Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Issue: Alpine Flowers Postage Stamps

Taiwan is a mountainous island, with more than 200 mountains above 3,000 meters. With the wide range of vertical climatic zones on these mountains—from tropical and subtropical to temperate and cold—come some very diverse forests. Alpine plants grow in areas 3,000 meters above sea level. Constantly exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation, the blooms of these plants are brilliantly colorful. To introduce the beauty of Taiwan’s alpine flowers, Chunghwa Post is issuing a set of four stamps on these flowers. The designs follow:
1. Gentiana scabrida var. punctulata (NT$5): The plant can be found in open meadows and gravelly slopes in high elevation areas of the Central Mountain Range. Each branch typically produces one or two (and occasionally three) terminal flowers. The blooms have yellow campanulate calyx and corolla, with black spots at the base of the petals. Though small, when a colony of these colorful exquisite flowers is in full bloom, the sight is simply breathtaking.
2. Euphrasia transmorrisonensis (NT$5): The plant can be found at high elevations. Its Chinese name literally means “millet grass,” either because its small seeds resemble millet or the two yellow marks on the flower’s lip resemble millet. Its flowers are arranged in racemes, with very short pedicels. Each of its tiny delicate white flowers has four tubular or campanulate sepals and a smidgen of yellow on its corolla.
3. Clematis montana (NT$10): The plant can be found creeping in meadows or scrambling over shrubs on the sunny side of mountains at high elevations. The elegant white flower’s four large petal-like surfaces are actually its white sepals. The pale yellow filaments in the center of its blossoms are its stamen and pistil.
4. Cypripedium formosanum (NT$10): The plant can be found in moist forests on high elevation mountains. Its flowers are borne singly. The ovate lanceolate upper sepals of this showy flower are shell pink with pink veins. Bees enter through the opening of its bulging pouch-shaped labellum to carry out the task of pollination. In Chinese, the plant is nicknamed “umbrella” because its flower is shaped like one. And because its labellum resembles a slipper, the plant is also called Japanese lady’s slipper and Formosa lady’s slipper.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

FDC from Israel/FDC de l'Israël

ATM - Knesset

The Knesset (Hebrew: הַכְּנֶסֶת‎ Arabic: الكنيست‎) is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.

The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset enacts laws, elects the president and prime minister (although he or she is ceremonially appointed by the President), supervises the work of the government, reserves the power to remove the President of the State and the State Comptroller from office and to dissolve itself and call new elections.

The Knesset has de jure parliamentary supremacy and can pass any law by a simple majority, even one that might arguably conflict with the Basic Laws of Israel, unless the basic law includes specific conditions for its modification; in accordance with a plan adopted in 1950, the Basic Laws have themselves been adopted (and occasionally amended) over the course of the years by the Knesset, acting in its capacity as a Constituent Assembly.

In addition to the absence of a formal constitution, and with no Basic Law thus far being adopted which formally grants a power of judicial review to the judiciary, the Supreme Court of Israel has in recent years asserted its authority, when sitting as the High Court of Justice, to invalidate provisions of Knesset laws it has found to be inconsistent with a Basic Law.The Knesset is guarded by the Knesset Guard.

The size of the Knesset, currently at 120 members, has often been a source of cause for proposed reforms. In 1996, then-Justice Minister Yossi Beilin backed the ultimately unsuccessful institution of the so-called "Norwegian law", which would require appointed members of the cabinet to resign their seats in the Knesset and allow other members of their parties to take their positions while they serve in the cabinet; this would have resulted in more active members of the legislature being present in regular sessions and committee meetings. This proposed law has also been favored by other politicians, including Yitzhak Levy (who has backed the raising of total seats to 150) and current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.