Every 12 years, Hindu pilgrims gather at four sacred sites where, according to Hindu mythology, four drops of the nectar of immortality were accidentally spilled from a pot that the gods and demons were fighting over. During the festival, pilgrims ritually bathe in the river Ganges to wash away sins of their past lives and pray to escape the cycle of reincarnation. The Kumbh Mela is thought to be the largest periodic human gathering in the world. How many people attended the festival in 2001?
W. Somerset Maugham
Back in the day
Ashe was the first African-American male to reach prominence in tennis and was thus a very public figure, even after his retirement, which followed a 1979 heart attack and quadruple-bypass surgery. In 1983, he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during a second heart surgery. He kept it a secret until 1992, when a newspaper threatened to publish a story about his illness. His subsequent openness about AIDS helped combat the disease's stigma. What did he say about asking "Why me?"
Born on a day like today
Henie began ice skating at the age of eight and won the first of six straight Norwegian figure-skating championships within two years. Starting in 1927, she won the world's figure-skating crown 10 straight years, the European title six times, and the Olympic gold medal three times. She introduced music and dance into free skating, greatly broadening its appeal, and turned professional in 1936, earning millions starring in films and ice shows. Why did many Norwegians consider her a quisling?