A tank is an armored combat vehicle, typically armed with a large cannon and a few machine guns.
A tank is covered in thick armor to protect it from enemy weapons.

Tanks have tracks that wrap around its wheels to spread out its weight and let it cross rough ground. Most tanks have a powerful gun and one or more machine guns.
A tank’s crew is normally 3-5. A driver, commander and gunner are always present. There may also be a loader, who handles the ammunition for the main gun (so the gunner doesn’t have to take eyes off the target).Some WWII tanks also had a separate soldier responsible for the radio.
The first tanks were made by the British Royal Navy and French car manufacturers during World War I as a way of attacking enemy trenches. They were called tanks to trick the Germans into thinking they were water carriers for the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. Tanks became a main weapon during World War II, where battles between great numbers of tanks were fought, especially between the Germans and the Soviet Union. The Battle of Kursk was the biggest.

German Tiger Tank
German Tiger Tank

Well-known World War II tanks were the German Panzer IV, Panther and Tigers, Soviet T-34 (produced in the largest numbers of any tank of the war and second most ever), British Matilda, Churchill and Cromwell, and American M4 Sherman (second most produced tank of the war) and Stuart tanks. There had also been plans for much larger and more heavily armored tanks, but these were determined to be of little use due to their huge weight, which would have made moving them very difficult, and the huge size, which would have made them easy targets for heavy artillery.

minesweeper tank

Old tanks are often modified for other uses like carrying soldiers or equipment. Combat engineers use special tank-based vehicles, for example minesweeper tanks or bridge-layer tanks.

The tank is a major part of all large armies today. Tanks have replaced the cavalry everywhere and do the things that soldiers on horseback did in the past.

German Main Battle Tank

Most modern tanks are of the heavy or Main Battle Tank (MBT) type, able to fight other tanks. Compared to older types MBTs are very heavy (Russian MBTS being about 40 tons and Western around 60 tons) with a 120 mm (Western) and 125 mm (Russian) calibre cannon and 2-3 machine guns. Marines and other specialized forces also use some light tanks.


North Korea

North Korea (officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), is a country in the northern part of the Korean peninsula. North Korea is next to China, Russia, and South Korea. The capital city of North Korea is Pyongyang, which is also the largest city.
The country was founded in 1948 after it had been freed from Japanese occupation, and a socialist state backed by the Soviet Union was established. The Republic of Korea is the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, and was occupied by the United States, and the U.S. set up a democracy in the south. korean-warAt first there was a war between the armies of the North and South in what is called the Korean War, but while the fighting stopped in 1953, the war never officially ended. Afterwards, North Korea was friendly with China and Russia but never was formally allied with either and became more isolated over time. While the South had an unstable government after independence, the North went through steady development and was more well off than South until the 1980s when the South became more democratic. Soon afterwards, the North’s main trading partners collapsed leaving it stranded and isolated. Throughout the 1990s, North Korea suffered from famines and natural disasters. Afterwards, things stabilized but continued to lag behind the South.
The country is organized along socialist lines, as all workplaces are public property and function along a universal plan. This is because the founders of North Korea were inspired by the ideas of communism. But as time went on, North Korea became more conservative and nationalist, and had less in common with other countries aiming for communism.

Kim Il-sung

To justify these differences, the country’s leader Kim Il-sung said that the government was following his own ideology of “Juche”, which means “self-reliance”. Later on, the country’s leaders began to remove “communism” from North Korean laws and philosophy. After Kim Il-sung died during the disasters of the 1990s, his son Kim Jong-il took his place and was promoted by the government as the leader who led North Korea out of the disasters. Kim Jong-il enacted a new policy of “Songun”, or “military-first”, which turned the country into a military state.

Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un

When he died in 2011, his youngest son Kim Jong-un took his place and continues to lead the country today.
Historians think that the Korean people have lived in the area for thousands of years. Before 1910, Korea was one country. It had a king and people were mostly farmers. The country was peaceful and was not communist. In 1910, that changed. Japan and Russia went to war. Since Japan and Russia were both very close to Korea, Japan took Korea for themselves as part of Japan. Japan then had control.


