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History of Asia

The history of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions such as East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe. The coastal periphery was the home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations and religions, with each of the three regions developing early civilizations around fertile river valleys; these valleys were fertile because the soil there could bear many root crops. The civilizations in Mesopotamia and China shared many similarities and exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other notions such as that of writing developed individually in each area. Cities and empires developed in these lowlands; the steppe region had long been inhabited by mounted nomads, from the central steppes they could reach all areas of the Asian continent. The northern part of the continent, covering much of Siberia was inaccessible to the steppe nomads due to the dense forests and the tundra.

These areas in Siberia were sparsely populated. The centre and periphery were kept separate by deserts; the Caucasus, Karakum Desert, Gobi Desert formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could only cross with difficulty. While technologically and culturally the city dwellers were more advanced, they could do little militarily to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force, thus the nomads who conquered states in the Middle East were soon forced to adapt to the local societies. Asia's history features major developments seen in other parts of the world, as well as events that have affected those other regions; these include the trade of the Silk Road, which spread cultures, languages and diseases throughout Afro-Eurasian trade. Another major advancement was the innovation of gunpowder in medieval China developed by the Islamic gunpowder empires by the Mughals and Safavids, which led to advanced warfare through the use of guns.

A report by archaeologist Rakesh Tewari on Lahuradewa, India shows new C14 datings that range between 9000 and 8000 BCE associated with rice, making Lahuradewa the earliest Neolithic site in entire South Asia. The prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 8000–7000 BCE, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures; the total excavated area is more than 1,200 square meters and the collection of neolithic findings at the site consists of two phases. Around 5500 BCE the Halafian culture appeared in Lebanon, Syria and northern Mesopotamia, based upon dryland agriculture. In southern Mesopotamia were the alluvial plains of Elam. Since there was little rainfall, irrigation systems were necessary; the Ubaid culture flourished from 5500 BCE. The Chalcolithic period began about 4500 BCE the Bronze Age began about 3500 BCE, replacing the Neolithic cultures.

The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization, centered in the western part of the Indian Subcontinent. Some of the great cities of this civilization include Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, which had a high level of town planning and arts; the cause of the destruction of these regions around 1700 BCE is debatable, although evidence suggests it was caused by natural disasters. This era marks Vedic period in India, which lasted from 1500 to 500 BCE. During this period, the Sanskrit language developed and the Vedas were written, epic hymns that told tales of gods and wars; this was the basis for the Vedic religion, which would sophisticate and develop into Hinduism. China and Vietnam were centres of metalworking. Dating back to the Neolithic Age, the first bronze drums, called the Dong Son drums have been uncovered in and around the Red River Delta regions of Vietnam and Southern China; these relate to the prehistoric Dong Son Culture of Vietnam. Song Da bronze drum's surface, Dong Son culture, Vietnam In Ban Chiang, bronze artifacts have been discovered dating to 2100 BCE.

In Nyaunggan, Burma bronze tools have been excavated along with ceramics and stone artifacts. Dating is still broad; the Iron Age saw the widespread use of iron tools and armor throughout the major civilizations of Asia. The Achaemenid dynasty of the Persian Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, ruled an area from Greece and Turkey to the Indus River and Central Asia during the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. Persian politics included a tolerance for other cultures, a centralized government, significant infrastructure developments. In Darius the Great's rule, the territories were integrated, a bureaucracy was developed, nobility were assigned military positions, tax collection was organized, spies were used to ensure the loyalty of regional officials; the primary religion of Persia at this time was Zoroastrianism, developed by the philosopher Zoroaster. It introduced an early form of monotheism to the area; the religion banned the use of intoxicants in rituals. These concepts would influence emperors and the masses.

