The world’s safest (and least safe) countries

Revealed: The world’s safest (and least safe) countries – Zimbabwe and Nicaragua beat the UK

This is the safest country on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum
This is the safest country on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum CREDIT: VITALYTITOV – FOTOLIA

Are you a nervous traveller? Then you might want to consider a trip to Finland, the safest country on Earth according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Those countries shown in lighter colours on the map above rated highest for “safety and security” in the foundation’s latest biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, published last week; those in darker colours recorded the lowest scores. 

The presence of the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the top five, and Qatar in the top 10, will no doubt surprise many given their location in the troubled Middle East. Rwanda, in ninth, ahead of countries such as Portugal and New Zealand, to name just two, will also raise eyebrows. 

Oman (pictured) and the UAE were also among the five safest
Oman (pictured) and the UAE were also among the five safest CREDIT: CRISTIAN ANDRIANA/CRISTIAN ANDRIANA

The world’s 20 safest countries, according to the WEF

  1. Finland – rating: 6.65
  2. UAE – 6.6
  3. Iceland – 6.57
  4. Oman – 6.49
  5. Hong Kong – 6.47
  6. Singapore – 6.45
  7. Norway – 6.41
  8. Switzerland – 6.41
  9. Rwanda – 6.39
  10. Qatar – 6.33
  11. Luxembourg – 6.32
  12. Portugal – 6.32
  13. New Zealand – 6.31
  14. Austria – 6.28
  15. Estonia – 6.26
  16. Sweden – 6.22
  17. Slovenia – 6.2
  18. Spain – 6.16
  19. Netherlands – 6.14
  20. Morocco – 6.14

Equally remarkable is the UK’s lowly position. It’s down in 78th, below the likes of Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia and Nicaragua, among others. 

Zimabwe: safer than Britain, reckons the WEF

15 countries that are safer than the UK, according to the WEF

  1. Rwanda
  2. Qatar
  3. Morocco
  4. Bhutan
  5. Armenia
  6. Azerbaijan
  7. Jordan
  8. Tajikistan
  9. Mongolia
  10. The Gambia
  11. Kazakhstan
  12. Zimbabwe
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Nicaragua
  15. Malawi

The US fares even worse, lagging behind in 84th, just below Gabon, Algeria and Benin. 

The rankings take into account “the costliness of common crime and violence as well as terrorism, and the extent to which police services can be relied upon to provide protection from crime,” the report states. 

Colombia propped up the table
Colombia propped up the table CREDIT: JOHN COLETTI

Bottom of its survey is Colombia, followed by Yemen, El Salvador and Pakistan. A handful of countries do not feature in the 2017 report, in which case we have taken their rating from 2015 to populate the map above, or else they are shown in grey if no rating has been given in either of the last two World Economic Forum reports.

Previously, Telegraph Travel has mapped those countries where the threat of a terror attack is highest, according to the Foreign Office: 

We’ve also looked at where a natural disaster is most likely to strike, according to the United Nations University for Environment and Human Security:



Yes! You can definitely start a tradition of making your own king cakes at home with your loved ones. Check out Sucre’s award-winning king cake recipe for inspiration this Mardi Gras season. Voted “A Favorite” by the Times-Picayune King Cake Contest and “BEST” King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test. Sucre’s signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and raw cane sugar then folded with a light layer of creole cream cheese.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!! this is the strawberry almond king cake from @laboulangerienola ⚜️📿❤️ #delicious
📷: CK
#followyournola #showmeyournola #neworleans #kingcake #mardigras #foodstagram #foodies #neworleansfood #neworleanslouisiana #nola #nolafood #laboulangerie #eatnola #eatingnola #504 #louisiana #eaternola #yelpnola #gambit #southernliving #eatingood #tsgnola #goodeats #foodbeast #foodceleb #yelp #eater #opentable #nolafoodgramotw




  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and milk in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed till it comes together. As dough comes together, add 1 egg at a time then add butter gradually. Continue to mix at medium speed till smooth and elastic. Do not overmix.

Place in a clean bowl and wrap with plastic wrap, keep at room temperature and allow to double in size. When doubled, “punch down” to deflate, and wrap again to allow to rise again.

At this point, make the cream cheese filling.


