Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Joy Of Civilization: Master Drawings At The National Gallery Of Art, Washington, D.C., Through October 1, 2006

Sandro Botticelli

Florentine, 1446 - 1510
Head of a Youth Wearing a Cap; a Right Forearm with the Hand Clutching a Stone; and a Left Hand Holding a Drapery, 1480/1485
metalpoint heightened with white gouache on mauve-prepared paper, 28.7 x 20.1 cm (11 5/16 x 7 15/16 in.)
Woodner Collection, Patrons' Permanent Fund

Master Drawings from the Woodner Collections
April 30–October 1, 2006
West Building, Central Gallery

Overview: Ian Woodner (1903–1990) formed one of the foremost private collections of old master and modern drawings in the United States. The core drawings of the collection were placed at the National Gallery of Art by Woodner's daughters in 1991, in honor of their father's achievement as a collector. This exhibition celebrates the 15th anniversary of the arrival of the Woodner drawings at the National Gallery and honors the ongoing generosity of Dian and Andrea Woodner, who have already donated many of the core drawings and have augmented the collection with additional gifts. Spanning more than five centuries of European draftsmanship, the show includes outstanding works by such great artists as Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Francisco de Goya, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Edgar Degas, and Pablo Picasso.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.


Amman, Jost

Head of a Bearded Man, 1572, brush and black ink with white wash on blue prepared paper, 1991.182.19

Barocci, Federico

Head of a Bearded Man, 1579/1582, red, black, white, and ochre chalks on blue laid paper; laid down, 1991.182.16

Botticelli, Sandro

Head of a Youth Wearing a Cap; a Right Forearm with the Hand Clutching a Stone; and a Left Hand Holding a Drapery, 1480/1485, metalpoint heightened with white gouache on mauve-prepared paper, 1991.190.1.a

Braque, Georges

Large Nude, 1927, brown chalk on wove paper laid down on canvas, 2000.25.1

Bresdin, Rodolphe

Fantasy Farmhouse, 1853, pen and black ink and gray wash with touches of red-brown crayon, surface scraping on Bristol board, 1991.182.22

Carpaccio, Vittore

Groups of Figures, c. 1513/1514, red chalk with pen and brown ink on laid paper, 1991.182.15.b

Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, c. 1513, red chalk on laid paper, 1991.182.15.a

Cellini, Benvenuto

A Satyr, 1544/1545, pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk on laid paper; laid down, 1991.190.2

Cousin the Elder, Jean

Design for a Burgonet Helmet, c. 1545, pen and gray ink with gray wash over black chalk on laid paper, 1993.51.4

da Zevio, Altichiero, attributed to

Procession Entering a City, c. 1369, pen and brown ink and brown wash on laid paper mounted on original pale blue album sheet, 2000.25.2

Degas, Edgar

Self-Portrait, c. 1855, red chalk on laid paper, 1991.182.23

Spanish Dancers and Musicians, 1868/1869, watercolor and pen and black ink on wove paper, 2000.25.3

Delaune, Etienne

Design for the Backplate of a Suit of Parade Armor, 1555/1557, pen and black ink with gray wash and faint traces of black chalk along border line on laid paper, 1991.182.20

Dürer, Albrecht

Female Nude Praying, 1497/1500, pen and brown ink on laid paper, 1999.31.1

The Virgin Annunciate, 1495/1499, pen and brown ink on laid paper, 1993.51.1
Dutch(?) 18th Century

The Judgment of Paris, c. 1745, pen and black ink with gray wash on laid paper, 2001.3.1

Dyck, Anthony van, Sir

The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, c. 1618, pen and brown ink with brown and gray washes over black chalk on laid paper, 1993.51.7

Goya, Francisco de

Mendigos que se llevan solos en Bordeaux (Beggars Who Get about on Their Own in Bordeaux), 1824/1827, black chalk on greenish laid paper, 1993.51.9

Holbein the Elder, Hans

Portrait of a Woman, c. 1508, silverpoint, brush and black and brown ink, and black chalk heightened with white on white prepared paper, 1991.182.18.a

Study of a Bearded Man, c. 1508/1510, silverpoint and black chalk heightened with white on white prepared paper, 1991.182.18.b

Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique

Philippe Mengin de Bionval, 1812, graphite on wove paper, 1991.182.21

Two Studies of Virgil, c. 1812 and c. 1825, graphite on 5 joined sheets of paper, 1993.51.8

Lippi, Filippino

An Angel Carrying a Torch, c. 1500/1504, pen and brown ink and gray wash on laid paper, 1991.190.1.f

Dancing Putto Holding a Drapery, c. 1493/1497, pen and brown ink on laid paper, 1991.190.1.e

Man with a Stick, c. 1500, metalpoint heightened with white on gray-prepared paper, 1991.190.1.c

Standing Nude Youth, c. 1496, metalpoint heightened with white on gray-prepared paper, 1991.190.1.b

Standing Woman with Her Hands Clasped in Prayer, c. 1488, metalpoint heightened with white on gray-prepared paper, 1991.190.1.i

Two Angels Carrying Torches, c. 1501, pen and brown ink and brown wash on laid paper, pricked for transfer, 1991.190.1.g

Two Draped Women Standing on Either Side of a Herm, 1488/1493, metalpoint heightened with white on light green-prepared paper, 1991.190.1.j

Various Figure Studies, c. 1493/1495, metalpoint heightened with white on ochre-prepared paper with borders by Vasari in brown ink, 1991.190.1.d

Perugino, Pietro, Follower of

Archer Drawing a Bow, c. 1505, black chalk and brown wash, heightened with white and squared for transfer on laid paper, 1991.182.13

Picasso, Pablo

Head of a Woman, c. 1903, pastel on paper, 2001.3.2

Piranesi, Giovanni Battista

Fantasy of a Façade with Bizarre Ornaments, 1764/1766, pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk on laid paper, 1991.182.17

Raffaellino del Garbo

Saint Roch between Saints Anthony Abbot and Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1485/1495, gouache and brown wash heightened with white on laid paper, 1991.190.1.h


Architectural Details and a Soldier, pen and brown ink on laid paper, 1993.51.3.b

Eight Apostles, c. 1514, red chalk over stylus underdrawing and traces of leadpoint on laid paper, cut in two pieces and rejoined; laid down, 1993.51.2

A Marble Horse on the Quirinal Hill, c. 1513, red chalk and pen and brown ink, with stylus underdrawing and traces of leadpoint on laid paper, 1993.51.3.a

Rembrandt van Rijn

Figures on the Anthoniesdijk Entering Houtewael, c. 1650, reed pen and brown ink on light brown washed laid paper, 1993.51.6.b

View of Houtewael near the Sint Anthoniespoort, c. 1650, reed pen and brown ink with gray-brown wash and touches of white on laid paper, 1993.51.6.a

Sarto, Andrea del

Head of Saint John the Baptist, c. 1523, black chalk on paper laid down on panel, 1991.182.14

Signorelli, Luca

Bust of a Youth Looking Upward, c. 1500, black chalk partially indented with a stylus on tan laid paper, 1991.8.1.a

Two Nude Figures, c. 1500, black chalk on tan laid paper, 1991.8.1.b

Signorelli, Luca, Workshop of

The Sacrifice of Isaac, c. 1500, red chalk with white heightening on laid paper, 2001.3.3

Swiss 16th Century

A Man in Armor, black chalk, pen and black ink, and gray wash heightened with white on red-orange prepared laid paper, 2000.25.4

Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista

Two Monks with a Prostrate Man, c. 1725, pen and brown ink with brown wash and added gray wash over black chalk on laid paper, laid down, 2001.3.4

Tiepolo, Giovanni Domenico

The Parting of Saints Peter and Paul, early 1790s, pen and brown ink with brown wash over charcoal on laid paper, 1993.51.5

Vasari, Giorgio with drawings by Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, and Raffaellino del Garbo

Page from "Libro de' Disegni", The sheets by Filippino Lippi and Botticelli were probably executed between 1480 and 1504; Vasari mounted the drawings and added the decorative framework after 1524., album page with ten drawings on recto and verso in various media with decoration in pen and brown ink, brown and gray wash, on light buff paper, 1991.190.1

To see which of these images are available for pre-viewing, and study, on-line, see:


The Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Imports -- Rather Than Nurtures -- Young Classical Music Talent Through Its 'The Conservatory Project'

'The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts's 'The Conservatory Project' creates an ongoing showcase for our nation's exceptional young talent and introduces Washington audiences to young musicians destined to have important careers.'


All Performances take place at 6:00PM in the Terrace Theater and are free to the public:

Saturday, April 30 [sic]:
Northwestern University School of Music

Monday, May 1:
The Juilliard School

Tuesday, May 2
Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester

Wednesday, May 3
Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, May 4
Berklee College of Music

Friday, May 5
Shepherd School of Music at Rice University

Saturday, May 6
San Francisco Conservatory of Music


'The Conservatory Project' imports guest, young musical talent from the following institutions:

Berklee College of Music

The Curtis Institute of Music

Cleveland Institute of Music

Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester

The Juilliard School

Manhattan School of Music

New England Conservatory of Music

Northwestern University School of Music

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

The Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music

The School of Music at Indiana University

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University

University of Michigan School of Music


Deatiled and correct program information available at the following link:

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Newly Restored Hellman Hall.