More Zoroastrianism would be an important precursor for the Abrahamic religion

New Zealand at the 2012 Summer Paralympics

New Zealand competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, United Kingdom, from 29 August to 9 September 2012. The country won 17 medals in total, including six gold medals, finished twenty-first on the medals table. New Zealand had 1 cycling pilot, competing across 7 sports, it was the nation's smallest team since Barcelona in 1992, in part because it included no representatives in team events such as wheelchair rugby and boccia. Michael Johnson, New Zealand's most successful Paralympic shooter, carried the flag at the opening ceremony. Sophie Pascoe, who won six swimming medals at the Games, carried the flag at the closing ceremony. Former Paralympic swimmer and gold medallist Duane Kale was the Chef de Mission. Paralympic cyclist Jayne Parsons withdrew from the team after failing her final pre-Games fitness test. At age 13 years and 8 months, swimmer Nikita Howarth was the youngest member of the team as well as New Zealand's youngest Paralympian. KeyNote–Ranks given for preliminary rounds are within the athlete's heat only, with the exception of swimming Q = Qualified for the next round q = Qualified for the next round as a fastest loser or by position without achieving the qualifying target PR = Paralympic record WR = World record N/A = Round not applicable for the event Bye = Athlete not required to compete in round Men—TrackMen—FieldWomen—Field Team Sprint Michael Johnson was New Zealand's flag bearer for the opening ceremonies.

Note: Qualifiers for the finals of all events were decided on a time only basis, therefore ranks shown are overall ranks versus competitors in all heats. Ranks shown for those who did not advance are their final ranks. MenWomen New Zealand at the Paralympics New Zealand at the 2012 Summer Olympics

2010 Merton London Borough Council election

Elections for the London Borough of Merton were held on 6 May 2010. This was on the same day as other local elections in a national general election. Labour became the largest party in Merton, defeating the incumbent minority Conservative administration. However, Labour fell three seats short of a majority, so the council remained under no overall control; the Liberal Democrats regained two seats in West Barnes from the Conservatives and the Merton Park Ward Residents' Association maintained its three councillors in Merton Park. On 15 May 2013, four Conservative councillors defected to the UK Independence Party; this included Suzanne Evans, who became a national UKIP spokeswoman. No by-elections were called as a result of the defections

Tony Smibert

Anthony "Tony" Charles Smibert is an artist and aikido teacher. He has exhibited artworks and published research internationally, much of the latter on the methods of 19th century watercolourist J. M. W. Turner, he is the President of Aiki Kai Australia and a member of the Senior Council of the International Aikido Federation. In the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2016, Smibert was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia "for significant service to aikido through a range of roles, to the visual arts as a painter and water colourist", his home and gallery are in Deloraine, Tasmania. Smibert's art reflects three diverse streams of thought: Japanese minimalism, the early 19th century English School of Painting and Abstract Expressionism, he has been recognised as one of Australia's leading watercolourists. His 1993 collaboration with Japanese couturier Yasuhiro Chiji led to a signature range of high fashion, yuzen kimonos based on Smibert's watercolours; some works are inspired by the study of Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and the early 19th century philosophy known as the Sublime.

For Australian landscapes Smibert sometimes uses local iron ore as pigment. Smibert's art is informed by his study in aikido, his larger acrylic abstracts use the energy flow of aikido to create a broad calligraphy reminiscent of Franz Kline and Action Painting. Smibert's career includes exhibitions in Europe, South East Asia, the Americas and Australia. Examples of Smibert's Turner-influenced and abstract painting styles are shown below: Smibert commenced judo in his early teens and aikido in 1964 at age 15, he became a student of aikido master Seiichi Sugano in 1965 and remained his student until Sugano's death in 2010. Smibert assisted Sugano to establish in Aikido in Victoria worked with other senior students to establish Aiki Kai Australia and the Aikido Foundation. Smibert was Vice-President of Aiki Kai Australia from 1976 until 2010. On the passing of Sugano he was elected President. Smibert is a trustee of the Aikido Foundation, established to promote the aikido legacy of Sugano, along with senior Australian instructors Robert Botterill and Hanan Janiv.