Between 1910 and the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was part of Japan. In 1945, the USSR declared war on Japan and the United States bombed it (Nagasaki and Hiroshima); severely weakening its empire and forcing it to surrender. Japan’s weak status allowed the Soviets to enter Korea fairly freely and occupy the northern half whilst the United States took the southern half. Each then created governments supporting their own ideologies, Marxist-Leninist Single Party State (North) and Democratic Capitalist State (South).
korean-war-turkIn 1950, North Korea sent soldiers to South Korea. North Korea wanted to bring together North and South Korea to form a single Korean country, and Korean families that had been split by the division of North and South to be together again. The North Korean leaders wanted South Korea to be communist, like North Korea and the Soviet Union were.
The United Nations sent soldiers to Korea. These soldiers came from many countries. These countries did not like Communism. If South Korea became Communist, then maybe other countries would too. General Douglas MacArthur led the soldiers.
koreaNorth Korea had taken over much of South Korea by force. With the help of the other countries, South Korea took back their land, and even much of North Korea, up to the Yalu River, which forms the border between North Korea and China. China, which was also communist, helped the North Koreans to get the land back that the South Korean soldiers had taken.
After three years, in 1953, North Korea and South Korea both decided that no one would win the war and both countries signed an armistice, which is an agreement that made both countries stop fighting. North Korea and South Korea were divided by a demilitarized zone, which is a special place that surrounds the border between North and South Korea where both countries cannot place lots of soldiers, so that fighting does not start again.
Even though the Demilitarized Zone is meant to stop problems between the two countries, sometimes soldiers on both sides of the border fire their guns at each other. A special town in the zone, Panmunjom, is called the Joint Security Area, or JSA, and sometimes the leaders of both countries meet there to talk about possibly coming back together.
North Korea nukeNorth Korea is one of the few countries in the world that has made nuclear missiles, which can kill many people if they are exploded. North Korea will not say how many nukes it has, but other countries think that the North Korean government probably has built ten missiles so far out of a deadly element called plutonium.
In October 2006, North Korea said that it tested one of its nuclear bombs. Although the North Korean government said that the test was not dangerous, many other countries and the United Nations were nonetheless enraged.
Three years later in 2009, North Korea did another test, which broke a United Nations law called Resolution 1718, which said North Korea could not keep building and testing nuclear bombs.

The sunk ship

In 2010, a South Korean warship sank, killing over 40 soldiers. An international investigation concluded that North Korea had sunk a South Korean warship with a torpedo. North Korea strongly said that it did not have anything to do with the sinking. When the United States and South Korea planned to set up defenses in case North Korea tried to attack again, North Korea’s National Defense Commission threatened on to start a war with its nuclear weapons.
korean-rocketIn April 2012, North Korea launched a rocket called Bright Star 3. The reasons for the launch were science and the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-Sung.
The government said the rocket carried a weather satellite so the government could find out what the weather would be. However, other countries said that the weather satellite was a story made up by the government so the real purpose of the rocket would not the known—which most countries thought was to test a nuclear missile that could be launched at the United States or South Korea. South Korean leaders said it would shoot the rocket down when it came over South Korea.
Because of this rocket, other countries stopped helping North Korea, even though the government invited other countries to see the rocket launch to make it seem like the North Koreans had nothing to hide from other countries.

rocket launching

The rocket was eventually launched, but it did not work and crashed just a minute and thirty seconds after it was launched. In December 2012, the government tried to launch the rocket again. It worked this time and went into orbit circling the Earth, though the United States said that it was very unstable and might fall back to Earth. Experts in Europe noticed the satellite’s reflection was fluctuating (getting brighter then dimmer); indicating that the satellite is tumbling in its orbit.
In February 2013, North Korea tested a nuclear bomb for the 3rd time, causing much outrage from other countries. The government also released many videos that depicted possible missile targets in the United States. North Korea however does not possess missiles that could reach US mainland but some say Hawaii is a possibility. It is highly unlikely that North Korea would ever fire against the US, Japan or South Korea. Many missiles depicted in parades are fakes used to exaggerate North Korea’s military strength. Most of its inventory dates from the Soviet years.
north-koreaPeople often think that North Korea is a communist country. It is actually a socialist-military dictatorship. In its most recent constitutional change, the word ‘communism’ was removed. Large pictures of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were removed from Kim Il-Sung square in 2012. The government has a similar structure to the former Soviet Union (USSR), once a close ally, but it is very different from the USSR.

ussr flag
ussr flag

Leaders of the USSR were elected by a group of government officials. In North Korea, the new leader is the current leader’s male heir. For this reason, North Korea is often referred to as a hereditary dictatorship.
North Korea’s official state ideology is Juche. That is a form of socialism developed by the country’s founder, Kim Il-Sung. Juche means self-reliance. It teaches that to achieve true socialism and become self-sufficient, the state must become fully isolated from the rest of society.
The first head of state and Chairman of the Workers Party of North Korea was Kim Tu-bong.
In the late 1950s, the second head of state and party chairman was Kim Il-Sung.
In July 1994, Kim died. His son, Kim Jong-Il, took over. He became the third head of state and party chairman.

Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un

In December 2011, Kim died. His son, Kim Jong-Un became the head of the government.
Songun is a North Korean idea. It means “army first.” The job of every North Korean person is to feed the Army. Kim Jong-Un is the “Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea”. That is one of many jobs he has. He is like a king, and can do what he wants. The average North Korean citizen makes around $900 a year. Kim Jong-Un makes around $800,000 a year. He lives in a palace. He has lots of soldiers who go wherever he goes to protect him.
North Korea is technically a multi-party state since other parties do exist besides the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP). However, the KWP also controls the other parties so it can stay in power. The constitution claims that North Korea’s citizens have freedom of speech, religion and press. In real life, these citizens do not have these rights. People can be jailed if they criticize the party, government, or leaders. North Koreans are encouraged to report family members to the police if they think they are doing something illegal. In return they get more privileges. If someone is caught doing a crime, their whole family will be sent along with them to a labor camp. Most die there, but a few escape.
North Korean people have very little freedom of speech. They get their news from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The KCNA makes sure all the country’s television, radio, and newspaper news make the government look good. This is called propaganda. The government blocks access to the Internet. Only a few trusted military officials and party members can access the world Internet. It has been reported that almost all North Koreans do not know that men have landed on the moon. The government runs an intranet service that is available on all North Korean computers. It is nothing like the real Internet but is filled with propaganda that makes the government, party, and leaders look good. The government also tries to keep ideas from other countries out of North Korea.
Capital punishmentCapital punishment is a common type of punishment in North Korea. Stealing, murder, rape, drug smuggling, attempted murder, spying, trying to challenge the laws of North Korea, looking at media unapproved by North Korea, and religions that are against believing in Kim Jong-un and his family can result in the death penalty.
In parts of the country, there is not enough food. Currently, other countries give food to some people in North Korea. This is called foreign aid. The aid sometimes stops coming if North Korea is thought to be testing nuclear bombs. Very recently, North Korea’s food aid stopped after the government launched a satellite in April 2012. Other countries said North Korea had broken their side of an agreement. The North Korean government said that it was the United States that had broken the agreement.
It is hard for people from other countries to visit North Korea. Visitors must be guided by two army members called “minders”. The minders try and make sure the people do not find out about anything that might make the government look bad.
Historically, both South Korea and North Korea have the same set of values. In 1945, the peninsula was divided. Since then, the government of both North and South Korea have been different. This has led to different developments in both North and South Korea. Human Rights Watch says that free religious activities do not exist in North Korea. The culture in Korea has been influenced by that of China. Despite this, Korea has developed a cultural identity that is different from that of Mainland China.
korea-tvLiterature and arts in North Korea are state-controlled. Specialized committees of the KWP are responsible for this. Film is also a significant artistic medium in North Korea and Kim Jong Il’s manifesto The Cinema and Directing (1987) is the basis for the nation’s filmmakers.
Korean culture came under attack during the Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945. Japan enforced a cultural assimilation policy. During the Japanese rule, Koreans were encouraged to learn and speak Japanese, adopt the Japanese family name system and Shinto religion, and were forbidden to write or speak the Korean language in schools, businesses, or public places. In addition, the Japanese altered or destroyed various Korean monuments including Gyeongbok Palace and documents which portrayed the Japanese in a negative light were revised.
Both Koreas share a Buddhist and Confucian heritage and a recent history of Christian and Cheondoism (“religion of the Heavenly Way”) movements. The North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted. According to the Western standards of religion, the majority of the North Korean population could be characterized as non-religious. However, the cultural influence of such traditional religions as Buddhism and Confucianism still have an effect on North Korean spiritual life.
It seems that Buddhists are accepted more than other religious groups. Christians are said to be severely persecuted by the authorities. Buddhists are given limited funding by the government to promote the religion, because Buddhism played an integral role in traditional Korean culture. In May 2014, an American tourist was arrested at Pyongyang Sunan Airport after it was discovered he left a Bible in a nightclub on the DPRK’s east coast. He was convicted of attempting to overthrow the government but was eventually released several months later. At the time of his imprisonment, there were two other American citizens held by North Korea awaiting transfer to political prison camps. Both have since been released.
Provinces_of_North_KoreaThe land of North Korea is divided into nine areas called provinces and two cities.
The nine provinces are Pyongannam, Pyonganbuk, Chagang, Hwanghaenam, Hwanghaebuk, Kangwon, Hamgyongnam, Hamgyongbuk, Ryanggang, The two cities are Pyongyang, the capital city and also the largest city, and Rason, a special city where other countries can make money, called a Special Economic Zone.