Mature cities have their own Music Conservatories as part of their civic - cultural - educational ecologies. They do not need to import young musical talent in order to create classical music excitement and renewal; and to replace, and displace, young local musical talent.


San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco, California

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre consulting services for the conceptual design for the renovation of Hellman Hall.

Architectural lighting design by Auerbach Glasow.

Client: SMWM
Owner: San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Renderings: SMWM

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Image credit: With thanks.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Berlin State Opera's 2006-07 Season To Celebrate European Music Drama From Monteverdi To Robert Wilson, Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett, And Chen Shi-Zhen

"The Berlin State Opera's 2006-07 season will include a new work by the "virtual rock band" Gorillaz, a double bill from director Robert Wilson, and new productions of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, Busoni's Doktor Faust, Massenet's Manon, and Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, as well as a pairing of Monteverdi's scena Combatimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and his Marian Vespers.

The season opens on September 2 with Wilson's production of Schoenberg's Ewartung, preceded by a scene from his 1970 theater work Deafman Glance, restaged as The Murder From "Deafman Glance." Soprano Anja Silja and Wilson himself will appear in the scene. Music director Daniel Barenboim will conduct Ewartung.

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the musician and animator who create Gorillaz's animated rock videos, will collaborate with director Chen Shi-Zheng on Money Journey to the West, based on the 16th-century Chinese novel Xi You Ji ("Journey to the West") by Wu Cheng'en. The production comes to Berlin late July 2007 after premiering at the Manchester International Festival.

Manon, a co-production with Los Angeles Opera, will star soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazón as Manon and Des Grieux; choreographer Vincent Paterson will direct. The Monteverdi double bill will be staged by Luk Perceval and conducted by René Jacobs.

Revivals include Parsifal with René Pape and Plácido Domingo; Pape also sings Phillip II in Don Carlo and the title role of Boris Godunov . Waltrand Meier appears as Isolde and Aida." ...

Ben Mattison "Berlin State Opera Announces 2006-07 Season" Apr 26 2006

Demonstration am 1.Mai 1949 Unter den Linden Berlin 1949

The Berlin State Opera, in partial ruins, is on the left-center background of the image.

Photo credit: Archives of the German Historical Museum [DHM]. With thanks.

Back In The USSR: Neo-USSR Presidential Hopeful Lukashenka Praises South African "Freedom Day" While Jailing Three Belarusian Opposition Leaders

"Head of the Belarusian state Alexander Lukashenko extended congratulations to president of South Africa Tabo Mbeki on the national holiday – Freedom Day, BelTA has been told in the Belarusian leader’s press service."

Belarus Telegraph [State Official] News Agency "Alexander Lukashenko congratulates president of South Africa on Freedom Day" April 27, 2006


MINSK (Reuters) - "A court in ex-Soviet Belarus on Thursday sentenced main opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich to 15 days in prison for taking part in a big rally the previous day that police said was unlawful.

Milinkevich, who has become a focus for opposition to veteran president Alexander Lukashenko, said he was being made a political prisoner.

"This is a political action, a political sentence," the bearded Milinkevich said after the judge read the ruling. "Leaders of leading political parties are behind bars."

Other leading opposition activists were also detained in an apparent crackdown by authorities after about 7,000 demonstrators took part in a rally on Wednesday. Milinkevich told Reuters earlier he was guilty of no offences.

Milinkevich stood unsuccessfully against Lukashenko in a presidential vote last month that Western observers said was blatantly rigged.

The European Union, which has a border with Belarus, made its disapproval clear by inviting Milinkevich for high-level talks in Vienna and Strasbourg.

Wednesday's rally was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster -- traditionally a focal point for anti-Lukashenko protests. Some demonstrators took a route police had warned was off-limits....

Riot police came for Milinkevich on Thursday and drove him away, his aide, Pavel Mozheiko said.

"The OMON (riot police) came. They told Milinkevich he was detained, put him in a car and took him away to a police station," Mozheiko told Reuters.

Activists said Vintsuk Vechorko, another veteran opponent of Lukashenko, was picked up on Wednesday night and had already been sentenced to 15 days in jail for public order offences.

Sergei Kalyakin, a communist and senior figure in the opposition movement, had also been detained.

Milinkevich was summoned to the prosecutors' office ahead of Wednesday's protest and told to stay away from October Square -- the site of big demonstrations last month against Lukashenko's landslide victory.

Demonstrators initially tried to gather at the square but later moved on to another site authorised by authorities.

Milinkevich told the gathering the opposition planned to turf Lukashenko out of office within two years by using civil disobedience.

Western countries accuse Lukashenko of crushing fundamental human rights during his 12 years in office."

Andrei Makhovsky "Belarus Opposition Leader Jailed for 15 Days" Reuters April 27, 2006§ion=news&src=rss/

Neo-USSR Presidential 'Election' 2008: Lukashenka versus Putin

Unlike in the United States, Europe, or Ukraine; there are currently no blue or red states (oblasts) in Belarus or the Russian Federation.

Photo credit: Associated Press. With thanks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

While 12 Percent Of European Union Citizens Support More Nuclear Power In The E.U., Eurocrat Elites Know Better And Will Push For Nuclear Expansion

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - "The EU political elite is more pro-nuclear than ever before according to nuclear industry lobbyists, with leading MEPs [Ministers of the European Parliament] urging people not to use the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl to bash EU nuclear expansion plans.

"I had a meeting at a very high level in the European Parliament and European Commission last night and the clear message was the present commission is as friendly to nuclear power as never before," Foratom chief Peter Haug told EUobserver on Wednesday (26 April).

"Slowly but surely it is beginning to dawn about the real problems we would have if we do not take nuclear power forward."

The same day 20 years ago at 13:24 local time reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine exploded scattering radioactive material as far west as Ireland and leaving an area the size of Belgium still contaminated today.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the disaster killed 4,000 people but NGO Greenpeace puts the figure at closer to 90,000 while accusing pro-nuclear elements in the UN of leaning on the WHO.

The accident, dubbed "the worst environmental catastrophe in European history," gave its name to a medical condition called 'Chernobyl heart' which sees children born prone to heart attacks.

The old Chernobyl reactor still presents a danger of leakage with Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday calling for €800 million in aid to build a new 200-metre thick concrete "sarcophagus" around the unit.

A Eurobarometer survey carried out in November last year shows just 12 percent public support for more nuclear power in the EU.

But the UK, France, Finland, the Baltic states, the Czech republic, Slovakia, EU candidates Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey as well as EU neighbours Russia and Ukraine all plan to boost nuclear capacity in the coming years.

Mr Haug and Dutch energy experts also predict that Germany's conservative CDU party will scrap plans to phase-out nuclear power made previously by a socialist-led government." ...

Andrew Rettman "EU elite more pro-nuclear than ever" April 26, 2006

26 APRIL 2006

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko -- empowered in his bid for State office by his promise to establish democratic decision-making in the former Soviet Union sphere -- lights a candle to honor the Chornobyl victims.

Photo credit: With thanks.

Belarus Dictator Lukashenko Calls For World Nuclear Disarmament; 26 Minutes Later He Changes Mind Saying Belarus Would Not Mind Having Nuclear Weapons

Belarusian Telegraph [Official State] News Agency:

News headlines Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Alexander Lukashenko: today Belarus would not mind nuclear weapons


President: next year there will be no preferential credits for purchase of imported grain dryers


Alexander Lukashenko names domestic power plant key national security element


Alexander Lukashenko: it is necessary to disarm to make world safer


Investors to enjoy unexampled privileges in Chernobyl-affected areas


Belarus president promises aid to Chernobyl-affected territories


USD 2 billion allocated for program on mitigation of consequences of Chernobyl catastrophe by 2010


Alexander Lukashenko: West expected Belarusians to disappear after Chernobyl catastrophe



Hiroshima 1945 and Chornobyl [Chernobyl] 1986:

Avant-garde, deconstructivist architecture in the Nuclear Age, 1945 to 1986 C.E.

Photo credit: File photos from the Associated Press. With thanks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Chornobyl [Chernobyl] Poem; Information On Living With Thyroid Cancer; The UNICEF Report On Iodine And Thyroid Cancer; And A Donation Opportunity


By Helen Walker
In Memory of Evgeniya

Remember the victims:
The victims of Chernobyl;
Evgeniya and Uri and Igor.
Remember their faces;
Their hair and their eyes,
Keep them in your heart.

"Well", you say, "I don't know what they looked like."
But you do. You may not think you do,
But you do.
Deep down inside
You know.
Try this:
Close your eyes and think hard.
Imagine a child just like you,
Of about the same age,
And about the same height;
Of about the same build,
With about the same hair.
With about the same hopes and ideas,
Only their hopes were dashed one day.

It could have been you but it wasn't.
It was somebody else.
Somebody died instead of you.
This doesn't make it your fault,
But you must always remember them.
Always remember that someone like you.

It could have been you in that hospital bed
But it wasn't.
It was somebody else.
There are many people just like you,
That are suffering because of the wind.
Because of the wind that blew their way
On that fateful day in 1986.
You can help them.

