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July 2, 2015 Day 163 of the Seventh Year - History

July 2, 2015 Day 163 of the Seventh Year - History

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Audience members standing on treadmills listen as President Barack Obama makes remarks at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisc., July 2, 2015.

10:00AM THE PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office

11:00AM THE PRESIDENT departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

11:35AM THE PRESIDENT departs Joint Base Andrews en route La Crosse, Wisconsin


12:45PM THE PRESIDENT arrives Wisconsin
La Crosse Regional Airport

1:30PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks
University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin

3:15PM THE PRESIDENT departs Wisconsin
La Crosse Regional Airport


6:20PM THE PRESIDENT arrives Joint Base Andrews

July 2, 2015 Day 163 of the Seventh Year - History

Patrick F. Stone was born in 1947 in Vancouver, Washington and grew up in a rural area on the edge of the Badlands of North Dakota. When he was eighteen, his family returned to the West Coast.

After high school, Stone attended a year of college, but ultimately decided to enlist in the United States Army, which he entered in February 1967. Assigned to the Army’s electronic intelligence division, Stone completed two tours of duty in Vietnam. In October 1970, he received his discharge from the military and moved to a cabin in the woods near Ashland, Oregon. Stone spent the next couple of years readjusting to civilian life and taking classes at Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University).

While at Southern Oregon, Stone heard OSU History professor William Appleman Williams deliver a talk on his influential book, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy . Williams' presentation captivated Stone and spurred an interest in attending Oregon State University, where Williams was teaching. Stone transferred to OSU in 1973 and studied history. While in Corvallis, Stone met Mark Sponenburgh, an art history professor who catalyzed Stone's interest in art and art collecting. Stone also participated in an archaeological dig with Professor Richard Ross, another influential professor.

After completing his OSU degree in 1974, Stone took a few summer courses and considered enrolling in graduate school, but ultimately chose to spend some time in Mexico working as an oyster diver. When he returned to the U.S., Stone found work as a title examiner trainee with Smith Barney. This line of work turned out to be too slow-paced, so he quit after six months and pursued a new job as a stockbroker trainee. After two years trading stocks, he returned to the title business this time he focused on the sales side and it was there that he found his career niche.

Stone was employed by Stewart Title for about ten years, working his way up the ladder to district manager and partial owner of multiple operations. In 1989 he switched companies to Fidelity National Financial, and after six years there, he became President and Chief Operating Officer. In 2002 he was promoted again, to Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity National Information Services.

In 2004, after nine years in executive positions at Fidelity, Stone stepped down as CEO. He and his nephew then founded The Stone Group, a commercial real estate brokerage, consulting, and investment firm, with Stone serving as Chairman of the Board. He likewise became the Vice Chairman of Metrocities Mortgage LLC and joined the OSU Foundation's Board of Trustees. He received the E.B. Lemon Award from the OSU Alumni Association in January 2009 and became chair-elect of the Foundation board that year as well. In 2010, after a few years of retirement from the private sector, Stone started a new company, Williston Financial Group, a full-service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services.

Stone's public association with OSU grew in profile when he agreed to co-chair the Campaign for OSU, a major fundraising initiative that received its public launch in fall 2007 and concluded at the end of 2014, having raised more than $1.1 billion to support university initiatives. Stone himself made a noteworthy financial contribution by endowing the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, an prize honoring "a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed literary work and has been a dedicated mentor to succeeding generations of young writers." Among other initiatives, Stone has also provided support to the OSU History department's Citizenship in Crisis lecture and seminar series.

In 2013 Stone was named one of the year's "100 Most Influential People in Real Estate" by Inman News. He completed an eleven-year run of service to the OSU Foundation in June 2015 when his term as immediate past chair ended. An avid art collector, Stone has volunteered as a trustee of the Portland Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He has likewise served on the boards of several private companies.

Photo of the Day: Best of July

Every day, we feature an image chosen from thousands around National Geographic. Here are some highlights from July.

Terraced rice fields, like those above snapped in Vietnam, are wonderfully photogenic. No matter how many times I’ve seen similar versions, I am still drawn to the curving patchwork of earth and water. In this month’s roundup of Photo of the Day favorites, there are some universally photographed subjects that are beautiful in and of themselves—dolphins, a volcanic beach in Iceland—and others where the exact moment the photographer snapped the shutter turns something ordinary into a work of art.

In the mountain city of Dalat in southern Vietnam, women work on market steps—adapted to the sloped terrain—after a heavy shower. Your Shot member Quang Tran was walking through the city “observing people do different things to earn [a] living … and that way I caught this moment in front of an old market.”

Though Dubai is known for its grandiose cityscapes, it also has a vast and awe-inspiring natural beauty, writes Abrar Mohsin, who captured this aerial view from a helicopter above the seaside UAE metropolis. “The serene turquoise water and the golden hues in the desert sand present an interesting contrast,” he writes.

