Monday, August 31, 2009

India Paintings FDCs

India FDCs
Name: Jayadeva and Geetagovinda
Date of Issue: 27 July 2009

The Gita Govinda (Song of Govinda) is a work composed by the 12th-century poet, Jayadeva, who was born in Kenduli Sasan near Puri in Orissa. It describes the relationship between Krishna and the gopis (female cow herders) of Vrindavana, and in particular one gopi named Radha. This work has been of great importance in the development of the bhakti traditions of Hinduism.

The Gita Govinda is organized into twelve chapters. Each chapter is further sub-divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandhas. The prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called Ashtapadis.

The first English translation of the Gita Govinda was published by Sir William Jones in 1792, where Kalinga (ancient Orissa) is referred to as the origin of the text. Since then, the Gita Govinda has been translated to many languages throughout the world, and is considered to be among the finest examples of Sanskrit poetry.

Yasodhara Menon, Chief Post Master General, Orissa Circle of India Post released a set of 11 stamps on Jayadev & Gita Govind at a state level function held at Jayadev Bhawan, Bhubaneswar on July 27, 2009. The album containing these stamps was presented to the chief guest, Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa. Prafulla Samal, Minister for Panchayati Raj, Information and Public Relation, Orissa, Prasanna Patsani, Member of Parliament, Aravind Dhali, Member of the Legislative Assembly and Tarunkanti Mishra, IAS, Development Commissioner and Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Orissa were present on the occasion.

A spectacular and colorful Orissi dance performance on Dasavtar followed the stamp release function. The Chief Minister also inaugurated a photographic exhibition on the paintings on Jayadev. A Philatelic counter was opened during the function. In spite of heavy rain philatelists from different parts of Orissa as well as local people turned up in large numbers.

Comment: These 11 stamps are the largest commemorative set of stamps in India Post's history. It's also very interesting because the issue date of this set is 27th July, 2009, but the year on stamp is 2008.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Russia Solovetsky Is. FDC

Russia FDC
Name: Worldwide Cultural Heritage in Russia: Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands
Date of Issue: 27 July 2009

Sviato-Troitsky Monastery (XVII cen.)
12P.: Sviato-Sergievsky Monastery (XIX cen.)
12P.: Solovetsky Monastery (XV cen.)
12P.: Church of Apostle Andrey Pervozvanny (XVIII cen.)

The Solovetsky Islands (Russian: Солове́цкие острова́, Соловки́) are located in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, Russia. The islands are administrated from Arkhangelsk as Solovetsky District and are served by the Solovki Airport. Area: 347 km². Population: 968 (2002 Census); 1,317 (1989 Census).

The Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands is a historic and architectural, natural, cultural, religious heritage of the country.

According to the General Assembly of UNESCO decision of December 14, 1992, Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands is included into the World Heritage list.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

China Sheetlet: 2009-18

China Sheetlet II
Name: Huanglong Scenic Area (黄龙)
Number: 2009-18
Date of Issue: 27 August 2009
Value: 6 stamp/sheet

1.20元 (3-1):
Guest Welcome Ponds (迎宾池)
1.20元 (3-2): Glittery Flying Waterfall (飞瀑流辉)
1.20元 (3-3): Muni Gully (Erdao Lake) (牟尼沟二道海)

One of the highest scenic areas in China, the Huanglong Scenic Area covers an area of 700 square kilometers in Songpan County of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. Its primary sight, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon Gully), is a golden sloping are of active calacareous deposition that resembles a huge dragon galloping gown the snow-capped mountain; hence the name Huanglong (Yellow Dragon). The scenic are is graced with abundant resources, featuring eight complexes of more than 3,400 calcareous ponds in multiple colors and of varying shapes. Dazzling amongst the high mountains, deep valleys, snow peaks, silver waterfalls, green lakes and exuberant forests, the colorful ponds exhibit stunning views. In 1992, the Huanglong Scenic Area was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

China Souvenir Sheet: 2009-18

China Souvenir Sheet
Name: Huanglong Scenic Area (黄龙)
Number: 2009-18
Date of Issue: 27 August 2009

Five-Color Ponds (五彩池)

Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), the primary sight of the Huanglong Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stretches 3.6 kilometers in length and 30 to 170 meters in width at the foot of Xuebaoding (Precious Snow Summit), the highest peak of Mount Minshan in Sichuan Province. Calcareous tufas are predominant in the Huanglong Scenic Area. Of the various forms of tufa, colorful calcareous ponds are scattered around like bright mirrors and jade plates, presenting fairytale-like landscapes. The Five-Color Ponds, the largest pond complex in Huanglonggou, embraces nearly 700 crystalline water bodies, which appear in different colors in sunlight. Referred to as the eye of the "Yellow Dragon", this pond complex represents the best of Huanglonggou.

China Stamps: 2009-18

China Stamps
Name: Huanglong Scenic Area (黄龙)
Number: 2009-18
Date of Issue: 27 August 2009
Value: 3 stamp/set

1.20元 (3-1):
Guest Welcome Ponds (迎宾池)
1.20元 (3-2): Glittery Flying Waterfall (飞瀑流辉)
1.20元 (3-3): Muni Gully (Erdao Lake) (牟尼沟二道海)

One of the highest scenic areas in China, the Huanglong Scenic Area covers an area of 700 square kilometers in Songpan County of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. Its primary sight, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon Gully), is a golden sloping are of active calacareous deposition that resembles a huge dragon galloping gown the snow-capped mountain; hence the name Huanglong (Yellow Dragon). The scenic are is graced with abundant resources, featuring eight complexes of more than 3,400 calcareous ponds in multiple colors and of varying shapes. Dazzling amongst the high mountains, deep valleys, snow peaks, silver waterfalls, green lakes and exuberant forests, the colorful ponds exhibit stunning views. In 1992, the Huanglong Scenic Area was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lithuania Ships' Races FDC

Lithuania FDC
Name: The Worldwide Regatta of Sailing Ships "The Tall Ships' Races 2009"
Date of Issue: 26 July 2009

3 Lt:
The Yacht "Brabander"

The worldwide regatta of sailing ships "The Tall Ships' Races", the history of which dates back to 1872 when English clipper ship reached the speed record sailing from Australia to England in 69 days, is not only great sports event but also impressive international maritime festival.

