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[Daily article] May 3: The Carpet from Bagdad

The Carpet from Bagdad is a 1915 American silent adventure film directed
by Colin Campbell, based on Harold MacGrath's 1911 novel of the same
name. In the story, Horace Wadsworth (played by Guy Oliver), one of a
gang of criminals planning a bank robbery in New York, steals a prayer
rug from a Baghdad mosque. He sells the carpet to antique dealer George
Jones (Wheeler Oakman) to fund the robbery scheme. The carpet's guardian
kidnaps both men and Fortune Chedsoye (Kathlyn Williams), the innocent
daughter of another conspirator, but they escape. Marketing for the film
included a media tour of part of the set and an invitation-only
screening sponsored by the publisher of MacGrath's book. The Carpet from
Bagdad was released on 3 May 1915 to mostly positive reviews. Many
praised the tinted desert scenes and realistic Middle East imagery,
although some felt the scenery overshadowed the characters. The film is
now lost, except for one badly damaged reel salvaged from the RMS
Lusitania in 1982. Images from several feet of the reel were recovered
by the British Film Institute's National Archive.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carpet_from_Bagdad>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1491:

Nkuwu Nzinga of the Kingdom of Kongo was baptised as João I by
Portuguese missionaries.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_I_of_Kongo>

1791:

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[Daily article] May 2: Noisy miner

The noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) is a bird native to eastern and
south-eastern Australia in the honeyeater family. It is grey with a
black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch
behind the eye and white tips on the tail feathers. Its almost constant
vocalizations, particularly from young birds, include a large range of
calls, scoldings and alarms. Primarily inhabiting dry, open eucalypt
forests without understory shrubs, noisy miners are gregarious and
territorial; they forage, bathe, roost, breed and defend territory
communally, forming colonies of up to several hundred birds. Birds that
live close to each other form stable associations called coteries.
Temporary flocks are formed for activities such as mobbing a predator.
The noisy miner is an aggressive bird, chasing, pecking, fighting,
scolding, and mobbing both intruders and colony members throughout the
day. The bird's numbers have increased significantly in many locations
across its range, particularly in human-dominated habitats in which
avian diversity has decreased.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noisy_miner>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1670:

A Royal Charter granted the Hudson's Bay Company a monopoly in
the fur trade in Rupert's Land.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson%27s_Bay_Company>

1757:

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[Daily article] May 1: Blakeney Point

Blakeney Point is a National Nature Reserve near Blakeney on the north
coast of Norfolk, England. It features a 6.4 km (4 mi) spit of shingle
stones and sand dunes, as well as salt marshes and tidal mudflats. Land
reclamation projects starting in the 17th century broadened the spit,
but silted up nearby river channels. Ruins of a medieval dwelling called
Blakeney Chapel and a monastery are buried in the marshes. The area has
been studied for more than a century, following pioneering ecological
studies by botanist Francis Wall Oliver and a bird ringing programme
initiated by ornithologist Emma Turner. The reserve is important for
breeding birds, especially terns, and for migrating birds in autumn. Up
to 500 seals at a time gather at the end of the spit, and its sand and
shingle hold a number of specialised invertebrates and plants, including
the edible samphire. The spit is moving towards the mainland at about
1 m (1 yd) per year; several former islets have been covered by the
advancing shingle and then lost to the sea. Managed by the National
Trust since 1912, Blakeney Point lies within an Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty and a World Biosphere Reserve.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blakeney_Point>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1576:

Stephen Báthory and Anna Jagiellon were crowned as the elected
rulers of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Jagiellon>

1786:
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[Daily article] April 30: Franklin half dollar

The Franklin half dollar coin was struck by the United States Mint from
1948 to 1963. It pictures Founding Father Benjamin Franklin on the
obverse, with the Liberty Bell and a small eagle on the reverse.
Produced in 90 percent silver with a reeded edge, the coin was struck
at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. Mint director
Nellie Tayloe Ross had long admired Franklin, and asked the Mint's chief
engraver, John Sinnock, to design the coin; his initials appear on the
obverse, but some mistook them for the initials of Soviet dictator
Joseph Stalin. When Ross submitted the designs to the Commission of Fine
Arts, they disliked the small eagle and felt that depicting the crack in
the Liberty Bell would expose the coinage to jokes and ridicule;
nevertheless, the Mint proceeded with Sinnock's designs. Beginning in
1964 the coin was replaced by the Kennedy half dollar, issued in honor
of the assassinated President, John F. Kennedy. Though the coin is still
legal tender, its face value is greatly exceeded by its value to
collectors or as silver.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_half_dollar>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1598:

King Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, granting
freedom of religion to the Huguenots.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Nantes>

1943:

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[Daily article] April 28: Mutiny on the Bounty

On 28 April 1789, a mutiny on HMS Bounty in the south Pacific was led by
Fletcher Christian. Bounty had left England in 1787 on a mission to
collect breadfruit plants from Tahiti. During a five-month layover
there, many of the men were in relationships with native Polynesians.
Lieutenant William Bligh handed out increasingly harsh punishments and
abuse, especially to Christian, and morale plummeted. After three weeks
back at sea, Bligh and 18 of his crew were forced into the ship's small
uncovered launch, and had to row and sail more than 4,000 miles
(6,400 km) to reach safety. In 1791, 14 of the Bounty crew were
arrested in Tahiti; four of these died when their ship ran aground on
the Great Barrier Reef, four were acquitted at a court martial, three
were pardoned and three were hanged. On Pitcairn Island, just one
surviving mutineer, John Adams, was discovered in 1808; Christian and
most of the rest had been killed, by each other and by the mistreated
Tahitians they brought with them. Their descendants would continue to
inhabit Pitcairn into the 21st century. The view of Bligh as an
overbearing monster has in recent years been challenged by historians.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny_on_the_Bounty>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1253:

Nichiren, a Japanese monk, expounded Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō
for the first time and declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in
effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichiren_Buddhism>

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[Daily article] April 27: Menkauhor Kaiu

Menkauhor Kaiu was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Old Kingdom
period, the seventh ruler of the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th or 24th
century BC. He ruled for possibly eight or nine years, following king
Nyuserre Ini, and was succeeded by Djedkare Isesi. Although Menkauhor is
well attested by historical sources, few artefacts from his reign have
survived; less is known about him than about most Fifth Dynasty
pharaohs, and no offspring of his have been identified. Khentkaus III
may have been Menkauhor's mother, as indicated by discoveries in her
tomb in 2015. Beyond the construction of monuments, the only known
activity dated to his reign is an expedition to the copper and turquoise
mines in Sinai. He ordered the construction of a sun temple, the last
ever to be built, called the Akhet-Ra ("The Horizon of Ra"). Known from
inscriptions found in the tombs of its priests, this temple is yet to be
located. Menkauhor was buried in Saqqara in a small pyramid named
Netjer-Isut Menkauhor ("The Divine Places of Menkauhor"). Known today as
the Headless Pyramid, the ruin had been lost under shifting sands until
its rediscovery in 2008.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menkauhor_Kaiu>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1521:

Filipino natives led by chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese
explorer Ferdinand Magellan and more than forty Spanish soldiers at the
Battle of Mactan.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mactan>

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[Daily article] April 26: Big Star

Big Star was an American power pop band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in
1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The
group broke up in 1974, but reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20
years later. In its first era, the band's musical style drew on the
vocal harmonies of The Beatles, as well as the swaggering rhythms of The
Rolling Stones and the jangling guitars of The Byrds. To the resulting
power pop, Big Star added dark, existential themes, and produced a style
that foreshadowed the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s. Their
first two albums, #1 Record and Radio City, suffered from ineffective
marketing but garnered enthusiastic reviews; Rolling Stone called the
band a "quintessential American power pop band" that was "one of the
most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll". In 1993,
Chilton and Stephens re-formed Big Star with Jon Auer and Ken
Stringfellow. After tours in Europe and Japan, they released a new
studio album, In Space, in 2005. Big Star was inducted into the Memphis
Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Star>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1478:

In a conspiracy to replace the Medici family as rulers of the
Florentine Republic, the Pazzi family attacked Lorenzo de' Medici and
killed his brother Giuliano during High Mass at the Florence Duomo.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pazzi_family>

1777:
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[Daily article] April 25: Battle of Kaiapit

