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A Christmas card, the Victorian England craze that the world “bought”

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On Christmas Day 1995, e-mail inboxes became carriers of a new type of message. On the network, which was promoted with a pioneering spirit by ordinary citizens at the time, the new email notifications sounded in the form of an e-card. Each new day, between 19 and 20 thousand e-cards were sent from the servers of the Mit Media Lab, installed at the North American Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the recipients’ homes. A few months earlier, new technology researcher Judith Donath came up with an idea that revolutionized the future of Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. Judith, born in 1962, introduced an online service called The Electric Postcard in 1994. The operating principle of the service was simple. Subject A accessed a database of digital postcards posted on the site, edited them as he saw fit, and sent them to Subject B. The simplicity of the process won over a growing number of users. First, there are no more than 10–20 people a day, and in 1996 this amounted to more than 1.7 million people.

What Judith presented in the 20th century as a revolution in the tradition of addressing the holidays is recreated nearly 150 years later by the invention of the commercial paper-sized Christmas card. Its introduction to the market changed the way Victorian England, and then other European countries and North America, expressed appreciation and respect in the form of images and text in the 19th century. In 1843, Henry Cole, an English civil servant and inventor under the pseudonym Felix Summerlee (among his creations is the new teapot), realized that the British postal service was offering a welcome business opportunity. The man who commissioned the Great World Exhibition in London in 1851, and the first director of London’s Vitória e Alberto Museum in 1852, saw a business opportunity in the massive distribution of holiday letters sent at Christmas.

Cole was not an illustrator, but his compatriot John Callcott Horsley, born in 1817, was a historical painter from the 17th and 18th centuries, inspired by masters such as the Dutchman Johannes Vermeer. Callcott was also a designer, so Henry Cole’s proposal sparked interest. 1843 was the perfect year for the artist. He won a competition to decorate part of the interior of the Palace of Westminster in the English capital with a sketch that recreates the Sermon of St. Augustine. For the first commercial Christmas card in history, John Callcott chose a more mundane theme. On the eve of the holidays, two lots of postcards were put up for sale, one in color, the other in black and white, with a total circulation of 2,500 copies. The one-sided postcard featured a triptych: a large family greeted the table surrounded by two charitable scenes. Like 20th century email, John Callcott’s postcard has reserved spaces for sender and recipient addresses. The rest is nothing more than a simple message “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.” Henry Cole was overjoyed when he realized that he had sold all of his postcards to a society that made Christmas a visual fusion of novelty and nostalgia.

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In the nineteenth century, ink, crayons, collages, and rudimentary and household printing techniques served as support for letters addressed to Christmas. Items that have joined other ephemeral everyday materials such as newspaper clippings, business cards, brochures, dried flowers, collected and organized according to one of the Victorian pleasures: memory albums. Memorabilia that motivated the contests, prompted by publishers to choose the most beautiful. The proliferation of Christmas cards in the coming years will serve as a source of inspiration and raw material for a growing number of scrapbooks.

In the era of steam, the postcard “mechanizes”

Despite being well received, the commercial Christmas card had to wait another five years, until 1848, to receive a new edition, this time by artist William Mo Egley. A second card that introduced holly into Christmas symbolism at a time when religious themes were rare in Christmas vows. Flowers, fairies, butterflies, insects sitting on forest berries, hinting at spring and summer, and not at the darkness of winter, caused the addiction of postcard buyers, as well as cartoon scenes with cats (the love that the twentieth century catapulted to videos on the Internet) , anthropomorphisms with dogs and children in festive outfits.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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