Faraaz Damji | 2 Nov 01:44 2007

[Wikipedia] November 2: Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem

  The arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, then president of South
  Vietnam, marked the culmination of a successful coup d'état led by
  General Duong Van Minh in November 1963.  On the morning of November 2,
  1963, Diem and his adviser and younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were
  arrested after the Army of the Republic of Vietnam had been successful
  in a bloody overnight siege on Gia Long Palace in Saigon.  The coup was
  the end result of nine years of autocratic and nepotistic family rule
  in South Vietnam.  Discontent with the Diem regime had been simmering
  below the surface, and exploded with mass Buddhist protests against
  long running religious discrimination after the government shooting of
  protesters who defied a ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag.
  However, when rebel forces entered the palace, the brothers were not
  present, as they had escaped the previous night to a loyalist shelter
  in Cholon.  The brothers had kept in communication with the rebels
  through a direct link from the shelter to the palace, and misled them
  into believing that they were still in the palace.  Soon after, the Ngo
  brothers agreed to surrender and were promised safe exile; after being
  arrested, they were instead executed in the back of an armoured
  personnel carrier by ARVN officers on the journey back to military
  headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  French Revolution: Under the terms of a new constitution that was
  ratified during the aftermath of the Reign of Terror and the
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Faraaz Damji | 5 Nov 07:27 2007

[Wikipedia] November 5: GameFAQs

  GameFAQs is a website that hosts FAQs and walkthroughs for video
  games.  It was created in November 1995 by Jeff "CJayC" Veasey and has
  been owned by CNET Networks since May 2003.  The site has a large
  database of video game information and has been called a place where
  readers "can get almost any information" regarding game strategies.
  The systems covered range from the 8-bit Atari platform to the
  consoles of today, including computer games.  The FAQs, cheat codes,
  reviews, game saves, and credits are submitted by volunteer gamers,
  and contributions are reviewed by the site's two editors, Jeff Veasey
  and Allen Tyner.  The site hosts a large and active message board
  community.  Every game listed on the site has a board for discussion or
  gameplay help.  Many of the boards are shared between GameFAQs and
  GameSpot, another CNET website.  The site also features a daily opinion
  poll and related tournament contests.  GameFAQs.com is one of the 200
  highest-trafficked websites according to Alexa.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  The Gunpowder Plot: Thomas Knyvet arrested explosives expert Guy
  Fawkes and foiled Robert Catesby's plot to destroy the Houses of
  Parliament in London during the State Opening.

  Glorious Revolution: Protestant Prince William of Orange landed at
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Faraaz Damji | 6 Nov 05:47 2007

[Wikipedia] November 6: Beijing opera

  Beijing opera is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines
  music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics.  It arose in the
  late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the
  mid-19th century.  The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty
  court and has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of
  China.  Major performance troupes are based in Beijing and Tianjin in
  the north, and Shanghai in the south.  The art form is also enjoyed in
  Taiwan, and has spread to other countries such as the United States
  and Japan.  Beijing opera features four main types of performers.
  Performing troupes often have several of each variety, as well as
  numerous secondary and tertiary performers.  With their elaborate and
  colorful costumes, performers are the only focal points on Beijing
  opera's characteristically sparse stage.  They utilize the skills of
  speech, song, dance, and combat in movements that are symbolic and
  suggestive, rather than realistic.  Above all else, the skill of
  performers is evaluated according to the beauty of their movements.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican Party candidate to win
  the U.S. presidential election.

  Before the Institute of Radio Engineers in New York, American
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Faraaz Damji | 7 Nov 08:17 2007

[Wikipedia] November 7: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

  Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation
  of Kazakhstan is a 2006 Academy Award-nominated mockumentary comedy
  film directed by Larry Charles.  It stars the British comedian Sacha
  Baron Cohen in the title role of Borat Sagdiyev, a fictitious Kazakh
  journalist, traveling through the United States recording real-life
  interactions with Americans.  It is the second film built around one of
  Cohen's characters from Da Ali G Show, following Ali G Indahouse,
  which also featured a cameo by Borat.  It was a critical and commercial
  success, despite an initially limited release in the United States.
  Cohen won the 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor: Musical or
  Comedy as Borat while the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture
  in the same category.  Controversy surrounded the film even before its
  release.  It has been criticised for having a protagonist who is sexist
  and antisemitic (although Cohen is Jewish himself), and some who have
  appeared in the film have criticised and even sued its creators.  All
  Arab countries, except for Lebanon, banned it, and the Russian
  government successfully discouraged cinemas there from showing it.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  The London Gazette, the oldest surviving English newspaper, was
  first published as the Oxford Gazette.

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Faraaz Damji | 8 Nov 05:48 2007

[Wikipedia] November 8: Webley Revolver

  The Webley Revolver was, in various marks, the standard issue service
  pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire,
  and the Commonwealth from 1887 until 1963.  The Webley is a top-break
  revolver with automatic extraction; breaking the revolver open for
  reloading also operates the extractor, removing the spent cartridges
  from the cylinder.  The Webley Mk I service revolver was adopted in
  1887, but it was a later version—the Mk IV—which rose to prominence
  during the Boer War of 1899–1902.  The Mk VI, introduced in 1915 during
  World War I, is perhaps the best-known model.  Webley service revolvers
  are among the most powerful top-break revolvers ever produced, firing
  the .455 Webley cartridge.  Although the .455 calibre Webley is no
  longer in military service, the .38/200 Webley Mk IV variant is still
  sporadically in use as a police sidearm in a number of countries.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire: Spanish conquistador Hernán
  Cortés entered Tenochtitlan where Aztec tlatoani Moctezuma II welcomed
  him with great pomp as would befit a returning god.