(c) Helen Walker


Living with Thyroid Cancer

"It is as if our children have been attacked by Iodine 131"

Dr Demidchik of the Thyroid Tumour Clinic in Minsk, Belarus

The thyroid gland is the most vulnerable organ in respect to radiation and has suffered most from the Chernobyl disaster.

Dr. Demidchik of the Thyroid Tumour Clinic in Minsk (capital of Belarus) has conducted the most comprehensive study of the incidence of thyroid cancer in Belarus. His findings are widely accepted and make for shocking reading:

There has been a 2,400% increase in the rates of thyroid cancer in Belarus. In the Gomel region of Belarus, the region closest to Chernobyl, there has been a 100-fold increase in thyroid cancer.

This increase is almost certainly due to the population’s exposure to Iodine 131. Thyroid cancer is normally an extremely rare disease. Before Chernobyl, Dr. Demidchik’s study shows that, on average, there was less than one case of thyroid cancer per year in Belarus.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, had the authorities supplied the population with preventive potassium iodine, it would have prevented their thyroid from the uptake of ionising radiation.

1 in 4 of all infants in Belarus will develop thyroid abnormalities. The normal rate of thyroid cancer would be only one in one million. It is the children and teenagers today that are most at risk of developing thyroid cancer. Iodine 131 in the mother’s body crosses the placental barrier and penetrates the foetus where it predominantly accumulates in the thyroid, to develop into a potential killer over the next few years.

After the operation that is needed for children suffering from thyroid cancer, the children have a permanent scar that marks them as Chernobyl victims, and is now known as the “Belarussian necklace”.

Thyroid cancer develops slowly over the years, often taking between 10-30 years after the exposure to become apparent. Although thyroid cancer levels have increased dramatically since the accident, levels of the cancer have not yet peaked. The people and country of Belarus are sitting on a time bomb that has yet to explode. Some forms of thyroid cancers are among the most aggressive cancers known.


Chernobyl Anniversary: UNICEF says iodine could have spared many children from thyroid cancer.

GENEVA, Wednesday 19 April, 2006: "As the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl approaches, UNICEF says that the numbers of children who developed thyroid cancer could have been significantly lower if they had been consuming iodized salt in their daily diet at the time of the accident.

Calling for universal salt iodization, Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) noted: “For the 4,000 children in question, iodized salt could have made all the difference. Many would have been spared from thyroid cancer.

“And amid all the other vast numbers - 400,000 people uprooted from their homes; five million still living in contaminated areas; 100,000 still dependent on humanitarian aid - it is too easy to overlook what is small: a drop of iodine costing just a few cents.”

The areas affected by Chernobyl were iodine deficient before the disaster, and are still iodine deficient today. Despite many efforts to get legislation passed on universal salt iodization (USI) in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the issue is still being debated.

“After twenty years, there can be no excuse for further delay,” said chess Grand Master Anatoly Karpov, UNICEF Regional Ambassador. “Universal salt iodization is the most effective way to ensure that every child gets enough iodine. It is also the cheapest way – costing only 4 US cents per person, per year. Just one teaspoon of iodine consumed over the course of a lifetime can provide a high degree of protection against a range of iodine deficiency disorders.”

Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) are the world’s leading cause of mental retardation and can lower the average IQ of a population by as much as 15 points. IDD is a danger to pregnant women and young children. Even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can affect foetal brain development and, as a result, up to 2.4 million babies are born each year in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States with mental impairment.

UNICEF is urging the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, to legislate for universal salt iodization and is working with salt producers and the general public to raise awareness of the importance of iodine....

“The health issues go beyond the direct impact of Chernobyl to the enduring psychological and health problems that resulted from sudden dislocation and the loss of livelihood,” said Maria Calivis." ...


Chernobyl Children’s Project International Inc., (CCPI), is a Not- For- Profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing humanitarian and medical aid to the 3-4 million children the United Nations recognizes as suffering from the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. Our work with the children of Belarus was featured in HBO's Academy-Award winning film, Chernobyl Heart.

Donate by Mail: 217 East 86th Street, PMB #275, New York, NY 10028

Donate by Phone: 1-888-227-8080

Or donate through their secure Web-site:


Photo credit: Anatoly Kleschuk via Chernobyl Children's Project International. With thanks.

In Memorium, Urbanist Jane Jacobs

NEW YORK -- "Jane Jacobs, an author and community activist of singular influence whose classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" transformed ideas about urban planning, has died. Ms. Jacobs, a longtime resident of Toronto, was 89.

Ms. Jacobs died Tuesday morning, according to Random House publicist Sally Marvin, who did not give a cause of death.

A native of Scranton, Pa., Ms. Jacobs lived for many years in New York before moving to Toronto in the late 1960s. She and her husband, architect Robert Jacobs Jr., were unhappy their taxes were supporting the Vietnam War and they eventually made Canada their permanent home. Robert Jacobs died in 1996.

Ms. Jacobs' impact transcended borders. Basing her findings on deep, eclectic reading and firsthand observation, Ms. Jacobs challenged assumptions she believed damaged modern cities -- that neighborhoods should be isolated from each other, that an empty street was safer than a crowded one, that the car represented progress over the pedestrian.

Her priorities were for integrated, manageable communities, for diversity of people, transportation, architecture and commerce. She also believed that economies need to be self-sustaining and self-renewing, relying on local initiative instead of centralized bureaucracies.

"Death and Life," published in 1961, evolved from opposing the standards of the time to becoming a standard itself. It was taught in urban studies classes throughout North America and sold more than half a million copies. City planners in New York and Toronto were among those who cited its importance and her book became an essential text for "New Urban" communities such as Hercules, Calif., and Civano, Ariz.

Ms. Jacobs also received a number of prizes, including a lifetime achievement award in 2000 from the National Building Foundation in Washington, D.C....

Her most famous confrontation came in the early '60s, when she helped defeat a plan by New York City park commissioner Robert Moses to build an expressway through Washington Square ....

One of her favorite phrases was "in the real world." She continued a long tradition of American pragmatism, from Benjamin Franklin to John Dewey and William James. She believed ideas should come from experience as opposed to the other way around.

"Death and Life" emerged from her reporting. Not only did it attack canonical beliefs in city planning, it attacked such canonical figures as Moses and historian Lewis Mumford.

Ms. Jacobs thought cities suffered from an anti-city bias among planners, the romanticization of a more rural way of life. Because of this, she wrote, vital communities were being torn down simply because they were "crowded," other neighborhoods were fatally isolated and parks were being constructed without regard to their surrounding environment.

She specifically criticized Mumford, author of "The Culture of Cities," for his misguided attachment to the anti-city philosophy, and Mr. Moses for his dogmatic attachment to the automobile....

[In] her subsequent works, she examined the ideas outlined in "Death and Life" from a variety of perspectives: "Cities and the Wealth of Nations" focused on the economy; "Systems of Survival" on morals; "The Nature of Economies" on science and ecology."

Associated Press "Jane Jacobs, Author and Activist, Dies" via Wall Street Journal On-line April 25, 2006

Urban Center of Toronto, Canada, undergoing "creative destruction" in order to accommodate petroleum-based, automobile culture.

Photo credit: Achives of Toronto, Canada. With thanks.

Cultural And Ecological Tourism Under-Funded In Ukraine; Ukraine Spending Only One-Twentieth What Poland Spends On Cultural Heritage Restoration

"State programs on development of tourism have not yet been financed, declared the minister of culture and tourism of Ukraine, Ihor Lykhovy, during a [phone interview from Ukraine's] Cabinet of Ministers.

This year, the state provides for programs of conducting famous fairs and the programs “Castles and palaces” and “Sea breeze of Crimea”. However, according to Lykhovy, Ukraine allocates only 50-60 thousand hryvnias, while Poland, for example, spends 150-200 thousand dollars. Lykhovy also declared that Ukraine lacks money even for these programs.

According to the minister, Ukraine plans to cooperate with Poland with the purpose of restoration of cultural monuments. Hence, concessions of castles to Poland is one of the ways to restore cultural complexes. Castles, fortresses, citadels and palaces will be ceded in long-term cultural circulation to interested persons, including Poles. Lykhovy hopes that within ten years the use these cultural monuments will be restored, and users will renew the monuments household functions.

Restoration of cultural monuments needs greater means, including the creation of a whole infrastructure, as castles do not have normal roads and services. At the same time, all these works will be financed at the expense of users. To earn such money, temporary owners in addition to exhibitions will organize hotels or restaurants, golf, billiard or other entertainments, explained the minister.

Lykhovy hopes that in a month it will be possible to talk about realization of this program. But ahead of this a corresponding law should come in to prevent problems with castles’ land, which is free of taxes."

ForUm "Ukraine does not have money for developing tourism" April 25, 2006
[slightly edited for clarity]


In contrast, Belarus's authoritarian regime, under Lukashenka, is counting on massive UNESCO funding, in addition to State funding, to restore its major western- Belarus cultural tourist destinations of Neshvish and Mir -- both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


Lviv, Ukraine. The Unofficial European City of Culture 2006 Celebrates Its 750th Anniversary as a Multicultural and Tolerant European City!

The Architectural Ensemble of the Historic Center of Lviv is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lviv History Museum:

Lviv Ecotourism Company:

Both the Lviv History Museum and Lviv Ecotourism Company can help you arrange for tours to Western Ukraine's 'Golden Ring of Renaissance-era Polish Castles and Cathedrals, Ukrainian Wooden Churches, and Renaissance-era Synagogues [as well as Carpathian Mountain, archeological early Medieval Palace sites]'.