Each year this regatta takes place in different seas, but is always held at three stages sailing among 4 ports of different countries. Traditionally, the first stage of the Tall Ships' Races is sailing between two ports, the second one – a free sailing when the sailing ships do not compete, the crew-members are signed-in and off, the third one is competition to the last port. Any type and age sailing ships longer than 9.14 m are participating in the regatta, which are being divided into four classes: A class – all ships with transverse sails, longer than 40 m; B class – traditional sail vessels, shorter than 40 m; C class – modern sails ships, shorter than 40 m and without using spinnakers; D class – modern sails ships, using spinnakers.

On July 31–August 3 2009 first time in the history of Lithuania the worldwide regatta "The Tall Ships' Races Baltic 2009" will finish in Klaipėda. The vessels will start from Gdynia (Poland) and via St. Petersburg (Russia) and Turku (Finland) will sail to Klaipėda. The regatta and welcoming events will coincide with the traditional Sea Festival and the visitors of Klaipėda will be able to enjoy hundreds of ships with foreign flags.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Indonesia Children's Day FDC

Indonesia FDC
Name: National Children's Day 2009
Date of Issue: 23 July 2009

1/4 1500:
Playing Rope
2/4 1500: Playing Kites
3/4 1500: Playing Hide and Seek
4/4 1500: Cycling

National Children's Day 2009 commemoration is the right moment to arouse awareness on the importance of protection and fulfillment of children rights. As stated in national Constitution UUD 1945 article 28 B subsection (2), "All children have the right to live, grow and develop as well as to be protected from violence and discrimination". Therefore, all national components including government, business sector, society, family and parent have to cooperate for ensuring protection and comfort of our next generation.

The theme of National Children's Day commemoration this year is "I am Indonesian Kid, Creative, Innovative and Outstanding to Face the Future Challenge". Among the purposed goals are socializing and providing information to families and public concerning the magnitude of fulfilling children rights as well as developing network and partnership between government and society, including non-governmental organization, business sector, press and other parties to support services for comfort and protection of Indonesian children.

To commemorate this national event, stamp series of National Children's Day 2009 issued on 23 July 2009. Stamp design features ordinary children plays consisting of rope playing, hide and seek, kite and cycling. The illustration is worked by Bryan Jevoncia, 8 years old, 5th grade student of Suster Primary School, Pontianak. A son of Bong Yaw Song and Rosina Fardimin, he won UN stamp design competition in 2007 who then for his international achievement invited by President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to visit Presidential Palace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Malaysia Tuber Plants M/S FDC

Malaysia Souvenir Sheet FDC
Name: Tuber Plants
Date of Issue: 23 July 2009

The term 'root crops' or 'tuber plants' is applied to plants which produce subterranean structures that are used as human or animal foods. These perennial plants have organs which store plant nutrients. In many cases the storage organs may be a root or a modified stem, for example a swollen rhizome or corm, or a tuber such as a potato or a swollen root as in carrot or sweet potato. All these swollen underground organs are commonly spoken of as tubers

Root crops are the second most important source of carbohydrates in the worlds food, the most important being cereals. However, in the tropical world, root crops are proportionally much more important. In fact, in many tropical countries where rice is not grown, they are the staple diet. In general the protein content is low, but some, like potato and yam provide significant amounts of certain vitamins.

Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
Colocasia esculenta is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corm, a root vegetable known as taro or cocoyam. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants and is described by historians as an important crop.

Its primary use, however, is the consumption of its edible corm and leaves. In its raw state, the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate and the presence of needle-shaped raphides in the plant cells which can cause irritation to the mouth and tongue/ However, the toxin can be destroyed and the tuber rendered palatable by cooking or by steeping in cold water overnight.

Corms of the small round variety are peeled and boiled and used in local favourites such as "bubur caca". The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Comment: It has a very big mistake on this FDC, do you find? The special cancellation didn't cancel the stamp.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Malaysia Tuber Plants FDC

Malaysia FDC
Name: Tuber Plants
Date of Issue: 23 July 2009

The term 'root crops' or 'tuber plants' is applied to plants which produce subterranean structures that are used as human or animal foods. These perennial plants have organs which store plant nutrients. In many cases the storage organs may be a root or a modified stem, for example a swollen rhizome or corm, or a tuber such as a potato or a swollen root as in carrot or sweet potato. All these swollen underground organs are commonly spoken of as tubers

Root crops are the second most important source of carbohydrates in the worlds food, the most important being cereals. However, in the tropical world, root crops are proportionally much more important. In fact, in many tropical countries where rice is not grown, they are the staple diet. In general the protein content is low, but some, like potato and yam provide significant amounts of certain vitamins.

Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
Sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant which belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Amongst the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of this family, on Ipomoea batatas is a crop plant whose large, starchy, sweet tasting tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens.

This plant is an herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmate lobed leaves as well as medium-sized trumpet-shaped flowers, and thus are also grown as ornamental plants. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose colour ranges between red, purple, brown, yellow, orange and white. Its flesh ranges from white to yellow, orange and purple.

30sen: Cassava / Tapioca (Manihot esculenta)
Cassava or tapioca (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceaae that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root. Tapioca is the third largest source of carbohydrates and contains significant amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C.

Tapioca is long and tapered with a firm homogenous flesh encased in a detachable rind about 1mm thick. The skin is light brown to dark reddish brown in colour and has a smooth or rough texture. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top and 50 to 80 cm long. The colour of the flesh ranges from chalk white to yellowish.

However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast tapioca leaves are a good source of protein but should be supplemented with the amino acid methionine to counter the high cyanide content.

