Saturday, July 31, 2010

#377 China...Thanks Fan!

The two 1.20yuan stamps are from 2009 Summer Palace issue.

The Summer Palace or Yihe Yuan (simplified Chinese: 颐和园; traditional Chinese: 頤和園; pinyin: Yíhé Yuán; literally "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony") is a palace in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In the Summer Palace, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples (simplified Chinese: 清漪园; traditional Chinese: 清漪園; pinyin: Qīngyī Yuán) in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks—during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.

The 60fen stamp is from 2000 Stampin' the Future Children's Stamp Design Contest issue.

#376 Malaysia...Thanks Khang!

Pos Malaysia issued a set of four postage stamp in March 2010 showing local market.

30 sen – Pasar Siti Khadijah, Kelantan
50 sen – Pasar Kraf Tangan, Sabah

Friday, July 30, 2010

#375 Spain...Thanks Beatriz!

The 0.34€ stamp is from 2010 Popular Character series honoring Gregorio Marañón ( Madrid 1887-1960),who was an eminent doctor and writer.

He studied medicine at the University of Madrid and obtained a Phd in 1910. After a year of study and investigation in Germany, he returned to Madrid in 1911 where he studied endocrinology. In 1922 he became a member of the Academy of Medicine and years later founded the Institute of Medical Pathology of which he became director. He became university professor of endocrinology and published a large number of scientific works on this subject as well as the ageing process, the human behaviour and the vital processes of man besides publishing historical essays and biographies of great literary richness. He was elected Mp during the Republic but soon gave up on politics and moved to Paris during the Civil War. He returned to Madrid in 1943 and gradually resumed his medical work as well as his university and literary activities.

The 0.62€ stamp is from 2009 Lighthouse issue showing the lighthouse of Punta Arinaga,which is set in the eastern coast of the island of Gran Canaria and is under the port authorities of Las Palmas. It stands in the mountain of Arinaga and the building is a white cylindrical tower with red stripes. Its light is white-red and in use. Its focal plane is 47m high and 13m the support.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#374 India...Thanks Hafizuddin!

#373 Czech Republic...Thanks Robert!

The Z stamp was issued in 2010 commemorating 150 years of the birth of Alfons Mucha (1860-1939),who was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist,best known for his distinct style and his images of women.

Alfons Mucha was born in Ivančice in the family of the court usher Ondřej Mucha. After education at the Slav High School in the Moravian capital Brno, partially financed from his income as church singer in the Brno-Petrov church boy choir, and a failure to join the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, he was shortly employed as a court clerk in Ivančice. In 1879 Mucha moved to Vienna to work for the leading Viennese theatrical design company Kautsky-Brioschi-Burghardt, mainly painting theatrical scenery. He was also the author of interior decorations in the chateau Emmahof by Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou. In 1885 Mucha moved to Munich, and two years later to Paris. 1897 was the turning point in his career as an artist. He was asked to create a poster for the actress Sarah Bernhardt. She later made a deal with Mucha for several other posters both for her and for the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris. Even though he was much loved and celebrated in the United States Mucha remained a great patriot. He spent 17 years working on what he considered his life's fine art masterpiece, The Slav Epic, a series of twenty huge paintings celebrating Slavic history. When Czechoslovakia became independent after World War I, Mucha designed the first Czechoslovak stamps and banknotes. Mucha was an artist of many talents, producing a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, labels for bottles, chocolates, cigarettes, restaurant menus, and theatre sets in what became known as Art Nouveau. He died in Prague in 1939 of pneumonia after an interrogation by the Gestapo, and was interred there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.

The stamp shows his poster Zodiac.

#372 Spain...Thanks Luciano!

These stamps are from 2003 Landscape Paintings issue by Chico Montilla who is a comtemporary Spanish artist, featuring "Early Flowers","The Color of Vento" and " Tornos Gorge" (from left to right).

#371 South Africa...Thanks David!

Monday, July 26, 2010

#370 Portugal...Thanks Viriato!

The 0.32€ stamp in the middle was issued in 2009 commemorating 800 years of Franciscaner Order,which has the same subject in this previous post.