Pidhirtsi Castle in Lviv Region, Western Ukraine. The paintings, tapestries, and other furnishings of the former Polish Castle are in the Collection of the Lviv Picture Gallery and the Lviv History Museum.

Photo credit: Vladyslav Tsarynnyk With thanks.

Containment Then And Now: Toward A Twenty-First Century Renaissance In Nuclear Radiation Containment Sarcophagus Construction

"President Viktor Yushchenko was to open an international conference on the Chernobyl disaster in Kiev, two days before Ukraine and its neighbors mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst civilian nuclear accident.

The Ukrainian leader was expected to call on the international community to continue help funding the clean-up from the accident, which had the most impact on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine but effects from which were felt in much of Europe.

"This misfortune has wide-reaching international consequences" and is not "an exclusively Ukrainian problem," Markiyan Lubkivsky, a top official in the presidential administration, said last week.

The European Union's External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner was to attend the opening of the three-day conference, along with officials from several UN bodies, including its nuclear agency and the World Health Organization.

Several dozen protestors from environmental groups picketed Kiev's opera building where the meeting was to take place.

"Remember Chernobyl, No New Reactors," read one sign held by the activists.

Two decades after a series of explosions ripped through a reactor at a Soviet power plant in northern Ukraine at 1:23 a.m. on April 26, 1986, the accident remains a grim reminder of potential hazards of atomic energy.

The consequences of the disaster are heatedly debated, with the eventual death toll generating the most bitter exchanges.

In a report released last September, the United Nations said that nearly 60 people had already died and another 4,000 would die as a direct consequence of the accident -- a much lower estimate than previously believed.

The Greenpeace environmental group attacked the findings as a "whitewash" and in a recent report of its own, said that the death toll could reach nearly 100,000. Other anti-nuclear groups have come up with higher estimates.

Ukraine says that some five million people were affected by the accident overall, including the 600,000 "liquidators" deployed over the next four years in clean-up works.

Nearly 800,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of prime agricultural land and 700,000 hectares of forest remain ruined in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine as a result of the accident.

The economic costs of the disaster have been staggering, with Ukrainian officials estimating that Kiev alone will have spent 170 billion dollars (138 billion euros) as a result of the disaster.

A new protective 20,000-ton steel case over the entire plant, an international project to which 28 countries have contributed funds so far, is expected to cost between one and two billion dollars.

The covering, to be completed by 2012, is due to replace the concrete sarcophagus that was hastily built over the damaged reactor immediately after the accident and is showing serious signs of wear."

Agence France Presse "Ukraine conference starts Chernobyl 20th anniversary commemorations" via April 24, 2006


"The explosion and fire at Chernobyl's No. 4 reactor in April 1986 generated extensive spread of radioactive material and a large amount of radioactive waste at the plant site and in the surrounding area. Between May and November 1986, a temporary sarcophagus was built at the site with the goal of quickly reducing on-site radiation levels and the further release of radioactive materials into the environment.

The sarcophagus was erected quickly and under extremely difficult conditions, including the severe radiation exposure of construction workers. Because of efforts to complete the work quickly, imperfections were introduced in the structure. In addition, moisture-induced corrosion over the last 20 years has further degraded the construction. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, "the main potential hazard of the shelter is a possible collapse of its top structures and release of radioactive dust into the environment."

Plans have been developed to create a new structure, called the New Safe Confinement (NSC), over the No. 4 reactor. The NSC is designed to have a 100-year service life, and to allow for the dismantlement of the current sarcophagus and the removal of highly radioactive fuel from the reactor. NSC construction was originally scheduled to be completed in 2005, but has been repeatedly postponed. According to the latest schedule, the work is expected to be finished in February 2008. Actual construction work is expected to begin in the summer of 2006."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty April 20, 2006


... "[A former Ukrainian diplomat] believes that since the closure of the plant's last reactor in 2000, Chornobyl has ceased to be a major political issue in Ukraine, but he does believe it will continue to impact government decisions in the nuclear-energy sphere. He said Ukraine should never forget the potential hazards of operating its 15 nuclear reactors at four power plants.

"We should proceed from the premise that we will have to live side by side with risk. We are taking a risk. And we should be taking a reasonable risk, not the one that might lead, God forbid, to a new Chornobyl-type catastrophe. We should enhance the safety of reactors," Shcherbak said....

Belarus does not have any nuclear power plants and is not planning to build any in the near future. The Chornobyl aftermath seems to persist in the country not only as a grave environmental issue but also a political one....

Since 1989, the Belarusian opposition has managed to organize a "Chornobyl Way" march almost every year. Participants march to commemorate the Chornobyl anniversary and raise public awareness about unresolved problems related to the disaster. Although many of these marches have been dispersed or otherwise thwarted by police, another Chornobyl Way march is expected in Minsk this year on 26 April [2006]."

Jan Maksymiuk and Irena Chalupa "Chornobyl 20 Years After: The Catastrophe's Political Fallout "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty April 24, 2006

Repair work being carried out at the Chornobyl, Ukraine nuclear power plant in October 1986.

Photo credit: European Press Agency via RFE/RL. With thanks.

Los Angeles Unveils Frank Gehry Partners Plan For Downtown Arts District, Pedestrian-Based Grand Avenue Plaza, And 16-Acre Civic Park

"It isn't easy to create a real downtown district, vibrant and intense, in a city as sprawling and diffuse as Los Angeles, Frank Gehry admits. But that's what he has set out to do with his design for Grand Avenue, unveiled in preliminary form yesterday.

The $750 million project, which includes the first high-rises he has ever designed for his hometown, is the first phase of a $1.8 billion development plan by the Related Companies that will remake Grand Avenue as a pedestrian-based gathering point.

"When we talk about L.A. having a downtown, it's a stretch, because L.A. is so spread out as a city," Mr. Gehry said in a telephone interview. "Our downtown probably is a linear one — Wilshire Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard."

He said his goal was "to develop the beginning of a community that has the body language of a community and has the scale of a community."

Constituting a full city block across the street from Mr. Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in 2003, the three acres to be developed in the first phase include a hotel, residences, retail businesses, restaurants and public amenities. Mr. Gehry's schematic design, still in the planning stages, features two L-shaped towers. The taller one, a 47-story glass building at the corner of Second and Grand, is to house a hotel with about 275 rooms and a condominium with 250 units on the upper floors. The other, rising 25 stories at Olive and First Streets, will have space for 150 lofts and condominiums and 100 affordable apartments....

The towers will feature several terrace levels with greenery designed by the landscape architect Laurie D. Olin, he added....

The design calls for plazas and walkways that would connect the Grand Avenue neighborhood to the city's downtown cultural center, which in addition to Disney Hall includes the Music Center, the Colburn School and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

"We wanted to create an art district that would go from MoCA to Temple Street, with a streetscape that has trees, paving and lighting," Mr. Gehry said....

The architect links his new buildings to a 16-acre civic park that is also to be built as part of the first phase.

Some city experts have questioned the wisdom of trying to generate a downtown in Los Angeles. In a commentary in The Los Angeles Times last year, Joel Kotkin, author of "The City: A Global History" (Modern Library, 2005), wrote that the city "might want to consider whether public resources and private capital could be more effectively channeled into the far-flung neighborhoods of this city where most of us actually live and work."

"These are the places — not this ersatz downtown, Eli Broad's faux Champs-Élysées — that constitute the collective heart of this city and epitomize Los Angeles's unique brand of civic greatness," he added. But Mr. Gehry said planners were striving for a design that would capitalize on Los Angeles's essential identity.

"It's not New York, it's not Paris — it's a different image and we're struggling to find it," Mr. Gehry said. "You don't have a downtown. This is an attempt to find one.""

Robin Pogrebin "Los Angeles With a Downtown? Gehry's Vision" New York Times, April 25, 2006

Two towers anchor the first phase of an extensive development project on Grand Avenue in 'downtown' Los Angeles near the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. [Click on image to enlarge.]

Photo credit: Frank Gehry Partners via

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Minsk Agreement Signed By The Heads Of State Of Belarus, The Russian Federation, And Ukraine On December 8, 1991

We, the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine, as founder states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which signed the 1922 Union Treaty, further described as the high contracting parties, conclude that the USSR has ceased to exist as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality.

Taking as our basis the historic community of our peoples and the ties which have been established between them, taking into account the bilateral treaties concluded between the high contracting parties;

striving to build democratic law-governed states; intending to develop our relations on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for state sovereignty, the inalienable right to self- determination, the principles of equality and non-interference in internal affairs, repudiation of the use of force and of economic or any other methods of coercion, settlement of contentious problems by means of mediation and other generally recognized principles and norms of international law;

considering that further development and strengthening of relations of friendship, good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial co-operation between our states correspond to the vital national interests of their peoples and serve the cause of peace and security;

confirming our adherence to the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and other documents of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe;

and committing ourselves to observe the generally recognized internal norms on human rights and the rights of peoples, we have agreed the following:

The high contracting parties form the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The high contracting parties guarantee their citizens equal rights and freedoms regardless of nationality or other distinctions. Each of the high contracting parties guarantees the citizens of the other parties, and also persons without citizenship that live on its territory, civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights and freedoms in accordance with generally recognized international norms of human rights, regardless of national allegiance or other distinctions.