50sen: Sengkuang (Pachyrrhizus erosus)
Sengkuang is one species in the genus Pachyrrhizus that is commonly called yam bean.

The sengkuang vine can reach a height f 4-5 metres, given suitable support. Its roots can attain length of up to 2 metres and weigh up to 20 kilograms. The root's exterior is yellowish brown while its inside is creamy white with a crisp textile that resembles water chestnut or pear.

In contrast to the roots, the remainder of the sengkuang plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to kill insects and stun fish.

Sengkuang is high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber. It is composed of 86-90% water, containing only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavour makes it a favourite ingredient in rojak and popiah.

50sen: Yam (Dioscorea alata L.)
Dioscorea alata L. is a genus of over 600 species of flower plants in the family Dioscoreaceae, native throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. Known as yams, they are important agricultural crops in the tropical regions, grown for their large tubers.

They are tuberous herbaceous perennial climbers, ranging from 2 to 12 metres in height. The leaves are spirally arranged, mostly broad and heart-shaped. The flowers are individually inconspicuous greenish yellow with six petals; they are mostly dioecious, with separate male and female plants, though a few species are monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same plant. The fruit is shaped like a capsule in most species.

Many of these are toxic when fresh, but they can be detoxified and eaten, are particularly important in parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taiwan Artifacts FDCs

Taiwan FDCs
Name: Ancient Chinese Art Treasures (Issue of 2009)
Date of Issue: 20 July 2009
Number: Sp. 532

To spread understanding about the beauty of ancient Chinese artifacts, Chunghwa Post is issuing a set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet on ancient articrafts from the National Palace Museum collection.

A Pair of Gold Gourds, Qing Dynasty, 18th Century (清 十八世紀 子孫萬代金葫蘆一對)
The surface of these gold bottle gourds features a lacy design of intertwining flowers, leaves and tiny bottle gourds. There are three leaves sticking out from the stem of each gourd. These gourds have two detachable parts. The upper parts fit over lips at the tops of the lower sections. In Chinese, larger fruits produced by vines are called gua, whereas smaller fruits of vines are called die. Because the bottle gourd continually fruits and flowers, it is associated with the Chinese expression "mian mian gua die," which is used to describe a family with abundant descendants.

NT$5.00: Gold Bowl Used Personally by the Qianlong Emperor, Qing Dynasty (1736-1795) (清 乾隆御用金碗)
The interior of the bowl is smooth and unadorned, while the exterior is densely embellished with small millet-shaped beads set into a pattern of pomegranates, flowers, and leaves. The result is dazzling and exuberant. On the bottom, inside the ring foot, there are four traced-standard-script characters carved in intaglio: Qianlong Yuyong ("for the personal use of Emperor Qianlong").

NT$12.00: Mughal Empire Large Round Urn with Inlay Ca. 17th-18th Century (蒙兀兒帝國 十七至十八世紀 帶鑲嵌圓腹大罐)
The body of the urn is covered with hexagonal plates of bluish white jade. Metal wire inlay may have been present originally between the jade pieces although no trace remains. The jade pieces are inlaid with rubies, emeralds, topazes and brown gemstones set in gold wire.

NT$12.00: Gilt Ewer with Cloud and Dragon Decor, Qing Dynasty (清 鍍金雲龍紋萬壽無疆蒲蘆式壺)
This pot, in the shape of a bottle gourd, has a long spout and a long handle, to which the lid is chained. Four seal script characters—wan shou wu jiang ("may you live forever")—and dragons are carved in relief on the belly of the gourd. The Chinese words for bottle gourd (hulu) sound similar to the words for good fortune and prosperity (fu lu). Consequently, a gourd bearing the four characters described above conveys the idea of "good fortune, prosperity and longevity" ("fu lu shou"), three words that are commonly regarded as life's greatest blessings in Chinese culture. This was an imperial wine vessel used by Qing Dynasty emperors.

Comment: Because these articrafts are collected in National Palace Museum (故宮博物院), so this pair of FDCs were sent from the "Shihlin National Palace Museum Post Office (士林故宮郵局)".Comment: This pair of FDCs were sent from the Taipei Temporary Post Office (臺北臨時郵局) with beautiful special cancellation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Singapore Desserts FDC

Singapore FDC
Name: Local Desserts
Date of Issue: 17 July 2009

Eating out is, for many, a daily routine and this habit has virtually created a national identity defined by the cuisine, especially coffee shops, hawker centres, restaurants, food courts, cafes and snack shops dot the numerous well-ordered streets of the island city and its suburbs. This is a country where food is a constant topic of conversation and a wonderful Singaporean dinner will be somehow incomplete without having any of the wide variety of desserts that can melt the hearts of many, and satisfy the taste buds of food lovers.

Few Singaporeans know the origins of what they are eating in this multi-racial society and what matters is the taste and flavour. Desserts in Singapore, as with most of the food, are actually a blend of many elements brought by the different immigrant groups and races that have settled here. With such a unique characteristic of having different races in the country, many of the boundaries have been blurred when it comes to the food. One is likely to find any stall offering a wide variety of desserts.

Ice Kacang (also known as Ais Kacang)
2ND LOCAL: Ondeh-ondeh (also known as onde-onde)
65¢: Ang Ku Kueh
80¢: Lapis Sagu (also known as 九层糕 in Mandarin)
$1.10: Mithai (Assorted Indian sweets)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taiwan World Games FDCs

Taiwan FDCs
Name: The World Games 2009 Kaohsiung
Date of Issue: 16 July 2009
Number: Com. 314

The first world games were held in Santa Clara, USA in 1981. The subsequent games were hosted by London, England; Karlsruhe, Germany; the Hague in the Netherlands; Lahti, Finland; Akita, Japan; and Duisburg, Germany. The eighth World Games was held in Kaohsiung from July 16 to 26, 2009.

