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|Why One is 1 and Two is 2..???????
I checked the dictator’s heart and lived in luxury. But when revolution came, I realized the cost. In this week’s Newsweek, Oksana Balinskaya talks about what it was like being the nurse for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
I was just 21 when I went to work for Muammar Gaddafi. Like the other young women he hired as nurses, I had grown up in Ukraine. I didn’t speak a word of Arabic, didn’t even know the difference between Lebanon and Libya. But “Papik,” as we nicknamed him—it means “little father” in Russian—was always more than generous to us. I had everything I could dream of: a furnished two-bedroom apartment, a driver who appeared whenever I called. But my apartment was bugged, and my personal life was watched closely.
Oksana Balinskaya worked as Gaddafi’s Nurse. (Photo: Joseph Sywenkyj for Newsweek)
For the first three months I wasn’t allowed to go to the palace. I think Papik was afraid that his wife, Safia, would get jealous. But soon I began to attend to him regularly. The job of the nurses was to see that our employer stayed in great shape-in fact, he had the heart rate and blood pressure of a much younger man. We insisted that he wear gloves on visits to Chad and Mali to protect him against tropical diseases. We made sure that he took his daily walks around the paths of his residence, got his vaccinations, and had his blood pressure checked on time.
The Ukrainian press called us Gaddafi’s harem. That’s nonsense. None of us nurses was ever his lover; the only time we ever touched him was to take his blood pressure. The truth is that Papik was much more discreet than his friend, the womanizer Silvio Berlusconi. Gaddafi chose to hire only attractive Ukrainian women, most probably for our looks. He just liked to be surrounded by beautiful things and people. He had first picked me from a line of candidates after shaking my hand and looking me in the eye. Later I learned he made all his decisions about people at the first handshake. He is a great psychologist.
Papik had some odd habits. He liked to listen to Arab music on an old cassette player, and he would change his clothes several times a day. He was so obsessive about his outfits that he reminded me of a rock star from the 1980s. Sometimes when his guests were already waiting for him, he would go back to his room and change his clothes again, perhaps into his favorite white suit. When we drove around poor African countries he would fling money and candy out the widow of his armored limousine to children who ran after our motorcade; he didn’t want them close for fear of catching diseases from them. He never slept in a tent, though! That’s just a myth. He only used the tent for official meetings.
We traveled in great style. I accompanied Papik to the United States, Italy, Portugal, and Venezuela, and whenever he was in a good mood, he asked us if we had everything we needed. We would get bonuses to go shopping. And -every year Papik gave all his staff gold watches with his picture on them.
We traveled in great style. I accompanied Papik to the United States, Italy, Portugal, and Venezuela, and whenever he was in a good mood, he asked us if we had everything we needed. We would get bonuses to go shopping. And -every year Papik gave all his staff gold watches with his picture on them. Just showing that watch in Libya would open any door, solve any problem that we had.
I got the impression that at least half the population of Libya disliked Papik. The local medical staff was jealous of us because we made three times more than they did—over $3,000 a month. It was obvious that Papik made all the decisions in his country. He is like Stalin; he has all the power and all the luxury, all for himself. When I first saw television pictures of the Egyptian revolution I thought, nobody would ever dare to rise against our Papik. But there was a chain reaction after Tunisia and Egypt. If Papik had passed his throne to his son Saif when he still had a chance, I believe that everything would have been all right. People would not be dying right now.
I got out of Tripoli at the beginning of February, just in time. Two of my friends stayed behind, and now they can’t leave. I had a very personal reason for wanting to get out: I was four months pregnant, and I was beginning to show. I feared that Papik would not approve of my Serbian boyfriend.
Papik will probably never forgive me my betrayal. But I realize I did the right thing to flee Libya. My friends all told me I should think of my future baby and run. Now Papik’s closest partners are also running from him. And he is forcing his children and our two remaining Ukrainian colleagues to stay and die by his side.
As told to NEWSWEEK’s Anna Nemtsova in Mogilnoye, Ukraine.
