On November 20, 1979, approximately 200 armed Islamic fundamentalist dissidents opposed to the Saudi ruling family took over Islam's holiest place, the Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. After 127 Saudi Arabian National Guard members were killed in an unsuccessful attempt to regain control, the nervous Saudi government called in French and Pakistani forces, which retook the shrine in a battle that left approximately 250 dead and 600 wounded. What happened to the surviving militants?
William Makepeace Thackeray
Back in the day
Billions of passenger pigeons inhabited eastern North America in the early 19th century, migrating in enormous flocks that darkened the skies for days at a time. Their abundant numbers made them a popular source of cheap meat for slaves and the poor, but by the early 20th century, overhunting, deforestation, and a possible epidemic led to their extinction. What unusual breeding practice prevented the few surviving flocks from reestablishing the species before it became extinct?
Born on a day like today
Gloria Estefan is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida, she began her career as lead vocalist for the Miami Sound Machine. Her later recordings as a solo artist led to mainstream popular success and a slew of English-language hits. With over 90 million albums sold worldwide, she is the single most successful crossover performer in Latin music history. What happened to Estefan in 1990, when a tractor-trailer crashed into her tour bus?