Facebook is a social networking service and website started in February 2004. It was built by Mark Zuckerberg.

It is owned by Facebook, Inc. As of September 2012, Facebook has over one billion active users. Users may make a personal profile, add other users as friends, and send messages. Facebook users must register before using the site. The name of the service comes from the name for the book given to students at the start of the school year by some universities in the United States. These books help students get to know each other better. Facebook allows any users who are at least 13 years old to become users of the website.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook was started by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The website’s membership was only for Harvard students at first. Later it included other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It eventually opened for students at other universities. After that, it opened to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. Based on ConsumersReports-org in May 2011, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts. This breaks the website’s rules.
A January 2009 Compete-com study ranked Facebook as the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users. Entertainment Weekly put the site on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list. It said, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”birthday Quantcast estimates Facebook had 138.9 million monthly different U.S. visitors in May 2011. According to Social Media Today, in April 2010 about 41.6% of the U.S. population had a Facebook account. Facebook’s growth started to slow down in some areas. The site lost 7 million active users in the United States and Canada in May 2011 relative to previous statistics.
Facebook has been involved in many controversies over privacy. Some of these controversies have been about people being able to see personal information that other people post, and others are about companies and advertisers being able to see users’ personal information.


Research published in the journal PLOS ONE has shown that Facebook may be responsible for spreading unhappiness through society as well as keeping people connected. Scientists found that the more time people spent on Facebook over a two-week period, the worse they subsequently felt. “On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.”

Mobile Phone

mobile_phoneA mobile phone (also known as a wireless phone, cell phone, or cellular telephone) is a small portable radio telephone.
The mobile phone can be used to communicate over long distances without wires. It works by communicating with a nearby base station (also called a “cell site”) which connects it to the main phone network. When moving, if the mobile phone gets too far away from the cell it is connected to, that cell sends a message to another cell to tell the new cell to take over the call. This is called a “hand off,” and the call continues with the new cell the phone is connected to. The hand-off is done so well and carefully that the user will usually never even know that the call was transferred to another cell.
As mobile phones became more popular, they began to cost less money, and more people could afford them. Monthly plans became available for rates as low as US$30 or US$40 a month. Cell phones have become so cheap to own that they have mostly replaced pay phones and phone booths except for urban areas with many people.
The modern form of mobile phone is called “Smart Phone”. It has become very popular. The majority of mobile phones made after 2010 are “smartphones”. They can be used as computers as well as making voice calls.
Mobile phones in the 1950s through 1970s were large and heavy, and most were built into cars. In the late 20th century technology improved so people could carry their phones easily.
Although Dr. Martin Cooper from Motorola made the first call using a mobile phone in 1973, it did not use the type of cellular mobile phone network that we use today.
The first mobile phone networks were created in the late 1970s in Japan. Now almost all urban areas, and many country areas, are covered by mobile phone networks.
A cell phone combines technologies, mainly telephone, radio, and computer. Most also have a digital camera inside.
Cell phones work as two-way radios. They send electromagnetic microwaves from base station to base station. The waves are sent through antennas. This is called wireless communication.
Early cell telephones used analog networks. They became rare late in the 20th century. Modern phones use digital networks.
The first digital networks are also known as second generation, or 2G, technologies. The most used digital network is GSM (Global System for Mobile communication). It is used mainly in Europe and Asia, while CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) networks are mainly used in North America. The difference is in communication protocol. Other countries like Japan have different 2G protocols. A few 2G networks are still used. 3G are more common, and many places have 4G.

