Smooth newt

The smooth newt known as the common newt is a species of amphibian, the most common newt of the genus Lissotriton. It is found throughout Europe, except the far north, areas of Southern France and the Iberian Peninsula. Outside the breeding season and female smooth newts are hard to distinguish – both sexes are of similar size, a similar pale brown to yellow colouration, their main visible differences are two – the male newt has a single black line running down the centre of the spine, the female has two parallel lines on either side of the centre. On closer inspection, the male's cloaca is distended, whilst the female's is nearly invisible. During the breeding season, the male becomes darker than the female, develops a tall, translucent crest along the spine and tail, with dark spots covering the rest of the body, including the belly, which becomes a far more vivid pink or orange colour than it is in winter and autumn; the female develops spots, but not on the belly, paler than those of the males, they are smaller.

The female does not develop a crest. Smooth newts have paddle-like tails for increased swimming speeds; the nominal subspecies, L. v. vulgaris, is found in Great Ireland. Females and nonbreeding males are pale brown or olive green with two darker stripes on the back. Both sexes have orange bellies, although paler in females, covered in rounded black spots, they have pale throats with conspicuous spots. This helps to distinguish them from palmate newts that have pale unspotted throats, with which they are confused; when on land, they have velvety skin. During the breeding season, male smooth newts develop a continuous wavy crest that runs from their heads to their tails, their spotted markings become more apparent, they are distinguishable from females by their fringed toes. The smooth newt occurs in most of Europe, it is not present in southern France, in southern Italy and the Iberian Peninsula, is not found on many Mediterranean islands. It is a lowland species, ranging up to about 1,000 metres but reaches 2,150 metres in Austria.

It is found in damp meadows, field edges, gardens and stone piles. While the smooth newt occurs exclusively in the northern hemisphere, scientists have documented the first instance of a newt species establishing in the wild in Australia, the first invasive population of this species in the southern hemisphere. See "An invasive species in Australia" for more information. Adult smooth newts emerge from hibernation on land from late February to May, head towards fresh water to breed, they favour shallow lakesides over running water. At this time, both sexes become more strikingly and colourfully marked, with vivid spots and orange bellies; the male develops a wavy crest along the back and tail – the sexes are different during the breeding season. During courtship, the male newt displays for his prospective mate by vibrating his tail in front of her in a distinctive fashion; the male deposits a sperm-containing capsule, a spermatophore, in front of his mate, who manoeuvres herself into a position where she can pick up the capsule with her cloaca – fertilisation occurring inside the female.

Thus fertilised, after a few days the female starts to lay eggs. These are placed individually under aquatic plant leaves at a rate of 7 to 12 eggs per day. Altogether, a total of 400 eggs may be produced over the season. After two to three weeks, the eggs hatch to a larval form -- eft. For a few days, the larvae live off the food reserves contained within their yolk sacs. After this, they start to eat freshwater plankton, insect larvae and similar foods; the newt larvae look like small fish fry, but they become similar to miniature adults, but with "feathery" external gills emerging from behind the head on either side. As the tadpoles mature, they develop legs, the growth and use of their lungs is matched by a gradual shrinkage of the gills. Thus, the larva shifts from being aquatic to possessing a body suitable for a terrestrial existence, the young newt leaving the water after 10 weeks. However, some may overwinter in only emerging from the water the following year. Smooth newts take around three years to become sexually mature, on average living for six years.

Most adult and juvenile newts hibernate over winter in moist, sheltered areas above ground, emerging in the spring. Female mate choice is an important concept in evolutionary biology because it bears on female and male reproductive success. Experiments were carried out with Lissotriton vulgaris in which female newts were paired sequentially with two males having different degrees of genetic relatedness to the female, it was found that the more genetically dissimilar male had a higher paternity share than the more related male. Female choice may reflect an avoidance of inbreeding with related males that could lead to less fit progeny; the newt was first detected in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011. Four additional sites were found in and around Melbourne in 2012, another two sites were identified in 2013. In 2016, the newt was found at another new site, at least one previous site. Although the full extent of establishment is not known, some of the sites where newts have been detected are quite far apart – up to five kilometres from the origin

Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in Bourges, France. The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Bourges, it is in the Romanesque architectural styles. The site occupied by the present cathedral, in what was once the northeastern corner of the Gallo-Roman walled city, has been the site of the city's main church at least since Carolingian times and since the foundation of the bishopric in the 3rd century; the present Cathedral was built as a replacement for a mid-11th-century structure, traces of which survive in the crypt. The date when construction began is unknown, although a document of 1195 recording expenditure on rebuilding works suggests that construction was underway by that date; the fact that the east end protrudes beyond the line of the Gallo-Roman walls and that royal permission to demolish those walls was only granted in 1183 shows that work on the foundations cannot have started before that date. The main phase of construction is therefore contemporaneous with Chartres Cathedral, some 200 kilometres to the northwest.

