The Oker is a river in Lower Saxony, that has formed an important political boundary. It is a left tributary of the River Aller, 128 kilometres in length and runs in a northerly direction; the river's name was recorded around 830 as Obacra and as Ovokare und Ovakara. The origin of the name is derived from the roots ov- and -akara meaning “upper” and “onward rushing” as distinct from its tributary, the Ecker, whose name means only “onward rushing”; the Oker rises at about 910 metres in the Harz National Park in a boggy area on the Bruchberg in the Harz mountains of central Germany. This early section is known as the Große Oker and it is impounded below Altenau by the Oker Dam. From the dam wall to the former village of Oker, today part of Goslar, the Oker is on certain occasions suitable for canoeing; this section called the "Oker Valley", includes the Romkerhall Waterfall. Here the Romke stream drops about 64 metres in height over a waterfall laid out in 1863 into the Oker. Downstream in the river's fast-flowing waters, the Verlobungsinsel is to be found.

Left and right of the Oker in this area are many crags. In the Goslar vicinity of Oker the river is polluted with heavy metals from the slag heaps as well as groundwater and surface runoff from the metal smelters there. From the village of Oker the River Oker flows away in a northeasterly direction to Vienenburg, where it is joined from the south by the Radau and from the southeast by the Ecker. After these two confluences the river continues southeast past the Harly Forest, after which it bends north to flow through Schladen and Wolfenbüttel to Braunschweig. In south Braunschweig the Oker is dammed by the Eisenbüttel Weir. In the Bürgerpark shortly before Braunschweig's old town the Oker divides into the western and eastern bypass channels which circumnavigate the historic city centre at a higher level; these channels were laid in the 16th century as the external moats of the town's defences. The actual course of the Oker through the centre of the town was covered and, runs through pipes emerging again north of the old town.

The water level in the city area is controlled by the St. Peter's Gate Weir in the western and the "Wends Weir" in the eastern ditch. Following the merger of the two channels northwest of the city centre the Oker runs north of the district of Watenbüttel in a culvert under the Mittelland Canal before it is joined by the Schunter from the east near Groß Schwülper, it flows down to its mouth into the River Aller, located between Gifhorn and Celle at Müden. Since the early ninth century the middle Oker river has formed the diocesan boundary between the bishoprics of Halberstadt and Hildesheim, established by Emperor Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious in the Duchy of Saxony. North of Schladen the royal palace of Werla was established on the banks about 20 metres above the river bed. From the High Middle Ages the Oker between the villages of Ohrum and Börßum formed the eastern boundary of the Prince-Bishopric of Hildesheim with the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, further south to Wiedelah with the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt, which became the Prussian Principality of Halberstadt following its secularization in 1648.

The Bishopric of Halberstadt was mediatised in 1803, according to the Final Act of the 1815 Vienna Congress, the Oker was the eastern border of the Kingdom of Hanover with the Duchy of Brunswick and the Prussian Province of Saxony. When the Kingdom of Prussia annexed Hanover in 1866, it became the inner Prussian border between the provinces of Hanover and Saxony as well as the border, north of Börßum to Ohrum between the Province of Hanover in the west and the Duchy of Brunswick in the east. From 1945 to 1990 the Inner German border between East and West Germany ran down the centre of the Oker between Wiedelah and Schladen, today between the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. Since the Expo 2000 bridges over the Oker in Braunschweig and its surrounding area were artistically designed. List of rivers of Lower Saxony Heavy metal pollution of the Oker Description of white water canoe section between Kraftwerk and Nachstaubecken with many photos Oste class fleet service ship

Ice hockey at the 2006 Winter Olympics

Ice hockey at the 2006 Winter Olympics was held at the Torino Palasport Olimpico and the Torino Esposizioni in Turin, Italy. The men's competition, held from 15 to 26 February, was won by Sweden, the women's competition, held from 11 to 20 February, was won by Canada; the format was changed from the version used in the 2002 tournaments. This format was used in 1992 and 1994, the number of teams was reduced from 14 to 12 and the preliminary and final group stages were combined to form two six-team groups with the top four from each group advancing to the quarterfinals; these changes had the following effects: They increased the number of group games played by the "Super Six", who automatically qualified for the final group stage, from three to five. They ensured; this would give the games more meaning. Twelve places were allotted for the men's ice hockey tournament; the first eight were awarded to the top eight teams in the International Ice Hockey Federation ranking following the 2004 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships.

Those teams were: Canada Sweden Slovakia Czech Republic Finland United States Russia Germany Allegations have surfaced of Sweden throwing a game against Slovakia so the Swedes would face Switzerland instead of Canada or the Czech Republic. Shortly before the game, Sweden coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson was reported to have publicly contemplated tanking in order to avoid those teams, saying about Canada and the Czechs, "One is cholera, the other the plague." During the game itself, one suspect sequence came when Sweden had an extended five-on-three powerplay with five NHL stars on the ice—Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidström and Fredrik Modin—and failed to put a shot on net. Sports Illustrated writer Michael Farber would say about this particular powerplay, "If the Swedes had passed the puck any more, their next opponent would have been the Washington Generals." " were afraid to shoot!", Russian coach Vladimir Krikunov said. As part of a subsequent interview about the championship over five years Forsberg was interpreted to insinuate that Sweden lost their preliminary round game against Slovakia on purpose, so as to draw Switzerland as their quarterfinal opponent, rather than Canada or the Czech Republic.

Swedish forward Henrik Sedin, who played alongside Forsberg on the 2006 team denied the notion while adding that Forsberg's comments in the interview were misconstrued. The top four teams from the International Ice Hockey Federation world rankings following the 2004 Women's World Ice Hockey Championships qualified automatically; these teams were Canada, the United States and Sweden. Italy gained a place as it was the host nation. Russia and Switzerland qualified for the last three places through qualification tournaments

Maria of Aragon, Queen of Castile

Maria of Aragon was the Queen consort of Castile and Leon as the wife of John II of Castile. She was the daughter of Ferdinand I of Eleanor of Alburquerque. Maria was married by her brother in his ambition to place his father's issue on the thrones of Castile and Aragon; the marriage took place in simplicity. Maria was politically active on behalf of her brothers, the princes of Aragon. After her death on 18 February 1445, her husband married Isabella of Portugal and they became the parents of Isabella I of Castile. Maria has her line having gone extinct within a few decades of her death. Maria and John II of Castile had four children: Princess of Asturias. Eleanor, Princess of Asturias. Henry IV of Castile. First married Blanche II of Navarre and married Joan of Portugal. Infanta Maria