The Battle of Kaiapit was fought in 1943 between Australian and Japanese
forces in New Guinea during the Finisterre Range campaign of World War
II. Following landings at Nadzab and at Lae, the Allies attempted to
exploit their success with an advance into the upper Markham Valley,
starting with Kaiapit (pictured). The Australian 2/6th Independent
Company flew in to the valley from Port Moresby in 13 USAAF C-47
Dakotas, making a difficult landing on a rough airstrip. Unaware that a
much larger Japanese force was also headed for Kaiapit and Nadzab, the
company attacked the village on 19 September to secure the area so that
it could be developed into an airfield. They then held it against a
strong counterattack. During two days of fighting the larger force, the
Australians suffered relatively few losses. Their victory at Kaiapit
enabled the Australian 7th Division to be flown in to the upper Markham
Valley, stopping the Japanese from threatening Lae or Nadzab, where a
major airbase was being developed. The victory also led to the capture
of the Ramu Valley, which provided new forward fighter airstrips for the
air war.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kaiapit>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

775:

Forces of the Abbasid Caliphate crushed those of rebelling
Armenian princes in the Battle of Bagrevand
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bagrevand>

1644:
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[Daily article] April 24: Nelson's Pillar

Nelson's Pillar was a large granite column capped by a statue of Horatio
Nelson, erected in the centre of O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland in
1809. It was severely damaged by explosives in March 1966 and demolished
a week later. The monument was erected after the euphoria following
Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It proved a popular
tourist attraction but provoked aesthetic and political controversy, and
there were frequent calls for it to be removed, or replaced with a
memorial to an Irish hero. Nevertheless it remained, even after Ireland
became a republic in 1948. Although influential literary figures
defended the Pillar on historical and cultural grounds, its destruction
just before the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising was, on the whole,
well received by the Irish public. The police could not identify those
responsible; when in 2010 a former republican activist admitted planting
the explosives, he was not charged. The Pillar was finally replaced in
2003 with the Spire of Dublin. Relics of the Pillar are found in various
Dublin locations, and its memory is preserved in numerous works of Irish
literature.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson%27s_Pillar>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1479 BC:

Thutmose III (statue pictured) became the sixth Pharaoh of
the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, although during the first 22 years of
the reign he was co-regent with his aunt, Hatshepsut.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thutmose_III>

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[Daily article] April 23: Stanley Price Weir

Stanley Price Weir (23 April 1866 – 14 November 1944) was a public
servant and Australian Army officer. He was awarded the Volunteer
Officers' Decoration in 1908, and appointed a justice of the peace in
1914. During World War I, he commanded the 10th Battalion of the
Australian Imperial Force during the landing at Anzac Cove and the
Gallipoli Campaign against the Ottoman Turks, and during the battles of
Pozières and Mouquet Farm in France. Weir returned to Australia at his
own request at the age of 50 in late 1916, when he was appointed as the
first South Australian Public Service Commissioner. In 1917 he was
awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches
for his performance at Pozières and Mouquet Farm. On his retirement
from the Australian Military Forces in 1921, he was given an honorary
promotion to brigadier general, only the second South Australia-born
officer to reach this rank. Before his retirement as Public Service
Commissioner in 1931, Weir was the chairman of both the Central Board of
Health and the Public Relief Board. He led an active retirement,
contributing to several religious, charitable and welfare organisations.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Price_Weir>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1016:

Edmund Ironside became King of England, reigning for only seven
months before the country was conquered by Cnut the Great.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Ironside>

1516:
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[Daily article] April 22: Gravity Bone

Gravity Bone is a freeware first-person adventure video game developed
by Brendon Chung through his studio, Blendo Games, and released on
August 28, 2008. The game employs a modified version of id Software's id
Tech 2 engine—originally used for Quake 2—and incorporates music
originally performed by Xavier Cugat for films by director Wong Kar-wai.
Four incarnations of the game were produced during its one-year
development; the first featured more first-person shooter elements than
the released version. Subsequent versions included more spy-oriented
gameplay. Gravity Bone received critical acclaim from video game
journalists. It was called "a pleasure to experience" by Charles Onyett
from IGN, and was compared to games such as Team Fortress 2 and Portal.
The game was praised for its visual style, atmosphere, cohesive story,
and ability to quickly catch the player's interest. It received the
"Best Arthouse Game" award in Game Tunnel's Special Awards of 2008. A
sequel released in 2012, Thirty Flights of Loving, was also critically
acclaimed, mostly for its novel nonlinear storytelling.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_Bone>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1622:

An Anglo-Persian force combined to take over the Portuguese
garrison at Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_of_Ormuz_(1622)>

1889:

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