click links in text for more info

Politics of the Netherlands

The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy, a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by a common striving for broad consensus on important issues, within both of the political community and society as a whole; the Dutch Constitution lists the basic civil and social rights of the Dutch citizens and it describes the position and function of the institutions that have executive and judiciary power. The constitution applies to the Netherlands, one of the four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Kingdom as a whole has its own Statute. The Netherlands comprises all of the European territory and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; the Netherlands does not have a constitutional court and judges do not have the authority to review laws on their constitutionality. International treaties and the Statute of the Kingdom, overrule Dutch law and the constitution, judges are allowed to review laws against these in a particular court case.

Furthermore, all legislation, not a law in the strict sense of the word can be tested on their constitutionality. Amendments to the constitution must be approved by both Houses of the States General twice; the first time around, this requires a majority vote. After parliament has been dissolved and general elections are held, both Houses must approve the proposed amendments with a two-thirds vote. Major political institutions are the monarchy, the cabinet, the States General and the judicial system. There are three other High Colleges of state, which stand on equal foot with parliament but have a less political role, of which the Council of State is the most important. Other levels of government are the water boards and the provinces. Although not mentioned in the Constitution, political parties and the social partners organised in the Social Economic Council are important political institutions as well, it is important to realise that the Netherlands does not have a traditional separation of powers: according to the Constitution the States General and the government share the legislative power.

All legislation has to pass through the Council of State for advice and the Social-Economic Council advises the government on most social-economic legislation. The executive power is reserved for government. Note, that the Social-Economic Council has the special right to make and enforce legislation on several sectors in agriculture; the judicial power is divided into two separate systems of courts. For civil and criminal law the independent Supreme Court is the highest court. For administrative law the Raad van State is the highest court, ex officio chaired by the King; the Netherlands has been a monarchy since 16 March 1815, but has been governed by members of the House of Orange-Nassau since 1556, when William of Orange-Nassau was appointed stadtholder and led the successful Dutch Revolt against Spain. The present monarchy was founded in 1813. After the expulsion of the French, the Prince of Orange was proclaimed Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands; the new monarchy was confirmed in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna as part of the re-arrangement of Europe after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The House of Orange-Nassau were given the present day Netherlands and Belgium to govern as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Between 1815 and 1890, the King of the Netherlands was Grand Duke of Luxembourg; the current monarch is Willem-Alexander. The heir apparent is the Princess of Catharina-Amalia. Constitutionally, the monarch is head of state and has a role in the formation of government and in the legislative process, he has to co-sign every law to make it valid. The monarch is ex officio chair of the Council of State, which advises the cabinet on every piece of legislation and is the final court for administrative law. Although the current king takes these functions he refrains from exerting his power in these positions; the monarch plays a central role in the formation of a cabinet after general elections or a cabinet crisis. Since coalition cabinets of two or more parties are the rule, this process has influence on government policy for years to come; the monarch used to appoint the informateur until 2012, who chairs the formation talks, after consulting the fractievoorzitters of all parties represented in the lower house of the States General.

When the formation talks have been concluded the King appoints the cabinet. Because this advice is a matter of public record, the King cannot take a direction, contrary to the advice of a majority in parliament. On the other hand, what is talked about behind the closed doors of the palace is not known; when a cabinet falls, the Prime Minister has to request the monarch to dismiss the cabinet. The Government of the Netherlands constitutionally consists of the cabinet ministers; the King's role is limited to the formation of government and he does not interfere in daily decision-making. The ministers together form the Council of Ministers; this executive council initiates laws and policy. It meets every Friday in the Trêveszaal at the Binnenhof. While most of the ministers head government ministries, since 1939 it has been permissible to appoint ministers without portfolio; the Prime Minister of the Netherland

