Waterloo Day

June 18 marks the Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the Netherlands. During the Battle of Waterloo the French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. Many states opposed Napoleon, who returned to power in March 1815, and formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilize armies. Two large forces under Wellington and Blücher assembled close to the north-eastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the coalition.

Two days before the battle, Blücher’s Prussian army had been defeated by the French at Ligny. Wellington decided to offer battle upon learning that the Prussian army had regrouped and was able to march to his support. Wellington’s army, positioned across the Brussels road on the Mont-Saint-Jean escarpment, withstood repeated attacks by the French, until, in the evening, the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon’s right flank. At that moment, Wellington’s Anglo-allied army counter-attacked and drove the French army in disorder from the field. Pursuing coalition forces entered France and restored King Louis XVIII to the French throne.

After the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon abdicated, eventually surrendering to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon, part of the British blockade, the defeat ended Napoleon’s rule as Emperor of the French, and marked the end of his Hundred Days return from exile on Elba and he was exiled again, this time to Saint Helena where he died in 1821. The battlefield is located in the municipalities of Braine-l’Alleud and Lasne, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Brussels, and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the town of Waterloo. The site of the battlefield today is dominated by a large monument, the Lion’s Mound. As this mound was constructed from earth taken from the battlefield itself, the contemporary topography of the battlefield near the mound has not been preserved. 1815. It is remembered and celebrated each year by certain regiments of the British Army,in the same way that the Royal Navy celebrates Trafalgar Day (21 October).

Sir Paul McCartney MBE, HON RAM, FRCM

English musician, singer-songwriter and composer Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM was born 18th June 1942. He gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles With John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Star, and formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century with Lennon.The Beatles were formed when, At the age of fifteen, McCartney met Lennon and his skiffle band, the Quarrymen in 1957 andjoined the group soon thereafter, and formed a close working relationship with Lennon. Harrison joined in 1958 as lead guitarist, followed in 1960 by Lennon’s art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. By May 1960 they had tried several new names, including “Johnny and the Moondogs” and “the Silver Beetles”, They changed their name to”the Beatles” in mid-August 1960, and drummer Pete Best was recruited prior to the first of what would be five engagements in Hamburg, Germany.

The recording brought them to the attention of Brian Epstein, who became their manager in January 1962. Epstein negotiated a record contract for the group with Parlophone that May. After replacing Best with Ringo Starr in August, and releasing their first hit; “Love Me Do” in October, they became increasingly popular in the UK during 1963 and in the US in 1964. Their fans’ frenzied adulation became known as “Beatlemania”; during which McCartney was dubbed the cute Beatle. His contributions to the band’s early hits include: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963); co-written with Lennon, “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964) and “We Can Work It Out” (1965); co-written with Lennon. In 1965 the Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and they recorded the McCartney composition “Yesterday”, featuring a string quartet. It was the group’s first recorded use of classical music elements in their music and their first recording that did not include more than one band member.

McCartney also composed 1966 Beatles’ hits “Paperback Writer” as “a satire of pop ambition” and “Eleanor Rigby”, which included a string octet. Between 1962 and 1970 the group released twenty-two UK singles and twelve LPs, of which seventeen of the singles and eleven of the LPs became number ones. The band topped the US Billboard Hot 100 twenty times, and recorded fourteen number one albums as Lennon and McCartney became one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century Before their break-up in 1970 they produced what some critics consider to be their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road McCartney was the primary writer of five of their last six US number one singles: “Hello, Goodbye”, “Hey Jude”, which was the band’s most successful single ever, “Get Back”, “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road”.

After the break -up of The Beates in 1970 McCartney continued his musical career, releasing his first solo album, McCartney, which contained the stand-out track “Maybe I’m Amazed”, written for Linda Eastman. With the exception of some vocal contributions from her, it is a self-performed album, Paul providing all the instrumentation himself. In 1971 Paul collaborated with Linda on a second album, Ram, a UK number one which included the co-written US number one hit single, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”. Later that year, the pair were joined by ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell to form the group Wings, and release their first album together, Wild Life.In March 1973 Wings’ achieved their first US number one, “My Love”, included on their second LP, Red Rose Speedway, in 1973 McCartney’s collaboration with Linda and former Beatles producer George Martin resulted in the James Bond theme song and Wings hit, “Live and Let Die”. The song was nominated for an Oscar, and it earned Martin a Grammy for his orchestral arrangement.