The high contracting parties, desiring to promote the expression, preservation and development of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious individuality of the national minorities resident on their territories, and that of the unique ethno- cultural regions that have come into being, take them under their protection.

The high contracting parties will develop the equal and mutually beneficial co-operation of their peoples and states in the spheres of politics, the economy, culture, education, public health, protection of the environment, science and trade and in the humanitarian and other spheres, will promote the broad exchange of information and will conscientiously and unconditionally observe reciprocal obligations.

The parties consider it a necessity to conclude agreements on co-operation in the above spheres.

The high contracting parties recognize and respect one another's territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing borders within the Commonwealth.

They guarantee openness of borders, freedom of movement for citizens and of transmission of information within the Commonwealth.

The member-states of the Commonwealth will co-operate in safeguarding international peace and security and in implementing effective measures for reducing weapons and military spending. They seek the elimination of all nuclear weapons and universal total disarmament under strict international control.

The parties will respect one another's aspiration to attain the status of a non-nuclear zone and a neutral state.

The member-states of the community will preserve and maintain under united command a common military-strategic space, including unified control over nuclear weapons, the procedure for implementing which is regulated by a special agreement.

They also jointly guarantee the necessary conditions for the stationing and functioning of and for material and social provision for the strategic armed forces. The parties contract to pursue a harmonized policy on questions of social protection and pension provision for members of the services and their families.

The high contracting parties recognize that within the sphere of their activities, implemented on the equal basis through the common coordinating institutions of the Commonwealth, will be the following:

co-operation in the sphere of foreign policy;
co-operation in forming and developing the united economic area, the common European and Eurasian markets, in the area of customs policy;
co-operation in developing transport and communication systems;
co-operation in preservation of the environment, and participation in creating a comprehensive international system of ecological safety;
migration policy issues;
and fighting organized crime.

The parties realize the planetary character of the Chernobyl catastrophe and pledge themselves to unite and co-ordinate their efforts in minimizing and overcoming its consequences.

To these ends they have decided to conclude a special agreement which will take consider [sic] the gravity of the consequences of this catastrophe.

The disputes regarding interpretation and application of the norms of this agreement are to be solved by way of negotiations between the appropriate bodies, and when necessary, at the level of heads of the governments and states.

Each of the high contracting parties reserved the right to suspend the validity of the present agreement or individual articles thereof, after informing the parties to the agreement of this a year in advance.

The clauses of the present agreement may be addended to or amended with the common consent of the high contracting parties.

From the moment that the present agreement is signed, the norms of third states, including the former USSR, are not permitted to be implemented on the territories of the signatory states.

The high contracting parties guarantee the fulfillment of the international obligations binding upon them from the treaties and agreements of the former USSR.

The present agreement does not affect the obligations of the high contracting parties in regard to third states.

The present agreement is open for all member-states of the former USSR to join, and also for other states which share the goals and principles of the present agreement.

The city of Minsk is the official location of the coordinating bodies of the Commonwealth.

The activities of bodies of the former USSR are discontinued on the territories of the member-states of the Commonwealth.


Source: Library of Congress Country Studies Belarus

Library of Congress Call Number DK507.23 .B45 1995


Minsk History
Ancient Minsk

... "In prehistoric times the "domain of the bear" predominated over "the domain of the goose" (as Napoleon soldiers aptly dubbed the forest-lands and meadow-lands of the area) with vast and impenetrable primeval forests covering most of the country and serving as a Delphic "wooden wall" to its successive inhabitants against attacks from the East. Scattered Lithuanians and Jatvyhs hunted and gathered, until merged with the more advanced Slavonic tribes moving northwards from the Carpathians during the so-called Dark Ages. These settled the area forming the watershed of the rivers flowing to the Baltic and the Black Sea, where the early Belarusians founded prosperous townships of Polacak, Viciebsk, Smalensk, Minsk, and Harodnia. Of these Polacak, first mentioned in the chronicles for 862, was to become the most important.

During the era of Viking expansion along the East European waterways, many towns and principalities were ruled over by Scandinavian warlords; in the 9th century the lands of Polacak were raided by two Viking princes Askold and Dir, and by the 10th century a Prince Ravhalod(Norse: Ragnvald) reigned over the Belarusian principality of which early Minsk formed part. The Belarusian nobility to this day distinguishes between families of old Lithuanian and those of Scandinavian descent (Hedymoviczy and Rurikoviczy)." cities/minsk_DZ/mh_1.html


Minsk History:
Minsk under Russian Rule

"The Russian Governors' first steps were to restrict the Belarusian Greek-Catholic Church; the Basilian Convents in the Upper Town and in Trinity suburb were closed in 1795, and the Holy Ghost Church handed over to the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, who in 1796 renamed it after the apostles SS. Peter and Paul. The former Belarusian Orthodox Church with this name was reconsecrated to St. Catherine, thus commemorating the partners of the two sovereigns who had established Russian rule over the city. Plans were drawn up for impoving the city amenities; public gardens were laid out by the river Svislacz, which were named the Governor's Gardens, and the architect Todar Kramer was commissioned to remodel the City Guildhall, the Vice-governor's residence(1800), the Basilian monastery, now a school for children of the gentry(1799), the Merchants' Exchange(1800), the Jesuit college and the Holy Trinity convent in the Trinity suburb(1799) and other buildings. These reconstructions were done to neutral neo-classical designs of West European municipial arcitecture, which left little room for national particularism."

Aerial view of the rivers of Belarus; with location of Minsk, Belarus highlighted.
[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: University of Lille, France. With thanks. photons/sites.html

Lviv, Ukraine Environmental Lawyer, And Five Other Activists, Awarded 2006 Goldman Foundation Prizes For Environmental Protection

SAN FRANCISCO - "When the Pentagon announced plans to incinerate stockpiles of chemical weapons near his home more than 20 years ago, Craig Williams fought back.

The Vietnam War veteran successfully lobbied to halt the planned incinerator near Berea, Ky., and has since helped build a nationwide coalition to demand safety and openness in the storage and disposal of chemical weapons.

Williams, 58, is one of six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, the most prestigious award for environmentalists. The winners, selected from six regions of the world, are to receive $125,000 each at a ceremony Monday evening in San Francisco.

“We’re trying to protect these communities from our own weapons of mass destruction,” said Williams, a cabinetmaker who now heads the Chemical Weapons Working Group. “We didn’t have to go to Iraq to find these things. They’re right here.” ...

Established in 1990 by the San Francisco-based Goldman Foundation, the annual prize has been awarded to 113 environmental activists from 67 countries. Winners are nominated by environmental organizations and individuals worldwide.

This year’s recipients show how environmentalism is changing, said Lorrae Rominger, the foundation’s deputy director.

“The environmental movement and the prize winners are becoming more sophisticated,” Rominger said. “It’s not just about protesting anymore. It’s about creating new laws or working with governments so they uphold the laws that are already on the books.”

This year’s other winners:

Anne Kajir, 32, an attorney in Papua New Guinea, used the law to challenge powerful timber interests and protect her country’s tropical forests and the rights of indigenous people living there. She uncovered evidence of government corruption and complicity in allowing illegal logging.

Olya Melen, a 26-year-old attorney in Lviv, Ukraine, sued the Ukrainian government to halt construction of a canal in the Danube Delta, one of the world’s most biologically diverse wetlands, covering more than 1 million acres on the Black Sea coast. “I really hope this prize will help attract more attention to ... the issue of canal construction and the Danube Delta’s fragile environment,” Melen said.

Silas Siakor, 36, of Monrovia, Liberia, dug up evidence that former President Charles Taylor used money from illegal timber harvests to finance a 14-year civil war blamed for 150,000 deaths. He submitted documentation of unlawful logging and human rights abuses to the United Nations Security Council, which then banned timber exports from Liberia. Taylor was arrested in Nigeria last month and charged with war crimes.

Tarcisio Feitosa Da Silva, 35, of Altamira, Brazil, spent more than 10 years fighting to protect tropical forests and communities in the Brazilian Amazon. He also helped expose illegal logging and human rights violations, prompting the government to protect about 150,000 square miles of tropical forest. “This is the moment to show the world the threats that the forest and the people who live in it are under,” said Feitosa. “But there are going to be a lot more people who are going to be angry at the work we’re doing.”

Yu Xiaogang, 55, of Kunming, China, designed a pioneering watershed management program that lessened the environmental and social effects of a dam at Lashi Lake in southwest China. He brought together residents, entrepreneurs and government officials to rebuild the area in way that protected the wetlands ecosystem and fishermen’s livelihoods." ....

Associated Press "Six activists get $125,000 Goldman prizes" MSNBC April 24, 2006

The Danube Delta.

The ecologically fragile Danube Delta is threatened by overstretched post-communist governments, for-profit State/business interests, and non-ecologically-based tourism outfits.


"As Europe's largest remaining natural wetland, the Danube Delta is one of the continent's most valuable habitats for wetland wildlife and biodiversity, but its ecosystems are affected by changes upstream, such as pollution and the manipulation of water discharge, as well as by ecological changes in the delta itself. The Danube Delta is still spreading seaward at a rate of 24 to 30 meters annually.