The 0.32€ stamp on the right is from 2010 Traditional Bread issue.

#369 Brazil...Thanks Rodrigo!

The 20c and 5c stamp on the top are from 2005 Occupations issue illustrating shoemaker and seamstress.

The 10c stamp is from 2002 Musical Instruments issue showing Trumpet.

The 1R stamp is from 2008 Animals in Amazon issue featuring Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) which is a species of manatee that lives in the freshwater habitats of the Amazon basin.

They are found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Venezuela. Amazonian manatees are aquatic animals of the Sirenia order and are also known as "seacows". Their colour is gray but sometimes appears to be a brownish gray. They have thick, wrinkled skin, are almost hairless but have "whiskers" around their mouths. It lacks significant predation, other than being occasionally hunted by humans. The manatees, and the closely related Dugong, are unusual in being the only plant-eating marine mammals of modern times.

A somewhat unique feature (amongst mammals) of the manatee is the constant replacement of molar teeth; new teeth enter at the back of the jaw and replace old and worn teeth at the front. Their closest cousins, the elephants also have teeth that get replaced, but have only a limited set of these replacement teeth.

#368 United Kingdom...Thanks Salman!

The 88p stamp is from 2010 the fourth Kings & Queens series: The House of the Stuart showing Anne, reigning from 1542-1567.

Anne became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. Her Catholic father, James II and VII, was deemed by the English Parliament to have abdicated when he was forced to retreat to France during the Glorious Revolution of 1688/9; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III Mary II.

On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. Anne became its first sovereign, while continuing to hold the separate crown of Queen of Ireland and the title of Queen of France. Anne reigned for twelve years until her death in August 1714. Anne was therefore the last Queen of England and the last Queen of Scots.

Because she died without surviving issue, Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of The Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James I.

The 60p stamp,from 2010 Britain Alone issue,which pays tribute to those who stayed at home and kept the country running during World War II,illustrates children relocated to the countryside to be away from the bombs.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

#367 Spain...Thanks Roberto!

The souvenir sheet on the left was issued in 2006 celebrating Victory of Spanish Team at 2006 World Basketball Championships.

The 0.25€ stamp was issued in 2002 celebrating Spain's Presidency of European Union.

The 0.24€ stamp was issued in 2001 celebrating World Book Day on 23 April,which is organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The Day was first celebrated in 1995.

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George's Day (also 23 April) in Catalonia, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.

Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both Shakespeare and Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. Whilst Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, actually he died ten days after Cervantes, because of the discrepancy between the two date systems. The apparent correspondence of the two dates was a fortunate coincidence for UNESCO.

#366 U.A.E...Thanks Khalid!

#365 Spain...Thanks Margarita!

The 0.78€ stamp is from 2009 Civic Values issue with the theme "Fighting against Climate Change".

The fight against climate change is one of the challenges that faces mankind and the United Nations has made an appeal to us all to change our consumer habits and reduce the CO2 footprint. The European Union is one of the international organizations committed with the environment and has implemented obligations to the member states to control green house emissions and reach the following objectives: use less polluting energy sources, use alternative means of transport, make companies responsible for an efficient use of energy and their CO2 emission without jeopardizing their competitiveness, place town planning and agriculture at the service of the environment and create favourable conditions for research and innovation.

The 0.60€ stamp is from 2008 Fauna & Flora series depicting the Dahlia which comes from Mexico where it is considered to be the national flower.

It belongs to the family of the Asteraceae, and the Dahlia genus. It was first described by Spanish botanist Francisco Hernández. The plant did not reach Europe until 1780 and it was Spanish naturist Antonio José Cavanilles who began its cultivation and named a variety of this flower, the “dalia variabilis” in homage to botanist Andreas Dahl. The Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, perennial plants. They can be a few centimeters high or as tall a one meter. The native forms are quite simple and daisy-like, but breeding has resulted in some wonderful flower forms and colours. They are planted in spring and they bloom at the beginning of the summer until late autumn. There are over 30 species and 20.000 varieties of dahlia.