Mary U. Rothrock

Mary Utopia Rothrock, was an American librarian and historian. Born in Brick Church in Giles County, Rothrock grew up Trenton, Tennessee, she was the youngest of five children of John Rothrock, a Presbyterian minister, his wife, Utopia Rothrock. She attended public schools in Milan and Somerville, the Ward Seminary in Nashville, she graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1912 with a Master of Science degree, the New York School of Library Science in Albany in 1914. While in New York, she worked as an assistant at the New York State Library. Rothrock returned to Tennessee in 1915 to serve as Head of Circulation at the Cossitt Library in Memphis. In 1916, Knoxville businessman and philanthropist Calvin M. McClung persuaded her to move to Knoxville to be Chief Librarian of the Lawson McGhee Library, she served in that position until 1933. During her tenure, she oversaw the establishment of the branch system that would evolve into the Knox County Public Library system, she was instrumental in persuading McClung to donate his personal collection to the library system, creating the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection.

This collection provided the core of the East Tennessee Historical Society, of which Rothrock was a charter member. Rothrock supervised the Tennessee Valley Authority libraries from 1934 to 1948, she afterward returned to the Knox County Library system, working as the Knox County Librarian from 1949 to 1955. After retiring, she remained active with the library system in some capacity until her death in 1976. Rothrock wrote and edited numerous historical books and articles about Tennessee, East Tennessee, Knoxville. In 1929, her article, "Carolina Traders Among the Overhill Cherokees, 1690–1760," appeared in the inaugural issue of the ETHS's annual Publications, she edited the first major comprehensive history of Knox County and Knoxville, The French Broad-Holston County: A History of Knox County, Tennessee, in 1946. She wrote two school textbooks, Discovering Tennessee and This Is Tennessee: A School History. Rothrock became President of the Tennessee Librarian Association in 1920 and was elected a second time in 1928.

She organized and co-founded with Tommie Dora Barker and Charlotte Templeton the Southeastern Library Association in Chattanooga in 1920 and became its first President. In 1946, she served as President of the American Library Association. Photograph of Rothrock and Mrs. Calvin M. McClung, 1958 – Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection

Newbyres Castle

Newbyres Castle was a 16th-century tower house, in Gorebridge, Scotland, west of the main street. The tower occupied a triangular position, defended by worn water-courses. In 1543 Michael Borthwick of Glengelt acquired the land from James, Abbot of Newbattle, with the consent of the abbey’s patroness, Queen of Scots, built the property. By the early 20th century Newbyres was in an unsound, ruinous condition, the local council demolished it in 1963 for reasons of'public safety', it had been the main block being 32.5 feet by 24.0 feet. The wing was at the south angle, measured 15.25 feet by 5.0 feet. In the early 20th century the walls of the main block facing west and north were complete to the wall-head, the rest being fragmentary. There seems to have been a courtyard wall; the North East corner of the tower, standing to about 4.0 metres, a mound of overgrown rubble nearby are all that remain of Newbyres Castle. The building was rubble-built with freestone quoins. There was a boldly projecting corbelled parapet equipped with rounds.

There were four at ground level and two at the second floor. The unusual cap house to the projecting entrance wing collapsed in February 1881. There was an armorial panel bearing the Borthwick arms; the remaining structure is a scheduled monument, regarded as of national importance because it provides evidence and has the potential to provide further evidence for the study of the defensive architecture and domestic life of the minor gentry in mid-sixteenth-century Scotland. Castles in Great Britain and Ireland List of castles in Scotland

Okapi Wildlife Reserve

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with South Sudan and Uganda. At 14,000 km², it covers one-fifth of the area of the forest; the Nepoko and Epulu rivers flow through the reserve. The imposing Mbiya Mountain overlooks the Epulu village; the reserve is home to about 5,000 okapis, 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards and crocodiles. Other Ituri rain forest animals include forest water chevrotain; the reserve has over 300 species of bird, is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in mainland Africa. Nomadic Mbuti pygmies and indigenous Bantu farmers live within the reserve; the Okapi Wildlife Reserve was created with the help of the Okapi Conservation Project in 1992. The project continues to support the reserve by training and equipping wildlife guards and by providing assistance to improve the lives of neighboring communities; the Okapi Wildlife Reserve was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger in 1997.