The unique ecosystems of the Danube Delta, consisting of a labyrinthine network of river channels, shallow bays and hundreds of lakes, interspersed with extensive marshes, reed-beds, islands and floodplains, form a valuable natural buffer zone, filtering out pollutants from the River Danube, and helping to improve water quality in the vulnerable waters of the north-western Black Sea.

Ecological changes in the Delta itself, including the creation of a network of canals through the delta to improve access and water circulation, and the reduction of the wetland area by the construction of agricultural polders and fishponds have reduced biodiversity, altered natural flow and sedimentation patterns, and diminished the ability of the delta to retain nutrients. This is because more of the nutrient-rich water are now washed directly through the main canals rather than being distributed through the wetlands and reed beds.

Most of the delta lies within Romania, but some of its northern fringes, and most recently formed areas are in Ukraine.

A total area of 679,000 ha of the delta is under legal protection including floodplains and marine areas. The core of the reserve (312,400 ha) was designated as a “World Natural Heritage Site” in 1991.

Up to 75 different species of fish can be found in the delta, while several globally threatened bird species, including the red-breasted goose, the Dalmatian pelican and the pygmy cormorant, either breed or winter in the delta."

Source: International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River en/turism/deltadunarii.html

Photo credit: With thanks

British Library Staff Predicts That China And India Could Overtake The West As The Intellectual And Cultural Centers Of the World

"China and India - already braced to become two of the world's greatest economic powers - are now expected to become two of its most important academic powerhouses.
The British Library - renowned for collecting books, journals and artefacts from across the globe - is set to shift its focus from Western Europe towards China and India, to ensure Britons have access to the most important research.

Staff will outline the new strategy on Tuesday along with their predictions that the two countries could overtake the West as intellectual and cultural hotspots.

The library's greatest treasures are currently kept in the elegant exhibition room on the first floor: Jane Austen's desk, Mozart's scores, Shakespeare's first folio and Einstein's calculations. Such glories marking Western thought from the past are set to be joined by work from the greatest thinkers of the 21st century - and, says the library, they are likely to come from the East. Academics in India and China will be generating the big ideas in science, technology, and economics, the library has forecast in an extensive study.

On Tuesday, it will announce its new strategy, Reflecting A Changing World, which will outline a shift of focus towards Asia and some South American countries. Its motive is to make sure it 'continues to collect material that is important and relevant to researchers now and for generations to come'.

'The beginning of the 21st century is a time of unprecedented change,' said Caroline Pung, the head of strategy and planning for the British Library. 'We do not have a crystal ball, but we have looked at Foreign Office predictions and done our best to inform ourselves so we can provide for the needs of future researchers. China and India are growing massively.'

Pung said the new strategy was a response to the explosion of publishing in the countries. She said the library acted as Britain's intellectual memory and had to ensure it provided the best material for academics in the future. The library will be able to collect more from these countries by reallocating their funds across their collection.

Tuesday's announcement will also reveal a shift towards politics, social science and international law. In addition, more work will be collected electronically. Although it will continue to collect every British publication and maintain strong links with the US, there will be a move away from some Commonwealth countries and western Europe....

The library contains more than 150 million items, collected over 250 years. It includes every British publication, as well as many from across the world. Each year, enough new books and artefacts are collected to fill 12.5 kilometres of shelves."

Anushka Asthana "British Library sets sights on the East" The Observer/Guardian Unlimited April 23, 2006,,1759360,00.html

Fragment of the 6th pillar Edict of Ashoka. British Museum.

Photo credit: With thanks.

Mstislav Rostropovich Again Bringing World-Class Contemporary Classical Music To The Repertoire Of The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

French composer Henri Dutilleux [b. 1916] on his "Correspondences" orchestral song cycle [2003] for soprano and large orchestra (with large percussion section):

"The initial idea for the work was a matter of choosing some letters from various authors that might engender different forms of lyric expression conveyed by the soprano voice and the large symphony orchestra.

Brief orchestral interludes are sometimes used as bridges between these letters; the first of these is preceded by a poem by the Indian writer Pirthwindra Mukherjee, "The Cosmic Dance," a poem which may itself be regarded as a kind of ode, or message, to Shiva . . .

The next sung episode is based on the main passages of a letter from Solzhenitsyn to Mstislav and Galina Rostropovich (dated February 9, 1984), describing his trials, his time in the labor camps ten years before, experiences he overcame thanks to the heroic support of his friends Slava and Galina, and to his own faith as well.

It is from the letters of Vincent van Gogh to his brother Théo that I have drawn out such excerpts as "I have a great need of religion, so I go out at night to point the stars." This episode is preceded by the evocation of a very short poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called "Gong."

While these texts are quite different from one another in their form and their content, they nonetheless have in common an inclination toward the mystical thinking on the part of the respective authors. Together with the idea of the Cosmos, this is what struck the composer as a unifying element.

The work's overall title, Correspondances, beyond the different meanings that might be assigned to this word, refers to Baudelaire's famous poem of the same title, and to the sensations he invoked. On the other hand, the "baudelairian" idea that in our world the divine inevitably finds its image in a devilish world, seems reflected in Van Gogh's mind when he writes from Arles to his brother that "next to the sun (the good Lord), there is unfortunately the Devil Mistral."

Each of these episodes is given its own distinctive orchestration, with this or that family or instruments to the fore. Thus the evocative images and colors in Vincent van Gogh's letter will find their echo mainly in the timbres of the woodwinds and in the brass as well, while Solzhenitsyn's letter to Slava and Galina is backed chiefly by the strings--particularly by the cellos, often in a cello quartet. In "The Cosmic Dance," however, the singer is surrounded by the entire orchestra, and, by way of further contrast, the third section, "Gong," is a sort of interlude involving barely half the orchestra.

Finally, I would like to remark that at the very end of Solzhenitsyn's letter, as a sort of watermark, as in a mist, is a quotation from Boris Godunov, in which we hear the Simpleton's expression of grief over the misfortunes of the people of Russia.

In the same way, in the center of the section devoted to Van Gogh's letter, the composer uses the main motif of his own score Timbres, espace, mouvement, ou La Nuit étoilée, written in 1978 under the influence of the famous painting Starry Night."


Henri Dutilleux "Correspondences", a work for soprano and orchestra, composed in 2003 under a commission from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, was given its premiere by that orchestra on September 5 of that year, with Dawn Upshaw as soloist and Sir Simon Rattle conducting. Miss Upshaw is again the soloist in the performances of April 27, 28, and 29, 2006, under NSO Conductor Laureate Mstislav Rostropovich, who together introduce the work into the repertoire of the National Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to the solo soprano, the score, dedicated to Dawn Upshaw and Sir Simon Rattle, calls for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, 2 suspended cymbals, tam-tam, 3 bongos, 3 tom toms, accordion, marimba, vibraphone, celesta, harp, and strings. Duration, 22 minutes.

© Richard Freed/Henri Dutilleux,3503.html

French Master classical music composer, Henri Dutilleux [b. 1916]

Photo credit: With thanks.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Spring Saturday Late Afternoon And Evening Visit To Two Excellent Live Orchestral Music Concerts; And Three Associated Events

Austrian and German Music:

Beethoven Symphony #6 in F Major, Pastoral, Op. 68

Wagner 'Siegfried's Rhine Journey', from Die Gotterdammerung

Mahler Adagio from Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp Major

French Music:

Debussy Jeux

Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major (with Jean-Yves Thibaudet)

Russian and Ukrainian Music:

Stravinsky The Firebird (1919 Orchestration)

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63 (with Julian Rachlin)

Finnish Music (as a late afternoon encore):

Grieg The Last Spring for String Orchestra

Many thanks for the enjoyment and aesthetic stimulation to over 150 American musicians under Michael Tilson Thomas and Rafael Fruhbeck de Bourgos.


Saturday intermission feature:

Abdullah Chhadeh (Syria) and his Nara Quartet -- Abdullah Chhadeh, qanun, Naeif Rafeh, nay, Bernard O'Neill, double bass, and Dafer Tawil, percussion.


Friday evening, prelude concert:

Vienna Klezmer Band -- Ela Malkin (Chernivtsi, Ukraine), vocals, piano; Alfred Pfleger (Vienna), violin; Igor Pilyavskiy (Kyiv, Ukraine), accordion, sax, panpipe, sopilka; and Julius Darvas (Budapest), double bass.


Sunday evening, postlude concert:

Piotr Anderszewski, pianist; music by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Concert notes at

European/World Klezmer Music

"When a concertmaster from Vienna, a Jewish singer from Czernowitz [Ukraine], an accordeon player from Kiev who is also a master on the panflute, a bass player from Hungary, and a drummer from Stammersdorf get together you create "World Music". A form of playing music, without borders and boundaries that reconciles and connects five cultures into a joint new form."

Image Credit: Web-site of the Vienna Klezmer Band With thanks.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Western Ukrainian Cultural and Ecological Tourism To Be Boosted By European Bank For Reconstruction And Development Road Repair Funding

"The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has loaned € 90 million for road repairing in Lviv region, Ukraine.

Two sectors at length of 50 km apiece will be repaired: Brody-Lviv and Stryya-Lviv.

