click links in text for more info
SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Shangri-La

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise a mythical Himalayan utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the world. In the novel, the people who live at Shangri-La are immortal, living hundreds of years beyond the normal lifespan and only slowly aging in appearance; the name evokes the imagery of the exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, the existence of seven such places is mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khembalung. Khembalung is one of several beyuls believed to have been created by Padmasambhava in the 9th century as idyllic, sacred places of refuge for Buddhists during times of strife; the phrase "Shangri-La" most comes from the Tibetan ཞང་,"Shang" – a district of Ü-Tsang, north of Tashilhunpo" + རི, pronounced "ri", "Mountain" = "Shang Mountain" + ལ, Mountain Pass, which suggests that the area is accessed to, or is named by, "Shang Mountain Pass".

Some scholars believe that the Shangri-La story owes a literary debt to Shambhala, a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sought by Eastern and Western explorers. Academic scholars believe they have debunked the myth of Shangri-La and argued that this has less to do with an unexplored place and is more connected to a fantasy of the Western world, but others argue that scholarly blindness doesn't equate to proof. In China, the poet Tao Yuanming of the Jin Dynasty described a kind of Shangri-La in his work The Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring; the story goes that there was a fisherman from Wuling, who came across a beautiful peach grove, he discovered happy and content people who lived cut off from the troubles in the outside world since the Qin Dynasty. Shambhala is a core concept in Tibetan Buddhism that describes a realm of harmony between man and nature, connected with the Kalachakra or "wheel of time"; the Shambhala ideal is described in detail in the Shambhala Sutra, a historical text written by the Sixth Panchen Lama which describes some of the Shambhala locations as being in Ngari, the western prefecture of Tibet.

Folklore from the Altai Mountains describe Belukha Mountain as a gateway to Shambhala. The Kun Lun Mountains offer another possible place for valleys like the Shangri-La, since Hilton described the “Kuen-Lun” mountains as its location in the book, Hilton is not known to have visited or studied the area. Parts of the Kunlun Mountains lie within Ngari, mentioned in the Shambhala Sutra. In a New York Times interview in 1936, Hilton states that he used "Tibetan material" from the British Museum the travelogue of two French priests, Evariste Regis Huc and Joseph Gabet, to provide the Tibetan cultural and Buddhist spiritual inspiration for Shangri-La. Huc and Gabet travelled a round trip between Beijing and Lhasa in 1844–1846 on a route more than 250 kilometres north of Yunnan, their famous travelogue, first published in French in 1850, went through many editions in many languages. A popular "condensed translation" was published in England in 1928, at the time that Hilton would have been gathering inspiration for – or writing – Lost Horizon.

Today various places, such as parts of southern Kham in northwestern Yunnan province, including the tourist destinations of Lijiang and Zhongdian, claim the title. In modern China, Zhongdian county was renamed to attract tourists. Hilton visited the Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan Kashmir, close to the Chinese border, a few years before Lost Horizon was published. Being an isolated green valley surrounded by mountains, enclosed on the western end of the Himalayas, it matches the description in the novel. Places like Sichuan and Tibet lay claim to the real Shangri-La. In 2001, Tibet Autonomous Region put forward a proposal that the three regions optimise all Shangri-La tourism resources and promote them as one. After failed attempts to establish a China Shangri-la Ecological Tourism Zone in 2002 and 2003, government representatives of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet Autonomous Region signed a declaration of co-operation in 2004. In 2001, Zhongdian County in northwestern Yunnan renamed itself Shangri-La County.

American explorers Ted Vaill and Peter Klika visited the Muli area of southern Sichuan Province in 1999, claimed that the Muli monastery in this remote region was the model for James Hilton's Shangri-La, which they thought Hilton learned about from articles on this area in several National Geographic magazines in the late 1920s and early 1930s written by Austrian-American explorer Joseph Rock. Vaill completed a film based on their research, "Finding Shangri-La", which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. However, Michael McRae unearthed an obscure James Hilton interview from a New York Times gossip column in which he reveals that his cultural inspiration for Shangri-La, if it is any place, is more than 250 km north of Muli on the route travelle

Thomas H. McNeil

Thomas H. McNeil was an American football player and lawyer, he was the first University of Michigan football player to be the starting quarterback in consecutive years. He led the Michigan football team to undefeated seasons in 1884 and 1885, he became a lawyer practicing in Missouri. McNeil was born near Burdette, Bates County, Missouri, in 1860. McNeil attended the University of Michigan where he graduated from the Literary Department in 1885 and the Law Department in 1886. While attending Michigan, he was the starting quarterback for the 1884 and 1885 Michigan Wolverines football teams, he was the first player to be Michigan's starting quarterback in consecutive years. During his two years at quarterback, Michigan was undefeated; the 1884 team compiled a 2–0 record and outscored its opponents by a combined score of 36 to 10. The center on the 1884, snapping the ball to McNeil, was Henry Killilea, one of the five men who founded baseball's American League. McNeil led the 1885 team to a 3–0 record, with the team outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 82 to 0.