Tony Smibert represented Australia at the International Aikido Federation from 1980 to 1984. He was elected IAF vice-chairman, a position he held from 1984 to 2008. In 2008 he was appointed by the current Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba to membership of the Senior Council of the IAF. Smibert holds the rank of 7th dan Aikikai and the teaching title of shihan from Aikido World Headquarters in Japan, he teaches in Australia and Continental Europe and has taught in Japan, South East Asia, the USA, Russia and the United Kingdom. Smibert's publications include The Watercolour Apprentice, The Inner Art of Watercolour, The Watercolour Road, other series for Australian Artist and International Artist magazines. In the early 1990s he published a series of video lessons based on seminars at Mountford Granary Art School in Tasmania followed by an illustrated manual, Painting Landscapes from Your Imagination. Smibert contributed to the Tate publication How to Paint like Turner and co-authored the Tate Watercolour Manual: Lessons from the Great Masters with Tate Senior Conservation Scientist Dr Joyce Townsend.

Concurrent with his own painting, Smibert is a Visiting Artist Researcher at Tate Britain. His interest in the 19th century British painter J. M. W. Turner has taken him to London many times to work directly from Turner's sketchbooks and paintings. Smibert's collaboration with Dr Joyce Townsend has included using watercolour pigments from Turner's studio to recreate the methods of Turner and building an extensive collection of historic artist materials and watercolour boxes from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Smibert's research includes visiting precise locations where Turner had worked around Britain and Europe and comparing them to the artist's original drawings and colour studies towards a practical understanding of Turner's creative processes. Smibert has demonstrated Turner's techniques on BBCTV's Fake or Fortune programme and delivered master classes and workshops for curators and artists at art museums including the Tate, the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Art Gallery of South Australia.

In 2013 he and pianist Ambre Hammond created a public performance Turner and the Sublime to bring Turner and this research to life for audiences at the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of the Turner at the Tate: The Making of a Master exhibition. Official website

Real projective plane

In mathematics, the real projective plane is an example of a compact non-orientable two-dimensional manifold. It cannot be embedded in standard three-dimensional space without intersecting itself, it has basic applications to geometry, since the common construction of the real projective plane is as the space of lines in R3 passing through the origin. The plane is often described topologically, in terms of a construction based on the Möbius strip: if one could glue the edge of the Möbius strip to itself in the correct direction, one would obtain the projective plane. Equivalently, gluing a disk along the boundary of the Möbius strip gives the projective plane. Topologically, it has Euler characteristic 1, hence a demigenus of 1. Since the Möbius strip, in turn, can be constructed from a square by gluing two of its sides together, the real projective plane can thus be represented as a unit square with its sides identified by the following equivalence relations: ~ for 0 ≤ y ≤ 1and ~ for 0 ≤ x ≤ 1,as in the leftmost diagram shown here.

Projective geometry is not concerned with curvature and the real projective plane may be twisted up and placed in the Euclidean plane or 3-space in many different ways. Some of the more important examples are described below; the projective plane cannot be embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space. The proof that the projective plane does not embed in three-dimensional Euclidean space goes like this: Assuming that it does embed, it would bound a compact region in three-dimensional Euclidean space by the generalized Jordan curve theorem; the outward-pointing unit normal vector field would give an orientation of the boundary manifold, but the boundary manifold would be the projective plane, not orientable. This is a contradiction, so our assumption that it does embed must have been false. Consider a sphere, let the great circles of the sphere be "lines", let pairs of antipodal points be "points", it is easy to check that this system obeys the axioms required of a projective plane: any pair of distinct great circles meet at a pair of antipodal points.

