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Friday, February 28, 2014

Famous Italian Actress Sophia Loren Biography


Italian actress Sophia Loren was born in Rome on September 20, 1934. Raised in poverty, she began her film career in 1951 and came to be regarded as one of the worlds most beautiful women. Loren won the Best Actress Academy Award for the film Two Women in 1961 and an Academy Honorary Award in 1991. Married to producer Carlo Ponti for 50 years until his death in 2007, Loren lives in Geneva, Switzerland.

Early Life

 
Sofia_Loren

Actress Sofia Villani Scicolone was born on September 20, 1934 in Rome, Italy. Her father, Riccardo Scicolone, considered himself a "construction engineer," but in fact he spent most of his time hanging around the fringes of show business, hoping to romance young actresses. Sophia Loren's mother, Romilda Villani, was one of them. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Greta Garbo, Villani had once been offered a trip to the United States to play Garbo's body double, but her mother refused to let her go.
After Sophia Loren's birth, her mother took her back to her hometown of Pozzuoli on the Bay of Naples, which one travel book described as "perhaps the most squalid city in Italy." Although Riccardo Scicolone fathered another child by Villani, they never married. As Loren's mother put it, "That pig was free to marry me, but instead he dumped me and married another woman."
Although she would go on to be considered one of the most beautiful women in history, Sophia Loren's wet nurse remembered her as "the ugliest child I ever saw in my life." A quiet and reserved child, Loren grew up in extreme poverty, living with her mother and many other relatives at her grandparents' home, where she shared a bedroom with eight people. Things got worse when World War II ravaged the already struggling city of Pozzuoli.
The resulting famine was so great that Loren's mother occasionally had to siphon off a cup of water from the car radiator to ration between her daughters by the spoonful. During one aerial bombardment, Loren was knocked to the ground and split open her chin, leaving a scar that has remained ever since.
Nicknamed "little stick" by her classmates for her sickly physique, at the age of 14 Loren blossomed, seemingly overnight, from a frail child into a beautiful and voluptuous woman. "It became a pleasure just to stroll down the street," she remembered of her sudden physical transformation. That same year, Loren won second place in a beauty competition, receiving as her prize a small sum of cash and free wallpaper for her grandparents' living room.
 Sophia-Loren-at-the-Miss-Italy-contest-1950

 Sophia-Loren-at-the-Miss-Italy-contest-1950
  Loren at the Miss Italy contest in 1950
In 1950, when she was 15 years old, Loren and her mother set off for Rome to try to make their living as actresses.

Loren landed her first role as an extra in the 1951 Mervyn LeRoy film Quo Vadis. She also landed work as a model for various fumetti, Italian publications that resemble comic books but with real photographs instead of illustrations.
sophia-Loren-La Favorita

sophia-Loren-La Favorita

After various bit parts and a small role in the 1952 film La Favorita, the first for which she adopted the stage name "Loren," she delivered her breakthrough performance as the title character in the 1953 film Aida. 
sophia-Loren-Aida

sophia-Loren-Aida

sophia-Loren-Aida

 Another leading role in The Gold of Naples (1954) established Loren as one of the up-and-coming stars of Italian cinema.
sophia-Loren-The-Gold-of-Naples

sophia-Loren-The-Gold-of-Naples


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

USA Former President Ronald Reagan Biography 2

1981 Inauguration and Assassination Attempt

 

In his inaugural speech on January 20, 1981, Reagan rhetorically announced that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." He called for an era of national renewal and hoped that America would again be "a beacon of hope for those who do not have freedom." He and his wife, Nancy Reagan, ushered in a new era of glamour to the White House, with designer fashions and a major redecoration of the executive mansion.
On March 30, 1981, as President Ronald Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel with several of his advisors, shots rang out and quick-thinking Secret Service agents thrust Reagan into his limousine. Once in the car, aides discovered that the president had been hit. His would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr., also shot three other people, none of them fatally. At the hospital, doctors determined that the gunman's bullet had pierced one of the president's lungs and narrowly missed his heart. Reagan, known for his good-natured humor, later told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck." Within several weeks of the shooting, President Reagan was back at work.