The main threats to the reserve are deforestation caused by slash and burn agriculture, commercial hunting for the sale of bush meat. Gold mining has been problematic to the Reserve; as of 2005, the fighting in the eastern part of the country moved within the boundaries of the Reserve, causing its staff to flee or be evacuated. While the native Mbuti and Bantu peoples traditionally respect the forest and its wildlife, immigrants into the area do not feel the same connection to the land. Lack of funding due to the poor political and economic conditions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been problematic, it is hoped that eco-tourism to the area can be developed, leading to both increased funding and improved public awareness. As its name implies, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve is home to many okapis; as of 1996, the number was estimated at about 3900–6350, out of a global population of around 10,000–20,000. It is the location of the Epulu Conservation and Research Center, on the Epulu River.

This facility dates back to 1928 when the camp was founded by American anthropologist Patrick Putnam as a capture station, where wild okapis were captured and sent to American and European zoos. Until 2012 it still served that function, albeit with different methodology, as the okapis remained in Congo. In 2012 a rebel attack left the center's captive okapis dead and it was decided to focus on preserving the wild okapis in the reserve; the center carries out much important research and conservation work. On 24 June 2012, the Epulu Conservation and Research Center was attacked and burned by a group of Mai-Mai rebels, lead by Paul Sadala and consisting of elephant poachers and illegal miners. During the attack, 13 of the 14 okapis at the center were killed and six people, including two wildlife rangers, were killed. Many other locals, some minors, were abducted. In early August, the security situation had improved due to Congolese army troops and guards from the Congolese Wildlife Authority, preparations for repairs of the center had begun.

Following donations from around the world, it had been rebuilt a year after the attack. On 14 July 2017, there was an attack in the section of the reserve near Mambasa by Mai-Mai rebels. Foreign journalists and several local park rangers escaped unharmed, but five local reserve employees were killed. Several of the attackers were killed. Centre National d'Appui au Développement et à la Participation populaire Corneille Ewango Okapi Conservation Project Susan Lyndaker Lindsey; the Okapi. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-74707-1 Government website: l'Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature UNESCO Okapi Wildlife Reserve Site UNEP-WCMC world Heritage site datasheet Blogs from the Rangers of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve Gilman International Conservation

Rails & Ties

Rails & Ties is a 2007 American drama film directed by Alison Eastwood and written by Micky Levy. It tells the story of a young boy and his mentally-ill widowed mother who commits suicide in her car by parking on a railroad track; the boy confronts the train engineer who accidentally killed his mother, urging him and his wife to raise him after escaping from an unkind foster mother. The two agree to raise him. Kevin Bacon portrays the train engineer, Marcia Gay Harden plays his sick wife, Miles Heizer portrays the boy. Laura Danner is a mentally ill, single mother who takes illegal drugs and is unable to care for her 10-year-old son Davey. Driven to despair, she decides to commit suicide by driving a car on to a railway track, taking Davey with her, she offers him some tranquillisers beforehand but, unbeknownst to her, he spits them out. His mother drives on to the tracks; as a train approaches, Davey tries in vain to drag her out of the car, himself jumping clear just in time. Two train crewmen, Tom Stark and Otis Higgs, seeing the car on the tracks ahead, argue about whether an emergency stop will derail the train or not.

However, the train kills the boy's mother. Subsequently, the railroad company calls for an internal inquiry and suspends the two drivers pending an informal inquiry. Davey has spent the first night after the incident with Renee. However, she places the boy with a cold-hearted, disciplinarian foster mother who declares to the boy that she would have preferred a girl. On, after being confined to his room for insulting the foster mother while she berated him in the kitchen, he escapes by shattering first a picture frame on the wall, used the shattered glass to cut out the screen in the open window; the authorities are alerted and a missing persons search is initiated. The boy obtains train conductor Tom Stark's home address, he turns up at the Starks' home and berates Tom for accidentally killing his mother in the train crash, but he is placated. Tom's wife Megan insists on letting the boy stay although Tom disapproves. Caring for Davey helps the couple rebond with each other. Megan is suffering from breast cancer which has spread to her bones.