  • 8oz Cream Cheese (1 pack)
  • 1ea Egg yolk
  • 1/8 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Combine all ingredients and mix till smooth. Will be divided on 2 pieces of dough


Roll dough to an even rectangle about ¼” thick. Cut into 2 lengthwise and pipe or spoon cream cheese filling on the upper 1/3 of each piece. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon) evenly. Roll each piece into a log and twist them together to form a braid. Shape into a ring sealing the ends well.

Proof to double in size and bake in preheated oven @360*F for approx 20-25 minutes or till golden brown on the bottom surface. If top is golden brown and bottom is still not baked, cover the top with foil and turn oven down to 325*F. Allow to cool before glazing.


  • 2 cups Powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients till smooth and coat top of cooled cake. Allow glaze to dry before serving. RECIPE COURTESY OF SUCRÉ – WWW.SHOPSUCRE.COM 

(Information obtained from



The name “king cake” comes from the Biblical story of the three kings who bring gifts to Baby Jesus. A blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is usually iced in yellow, green and purple – the colors of Mardi Gras — and is frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses. Hidden within these season sweets also lie a special surprise: a plastic king cake baby to continue the fun.


HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!! this is the strawberry almond king cake from @laboulangerienola ⚜️📿❤️ #delicious
📷: CK
#followyournola #showmeyournola #neworleans #kingcake #mardigras #foodstagram #foodies #neworleansfood #neworleanslouisiana #nola #nolafood #laboulangerie #eatnola #eatingnola #504 #louisiana #eaternola #yelpnola #gambit #southernliving #eatingood #tsgnola #goodeats #foodbeast #foodceleb #yelp #eater #opentable #nolafoodgramotw

Hidden in its interior, or under a slice, is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds it must either bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun. Whether at the workplace, school or home – king cake is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the Mardi Gras season.


King cake is indeed a heavenly treat for residents of New Orleans when it appears in supermarkets and bakeries between early January and Ash Wednesday. Some bakeries across the city begin selling as early as December, but always at the start of Carnival – January 6. While we hold firm to our belief that king cakes taste best in New Orleans, don’t fret if you aren’t here during that special time of year. Several bakeries offer fast delivery anywhere in the United States.


New Orleans is filled with a number of bakeries, sweet shops and restaurants eager to begin sharing this sweet seasonal treat. Enjoy customized, traditional and unique king cakes from across the city. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a list of bakeries that offer king cakes, or browse a this list of some of our favorite king cake spots here.

(Information obtained from

Twelfth Night in New Orleans

Unlike Mardi Gras’ ever-changing date, Twelfth Night always falls on Jan. 6. It marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, thus officially ending the holiday season. While some religious sects believe that Twelfth Night falls on Jan. 5, in New Orleans it is celebrated on Jan. 6, the 12th day after Christmas. Those who observe Twelfth Night on Jan. 5 consider Christmas starting at sunset on Christmas Eve.

Less than two weeks after Christmas, New Orleans has begun the celebrating anew with Twelfth Night. The Feast of the Epiphany which is on January 6, marks when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ child. In New Orleans it also means the launch of Carnival season. New Orleans observes it with the Joan of Arc parade that marches through the French Quarter. This is followed by the Twelfth Night Masquerade Ball and the ride of the Phunny Phorty Phellows, a group of gentlemen who board the St. Charles streetcar with great fanfare Uptown to herald the arrival of Carnival.

Twelfth Night is significant here in New Orleans because it is the official start of the Carnival season, which concludes at the end of Mardi Gras Day. Leave it to a city like New Orleans to transition directly from the Christmas holidays to Carnival season. Twelfth Night has always been important in New Orleans, being celebrated and observed as far back as colonial times. However, it wasn’t until post-Civil War in 1870 that the Twelfth Night Revelers formalized the tradition. Since then it’s been celebrated in various forms.

It’s also important to note that since Carnival season doesn’t start until Twelfth Night, staunch observers of tradition wait until that day to have their first piece of king cake for the year. Local lore goes that if king cake is eaten before Twelfth Night, it will rain on Mardi Gras day. Many wave this off as nonsense and sell king cakes year-round. However, since New Orleans is a city built on traditions and superstitions alike, the majority of people here still observe the practice of waiting until Twelfth Night for that first delicious, gooey, cinnamon-y bite of king cake.

