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Wales national rugby league team

The Wales national rugby league team represents Wales in international rugby league football matches. The team is ranked fourteenth in the RLIF World Rankings; the team was run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League, but an independent body, Wales Rugby League, now runs the team from Cardiff. Three Welsh players have been entered into the Rugby League Hall Of Fame; as with other Welsh national sporting teams, Wales strip has been red. However, in the World Cup campaign in 2000 they wore a shirt featuring the Welsh flag, adding a touch of green and white; the team is known as "The Dragons" and so the teams logo on the shirt is a red dragon. The team date back to 1907, making them the third oldest national side after England and New Zealand, it was a touring New Zealand side that Wales first played against in 1908, winning 9–8 at Aberdare. Since Wales have played England, since 1935 France, as well as welcomed the touring Australia and New Zealand teams, although they toured themselves, not playing a match in the Southern Hemisphere until 1975.

For 26 years Wales competed against their two biggest rivals and France, in the European Nations Cup, winning the trophy four times. Wales has competed in the World Cup on five occasions, the first time being in 1975. In 1995 and 2000 they had their most successful tournaments to date, making the Semi-Finals on both occasions before being beaten by England and Australia respectively. Wales failed to qualify for the 2008 World Cup, being the second highest ranked side not to do so, having lost to Scotland on points difference over two matches, they qualified for the 2013 World Cup but failed to win a game, including losing 32–16 to low ranked Italy in their opening game at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In recent seasons, Wales has taken massive strides under former player Iestyn Harris who had coached Wales to back to back European Cup successes, which culminated in a Four Nations appearance in 2011. In 2014 former England and France coach John Kear became the new head coach after Iestyn Harris left the post to concentrate on his new job as head coach at Salford Red Devils.

On 5 April 1904, England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team, as it was a 12-a-side game, ten of them were Welshmen coming from Northern English clubs. At the turn of the century many Welshmen made the switch from rugby union, wanting to be paid for playing, although the numbers switching were increasing, the Northern Union did not think that a Welsh side would be strong enough for England. After 80 minutes however, the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3; this team carried on for another two years, playing England annually in 1905 and 1906, losing 26–11 and drawing 3–3 respectively. From 1905 to 1910 Rugby League as a sport enjoyed growth, not just in Wales and England, but on the east coast of Australia and in northern New Zealand; when Albert Henry Baskerville's NZ All Golds with their guest Australian star Dally Messenger arrived in Britain for the inaugural tour by a southern hemisphere side, the first full international was against Wales on New Year's Day 1908.

The Welsh rugby league team were contesting their first national fixture, managed to beat the touring Kiwis 9–8 in Aberdare in front of 20,000 spectators. This was the first international match played under new "Northern Union" rules, which would be changed again, but these rules were a small departure from traditional rugby union rules, used in previous international matches; the New Zealand team, or the "All Golds" as they were being called by the New Zealand newspapers, had never played rugby by these rules before but did have a week of preparation and training sessions leading up to the match. With this Welsh victory and large crowd, Wales played their second fixture in Tonypandy, managed to win that match too recording a 35–18 win against what would soon become their main rival, the England Lions. At the end of 1908 Wales played their third and final fixture of the decade, playing England again, but this time in Broughton, Lancashire; this time they lost 31–7. However, in 1909 another victory was to occur for Welsh Rugby League, with a Welsh League XIII made up of players still playing in Wales beating a touring Australian side 14–13 in Merthyr.

In the years before the outbreak of the war, Wales played England. The two national teams played each other every year, including 1914. Due to Rugby League only extensively being played in the two countries in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, touring Australia and New Zealand teams were the only chances to play someone different. Although the two matches against the English played in Wales were played in Ebbw Vale in Monmouthshire, the Welsh travelled around England for away matches, playing in Coventry, Plymouth and St. Helens. Collectively those seven matches in Wales and England produced six defeats for the Welsh team, although there were signs of improvement, in the last match in St Helens the Dragons narrowly lost by just four points, the match ending 16–12. On the 7 October 1911 Wales played Australia for the first time; the match, held at Ebbw Vale again, drew 7,000 people to watch Wales go down 20–28. The match was significant though because throughout the next few decades Australia would play the Dragons in Wales whenever they toured Great Britain.

