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Rene Descartes

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King Hussein of Jordan Enthroned

Jordan's King Hussein reigned from the early 1950s to 1999, ascending the throne after his father was declared mentally unfit to rule. Hussein generally espoused a pro-Western policy that brought him into conflict with Arab leftist leaders and Palestinians in Jordan. His neutral stance during the Gulf War and a 1994 peace treaty with Israel secured his reputation as a moderating force in Middle Eastern politics. As a teen, Hussein survived an attempt on his life; what allegedly saved him?



George C. Parker: Landmark Broker

Parker was one of the most audacious con men in US history. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Parker sold and resold many of New York's landmarks to unwitting tourists. His most popular sales pitch was for the Brooklyn Bridge, a structure he sold on a regular basis. On a number of occasions, police were called to intervene as naïve "owners" attempted to erect tollbooths on the span. Imprisoned in 1928, Parker easily charmed the inmates and guards. What other landmarks did he sell?

Born on a day like today


Theodor Herzl

Herzl was the founder of modern Zionism. A journalist, he was sent to Paris to report on the Dreyfus Affair and was appalled by the vicious anti-Semitism he observed. He decided that Jewish assimilation in Europe was impossible and that the only solution to the Jewish problem was the establishment of a Jewish national state. He expressed his ideas in his famous pamphlet, Der Judenstaat, and organized the first Zionist World Congress, serving as its first president. Where is he buried?

Last updated on Saturday, 3rd May 2008

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