The 0.31€ stamp was issued in 2008 aiming at collaborating in the eradication of gender violence and the promotion of 016, the phone number for information and help for abused women.

Despite the measures undertaken to fight gender violence, official information confirms that formal complaints on women abuse have increased in the last years and that abuse on women continues to be exercised. The 016 phone number joins the many media campaigns, awareness plans, protection measures and new laws that have been undertaken, offering information to victims as well as their families, neighbours, friends and anyone who might be in need of it. It is attended by specialised personnel 24 hours a day and leaves no traces of having being used, that is, it doesn’t appear on any invoice or on the phone screen after hanging up.

This number, besides assisting in gender violence situations, also gives information on abused women’s rights and unemployment benefits, social and economic assistance, shelter homes and specialised legal counselling. For a smooth communication, these services are available in the four national languages: Spanish, Catalonian, Galllego and Euskera as well as in English and French.

Monday, July 19, 2010

#364 Latvia...Thanks Oleg!

The 0.35 Ls stamp was issued in 2010 to celebrate 20 years of Declaration of May 4th, 1990.

In the second half of 1980s Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev started to introduce political and economic reforms in the Soviet Union, called glasnost and Perestroika. In the summer of 1987 the first large demonstrations were held in Riga at the Freedom Monument- a symbol of independence. In the summer of 1988 a national movement, coalescing in the Popular Front of Latvia, was opposed by the Interfront. The Latvian SSR, along with the other Baltic Republics was allowed greater autonomy, and in 1988 the old pre-war Flag of Latvia was allowed to be used, replacing the Soviet Latvian flag as the official flag in 1990.

In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution on the "Occupation of the Baltic states", in which it declared that the occupation was "not in accordance with law," and not the "will of the Soviet people". Pro-independence Popular Front of Latvia candidates gained a two-thirds majority in the Supreme Council in the March 1990 democratic elections. On May 4, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR adopted the Declaration On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia, Latvian SSR was renamed Republic of Latvia.

#363 Turkey...Thanks Levent!

This FDC was issued to promote the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity on June,05 which is also the World Environment Day.

#362 Austria...Thanks Florian!

This FDC was issued in June,2010 commemorating 350th Anniversary of the Birth of Austrian musical theorist and composer Johann Joseph Fux.

Born in Hirtenfeld near Graz in 1660 (the precise date is not known), Fux, the son of a farmer, first studied at the University of Graz and, from 1683 to 1687 in Ingolstadt. In 1696 he was appointed organist at the Monastery of the Scots in Vienna, a post he retained until 1702 and which drew him to the attention.

He is most famous as the author of Gradus ad Parnassum, a treatise on counterpoint, which has become the single most influential book on the Palestrina style of Renaissance polyphony. Almost all modern courses on Renaissance counterpoint, a mainstay of college music curricula, are indebted in some degree to this work by Fux.

#361 Malaysia...Thanks Saravanan!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

#360 Taiwan...Thanks Alan!

This FDC was issued in July,2010 featuring Chinese classic novel "Journey to the West".

Journey to the West (simplified Chinese: 西游记; pinyin: Xī Yóu Jì;) is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, its authorship has been ascribed to the scholar Wu Cheng'en since the 20th century.

In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley. The Waley translation has also been published as Adventures of the Monkey God; and Monkey: [A] Folk Novel of China; and The Adventures of Monkey.

The novel is a fictionalised account of the mythologized legends around the Buddhist monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to India (known as the Western Regions) during the Tang dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called sūtras. The Bodhisattva Guan Yin, on instruction from the Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuanzang's steed, a white horse. These four characters have agreed to help Xuanzang as an atonement for past sins.

Journey to the West has a strong background in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and value systems; the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas is still reflective of some Chinese folk religious beliefs today.

Part of the novel's enduring popularity comes from the fact that it works on multiple levels: it is an adventure story, a dispenser of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India stands for the individual journeying toward enlightenment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#359 Spain...Thanks Aguado!

The 0.34€ stamp is from 2010 Sports issue to celebrate the XIV Ibero-American Athletics Championship,which is held in San Fernando (Cádiz) from the 3 to the 6 June. Nearly 500 athletes from 29 countries participated in the 22 male and female disciplines. The competition took place in the Bahía Sur stadium recently restored.