A costumed Chhau dancer performs in Purulia in West Bengal, India in this photograph by Your Shot member Arghya Chatterjee. Prevalent in eastern India, the traditional martial and dramatic art comes in several forms, one of which incorporates colorful, outsize masks such as the one seen here.

A pod of spinner dolphins swims off Makua Beach, Hawaii, in this picture captured by Your Shot member Erika Hart during a solo swim. Groups of the sociable spinners can number in the thousands.

“This [was] taken at the volcanic beach at Stokksnes in southeastern Iceland in February 2015,” writes photographer Sophie Carr. “I used a two-second exposure to capture the water trails as the waves receded over rocks at the edge of the beach, just as the sun was setting behind me, illuminating the mighty Vestrahorn mountain and some peaks in the far distance.”

Thousands of religious tributes—said to have first appeared in a peaceful show of resistance to foreign oppression—are amassed on the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai, Lithuania. “Many people pray for God and [mourn] the death of people killed by war,” writes Your Shot member Hideki Mizuta. “When I visited here, a girl ran through … It was a strange sight.”

While trying to provide storm coverage for local affiliates, Iowa storm chaser Paul Brooks followed a cell from Albia to Mount Pleasant at sunset. He captured this scene just east of Mount Pleasant—lightning to the south and a well-defined rainbow to the east—by stacking seven separate shots on top of each other, forming a composite image of the weather events. “Truly a perfect alignment of the elements,” he writes.

“On a sun-bleached afternoon cresting 100ºF at White Sands National Monument [in New Mexico], I was making my way to the only shade visible,” writes Your Shot member Elliot Ross. “As I approached, out of nowhere these travelers rounded a dune and beat me to it. My frustration melted when I saw how perfectly symmetrical their vehicles made my frame. I took a dozen steps back to highlight the immensity of this surreal landscape. After a few frames, I was on my way to find new shelter.”

Randy Olson photographed the people and landscapes around Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake, for the August issue of National Geographic magazine. The lake sustains the tribes in Kenya’s remote north—but projects upstream threaten its lifeblood. Here, a man sells mirrors in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Located a hundred miles from Lake Turkana, the UN camp holds 180,000 refugees who fled conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, and other nations.

10 things you need to know today: July 2, 2015

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

Tsipras reverses after suggesting he would accept bailout concessions

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday urged his constituents to reject a bailout deal in a Sunday referendum. His remarks came less than 24 hours after he wrote creditors a letter seeming to agree to financial reforms in exchange for more help. Tsipras said Greece was being "blackmailed." A day earlier, Greece became the first developed economy to default on International Monetary Fund debt. European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that "Europe wants to help Greece. But cannot help anyone against their own will."

Episcopal church decides to let same-sex couples marry in church

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Episcopalians voted Wednesday to allow religious weddings for gay couples. Some bishops already permitted priests to officiate in civil wedding ceremonies. The decision was approved overwhelmingly at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City days after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry nationwide. The Rev. Brian Baker of Sacramento said the change came after decades of discussions.

Hillary Clinton sets fundraising record in campaign's first quarter

Hillary Clinton is on track to raise a record $45 million in the first quarter of her presidential campaign, outpacing President Obama's previous high mark of $41.9 million set in the first three months of his re-election campaign. Clinton has raised an average of $555,000 daily since officially launching her campaign for the Democratic nomination in April. Ninety-one percent of Clinton's funds came from donations of $100 or less.

Feds investigate suspected airline fare-price fixing

The Justice Department is investigating major airlines on suspicion of colluding to keep fares high, officials with knowledge of the case said Wednesday. A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed that an investigation was underway but declined to name the airlines. Delta, Southwest, American, and United airlines said they were among the carriers being examined. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said consumers were suffering because of "possible misuse" of the big carriers' market power.

Macy's dumps Trump's clothing line over immigration remarks

Macy's on Wednesday dropped Donald Trump's clothing line over the real estate magnate and Republican presidential candidate's recent derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants. He said many were criminals. Macy's said Trump's statements did not "portray an accurate picture" of Mexican immigrants. Trump said he was the one who ended the relationship to defend his principles against pressure critics were aiming at Macy's. Despite the controversy, Trump has shot to second in recent GOP polls.

Man attacked by shark off North Carolina's Ocracoke Island

A man in his 60s was attacked by a shark off North Carolina on Wednesday. The attack was the seventh in the state this year, and the latest in a string over the last two weeks. The man was swimming just beyond the first breaking waves off of Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. Witnesses said the six- to seven-foot shark pulled the man under water, biting him in the rib cage, hip, lower leg, and both hands. "There was a big trail of blood from the water to the sand," one witness said.

TV Land dumps Dukes of Hazzard over rebel flag on car

TV Land has pulled re-runs of the 1980s show Dukes of Hazzard over the Confederate battle flag emblazoned on the Dodge Charger driven by the Duke boys. A national debate broke out over displaying the controversial flag in public places after a white gunman murdered nine black people in Charleston's historic Emanuel AME Church. Supporters say the flag represents Southern heritage. President Obama, at the funeral of one of the shooting victims, said removing the flag acknowledges that the cause Confederate soldiers fought for — slavery — was wrong.