How to Celebrate Twelfth Night in New Orleans

Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Parade. This medieval-themed walking parade is a theatrical procession inspired by Joan of Arc’s time in 1400s France. The parade usually begins at 6 p.m. at Toulouse and Decatur Streets, goes through the French Quarter and ends up back on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square. Along the way there are toasts from the Historic New Orleans Collection and Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in New Orleans, from the Williams Research Center balcony at 400 Chartres St.; a sword blessing at St. Louis Cathedral by Father Philip Landry; ending with the crowning of the king and a king cake ceremony. Revelers are invited to wear gold and join the fun.

The Phunny Phorty Phellows (PPP). The PPP’s annual ride exists to gleefully celebrate the arrival of Carnival time. As per tradition, this small but jovial krewe commandeers a single streetcar for the evening, spreading revelry and merriment all along the St. Charles Streetcar line. This year the PPP kicked off their parade at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in Uptown at the streetcar barn on Willow Street. The route takes the festive streetcar along the entire length of the streetcar line (all the way downtown to Canal Street) and then retraces its route back to the barn on Willow Street.

Mardi Gras, like Christmas, is a whole season – not just one day. That being said, Fat Tuesday is the biggest day of celebration, and the date it falls on moves around. You’ll find that Fat Tuesday can be any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9. Carnival celebration starts on Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany), and picks up speed through midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

This year (2019) Mardi Gras is celebrated on Tuesday, March 5.

(Information from Mardi Gras New





Animal Kingdom

The Lion King Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party

What's New at Disney World

January 2019

In honor of The Lion King’s 25th Anniversary, the Animal Kingdom is hosting this all-new dance party in 2019. Head to Discovery Island, January 18-September 30, to show off your best dance moves with Simba, Timon, and Rafiki.


Transformation of Epcot

Epcot is undergoing a multi-year transformation, which means there’s a lot to look forward at this park in 2019 and in the year’s to come. The transformation aims to keep the park’s original vision intact but also make the area more family-friendly. For example, park goers can look forward to attractions like a “Beauty and the Beast” sing-a-long at the France Pavilion. As of right now, further details have not yet been released. However, rumors are circulating that two more countries will be added to World Showcase as part on the over $1 billion investment into Epcot.


All-New Epcot Nighttime Spectacular: Epcot Forever

Fall 2019

Disney Parks is retiring IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at the end of summer 2019. Then, for a limited time only, Epcot will feature Epcot Forever. This nighttime show is a celebration of the park set to classic Epcot tunes. Highlights will include fireworks, lasers, and choreographed special effects kites. Then, in 2020, Epcot will debut a permanent new nighttime spectacular promising to inspire people from around the globe.  So much to look forward to!!

Ratatouille Attraction

Scheduled Summer 2020

At Epcot’s France Pavilion, a “Ratatouille” inspired attraction will open. This ride will be similar to the attraction already open at Disney Park in Paris. As such, guests will “shrink” to Remy’s size, then scurry around Gusteau’s legendary Parisian Restaurants.

Guardians of the Galaxy Attraction

Schedule for 2021

Future World will be home to a new “Guardians of the Galaxy” inspired attraction. Few details have been released but we do know it will replace Ellen’s Energy Adventure and center on Peter Quill, or Star-Lord’s, visit to Epcot as a child.


Does all of this sound exciting?  You bet it does!  And all of these new activities is from just one of the Parks — Magic Kingdom.  There is more to come at the other Parks.  Stay tuned to Part 4.



Disney World is committed to keeping their parks fresh, fun and entertaining! The year 2019 is no exception, with the all of the parks bursting at the seams with activity.

Disney World will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021.  Many of the new attractions for 2019 and corresponds to Disney’s 50th anniversary. That year will be a huge year for Disney and the Parks will unveil new things every year leading up to the anniversary as well.  Here’s what is scheduled for Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party

January 2019

The Magic Kingdom has several newer entertainment options. Among them is the daytime Festival of Fantasy Parade and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire Stage Show. In 2019, Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party will get guests groovin’! Starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as other Disney characters, this street party’s soundtrack include popular Micke Mouse Club remixes.