The B stamp is 2010 Spanish Tourism issue depicting a painting by J. Carrero featuring a Spanish beach with a horse galloping on the shore and a woman facing the sea, holding carnation flowers and wearing a Manila shawl.

The beach, the Spanish horse, the carnations and the Manila shawl which illustrate this issue are all representative elements of Spanish tourism and often feature in press and television advertising. Spain is one of the most important and sought after tourist destination with its sunny beaches, handicrafts, beautiful and skilled horses, fiestas and traditional rituals, with carnation flowers adding their colourful stroke and the warmth of the Spanish people. All these elements have contributed in making Spain an attractive tourist destination.

Our many wonderful beaches with an exceptional climate, the beauty and skill of the Spanish horse forever present in festivals and shows all over Spain, the colours and aroma of our rich flora, represented in this stamp by carnations and finally the Manila shawl are all characteristic elements of tourism in Spain. The Manila shawl is an accessory for dresses very popular amongst the court ladies in the XIX century and was used as a complement and as a way of keeping warm. It has always been a key element in Spanish costumbrism painting and a much treasured piece of handicraft.

It is therefore with great skill that artist J. Carrero has depicted in one painting all these visual icons characteristic of tourism in Spain.

#358 Croatia...Thanks Josip!

Croatian post issued a set of three postage stamps of Croatian Flora – Fruits featuring Strawberry, Grapes and Gooseberry.

Woodland strawberry is s low perennial herb growing in temperate zones of north hemisphere. From the underground root there grow flowering stems, runners (stolons) and toothed trifoliate leaves. Flowers on long pedicles have 5 white petals with numerous pistils and stamens. Apart from a real calyx with five sepals, the flower of woodland strawberry has also an outer calyx with five small leaves, that protrude on the fruit or are turned backwards. The fruit of woodland strawberry, with an exceptionelly characteristic smell and taste, is often wrongly considered broad bean. Actually, the strawberry is a typical example of aggregate fruit, with the structure built of fleshy receptacle with numerous separate fruits – small nuts.

Grapevine, together with wheat and olive, is among the oldest cultivated plants of the ancient world and still the most spread fruit on our planet. The wild subspecies of grapevine (subsp. sylvestris) is a creeping plant that can reach up to 15 m height, coils around its supporting rod thanks to its long and short offshoots with tendrils. The leaves are on long stems and lobate in shape. Tiny flowers are divided in male and female blossoms, gathered in peak clusters. The domesticated subspecies of grapevine (subsp. vinifera or sativa) has hermaphrodite flowers, whereof the female ones give fruit – soft berries with several seeds each. There are almost 20.000 described sorts of grapevine, which differ in their ripening time, resistance to climate factors, diseases and parasites, but first of all in their fruits that can be used in wine production and that are of different colour, size, shape, taste and smell of their clusters.

Gooseberry (syn. R. grossularia) is 1 – 3 m high, broad bush belonging to the genus of Ribes. Some botanists are of the opinion that the gooseberries significantly differ from ribes (currant) and that they belong to separate genus, Grossularia, after which – earlier in history, the entire plant family has been named. Thin, hairy gooseberry offsets are spirally overgrown by sharp, greyish spines, which are not present in ribes, while the hairy leaves are small and lobate. The bell-shaped greenish flowers, are hanging singly, in pairs or by three. The fruit is more or less hairy berry of a diameter 1 – 3 cm, white, red, green or yellow in colour, depending on the sort (at least 200). The yellow berries are considered to be the most tasteful as food, and the wine made from them has the taste similar to champagne. The red berries are as a rule the sourest but also the richest in vitamin C. Gooseberry is native to Europe and West Asia. In South Europe gooseberry grows in moist and cold habitats in schrubberies and woods at the foot of hills; it is relatively unknown sort, rare in cultivation.

#357 South Africa...Thanks Ramjee!

The 20c stamp is from 2000 definitive series showing Royal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus),which is a species of marine angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, the only member of the genus Pygoplites. It is found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceans. Its can grow as long as 25 cm.

