Friday, May 23, 2008

On May 23

On this day in ...
... 2008 (today), is marked the 8th annual World Turtle Day. The date was set aside by American Tortoise Rescue in order to raise awareness of the animal's fragile present and future. The turtle's popularity, notes the Humane Society of the United States,
hasn't prevented humans from abusing the creature. In fact, all land, freshwater, and sea turtles are facing imminent threats to their survival, simply because of human activities. Turtles are the reptile most affected by the pet trade, not to mention the food and traditional medicine industries. Many turtle species also suffer from the effects of pollution as well as from the destructive effects of industrial fishing operations.

... 1956, Dr. Ursula Plassnik (below left) was born in Klagenfurt, capital of Carinthia, the southernmost Land in Austria. After earning her doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and a postgraduate diploma from the Collège d'Europe, Bruges, Belgium, Plassnik began working for Austria's Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She served as Austrian Ambassador to Switzerland for the 1st part of 2004. In October of that year she was appointed the 15th Foreign Minister of Austria's 2d Republic, a position she holds to this day. Plassnik replaced the 1st woman ever to hold that post in Austria, Benita Ferrero-Waldman.

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