What's New at Disney World

Tron Roller Coaster

Scheduled for 2021

What’s new at Disney World for the Magic Kingdom? Opening near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, there will be a “Tron” inspired attraction designed after the highly rated TRON Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disney Land. As such, the attraction will be coaster-themed, offering a high-tech thrill ride aboard a train of cycle-like cars that blast riders into the video-game-like “Grid” of the films.

Disney World Transportation

Believe it or not, when it comes to what’s new at Disney World, there’s some exciting news regarding transportation.

Disney Skyliner Gondolas

Summer 2019

Move over ground transportation, the newest way to get around Disney World Theme Parks is via the sky. The Disney Skyliner Gondolas will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.

Does all of this sound exciting?  You bet it does!  And all of these new activities is from just one of the Parks — Magic Kingdom.  There is more to come at the other Parks.  Stay tuned to Part 3.

(Information from

7 Ways to Stay Positive Even During the Toughest Times

A lot of people pride themselves on being optimists, and TBH, if you can stay positive with everything that’s going on in the world today, major props to you. For most people who consider themselves the glass-half-full type, it’s a lifestyle. They try to look at everything that comes their way, from relationship troubles to work mistakes, with a positive spin. But a recent study investigated whether optimists still stay more positive than pessimists when things get really tough, and what they found was pretty surprising.

smiling positive happy radiant black woman

Scientists analyzed nine previous studies to see how both optimists and pessimists brace themselves for receiving important and potentially negative news, like medical test results. They found that even though people who identify as optimists tend to be more positive in general, they too start assuming the worst as the moment of truth about something important nears. It’s easy to understand this instinct, since some people tend to believe that preparing yourself for the worst will ultimately make it less shocking if it happens. On the other hand, some people would rather stay positive whenever possible, since it’s easier to fight off stress and anxiety when you have a sunny outlook. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite expert tips for staying optimistic when you’re dealing with some super hard stuff.

Smiling woman enjoying coffee


1. Learn to reframe negativity. “The trick to positivity is not avoiding pessimism,” says Elaine Taylor-Klaus, a certified professional coach. “It’s really about how quickly you can redirect your focus from negative to positive. Critical thinkers are going to see problems to be solved, but the ability to ‘reframe’ the conversation is the really important skill for people to practice.” She recommends getting into the habit of acknowledging negative thoughts and then asking, “What else is possible here?” This can guide you back into a positive mindset more quickly.

“Bottom line: Negativity happens,” she says. “Positivity is a choice, and the quicker you learn to reframe, the more time you’ll spend in a positive space. Then, over time, the more likely you are to turn directly to a positive interpretation of events.”

2. Ask yourself if this will matter a month or year from now. Sometimes things seem crucial AF in the moment, but might be inconsequential even just a few days after that. Just think about high school drama. “When we can leave the past behind and even know in the present moment that this feeling won’t last, it can help to remind us that time heals and life goes on,” explains Sharon Stokes, life-fulfillment coach.

Smiling volunteers lifting construction frame

3. Give back. Volunteering is an amazing way to change your entire perspective, says Lyssa Menard, a clinical health psychologist, founder of Strategies for Change and assistant professor at Northwestern University’s medical school. “There are many organizations that don’t require an ongoing commitment, so sign up for an event that’s meaningful. Research shows that giving to others is one of the quickest routes toward happiness. While happiness and positivity are different, they’re correlated,” Lyssa says.

4. Role play to be more objective. Playing a little mind trick on yourself can work wonders, says Lori Scherwin of Strategize That, a career coaching service. “We’re often better at helping others than ourselves,” she notes. “Make the situation more objective and less personal to you. For example, consider if it were anyone else in the situation (like your best friend, partner or colleague). How would you see the same ‘problem?’ What advice might you give them to get out of it?” she asks. This will help you shift from being super hard on yourself to more objective, and most likely, more positive.

Smiling architect using digital tablet career work office

5. Make changes to things that are within your control. Spending time worrying about something that you can’t change isn’t really worth the effort. Instead, “Focus on areas where you have agency,” suggests Holly Burton, a career coach for women in male-dominated industries. “You may be stuck in a role you don’t love at work, but you could probably work a few extra hours a week and take on a project that interests you. You could also schedule some proactive meetings with your boss to make an action plan to develop the skills you need to make a lateral move,” she says. In most situations, whether they’re career-related or not, it’s possible to take actions to make things better for yourself.