Pay as you use

The radio waves that the mobile phone networks use are split into different frequencies. The frequency is measured in Hz. Low frequencies can send the signal farther. Higher frequencies provide better connections and the voice communications are generally clearer. Four main frequencies are used around the world: 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz. Europe uses 900 and 1800 MHz and North America uses 850 and 1900 MHz.
Today there are mobile phones that work on two, three or four frequencies. The most advanced phones work on all frequencies. They are called ‘world’ phones and can be used everywhere.

flip phone
flip phone

There are different kinds of phones. A flip phone flips open, and is best for calling.

bar phone
bar phone

A bar phone is shaped like a candy bar, and the keys and screen are on one face. A slate phone is a phone that has almost no buttons, and uses a touchscreen. Most smartphones are slates. A slider phone slides on rails. It can slide out number keys or a mini keyboard, but some do both. A swivel spins on an axle.
When a mobile phone is switched on, its radio receiver finds a nearby mobile phone network base station, and its transmitter sends a request for service. Computers in the base station check if the phone is allowed to use the network. The base station covers an area called a cell. A phone can move between different cells, but will only communicate with one cell at a time. This is why mobile communications are sometimes called cellular communications.
Once connected to a station, the mobile phone can make calls. Because the network knows that the phone is connected to that particular cell, it can also route calls to the mobile phone. Sometimes the radio connection to the cell is lost, for example when you go underground. This means the phone cannot make or receive calls until the connection is made again.
The network is the company that provides the phone service. In most areas there will be more than one mobile network. Customers choose networks based on how well the different networks work in their area, or by price.
There are two main ways to pay for mobile phone calls: 1- Contract, 2- Pay as you use.
If you pay by contract you will pay the network money every month so that you can make calls. Usually you can talk for a lot of time for the monthly fee, but if you do not use the phone a lot you still pay the same money.

Pay as you use

If you pay as you use, you will pay for a fixed amount of call time credit which you then use up when phoning people. Once the credit is used up you must buy some more to use the phone. This can be cheaper if you do not use the phone a lot.
Mobile phones use different technical standards. GSM phones need a separate microchip, called a Subscriber Identity Module or SIM card, to work. The SIM has information like the phone number and payment account and this is needed to make or receive calls. The SIM may be supplied by the same company as the phone, or a different one. Sometimes you can change the network by using a SIM from another network, but some companies do not want this to happen and they lock the phone so that you have to use their SIM.

Inside a mobile phone
Inside a mobile phone

The others have a special radio inside them that only makes phone calls when the phone is activated. When someone buys a contract, the network gives them a code, that if they enter it into the phone, the phone will then make calls. It is usually impossible to switch to a different network’s code on this type of phone. The majority of these CDMA phones are used in the United States and nearby countries.
A majority of new mobile phones from the 21st century are smartphones.

smart phone
smart phone

These phones can be used for email, browsing the internet, playing music and games, and many other functions that computers can perform. This is because mobile phones basically are small computers. Older phones also used computer technology, but lacked many of the parts of a computer that were too big to fit into a phone. Modern phone makers have been able to use smaller parts. Most smartphones are also GPS receivers and digital cameras. Examples of smartphones include Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series.

