Sunday, 3 March 2013


Adolf Hitler, an Austrian-born, was the leader of the Nazi Party and a notorious dictator of Germany. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As a leader of the Nazi party, Hitler promoted nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism by establishing a Fascist dictatorship in Germany and espoused a foreign policy of world conquest. His interpretation of racial subjugation and anti-Jewish policies caused death of an estimated 6 million Jews and several other groups of people, including his political opponents. Atrocities committed by him during the war including 'genocide' of Jews, widely known as The Holocaust' put him against the peace and unity in world and eventually led to his downfall after his defeat in the Second World War. The dictator committed suicide when the Russian troops took over Germany in 1945.

Childhood & Early Life

  • Hitler was the fourth child of Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl.   
  • His father, a custom official by profession, was tremendously violent to his wife and son, and used to beat them often.   
  • In 1894, his family moved to Leonding, Austria.  
  • Adolf took admission in school in nearby Fischlham in Austia.  
  • He left school at 16, to become a painter. He went to Vienna.  
  • While living in Vienna, Hitler struggled as a painter after having been rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna during 1907-1908.   


  • Hitler joined the Bavarian Army in 1914 during the World War I.   
  • After World War I, Hitler was appointed Intelligence agent of the reconnaissance commando the ‘Reichswehr’ in order to infiltrate the German Worker’s Party.  
  • Here he came into the contact of its founder Anton Drexler and got impressed with his anti-Jewish socialism and anti-capitalist ideas; Hitler became a member of the party.   
  • He was discharged from the Army in 1920 and became an active party member.   
  • After a trust vote in 1921, Hitler became the chairman of the German Worker’s Party and changed its name to National Socialists German Worker’s Party (NSDAP).   
  • In 1923, Hitler was arrested and charged with high treason after he attempted to instigate a coup against the government.  
  • A trial ensued, and he was sentenced to five year’s imprisonment at Landsberg Prison on 1 April 1924 but was released from jail in 1924 after receiving a general amnesty.  
  • While in the prison, Hitler wrote his autobiography 'Mein Kampf' (literally 'My struggle'), which is an elucidation of his ideology. The book was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926.  
  • On 25 February 1932, Hitler was granted the citizenship of Germany; thus making him eligible for contesting presidential election against Hindenburg.   
  • On 30 January 1933, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany in a ceremony held at Hindenburg’s office.   
  • Hitler’s government banned Communist Party of Germany and Social Democratic party and forced all other parties to dissolve.   
  • On 14 July 1933, Nazi Party was declared the only legal Party in Germany.  
  • After the death of President Hindenburg on 2 August 1934, Hitler became the supreme commander of the military and ultimate power of the nation, whose officers took oath to Hitler’s loyalty.  
  • On 12 March 1938, Hitler declared unification of Austria with Nazi Germany.   
  • On 15 March 1939, Hitler invaded Prague.  
  • On 1 September 1939, German army invaded poland. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September; this led to the start of World War II.  
  • On 22 June 1941, three million German troops attacked the Soviet Union, thereby breaking the non-aggression pact that Hitler and Stalin signed two years back in 1939.   
  • Hitler's declaration of war against the United States on 11 December 1941, put him against a noxious union including the world's largest empire (the British Empire), the world's greatest industrial and financial power (the United States), and the world's largest army (the Soviet Union).  
  • In late 1942, German forces lost the second battle of El Alamein, which strongly hit Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and thereby the Middle East.   
  • Situation became worse with the progress of the Battle of Stalingrad that ended with a destruction of German 6th Army in February 1943.  
  • On 6 June 1944, the Western armies landed in northern France, making it one of the largest victories of European army.   
  • By late 1944, the Red Army had forced the German troops back into Central Europe and the Western Allies continued to progress into Germany.  
  • It was then Hitler realized that Germany was doomed. He ordered complete destruction of Germany’s infrastructure' before the enemies captured it; preparing the entire Germany go along with him in his dreadful end.   
  • In April 1945, the Soviet forces attacked the suburbs of Berlin.   
  • Finally, Hitler’s Nazi Germany surrendered to the Red Army. Owing to his defeat, Hitler committed suicide on April 30.  


Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero. Hercules was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome.

Zeus, Hercules' father, was the most powerful of the gods. That meant Zeus could do anything he pleased, but it also meant that sometimes Zeus was not a very good husband to his wife, Hera, the queen of the gods

Zeus fell in love with a beautiful Greek woman named Alcmene [Alk-ME-ne]. When Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, was away, Zeus made her pregnant. This made Hera so angry that she tried to prevent the baby from being born. When Alcmene gave birth to the baby anyway, she named him Herakles. (The Romans pronounced the name "Hercules," and so do we today.) The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera" in Greek, and that got Hera angrier still. Then she tried to kill the baby by sending snakes into his crib. But little Hercules was one strong baby, and he strangled the snakes, one in each hand, before they could bite him.

Hera remained angry. How could she get even? Hera knew that she would lose in a fight, and that she wasn't powerful enough to prevent Zeus from having his way. Hera decided to pay Zeus back for his infidelity by making the rest of Hercules' life as miserable as she could.

When Hercules grew up and had become a great warrior, he married Megara. They had two children. Hercules and Megara were very happy, but life didn't turn out for them the way it does in the movie. Hera sent a fit of madness to Hercules that put him into so great a rage, he murdered Megara and the children.

When Hercules regained his senses and saw the horrible thing that he had done, he asked the god Apollo to rid him of this pollution. Apollo commanded the hero to do certain tasks as a punishment for his wrongs, so that the evil might be cleansed from his spirit.

Apollo had many divine responsibilities. As Phoebus, he was the sun god, and every day he drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. He was the god of healing and music. Finally, Apollo was a god of prophecy: the Greeks believed that Apollo knew what would happen in the future, and that he could advise people how to act.

Hercules hurried to the temple where Apollo gave such advice. It was in the town of Delphi and was called the Delphic oracle. Apollo said that in order to purify himself for the spilling of his family's blood, he had to perform 10 heroic labors (this number would soon be increased to 12).

After he completed the 12 Labors, Hercules didn't just sit back and rest on his laurels. He had many more adventures.


Rome’s Colosseum, originally referred to as the Flavian Ampitheatre, is one of the greatest pieces of Roman engineering and architecture in existence today. It’s located just east of the Forum, and was built starting sometime between 70 and 72 CE, with work finishing in just eight to ten years. However, additional modifications were made in the decades to follow.

The Colosseum was capable of seating as many as fifty thousand people, and hosted public spectacles, such as animal hunts, battle reenactments, drama, mock sea battles and executions, as well as gladatorial games. By the medieval period, the building was no longer used as a place of entertainment, and throughout history it was reused to house people, as workshop space, to quarter religious orders, as a fortress, as a quarry and as a shrine.
By one estimate, around five hundred thousand people and a million wild animals were killed as part of the games in the Colosseum during the period when it served as a place of entertainment. Over nine thousand animals were said to have been killed during just the inaugural games, according to Dio Cassius.


The ampitheater originally had wooden upper levels, but a major fire in 217 CE destroyed them, and they were not fully repaired until nearly a century later. Earthquakes and other natural disasters have further damaged it over the years, as has the theft of some of its stone. It is currently partially ruined, but remains an iconic symbol of the permanence of Rome, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
The Colosseum was declared a sacred site in 1749, when Pope Benedict XIV declared that use of the building as a quarry would not be allowed. Later Popes removed the extensive vegetation that had overgrown the entire structure, reinforced it with brick wedges, and repaired the interior through the ninteenth and early twentieth centuries. The substructure of the arena was also excavated, with the final work done during Mussolini’s regime in the 1930s.