6. Practice radical acceptance.Jasmine Powers, business and goal coach, suggests trying out the idea of radical acceptance, which is basically accepting the things you cannot change, even if they’re not right or you don’t agree with them. She explains: “If you’re looking to buy a white sedan, you start to notice all the white sedans on the road because your mind is focused on that. In the same way, we often affect our experience because of focusing on good or bad. By working to be mindful of positive things and being extremely grateful for even seemingly insignificant things, we’ll notice even more things to be grateful for.” Another mind trick for the win!

7. Try this gratitude challenge.Adwoa Dadzie, a career strategist and HR executive, has a seven-day happiness challenge that’s definitely worth a try. First, journal about one event each day for seven days that made you feel happy and/or thankful and include the specifics of why it made you feel that way, going deep into the details. Second, send one random thank you email or text to someone each day, either personally or professionally. This message should include what they did and why it’s worthy of the shout out. Detailed gratitude journals are proven to improve your life satisfaction, so try to stick to a gratitude practice, even in the good times!



Disney World is committed to keeping their parks fresh, fun and entertaining! The year 2019 is no exception, with the all of the parks bursting at the seams with activity. 

Disney World will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021.  Many of the new attractions for 2019 and corresponds to Disney’s 50th anniversary. That year will be a huge year for Disney and the Parks will unveil new things every year leading up to the anniversary as well.  Here’s what is scheduled for Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Lightning McQueen’s Race Academy

Spring 2019

This brand-new show is sure to race into the heart of Cars fans who visit Disney World in 2019. Featuring characters from the animated movie Cars, visitors will get a chance to meet Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez. Look for the Race Academy near the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster attraction.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Fall 2019

Can you believe Mickey and Minnie Mouse have never been featured in a ride at Walt Disney World? Well, all that will change in 2019 when Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuts.

What's New at Disney

Set to replace fan favorite, The Greatest Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Chinese Theater, visitors will join Mickey & Minnie for a ride-through attraction based on the retro-style cartoon shorts. Guests can also look forward to a new original story as well as a catchy theme song. In addition, the attraction will feature 2 ½ D, a new breakthrough dimensional media concept that doesn’t require 3D glasses.  This is a must see that fans have been waiting for!!

Star War’s Galaxy Edge

Fall 2019

When detailing what’s new at Disney World, you can’t overlook all that’s happening with the Star Wars Universe. It’s no secret Disney World has been planning a Star Wars-themed land. Guests have been waiting for this new land and in 2019 it will finally open! Star War’s Galaxy Edge will include new rides, restaurants, and shopping.  Highlights include two new attractions—Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The all-new land, which will be on 14-acres (Disney’s largest), is set to be totally interactive.  Yessssss!

Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary

Throughout the Year

May 1st marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Special things will be happening throughout the park all year long. Highlights include Pixar Place being taken over by The Incredibles! Guests can look forward to new meet and greets, a dance party, and much more as Pixar Pier is transformed into a Municiberg city block.

Wonderful World of Animation

May 2019

A spectacular new show will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to celebrate the special 30th Anniversary of the park. The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation—all starting with Mickey Mouse!

What's New at Disney World

Does all of this sound exciting?  You bet it does!  And all of these new activities is from just one of the Parks — Hollywood Studios.  There is more to come at the other Parks.  Stay tuned to Part 2.

(Information from

Understanding 21-gun salute

21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor.

The custom stems from naval tradition, where a warship would fire its cannons harmlessly out to sea, until all ammunition was spent, to show that it was disarmed, signifying the lack of hostile intent. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, or in exceptional circumstances for head of government, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honor.

While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of service, and rank (or office) of the person to whom honors are being rendered.

The tradition of saluting can be traced to the Late Middle Ages practice of placing oneself in an unarmed position and, therefore, in the power of those being honored. This may be noted in the dropping of the point of the sword, presenting arms, discharging cannon and small arms by firing them, lowering sails, manning the yards, removing the headdress or laying on oars.

A Dutch man-of-war firing a salute. The Cannon Shot, painting by Willem van de Velde the Younger.