In 1974 Wings achieved a second US number one, “Band on the Run”; the acclaimed album of the same name, their third, was a massive success that became Wings’ first platinum LP. They followed with the chart topping albums, Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound. in November, the Wings song “Mull of Kintyre”, co-written with Laine, was fast becoming one of the best-selling singles in UK chart history. The track became The most successful single of his solo career. Wings completed their final concert tour together in 1979. Active through 1981 Wings produced seven studio albums, five of which topped the US charts, as well as their live triple LP, Wings over America, one of few live albums ever to achieve the top spot in America. They also recorded six US number one singles including, “Listen to What the Man Said”, “Silly Love Songs, “With a Little Luck”, and “Coming Up”. Wings was formally disbanded in 1981,

Since then McCartney has had a prolific solo career and has been described by Guinness World Records as the “most successful composer and recording artist of all time”, with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles, and “the most successful songwriter” in UK chart history. His Beatles song “Yesterday” has been covered by over 2,200 artists—more than any other song in the history of recorded music. Wings’ 1977 release “Mull of Kintyre”, co-written with Laine, was one of the best-selling singles ever in the UK. He has written or co-written thirty-two songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and as of 2012 he has sold over 15.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States.

McCartney has composed film scores, classical and electronic music and has released a large catalogue of songs as a solo artist. He has taken part in projects to help international charities, been an advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism and music education, campaigned against landmines and seal hunting and supported efforts such as Make Poverty History. His company MPL Communications owns the copyrights to more than 25,000 songs, including those written by Buddy Holly, as well as the publishing rights to the musicals Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line and Grease. He is one of the UK’s wealthiest people, with an estimated fortune of £475 million in 2010.He has been married three times, and married his third wife Lady Nancy Shevell on Sunday 9th October 2011, and is the father of five children. McCartney also performed “Magical Mystery Tour”,”All My Loving” and “Let is Be” followed by a stirring version of “Live and Let Die” accompanied by some impressive pyrotechnics and “Oh-Bla-Di” at Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Concert and also played at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. McCartney’s latest album, Pure McCartney was released June 2016 and is an enormous career spanning retrospective from the 1970’s to the present day.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed annually on June 17. It’s purpose is to highlight ways to prevent desertification and recover from drought. It was proclaimed on January 30, 1995 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution. Each annual celebration has a different theme such as Attainment of food security for all through sustainable food systems, Conserving land and energy, Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture, Desertification and Climate Change,The Beauty of Deserts – The Challenge of Desertification, Women and Desertification, Social Dimensions of Desertification: Migration and Poverty, International Year of Deserts and Desertification (IYDD)

Desertification is defined as “the process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought or improper/inappropriate agriculture” and “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.” The world’s most noted deserts have been formed by natural processes interacting over long intervals of time. During most of these times, deserts have grown and shrunk independent of human activities. Paleodeserts are large sand seas now inactive because they are stabilized by vegetation, some extending beyond the present margins of core deserts, such as the Sahara, the largest hot desert. Desertification has played a significant role in human history, contributing to the collapse of several large empires, such as Carthage, Greece, and the Roman Empire, as well as causing displacement of local populations.Historical evidence shows that the serious and extensive land deterioration occurring several centuries ago in arid regions had three epicenters: the Mediterranean, the Mesopotamian Valley, and the loessial plateau of China, where population was dense (some of the population in England are really dense too).

Drylands occupy approximately 40–41% of Earth’s land area and are home to more than 2 billion people. It has been estimated that some 10–20% of drylands are already degraded, the total area affected by desertification being between 6 and 12 million square kilometres, that about 1–6% of the inhabitants of drylands live in desertified areas, and that a billion people are under threat from further desertification. As desertification takes place, the landscape may progress through different stages and continuously transform in appearance. On gradually sloped terrain, desertification can create increasingly larger empty spaces over a large strip of land, a phenomenon known as “Brousse tigrée”. A mathematical model of this phenomenon proposed by C. Klausmeier attributes this patterning to dynamics in plant-water interaction.One outcome of this observation suggests an optimal planting strategy for agriculture in arid environments.

Desertification can be caused by a number of factors including man made overgrazing of a particular area by cattle and Overgrazing of drylands by poorly managed traditional herding is one of the primary causes of desertification. Wildebeest in Masai Mara during the Great Migration. Overgrazing is not caused by nomadic grazers in huge populations of travel herds, nor by holistic planned grazing.The immediate cause is the loss of most vegetation. This is driven by a number of factors, alone or in combination, such as drought, climatic shifts, hi tillage for agriculture, overgrazing and deforestation for fuel or construction materials. Vegetation plays a major role in determining the biological composition of the soil. Studies have shown that, in many environments, the rate of erosion and runoff decreases exponentially with increased vegetation cover. Unprotected, dry soil surfaces blow away with the wind or are washed away by flash floods, leaving infertile lower soil layers that bake in the sun and become an unproductive hardpan.

At least 90% of the inhabitants of drylands live in developing nations, where they also suffer from poor economic and social conditions exacerbated by land degradation because of the reduction in productivity, the precariousness of living conditions and the difficulty of access to resources and opportunities. This creates a downward spiral in many underdeveloped countries by overgrazing, land exhaustion and overdrafting of groundwater in many of the marginally productive world regions due to overpopulation pressures to exploit marginal drylands for farming. Decision-makers are understandably averse to invest in arid zones with low potential. This absence of investment contributes to the marginalisation of these zones. When unfavourable agro-climatic conditions are combined with an absence of infrastructure and access to markets, as well as poorly adapted production techniques and an underfed and undereducated population, most such zones are excluded from development.Desertification often causes rural lands to become unable to support the same sized populations that previously lived there. This results in mass migrations out of rural areas and into urban areas, particularly in Africa. These migrations into the cities often cause large numbers of unemployed people, who end up living in slums.