Parts of the outer wall were cleaned between 1993 and 2000, because of significant damage by car exhaust. This restoration cost forty billion Italian lire. The building has become a symbol of the fight against capital punishment, and every time a criminal has a death sentence commuted or is released, the Roman authorities change the building’s night time lighting from white to gold.


The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest). Unlike other scattered indigenous populations of Mesoamerica, the Maya were centered in one geographical block covering all of the Yucatan Peninsula and modern-day Guatemala; Belize and parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas; and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador. This concentration showed that the Maya remained relatively secure from invasion by other Mesoamerican peoples.

From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed. The reason for this mysterious decline is unknown, though scholars have developed several competing theories.

Some believe that by the ninth century the Maya had exhausted the environment around them to the point that it could no longer sustain a very large population. Other Maya scholars argue that constant warfare among competing city-states led the complicated military, family (by marriage) and trade alliances between them to break down, along with the traditional system of dynastic power. As the stature of the holy lords diminished, their complex traditions of rituals and ceremonies dissolved into chaos. Finally, some catastrophic environmental change--like an extremely long, intense period of drought--may have wiped out the Classic Maya civilization. Drought would have hit cities like Tikal--where rainwater was necessary for drinking as well as for crop irrigation--especially hard.

All three of these factors--overpopulation and overuse of the land, endemic warfare and drought--may have played a part in the downfall of the Maya in the southern lowlands. In the highlands of the Yucatan, a few Maya cities--such as Chichén Itzá, Uxmal and Mayapán--continued to flourish in the Post-Classic Period (A.D. 900-1500). By the time the Spanish invaders arrived, however, most Maya were living in agricultural villages, their great cities buried under a layer of rainforest green. 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Ghost Ship Mary Celeste

During her first decade of operations, she was involved in several misadventures and passed through many changes of ownership. It was as if the ship was under the influence of a bad evil. 

Look at the following chronological events: 

  • The First master Robert McLellan fell ill and died. 

  • On her maiden voyage commanded by John Parker, the ship suffered a big damage in her hull after running into a fishing dam off the sea. Mary Celeste required major repairs at the shipyards. Later, a fire broke out at the shipyards, terminating Parker’s command. 

  • During her first Atlantic crossing, she collided in the straits of Dover with a two-masted ship which sank. Mary Celeste again required repairs. 

  • Upon her return to America she ran aground off Cow Bay, Nova Scotia. 

  • After she was pulled out of the rocks, she continued to change hands between a number of owners. No one made any profit. In fact, some of them went bankrupt. 

  • Finally she was purchased by an American, James Winchester. James bought her at a New York salvage auction for $3,000. She went through extensive repairs and renovation. When she was back again, the ship looked completely different and hardly had any resemblance with 'The Amazon'. Her name was then changed to Mary Celeste

  • In October 1872, Mary Celeste was made ready on a birth in New York's East River for a voyage to Genoa, Italy. The captain of the ship was Benjamin Briggs aged 37. Briggs’ 30-year old wife Sarah and 2-year-old child were also in the ship. And there were 7 crew making it a total of 10 on board. 

    Captain Briggs was a very experienced and able seaman and captained five ships in his career. He himself was an owner of many ships and had spent most of his life on the sea. 

    Mary Celeste departed New York City on November 7, 1872. She was carrying a cargo of 1701 barrels of raw commercial alcohol valued at some $35,000 and had full insurance. 

    Strangely after almost a month of her sail, on December 4, 1872 a British Empire vessel namedDei Gratia found the Mary Celeste off the coast of Portugal. She apparently looked abandoned although still under sail. There was not a single soul on board. 

    So what could have been the cause of such mysterious abandonment? The weather was fine and she had 6 months of food and water. The crew were all very able seamen and trustworthy. Even the personal belongings including valuables were untouched.