Polygamist applies to legally marry his second wife

Polygamist Nathan Collier, who has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives, announced Wednesday that he had applied for a marriage license with his second wife, Christine, saying he was inspired by last week's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The reality TV star and his wives Victoria and Christine applied in Billings, Montana. Collier said he would sue if the application is turned down. "It's about marriage equality," he said. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Japan earns spot in women's World Cup final against the U.S.

Japan's women's soccer team beat England 2-1 on Wednesday to advance to the Women's World Cup final against the United States. The winning goal was not scored by one of Japan's players, but by England defender Laura Bassett, who tried to clear a ball but accidentally sent it into the net. Japan, the defending champion, will meet the U.S. on Sunday in a rematch of the 2011 final, which Japan won in a shootout.

"Britain's Schindler" Nicholas Winton dies at age 106

Nicholas Winton, a British man who almost single-handedly saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, died Wednesday in a hospital near his hometown of Maidenhead, west of London. He was 106. Winton, dubbed "Britain's Schindler" by admirers, overcame bureaucracy at home and abroad and arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain. He kept his achievements quiet for decades after World War II.

July 2015 Weather Records: What a Difference a Year Makes

What a difference a year has made. Many areas of the U.S. experienced substantially different weather conditions from July 2015 compared to July 2014.

Last July, many areas of the eastern half of the country saw cool conditions, which are probably a distant memory after enduring this summer's heat

A few areas also went from a top 10 wettest July in 2014 to placing in the top 10 for driest July this year.

Parts of the West saw an even hotter July this year and Southern California set rainfall records.

What A Difference

July 2014 Compared to July 2015

Little Rock, Arkansas, experienced its third coolest July on record in 2014 with an average temp of only 77.5 degrees, which was more than 5 degrees below average. This year, average temperature was 84.6 degrees, which made it the 13th warmest July on record. Temperatures climbed above the century mark this July with a high of 101 degrees on July 29. Last year the highest temperature recorded was 96 degrees.

Jackson, Mississippi, also saw extremes. The average temperature in July 2015 was 84.7 degrees, making it the third warmest July on record. Jackson also received 1.49 inches of rain, which tied for the eighth driest July. Meanwhile, July 2014 was dominated by cool conditions with an average temperature of 79 degrees, and temperatures even dropped into the 50 with a low of 59 degrees July 30. This set the stage for Jackson to see its fourth coolest July.

Memphis also experienced a flip-flop in temperatures. July 2014 went down in the history books as the sixth coolest July. The average temperature in Memphis last July was 78 degree, 4.7 degrees below average. This July the average temperature was much warmer at 84.5 degrees, making it the 15th warmest July and almost 2 degrees above average.

On a similar note, the heat missing in Atlanta last July was rediscovered in July 2015. This July was the 14th warmest on record with an average temperature of 81.3 degrees. Last July the average temperatures was 77.9 degrees, more than 2 degrees below average. July 2015 saw 22 days that reached or exceeded 90 degrees, while last year there were only 8. The average is 12 days.

Farther north, Maine has seen a change from last July to this July. The record for third wettest July was set in Bangor last year when 6.78 inches of rain fell. This year, however, Bangor July was the seventh driest July with only 1.16 inches of rain. A similar situation has occurred in Portland, Maine, where 6.12 inches of rain was recorded in July 2014, which was the sixth wettest July. This year only 1.26 inches of rain was measured, making July 2015 the 11th driest July.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I finished the whole puzzle without understanding the theme, but eventually the penny dropped. INVISIBLE INK is 67a. [What six of this puzzle’s clues have been written with?] because the single-letter theme clues should really be 4-letter words consisting of those initial letters + “ink”:

  • 18a. [K], ECCENTRICITY. Kink.
  • 30a. [W], SPLIT SECOND. Quick as a wink.
  • 38a. [P], MEDIUM RARE. A local burger-centric restaurant offers “pink or not pink” doneness options.
  • 53a. [F], STOOL PIGEON. This one tipped me off to the theme—trying to think of how F related to STOOL PIGEON, I thought of “fink.”
  • 12d. [S], FOUNDER. This is the verb, foundering and sinking, and not the noun, one who establishes something.
  • 45d. [L], CONNECT. Link.

Simple, yet evasive. Good Thursday theme. To accommodate the 10-letter themer in the center, the grid’s 16 squares wide.

  • 13d. [Classic Nintendo game similar to Tetris], DR. MARIO. Never heard of it neither has my husband, who is more of a gamer than I am.
  • 59a. [Opposite of drop out], ENROL. I kind of wish every constructor who uses word lists to help fill grids would delete this entry from their lists. This is America! It’s ENROLL, with two L’s, in this country.
  • 7d. [Containing element #77], IRIDIC. Containing iridium? Not an adjective I’ve ever seen. Ridic!
  • 3d. [Needs for many digital cameras], AA CELLS. Not sure I know anyone who wouldn’t just say “double-A batteries.”
  • 2d. [Affliction with many folk remedies], HICCUPS. Deb Amlen told me to take a spoonful of sugar, and she’s right. It often works.