Some breathtaking snaps
|NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who is currently aboard the International Space Station shares pictures of the Earth he snaps with the world through Twitter. Wheelock has been posting impressive photos of the Earth and some of his thoughts ever since he moved into the space station in June, five months after it got Internet access. Needless to say, the pictures are stunning.
Here is a small collection of some of his best pictures.
Greek islands on a clear night during our flight over Europe. Athens shine brightly along the Mediterranean Sea. Unreal feeling arises when one sees the beauty of the ancient earth from space.
‘Mystery Island’ …located in the Indian Ocean close to Madagascar. Interesting features on the island and the unusual shape should be enough to help you discover this beautiful place.
Northern lights in the distance in one of the finest nights over Europe. The photo clearly shows the Strait of Dover. Paris is dazzling with the city lights. A little fog over the western part of England, particularly over London.
The moon is breathtaking
Of all the places of our beautiful planet few can rival the beauty and richness of colors in the Bahamas. In this photo, our ship is seen against the backdrop of the Bahamas.
At a speed of 28,163 kilometers per hour (8 kilometers per second), we rotate the Earth’s orbit, making one revolution every 90 minutes, and watch sunsets and sunrises every 45 minutes. So half of our journey is in darkness. For the work we use lights on our helmets.
Every time I look out the window and see our beautiful planet, my soul sings! I see blue skies, white clouds and bright blessed day.
Another spectacular sunset. We see 16 such sunsets each day, and each of them is really valuable.
Beautiful atoll in the Pacific Ocean, photographed using 400mm lens. Approximately 1930 km south of Honolulu.
Perfect reflection of sunlight in the eastern Mediterranean.
Above the center of the Atlantic Ocean, before another stunning sunset. Downstairs in the setting sun visible spiral Hurricane Earl.
A little farther east, we saw a sacred monolith Uluru, better known as Ayers Rock Rock. I have never had the opportunity to visit Australia, but someday I hope that I will stand by this miracle of nature.
Morning over the Andes in South America. I do not know for sure the title of this peak, but was simply amazed by her magic, stretching to the sun and wind tops.
Over the Sahara desert, approaching the ancient lands and thousand-year history. River Nile flows through Egypt by the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo. Further, the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea, Jordan River, as well as the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece on the horizon.
Night view of the River Nile, stretching like a snake through Egypt to the Mediterranean, and Cairo, located in the Delta. Far away in this picture, one can see the Mediterranean Sea.
Our unmanned ‘Progress 39P’ approaches to the ISS for refueling. It is full of food, fuel, spare parts and all necessities for our station. Inside was a real gift – fresh fruit and vegetables. What a miracle after three months of food from a tube!
I wanted to share with you this view from the Dome. We said goodbye to the members of our group Sasha, Misha and Tracy this weekend, and they returned safely back to Earth. In this photo, Tracy quietly dreams of returning home.
Module Union 23C Olympus docked with the ISS . When our work ends here, we go back home to Earth. We fly over the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus. The rising sun is reflected from the Caspian Sea.
The flash of color, movement and life on the canvas of our amazing world. This is part of the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia, photographed through the lens of 1200 mm.
All the beauty of Italy, a clear summer night. You can see many beautiful islands that adorn the coast – Capri, Sicily and Malta. Naples and Mount Vesuvius are allocated along the coast.
At the southern end of South America lies the pearl of Patagonia. The amazing beauty of rugged mountains, massive glaciers, fjords and seas combined in perfect harmony.
“Dome” on the side of nadir station gives a panoramic view of our beautiful planet. Fedor made the picture from the window of the Russian docking compartment. In this photo I’m sitting in the dome, preparing the camera for our evening flight over Hurricane Earl.
Florida and southeastern U.S. in the evening. A clear autumn evening, the moonlight over the water and sky, dotted with millions of stars.