Polar Bear

Polar BearThe polar bear is a large bear which lives in the Arctic. It is also called white bear or northern bear. It has black skin under the white fur. They are strong and fast, and can run as fast as 25 miles (40 km) an hour for a short distance.
Polar bear fur is made up of a layer of dense underfur and an outer layer of “guard hairs”, which appear white to tan but are actually translucent. The fur keeps them very warm. The skin is not white; it is black. Therefore, they can absorb sunlight efficiently. They are strong and can swim very well. Polar bears are similar in size to a normal bear but have a slimmer neck, longer legs and fur.
They are mostly carnivorous. They eat mostly seals and fish. When Polar bears hunt, they often wait at holes in the ice, where the seals come up to breathe. They can live off of one seal for many days, but it will make them hungry if they do.
Polar bears live alone. Polar bears are black with clear fur, so in daylight, they appear white; at night, they are invisible.
Young Polar bears stay with their mothers for 1–2 years, and they become mature when they are 5–6 years old. People think Polar bears can become 25–30 years old in nature, but in captivity (for example, in zoos), they can become up to 45 years old.
Polar bears live in countries in the Arctic Circle, including Alaska, United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland, which is part of Denmark, Norway.
The breeding time is 8 months. The babies are born six weeks after their mother mates. At birth, a baby cub weighs less than 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms). The mother feeds the babies milk, which makes them grow fast, and after 10 weeks, the cubs weigh about 20 to 25 pounds (9.1 to 11.4 kilograms). Young polar bears wrestle in the snow to build their strength and skills. They practice using their strong paws, and they show off their big, sharp teeth.
polarBearAndCupsMother polar bears will do anything to protect their young. They can kill a predator with just one swat of their powerful front paws. Scientists have even seen a mother polar bear stand up and leap at a helicopter to keep it away from her cubs.
During the first year, the cubs begin to eat solid food but still nurse from their mother. They begin to learn to hunt and swim. But they cannot live on their own. By the time they are two years old, the cubs have grown into large bears. They leave their mother and strike off into territory of their own. They hunt and live alone. But they play with other bears they meet. Polar bears are ready to mate when they are five or six years old. They are adults by this time and weigh 330 to 660 pounds (150 to 300 kilograms).
Both male and female polar bears live to be as much as 30 years old (in a zoo). Polar bears have 42 teeth.
As adults, male bears fight with each other over a female. Each male fluffs out his coat of fur to make himself look bigger. Then, he swaggers along, growling, to scare off his rival. Polar bear scientists call this “the cowboy walk.” The polar bear eats seals, fish and fruits (berries). They can be up to 250cm long and 160cm tall and weigh up to 600kg.
When two polar bears meet, they have a special way of greeting each other. They circle around each other for a while, grunting. Then they come closer and touch noses.
eskimoThe polar bear was the most dangerous animal to hunt. It was also greatly respected for its strength and spirit. The bear’s blubber, meat, and fur all help the Eskimo survive. The Eskimo gave thanks and respect in turn. After a hunt, they held a celebration that lasted for several days. Then, a polar bear dance was held. Finally, the bear’s skull was set on an ice floe to release its spirit back into the Arctic.

Polar Bear Paw

A polar bear’s paws are perfect snowshoes for them. The bottoms are wide and covered with fur to help keep the bear from slipping. The sharp claws help grip the ice.
A polar bear can crawl across ice too thin for a human to walk on. They spread out their legs and lay their bellies flat on the ice. Then they use their claws to slowly push themselves across the ice.
Polar bears mate in April or May. The cub is born in December, when the mother is hibernating. The cub stays in the den with the mother until March, then, they all come out. They eat immediately after hibernating. Sometimes, because of global warming, this is impossible and the cubs die before they have had a chance to live. The cub leaves its mother in 2-3 years.
The polar bear’s liver contains a lot of vitamin A. Eskimo people knew that eating the liver could cause sickness and death. Several groups of European polar explorers were seriously ill after eating livers. The symptoms included drowsiness, wanting to sleep, being irritable, headaches, and vomiting. After 24 hours, people’s skin began to peel off.