Kaohsiung Arena (高雄綜合體育館)
This modernistic gym is equipped with standard Olympic facilities, making it a great venue for basketball and volleyball games as well as 200-meter races in indoor track and field. On the lower right of the stamp are the mascots of the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung: Kao Mei and Syong Ge. Dressed in red and blue respectively, these "water spirit" babies have a water drop for a head. Their bodies will light up after absorbing solar energy with the little spheres on their heads. The design reflects a concern for international issues such as green energy and environmental protection.

NT$12.00: The Main Stadium for the World Games (世運主場館)
The Main Stadium was built to the standards of an IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) Class I certified international sports stadium. The open-air design does away with the need for air conditioning. This avant-garde architecture will be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung. On the lower right of the stamp is the games' logo — a stylized Chinese character Kao (as in Kaohsiung), "written" in a colorful and rhythmic flowing ribbon, resembling the beautiful shapes of athletes in competition. The design aims to convey the concepts of "harmony, friendship, rhythm, flight, progress and joy."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Taiwan Pagodas ATM FDC

Taiwan ATM FDC
Name: The World Games 2009 Kaohsiung ROCUPEX
Date of Issue: 16 July 2009

In coordination with the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung ROCUPEX, Chuanghwa Post issued a commemorative postage label featuring the Dragon and Tiger pagodas, which have long been a tourist spot in Taiwan.

The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas (龍虎塔) are pagodas located on Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung.

Comment: This is a very special one, the ATM stamps' denominations have 4 different colors, it's not easy to get all of them. Thanks to me friend.

Indonesia Birds FDCs

Indonesia FDCs
Name: Birds of Indonesia
Date of Issue: 15 July 2009

1/6 2500:
Great Argus (Argusianus argus)
Included in Phasanidae, which lives on the ground, this species flies in short distance and can run fast. The male is relatively big (120cm) and the female is smaller (60cm). Prefers to live in area up to 900m above the sea level, this bird spreads from forest area of Tenasserim Myanmar, Southwest Thailand, Sabah and Malaysia Peninsula, Brunei Darussalam, and Kalimantan Indonesia. The bird faces threat from losing of its habitat as well as animal hunting. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies it in Near Threatened (NT) status.

2/6 2500: White-winged Duck (Cairina Scutulata)
Classified in Anatidae and concentrated in wet area, this bird spreads from Southeast India and Bangladesh to Southeast Asia in Sumatra and Java. The approximate number of population in the world is about 1,000, whereas nearly 150 live in East and Southwest of Sumatra. With a rather white on head and neck, this dark colored bird is relatively big (66-75cm). Its back is glossy dark green and dark brown at the underside. IUCN classifies this bird in Red List as Endangered (EN).

3/6 2500: Storm's Stork (Ciconia stormi)
Population of this species is few, fragmented and tends to decline because of illegal logging as well as conversion of industrial plantation. Relatively big (80cm) with black and white color, this bird has a read beak, black wings, back, crown and chest, white nape of neck, belly and tail as well as pink face. This species spreads from Southern Thailand, along Malaysia Peninsula, Kalimantan and Sumatra. Nowadays, the estimated population in Sumatra is about 150. IUCN classifies this bird in Red List with Endangered (EN) status.

4/6 2500: Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba)
As a member of Trogonidae, this bird is inhabitant of tropical low land forest spreads along Thailand Peninsula, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaysia Peninsula, Brunei Darussalam and Kalimantan Indonesia. Even in its natural habitat, up to 600 above the sea level primary forest, population of this species is relatively small. The male has wide red necklace and white crescent moon shape at its chest. The female has brown-grey larynx and chest with light brown belly. IUCN classifies it in Near Treated (NT) status.

5/6 2500: Rufous-collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus)
This bird spreads in low land forest of South Tenasserim Myanmar, Thailand Peninsula, Malaysia Peninsula, Brunei Darussalam, Sumatra (including its offshore islands), Kalimantan, and Java Indonesia. Categorized in moderate size (23cm), this birds blue and red colored with typical green crown. The male has a red collar and underside body, black eye strip, and dark blue moustache strip and upper side body. The female has yellow spotted dark green wings. IUCN includes it in Near Threatened (NT) status.

6/6 2500: Wringkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)
Classified in Bucerotidae, this bird lives in low land primary forest and swamp forest up to 1,000m above the sea level as well as in selective logged forest. It spreads from Southern Thailand, Malaysia Peninsula, Sumatra, Batu Islands and Kalimantan Indonesia. Relatively moderate size (74cm), this black and white colored bird has a red short wrinkled horn. The male is black with a white head side, neck and tip of the tail. The female has a black head and neck as well as blue skin at its larynx. IUCN includes it in Near Threatened (NT) list.

Friday, August 14, 2009

China Stamps: 2009-17

China Stamps
Name: Stork Tower and Golden Gate (China - Ukraine Jointly Issue)
Number: 2009-17
Date of Issue: 14 August 2009
Value: 2 stamp/set

1.20元 (2-1):
Stork Tower
The Stork Tower, originally located on the bank of the Yellow River in the western suburbs of Puzhou Ancient Town in China's Shanxi Province, was first built during the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557-581), destroyed by war fire in the early Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), and renovated in 2002. It was so named because of the storks inhabiting here when it was newly erected. One of the "Four Great Towers of Ancient China", the tower is a symbolic structure in the Yellow River Valley, and its fame increased dramatically thanks to the poem "Ascending the Stork Tower", attributed to noted Tang Dynasty poet Wang Zhihuan.