There are a few words here that I have seldom encountered outside of crosswords: PLEB, ORISON, LIANA, LEA, and ETYMA.

Jim Hilger’s Fireball crossword, “The Last Shall Be First”

Fireball crossword solution, 7 2 15 “The Last Shall Be First”

The title phrase explains how the theme answers are formed: The last word of a familiar phrase moves up to be the first word.

  • 3d. [Apply to Harvard?], TRY THE OLD COLLEGE. The old college try.
  • 5d. [Have a symbolic American dessert delivered?], ORDER IN APPLE PIE. In apple-pie order.
  • 15d. [Delivers checks to restaurant patrons?], BEARS THE BAD NEWS. The Bad News Bears.
  • 10d. [Outperform in a tree-eating contest?], BITE MORE BARK THAN. More bark than bite.

Not sure why the theme answers are vertical. Two of the themers have 16 letters, but 16 squares wide is certainly workable (see today’s NYT). The theme works well, though. Overall the puzzle felt a bit easier than most Fireballs—no difficult-to-uncover trick here.

  • 41a. [Cover to protect from the heat?], ABET. Cops’ heat, not an oven—I was tempted by oven MITT save for that question mark.
  • 43d. [Lodger dislodger], EVICTOR. Have not seen this form of the word before, I don’t think. A landlord or a county sheriff might evict you, but their job doesn’t get called EVICTOR. It’s making me think of those horrible E- entries. Who won your online trivia contest? The e-victor.
  • 41d. [Big band bandleader Lyman], ABE. Never heard of him. This is the price you pay for Peter Gordon’s preference for brand-new clues.

Most of the fill is ordinary stuff. Not “whoa, so smooth,” not “ooh, sparkly!,” but also not “ugh, terrible.” Four stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Mic Drop” — Ben’s Review

Hopefully this week’s BEQ isn’t as divisive as last week’s seemed. This week’s twist should have been easily figured out by the title, but it took me a little bit to realize that there were two sets of clues affected by what was going on, gaining the extra MIC dropped by the clue above it:

  • 14A: Flatfish owned by comedian Bill? — COS(MIC)RAY
  • 26A: Tiny organism in the tub? — BATH (MIC)ROBE
  • 29A: Indie actor Michael’s weed? — CERA(MIC) POT
  • 34A: Stance of a controversial argument? — POLE(MIC) POSITION
  • 47A: Crucial part of the Earth’s layers? — (MIC)KEY MANTLE
  • 52A: Mining areas that are a real laugh? — CO(MIC)AL PITS

COSRAY felt kind of sketchy as an answer, even with what was going on, but the rest felt fine. There were a few other questionable non-theme entries running around the grid, too: TLALOC (36A, Aztec god of rains), IT PRO (43A, tech support guru, which I expected to be IT GUY), and CKONE (41D, Fragrant competitor of Tommy).

Elsewhere in the puzzle, things felt pretty by the books. I liked BEQ’s clue for LABEL at 8D (Matador or Merge, e.g.), and seeing IGUANODON (11D) in a puzzle was nice. Overall, this was a nice puzzle to kick off July with.

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “When in Rome”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.02.15: “When in Rome”

Good day, everyone! So today’s theme, from the grid of Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, is one that I got and understood, but still was left at a loss a little while solving. Each of the theme answers are common phrases and/or nouns that are reimagined (and clued) so that consecutive letters inside of the entry, that also happen to be Roman numerals, actually act as that Roman numeral when answering.

  • VI AGRA PILLS (17A: [Six party poopers from India?])
  • RESCUE DIV ERS (28A: [Save 504 hospital units?])
  • SMOKED CI GARS (45A: [Cured 101 long-nosed fish?])
  • LI QUID DIETS (58A: [Weight loss plan for 51 pounds?]) – Quid = one pound sterling.

Despite being left a little underwhelmed at the theme, I did like some of the lively down answers, especially DEGENERES (11D: [Funny Ellen]) and ALSATIAN, a term I learned not too long ago when seeing a YouTube clip on different breeds of dogs (10D: [German shepherd]). Although, I’ll have to admit that I had never heard of the term MONOKINIS before (34D: [Some sexy beachwear]). Are those the same as tankinis, the tank top bikini? Going back to the fun downs, haven’t seen/heard LOVE NEST in a long while, so that was fun to see (23D: [Site for a tryst]). So, for today, SIRREE is spelled with two Rs, which used to be the way I spelled it regularly, at least in my mind, before crosswords continually made me spell me with just the one R (5D: [“No ______!”]). Although I was in a laudatory state on some down answers, I couldn’t wax the same poetic for the adjacent entries of QOM (59D: [Iranian holy city]) and URB (60D: [Metro area]). Those definitely made me want to drink a couple of BREWSKIS (25D: [Cold ones]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CLEM (33D: [Skelton character Kadiddlehopper]) – Former University of Minnesota men’s basketball head coach CLEM Haskins took the Golden Gophers to the Final Four back in 1997. Two years later, he resigned from his post after being implicated in a massive academic fraud scandal that was revealed on the eve of the 1999 NCAA Tournament in which a former academic office manager admitted to doing schoolwork for athletes. Haskins was also penalized by the NCAA, as he was essentially blackballed from coaching in the NCAA for seven years. Haskins, as a player, was one of the first black athletes to play basketball at Western Kentucky University, in 1963, and that was considered one of the turning points in the embracing of integration in terms of athletics programs across universities in the South.