If we identify each point on the sphere with its antipodal point we get a representation of the real projective plane in which the "points" of the projective plane are points. This means that the projective plane is the quotient space of the sphere obtained by partitioning the sphere into equivalence classes under the equivalence relation ~, where x ~ y if y = −x; this quotient space of the sphere is homeomorphic with the collection of all lines passing through the origin in R3. The quotient map from the sphere onto the real projective plane is in fact a two sheeted covering map, it follows that the fundamental group of the real projective plane is the cyclic group of order 2. One can take the loop AB from the figure above to be the generator; because the sphere covers the real projective plane twice, the plane may be represented as a closed hemisphere around whose rim opposite points are identified. The projective plane can be immersed in 3-space. Boy's surface is an example of an immersion. Polyhedral examples must have at least nine faces.

Steiner's Roman surface is a more degenerate map of the projective plane into 3-space, containing a cross-cap. A polyhedral representation is the tetrahemihexahedron, which has the same general form as Steiner's Roman Surface, shown here. Looking in the opposite direction, certain abstract regular polytopes – hemi-cube, hemi-dodecahedron, hemi-icosahedron – can be constructed as regular figures in the projective plane. Various planar projections or mappings of the projective plane have been described. In 1874 Klein described the mapping: k = 1 2 Central projection of the projective hemisphere onto a plane yields the usual infinite projective plane, described below. A closed surface is obtained by gluing a disk to a cross-cap; this surface can be represented parametrically by the following equations: X = r cos ⁡ u, Y = r sin ⁡ u, Z = − tanh ⁡ r sin

Operation Gotham Shield

Operation Gotham Shield was a 2017 exercise conducted by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency which tested civil defense response capabilities to a nuclear weapons attack against the New York metropolitan area. Operation Gotham Shield occurred over the course of four days, from April 23 to 27, 2017, was part of FEMA's National Exercise Program; the operation involved the hypothetical ground burst of a nuclear device at the New Jersey-side entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, resulting in "hundreds of thousands" of killed and injured persons and 4.5 million refugees from the initial blast and subsequent fallout. Due to the location of the simulated attack, the operation scenario assumed the disablement or destruction of FEMA's Region II Regional Response Coordination Center which required transfer of command functions to the Region V Regional Response Coordination Center. In the final phases of the exercise, a hypothetical "massive influx" of refugees from the attack "overwhelmed" the resources of neighboring states.

In addition to FEMA, other agencies and organizations which participated in the exercise included the Morris County Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey National Guard, the Military Auxiliary Radio System, the Metro Urban Search and Rescue Strike Team, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, various municipal departments of the City of New York, others. Gotham Shield occurred simultaneous with several partnered exercises testing the responsiveness of different agencies of the United States in the fulfillment of their own organizational priorities as they would apply to the core attack scenario, including Vibrant Response, Prominent Hunt 17-1, Fuerzas Amigas. Ardent Sentry 17, was another simultaneous operation which focused on military aid to the civil power "marshalling simulated forces". Ardent Sentry 17 was a command post exercise with staff operating from a primary command post at the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters in Troy, a redundancy command post at the New York National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Latham.

It was overseen by GEN Timothy LaBarge of the New York National Guard, given "dual status command", or authority to command both State of New York and United States military forces. Meanwhile, Canada conducted an overlapping exercise, Staunch Maple 17, whose scenario involved simultaneous "nuclear threats" in Ottawa and Halifax, which involved the friendly intervention of U. S. military forces into eastern Canada. Unlike Gotham Shield, Canada's Department of National Defence did not publicly describe the scenario around which Staunch Maple 17 was based, but media outlets would cite sources who confirmed it involved a "nuclear event" and was a test of scaled contingency plans the country had involving "a wide range of scenarios involving attacks on Canada, including a missile attack." Operation Gotham Shield was billed as a "false flag" by some conspiracy theorists, who predicted it was designed to cover up a planned, actual nuclear weapons attack against the New York metropolitan area, or as distraction from a planned U.

S. nuclear weapons attack against North Korea. The British tabloid Daily Express, propagated a different take on the conspiracy theory which hypothesized that "a major incident will happen to US President Donald Trump on Wednesday". Joint Task Force Empire Shield