Portal:Europe
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Portal:Europe
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Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and Asia to the east. Europe is commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus, the Black Sea, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although much of this border is over land, Europe is generally accorded the status of a full continent because of its great physical size and the weight of history and tradition.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area), making it the second smallest continent (using the seven-continent model). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states, of which Russia is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population), as of 2018. The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.

The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of written records. During the Neolithic era and the time of the Indo-European migrations, Europe saw human inflows from east and southeast and subsequent important cultural and material exchange. The period known as classical antiquity began with the emergence of the city-states of ancient Greece. Later, the Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin. The fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476 traditionally marks the start of the Middle Ages. Beginning in the 14th century a Renaissance of knowledge challenged traditional doctrines in science and theology. Simultaneously, the Protestant Reformation set up Protestant churches primarily in Germany, Scandinavia and England. After 1800, the Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Britain and Western Europe. The main European powers set up colonies in most of the Americas and Africa, and parts of Asia. In the 20th century, World War I and World War II resulted in massive numbers of deaths. The Cold War dominated European geo-politics from 1947 to 1989. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the European countries grew together.

The culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, film, different types of music, economic, literature, and philosophy that originated from the continent of Europe. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".

The economy of Europe comprises more than 744 million people in 50 countries. The formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency, the Euro, brings participating European countries closer through the convenience of a shared currency and has led to a stronger European cash flow. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen roughly in former Cold War divide, with some countries breaching the divide (Greece, Estonia, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Whilst most European states have a GDP per capita higher than the world's average and are very highly developed (Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany), some European economies, despite their position over the world's average in the Human Development Index, are poorer.

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A bowl of borscht garnished with dill and a dollop of smetana (sour cream)
A bowl of borscht garnished with dill and a dollop of smetana (sour cream)

Borscht is a beet soup common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is typically made with using large amount of beets (normally sour beets), by combining meat or bone stock with sautéed vegetables, which - alongside with large amount of beetroots - may include cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, borscht may include meat/chicken/fish or be purely vegetarian; it may be served either hot or cold; and it may range from a hearty one-pot meal to a clear broth or a smooth drink. Its popularity has spread throughout Eastern Europe and the former Russian Empire, and - by way of migration - to other continents. In North America, borscht is often linked with either Jews or Mennonites, the groups who first brought it there from Europe. Several ethnic groups claim borscht, in its various local guises, as their own national dish consumed as part of ritual meals within Eastern Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Jewish religious traditions.

Borscht is often served with smetana or sour cream, hard-boiled eggs or potatoes, but there exists an ample choice of more garnishes and side dishes involved (such as dumplings, like uszka or pampushky). (Full article...)

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Titchwell131111-238.jpg

Titchwell Marsh is an English nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Located on the north coast of the county of Norfolk, between the villages of Titchwell and Thornham, about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the seaside resort of Hunstanton, its 171 hectares (420 acres) include reed beds, saltmarshes, a freshwater lagoon and sandy beach, with a small woodland area near the car park. This internationally important reserve is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and is also protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings.

The reserve is important for some scarce breeding birds, such as pied avocets on the islands, and western marsh harriers, Eurasian bitterns and bearded reedlings in the reeds. To encourage bitterns to breed, the reed beds have been improved to make them wetter, and the lagoon has been stocked with the common rudd. Typical wetland birds such as the water rail, reed warbler and sedge warbler also appear, and little egrets are common. The reserve has regularly attracted rarities, as its location is important for migrating birds. Ducks and geese winter at Titchwell in considerable numbers, and the reserve shelters the endangered European water vole. (Full article...)

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Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement who is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers. He is recognized for his poetry, including Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles, as well as the novels The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862). Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo later changed his views and became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. His legacy has been honoured in many ways; for some years his portrait appeared on the 5-franc banknote.

In the News

10 April 2021 - 2021 Northern Ireland riots
Police say overnight clashes resulted in fourteen officers injured in Belfast and Coleraine. The violence saw a burning car used to ram a police vehicle, bins set alight, and three 14-year-old children arrested. (BBC)
9 April 2021 - Russo-Ukrainian War, War in Donbass, Russia-NATO relations
Russia deploys more troops to the Russia-Ukraine border and the United States sends two warships into the Black Sea as tensions escalate between the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine. (The New York Times)
9 April 2021 - Death and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at home in Windsor Castle aged 99. He was the longest-serving Royal Consort of the United Kingdom. (The Independent)
9 April 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Europe
COVID-19 pandemic in Greece
Greece restricts the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 30 years old following reports of a possible link with rare blood clotting cases. (Ekathimerini)

Updated: 0:33, 11 April 2021

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Bed?ich Smetana, c. 1878

Bed?ich Smetana ( BED-?r-zhikh SMET-?-n?, Czech: ['b?drx 'sm?tana] ; 2 March 1824 - 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his people's aspirations to a cultural and political "revival." He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem "Vltava", also popularly known by its German name "Die Moldau" (in English, "The Moldau").

Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of 6. After conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the 1848 Prague uprising, in which he briefly participated. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works. (Full article...)

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River Amstel
The river Amstel, flowing through the centre of Amsterdam. Visible are some of the city's most important landmarks located adjacent to the river in this panorama, such as the Magere Brug (crossing the river), the Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amstel Hotel and Rembrandt Tower.

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Grimsel Pass
The Grimsel Pass is a mountain pass in Switzerland which crosses the Bernese Alps at an elevation of 2,164 metres (7,100 ft). It connects the Haslital, the upper valley of the river Aare, with the upper valley of the Rhone. A 38-kilometre (24 mi) paved road between Gletsch and Meiringen follows the pass; owing to high snowfall, this road is generally closed between October and May.

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