1.20元 (2-2): Golden Gate
The Golden Gate, erected during the 11 Century, was the main gala entrance to the ancient Ukrainian city of Kiev. So named because of the gilded dome of Annunciation Church, it is one of the very few well-preserved buildings dating to the period of Prince Jaroslav Moudry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Estonia Church FDCs

Estonia FDCs
Name: 125th Anniversary of the Alexander Church of Narva
Date of Issue: 10 July 2009

The Alexander Church of Narva, architect Otto Pius Hippius's attempt to create an ideal Lutheran church, was built for the needs of the 5,000 Lutheran workers of the Kreenholm Manufactory. The building was completed in 1884 and was named in the honour of Tsar Alexander II who was killed in the explosion of a bomb set by a terrorist. The Joachimstal estate where the church stood was completely destroyed in World War One and only the church remained standing. The Bolsheviks, who then ruled Narva, chose it for their seat of government but unified its territory, including Joachimstal, Narva and Ivangorod, with Estonia. In World War Two the bell tower of the church was blasted and in 1962 under Soviet rule the building was turned into a warehouse. It was returned to the congregation in 1990 and the 60-metre bell tower was restored in 2008. A lift now moves in it. Technosvet of St. Petersburg designed coloured floodlights for the church. The bell, cast in 1900 in Gachina, is decorated with the three leopards guardant passant of the Province of Estonia and a coat of arms with the emperor's crown. The FDC cancel features a 2004 stained glass window by Dolores Hoffmann with the words Mary and Narva worked into its design. In 2000 President Lennart Meri added the epithet Great to the name of the church.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Malaysia Houses FDCs

Malaysia FDCs
Name: Traditional Houses
Date of Issue: 09 July 2009

Traditional houses are a part of the valuable architectural heritage in Malaysia. There are a variety of traditional houses that can be seen throughout the different states in Malaysia. Traditional houses in Malaysia are reflected by the architectural designs that focus mainly on the styles, culture, skill, creativity, purpose and craftsmanship in building a place for shelter using the raw and organic materials that are available during the particular era.

This collection of 16 stamps depicts the different houses of the states of Malaysia. Each traditional house differs in the architectural designs and style and has their own unique features.

Malay Traditional House (Selangor)
This house bears many similarities to the long roofed houses in Malacca partly due to the historical ties between these two states. The original traditional Selangor is built on 12 main pillars with 6 tall pillars at the verandah area. The skeletal structure is a combination of Cengal, Giam, Damar Laut, Kapur and Kempas wood. The roof is made from Rumbia and Nipah palm.

50sen: Dusun Lotud Traditional House (Sabah)
This house is the traditional house for the Dusun and Kadazan tribe, the largest ethnic group in Sabah and can be found in the Tuaran district. The structure that makes up the Lotud house comes from the by-product of the forest, mainly mangrove trees, bamboo, nipah palm and rattan.

50sen: Kutai House (Perak)
This house can only be found along the river banks located in Perak Tengah, Hilir Perak and Kuala Kangsar. The walls are made from bamboo and the roof is made from palm leaves.

50sen: Twelve Pillars House (Kelantan)
This house displays architectural heritage that can only be found in Kota Bahru, Kelantan where it has existed over 1,000 years ago. Its close proximity to the Thailand has great influences in its architectural design mainly in the construction of roof and wooden carving decorations. The skeletal structure is mainly made of Cengal, Meranti and Kapur wood while the roof is made of senggora tiles.

50sen: Iban Long House (Sarawak)
The long house is culturally unique. Within one longhouse, there are several units that houses different Iban families. The roof is made from sago palm such as blue-leave Pantau and Mulong trees. The walls and flooring are made from the bark tree namely Terentang Bark or from bamboo. Till today, the architectural heritage is still preserved, unaffected by the current rapid growth of modern development.

50sen: Semai House (Pahang)
This house displays the handicraft from usage of plants and nature. Young hardwood trees such as Cengal and Petaling are used for the poles and bertam leaves are used for making the roofs. With regular fumigation from kitchen fires, a well-made thatched roof can last more than five years. Mengkuang leaves are used for weaving decorative wall panels. Bamboo is cut into mat-like strips for flooring and rattan is stripped to make strings to tie the bamboo strips.

50sen: Limas House (Johor)
This house is mainly found in Pontian, Johor. It is characterized by its primary long ridge roof interconnected to four other secondary ridges which protract towards the edges of the roof. The fascia is decorated with wooden carvings to reflect traditional Malay architecture. Material used is mainly Cengal, Keranji and Meranti wood.

50sen: Long House (Kedah)
The unique feature of this house is the gable end at both the front and back of the house. The main building stands on stilts or wooden pillars. The exterior walls and the interior partitions are made of bamboo strips interwoven into crisscrossed pattern with senggora tiles.

50sen: Limas Bungkus House (Terengganu)
This house displays architectural heritage that can only be found in Besut, Terengganu. The roof construction comprises of one long ridge interconnected with four shorter ridges which protract downwards towards 4 respective edges to form the roof.

50sen: Adat Minangkabau House (Negeri Sembilan)
This house resembles those found in Minangkabau, Sumatera, Indonesia. Its distinctive difference from any other house in the other states is its unique roof architecture design where the two ends of the roof arches upwards. The area under the roof is usually a bedroom for the daughters or for storage.

50sen: Elephant Milking Verandah House (Pulau Pinang)
This house know as the house with the 'Nursing Elephant' verandah which reflects the combination of the main roof at a higher level adjoining the lower roof, thus giving the appearance of an elephant feeding her young. The skeletal structure of the house is made from Cengal and Meranti wood while the roof is made of palm leaves, Rumbia or Nipah palm.

50sen: Long Roofed House (Perlis)
The Malay traditional house in Perlis is characterized by its long roof and the skeletal structure of the house consists of over 24 main pillars made of Cengal and Damar Laut wood. The external and internal walls of the house are made of bamboo strips interwoven into a criss-cross pattern while the roof is made of senggora tiles.

50sen: Melaka Malay House (Melaka)
This house is distinctively different from other houses in Malaysia mainly due to the unique staircase at the entrance of the house. The beautiful staircase with multicolored tiles indicates traces of Chinese and Colonial influences. The main structure is usually built from Cengal, Meranti or Damar Laut wood. The roof is made from either from Rumbia or Nipah palm.

