" Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy. "
Leo Tolstoy

Back in the day


Arab League Is Founded

The League of Arab States was formed in 1945 to give unified political expression to Arab nations and to foster the regional economy. It originally consisted of seven member states and has since grown to include 22. Member states collaborate on cultural, economic, and social programs and have agreed to coordinate military defense measures. They also use the league as a forum for mediating disputes. Which notable countries with large Arab populations are not members of the league?



Fire Mountain

Azerbaijan's reputation as the "Land of Fire" is quite literal—the earth in the northwestern Asian nation is so rich in oil and natural gas that cracks or vents in the ground sometimes spontaneously emit flames. Fire Mountain, called Yanar Dag in Azerbaijani, is one such place. Located not far from the capital city of Baku, it has become a tourist attraction due to the large flames that continuously shoot out of the hillside. How is Azerbaijan's geology related to Zoroastrianism?

Born on a day like today


Sir Anthony van Dyck

Apprenticed to a Flemish painter at age 10, van Dyck soon came under the influence of master painter Peter Paul Rubens. In 1632, he was invited by Charles I to England, where he was made court painter and knighted. Overwhelmed with commissions, van Dyck employed a team of assistants to help complete his portraits, many of which can be seen in the Louvre, the Museo del Prado, and Buckingham Palace. His works influenced generations of portraitists. What king employed van Dyck before Charles I did?

Last updated on Thursday, 22nd March 2012

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