TGIF tomorrow! Have a good rest of your Thursday!

Robert E. Lee’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

The cryptic-style revealer is LEMONTWIST. So the letters LEMON are found across the middles of four other two-word theme answers. LEMON only anagrams in the narrow sense to MELON, so an interpretation like this is necessary. It makes the theme feel rather open-ended though. Still, you get a nice collection of theme answers, and important goal that sometimes gets lost when framing a theme too narrowly. We get [*Serious swearing], SOLEMNOATH [*Hunt’s rival], DELMONTE [*Brunch choice], WESTERNOMELET [*Camera attachment], ZOOMLENS.

Bullets, cos I’m behind “schedule”:

  • [Eponymous obstetrician Fernand], LAMAZE. Sort of like macrame?
  • [Hip bones], ILIA. That reminds me, got a 14-year old deaf, blind dog with a fractured ilium waiting for us tomorrow. What to do. Hit by owner in car, because it’s blind and deaf and was too slow to get out of the way. Sadly, this happens with surprising frequency…
  • [Managing ed.’s concern], CIRC + QID and URI in a 4ࡩ section with one entrance. This could (SHOULD) have been redone by the editor and is an example of warped priorities on the part of the constructor. No Q is worth mangling an easy-to-fill section of puzzle! Priorities!
  • [Longtime maker of convertibles], CASTRO was a completely meaningless clue for me. Apparently an American couch-maker. I need to bone up on those!
  • [Solution for contacts], SALINE. Also faecal wet preps, but don’t expect that in a clue soon…

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 July 2
Venus and Jupiter are Close
Composite Image Credit & Copyright: Wang, Letian

Explanation: On June 30, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this image taken after sunset from Bejing, China. As the two bright planets set together in the west, a nearly Full Moon rose above the horizon to the south and east. Imaged that night with the same telescope and camera, the rising Moon from the opposite part of the sky is compared with the planetary conjunction for scale in the digitally composited image. The full lunar disk covers an angle of about 1/2 degree on the sky. Visible as well in binoculars and small telescopes are Venus' crescent and Jupiter's four Galilean moons. Of course, Venus and Jupiter are still close.

Russian Military Map, July 22 – August 2, 2015

This year NATO has increased the number of military exercises near Russian borders from 90-95 to 150 and the number of reconnaissance aviation flights has increased by 9 times since last year. Iran’s “nuclear problem” has been settled, but the United States is continuing the development of a missile defense system in Europe aimed almost exclusively at Russia. The Russian Federation must take military and technical measures in response to the U.S. missile “defense” system in Europe, NATO military activity and other security threats in Russia’s backyard.


1. July 27, Russia has no plans to deploy Tu-22M3 bombers in Crimea. Russian Air Force Commander Colonel General Viktor Bondarev stated Russia had enough warplanes in Crimea “to ensure clear blue sky over us.” According to earlier reports, ten Tu-22M3 bombers were temporarily deployed in Crimea during a surprise combat readiness check this spring.

2. July 29, Russia’s new-generation anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) have been deployed on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. The combat hardware has assumed combat positions near the port cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which serves as the Pacific Fleet’s primary naval base, Yelizovo, which hosts the Fleet’s air base, and Vilyuchinsk, which accommodates the Fleet’s submarine base.

The S-400 surface-to-air missile system is designated to destroy any air targets at a distance of up to 400 km (248.5 miles) and at an altitude of up to 30 km (18.6 miles) and create defense in depth. The missiles have become operational in the Russian Armed Forces this year.

3. July 30, Russia’s airborne forces are building up the strength of airborne assault divisions to complement them with a third regiment. A rapid reaction force will be created on the basis of airborne troops. According to a source in the General Staff, the paratroops’ strength will grow noticeably from 45,000 men to 60,000. The source also mentioned plans for restoring the 104th airborne assault division and creating a new airborne assault brigade.

4. July 29, The Russian Defense Ministry reportedly plans to create 2 new battle tank armies, 1 st Guards Tank Army and 20th Guards Combined Army, in the Western Military District by December 1 and another combined army will in fact be formed anew. The new battle tank armies will be the first to receive the newest Armata tanks and Kurganets infantry fighting vehicles.

