Over 40 years ago the small island of Nauru was granted its independence from Australia.
According to People and the Earth: Basic Issues in the Sustainability of Resources and the Environment, Nauru is the only nation in the world whose economy is based on bird droppings.
“Nauru survives by the mining of the natural fertilizers that were produced over many millennia by the interaction of bird droppings (guana) with marine sediments exposed at the …Read more
Today Indians recall one of the darkest days in their country’s history, while schoolchildren in Spain learn about Dia Escolar de la No-violencia y la Paz, (School Day of Non-Violence and Peace). The holiday marks the tragic assassination of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, whose non-violent methods helped India gain independence from Great Britain, and inspired leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela.
I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of …Read more
last Tuesday in January
If you thought the Vikings were a thing of the past, hold on to your helmet.
On the last Tuesday in January, hundreds of Vikings invade the otherwise sleepy archipelago known as Shetland.
Shetland lies between Scotland and Norway, making it the perfect pillaging point in the heyday of the Vikings. Around 1000 AD, the Vikings began settling on the islands. A thousand years later their descendants are still proud of their heritage.
Up …Read more
The small kingdom of Nepal, nestled between two giants, India and China, has miraculously managed to maintain its sovereignty through internal struggles and bloody power plays lasting over 200 years. The latest of which, in 2001, resulted in the violent deaths of the entire Nepalese Royal Family.
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Today the Nepalese remember four martyrs who protested the rule of the Rana dictatorship in 1951: Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Dashrath Chand, Gangalal Shrestha, and …Read more
“Rwanda Democracy Day, a holiday in Rwanda, which is called the African Switzerland; a civic day concerned with equality for all peoples in the nation.”
–Anniversaries and Holidays, by Ruth Gregory, 1983
Just over a decade later, “Rwanda” would be synonymous, not with “African Switzerland” but with the genocidal carnage that rocked the country in 1994.
In the late 19th century, Rwanda became part of German East Africa. During World War …Read more
Last full week in January
Winter-een-mas is a secular holiday devoted to gaming. The holiday spans the last week in January.
It is celebrated by 14 million people in 32 countries.
Today, January 27, is Wolfgang Amadè Mozart’s birthday.
If you’re like me, everything you know about Mozart comes from Falco’s immortal ballad “Rock Me Amadeus.”
“1756, Salzburg, January 27, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born. “1761, at the age of five Amadeus begins composing. “1773, he writes his first piano concerto…
But did you know that, according to Marcel Danesi’s Forever Young: The Teen-Aging of Modern Culture:
There are solid data to suggest that …Read more
Today is Republic Day in India.
Although India gained independence from Britain in 1947, the Constitution was officially adopted on January 26, 1950, marking the Republic of India as a sovereign nation with complete autonomy.
The date January 26th was chosen in remembrance of “Poorna Swaraj Diwas,” when the Indian National Congress declared independence on January 26, 1930.
Guests of Honor at recent Republic Days have included King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimire Putin, …Read more