Domestic Agenda

On the domestic front, President Reagan advanced policies that reduced social programs and restrictions on business. Tax cuts were implemented to stimulate the United States' economy. He also advocated for increases in military spending, reductions in certain social programs and measures to deregulate business. By 1983, the nation's economy had begun to recover and, according to many economists, entered a seven-year period of prosperity. Critics charged that his policies had actually increased the deficit and hurt the middle class and poor, however. In 1981, Reagan made history by appointing Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Foreign Affairs

The most pressing foreign policy issue of Ronald Reagan's first term was the Cold War. Dubbing the Soviet Union "the evil empire," Reagan embarked on a massive build-up of U.S. weapons and troops. He implemented the "Reagan Doctrine," which provided aid to anti-communist movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1983, he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a plan aiming to develop space-based weapons to protect America from attacks by Soviet nuclear missiles.
 In the Middle East, Reagan sent 800 U.S. Marines to Lebanon as part of an international peacekeeping force, in June 1982. Nearly one year later, in October 1983, suicide bombers attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans. That same month, Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invade the Caribbean island of Granada after Marxist rebels overthrew the government. In addition to the problems in Lebanon and Grenada, the Reagan administration had to deal with an ongoing contentious relationship between the United States and Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.
During his second term, Reagan forged a diplomatic relationship with the reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev, chairman of the Soviet Union. In 1987, the Americans and Soviets signed a historic agreement to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. That same year, Reagan spoke at Germany's Berlin Wall, a symbol of communism, and famously challenged Gorbachev to tear it down. Twenty-nine months later, Gorbachev allowed the people of Berlin to dismantle the wall, ending Soviet domination of East Germany. After leaving the White House, Reagan returned to Germany in September 1990—just weeks before Germany was officially reunified—and, with a hammer, took several symbolic swings at a remaining chunk of the wall.

1984 Re-Election

In November 1984, Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, defeating Democratic challenger Walter Mondale. Reagan carried 49 of the 50 U.S. states in the election, and received 525 of 538 electoral votes—the largest number ever won by an American presidential candidate. His second term was tarnished by the Iran-Contra affair, a convoluted "arms-for-hostages" deal with Iran to funnel money toward anti-communist insurgencies in Central America. Though he initially denied knowing about it, Reagan later announced that it was a mistake.

Later Years and Death

After leaving the White House in January 1989, Reagan and wife Nancy returned to their home in Los Angeles, California. In 1991, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum opened in Simi Valley, California.
In November 1994, Reagan revealed in a handwritten letter to the American people that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Nearly a decade later, on June 5, 2004, he died at his Los Angeles home at age 93, making him the nation's longest-lived president at that time. (In 2006, Gerald Ford surpassed him for this title.) A state funeral was held in Washington, D.C., and Reagan was later buried on the grounds of his presidential library in California.

Monday, February 17, 2014

USA Former President Ronald Reagan Biography

Born in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911, Ronald Reagan initially chose a career in entertainment, appearing in more than 50 films. While in Hollywood, he served as president of the Screen Actor's Guild and met his future wife, Nancy (Davis) Reagan. He served two terms as governor of California. Originally a liberal Democrat, Reagan ran for the U.S. presidency as a conservative Republican and won two terms, beginning in 1980.

Childhood and Education 

Ronald-Reagan-Baby

Reagan-family-portrait-Ronald-is-2-years-old

 Reagan family portrait. Ronald is about 2 years old

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, to John Edward "Jack" Reagan and Nellie Wilson Reagan. His father nicknamed him "Dutch," saying he resembled "a fat little Dutchman." During Reagen's early childhood, his family lived in a series of towns, finally settling in Dixon, Illinois, in 1920, where Jack Reagan opened a shoe store. In 1928, Ronald Reagan graduated from Dixon High School, where he was an athlete and student body president and performed in school plays. During summer vacations, he worked as a lifeguard in Dixon.
Ronald-Reagan-12-Years-Old,
 Ronald Reagan, 12 Years Old
Enrolling at Eureka College in Illinois on an athletic scholarship, Reagan majored in economics and sociology. There, he played football, ran track, captained the swim team, served as student council president and acted in school productions. After graduating in 1932, he found work as a radio sports announcer in Iowa.

Hollywood Career and Marriages

In 1937, Reagan signed a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers movie studio. Over the next three decades, he appeared in more than 50 films. Among his best-known roles was that of Notre Dame football star George Gipp in the 1940 biopic Knute Rockne, All American. Another notable role was in the 1942 film Kings Row, in which Reagan portrays an accident victim who wakes up to discover his legs have been amputated and cries out, "Where's the rest of me?"
Actor-Ronald-Reagan

Actor-Ronald-Reagan

Ronald-Nancy-Reagan-wedding

Ronald-Nancy-Reagan-wedding
In 1940, Reagan married actress Jane Wyman, with whom he had daughter Maureen and adopted a son, Michael. The couple divorced in 1948. During World War II, Reagan was disqualified from combat duty due to poor eyesight and spent his time in the Army making training films. He left the military ranked as a captain.

From 1947 to 1952, Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. During this time, he met actress Nancy Davis, who had sought his help after she was mistakenly listed as a possible communist sympathizer on the "Hollywood blacklist." Both were immediately attracted to each other, but Reagan was skeptical of marrying again due to his painful divorce from Jane Wyman. Over time, he recognized Nancy as his kindred spirit, and they were married in 1952. The pair had two children, Patricia and Ronald.