Having undergone a mastectomy, she has decided that she will no longer endure chemotherapy and must accept her inevitable death. The couple have no children due to Megan's illness and because of Tom's job. Tom implores her to continue treatment. Meanwhile, the social worker, hearing that the boy may have sought out the Stark's home, arrives at the house and searches it, suspecting the boy is there, but finds only a visibly sick Megan Stark; the family continues to bond. When she sees them out in the park for a picnic, she decides to call the police, but stops when she realizes that the boy is part of a devoted family. Megan's condition deteriorates and Davey discovers that she is indeed dying, he has a fit, blaming himself not only for Megan's death but for the suicide of his own mother. Tom Stark placates the boy. A few hours prior to her death, Megan tells a saddened Davey, she dies in her sleep. Some time after the funeral, Tom informs Davey that it is now time to contact the social worker to see if he can adopt him.

The film ends with Davey approaching Renee's office hand-in-hand. Kevin Bacon as Tom Stark Marcia Gay Harden as Megan Stark Miles Heizer as Davey Danner Marin Hinkle as Renee Eugene Byrd as Otis Higgs Bonnie Root as Laura Danner Steve Eastin as N. B. Garcia Laura Cerón as Susan Garcia Margo Martindale as Judy Neasy Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Brown Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a critic score of 34% based on reviews from 47 critics. Official website Rails & Ties on IMDb

The Quintet (album)

The Quintet is an album by V. S. O. P, it was compiled from two concert performances: one at the Greek Theatre, University of California, Berkeley, on July 16, 1977. The musicians were Herbie Hancock on keyboards, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, Tony Williams on drums, Ron Carter on bass, Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano saxophones; the recording was released in October 1977 as a 2-disc LP by Columbia Records. An excerpt from a review in the January 1978 issue of Downbeat is quoted on the back of the album and describes the performance: What the audience applauds on this album transcends mere form and instrumentation, they were thrilled by the charisma generated by five masters who listened to one another's inner ears, spoke to each other at multiple levels, and, no matter how dense the musical content, conveyed their messages to the audience with amazing clarity. "Third Plane" and "Lawra" where released on studio album Third Plane, which Hancock and Williams had recorded a few days before, on July 13, 1977.

"Third Plane" became one of Carter's most renowned compositions. "Byrdlike" was oryginally recorded by Hubbard. Shorter played on this version. "Dolores" was oryginally recorded by Miles Davis Quintet in 1967 and released on 1967's Miles Smiles. "Jessica" was released on Hancock's Fat Albert Rotunda album, recorded in 1969. "Little Waltz" is a song from Carter's Piccolo album, recorded on March 1977. Side 1 "One of a Kind" – 9:27 "Third Plane" – 7:19Side 2 "Jessica" – 7:02 "Lawra" – 9:43Side 3 "Darts" – 8:54 "Dolores" – 11:31Side 4 "Little Waltz" – 9:33 "Byrdlike" – 8:05 Musicians:Freddie Hubbard – flugelhorn, trumpet Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone Herbie Hancock – piano, vocals Ron Carter – double bass Tony Williams – drumsProduction:Fred Catero, Bryan Bell – audio engineering Chris Minto – assistant engineering Les D. Cooper, Dennis Mays, Shawn Murphy, Paul Sandweiss, Ray Thompson – remote recording David Rubinson – producer Jeffrey Cohen – associate producer Russ Anderson and Herbie Green – design Bruce Talamon – photography Conrad Silvert – liner notes David Handloff - assistant engineer