During the time when McNeil was Michigan's starting quarterback, the forward pass was not permitted and the ball was round, bearing a stronger resemblance to a rugby ball than a modern American football. After graduating from Michigan, McNeil began practicing law at Missouri. In January 1901, McNeil became a lawyer in the Claims Department of the Kansas City Railways Company, a position he held for more than 21 years. In years, he was responsible for making accident reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Public Service Commission of Missouri. At the time of his 21st anniversary with the company, the Railwayan noted: The life of Tom McNeil has been a success because he has possessed the three necessary qualifications -- honest, industry and a vision for the future, his word is as sacred as his signed contract. He is always the first to arrive at his office in the morning and never fails to accomplish a full day's work.... It is too bad that such men as Tom H. McNeil of such sterling worth and integrity cannot live forever.

In addition to his legal career, McNeil was a member and leader in the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization and secret society founded in 1864. He served as the 30th Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias from 1899 to 1900

Sandra Samuel

Sandra Samuel is an Indian-Israeli nanny who saved the life of two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg during the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Samuel saved Holtzberg. Both of Holtzberg's parents were killed in the attack. Samuel now lives in Israel after being granted honorary citizenship in 2010, she still has a relationship with Moshe. Samuel had been living in the Mumbai Chabad House and working for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, since 2003; the Holtzbergs were the Israel-born directors of the house run by the global Orthodox Jewish Chabad movement. Samuel had been the nanny caring for the Holtzbergs' son Moshe since his birth. Samuel stated that she called them "my rabbi" and "my Rivki." When she started working there in 2003, it was expected to be a temporary job but she stated that she was "so captivated by their generous, courageous spirits" that she stayed on. When Moshe was born, she took the role of nanny. In June 2008, her husband, John, a Keralite who worked as a mechanic, died in his sleep of an undiagnosed illness.

She has two sons and Jackson, who were aged 18 and 25 at the time of the attack. She is a Christian. Samuel's family was from Goa but she lived most of her life in Mumbai. On 26 November 2008, as the Mumbai attacks began, a group of attackers entered the Chabad house and began shooting at everyone inside. Samuel locked herself in a laundry room as she heard Rivka screaming, she heard Moshe calling out her name and crying. After emerging from the room and running upstairs, she found Gavriel and Rivka motionless and covered in blood with Moshe crying beside them, his pants drenched in blood. With the attackers still inside, Samuel said she ran from the building; when Indian commando teams stormed the house, it was confirmed that Gavriel and Rivka were among the 173 people killed in the attacks, that Moshe was now an orphan. The Chabad movement's leaders decided Moshe should not stay in India and that he would be relocated to Israel where he has family. However, the movement insisted that Samuel be allowed to come with him, because, as a Chabad spokesperson stated: "At this point she's the only one the boy is responding to."

Although Samuel had no passport, Moshe's grand uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, helped arrange for her to get a visa to come to Israel with Holtzberg to help him start his new life. The Israeli government under Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni granted Samuel a special visa offering immigration status, they left India for Israel shortly after attending Moshe's parents' funeral. On 4 December 2008, Samuel gave an interview with CNN in which she said she sees no heroism in her actions and that she wishes she could have been able to help more people Moshe's parents, she stated that she still has nightmares about the attacks. Samuel is living in Israel where she remains the caregiver for Moshe, who she says is learning to play again although he likes to have her close by. Samuel told an interviewer, "They said. Me, I just take care of the baby." When asked about her plans for the future, Samuel said she would stay in Israel for as long as Moshe needs her. She stated that "No one knows how much he knows.

His back is bruised. Now I want to see that this baby, given in my care, he grows big, brave like his." Samuel says she wants to be with Moshe until he "grows big" and that "By God's grace I hope I am there to see it. That's it. All my blessings to my Moshe baby."Samuel revealed that she was not supposed to be at the Chabad house that evening because she visited one of her sons on Wednesday evenings. She stated that "God kept me there because God knew what would happen."In a subsequent interview, Samuel stated that Moshe Holtzberg is happy again, that he "is like a normal kid, just enjoying himself. He has gotten used to other people surrounding him, he loves it here. He is in good condition, just like normal, he is having his breakfast and snacks and he sleeps well now." She added that he no longer cries out for his parents: "He is not asking for them now because he is too happy. He loves it here, he has swings, a garden, a see-saw."Samuel and Holtzberg stayed with Rabbi Grossman after arriving in Israel.

