Basic Geography for Politicians


The Three Baltic States


The Balkans

Le Monde reported last week (here’s an English report) that when Baltic leaders Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia met at the White House with Donald Trump on April 3rd of this year, the president chastised the leaders “for starting wars in the 1990s that lead to the break-up of Yugoslavia.”

It’s not unreasonable for lay people to confuse the Baltics and Balkans. Both regions are made up of small countries at the periphery of Europe. But one might hope that the American president had been briefed (forget about his reading on his own) a little more closely. Especially since one of his potential briefers, his wife, was born in Yugoslavia.

Maps from Wikimedia Commons.

Post Soviet Politics Never Stops

riga

A rift has opened up across post Soviet Europe in the wake of the Riga Summit, (that’s Riga across the Daugava River, above) with all the former Soviet states lining up according to their perceived interests. Armenia and Belarus resist the final declaration in Riga, each beholden to Moscow for various protections, while Georgia, the Baltics and Ukraine clamor to camp under the EU umbrella.

The best way to decide what you think is to listen to respected scholars, but they line up equally on both sides. Andrew Michta and Judy Dempsey call the EU feckless while Stratfor and Brian Whitmore put President Putin on the back foot.

Who’s right? And with the injection of the US instigated FIFA controversy and the opportunity it affords the US to scold Russia and vice versa, what’s next? 

Ten Places of Worship – Wednesday HDRs

Enjoy these HDRs of churches in Ethiopia, Italy, Lithuania, Panama, Cuba, Latvia and on St. Helena Island. Click any of them to make them much bigger. There are almost 400 more HDRs in the HDR Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

The first two are from St. James Church, the oldest Anglican church in the southern hemisphere, St. Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean:


ChurchHDR01

ChurchHDR02

These next two are from the Riga Cathedral, Riga, Latvia:


ChurchHDR03


ChurchHDR04

Here is the Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana, Havana, Cuba:


ChurchHDR05

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Churches – Wednesday HDRs

It's gotten to be a little project lately. Anytime we're visiting somewhere new I try to pop into a local church and get enough shots to put together an HDR photo. Since churches aren't places to be big and brash and American, coming in, taking over and spreading out with a tripod, these usually have to be hand held brackets and some are more successful than others. They all seem to require substantial processing.

Here are some from a few of our last trips. Click them all to make them bigger. They're from Havana, Cuba, St. Helena Island, Panama City, Panama and Riga, Latvia.

HavanaCubaChurchHDR
StHelenaChurchHDR
PanamaChurchHDR
LatviaChurchHDR

See them all, along with 380 other HDRs in the HDR Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. And if any of them catches your fancy you can see more photos in the Cuba, St. Helena, Panama and Latvia galleries. All these were shot with Nikon cameras, processed in Photomatix with various Nik plug-ins and finished in Photoshop.