There are many different types of deserts, and many different types of desert reclamation countermeasures and methodologies. An example for this is the salt-flats in the Rub’ al Khali desert in Saudi-Arabia. These salt-flats are one of the most promising desert areas for seawater agriculture and could be revitalized without the use of freshwater or much energy. Anti-sand shields and Jojoba plantations, have also played a role in combating edge effects of desertification and Techniques exist for mitigating or reversing the effects of desertification; however, there are numerous barriers to their implementation. One of these is that the costs of adopting sustainable agricultural practices sometimes exceed the benefits for individual farmers, Desertification is recognized as a major threat to biodiversity. Some countries have developed Biodiversity Action Plans to counter its effects, particularly in relation to the protection of endangered flora and fauna.

Reforestation gets at one of the root causes of desertification and is not just a treatment of the symptoms. Environmental organizations work in places where deforestation and desertification are contributing to extreme poverty. There they focus primarily on educating the local population about the dangers of deforestation and sometimes employ them to grow seedlings, which they transfer to severely deforested areas during the rainy season. In 2012 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched the FAO Drylands Restoration Initiative to draw together knowledge and experience on dryland restoration. In 2015, FAO published global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands, in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency.

Techniques focus on two aspects: provisioning of water, and fixation and hyper-fertilizing soil. Fixating the soil is often done through the use of shelter belts, woodlots and windbreaks. Windbreaks are made from trees and bushes and are used to reduce soil erosion and evapotranspiration. They were widely encouraged by development agencies from the middle of the 1980s in the Sahel area of Africa. Some soils (for example, clay), due to lack of water can become consolidated rather than porous (as in the case of sandy soils). Some techniques as zaï or tillage are then used to still allow the planting of crops.

Another technique that is useful is contour trenching. This involves the digging of 150m long, 1m deep trenches in the soil. The trenches are made parallel to the height lines of the landscape, preventing the water from flowing within the trenches and causing erosion. Stone walls are placed around the trenches to prevent the trenches from closing up again. The method was invented by Peter Westerveld.Enriching of the soil and restoration of its fertility is often done by plants. Of these, the Leguminous plants which extract nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil, and food crops/trees as grains, barley, beans and dates are the most important. Sand fences can also be used to control drifting of soil and sand erosion.

The Bel-Air Research Center is also experimenting with the inoculation of tree species with Mycorrhiza in arid zones. The mycorrhiza are basically fungi attaching themselves to the roots of the plants. They hereby create a symbiotic relation with the trees, increasing the surface area of the tree’s roots greatly (allowing the tree to gather much more nutrients from the soil). An example of a promosing setup is Jujube combined with Glomus aggregatum. Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is another technique that has produced successful results for desert reclamation. The Humbo Assisted Regeneration Project which uses FMNR techniques in Ethiopia has received money from The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, which supports projects that sequester or conserve carbon in forests or agricultural ecosystems.

Managed grazing methods are argued to be able to restore grasslands, thereby decreasing atmospheric CO2 levels as Restoring grasslands store CO2 from the air into plant material. Grazing livestock, usually not left to wander, would eat the grass and would minimize any grass growth while grass left alone would eventually grow to cover its own growing buds, preventing them from photosynthesizing and killing the plant. A method proposed to restore grasslands uses fences with many small paddocks and moving herds from one paddock to another after a day or two in order to mimick natural grazers and allowing the grass to grow optimally. while large herds are often blamed for desertification, prehistoric lands used to support large or larger herds and areas where herds were removed in the United States are still desertifying.

Barry Manilow

American singer-songwriter and producer Barry Manilow was orn June 17, 1943. He is best known for such recordings as “Mandy”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, and “Copacabana (At the Copa)”.In 1978, five of his albums were on the best-seller charts simultaneously, a feat equalled only by Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Mathis. He has recorded a string of Billboard hit singles and multi-platinum albums that have resulted in his being named Radio & Records’ No. 1 adult contemporary artist and winning three straight American Music Awards for favorite pop/rock male artist.

Between 1974 and 1983 Manilow had three No. 1 singles and 25 that reached the top 40. Several well-known entertainers have praised Manilow, including Sinatra, who was quoted in the 1970s saying, “He’s next.” In 1988, Bob Dylan stopped Manilow at a party, hugged him and said, “Don’t stop what you’re doing, man. We’re all inspired by you.” As well as producing and arranging albums for other artists, including Bette Midler andDionne Warwick, Manilow has written songs for musicals, films, and commercials. From February 2005 to Dec. 30, 2009, he was the headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton, performing hundreds of shows before ending his relationship with the hotel. Since March 2010, he has headlined at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. He has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.