Armata is a heavy unified platform serving as a base for a tank and an infantry combat vehicle. The new battle tanks have received unmanned turrets, all digital control and isolated armored crew capsules. The new electronics will make the tanks a part of a network which also includes drones, electronic countermeasure systems and targeting devices. The creators say it will take less than a minute after a target is detected for its exact coordinates to be transferred to weapons crews. The key armament of Armata is a 125-mm gun, but the use of a 152-mm gun is not ruled out for the future. Serial production of these tanks is expected to begin in 2017-2018.

5. July 31, Aircraft fitness in the Russian Air Force will reach 80% for the first time ever by the end of this year, a spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Friday. The task was set first for long-range aviation and then for all aviation forces. Meanwhile, a series of incidents including technical failures have occurred with Russian military aircraft. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said the breakdown incidence in military aviation continued to be a major problem.

6. A regiment of air defense missile systems S-400 Triumf will be formed for the newly-created Arctic Command and deployed on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago this year. Last year an air defense unit based in the Kola Peninsula was armed with S-400 systems and Pantsir-S1 systems were deployed on the Novosibirsk islands.

The new strategic Arctic Joint Strategic Command went operational on the basis of the Northern Fleet in December 1. The Arctic Strategic Command area of responsibility includes Russian territories in the Arctic, including the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. The new military command is formed on the basis of the Russian Northern Fleet and it is planned to take control of various units, vessels and formations, previously part of the Western, Central and Southern military districts.

7. Orlan-10 drones were delivered to the permanent service base – the Anadyr-Ugolny aerodrome of the Eastern Military District in Chukotka. It is planned to organize a trial combat duty of the drone unit in Chukotka for objective terrain monitoring, drilling combat training tasks in the near maritime zone and performing flights in the area of stationing of the military district’s Arctic units on the Wrangel Island and Cape Otto Schmidt. The drones will ensure sea navigation security and conduct coastal air reconnaissance over Russian territorial waters. The first trial flights of the drones in the low temperature conditions were conducted in early 2015.

ORLAN 10 is an unmanned aerial vehicle produced for the Russian government at the Special Technological Centre of Saint Petersburg.

Click to see the full size image

8. The Project 11356 lead frigate Admiral Grigorovich is scheduled to join the Russian Black Sea Fleet and reach Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula by the end of this year. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has already completed forming crews for the Project 11356 frigates Admiral Grigorovich, Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov. The crews of the small missile-carrying ships Serpukhov and Zeleny Dol built for the Black Sea Fleet in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan have also been formed and started training.

9. July 22, Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops command is holding a snap check of operational status of the Irkutsk missile unit. Two regiments equipped with Topol mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles are involved in snap checks. Topol missiles are capable of hitting strategic targets at long distances. Most of the attention is focused on practicing deployment of regiments and launch of missiles.

10. July 24-29, A missile brigade of the Central Military District was alerted in a combat readiness check in the morning of July 24 and delivered to the Totsky shooting range. The brigade held firing exercises using Iskander-M tactical missile systems. More than 500 servicemen and 50 units of military equipment took part in the drills.

11. July 27, A heavy motor rifle formation held military drills at the Totsky shooting range. About a thousand servicemen destroyed a large base of simulated militants with the support of army aviation and artillery.

12. July 29, Military exercises involving Mikoyan MiG-31 (NATO reporting name: Foxhound) interceptors and Kamov Ka-27 (Helix) helicopters have started at the Yelizovo airbase in the Far Eastern Kamchatka Territory. During the training flights, the pilots have been practicing various assignments as part of fighters’ pairs and wings using helicopter radar equipment and airborne armaments. The crews will also drill parachute and landing operations.

13. July 29, The Guards Missile Brigade of the Baltic Fleet’s coastal troops based in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad Region held drills with simulated multiple and single missile launches. The brigade’s units practiced destroying a simulated enemy force’s subversive groups and reconnaissance teams, acting amid an air raid, crossing contaminated terrain, various obstacles and natural barriers and moving in the conditions of fires. The missile units were supported by Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) attack helicopters and Sukhoi Su-24 (Fencer) bombers from the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation.

Mil Mi-24 is a large helicopter gunship and attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers.

Sukhoi Su-24 is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft/interdictor developed in the Soviet Union. This variable-sweep wing, twin-engined side-by-side two-seater carried the USSR’s first integrated digital navigation/attack system. Contemporary Su-24M models have gone through a life-extension and updating program, with GLONASS, upgraded cockpit with multi-function displays (MFDs), HUD, digital moving-map generator, Shchel helmet-mounted sights, and provision for the latest guided weapons, including R-73 (AA-11 ‘Archer’) air-to-air missiles.

14. July 29, The Russian destroyer Admiral Ushakov has practised gun fire in the Barents Sea against coastal targets.

15. July 31, Motor rifle and artillery units of Russia’s Central Military District have ended their military drills at the Totsky shooting range near Orenburg in the south Urals, the district’s press office reported on Friday. The drills involved over 3,000 personnel and more than 400 pieces of the armor, the press office said.