The gun salute might have originated in the 17th century with the maritime practice of demanding that a defeated enemy expend its ammunition and render itself helpless until reloaded, a time-consuming operation. The gun salute had been established as a naval tradition by the late sixteenth century. A man-of-war which visited a foreign port would discharge all its guns to show that its guns were empty. Since the ship would not have enough time to reload before it was within range of the shore batteries, it was clearly demonstrating its friendly intentions by going in with empty guns.

Salute by gunfire is an ancient ceremony. For years, the British compelled weaker nations to render the first salute; but in time, international practice compelled “gun for gun” on the principle of equality of nations. In the earliest days, seven guns was the recognized British national salute because seven was the standard number of weapons on a vessel. In that day, gunpowder made from sodium nitrate was easier to keep on dry land than at sea. Thus those early regulations stated that although a ship would fire only seven guns, the forts ashore would fire three shots to each one shot afloat, hence the number 21.[

The system of firing an odd number of rounds is said[b to have been originated by Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Navy in the Restoration, as a way of economizing on the use of powder, the rule until that time having been that all guns had to be fired. Odd numbers were chosen, as even numbers indicated a death. With the increase in quality of naval gunpowder by the use of potassium nitrate, honours rendered at sea were increased to the shore salute. 21 guns became the highest national honor.

There was much confusion because of the varying customs of maritime states, but finally the British government proposed to the United States a regulation that provided for “salutes to be returned gun for gun”. The British at that time officially considered the international salute to sovereign states to be 21 guns, and the United States adopted the 21 guns and “gun for gun” return on 18 August 1875.

United States

On 16 November 1776, the West Indian port of St. Eustatius returned a 9-gun salute for the 13-gun salute given by the U.S. brigantine Andrew Doria. At the time, nine guns was the customary salute to an independent republic. This First Salute was specifically ordered by the Dutch governor of the island, and marks the first formal international recognition of the United States as an independent republic. The flag flown by the Andrew Doria was the Grand Union Flag, 13 alternating red and white stripes with the British Flag in the union. The Stars and Stripes received its first salute when John Paul Jones saluted France with 13 guns at Quiberon Bay in 1778 (the Stars and Stripes was not adopted as the national flag until 14 June 1777).

The practice of firing one gun for each state in the union was not officially authorized until 1810, when the United States Department of War declared the number of rounds fired in the “National Salute” to be equivalent to the number of states—which, at the time was 17. The tradition continued until 1841 when it was reduced from 26 to 21.[c

USS Constitution renders a 21-gun salute to Fort Independence during her Independence Dayturnaround cruise

In 1842, the United States declared the 21-gun salute as its “Presidential Salute”. While the “National Salute” had been formally established as the 21-gun salute, the current tradition holds the salute on Independence Day to be a 50 rounds—one round for each state in the union. This ‘Salute to the Nation’ is fired at noon on 4 July, on U.S. military installations, while the U.S. Navy full-dresses ships and fires 21 guns at noon on 4 July, as well as on Presidents’ Day.[c

In April 1914, during the Mexican Revolution, the Tampico Affair occurred, and escalated as a result of a twenty-one gun salute (or more specifically, the lack of one). Nine unarmed U.S. sailors were arrested in TampicoTamaulipasMexico, for entering an off-limit area at a fuel loading station. Despite being released, the U.S. Naval commander demanded an apology and a twenty-one gun salute. The apology was provided, but not the salute, giving President Woodrow Wilson reason to order the U.S. occupation of the port of Veracruz.[Due to an arms embargo from the United States, issued to try to lessen the bloodshed of the revolution at its border, Mexico was forced to seek arms from European, and to a lesser extent Asian countries. During the occupation, a large German arms shipment aboard the SS Ypiranga was illegally seized, before being released and turned away by the U.S. occupation force. These events ultimately drove a wedge between Mexican-U.S. and German-U.S. relations, and after the start of World War I on 28 July 1914, would cause Germany to seek to influence Mexico into declaring war on the United States, in order to halt U.S. arms shipments to the Allies, and attempt to prevent the then isolationist United States from joining the Allies.This effort ultimately backfired, after culminating in the sending of the Zimmermann Telegram from Germany to Mexico, which urged Mexico to declare war on the United States, promising support and the return of much of the territory lost during the Mexican–American War, which, after being intercepted, caused the U.S. to enter the war on the side of the Allies on 6 April 1917, and due in large part to the arrival of fresh U.S. troops into the war, largely a stalemate in its first years, would lead to the surrender of Germany on 11 November 1918, after helping to overpower the German Army, already fatigued from a long and costly war.