     Mona Fandey, was a pop singer, witch doctor, and a murderess from Malaysia. She was executed on November 2, 2001 at the age of 45, after being convicted of the murder of a politician, Mazlan Idris, in 1993.After leaving the music business, she became involved in spiritual witchcraft activities and was known to be a bomoh, a local shaman. She began offering her services to clients, mostly from the upper-class society. She also claimed to have provided politician clients in the ruling party with a variety of charms and talismans.


    July 2, 1993: Mazlan was last seen at the Raub Umno division office about
    10pm together with Affendy, Mona Fandey and their daughter Mazdiana.

    July 18, 1993: Former Raub Umno division head Datuk Mohamed Zuki Kamaluddin
    lodged a report at Raub police station on Mazlan's disappearance after he
    failed to turn up for several official functions since July 3.

    July 19, 1993: Mazlan's wife, Datin Faridah Zainuddin, lodged a missing
    person report at the Kuantan police station.

    July 20, 1993: Arrest of Affendy and Mona Fandey at the Wangsa Maju police
    station in Kuala Lumpur.

    July 21, 1993: Police began searching for Mazlan's body in Kampung Peruas,
    Ulu Dong, Raub, accompanied by Affendy.

    July 22, 1993 (3.20am): Mazlan's body, cut into 18 parts, was recovered
    buried inside a store in an unnumbered house under construction on his plot
    of land at a Felcra scheme in Ulu Dong, about 45km from Raub.

    July 23, 1993 (10.20am): Juraimi was arrested at the Raub police station.

    Aug 2, 1993: Affendy, Mona Fandey and Juraimi were tentatively charged in
    the Raub magistrates court with the murder of Mazlan. They were taken into
    court at 4.15pm through a crowd of 2,000 which had gathered outside as early
    as 8am.

    Oct 26, 1993: Preliminary inquiry began in the Raub magistrate's court
    before Sessions Court judge Jalaluddin Salleh sitting as magistrate.

    Dec 18, 1993: Affendy, Mona Fandey and Juraimi committed to stand trial in
    the High Court. Seventy witnesses had testified and 295 exhibits tendered
    during the preliminary inquiry which lasted 17 days.

    Sept 12, 1994: High Court trial began before Judge Datuk Mokhtar Sidin in
    Temerloh. All three pleaded not guilty.

    Sept 13, 1994: DPP Zakaria Sam made his opening statement. He said that
    Mazlan was trapped and murdered by Mona Fandey, her husband and their
    assistant. The first prosecution witness Datuk Zuki Kamaluddin testified. He
    said he lodged a missing person report with the Raub district police on July
    18, 1993, 16 days after Mazlan was last seen.

    Sept 14, 1994:
    Mazlan's widow Faridah took the witness stand. She broke down and wept as she recounted how she identified several parts of her husband's mutilated body, by his long toes and a black mark on one of them. She said she also identified his thin moustache, broad forehead, his wallet, gun,watch, shoes and telephone.

    Oct 5, 1994:
    Juraimi was ordered to undergo a week's psychiatric observation
    at the Kuantan Hospital.

    Oct 29, 1994:
    Juraimi's cautioned statement was accepted at the end of a
    trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of his statement.

    Nov 16, 1994:
    Mona Fandey took the witness stand in a trial-within-a-trial
    to determine the admissibility of her cautioned statement. She wept several
    times as she alleged mental and physical torture during interrogations.

    Nov 22, 1994:
    The prosecution closed its case.
    Nov 23, 1994:
    The three accused ordered to enter their defence.

    Nov 23, 1994:
    Juraimi took the witness stand and gave a gruesome account of
    how Mazlan was murdered, decapitated, chopped up and buried. I chopped his
    neck three times to separate the head from the body ... I also cut Mazlan's
    body into pieces before burying the remains, said Juraimi. Mazlan was lying
    on the floor in the washroom face up with a flower placed on his forehead
    and his eyes closed when his head was chopped off.

    Nov 24, 1994:
    Juraimi said he was in a hypnotic trance when he murdered
    Mazlan and regretted his actions because Datuk has never done anything to
    hurt my feelings. He said he was instructed by Affendy to murder Mazlan.