As with most Early- and High-Gothic cathedrals, the identity of the architect or master-mason is unknown. The choir was in use by 1214 and the nave was finished by 1255; the building was consecrated in 1324. Most of the west façade was finished by 1270, though work on the towers proceeded more partly due to the unfavourable rock strata beneath the site. Structural problems with the South tower led to the building of the adjoining buttress tower in the mid-14th century; the North tower was completed around the end of the 15th century but collapsed in 1506, destroying the Northern portion of the façade in the process. The North tower and its portal were subsequently rebuilt in a more contemporary style. Important figures in the life of the cathedral during the 13th century include William of Donjeon, Archbishop from 1200 until his death in 1209 as well as his nephew, Philip Berruyer, who oversaw the stages of construction. Following the destruction of much of the Ducal Palace and its chapel during the revolution, the tomb effigy of Duke Jean de Berry was relocated to the Cathedral's crypt, along with some stained glass panels showing standing prophets, which were designed for the chapel by André Beauneveu.

The cathedral suffered far less than some of its peers during the French Wars of Religion and in the Revolution. Its location meant it was relatively safe from the ravages of both World Wars; the cathedral was added to the list of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992. Bourges Cathedral covers a surface of 5,900 square metres; the cathedral's nave is 15 metres wide by 37 metres high. The use of flying buttresses was employed to help the structure of the building. However, since this was a new technique, one can see the walls were still made quite thick to take the force. Sexpartite vaults are used to span the nave. Bourges Cathedral is notable for the simplicity of its plan, which did without transepts but which adopted the double-aisled design found in earlier high-status churches such as the Early-Christian basilica of St Peter's in Rome or in Notre Dame de Paris; the double aisles continue without interruption beyond the position of the screen to form a double ambulatory around the choir.

The inner aisle has a higher vault than the outer one, while both the central nave and the inner aisle have similar three-part elevations with arcade and clerestory windows. This design, with its distinctive triangular cross section, was subsequently copied at Toledo Cathedral and in the choir at Le Mans; the flying buttresses surrounding the cathedral are slender and efficient compared to the contemporary but much heavier flyers at Chartres. Their steep angle helps to channel the thrust from the nave vaults and the wind loading on the roof to the outer buttress piers more effectively; the west façade is on a grand scale when compared to earlier cathedrals. The four side aisles and central nave each have their own portal reflecting the scale of the spaces beyond; as is the case with Gothic churches, the central portal carries sculpted scenes related to the Last Judgement, whilst the south portals are dedicated to the lives of saints - here St Ursinus and St Stephen. The north portals were destroyed when the tower collapsed but surviving fragments indicate that their sculptural programmes were dedicated to the life and death of the Virgin.

Unifying all five portals is a dado screen of gabled niches which stretches the whole width of the façade. The spandrels between these niches feature an extended Genesis cycle which would have told the story from the beginning of Creation to God's Covenant with Noah. Romanesque carved portals from about 1160-70 intended for the façade of the earlier cathedral, have been reused on the south and north doors, their profuse ornamentation is reminiscent of Burgundian work. The astronomical clock of Bourges Cathedral was first installed in November 1424, during the reign of Charles VII, when the royal court was based in Bourges, for the occasion of the baptism of his son the Dauphin. Designed by the

Timeline of Batumi

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Batumi, Georgia. 1873 – Batumi is the main city of Lazistan sanjak. 1870s – The construction of the sea port was finished and the expansion of Batumi began. 1877-1878 – During the Russo-Turkish War Batumi was defended by a 25,000 Ottoman army under Dervish-Pasha as well as the Ottoman warships cruising off the Black Sea coastline. 1878 March 3. August: Population: 2,000. August 25: under the guidance of General Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirsky Russian army entered Batumi and at the ceremony of reception – accompany on so called "Azizie square" accepted city key from Devrish Pasha. Following the Treaty of Berlin Batumi was declared a free port and maintained this status until 1886. Under the Russian oppression of Islam, thousands of Muslim Georgians and Laz people flet to the Ottoman Empire. 1881 – The famous Prussian gardener and landscape architect Ressler began the construction of Batumi Boulevard. 1882 – Population: 8,671. 1883 June 12.

