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Featured Article: Baklava

Baklava or baklawa is a rich, sweet pastry featured in many cuisines of the former Ottoman countries. It is made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, and sweetened with syrup or honey. The result is a dish so delicious that not only was it served to royalty but numerous ethnic groups claim it as their own. Baklava is an example of human ingenuity in developing food that not only nourishes the body, but also brings happiness to the mind and spirit.

Commonly regarded as a Greek specialty, baklava is available in a wide range of local variations throughout Greece, both mainland and islands. It is also widely found in Turkish and many Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures. Baklava is generally served on special occasions, in many areas during religious ceremonies. Thus, Christians serve baklava at Christmas and Easter, Muslims eat it during Ramadan, and Jews often enjoy it as a Rosh Hashannah and Purim treat.

Popular Article: Mount Saint Helens

Plume of steam on Mount St. Helens, 1982
Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The mountain is part of the Cascade Volcanic Belt of the Cascade Range and the larger Pacific Ring of Fire that includes between 500 and 600 active volcanoes. Mount Saint Helens is known for its volcanic ash explosions and pyroclastic flows and is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980. This eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,600 feet (2,950 m) to 8,000 feet (2,550 m), and replacing it with a mile-wide (1.5 km-wide) horseshoe-shaped crater. More than 500 million tons of ash were blown eastward across the United States. By the following month, ash could be found on the other side of the world.

Mount St. Helens' biological recovery has taken place in a fashion that could not have been anticipated. A surprising response was the natural return to the area by the birds and animals who had been displaced. By 1983, 90 percent of the plant species originally growing at Mount St. Helens could be found, though numbers and dominant species varied widely with location.