50sen: Bajau Laut House (Sabah)
A cluster of houses built on stilts in the sea off the southeast coast of Sabah is typical of a Bajau Laut house. Know to outsiders as Bajau Laut, these nomads distinguished themselves as 'people of the sea'. Boats are their main mode of transportation and they live exclusively by fishing and inshore gathering, collecting among other things, shellfish and sea cucumbers for trade.

50sen: Verandah House (Pahang)
This house displays 1,000 years old architectural heritage currently found in villages in Pahang. It comprises of two main structures namely the main unit and a walled covered verandah unit along the front of the main structure. The main unit is further divided into two main areas by a passage called 'Selang'. The unit is characterized by its long roof and a covered verandah.

50sen: The Bidayuh Longhouse (Sarawak)
The most outstanding features of the Bidayuh Longhouse is the circular head-house, with it conical roof, known as baruk or rumah pangah (the community centre). This is where the village chief and elders discuss local politics and communal issues with the people. It is also where the shamans conduct ceremonies and festivals are celebrated. A raised platform around the inside perimeter of the headhouse acts as seating and sleeping area for Bidayuh bachelors. Their headhouse is supported by a timber frame tied together with rattan.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indonesia Foods FDC

Indonesia FDC
Name: Indonesian Traditional Foods
Date of Issue: 06 July 2009

With enormous natural resources that providing high quality ingredients and spices, Indonesia own cultural richness in the form of assorted delicious traditional foods. As an effort to preserve as well as promote culinary heritage of Indonesia, stamp series of Indonesian Traditional Foods issued this year features traditional food of six provinces, namely Ihutilinanga from Gorontalo, Gulai Balak from Lampung, Sate Tambulinas from Southeast Sulawesi, Sambal Goreng Papai from Central Kalimantan, Nasi Uduk from Jakarta, and Ikan Bobara Kuah Asam from West Papua.

1/6 1500:
Ihutilinanga (Gorontalo)
Served with scrambled eggs as well as spreads of chilly and onion in buttery fresh coconut milk has made this previously a common fried eggplant an extraordinary dish from Gorontalo with delicious taste.

2/6 1500: Gulai Balak (Lampung)
Consisting of beef or lamb chops, Gulai Balak differs from commonly found curry. A strong taste of this curry comes from spices and seasonings indicating a typical flavor of Lampung foods. Creamy coconut milk soup with the taste of ginger, nutmeg, chilly and onion absorbed in every slices of meat creates an appetizing aroma.

3/6 1500: Sate Tambulinas (Southeast Sulawesi)
Usually we consume a kind of traditional grilled meat with separated sauce. Yet, Southeast Sulawesi people has invented a way of serving it by absorbing spices as ginger, onion, garlic, and chilly into slices of meat. Served with lime, Sate Tambulinas becomes a different kind of traditional grilled meat in a hot and refreshing taste.

4/6 1500: Sambal Goreng Papai (Central Kalimantan)
This distinctive food of Palangkaraya is made of shrimp and ball shaped tempe or fermented soybean. Cooked with minced onion, garlic, chilly, ginger, citronella, lime leaf and fresh coconut milk, this dish is served with edible fern.

5/6 1500: Nasi Uduk (Jakarta)
This traditional food of Jakarta has become a familiar menu in Indonesia. Made of rice with coconut milk, coriander, citronella, pandanus leaf and salt, this delicious dish is served with fried tiny sea fish, peanut, sliced omelet, cucumber, basil leaf, spreads of fried onion as well as chilly sauce.

6/6 1500: Ikan Bobara Kuah Asam (West Papua)
Bobara, a fish generally found in Papua Sea is a main ingredient of this dish, Smeared with coconut oil, salt, and tamarind water, this fish is grilled and served in a soup containing tomato, lime leaf, scallion, chilly, citronella and salt. The simple way of serving this food does not lessen its deliciousness.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lithuania History FDC

Lithuania FDC
Name: 1000th Anniversary of Lithuania
Date of Issue: 04 July 2009

3 Lt:
The declaration of the Council of the Movement the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania was accepted (1949).
3 Lt: "Chronicle of the Catholic Church of Lithuania" was launched illegal (1972).
3 Lt: The Lithuanian Reform Movement „Sąjūdis" was established (1988).
3 Lt: Lithuania signed the act of an independent state reconstruction (1990).
3 Lt: Lithuania became a member of the European Union (2004).
3 Lt: Lithuania joined into the Schengen Area (2007).

After losing its independence in the beginning of the World War II, Lithuania has spent five decades for fighting it back. In the beginning it was an armed fight, the principal purpose of which was restoration of independent democratic Lithuania, as announced in the declaration of the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania of the 16th of February 1949. However, the partisan movement could not win the victory against the army and repressive structures of a huge totalitarian state.

The armed resistance eventually was replaced by the passive opposition, which also included such activities as communicating the actual news from Lithuania to the world "behind the Iron Curtain". The information from the publication "Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania", which was launched on the 19th of March 1972, was transmitted to Lithuania through radio waves, constantly reminding the main purposes of the partisan movement.

The Lithuanian Reform Movement „Sąjūdis", established on the 3rd of June 1988, was the embodiment of the nation's expectations cherished for decades. On the 11th of March 1990 it brought the re-establishment of the independence of Lithuania.

After the collapse of USSR the process of Lithuania's return into free world and Europe started, the culmination of which was the joining of the European Union on the 1st of May 2004.

One of the most prominent manifestations of Lithuania's integration into the community of Europe was the entry into Schengen Area on 21st of December 2007, which allowed our citizens to move freely within many countries of Europe.

1000th Anniversary of Lithuania Series FDCs
2007, 2008, 2009.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

India Academy FDC

India FDC
Name: Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration
Date of Issue: 04 July 2009

The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) is a research and training institute on public policy and public administration in India. Operated by India's federal Union Government, LBSNAA is located in the remote town of Mussoorie in the foothills of Himalayas.