As Reagan's film career began to plateau, he landed a job as host of the weekly television drama series The General Electric Theater, in 1954. Part of his responsibility as host was to tour the United States as a public relations representative for General Electric. It was during this time that his political views shifted from liberal to conservative; he led pro-business discussions, speaking out against excessive government regulation and wasteful spending—central themes of his future political career.


Governorship and Presidential Bid

Reagan stepped into the national political spotlight in 1964, when he gave a well-received televised speech for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a prominent conservative. Two years later, in his first race for public office, Reagan defeated Democratic incumbent Edmund "Pat" Brown Sr. by almost 1 million votes, winning the California governorship. He was re-elected to a second term in 1970.
1976-Republican-National-Convention

1976-Republican-National-Convention
 1976 Republican National Convention
After making unsuccessful bids for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976, Reagan finally received his party's nod in 1980. In that year's general election, he defeated Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter, winning the Electoral College (489 to 49) and capturing almost 51 percent of the popular vote. At age 69, Reagan was the oldest person elected to the U.S. presidency.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bill Gates (Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation) Biography

William H. Gates, III was born in Seattle, Washington, the second of three children, in between an older and a younger sister. 
 Bill-Gates-young

 Bill-Gates-young

His father was a successful attorney, and it was expected that young Bill would follow in his father's footsteps. He was a notably gifted student who did well in all subjects but showed a special aptitude for mathematics. When he was 13, his parents believed he was not being challenged in his public school and enrolled him in the private and highly demanding Lakeside School. The school acquired a computer terminal and young Bill Gates was immediately fascinated. He and a small group of friends, including his future business partner Paul Allen, took every opportunity to explore the possibilities of the new technology, teaching themselves the basics of computer programming. 
bill-gates-and-paul-allen

Soon Gates and his friends were working part-time and summers, writing computer programs for large businesses around the Seattle area. Although they were all precociously gifted programmers, it became clear that Gates had a unique talent for business as well, and he quickly emerged as the leader of the group. Gates and Paul Allen closely followed events in the computer industry and foresaw that the development of microprocessors would lead to the creation of compact affordable, personal computer that would someday supplant the bulky mainframe systems used in business and industry. 

Bill-Gates-Microsoft

 Meanwhile, Gates continued to excel in his studies and followed his parents' wishes by going to Harvard. 
Paul Allen soon moved to Boston to work for Honeywell and continue their collaboration. The pair were galvanized by a cover story in Popular Electronics, promoting the Altair 8800, an inexpensive microcomputer produced by a company called MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gates and Allen saw this as the beginning of a new industry. No one had yet developed software for the Altair, and the young programmers saw a unique opportunity. They adapted the computer language BASIC to run on the new device, although they had never actually seen one. On the strength of this programming feat, they secured a software development contract with MITS. With irresistible business opportunities beckoning, Gates left Harvard at the beginning of his junior year to make the leap into the world of business. Along with Paul Allen, he moved to New Mexico at the end of 1975 to produce software for MITS. The following year, they started their own company, Microsoft. 
Bill-Gates-Microsoft

 After MITS was sold, Gates moved Microsoft to Bellevue, Washington, near his hometown of Seattle, a choice that would make the Pacific Northwest a center of the computer software industry. The Altair, along with personal computers produced by Atari, Commodore, and other industry pioneers, enjoyed popularity with hobbyists and computer aficionados, but had not achieved a comparable sucess with business or the general public, a vast untapped market. The dominant player in the computer industry, IBM, had long resisted the concept of the personal computer, because mainframe systems were the heart of its business. When IBM finally decided to make the move into manufacturing personal computers in 1980, it turned to Gates and Microsoft to produce an operating system.
Gates bought an existing program, QDOS, and adapted it to the IBM hardware. He named his program Microsoft Disk Operating System, or MS-DOS. In his agreement with IBM, Gates was careful to retain the right to license MS-DOS to other hardware manufacturers as well. This may have been the single most momentous decision in business history. When the IBM PC became a success, other manufacturers rushed to create less expensive DOS-based personal computers. Microsoft's operating system became the universal standard as personal computer use exploded around the world. The only noteworthy competitor in personal computer operating systems, Apple, had made the opposite decision; the Macintosh operating system could only run on Apple Macintosh computers, and Apple never gained more than a fraction of the worldwide desktop computer market. 
 Apple's one advantage appeared to be the ease of use of its graphic user interface, but Microsoft quickly met that challenge with the 1985 introduction of Windows, a DOS-based graphic interface. With most of the world's personal computers running MS-DOS and Windows, Gates had a perfect market for compatible software applications. Within a few years the applications in Microsoft's office suite had become the leaders in their respective categories: Microsoft Word for word processing, Excel for creating spreadsheets, PowerPoint for slideshow-style graphic presentation, and Internet Explorer for browsing the increasingly popular World Wide Web. 
Bill-Gates-Microsoft
 