  Stockholm Bloodbath: Following a successful invasion of Sweden by
  Danish forces under Christian II of Denmark, scores of Swedish leaders
  were executed despite Christian's promise of general amnesty.
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Faraaz Damji | 10 Nov 02:22 2007

[Wikipedia] November 10: Rings of Jupiter

  The rings of Jupiter are a system of planetary rings around the planet
  Jupiter.  The Jovian ring system was the third ring system to be
  discovered in the Solar System after those of Saturn and Uranus.  It
  was first observed in 1979 by the Voyager 1 spaceprobe and thoroughly
  investigated in the 1990s by the Galileo orbiter.  It has also been
  observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and from the ground for the
  past 25 years.  Ground-based observations of the rings require the
  largest available telescopes.  The Jovian ring system is faint and
  consists mainly of dust It comprises four main components: a thick
  inner torus of particles known as the 'halo ring'; a relatively
  bright, razor-thin 'main ring'; and two wide, thick and faint outer
  'gossamer rings', named for the moons of whose material they are
  composed: Amalthea and Thebe.  The main and halo rings consist of dust
  ejected by high-velocity impacts from the moons Metis, Adrastea and
  other unobserved parent bodies.  High-resolution images obtained in
  February and March 2007 by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a rich
  fine structure in the main ring.  The age of the ring system is not
  known but it may have existed since the formation of Jupiter.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad II defeated the Polish and
  Hungarian armies under Władysław III of Poland and John Hunyadi at the
  Battle of Varna near Varna, Bulgaria in the final battle of the
  Crusade of Varna.
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Faraaz Damji | 11 Nov 09:25 2007

[Wikipedia] November 11: Bobcat

  The Bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae.  With
  twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to
  northern Mexico, including much of the continental United States.  The
  Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as
  semi-desert, urban edge, and swampland environments.  It persists in
  much of its original range and populations are healthy.  With a gray to
  brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the Bobcat
  resembles the other species of the mid-sized Lynx genus.  It is smaller
  than the Canadian Lynx, with whom it shares parts of its range, but
  about twice as large as the domestic cat.  It has distinctive black
  bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby tail, from which it
  derives its name.  Though the Bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it will
  hunt anything from insects and small rodents to deer.  Prey selection
  depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance.  Like most
  cats, the Bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although there
  is some overlap in home ranges.  It uses several methods to mark its
  territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or
  feces.  The Bobcat breeds from winter into the spring and has a
  gestation period of about two months.  The Bobcat has been subject to
  extensive hunting by humans, both for sport and fur, but its
  population has proven resilient.  The elusive predator has featured in
  Native American mythology and the folklore of European settlers.

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Faraaz Damji | 12 Nov 13:09 2007

[Wikipedia] November 12: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

  The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal took place November 12 – November 15,
  1942, and was the decisive battle in a series of naval battles that
  took place between Allied (primarily U.S.) and Japanese forces during
  the months-long Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands.  The
  battle consisted of a sequence of combined air and sea engagements
  spread over four days, most of them in the vicinity of Guadalcanal.
  All of the engagements were directly related to a single effort by the
  Japanese to reinforce their land forces on Guadalcanal, and are all
  therefore considered to be different parts of the same battle.  In two
  extremely destructive nighttime surface warship engagements, both
  adversaries lost numerous ships.  Also, U.S. daytime air attacks over
  several days sank or damaged several Japanese warships and transport
  ships.  The sum of these engagements was that the U.S. was successful
  in turning back Japan's last major attempt to dislodge Allied forces
  from their positions on Guadalcanal and nearby Tulagi.  Thus, the
  battle resulted in a significant strategic victory for the U.S. and
  its allies.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Future Byzantine empress Zoe married Romanus Argyrus according to
  the wishes of the dying Constantine VIII.

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Faraaz Damji | 13 Nov 13:49 2007

[Wikipedia] November 13: Michael Jordan

  Michael Jordan is a retired American professional basketball player.
  Widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time,
  he became one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his
  generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA (National
  Basketball Association) around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
  Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984 and quickly emerged as
  one of the stars of the league.  His leaping ability, illustrated by
  performing slam dunks from the foul line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned
  him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness." Jordan's individual
  accolades and accomplishments include five NBA MVP (Most Valuable
  Player) awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine
  All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game
  appearances and three All-Star MVPs, ten scoring titles, three steals
  titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player
  of the Year Award.  He holds the NBA record for highest career regular
  season scoring average with 30.1 points per game, as well as averaging
  a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs.  In 1999, he was named
  the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and
  was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of
  the century.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  St.  Brice's Day massacre: King Ethelred II ordered the massacre of
  all Danes in England.
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Faraaz Damji | 16 Nov 07:49 2007

[Wikipedia] November 16: Oklahoma

  Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United
  States of America.  With 3,579,212 residents in 2006, it is the 28th
  most populous and 20th-largest state by land area.  Its name is derived
  from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people", and its
  capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.  Formed from Indian
  Territory on November 16, 1907, it was the 46th state to enter the
  union.  A major producer of natural gas, oil and food, Oklahoma relies
  on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and
  biotechnology.  It has one of the fastest growing economies in the
  nation, leading states in gross domestic product growth and ranking
  third in per capita income growth.  With small mountain ranges,
  prairie, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great
  Plains and the U.S. Interior Highlands—a region especially prone to
  severe weather.  Part of the Bible Belt, widespread beliefs in
  evangelical Christianity make Oklahoma one of the most conservative
  states, though its voter registration in the Democratic Party exceeds
  the Republican Party.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Though she was only a ten-year old girl, Jadwiga was crowned "King
  of Poland".

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