Turkish and Macedonian firms have won the job tenders. They are very experienced in construction works in Ukraine. “These firms will engage Ukrainian ones for subcontracted works and our firms will master in high technologies,” said Myroslav Senyk, the Deputy Chairman of Lviv Regional State Administartion."

ForUm "EBRD loans € 90 million for road repairing" April 17, 2006


Brody, Ukraine -- near the pre-World War II border between Poland and the Soviet Union -- is a one thousand year old city east of Lviv which boasted a flourishing Jewish community prior to the Nazi invasion of 1941. Its large Renaissance-era Synagogue is unrestored.

Stryya, Ukraine lies south of Lviv in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountain chain which reaches from Poland and Slovakia, through Ukraine, to Romania. Stryya is a major center for ecotourism and winter skiing.

View of the Brody, Poland main Synagogue in 1935.

Archival photograph credit: Polska Akademia Nauk, Instytut Sztuki, Warsaw, Poland. Courtesy of Miriam Weiner, geneologist, archivist, and photographer. With thanks.

View of the ruins of the main Synagogue in Brody, Ukraine (formerly Poland), in 1950.

Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Lviv Ecotourism Company:

Lviv History Museum:

Routes to Roots: Tracing Jewish Roots in Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus

Pianist, Writer, And Philosopher Glenn Gould On Paul Hindemith's Early Masterpiece, The Rilke 'Marienleben' Cycle Of Fifteen Songs.

... "Today's concert we style "Hindemith-the early years," and the latest work on the program, the Piano Sonata No. 3, comes from 1936. In other words, we survey only thirteen years of composition and follow Hindemith only up to that point from which it seems the formulations of his mature style have been attained. The fascinating thing about this program though is that, while the Piano Sonata suggests the Hindemith which we know and which we can to some degree proclaim predictable, it fulfills as a "mature" work only part of the promise of the Sonata for Unaccompanied 'Cello and of the Marienleben Cycle. This is not to say that it is not a better work than its forerunners. Of course it is. It is, by all the standards which we can apply to a musician's craft independent of our approval or disapproval of his esthetic, an extremely skillful, well coordinated piece of work. Then why does it disappoint us so much? Why, with all this dexterity, this adroit counterpoint, is there so much missing in this sonata? I suppose no one really knows the answer to that, if there is one, except Paul Hindemith but I would suggest that what is missing is that sense of adventure, of uncertainty, of awkwardness even, which makes such human documents of the 'Cello Sonata and especially the Marienleben. They represent to us a young man (he was 29 when he composed the Marienleben in its original version which we perform today) struggling with all the incomprehensible vastness of the world of music -- a world which in his youth had received the shattering impact of the knowledge of its own obverse -- the knowledge of atonality. And both the natural resources and the consequential limitations of atonality lay yawning before Paul Hindemith as they did before all the young people of his generation.

It is rather obvious that the works of Hindemith which most closely approximate the total acceptance of this total dissonance, are the works of his early youth. He is never, however, found to be composing without some reference to a centrifugal order. But the gravitational sense in Hindemith, the sense of tonal adjustment as it were, is not sponsored primarily by a reflection of the ardent tonal-chromatic procedures of the German romantics. The tonal sense in Hindemith is on the whole a rather unique one and in the early works particularly one which is both pliable and coherent and which proves to be for these experimental years of his a most satisfactory governing discipline. His harmonic sense is not one which accepts without challenge the convention of triadic harmony as a source of resolution though it does, if only through the psychological perversity of the listener, insist upon building its own somewhat equivalent structures. He does, however, build several of the Marienleben Songs, noticeably the specifically contrapuntal ones such as The Presentation in the Temple (No. 2) and the first two parts of The Death of Mary, upon a manner of voice leading and contrapuntal interplay which is not terribly far removed, except by a certain reluctant embarrassment to cadence decisively, from the part writing of most of the late German romantics. He also, however, manages to build a good many of the other songs, most particularly The Birth of Mary (No. 1), upon a quite unique concept of the relativity of harmonic 4th chords and their triadic counterparts. And, still again, there appears in songs like The Marriage at Cana the kind of early Renaissance contrapuntal jamboree that became such a prominent part of Hindemith's mature fugal style. In short, the Marienleben is hardly tied together by a single idiomatic thread nor is it, in the organized sense of the Schonbergians, a tidy, neat composition motivically. What it really contains are fifteen of the most splendidly promising songs of our age -- fifteen songs which asked the question very distinctly in 1923 -- what will happen to Paul Hindemith?" ...

Excerpt from Hindemith - "The Early Years" by Glenn Gould

Published in the Stratford Festival concert program, July 29, 1962.

Lviv, Ukraine's 13th century Armenian Church.

Lviv, Ukraine's Armenian church is one of the most ancient churches in Lviv, dating back to the 13th century. In 2001, this sacral place was returned to the renewed Armenian Apostle church. The name of the church was also renewed and became the Virgin Mary's Dormition church.

The interior of the Church features several haunting, symbolist Polish religious frescos painted in the early twentieth century.


At Catholic and Orthodox Easter, the Eastern and Western Christian Churches of Lviv are filled with fresh-cut pine trees from the surrounding forests.

Photo credit: With thanks.


Lviv Ecotourism Company:

Lviv History Museum:

Eastern Orthodox Easter - On The Death Of Mary, Three Poems By Rainer Maria Rilke

Vom Tode Mariae
(Drei Stücke)


Derselbe große Engel, welcher einst
ihr der Gebärung Botschaft niederbrachte,
stand da, abwartend dass sie ihn beachte,
und sprach Jetzt wird es Zeit, dass du erscheinst.
Und sie erschrak wie damals und erwies
sich wieder als die Magd, ihn tief bejahend.
Er aber strahlte und, unendlich nahend,
schwand er wie in ihr Angesicht - und hieß
die weithin ausgegangenen Bekehrer
zusammenkommen in das Haus am Hang,
das Haus des Abendmahls. Sie kamen schwerer
und traten bange ein: Da lag, entlang
die schmale Bettstatt, die in Untergang
und Auserwählung rätselhaft Getauchte,
ganz unversehrt, wie eine Ungebrauchte,
und achtete auf englischen Gesang.
Nun da sie alle hinter ihren Kerzen
abwarten sah, riss sie vom Übermaß
der Stimmen sich und schenkte noch von Herzen
die beiden Kleider fort, die sie besaß,
und hob ihr Antlitz auf zu dem und dem...
(O Ursprung namenloser Tränen-Bäche).

Sie aber legte sich in ihre Schwäche
und zog die Himmel an Jerusalem
so nah heran, dass ihre Seele nur,
austretend, sich ein wenig strecken musste:
schon hob er sie, der alles von ihr wusste,
hinein in ihre göttliche Natur.


Wer hat bedacht, dass bis zu ihrem Kommen
der viele Himmel unvollständig war?
Der Auferstandne hatte Platz genommen,
doch neben ihm, durch vierundzwanzig Jahr,
war leer der Sitz. Und sie begannen schon
sich an die reine Lücke zu gewöhnen,
die wie verheilt war, denn mit seinem schöne
Hinüberscheinen füllte sie der Sohn.

So ging auch sie, die in die Himmel trat,
nicht auf ihn zu, so sehr es sie verlangte;
dort war kein Platz, nur Er war dort und prangte
mit einer Strahlung, die ihr wehe tat.
Doch da sie jetzt, die rührende Gestalt,
sich zu den neuen Seligen gesellte
und unauffällig, licht zu licht, sich stellte,
da brach aus ihrem Sein ein Hinterhalt
von solchem Glanz, dass der von ihr erhellte
Engel geblendet aufschrie: Wer ist die?
Ein Staunen war. Dann sahn sie alle, wie
Gott-Vater oben unsern Herrn verhielt,
so dass, von milder Dämmerung umspielt,
die leere Stelle wie ein wenig Leid
sich zeigte, eine Spur von Einsamkeit,
wie etwas, was er noch ertrug, ein Rest
irdischer Zeit, ein trockenes Gebrest -.
Man sah nach ihr; sie schaute ängstlich hin,
weit vorgeneigt, als fühlte sie: ich bin
sein längster Schmerz -: und stürzte plötzlich vor.
Die Engel aber nahmen sie zu sich
und stützten sie und sangen seliglich
und trugen sie das letzte Stück empor.


Doch vor dem Apostel Thomas, der
kam, da es zu spät war, trat der schnelle
längst darauf gefasste Engel her
und befahl an der Begräbnisstelle:

Dräng den Stein beiseite. Willst du wissen,
wo die ist, die dir das Herz bewegt:
Sieh: sie ward wie ein Lavendelkissen
eine Weile da hineingelegt,

dass die Erde künftig nach ihr rieche
in den Falten wie ein feines Tuch.
Alles Tote (fühlst du), alles Sieche
ist betäubt von ihrem Wohl-Geruch.

Schau den Leinwand: wo ist eine Bleiche,
wo er blendend wird und geht nicht ein?
Dieses Licht aus dieser reinen Leiche
war ihm klärender als Sonnenschein.

Staunst du nicht, wie sanft sie ihm entging?
Fast als wär sie's noch, nichts ist verschoben.
Doch die Himmel sind erschüttert oben:
Mann, knie hin und sieh mir nach und sing.

