Jule Verne

imageBest known for writing the novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873),and sometimes referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction”, French Science Fiction Author Jules Gabriel Verne sadly passed away on 24th March 1905. Born February 8, 1828 in Nantes France, he attended the lycée and after completing his studies he went to Paris to study law. Around 1848, he wrote five libretti for operettas with Michel Carré, for his friend the composer Aristide Hignard, who also set Verne’s poems as chansons. For some years, he divided his attentions between the theater and work. However, some travelers’ stories he wrote for the Musée des familles revealed his true talent: describing delightfully extravagant voyages and adventures with cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details that lent an air of credibility.

 

imageWhen Verne’s father discovered that his son was writing rather than studying law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Verne was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated despite being somewhat successful at it. During this period, he also met Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, who offered him writing advice. Verne’s situation improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the more important French publishers of the 19th century, who also published Victor Hugo, George Sand, and Erckmann-Chatrian, among others. They formed an excellent writer-publisher team until Hetzel’s death. Hetzel helped improve Verne’s writings, which until then had been repeatedly rejected by other publishers. Hetzel read a draft of a Verne story about balloon exploration of Africa; the story had been rejected by other publishers for being “too scientific”. With Hetzel’s help, Verne rewrote the story, which was published in 1863 in book form as Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). Acting on Hetzel’s advice, Verne added comical accents to his novels, changed sad endings into happy ones, and toned down various political messages and was able to make the science fiction genre successful in Europe

jv-j2coeFrom that point, Verne published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these are: Voyage au centre de la Terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. The series is collectively known as the Voyages Extraordinaires (“extraordinary voyages”). Verne could now live on his writings. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1874) and Michel Strogoff (1876), Many of his novels involve elements of technology that were fantastic for the day but later became commonplace. He is the second most translated author in the world (after Agatha Christie). Many of his novels have also been adapted into many films, animations and television shows. Verne is often referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction”, a title he sometimes shares with Hugo Gernsback and H. G. Wells.

World Tuburculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day occurs yearly on March24 to commemorate the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing to a small group of scientists at the University of Berlin’s Institute of Hygiene that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.According to Koch’s colleague, Paul Ehrlich, “At this memorable session, Koch appeared before the public with an announcement which marked a turning-point in the story of a virulent human infectious disease. In clear, simple words Koch explained the aetiology of tuberculosis with convincing force, presenting many of his microscope slides and other pieces of evidence.”At the time of Koch’s announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch’s discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis

World Tuberculosis Day is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. Today tuberculosis causes the deaths of about 1.7 million people each year, mostly in the Third World. in 1982, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Robert Koch’s presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that March 24 be proclaimed an official World TB Day. This was part of a year-long centennial effort by the IUATLD and the World Health Organization (WHO) under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever.”World TB Day was not officially recognized as an annual occurrence by WHO’s World Health Assembly and the United Nations until over a decade later. In the fall of 1995, WHO and the Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV) hosted the first World TB Day advocacy planning meeting in Den Haag, Netherlands; an event they would continue co-sponsor over the next few years.

in 1996, WHO, KNCV, the IUATLD and other concerned organizations joined to conduct a wide range of World TB Day activities. For World TB Day 1997, WHO held a news conference in Berlin during which WHO Director-General Hiroshi Nakajima declared that “DOTS is the biggest health breakthrough of this decade, according to lives we will be able to save.”WHO’s Global TB Programme Director, Dr. Arata Kochi, promised that, “Today the situation of the global TB epidemic is about to change, because we have made a breakthrough. It is the breakthrough of health management systems that makes it possible to control TB not only in wealthy countries, but in all parts of the developing world, where 95 percent of all TB cases now exist.”By 1998, nearly 200 organizations conducted public outreach activities on World TB Day.

During the World TB Day 1998 news conference in London, WHO for the first time identified the top twenty-two countries with the world’s highest TB rates. The next year, over 60 key TB advocates from 18 countries attended the three-day WHO/KNCV planning meeting for World TB Day 1999. U.S. President Bill Clinton marked World TB Day 2000 by administering the WHO-recommended DOTS treatment to patients at the Mahavir Hospital in Hyderabad, India.Today the Stop TB Partnership, a network of organizations and countries fighting TB (the IUATLD is a member and WHO houses the Stop TB Partnership secretariat in Geneva), organizes the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, and is a Christian feast or holy day on the Thursday before Easter which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday.

It is followed by the Easter Triduum of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday which commemorate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of JesusThe Maundy Thursday celebrations in the United Kingdom today involve the Monarch (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) offering “alms”, to deserving senior citizens (one man and one woman for each year of the sovereign’s age). These coins are known as Maundy money or Royal Maundy and are distributed in red and white purses. This custom dates back to King Edward I. The red purse contains regular currency and is given in place of food and clothing. The white purse contains currency in the amount of one penny for each year of the Sovereign’s age.