However, they moved to Afula to live with his maternal grandparents. In early December 2008, fifth-graders at Solomon Schecter Day School in Jericho, New York wrote individual letters to Samuel to thank her for saving Holtzberg's life; the students cited Samuel's heroism based on the Jewish tradition that "one who saves one person saves an entire nation." On 30 November 2008, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, at a special session, unanimously voted to grant Sandra Samuel the Esfira Maiman Women Rescuers Medal in recognition of her bravery. The foundation stated; the first one is that human solidarity is agnostic to religion. The second lesson, not less important, is that rescuers are still much relevant nowadays, as they were more than six decades ago." Samuel was awarded permanent resident status and honorary Israeli citizenship on 13 September 2010. As of 2008, the government of Israel was reported to be considering granting Samuel the title Righteous among the Nations. Real-life hero: When nanny turned saviour A Mumbai miracle turns tragic

Domenico Cirillo

Domenico Maria Leone Cirillo FRS was an Italian physician, entomologist and patriot. Appointed while still young to a botanical professorship, Cirillo went for some years to England, where he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, to France. On his return to Naples he was appointed to the chair of medical practice and afterwards to the chair of theoretical medicine, he had practiced medicine extensively. He was the teacher of the future military doctor Antonio Savaresi. Cirillo's favorite study was botany, he was known as an entomologist by Linnaeus. He wrote many books in Latin and Italian, all of them treatises on scientific subjects; the Virile morali dell ` Asino is a philosophical pamphlet remarkable for both style. He introduced many medical innovations to Naples inoculation against smallpox; as well as several works on hygiene he wrote: Ad botanicas institutiones introduction, Naples, 1771 De essentialibus nonnullarum plantarum characteribus, 1784 Plantarum rariorum regni Neapolitani fasciculus, 1788 – 1793 Entomologiae Neapolitanae Specimen Primum, Naples, 1787 – 1792 With French help the Parthenopean Republic was established in January 1799, causing the monarch and his government to flee to Sicily.

After at first refusing to take part in the new government, Cirillo consented to be chosen as a representative of the people and became a member of the legislative commission, of which he was elected president. By June of the same year, the republic collapsed when the French withdrew and the city was overtaken by Cardinal Ruffo's counter-revolutionary Sanfedista army. Ferdinand IV's army returned to Naples, the republicans withdrew to the forts, ill-armed and with inadequate provisions. After a short siege the Republicans surrendered on what they considered honorable terms: life and liberty being guaranteed them by the signatures of Ruffo, of Foote, of Micheroux; the arrival of Lord Nelson changed the state of affairs, he refused to ratify the capitulation. Secure under the British flag and his wife, Marie Caroline of Austria, showed themselves eager for revenge, Cirillo joined other republicans in fighting back. Cirillo wrote to Emma, Lady Hamilton asking her to intercede on his behalf, but Nelson wrote of the petition: "Domenico Cirillo, the King's physician, might have been saved, but that he chose to play the fool and lie, denying that he had made any speeches against the government, saying that he only took care of the poor in the hospitals".

He was condemned to death, hanged on 29 October 1799. Today Grumo Nevano, his hometown, has name a school after him, erected a statue in the central square of the town, named a library "Biblioteca Comunale Domenico Cirillo"; the state boarding school in Bari and the High School of Aversa in Caserta are named for him

Myrceugenia leptospermoides

Myrceugenia leptospermoides is a species of small evergreen tree or large shrub in the genus Myrceugenia of the family Myrtaceae. It is known as mocollo, murtilla del malo or chequen, it is endemic to central Chile where it is found in riverine habitats in the coastal mountain range at altitudes below 300 metres. Myrceugenia leptospermoides grows to a height of about 3 m; the bark is pale greyish-brown and the small leaves are in opposite pairs. The twigs are densely pubescent when they soon lose their hairs; the leaves are up to 15 mm long and 3 mm broad, oblong or linear with bluntly-pointed tips, with entire margins. They are greyish-green above and yellowish-green below, with a prominent midrib on the underside; the flowers, which grow in the axils of the leaves, have short stems. The calyx lobes are sometimes hairy and the six petals are white. In the centre of the flower there is a boss of a single style; the fruit is a globular berry, ripening to red and purple, about 5 mm in diameter. The flowering period is the fruits ripen in July and August.

Myrceugenia leptospermoides is endemic to the coastal area of Chile. It is found from Ñuble Province southwards to Cautín Province, its typical habitat is in wet or misty locations and it is found growing with other undergrowth shrubs, near rivers and lakes or on damp forested slopes. It occurs at altitudes up to about 300 metres, it is an uncommon species and its conservation status is considered to be "endangered"

Ferdynand Radziwiłł

Ferdynand Fryderyk Radziwiłł was a Polish nobleman and Polish-German politician. He was the son of Countess Leontyna von Clary und Aldringen. Through his paternal grandmother, Princess Louise of Prussia, he was a cousin of Russian and German Emperors. At the time Poland was partitioned, he lived in the German Empire, where he was a member of the German parliament from 1874 to 1919, he was known as an important leader of the Polish minority and opponent of the Germanization and Kulturkampf policies. After Poland regained independence in 1918, he became a Polish citizen and a member of the Polish parliament. Son of: Bogusław Fryderyk Radziwiłł. Father of: Janusz Franciszek Radziwiłł, Michał Radziwiłł Rudy, Karol Ferdynand Radziwiłł, Małgorzata