Clear starry night over the eastern Mediterranean. The ancient land with a thousand years of history stretching from Athens to Cairo. Historical land of fabulous and alluring island … Athens – Crete – Rhodes – Izmir – Ankara – Cyprus – Damascus – Beirut – Haifa – Amman – Tel Aviv – Jerusalem – Cairo – all of them turned into tiny lights in this cool November night.
In this time of year you can enjoy the beauty of the polar mesospheric clouds. With our high-angle illumination, we were able to capture a thin layer of noctilucent clouds at sunset.
My entry to Givekuwait.com
If you like it, please vote.
Peacock dance @ Kuwait Zoo.
From the Grand Canyon to the Matterhorn, the world’s most iconic vistas are part of the travel canon for good reason. They induce wanderlust. They get us thinking about the four corners of the earth as well as humankind’s minor place in the scheme of things. And when we see them in person, we are startled and humbled by their physical magnificence.
Cliffs of Moher
Why It’s Amazing: Stand on the blustery edge of Ireland’s steep, rocky Atlantic-battered cliffs and you’ll feel as though you’ve arrived at the true end of the world, with nothing but 2,000 miles of briny Atlantic swells between you and Newfoundland.
Secret Viewing Spot: The view of the ocean from atop Moher is breathtaking, but
experiencing it on the water is sublime. Hop on a surfboard at the nearby Lahinch Surf School and try to conquer Aill na Searrach, also known as the giant wave of Moher.
When to Go: Crowds dissipate in October, when you’ll also find the best swells.
Great Wall of China
Why It’s Amazing: Millions of people over the course of 21 centuries helped construct,
rebuild, and maintain the Great Wall of China, which dips, rises, and bends across the country for some 6,000 miles. The theory that it’s visible from space is now debated, but its immense engineering achievement and man-made beauty are unquestionable.
Secret Viewing Spot: You’ll find the otherworldly ruins of unrestored wall segments in Gubeikou, a less-visited part of the Yanshan Mountain range in the northeast of Miyun County.
When to Go: October’s brisk temperatures and lighter foot traffic make for ideal wall hiking.
Why It’s Amazing: Napoleon is credited for transforming the City of Light during the Second Empire, but it was engineer Gustave Eiffel who helped define the cityscape with a colossal iron lattice tower, which has become a symbol of romance that can be seen sparkling from even the remotest corners of Paris’s 20th Arrondissement.
Secret Viewing Spot: The glimmering, glass-walled Nomiya is a temporary, 12-seat restaurant and art installation on top of the Palais de Tokyo museum; it’s open until July 2010.
When to Go: Winter. Yes, it’s chilly, but the twinkling lights and cold Seine breeze create a tableau that is pure Paris.
Why It’s Amazing: Five hundred mountain climbers have died attempting to reach the rocky 14,692-foot summit of Switzerland’s majestic Matterhorn. The snow-covered, sawtoothed peak has a pyramidal summit that has become the textbook illustration of alpinism’s golden age and all its triumphs.
Secret Viewing Spot: Ascend Gornergrat by railway and exit at quiet Rotenboden station. Walk down the 3-kilometer path to Lake Riffelsee, which on clear days offers majestic reflections of the mountain.
When to Go: The trail to Lake Riffelsee is open from July to October; the later you go, the less crowded it will be..
Why It’s Amazing: It’s big. Real big. We’re talking 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide,
and one mile deep. While it’s not the world’s deepest or widest canyon, it’s undoubtedly the most colorful. The Grand Canyon also exposes ancient Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata—two billion years of earth’s rust-hued history—a visual experience that is not easily captured on film and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Secret Viewing Spot: Head toward tranquil Shoshone Point, an unmarked trail on a dirt road off East Rim Drive between mileposts 244 and 245.
When to Go: March to May, before the RVs arrive.
Why It’s Amazing: Though many theories exist about Machu Picchu’s purpose (a prison,
a resort, an agricultural test site, an aristocratic estate), there’s no denying the cosmic beauty of these methodically carved, fog-covered peaks, engineered by the Incas in the 15th century. To witness dawn spilling over the lush Peruvian Urubamba Valley is an unforgettable experience.
