Wikipedia:Main Page history/2014 February 14

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Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind German unification in 1871, the ship was launched on 14 February 1939 and commissioned in August 1940. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power. Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block them. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Bismarck destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat. After two days of relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy, she was attacked by torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and her steering gear was rendered inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised by a sustained bombardment, was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life. (Full article...)

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February 14: Valentine's Day; Feast of St. Brigit of Kildare (Eastern Christianity)

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A black-and-white photograph of three men playing musical instruments (a saxophone, a guitar, and a drum kit), the drummer in the background

One hundred and thirty-seven singles have sold over one million copies in the UK. Such singles were formerly classified as "platinum records", although the platinum sales threshold was reduced in 1989 due to declining sales. Despite this, the seven-figure mark has retained its importance and the Official Charts Company and Music Week regularly announce when a single reaches this threshold. Since the introduction of music downloads in 2004, nineteen singles released in the prior century have passed the one million sales, and a total of twenty-one records released this century have become million-sellers. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets (pictured) was the first single in the UK to sell more than one million copies. The most recently released and classified is "Let Her Go" by Passenger. The best-selling record is Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997", a re-write of the Marilyn Monroe tribute released in 1973. (Full list...)

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Beata Beatrix

Beata Beatrix, an 1870 oil on canvas painting depicting Beatrice Portinari (1266–90), subject of Dante Alighieri's La Vita Nuova, at the moment of her death; Dante claims to have met her only twice, on occasions separated by nine years, but was so affected by the meetings that he carried his love for her throughout his life.

The artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, includes a red dove as the messenger of love in this work and modeled Beatrice after his deceased wife and frequent model, Elizabeth Siddal (1829–62).

Painting: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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