The academy's main purpose is to train civil service officers of the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Audits and Accounts Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service, and other government agencies undergo training at LBSNAA. More...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Israel Bird ATM FDC

Israel ATM FDC
Name: Birds of Prey - Short-toed Eagle
Date of Issue: 30 June 2009

The Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers.

This is an Old World species spread throughout the Mediterranean basin and into Russia and the Middle East, and into parts of Asia (Pakistan, India and some Indonesian islands). More...

Israel ATM FDCs - Birds of Prey Series
22/04/2009 Lesser Kestrel
30/06/2009 Short-toed Eagle
08/09/2009 Bonelli's Eagle

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Israel Dead Sea FDC

Israel FDC
Name: The Dead Sea
Date of Issue: 30 June 2009

The Dead Sea – also known as the Sea of Salt, the Valley of Sidim, the Ancient Sea and the Sea of the Arava – is a hypersaline lake which constitutes the eastern gateway into Israel.
The original sea sprawls across the area belonging to the Megilot Dead Sea and Tamar Regional Councils, approximately from the Lido Junction to Masada, with the Dead Sea Works evaporation ponds located southward from there. The Kingdom of Jordan lies along the sea's Eastern bank.

The Dead Sea is key to Israel's tourism, thanks to the therapeutic and extreme sports opportunities it offers. It constitutes the world's largest spa. The sea's salinity allows for a unique floating experience and the minerals found in the water and in the mud along the shore provide added health benefits to bathing.

The Dead Sea and its surroundings also have religious meaning; the historical heritage, pioneership and Zionism that it represents tell the tale of one of the most fascinating and tumultuous periods in the history of Eretz Israel.

The Dead Sea, the lowest place on the face of the Earth, is a national and global natural treasure. As of February 2009, it is situated 422.21 meters below sea level. This level decreases daily, with an annual cumulative reduction of up to 1.20 meters each year over the last 30 years.

Receding water levels are due mainly to the damming of the Jordan River at the Degania Dam, with the Dead Sea Works operations playing a minor role as well. The receding water level causes up to $90 million of damage each year, as well as the terrible harm caused to infrastructure, wildlife and vegetation, among them species that are unique to the area which are currently classified as endangered species.

The possibility of flowing desalinized water from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea is currently being examined. This project is a joint venture of the World Bank, the government of Israel and the government of Jordan. It is one of the largest projects if its type in the world and will be very costly and fraught with environmental and economic risks. By the time it is implemented, if it is implemented, the water level is expected to decrease by an additional 30 meters.

Residents of the area, researchers and scientific and environmental bodies all demand that additional alternatives be examined: the natural alternative – rehabilitation of the southern Jordan River through construction of a water canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan, or the possibility of transporting water via sea or land.

Residents of the area are working to put the "Sea" back in "Dead Sea", before it is too late. In order to raise public awareness of this issue, residents have recruited artists and leaders of public opinion for unique projects such as research, the "Salt of the Earth" conference hosted by Arava and Dead Sea R & D, a bicycle trek called "Tour of the Dead Sea", songwriting and promotion of the Dead Sea parliamentary lobby. They even attempted to get the Dead Sea named as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".

The Dead Sea stamp, initiated by the Israel Philatelic Service, is Israel's salute to its own wonder of the world and constitutes an additional step in raising public awareness in Israel and around the world to the plight of the Dead Sea.

Description of the Stamp

An ibex along a rocky cliff in the Judean Desert, a section of the Dead Sea with chunks of salt a floating tourist , the Dead Sea against the background of the Dragot Cliffs and the Edom Mountains in Jordan .

The first day cover features the Dead Sea and chunks of salt.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Israel Love FDC

Israel FDC
Name: Love (Definitive Stamp)
Date of Issue: 30 June 2009

"Vast floods cannot quench love, nor rivers drown it", wrote King Solomon, the wisest among men, in the Song of Songs, expressing the intensity of one of the strongest emotions that affect human motivation.

Over the years, love has been the inspiration for countless books, songs, poems, plays and films and under its influence people have discovered the most positive and kindest aspects of their personalities.

The instruction to love appears three times in the Bible. People are required to love God and strangers, and especially to fulfill the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself". The special significance of loving others was frequently emphasized by the Sages of Israel, such as Rabbi Akiva, who said that this was a "great rule of the Torah" and Hillel the Elder defined it as "the entire Torah while standing on one foot".

Among all the various types of love, such as parents' love for their children, familial love and love among friends, romantic love has gained the most attention. The powerful emotional bond and physical attraction that exist between loving partners attain ultimate heights, as defined by King Solomon in the Song of Songs when saying "for love is fierce as death".

Lovers may express their deep feelings for their beloved in many different ways, but nothing compares to the romantic gesture of sending a love letter. The carefully chosen words, perfumed paper, decorated envelope and above all, the knowledge that the letter was prepared by a loving hand, demonstrate the sincerity of the sender's feelings for the recipient.

The heart stamp completes this gesture, as the letter is posted with a stamp that is all about love. A large bright red heart, the traditional place for harboring feelings, appears at the center of the stamp. Although the heart symbol does not resemble the actual shape of the human heart, and there is debate among researchers as to the source of its choice, this symbol has traditionally been used to represent love for more than 2000 years.

The tab of the stamp illustrates the fact that the emotion of love is common to all cultures and to all peoples, by incorporating the word "love" in numerous languages.

Comment: Can you find your mother tongue on this FDC?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Israel Maccabiah FDC

Israel FDC
Name: 18th Maccabiah
Date of Issue: 30 June 2009

Constituting the world's third largest sports event, the 18th Maccabiah, to be held in July 2009, will be the largest ever, displaying the positive vibrancy of Jewish and Israeli Sports and the global activities of Maccabi World Union, the Games' organizational parent. Each successive Maccabiah attracts more athletes, and as all its predecessors have done, Maccabiah Chai (in Hebrew numerology, 18 means "Life!") forges an important new link in Zionist history.

