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Aceasta zi in istorie - This day in history

Found only in China's Yangtze River, the baiji was a pale, nearly blind freshwater dolphin species nicknamed the "Goddess of the Yangtze." Though it had lived there for millennia, its population declined precipitously in the late 20th century as an industrialized China made heavy use of the river. Many were injured by fishing gear and boat propellers. The species was finally declared functionally extinct after a six-week search failed to locate any baiji. When was the last baiji caught on film? Discuss
The Battle of Nineveh was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Dynasty, the last dynasty of native rulers to reign in Persia. Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, was able to draw his Persian adversaries onto a favorable battlefield by feigning a retreat, thereby securing victory for his troops. The loss seriously damaged the Sassanids' power. Within decades, the weakened Sassanid dynasty would be toppled by the Arab Conquest. What fate did the Sassanid king suffer after Nineveh? Discuss
With the Apollo program drawing to a close, the astronauts of Apollo 17 knew that it would be some time before anyone returned to the Moon. Hours after the mission's launch, the astronauts snapped the famous "Blue Marble" photograph of a fully illuminated Earth. Days later, they landed on the Moon. On their three moonwalks, they explored miles of the Taurus-Littrow region, collected rock samples, and set up equipment for remote data collection. Who was the last person to walk on the Moon? Discuss
In 1903, anti-vivisectionists enrolled as medical students at University College London and published an eyewitness account of a brown dog that had endured months of surgical experimentation while allegedly conscious. A professor named in the story sued for defamation and won. After the trial, anti-vivisectionists put up a statue of the dog as a monument in a park, but mobs of angry medical students rioted and tried to destroy it. In 1910, it was taken down by authorities. When was it replaced? Discuss
One of the deadliest diseases in history by sheer loss of life, smallpox was the target of a concerted, worldwide eradication campaign in the 20th century, and it became the first disease to have been successfully wiped out. Efforts focused on vaccination and quickly responding to and curtailing outbreaks. The last person to die from smallpox caught it at a laboratory, where samples of the now-vanquished disease remain. Who is the last person known to have contracted it in the wild? Discuss
Signed by US President Ronald Reagan and USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty represented a historic shift in superpower relations. The first treaty to mandate a reduction in stockpiled weapons rather than just a limit on them, it required the destruction of 1,752 Soviet and 859 US missiles. Though the agreement has been upheld by some Soviet successor states, Russian President Vladimir Putin said what about the treaty in 2007? Discuss
Shortly after Napster was founded in 1999, the popular file-sharing service was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The trial gave Napster so much publicity that usage of the service increased, despite RIAA's claim that Napster users were breaking the law by downloading copyrighted music for free. Though it was forced by an injunction to shut down its network in July 2001, Napster did not fold. What happened to it? Discuss
For more than a decade after its debut, James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, was banned in the US. A literary magazine had attempted to publish it in serial form, but the series was cut short after the publishers ran a rather suggestive passage and were convicted of obscenity. When the implicit ban on the book was finally challenged in 1933, Judge John M. Woolsey praised the work for its literary merits and ruled that it was not obscene. How did a publisher force the issue to court? Discuss
Soon after landing on the island now known as Hispaniola—home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti—Columbus returned to Spain with news of the New World, leaving behind a group of colonists. On his second expedition, he discovered that the colony had been destroyed, and he established another one. The new colony soon fell into a state of disorder, which he tried to quell with strict discipline. The colonists appear to have disliked Columbus's tyrannical leadership. What did they do about it? Discuss
On September 25, 1980, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham asphyxiated on his own vomit and died after a day of heavy drinking. Two months later, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin issued a press release stating that the band would not continue without Bonham. For decades, rumors of the band's imminent reunion persisted, but the surviving members made only sporadic appearances to perform together. In 2007, they reunited for a single concert as Led Zeppelin. Who played drums in Bonham's place? Discuss
When East Pakistan demanded greater autonomy from West Pakistan in 1971, civil war erupted. Millions of East Pakistanis fled to India, which West Pakistan then attacked. India responded by attacking both East and West Pakistan, occupying the eastern half and throwing its support behind the independence movement. The war lasted 13 days and ended with Pakistan's surrender. East Pakistan then declared independence and became Bangladesh. Why was the Taj Mahal covered with burlap during the conflict? Discuss
Constructed under an abandoned stand of bleachers at the University of Chicago, the world's first artificial nuclear reactor was little more than a pile of uranium and graphite bricks. It was built as part of the Manhattan Project under the supervision of renowned physicist Enrico Fermi. The first successful demonstration lasted 28 minutes and was a milestone in the history of physics. What code phrase did scientists use to convey the reactor's success to government officials? Discuss
Following 18 months of successful international cooperation and research on the icy, southern continent, 12 countries signed a treaty officially designating Antarctica a non-militarized international region to be used solely for scientific purposes. Today, scientists perform research there year-round, with citizens of multiple nations working side by side. In 2006, an unusual legal situation arose when New Zealand police were unable to fully investigate what suspicious incident in Antarctica? Discuss
Sweden's power and influence in the Baltic region was growing when the young and inexperienced Charles XII came to the throne in 1697. Seeing their chance to end Swedish domination of the area, Charles's neighbors—Peter I of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark, and Augustus II of Poland—formed an alliance and attacked. At Narva, the first major battle of the Great Northern War, Charles's army soundly defeated the superior Russian forces. A few years later, Peter returned to Narva. What happened? Discuss
At the age of 43, actress Natalie Wood, who first won acclaim as a child for her role in Miracle on 34th Street and went on to become a successful film star, drowned after apparently falling overboard following a night of drinking on her yacht. Though the death was ruled an accident, a woman on a nearby boat reported hearing cries for help that night. Wood had been spending a holiday weekend aboard the yacht with her husband, actor Robert Wagner. Who else was aboard the yacht that night? Discuss
Situated on the thin isthmus that connects North and South America but divides the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Panama has long been a vital crossroad for trade and travel. Under Spanish control for more than 300 years, Panama finally broke with Spain to join a newly independent Colombia as the Spanish empire faltered. Today, in addition to celebrating that Independence Day, the country observes another. When did Panama separate from Colombia, gaining a second independence—and another holiday? Discuss
Though Hiss maintained his innocence until his death in 1996, the controversy surrounding his case persists today. Once a US government official, Hiss was accused before the House Un-American Activities Committee of spying for Russia. Though he could not be tried for espionage under the statute of limitations, he was convicted of perjury and served 44 months in prison. Many believed he had been wrongly convicted. However, Soviet files released in 1996 seem to implicate him. Who was his accuser? Discuss
It took 10 years to build the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which towers over the River Dee valley in Wrexham, Wales. A feat of civil engineering, it is still in use more than two centuries later, allowing boats to cross the Llangollen Canal about 120 feet (35 m) above the valley. The aqueduct consists of a narrow cast iron trough supported by stone columns and bordered by a railed path that was built so horses could tow canal boats. The span occasionally closes for maintenance. How is it emptied? Discuss
When The Mousetrap opened in London, Christie, a legendary mystery author, predicted her play would run for just eight months. However, its initial run never ended, and it is now the longest-running play in the world. The murder mystery has been performed more than 24,000 times and is a popular tourist attraction. At the end of each performance, the audience is asked not to reveal the play's notorious twist ending. Who owns the rights to the play, and how did he get them? Discuss
Hours after US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a Dallas parade, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. After two days of interrogations, Oswald was being led through the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters to be transferred to a county jail when Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and shot him. Millions of people saw the incident on live television. Despite attempts to link Ruby to some conspiracy, he appears to have acted alone. Where did Oswald die? Discuss
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