. In Africa again, Kane's old friend N'Longa gives the Puritan a magic wooden staff, the Staff of Solomon, which will protect him in his travels. Kane finds a city of vampires. First published in Weird Tales, September 1931. In Africa again, Kane encounters, he rushes to save a girl whom the slavers are mistreating but is himself overwhelmed and taken prisoner. First published in Weird Tales, July 1932.

In Africa again, Kane comes across an entire village wiped out, all of the roofs have been ripped off, as if by something attempting to get inside from above. First published in Red Shadows, Grant, 1968. Known as "The Blue Flame of Vengeance". On the English coast, Kane battles the Fishhawk and his fellow pirates in a historical action tale with no fantasy elements. Writer John Pocsik was commissioned by Arkham House founder August Derleth to "edit" Howard's prose and to add a weird element for his 1964 anniversary anthology Over the Edge. REH scholar L. Sprague de Camp and author Fritz Leiber are both reported to have thought of the "new" version. Pocsik went on to pen several other Kane pastiches, only one of which, "The Fiend Within", saw print in Ariel. First published in Red Shadows. Kane plays a minimal role in this story. A condemned wizard, Roger Simeon, seeks revenge on the man who betrayed him. Kane arrives in a tavern, where he is greeted by John Redly, whom is bragging about having played a fundamental role in the capture of Roger Simeon, a necromancer that will be executed the following morning.

Kane despises him as a traitor though his action had allowed the capture of an evil individual. During the night, Kane is awakened by a strange noise that seems to come from outside the room window and, when he watches outside, he can see something entering the room next to his. Kane enters the nearby room, where Redly is asleep; the window is open and a weird thing, similar to a large black spider, is crawling inside. Kane is paralyzed by terror as he watched the thing climb the bed of Redly and, drop down to his neck and, an instant crack its bones; as John Redly lies dead, Kane is able to peirce the thing with the tip his sword, only to see that it is a human hand, covered with black hair and with a snake-shaped ring on its middle finger. The following morning, Kane is leaving the town and meets a young boy, whom tells hime that Roger Simeon, the necromancer, has been hanged at dawn and when he died, he had a deep smile on his face. Asked by Kane, the boy tells him that the wizard went to the gallows pole with one hand only, since, as his last will, the night before, he had asked the prison guards to cut his right hand and cast it outside the prison window.

As he was lying in the prison, kept on murmuring what seemed directions to an invisible auditor and, at dawn, when he was hanging from the rope, in