The round stamp in the middle is from 2009 All Your Need is Love issue.

The R2.40 stamp is from 2010 FIFA World Cup Zakumi issue.

Zakumi, the Official Mascot:
Zakumi represents the people, land and spirit of South Africa and Africa. The first mascot used for a FIFA World Cup, was a lion called World Cup Willie. It was introduced in 1966 when England hosted the FIFA World Cup™. Since then every World Cup has had its own special mascot.

Zakumi is a leopard and as a mascot, he will be an ambassador for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. But he will not only represent South Africa and Africa, he will also be a representative of the FIFA World Cup in general and add some fun to the atmosphere of the tournament.

The name ‘Zakumi’ is a combination of ‘ZA’ the international code for South Africa and ‘kumi’, which means ‘10’ in different African languages. The leopard was chosen as a symbol, because it is representative of Africa. Zakumi was designed and made in South Africa.

Monday, July 12, 2010

#356 Vanuatu...Thanks Yvannah!

The 2 stamps on the top were issued in 2007 illustrating Pacific Reef Heron.

Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra) are found in many areas of Asia including the oceanic region of India, Southeast Asia, Japan, Polynesia, and in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

The species displays an unusual, non-sexual dimorphism, with some members having entirely white plumage and others (the larger portion) being charcoal-grey. The reason for the color variation or "morph," is unknown, though it is most commonly thought to be related to camouflage.

The 2 stamps below are from 2004 Marine Life issue showing Goldman's Sweetlips and Green Turtle.

The sweetlips, Plectorhinchus, are a genus in the family Haemulidae, with 35 species found in fresh, brackish and salt waters. These fish have big fleshy lips and tend to live on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific in small groups or pairs. They will often associate with other fishes of similar species, and it is not unusual to see several species of sweetlips all swimming together. Sweetlips' colouring and patterning changes throughout their lives.

The Green Sea Turtle is an endangered sea turtle, possessing a dorsoventrally flattened body covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace and a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. It is usually lightly colored, except that its carapace's hues range to almost black in the Eastern Pacific. Unlike other members of its family such as the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Chelonia mydas is mostly herbivorous. The adults commonly inhabit shallow lagoons, feeding mostly on various species of seagrass.

Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches. Many islands worldwide are known as Turtle Islands for the Green Sea Turtle that nest on their beaches. Females haul out onto beaches, dig nests and lay eggs during the night. Later, hatchlings emerge and walk into the water. Those that reach maturity may live to age 80 in the wild.

#355 Belgium...Thanks Thomas!

These 3 stamps are from 1993 Antwerp,Cultural City of Europe issue.

The left 15fr stamp shows Angels on stained glass windows in Mater Dei Chapel of Institut Marie Josee,by Eugeen Yoors.

The middle 15fr stamp displays Woman's head and Warrior's Torso,by Jacob Jordaens.

The right 15fr stamp shows St.Job's Altar in Schoonbroek.

#354 Malaysia...Thanks Saravanan!

This FDC was issued to celebrate 125 years of Malayan Railways.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

#353 Vietnam...Thanks Nguyen!

This "Precious and Rare Birds of Vietnam Coastal Area" FDC was issued on May 25,2010 displaying 3 emigrating birds in the coastal area of Vietnam:

Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa guttifer),which is an endangered species,breeds in eastern Russia along the south-western and northern coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk and on Sakhalin Island. Its non-breeding range is not fully understood, but significant numbers have been recorded in South Korea,China on passage, and in Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia in winter. It has also been recorded on passage or in winter in Japan, North Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (which may prove to be an important part of its wintering range), Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. There are unconfirmed records from Nepal and Guam (to US). It probably has a population of 500-1,000 individuals.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus) is a small wader which breeds in northeastern Russia and winters in Southeast Asia.The most distinctive feature of this species is its spatulate bill.This bird is critically endangered, with a current population of fewer than 2500 - probably fewer than 1000 - mature individuals. The main threats to its survival are habitat loss on its breeding grounds and loss of tidal flats through its migratory and wintering range.

