Climate change, global warming and environmental Issues are, quite rightly, often in the news. I, for one, am more than pleased with the great focus on these subjects nowadays although there are many influential people and organisations that, despite scientific evidence, continue to deny the facts.

I have experienced the terrible winter fogs of 1950s London caused by the effects of widespread coal burning, vehicle emissions and other pollutants which killed thousands and hospitalised hundreds of thousands of people. This experience left me with life-long lung problems.

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The man depicted in portrait form and as the main character on the stamps issued by China in 1960 was a Canadian physician, medical innovator, and noted communist. He became expert in thoracic surgery and developed or modified more than a dozen new surgical tools.

Norman Bethune achieved acclaim first for his service as a frontline surgeon supporting the democratically elected Republican government during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). But it was his service in China with the Communist Eighth Route Army during China’s second war with Japan (1937-1945) that would earn him enduring gratitude.

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On behalf of the management and staff at postbeeld.com I would like to wish a Happy and Healthy New Year to all readers of the Freestampmagazine and indeed all of PostBeeld’s customers wherever you may be in the world.

February 16 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year and with it a plethora of related postage stamp issues from countries around the world.

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Advances in the field of medical surgery have been dramatic and it´s possible that some philatelists find the subject interesting to collect. My father´s life was extended by many years as a result of two open heart operations. An amazing coincidence was that the surgeon who carried out the second operation had the same name as my father. He even gave me an impromptu tour of the operating theatre the day before the operation and explained the use of the various tools and instruments laid out awaiting his skilled hands.

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The recent problems at the Oroville Dam in Northern California, which caused more than 180,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, have highlighted the danger of living in the downstream vicinity of a major river dam. Though damming projects can be extremely controversial, architecturally they are often attractive. As a topic there are many dam stamps, some of which are included below.

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Stamp ChinaPostBeeld owner Rob Smit is constantly busy seeking out opportunities to add stamps to the enormously varied stock held at the four PostBeeld stores dotted around Holland. Always on the lookout to buy-in interesting collections at auction houses or directly from people wishing to sell, he fervently strives to provide what his customers might be looking for.

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1Most of us have heard of Venice’s Grand Canal, seen below. But perhaps fewer people are aware of the longest canal in the world, the Grand Canal in China, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

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boxAs seen around this time last year, treasure continues to turn up in unlikely places. A collection of rare stamps was discovered in old church-donation envelopes stored in a cigar box in the loft of a house in the Cotswolds area of England. The 35 Chinese stamps, were originally bought by an English missionary in Shanghai in 1882 and lay undiscovered for more than 100 years.

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sujperlatives on stampsStamps have proven to be a wonderful outlet to celebrate the spectacular nature existing in the World. Here we have a selection of stamps that not only feature people and discoveries, but also things that were the largest, fastest or most valuable at their time of issue.

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New postage stampsNew stamps appear regularly with a variety of subjects. Below is a selection of recently-published stamps from around the globe.

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