    Jan 20, 1995: Mona Fandey chose to give a statement from the dock when she
    was called to make her defence. This meant she could not be cross-examined.
    She said neither she nor her husband had planned or had any intention of
    causing the death of Mazlan. She lashed out at Juraimi's counsel whom she
    said disbelieved her statement. She said she and Affendy were giving Mazlan
    a mandi bunga when Juraimi suddenly chopped his neck.
    She and her husband then changed clothes and left for Kuala Lumpur. She
    claimed that they were wealthy.

    Jan 27, 1995:
    The defence closed its case. The last of the seven defence
    witnesses, businessman Fakuradzi Yusoff, gave evidence. A total of 67
    prosecution witnesses testified and 238 exhibits tendered. Over 900 pages of
    evidence was recorded by the judge.

    Feb 6, 1995:
    Submissions by the defence.

    Feb 9, 1995:
    Submissions by the prosecution. Summing up by the judge. Jury
    returns unanimous verdict of guilty on all three and they are sentenced to
    death by the Temerloh High Court.

    Oct 20, 1997:
    The Court of Appeal dismissed Juraimi's application to tender
    evidence on the conduct of the trial judge.

    Oct 24, 1997:
    The Court of Appeal dismissed appeals by the bomoh couple and
    their assistant, ruling that there was no substantial miscarriage of justice
    in the cases.

    Nov 3, 1997:
    An aide of the bomoh couple filed a notice of appeal against
    the Court of Appeal's decision dismissing the appeals.

    June 29, 1998:
    Federal Court dismisssed appeals by the couple and their
    assistant against the rejection of their applications to address evidence on
    the conduct of the High Court judge who heard their case in 1995.

    April 13, 1999:
    They failed in their appeals when the Federal Court upheld
    the conviction and sentence imposed by the Temerloh High Court in 1995,
    following which they filed petitions for clemency.

    March 4, 2001:
    The Pahang Pardons Board rejected appeals for pardon by
    Death Row prisoners Mona Fandey, Mohamed Affandi Abdul Rahman and Juraimi Hussein who were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Pahang state assemblyman for Batu Talam Datuk Mazlan Idris.


    Capoeira is a martial art that grew from survival. It was created by slaves brought to Brazil from Africa, during the colonial period. People were brought from Angola, Congo and Mozambique, and with them, they brought their cultural traditions.

    They hid their martial art and traditions into a form of dance. The African people developed capoeira not only to resist oppression, but also for the survival of their culture and the lifting of their spirits. After slavery, they continued to play capoeira. With no employment, many of them turned to gangs. Quickly capoeira was associated with crime and in 1892 became outlawed in Brazil. If a person was caught for practicing the art, they were punished by cutting the tendons of the back of their feet. A rhythm, called cavalaria, was created as an alarm that warned them of police. People that played capoeira had nicknames to hide their identity from the police. Often they had more than one. Getting a nickname has become a tradition and people gain a nickname usually at a batizado.

    Capoeira was against the law for 20 years until 1918. The first capoeira school ever to exist was that of Mestre Bimba. He was given permission to do so in 1937, after he demonstrated the art in front of president Getúlio Varga. Capoeira was finally recognized as a national sport.

    There are two main styles of capoeira. Mestre Bimba is recognized as the father of Capoeira Regional. The second main style is capoeira Angola, a slower and lower to the ground game retaining the rituals and traditions of capoeira.

    Capoeira Regional: This is the most common form of Capoeira. It is also generally the one the people speak of as emanating from Brazil.
    Capoeira Angola: The most ancient form of Capoeira, steeped in tradition. It is generally practiced lower to the floor and more slowly than the other sub styles.
    Capoeira places a premium on kicks, sweeps, and head strikes. Punches are rarely emphasized. From a defensive standpoint, evasive moves and rolls comprise most of the art's teachings.