During and after the First World War many sports suffered, rugby league in Wales was no exception, the team didn't play a match again until 1921. After a seven-year hiatus Wales once again played England and continue

Ramadan Offensive (2003)

The Ramadan Offensive was a series of insurgent attacks against Coalition and Iraqi military targets from the end of October and during much of November 2003. The attacks are called the Ramadan Offensive because they were conducted during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan; the number of insurgent attacks increased during this period because of the belief among the insurgent forces that fighting a foreign occupation force during Islam's holy month puts a believer close to God. On the morning of October 26, 2003, the first day of Ramadan, suicide bombers drove 5 carloads of explosives into 5 buildings, the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross and four Iraqi police stations, as the insurgent offensive began; that morning in the early hours in Baghdad insurgents fired an improvised multiple-tube launcher mounted in a trailer, made up to look like a mobile generator, about 400 meters from the al-Rashid Hotel. Where, at the time, U. S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.

Eight to ten rockets hit the hotel killing one U. S. wounding 15 people, including seven American civilians and four soldiers. Several more rockets were missed their target. Wolfowitz was on the 12th floor of the hotel, which houses U. S. and coalition officials in Baghdad, on the side of the hotel that came under attack. The rockets reached only as high as the 11th floor. At the start of the offensive on October 27, 2003 insurgents staged a coordinated suicide attack targeting the Red Cross compound, four Iraqi police stations in Baghdad; the bombings all occurred within about 45 minutes of each other. Four suicide bombers died but the fifth, a Syrian, who attempted to blow up the fourth police station failed after the man's car failed to explode, he was arrested. The attacks killed 35 people, as well as injuring 244. Among the dead were 2 U. S. soldiers. On November 12, 2003 a suicide bomber in a tanker truck attacked the Italian military police headquarters in Nasiriyah destroying it and killing 28 people, including 17 Italian soldiers and 2 Italian civilians.

The attack was the worst incident involving Italian soldiers since Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and the highest loss of Italian soldiers since World War II. The attack thus plunged it into a three-day mourning period; the soldiers were given a state funeral. During this time, a number of U. S. military helicopters were shot down resulting in a large number of casualties inflicted on the U. S. forces. Three UH-60 Black Hawks and one CH-47D Chinook were downed, killing 39 soldiers and wounding 31. Two of the helicopters were downed using Strela missile launchers that most ended up in the hands of the insurgents via the black market. A day before the start of the offensive, on 25 October 2003 another UH-60 Black Hawk was shot down, wounding 5 soldiers. Many people compared the Ramadan Offensive with the Tet Offensive of 1968 in the Vietnam war; some said that the similarities to Tet were chilling. In 1968, the attacks came at the onset of the Vietnamese New Year, a holiday that American command believed would herald a temporary quieting of the violence.

In Iraq, these attacks came at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The American command in Baghdad believed the holiday would bring a slacking of the attacks, plaguing American forces; this assumption ran so strong that the Baghdad curfew was lifted by American forces. The most pointed similarity was clear: These attacks were meant to cause a political reaction

Southern Highland Group

The Southern Highland Group is a sequence of metamorphosed Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks that outcrop across the Central Highlands of Scotland, east of the Great Glen. It is divided into two formations. Volcanism is recorded by the Loch Avich Lavas Formation which divides the Loch Avich Grits Formation into lower and upper parts – the grits are turbidite and submarine fan deposits. In Perthshire and on Deeside, the Leny Limestone, dated to 514 Ma, is present. A tillite, the Macduff Boulder Bed is known from the upper part of the group in northeast Scotland