TurkeyTurkey is a country in both Europe and Asia. The area of Turkey is about 780,000 square kilometers.
Turkey is a republic. There are 81 provinces in Turkey. The money of Turkey is called Turkish Lira. The capital city is Ankara, a city in central Anatolia. The cultural and economic center is in the European side of Istanbul. In the past Istanbul was called Constantinople. The Republic was founded in 1923, after World War I and a war of independence (Kurtuluş Savaşı). Before that, Turkey was the core of the Ottoman Empire.
Many civilizations were located in the area that is now Turkey, like the Hittites, the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. Many important events in the history of Christianity happened in Turkey. Because it lies in both Europe and Asia, some people see Turkey as the “door” between Europe and Asia.
Modern Turkey’s warm and varied climate lets many kinds of food crops grow, and livestock and forestry are important industries. Turkey makes enough food to feed itself. Turkish manufactures include airplanes, electronics, cars, clothing and textiles for home and for other countries.
Turkey is a popular place for tourists to visit. It has hundreds of kilometers of beautiful beaches on its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and many important historical places.
People have been living in Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey – also called Asia Minor) longer than almost anywhere else in the world, except Africa.
The first major empire in the area was the Hittites (from the 18th century to the 13th century BC). The Hittites, who spoke one of the Indo-European languages, developed a high culture in Central Anatolia. Their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC and the successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia.
From 1950 BCE, Greeks and Assyrians inhabited parts of southeastern Turkey. The Assyrian capital was named Tushhan (900-600 BC). The Assyrians ruled over southeastern Turkey until the Assyrian Empire was conquered by Babylonia in the year 612 BC. Then Anatolia became home for various kingdoms including the Achaemenid Empire, Hellenistic kingdoms, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire), Seljuk Empire, and Mongol Empire.
ottomanDuring the 14th century, after the fall of the Mongol Empire, Lord Osman built a new empire named after himself: the Ottoman Empire. It became one of the longest existing empires of all time. The Empire also stretched across the Balkans, (Yugoslavia and Bulgaria) in Europe. The Kingdom was ruled by Muslim law, but other religions had certain minority rights.
In World War I the Ottoman Empire was one of the Central Powers. The Central Powers lost the war and the Ottoman Empire was destroyed, but after that Atatürk led the army to get rid of foreign enemies, like the Greeks. atatürkMustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey. He made many changes that made Turkey more modern. But some people did not like some of the things he did because they thought they were against Islam. Religious secondary schools were gotten rid of, for example.
On 15 July 2016, a coup was attempted.
Turkey is trying to join the European Union (EU). The EU says that before Turkey can join, it must start trading with the Republic of Cyprus and improve human rights.
Turkey is in the OECD and the G-20 and is one of the 20 largest economies. The Turkish currency is called the Lira. The first coins were made in Turkey.
In the 1970s, many Turks moved to other countries, like Germany, to escape the bad economy at the time and to get better jobs. They often come back to Turkey for their summer holidays. Today, many of the people who left in the 1970s want to move back to Turkey.
Until the 1980s the government owned most companies, but then Prime Minister Turgut Özal sold them. Before, foreigners were usually not allowed to buy companies, land or property. Earthquakes in 1994, 1999, and 2001 slowed economic growth a bit.
Turkey mostly buys and sells with the EU, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Japan. Turkey and the EU agreed not to put a lot of tax on what they buy and sell to each other. After that it was easier for Turkish factories to sell products to the EU and for business people in the EU to buy companies in Turkey.
Turkey’s exports in 2010 were worth 117 billion United States dollars.
Turkey has no petroleum or natural gas so it buys them from other countries, like Russia. In 2010, oil was found in the Turkish City of Diyarbakir, but there was not enough oil to extract. Turkey is searching for natural gas in Northern Turkish Cyprus.
Turkey_RegionsThe capital and second-largest city of Turkey is Ankara. The largest and the most crowded city is Istanbul which is the only city in the world that has land on two different continents. The third largest city is the coastal city of Izmir which is the main port of the country. Turkey is divided into 81 provinces. Each province has its own little government but they can only make decisions about small things: the government in Ankara decides important issues. The provinces are in 7 regions. Each province is divided into districts. There are 923 districts altogether.
Turkey has a traditional culture. Turkish culture is a modern Islamic culture.
Different parts of Turkey have similar but not exactly the same lifestyles. Southern Turkey also has a traditional life style but Turks living by the Mediterranean have southern, much thicker, and more masculine accents than western Turkey. Northerners, by the Black Sea have softer accents and also have modern lifestyles.
Rich cities in Turkey include Istanbul, İzmir, Konya, Ankara, Mersin (also known as Icel), and Antalya.
Turkey’s literacy rate is currently 95%. People in Turkey are required to go to school for 12 years.
istanbul universityİstanbul University was the first university in Turkey. It was established in 1453. Ankara University was the first university that was started after Turkey became a republic. It was established in 1946.
There were 6065 high schools in Turkey in 2002 according to Ministry of National Education. In 2011, there were 166 universities in Turkey.
The 1999 İzmit earthquake was an approximately 7,4 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999, at about 3:02 am local time. 18000 people died in the earthquake. Many people have been killed by earthquakes in Turkey.
The New York Times estimated that over 570 people died in the Erzincan earthquake of March 13 1992. The earthquake was a 6,8 on the Richter Scale.


Giant Panda

The giant panda is a bear. It lives in south central China.
Although it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda’s diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may get honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. As a result of farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.
Giant pandas are bears. They have black and white fur. The black fur is on their ears, around their eyes, on their legs, and on their shoulders.
Giant pandas are about the size of an American black bear. They are about 3 feet (91 cm) tall at the shoulder when they are standing on all four legs. They are about 6 feet (180 cm) long. Males weigh up to 251 pounds (114 kg) in the wild. Females usually weigh less than 220 pounds (100 kg).
Wild giant pandas live in the mountains of central China. They live in forests of tall trees. They eat the bamboo that grows under the trees. The weather is rainy and misty in these mountain forests. There are thick clouds almost all the time.