Rainer Maria Rilke, zwischen dem 15. und 22.01.1912, Duino
Das Marien-Leben

Also see, Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), "Vom Tode Mariä I-III" , op. 27 no. 14 (1922-3), rev. 1948, from Das Marienleben


"Vom Tode Mariä II

Who had realized that until her arrival
the crowded heavens had been incomplete?
The risen one had taken his seat,
but next to him, for twenty-four years,
there was an empty space. And they began already
to get used to the pure gap,
which seemed to have healed, because with his beautiful
spreading radiance the son was filling it.

Thus, when she entered the heavens,
she did not go towards him, despite her strong longing;
there was no room, only He was there and shone
with a radiance that hurt her.
But just now as her moving figure joined
with the new blessed ones
and stood discreetly, as light with light, next to them,
there erupted from her being such an assault of
glowing light, that the blinded angel who was illuminated by her
cried out: Who is this one?
A wonderment arose. Then they all saw
how God-Father above shielded our Lord,
so that in the mild gloaming
the empty spot could now be seen
like a small pain, a sense of loneliness,
as something he was still bearing, a remnant from
his time on earth, a dried up injury-.
They watched her; she looked ahead with fear,
bent far forward, as if she felt: I am
His most enduring pain-; and suddenly broke forth.
But the angels took her in their fold
and steadied her and sang with blessed voices
and carried her up the final steps.

English Translation (c) Knut W. Barde. All rights reserved.

The Birth, Life, and Dormition of Mary receive greater meditation in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, than in Western Catholic and Protestant Christianity.

Photo credit: Collection of the Fine Arts Museum of Hamburg, Germany.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Esteemed Philadelphia Orchestra Hires Internet-Savvy Educator To Help Lead It Into The Broader Contemporary World

PHILADELPHIA - "The Philadelphia Orchestra has appointed a music-conservatory dean as its next president and chief executive officer, citing his fundraising success and ability to turn to new technology to expand the appeal of classical music.

James Undercofler, dean of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., is expected to start Aug. 1, succeeding Joseph H. Kluger, who announced in May he would resign after 16 years as the orchestra's president.

An 18-member committee of musicians, staff and board members recommended Undercofler, in a departure from current industry practice. The leaders of the other Big Five orchestras, in New York, Chicago, Boston and Cleveland, worked their way up in the orchestra industry.

The decision also marked a course change for Undercofler, who less than a month ago announced a new five-year term as the Eastman dean. He said he had called Philadelphia to take his name out of the running, had regretted doing so, and after five days had been contacted again by the search committee.

Orchestra officials pointed to Undercofler's fundraising record, overseeing a $100 million increase in the value of the Eastman School's endowment while dean, and his technological orientation, using the Internet to set up interactive lessons between students in Rochester, N.Y., and Glasgow, Scotland.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to grow audiences through the Internet," said Harold A. Sorgenti, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. "Selling 2,500 seats for a concert is not where it's going to be for the next 10 years." ...

Though he said he was hesitant to put forth ideas so soon, Undercofler said he would emphasize outreach and education. Eastman started a program this month called Music for All, sending students and their music to hospitals, schools, bookstores, churches and other community centers.

"You'll hear me talk about the power of music and what it can do for communities and individuals," Undercofler said. "The malaise in classical music in America is that we've lost that connection. The theme for me is building those connections.""

Associated Press "Philadelphia Orchestra names Eastman School dean as president" via April 20, 2006

Architectural detail from the newer Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Center is the home of the esteemed Philadelphia Orchestra, which is now seeking new ways to connect with 21st century classical music audiences.

Photo credit: custom_railing.shtml With thanks.

Review Of Music From The National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C.: 'Dark Mood in America, Supercharged Emotions in Europe'

"When Leonard Slatkin brought the National Symphony Orchestra to Carnegie Hall on Thursday and Friday nights [April 7 and 8], the themes, intentional or otherwise, were, first, America in a bad mood and, second, late-Romantic Europe pouring out its soul in gushers of strong feeling.

Emanuel Ax played a piano concerto each evening: Melinda Wagner's "Extremity of Sky" on Thursday and Beethoven's Third Concerto on Friday. Samuel Barber's "Medea's Dance of Vengeance," elegant and fastidious even in its more violent moments, introduced Thursday's concert. Friday's opener was Elgar's ever-ardent Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra.

The Elgar and, on Thursday, Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony shared similar nervous systems, both sending out great waves of pleading emotionalism and near-irresistible tunefulness. The Elgar had the benefit of brevity; the Rachmaninoff unloads its overloaded heart in four movements, an experience not unpleasant but also overpowering in an unsettling way — like having one's face licked by a very large dog.

Ms. Wagner's concerto is immensely busy. It also has a hard time enjoying itself. The composer knows how to make things tough for the redoubtable Mr. Ax and, in general, creates the atmosphere of a battlefield, filling it with struggle and violent incident. "Extremity of Sky" is an impressive master of its materials. (I liked the slowly undulating vibraphone tones.) Yet the relentless trafficking in despair made the occasional lull seem only a resting-up period for the next bout of anxiety. Serenity is not this composer's strongest suit.

If Ms. Wagner's concerto is depressed, John Corigliano's First Symphony, played on Friday, is angry. It remembers friends dead of AIDS, with fragments of their favorite music inserted as memorials. Otherwise, Mr. Corigliano does not take these deaths philosophically. The orchestra shrieks and bangs with sonic expletives. Textures are rubbed raw to the bone. The interludes of quietness are dumb grief; no solace is offered.

There were defections from the audience, but here the National Symphony was at its best. The Elgar and the Rachmaninoff had a puzzling sense of dislocation, the orchestra's strings sending out a warm glow of blurred rhythms and hazy togetherness. Was it an interpretive decision by Mr. Slatkin to surrender tight ensemble to this sort of blowzy emotiveness?" ...

Bernard Holland "Dark Mood in America, Supercharged Emotions in Europe" New York Times April 10, 2006 via

An earlier barricading of the Nation's Capital.

Barricades on Duke Street bing erected by African-Americans, under Union direction, to protect the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Confederate Cavalry - Alexandria, Virginia, 1861.

Photo credit: The Civil War Home Page. With thanks. searchphotos.asp?searchphot...

Kyoto Prize Laureate Simon Levin Says Mankind Must Make Hard Economic Decisions To Address Environmental Sustainability

“In Japan there is a saying that . . . just seeing and hearing the form, the manners and the words of great people helps you grow,” said Kazuo Inamori, 74, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Inc. and head of the foundation that sponsors the Kyoto Prizes....

“I think that is the opportunity that is given by this event,” Inamori said through a translator.

The newest Kyoto laureates make an inspiring group. ... [They include George H. Heilmeier, who led a team that developed the first usable liquid crystal display], Princeton University professor Simon A. Levin, and Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Levin has used complex mathematics to better understand the planet's declining biodiversity, the spread of infectious diseases and other environmental issues.

Harnoncourt's performances of classical European music, in which he conducts musicians using period instruments, have introduced people worldwide to great works as they most likely sounded hundreds of years ago.

Heilmeier and Levin presented lectures yesterday at the University of San Diego. Harnoncourt is scheduled to give a lecture and lead a musical performance today at USD's Shiley Theatre.

Each laureate receives a diploma, gold medal and 50 million yen (about $425,000). The three latest recipients bring the total number of honorees to 69 from 12 nations. Laureates have included scientists, engineers, musicians, philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors and film directors.

Levin, 64, has spent the past four decades studying how mathematics can be applied to some of Earth's most significant environmental problems.

For example, mathematical simulations and analyses are essential to studying changes in global climate, declining levels of biodiversity and the spread of diseases.

Levin said that during the past 15 years, he has become convinced that scientific challenges aren't the only things limiting humanity's ability to address such environmental troubles. The willingness of people to make hard economic decisions also plays a key role, he said.

As a result, Levin has worked closely with economists to find new ways to assign economic value to natural resources. He also has examined the costs and benefits of battling infectious diseases, particularly the growing threat of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

“Environmental protection and economic growth are not necessarily enemies of one another,” Levin said. “One has to find the right balance between them, and that involves finding ways to make predictions about ecological change, finding ways to put economic value on the services that ecological systems provide and, most difficult, finding ways to address these problems.”

The choice of Harnoncourt, 76, as a Kyoto laureate was intended to affirm the importance of artistic expression and spiritual growth, Inamori said. Through his work, Harnoncourt has enriched people's lives – bringing them together and exposing them to treasures from the past, Inamori said.

“The advancement of science and technology alone cannot make humanity happy,” Inamori said."

Bruce Lieberman "Kyoto laureates share genius with San Diego: Trio won Japan's top life-achievement prize" San Diego Union-Tribune via April 20, 2006



Trash is a major component of pollution entering San Diego Bay, California.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item found in the United States and around the world, and San Diego is no exception. Due to smoking bans inside public places in California and other states, over 99 percent of cigarettes are now smoked outside. A direct increase in the effects to the environment has been seen. Cigarette butts thrown onto streets and sidewalks get pushed into storm drains, which flow to creeks, rivers, and eventually the Bay. Once submerged in water, toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke found in cigarette filters are released, threatening water quality and marine life.

Photo and caption credit: Unified Port of San Diego, California. With thanks. sandiego_environment/h...