In 1989, Gates founded Corbis, a digital image licensing company that acquired historic collections of photographs, such as the Bettmann Archive. Among other business interests, he has served as a director of the investment company Berkshire Hathaway and holds a controlling interest in a private investment firm and holding company, Cascade Investments LLC.
Meanwhile, the personal computer -- and Microsoft software -- revolutionized the worlds of work and recreation. Microsoft became an enormous international corporation, and by 1995, its Chairman, CEO and largest shareholder, Bill Gates, was the world's richest man, a title he has retained almost every year since.
There were challenges along the way -- a patent infringement suit from Apple over the design of the Windows interface, and a 1988 anti-trust suit brought by the United States government when it appeared that Microsoft's dominant position in the industry had become a virtual monopoly. Microsoft survived these legal battles, and remains the preeminent producer of software for the home and office. 
Bill-Melinda-Gates-Foundation

 In 1994 Bill Gates married the former Melinda French. The couple built a technologically advanced house overlooking Lake Washington. They have three children. At the height of his success, Gates turned his attention from business to philanthropy. In 2000, he and his wife founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and have given over $28 billion to charities focused on scientific research and international development. The same year, Bill Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, though he remains Chairman of the Board of Directors. Since 2008, he has devoted his energies to the direction of the Gates Foundation, applying his entrepreneurial expertise to combating disease and poverty around the world.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Indira Gandhi (Former Indian Prime Minister) Biography

Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad, India. Gandhi was born into the politically prominent Nehru family; her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, served as India’s first prime minister. Gandhi served three consecutive terms as prime minister, between 1966 and 1977, and another term beginning in 1980. In 1984, Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister

Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister
Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister

Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister

Early Life

Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister-child

 

The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru and the first prime minister of independent India, Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917. A stubborn and highly intelligent young woman, she enjoyed an excellent education in Swiss schools and at Somerville College, Oxford.
After her mother died, in 1936, Gandhi became something of her father's hostess, learning to navigate complex relationships of diplomacy with some of the great leaders of the world.
The_marriage_ceremony_of_Feroze_Gandhi_and_Indira_Gandhi
 The marriage ceremony of Feroze Gandhi and Indira Gandhi

Political Career

Gandhi was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1960. After her father’s death, Gandhi was appointed minister of information and broadcasting. When her father’s successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, died abruptly in 1966, India’s congress appointed her to the post of prime minister.
She surprised her father’s old colleagues when she led with a strong hand, sacking some of highest-ranking officials. Gandhi subsequently brought about great change in agricultural programs that improved the lot of her country’s poor. For a time, she was hailed as a hero.

Diplomatic Success

In 1971, the Pakistan army conducted violent acts against the people of East Pakistan. Nearly 10 million people fled to India. Gandhi invited the Pakistani president to Shimla for a weeklong summit.
The two leaders eventually signed the Shimla Agreement, agreeing to resolve the dispute of Kashmir by peaceful means. Her work eventually led to the creation of the new and independent nation of Bangladesh.
Gandhi also led a movement that became known as the Green Revolution. In an effort to address the chronic food shortages that mainly affected the extremely poor Sikh farmers of the Punjab region, Gandhi decided to increase crop diversification and food exports as a way out of the problem, creating new jobs as well as food for her countrymen.

Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister

Authoritarian Leanings and Imprisonment

Despite these advancements, Gandhi ruled with an authoritarian hand, and corruption boiled within her congress and her national and state governments. In 1977, the high courts found her guilty of a minor infraction during the year’s elections and called for her resignation. Gandhi responded by requesting that the president call for a state of emergency.
Gandhi lost the next election and was later imprisoned. In 1980, the country responded differently and she won by a landslide majority. That same year, her son Sanjay Gandhi (b. 1946), who had been serving as her chief political adviser, died in a plane crash in New Delhi. After Sanjay's death, Indira prepared her other son, Rajiv (b. 1944), for leadership.
Indira-Gandhi-Former-Indian-Prime-Minister

Assassination

body-of-assassinated-Indian-Prime-Minister-Indira-Gandhi

 body of assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

During the 1980s, a Sikh separatist movement developed in India, which Gandhi attempted to repress. 
Sikh extremists held a campaign inside the Golden Temple, and Gandhi ordered some 70,000 soldiers to purge the sacred space. More than 450 people died.
On October 31, 1984, a trusted bodyguard, who was a Sikh, pulled out a .38 revolver and shot her point-blank. Another bodyguard, also a Sikh, then took out an automatic weapon and shot 30 rounds into her body. Gandhi died on the way to the hospital.