Bamboo is the main diet of panda. Ninety-nine percent of the food they eat is bamboo. They eat as much as 40 pounds (18 kg) of bamboo every day. They spend 10 to 16 hours every day looking for food and eating it.
Bamboo is a grass. Sometimes giant pandas eat other grasses. They also eat little rodents or musk deer babies (fawns). In zoos, giant pandas eat bamboo, sugar cane, vegetables, and fruit.
Giant pandas get a lot of water from the bamboo they eat. They need more water though. They drink from the fresh water streams and rivers in the mountain. Melting snow high in the mountains runs into these streams and rivers.
There are two kinds of giant panda. They both live in China. The best known is the black and white panda. Its scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca melanoleuca.
The other giant panda has dark brown and light brown fur. Its skull is smaller than the other giant panda. It has larger molars. This panda lives only in the Qinling Mountains. Its scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis.
Giant pandas are ready to have babies (cubs) when they are between the ages of four and eight years. They may be able to have babies until about age 20. Female pandas are ready to have a baby only once a year. This is in the springtime. There are only two to three days she is ready for a baby. Calls and scents bring the males and female pandas to each other.

panda cubs

Female pandas may give birth to two young. Usually only one lives. Giant panda cubs may stay with their mothers for up to three years. Then they leave her for a life of their own.
Today, the giant panda is a symbol for China. It is protected by the Chinese government. Killing a giant panda is a crime. The giant panda may become extinct. It will die out if the forests of bamboo continue to disappear.
People outside of eastern Asia did not know about the giant panda until 1869. The first “Westerner” to see a live panda was a German zoologist in 1916. In 1936, Ruth Harkness became the first Westerner to bring a live giant panda out of China. It was a cub (baby panda) named Su-Lin. The cub was taken to live at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
In the 1970s, China began showing giant pandas in zoos in the United States and Japan as a type of diplomacy. This happened until 1984, when China changed how this was done. Starting in 1984, China would allow zoos to keep the giant pandas for 10 years, but the zoo would have to pay China up to $1,000,000 each year. Also, the zoo would have to agree that any cubs born would belong to China.
The giant panda is an endangered species. It may become extinct. In 2013, it was estimated that there were less than 2,500 mature giant pandas living in the wild. Illegal hunting is no longer a problem. Hunting for pandas is a crime. The penalties are harsh if you hunt pandas.
The greatest threat to survival is the loss of living areas. People are ruining the areas where pandas live. They are cutting down trees. They are building farms. Groups of pandas are forced to live in small areas. They are isolated. They cannot mix other panda groups.
Giant pandas eat bamboo. Sometimes the bamboo dies off. At one time, pandas could move to an area where bamboo was still growing. Moving has become more and more difficult. People are living and working in panda areas. Pandas cannot move about as freely as they once did.
China set up the first giant panda nature reserve in 1963. Other nature reserves were also set up. There were 40 giant panda reserves in 2006.


The Donkey, The Fox, and The Lion


A donkey and a fox became friends and started to walk together in order to find food. They walked together for some time and then they saw a lion. They were both frightened. But the fox made a plan. He went up to the lion and whispered in his ear, “I will help you to kill and eat the donkey without getting tired. But you must promise to let me go free”. The lion agreed to this plan. Then the fox went back to the donkey, whispered in his ear, and led him into a pit.
This pit was a trap for wild animals and it was dug by a hunter. The donkey jumped into the pit. The lion saw that the donkey was in the pit and could not get out of it. So, he jumped onto the fox and killed and ate him first. He could eat the donkey later because it was waiting in the pit.

If you betray a friend, you will ruin yourself


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The Poor Man and The Swallow


Once upon a time, there was a rich man. He spent all his money carelessly and became a poor man. He had no money, no home, nothing. He only had his old clothes. One day in early spring he saw a Swallow. He thought that summer had come, and that he didn’t need his coat. So, he sold it.
However, a change took place in the weather. There came a sharp frost. It killed the unfortunate Swallow. When the poor man saw the dead swallow he said, “Poor bird! You died of cold and I am going to die of cold myself because of you.”

One swallow does not make summer.


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The Peacock and the Crane


A Peacock laughed at a Crane. She said, “Your feathers are dull. Look at my brilliant feathers. They are finer (=more beautiful) than your poor feathers.” The Crane replied, “I agree that your feathers are much finer than mine; but when it comes to flying, I can soar into the clouds, whereas you always walk on earth like a hen.”