Ressler passed away and Michael D'alfons, a French architect replaced him. Completed construction of Baku-Batumi railway system. 1884 – Completed construction of Batumi Boulevard. 1886 "Porto-Franco" was abolished. Batumi Mosque was commissioned by the family of Aslan Beg Khimshiashvili, a Muslim Georgian nobleman. 1888 April 28: Batum was granted the city status and the right to elect the city council. September 2: The first election was held. Gavronsky elected the first mayor of Batum. 1889 – Population: 12,000. 1892 June 22. 1895 January 25: Prince Luka Asatiani, former mayor of Kutaisi, was elected a mayor of Batum. Boys' gymnasium was built. 1897 Reconstruction of the Batumi port. Population: 28,508 1900s, Batumi became a focus of Social Democratic agitation. 1901 – Stalin arrived in Batumi, setting up base in Ali, the Persian tavern. 1902 Batumi City Hall was constructed. Population: 16,000, with 1,000 of them oil refinery workers. January 1: Stalin made a speech to 30 party members shouting "We mustn't fear death!

The sun is rising. Let's sacrifice our lives!" January 4: Stalin set the refinery on fire, the workers put it out meaning they are due a bonus, refused. Stalin called a strike. February 17: the strikers win a 30% pay increase. February 26: 389 radical workers are sacked. Stalin calls a second strike. March: mass strike at the Rothschild oil refinery. March 7: strike leaders arrested. March 8: Stalin leads demonstrations outside the police station demanding their release; the prisoners are moved to a transit prison. Governor general Smagin agrees to meet the demonstrators. March 10: A mob tries to storm the prison but a renegade tips off the Cossacks and troops who fire on them though some prisoners escape; the events culminated in rioting. The clashes with police left 15 dead, 54 wounded, 500 in prison. March 12: the dead workers are buried triggering a 7,000 strong demonstration surrounded by Cossacks and gendarmes who ban songs and speeches. 1903 – Batumi oblast was separated from Kutais Governorate.

1904 – The Batumi Synagogue was built, 1906 Construction of the Baku-Batumi pipeline completed. Batumi became an important sea terminal along the Black Sea littoral. 1910 – the Russian authorities decided to dismantle the Mikhailovsky naval fortress at Batumi. 1912-1913 – a gunboat was stationed permanently to keep a check on arms smuggling. 1914 – Although the project to dismantle the Batum fortifications had not been completed by the beginning of World War I. 7 and 10 December: the port still remained vulnerable to the powerful Ottoman-German vessels SMS Breslau and Goeben, which shelled Batum, without much effect. 1915: the Batumi Naval Detachment was established to support the Russian ground operations against Trabzon. 1917: after the February revolution, Evgeny Krinitsky, was nominated as a commissar of Batumi district, keeping the stability during this period. 1918 12 February: Ottoman Empire occupied Batumi. 3 March: Soviet Russia granted the Muslim population of Batumi and Ardahan the right of self-determination under the Ottoman suzerainty.

14 March-5 April: The Transcaucasian delegation attempted to reverse the clause on the Trabzon conference, but failed to achieve any results. 14 April: the Ottoman army annexed Batum. 4 June: Treaty of Batum 1919 January 12. Britain created the Batumi council under the presidency of the Russian cadet Pyotr Maslov. 14 April 1919: the governor disbanded the council and left the city. The Committee of the Liberation of Muslim Georgia, led by Memed Abashidze and Haidar Abashidze, had spoken of the establishment of autonomy on religious principles within the borders of Georgia. August 15. September 13. 1920: July. 1921 March 11: Following the Soviet invasion of Georgia Turkish forces occupied Batumi. March 16: Turkish authorities proclaimed the annexation of Batumi March 18: the city was recovered by Georgian troops under General Giorgi Mazniashvili, who ceded its control to the arriving Soviets. March 19: The Soviet rule in Batumi was declared. July 16: the Soviet Union established the Adjarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Repub