Since world leaders of Maccabi decided 80 years ago at a Congress in Czechoslovakia to establish the Maccabiah, the Games have been staged seventeen times, twice in Tel Aviv during the British Mandate and fifteen times in the independent Jewish State. The emphasis and range of sports has evolved and changed over the 77 years since the 1st Maccabiah in 1932, but the strong basic theme of Zionist values that brings so many thousands of young Jewish athletes and visitors to Israel remains constant.

Early Maccabiot established Israel's connection with the Olympic Movement, and the Maccabiah is recognized as one of the world's most important Regional Games events. The 1930's Maccabiot resulted in hundreds of athletes from numerous countries making Aliyah, enriching the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel in numerous fields – education, research, arts, culture and sports. After 1948, the continued Aliyah of top athletes generated by Maccabiot and appearances by elite sportspeople like the celebrated Mark Spitz – the All-time Great of Jewish Sports – contributed greatly to the nation's sporting culture. Many of the current leading Jewish athletes, including Beijing 2008 Olympics gold medalists, will participate in Maccabiah 2009, as a mark of their respect for the connection the Games establish with Judaism and Israel.

The spectacular Opening Ceremony on Monday, July 13, 2009 will introduce several new innovations into the Maccabiah tradition: all 7500 athletes will parade into Ramat Gan National Stadium – the country's largest – and all will remain on the turf arena as active participants not only in the ceremonial phase, but also during the artistic show. The entire event will be televised live not only in Israel, but also in North America, Europe and Africa, and live-webcast worldwide via the Internet. The Opening Ceremony marks the official start of 10 days of intense competitions in 35 different types of sport and many disciplines at more than 75 venues throughout Israel.

The arrival of thousands of athletes, officials and visitors from all over the globe, along with mass open-entry "Popular Maccabiah" cycling and beach events, means that the Maccabiah is not only a sports festival but also a huge event for Israel's tourism industry (involving hotels, guest houses, restaurants, shuttle and tour buses) and for the thousands of volunteers who are looking forward to meeting Jews from abroad and to helping to organize this complex event which is rich in sports, educational and religious content (including mass Bat/Bar Mitzvahs at the Western Wall). The 18th Maccabiah is the highlight of four years of preparation by Maccabi World Union's Organizing Committee and one of the national events that will be remembered long after the Closing Ceremony.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

China Stamps: 2009-16

China Stamps
Name: Labrang Monastery
Number: 2009-16
Date of Issue: 02 August 2009
Value: 2 stamp/set

1.20元 (2-1):
Grand Sutra Hall
Grand Sutra Hall was built by Living Buddha Jamyang I and reconstructed in 1990. Housing a plaque inscribed with three Han characters meaning "Wisdom Temple", bestowed by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it is the Han-Tibetan-style building with the largest floor space in the monastery.

1.20元 (2-2): Gongtang Pagoda
Gongtang Pagoda, rising 31.33 meters in height, was first built in 1805 and reconstructed in 1993. The golden pagoda is a Tibetan Buddhist architectural model in combining pagoda with monastery.

Located in Xiahe County, Gansu Province, Labrang Monastery is one of the great monasteries of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in 1709 by Living Buddha Jamyang I, Ngawang Tsondru. Comprising six institutes of learning, namely the College of Contemplation and Meditation, Upper Tantric College, Lower Tantric College, the College of Vajra Dorge, the College of the Wheel of Time, and the College of Medicine, the monastery is the highest-level academy of Tibetan Buddhism in Gansu Province. With imposing buildings, beautiful murals and abundant cultural relics, it is regarded as a treasure house of Tibetan culture and art. A place for gathering and reciting scriptures.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Israel Harp Contest FDC

Israel FDC
Name: The International Harp Contest in Israel
Date of Issue: 30 June 2009

The International Harp Contest in Israel celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in October 2009. This prestigious Contest was the first in the world to showcase this time-old instrument, which originated in the ancient Middle East.

The Israeli government decided to name the Contest after its founder, Aharon Zvi Propes. While working in the Prime Minister's office, Propes was among the planners of Israel's 10th anniversary celebrations. He is also credited with initiating and heading the Zimriya (World Assembly of Choirs) and the Israel Festival until his death in 1978.

The harp is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. It was used by Priests, Levites and Prophets and was part of the rituals and ceremonies held in the Temple in Jerusalem. The oldest known harp, dating back to approximately 3000 BCE, is the "Ur of the Chaldees Harp", located in a museum in Baghdad. There is an Egyptian harp dating from a similar period in the Louvre in Paris and an ivory engraving depicting a harpist found in Megiddo is displayed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The double action "concert harp", which was first produced in France in the early 19th century, has 47 strings, seven double pedals and a sound box. Today, the harp is played in orchestras, chamber ensembles and solo performances. The Harp Contest in Israel has contributed greatly to the composition of harp music and each time the Contest is held, a prize is awarded for the best performance of an Israeli work.

Prize recipients from previous Contests, held in Israel every three years, currently hold senior positions in orchestras throughout the world and teach in the most renowned music schools. The harp is also currently used in light music and jazz.

The harp has inspired many artists, the most prominent of whom was Rembrandt. The tapestry by Marc Chagall that adorns the Knesset entry hall depicts King David playing the harp on his way to Jerusalem and the Israeli half-shekel coin features a harp from Bar Kochva's era.

Since its inception in 1959, the Contest in Israel draws the greatest harpists, composers and musicians from around the world. Previous first prize winners will attend the 50th anniversary Contest, taking part in the gala opening concert and serving as members of the international jury panel, headed by Maestro Zubin Mehta.

The ancient harp played by King David has changed considerably through the ages, but thanks to the International Contest, the harp retains a central place in Israel's musical culture and focuses international attention on our country. We appreciate the efforts of those who have worked in the past and the present to achieve this goal.

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