On Memorial Day, batteries on military installations fire a 21-gun salute to the nation’s fallen. As well, batteries at Naval stations and on ships, fire a salute of 21-minute guns and display the ensign at half-mast from 8 a.m. until completion of the salute.[c

Today, a 21-gun salute is rendered on the arrival and departure of the President of the United States; it is fired in concordance with four ruffles and flourishes, which are immediately followed by “Hail to the Chief“—the actual gun salute begins with the first ruffle and flourish, and ‘run long’ (i.e. the salute concludes after “Hail to the Chief” has ended). A 21-gun salute is also rendered to former U.S. Presidents, foreign Heads of State (or members of a reigning royal family), as well as to Presidents-elect. In such a ceremony, the national anthem of the visiting dignitary’s country is played, following the salute.[c

In accordance with the ceremonial standard operating procedure (SOP) of the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) the various gun salutes are assigned as follows: each round in a given salute is fired one at a time. The number of cannon used in a battery depends upon the intervals between each round fired. This includes, for example, a three-gun battery firing two of its guns with five-second intervals between rounds and one gun remaining at the ready in case of a misfire; such a battery would be used at an Armed Forces Full Honors Funeral, or for State Arrival Ceremony of a foreign dignitary at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. A four-gun battery has its first three guns firing rounds at three-second intervals, with the fourth gun (again) at the ready in case of misfire.[c

The SOP also provides each gun salute a two-man gun crew (one loader, one gunner) for each cannon, as well as a five-man “staff” of soldiers to give the fire commands. The staff includes an Officer in Charge, a watchman (who marks the intervals and signals each gun to fire), an assistant watchman (as a backup), a counter (who keeps track of the number of rounds fired and signals the last round to the Officer in Charge), and a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (who marches the battery into place as well as signals the backup cannon to fire in case another gun misfires).[c

Naval vessels now have saluting guns installed which are used solely for such purpose.

Nineteen-gun salutes are reserved for the Vice President of the United States, foreign deputy heads of state, cabinet members, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate, Chief Justice of the United States, state Governors, foreign heads of government (such as Prime Ministers), chiefs of staff and general officers in the U.S. military of five-star rank. For each flag rank junior to a five-star officer, two guns are subtracted (e.g., for a four-star admiral, a 17-gun salute is prescribed; a three-star general would rate a 15-gun salute; a two-star, 13 guns, and a one-star, 11 guns).

A gun salute is not to be confused with the three-volley salute often rendered at military funerals.

Deaths of Presidents:

U.S. presidential death also involves 21-gun salutes and other military traditions. On the day after the death of the president, a former president or president-elect—unless this day falls on a Sunday or holiday, in which case the honor will be rendered the following day—the commanders of Army installations with the necessary personnel and material traditionally order that one gun be fired every half-hour, beginning at reveille and ending at retreat.

On the day of burial, a 21-minute gun salute traditionally is fired starting at noon at all military installations with the necessary personnel and material. Guns will be fired at one-minute intervals. Also on the day of burial, those installations will fire a 50-gun salute—one round for each state—at five-second intervals immediately following lowering of the flag.

New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2

New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2

Some popular resolutions are:[

Popular resolution

  • Promise to donate to charities more often
  • Try to become more assertive
  • Strive to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weightexercise more, eat better, drink less alcoholquit smoking, stop biting nails, get rid of old bad habits
  • Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life
  • Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, make small investments
  • Improve career: perform better at current job, get a better job, establish own business
  • Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often, read more books, improve talents
  • Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpymanage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity, volunteer to work part-time in a charity organization
  • Get along better with people, improve social skills, enhance social intelligence
  • Make new friends
  • Spend quality time with family members
  • Settle down, get engaged/get married, have kids
  • Pray more, be more spiritual
  • Be more involved in sports or different activities
  • Spend less time on social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr etc.)

Success rate

35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions. [

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail,[10] despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”).

(Information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)