16. August 20-28, In accordance with a relative China-Russia agreement, the two countries will conduct a joint naval exercise in the Peter the Great Gulf and the Sea of Japan. The exercise tasks will include: organization of joint defense and joint military operations against the surface forces of a simulated enemy. Also, the sides will conduct a joint landing operation. A key purpose of the drills is to further enhance the sides’ capabilities of jointly coping with maritime security threats.

17. September, Air defense systems S-300 Favorit and S-400 Triumf, as well as combined mediumrange surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system Pantsir will be used in the CIS exercise Combat Commonwealth-2015. The exercise will be held at the Ashuluk test site, near Astrakhan, in September.

18. 7 Russian corporations have entered top 100 biggest military companies of 2015 based on the income records: №11 – Almaz-Antey, №14 – United Aircraft Corp, №23 – Russian Helicopters, №26 – United Engine-Building, №31 – Tactical Missiles, №52 – Uralvagonzavod, №69 – RTI.

19. Russia’s Systemprom Concern (subsidiary of the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation) is developing a universal robotic platform that can transform into a combat robot, a vehicle machine or an electronic warfare system. The vehicle’s testing will begin at the end of the year. By installing a combat module on the platform it will be possible to create a strikereconnaissance vehicle, and installing electronic warfare systems on it will make it a combat EW vehicle. A communications relay or a mine clearance system can be mounted on the chassis. The robotic platform can also use military modules with small arms, electronic warfare modules, and reconnaissance models with flying components.

Depending on the type of design and armor, its weight can reach 7 tonnes, and the vehicle is capable of carrying of up to 2 tonnes of payload. “The vehicle’s length is about 3.5 meters, with a width of less than 2 meters. It has been designed to be transported by an army truck or air dropped.

20. September, Russia’s newest tank on the Armata platform will be put on display on the second day of the Russia Arms Expo – 2015 (RAE-2015) exhibition, which will be held in Nizhny Tagil in Russia’s Urals region.

21. Vladimir Kozhin, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide on military-technical cooperation, stated that Russia is assembling a more advanced version of its S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system to begin its shipment to Iran by 2016. Also, Moscow is modernizing some parts of the system and changing contract terms such as the pricing. In April, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said that Iran will receive the Russian air defense systems S-300 in 2015. The sides will approximately sign the contract for the delivery of S-300 air defense systems during an upcoming Iran officials’ visit to Moscow this year.

The Russian Federation is raising the fitness of its Armed Forces, border security and strengthening the groups in key points and directions of its interests as the Black Sea and the Arctic regions. The ongoing success of Russian military reform has already caused concerns in the US/NATO headquarters actively militarizing Europe and exercising aggressively drills at the Russian borders. The development of the Russia-China military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region will raise these concerns further despite the fact that US/NATO roughly expansion in the Russian’s and China’s spheres of influence became a main trigger of contemporary situation. Russia’s aim is to show the capability to successfully solve the problems in its operational zone by military forces in case of NATO’s choice to go further in military escalation. Thus, it gains the ground for diplomatic solutions of the crises by showing the NATO hawks that military pressure cannot be a winning strategy against Russia.

July 4, 1865: First Independence Day after Civil War subdued as nation healed

It was a Fourth of July unlike any other in the nation’s history.

Independence Day 1865 — exactly 150 years ago — was an uneasy mix of joy, relief, resentment and unhealed wounds as Americans sought reasons for celebration after a war that nearly tore apart the country.

Three months earlier, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at a Virginia courthouse and, days later, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Lincoln in a Washington theater. Texas slaves learned of their freedom just weeks earlier, and Booth’s co-conspirators sat in a military jail cell with three days until their appointment with the gallows. Richmond and much of the rest of the South were in ruins, ruled by the U.S. military, while an untested President Johnson was trying to find his way forward.

But for the first time in more than four years, Independence Day dawned without Americans on the battlefield trying to kill other Americans.

Contemporary accounts and newspaper stories depict a subdued, at times somber celebration in a country struggling to recover a sense of normalcy. In some places, the holiday was barely observed at all.

The Emancipation Proclamation was read alongside the Declaration of Independence across the country. Freed blacks celebrated American independence for the first time. Northerners commemorated their victory over the Confederacy and urged reconciliation.

In the South, broken people were struggling to rebuild their lives.

A writer for the Charleston Courier in South Carolina tried to argue that the South could embrace Independence Day despite the outcome of the war.

“The ‘Fourth of July’ is, in all its greatest lessons and associations, an inheritance of the Confederate States,” the article read. “It had originally nothing to do with the relations of American states to each other, but asserted their independence against foreign rule. It is rightfully ours, and we must regard it so.”

Johnson looked to the Fourth of July as a launching point to reunify not just the states, but also the hearts and minds of their inhabitants.