Secret Viewing Spot: Only the first 400 visitors to the site are given access to Huayna
Picchu, the peak that overlooks Machu Picchu’s ruins and offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding cloud forest.
When to Go: June is a quiet month; on Sundays many tourists head to the nearby Pisac Market instead.
Why It’s Amazing: The Tiger’s Nest (or Paro Taktsang Monastery) clings like lichen to rocky cliffs in Bhutan’s Paro Valley and creates an awed silence among visitors, broken only by the sound of rustling prayer flags and chanting monks.
Secret Viewing Spot: The best vistas are from the gardens of Sangtopelri and hermitages atop the mountain above Tiger’s Nest, accessed by the winding trail used by monks.
When to Go: April and May, for the spring flowers and Paro Festival.
Great Barrier Reef
Why It’s Amazing: The world’s largest reef system, off the coast of Australia, casts a cerulean underwater glow that is unlike any color you’ll find above the surface. Thousands of species live on the reef, including endemic sea-dragons, giant cuttlefish, saltwater crocodiles, and 125 species of sharks.
Secret Viewing Spot: Try off-beach diving and snorkeling from tranquil Lady Elliot Island, home to a population of manta rays and renowned for its crystal-clear waters.
When to Go: September and October, when visibility is at its best and whales are breeding.
Merry Christmas. If you have not yet planned your Christmas, how about visit the home of Jesus.
Yes, the house where Jesus lived, has been found in Nazareth.
Israeli archaeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that could date back to the time of Jesus. The finding could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.
The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-theway hamlet of around 50 houses on a four-acre land. It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations chief at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Based on the clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a simple Jewish family , Alexandre added, as workers carefully chipped away at mud with pickaxes to reveal stone walls.
Nazareth is the town where, Christian tradition says, Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God. This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with, Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends. Its a logical suggestion.
The discovery so close to Christmas has pleased local Christians. They say if the people do not speak, the stones will, said Rev Jack Karam of the Basilica of the Annunciation, the site where Christian tradition says Mary received the angels word.
The team found the remains of a wall, a hideout, a courtyard and a water system that appeared to collect water from the roof and supply it to the home. Archaeologists have also found clay and chalk vessels which may have been used by Galilean Jews of the time. The scientists concluded that a Jewish family lived there because of the chalk, which was used by Jews at the time to ensure the purity of the food and water kept in the vessels.
The discovery at this time, this period, is very interesting, especially as a Christian , Karam said. For me, it is a great gift.
(as reported in the press)
Google India has launched an Internet Bus – a mobile bus designed to provide Internet experience to people in a state in India.
Through this campaign Google is aiming to reach out to people with limited knowledge and exposure to the Internet.
The bus will cover 15 towns over a period of one and a half months. With a focus on four themes — information, communication, entertainment and education, the Internet Bus will have useful and informative content in English and Tamil to give the users an understanding of how the Internet can be used for all of these needs.
In addition to basic familiarisation on using services like search, email, social networking, online maps and others, the bus will showcase how the Internet can make everyday life simple.
“We are passionate about empowering users with information and the Internet democratizes access to information. With this initiative we want to take the power of this medium to people who will really benefit from it. We believe that if we can get people to experience the Internet even briefly they will find the means to go back again,” said Dr Prasad Ram, Head of Google R&D, India.
The bus is designed to make the introduction to the Internet simple for a user. The message will be shared through interesting videos that talk about how people are using the Internet for varied reasons and activities – grandparents using email and video sites to interact with children and grandchildren in another city; a student from a small city using search to find information that is not otherwise physically accessible; a local music group using YouTube to share their talent with the world; a small entrepreneur using the Internet to expand his reach and revenues.
The Internet Bus will also address the challenge around access and language for a lot of users in smaller cities by educating them on how they can access the Internet on their mobiles and use various Google tools to break the language barrier.