Saunders's Gull (Larus saundersi) is a species of gull in the Laridae family. It is found in China, , Japan, Korea,Russia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are estuarine waters and intertidal marshes. As many other gulls, it was traditionally placed in the genus Larus. It is the only member of the genus Saundersilarus. It is threatened by habitat loss. One of its few remaining strongholds are the Yancheng Coastal Wetlands, which hosts about 20% of the world's population. The Saunders' Gull is named after British ornithologist, Howard Saunders.

#352 Monaco...Thanks David!

#351 Algeria...Thanks Omar!

This FDC was issued on May 8,2010 commemorating 65th Anniv. of Massacres in Sétif and Guelma.

The initial outbreak occurred on the morning of May 8, 1945, the same day that Nazi Germany surrendered in World War II,in and around the Algerian market town of Setif located to the west of Constantine.. The riots in the town itself were followed by attacks on French colons (settlers) in the surrounding countryside resulting in 103 deaths. Subsequent reprisals by French authorities and vigilantes are estimated to have caused much greater numbers of deaths amongst the Muslim population of the region. Both the outbreak and the indiscriminate nature of its repression are believed to have marked a turning point in Franco-Algerian relations.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

#350 Czech Republic...Thanks Jiri!

This FDC was issued in 1993 commemorating 600th Death Anniv.of St.John Nepomuk,Patron Saint of Czechs (1345-1393),who was murdered during the bitter conflict of church and state that plagued Bohemia in the latter 14th century.

In 1383 John began studies at Padua, Italy, where he became a doctor of canon law and subsequently received several church offices. In 1390 he was made vicar general for the archbishop of Prague. In 1393 the archbishop, with John's support, excommunicated one of the favourites of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia and thwarted the king's ambition to make a new bishopric out of the province of Prague. John was arrested as the archbishop's chief agent. Wenceslas personally tortured him with fire, after which he reconsidered and released him on an oath of secrecy regarding his treatment. John, however, was dying, and to conceal the evidence Wenceslas had him gagged, shoved into a goatskin, and cast into the Vltava River. Bohemian Catholics later regarded him as a martyr.

The left 7k stamp was issued in 1997 commemorating 1000th Death Anniv.of St.Adalbert (956-997),who is the first bishop of Prague to be of Czech origin.

Descended from the Slavník princes of Bohemia, he was trained in theology at Magdeburg (Germany). At his confirmation he received his name from St. Adalbert, first archbishop of Magdeburg. As bishop (elected 982), Adalbert promoted the political aims of Boleslav II, prince of Bohemia, by extending the influence of the church beyond the borders of the Czech kingdom. He tried to improve the standards of church life but found little understanding among his countrymen for his lofty ideals.

Critical of the superficial attitude to Christianity prevalent in the country, Adalbert departed in 988 with the intention of leading the ascetic life of a monk. On papal orders he returned in 992 to find little change. He came into sharp conflict with some of the nobility and was probably drawn into the growing feuds between the Czech kings and the Slavník princes. Disillusioned, in 994 he left Bohemia again to become a missionary along the Baltic coast, where he was martyred three years later. An account of Adalbert's life was written by his friend and disciple St. Bruno of Querfurt.

#349 Singapore...Thanks Terence!

This year,to emphasize that Singapore is a bustling metropolis nestled in a lush mantle of tropical greenery,two flowering plants - the Simpoh Air and Singapore Rhododendron are featured in this Fauna & Flora definitive series.

The distinctive Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa) grows vigorously on eroded soil,wasteland,forest edges and swampy areas.Simpoh Air has large leaves and large yellow flowers.The flowers usually last for only a day.The thin layer of red flesh surrounding the seeds is irresistible to birds,that quickly disperse the seeds.

The Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) is a common plant in Singapore.It has beautiful flowers with five petals in dark purple to pinkish that last only one day.The flowers open after sunrise and close the same day.Fruits are favourites among birds that assist in dispersing the seeds.The plant is the host for caterpillars of butterflies such as the Common Sailor (Neptis hylas) and the Grey Count (Tanaecia lepidea).