“Of all the anniversaries of the Declaration of Independence, none has been more important and significant than that upon which you assemble,” he proclaimed. “Let us trust that each recurring Fourth of July shall find our nation stronger in number, stronger in wealth, stronger in the harmony of the citizens, stronger in its devotion to nationality and freedom.”

The president apparently spent the day in the White House, having canceled plans to travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for a memorial service because he was “indisposed.”

In the years preceding the Civil War, political tensions created clashing interpretations of the Fourth of July and its significance in the national story.

At least three ideas prevailed. For the South, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence represented sovereignty and the right to rebel. To the North, it marked the creation of a unified nation. To blacks and abolitionists, the day represented a celebration of freedom.

Despite the Confederacy’s claim on the Fourth of July, celebrations during the war were muted by the demands of battle. Crowds were smaller because most of the men were at war, and the customary military processions were noticeably absent as well.

The atmosphere was more somber than usual. An article in The New York Times described the 1861 July Fourth commemoration as akin to “the anniversary of a divorced couple’s wedding.”

In 1865, many of the war’s restrictions were beginning to lift two months after the formal end of combat.

For many in the North, the day was an excuse to celebrate a victory without reservation, and the spirit was not always magnanimous to the defeated. The Rev. Andrew L. Stone, in a speech to mark the holiday in Providence, Rhode Island, exulted that the “peers of the new usurping realm” now “sit in sackcloth and ashes” as the “baleful fires of the rebellion [have] died out.”

“We are today one nation again,” the cleric said. “The seat of government is the national capital, and not an arena for swaggering Southern bullies.”

Although some Southerners reluctantly embraced the holiday and the union, others found it too bitter a pill to swallow.

Washington, often viewed as straddling the divide between North and South, observed Independence Day with normal fanfare and celebration, according to coverage the next day in The Washington Evening Star.

“The dawn of another Independence Day was ushered in yesterday by the usual firing of guns by men, and rattling of fire-crackers and toy artillery by the children,” the newspaper wrote. Afterward, “the young folk and a large portion of their elders had arranged for an exodus from the dust and heat of the city to the shady groves in the surrounding country.”

The Colored People’s Educational Monument Association honored Lincoln with a memorial on the grounds of the U.S. Treasury, the first national celebration by black Americans.

In the evening, the Star reported, “the display of fireworks in the grounds south of the President’s House was exceedingly fine and attracted an immense throng.”

The author added, “The magnificent spectacle passed off without any occurrence whatever to mar the enjoyment of the scene.”

Farther South, observations of the day ranged from full-scale celebration to sullen indifference.

The Southern Watchman of Athens, Georgia, reported that the city rejected the notion of celebrating entirely because it was “deemed inexpedient, in view of our recent humiliation, our great loss of property, and more especially of men, to attempt a celebration this year.”

The Macon (Georgia) Telegraph observed in its July 4, 1865, edition that “our people are in no condition to engage in hilarity and festivity. Where plenty once smiled upon us, we now see the impoverishment and exhaustion resulting from four years of war.”

By contrast, The Baton Rouge Gazette expressed desire that “the coming anniversary be celebrated as of old, when Maine and Louisiana gloried in it together and when one people from Lakes to Gulf claimed it as their own.”

The July 5 edition of the Columbia Daily Phoenix in South Carolina perhaps best captured the conflicted feelings across the old Confederacy.

The only official observation of the holiday was organized by blacks, who were joined by a much smaller group of whites. Despite the lack of an official celebration, the local government declared that day that it was “the duty of the people of the South to accept, and acquiesce in the result, and to submit in good faith to the authority of the United States government.”

Esther Hill Hawks, a New Hampshire-born physician working in South Carolina with freed slaves, lamented the lack of public displays like she would have seen back home.

“It seemed like Sunday, everything was so still, not a gun, not a boy with a snap-cracker to indicate the ‘day we celebrate,’” she wrote in her diary.

The Daily Phoenix, in the same issue, reported that a man killed himself because “he could never live under the United States Government.”

Holidays in red denotes a Federal Holiday.

Thursday, Jan 1 - New Years Day 2015 Monday, Jan 19 - Martin Luther King Day 2015 Saturday, Feb 14 - Valentines Day 2015 Monday, Feb 16 - Presidents Day 2015 Sunday, March 8 - Daylight Saving Starts 2015 Tuesday, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day 2015 Sunday, April 5 - Easter 2015 Sunday, May 10 - Mothers Day 2015 Monday, May 25 - Memorial Day 2015 Sunday, June 21 - Fathers Day 2015 Saturday, July 4 - Independence Day 2015 Monday, Sept 7 - Labor Day 2015 Monday, Oct 12 - Columbus Day 2015 Saturday, Oct 31 - Halloween 2015 Sunday, Nov 1 - Daylight Saving Ends 2015 Wednesday, Nov 11 - Veterans Day 2015 Thursday, Nov 26 - Thanksgiving 2015 Friday, Dec 25 - Christmas Day 2015

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Watch the video: 4th Of July For Kids - Independence Day. Story with Interesting Facts for Children. Kids Academy (May 2022).