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Hundreds Killed in Hajj Stampede

About one in four people in the world is Muslim, a demographic that includes more than a billion people. Each Muslim is required to visit Mecca, the Saudi Arabian city of Mohammed's birth, at least once in his or her lifetime. During the annual pilgrimage, or Hajj, Mecca bears an influx of millions of people. In 2006, during the final day of the requisite Stoning of the Devil ritual, some 350 people were crushed to death in the crowd. What other dangers have pilgrims faced during the Hajj?



Cannibal Holocaust

Released in 1980, the film Cannibal Holocaust was immediately successful—and controversial. The extremely graphic Italian exploitation film landed director Ruggero Deodato in the unusual position of having to prove in court that the murders shown were not real, but merely created by special effects. The film's supporters claim that it is not only one of the greatest horror movies ever filmed but also a serious social commentary. Though acquitted of murder, Deodato was sentenced for what?

Born on a day like today


Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies

Ferdinand became king of Naples in 1759 when his father ascended to the Spanish throne. A weak ruler, he was greatly influenced by his wife, the arguably more capable Maria Carolina of Austria. The execution of her sister, Marie Antoinette of France, induced Ferdinand to fight against the French Revolution. The French then invaded Naples—twice. Ferdinand regained control of Naples and took over Sicily, but his despotism prompted an 1820 insurrection. What secret society influenced the uprising?

Last updated on Saturday, 12th January 2013

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