Wikipedia:Main Page history/2011 June 24

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Today's featured article

A Peregrine Falcon, subspecies macropus

The Peregrine Falcon is a cosmopolitan bird of prey in the family Falconidae. The Peregrine reaches speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest extant member of the animal kingdom. The world's most widespread bird of prey, it can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine Falcon will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles or even insects. Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures. The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species in many areas due to the use of pesticides, especially DDT. Since the ban on DDT from the beginning of the 1970s, the populations recovered, supported by large scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild. (more...)

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Did you know...

From Wikipedia's newest content:

Actor Kyrle Bellew seated with face in profile against a gray backdrop with white highlight around face

  • ... that British stage-actor Kyrle Bellew (pictured) was accused of being Mrs. Leslie Carter's lover at her 1889 divorce trial?
  • ... that the State of Pennsylvania and its twin sister, the State of Delaware, were both the first steamboats to make a live radio broadcast and to show movies?
  • ... that in Oregon's 1966 U.S. Senate election, each party's candidate had a position on the Vietnam War that was in direct opposition to the prevailing view of his own party?
  • ... that Derrida's 1974 text Glas is printed in two columns, one commenting on Hegel and the other on Genet, woven around and separated by "marginalia, supplementary comments, [and] lengthy quotations"?
  • ... that the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Mickey McConnell in the 31st round of the 2011 MLB Draft, despite his not playing baseball in four years?
  • ... that the Millennium Mills, a derelict icon of London's post-industrial docklands, is a favourite destination of thrill-seeking Urban Explorers?
  • ... that Spongiforma squarepantsii is a sponge-like bolete that lives in Malaysia?
  • In the news

  • Geert Wilders (pictured), leader of the Dutch political Party for Freedom, is acquitted of hate speech charges.
  • For their role in the 2011 Bahraini uprising, eight pro-democracy activists are sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • James "Whitey" Bulger is captured in Santa Monica, California, after 12 years on the U.S. FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
  • Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei is released from detention.
  • Ban Ki-moon is re-elected for a second term as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • In the South Kordofan conflict, North Sudan and South Sudan agree to demilitarize the contested area of Abyei.
  • On this day...

    June 24: Nativity of St. John the Baptist in Christianity; Battle of Carabobo Day in Venezuela (1821); National Holiday/Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec, Canada

    The North Carolina class battleship Washington after the Second World War

  • 1374 – One of the first major outbreaks of dancing mania, wherein crowds of people danced themselves to exhaustion, took place in Aachen (present-day Germany), before spreading to other cities and countries.
  • 1812Napoleonic Wars: The French Grande Armée under Napoleon crossed the Neman River, marking the start of their invasion of Russia.
  • 1880 – "O Canada", today the national anthem of Canada, was first performed in Quebec City, Quebec, during a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day banquet.
  • 1932 – A group of military and civilians engineered a bloodless coup in Siam, ending the absolute rule of the Chakri Dynasty.
  • 1937 – The United States' first two "fast battleships", the North Carolina class (pictured), were ordered from the New York and Philadelphia Naval Shipyards.
  • More anniversaries: June 23June 24June 25

    Today's featured picture

    Martian dust devil trails

    Trails of Martian dust devils, which appear as dark streaks on the light surface, as seen by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Dust devils are strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwinds that can form when hot air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler, low-pressure air above it. On Mars, dust devils have unexpectedly cleaned the solar panels of the Mars rovers.

    Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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