From today's featured article
J. K. Rowling is a pen name of Joanne Rowling, the British author of the children's fantasy series Harry Potter, the crime series Cormoran Strike and other works. Before her first Potter novel was published on 26 June 1997, her mother died from multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1990 and she lived on state assistance as a single parent after her marriage failed in 1993. Separation and loss are reflected in the Potter novels, with death and the divide between good and evil as central themes. Despite receiving mixed reviews for perceived conventional writing, Rowling became the world's highest-paid author by 2008. The series has sold over 500 million copies and spawned a media franchise including films and video games. Rowling has used her wealth to advance political causes, as well as charitable causes centred around MS, women and children. Her views on transgender rights have led to controversy, with critics deeming them transphobic. She has received many accolades for literature and philanthropy. (Full article...)
Did you know ...
- ... that in March 2020, there were nearly 1,500 medical cyclotrons (example pictured) in operation worldwide?
- ... that Lorenzo Passerini, who has conducted several operas in Sydney, revived Giordano's Fedora at the Oper Frankfurt?
- ... that John Cranko's ballet Initials R.B.M.E. is named after the four original lead dancers, Richard Cragun, Birgit Keil, Marcia Haydée and Egon Madsen, who were his close friends and muses?
- ... that the winter quarters of a circus owned by Benjamin Wallace are now the site of the Circus Hall of Fame?
- ... that live broadcasts of the deciding of the 2020 World Seniors Championship were replaced by golf highlights?
- ... that trombonist Big Chief Russell Moore was the first member of the Pima tribe to receive an obituary in The New York Times?
- ... that Ed Sheeran wrote "Remember the Name" as a homage to the "cheekier songs" on early Eminem albums?
- ... that in 2007, José the beaver set up housekeeping in the Bronx?
In the news
- Mass shootings (location pictured) during LGBT pride celebrations in Oslo, Norway, leave two people dead and twenty-one others injured.
- The United States Supreme Court determines that abortion is not a protected constitutional right, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
- A 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan kills at least 1,100 people and injures more than 1,600 others.
- Gustavo Petro wins the Colombian presidential election, defeating Rodolfo Hernández Suárez in the runoff.
On this day
- 1243 – Mongol invasions of Anatolia: Mongols achieved a decisive victory over the Seljuq Turks, leading to the decline and disintegration of the Seljuk state.
- 1886 – French chemist Henri Moissan successfully isolated elemental fluorine (pictured in liquid state), for which he later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- 1907 – Organized by Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, among others, Bolshevik revolutionaries robbed a bank stagecoach in Tiflis, present-day Georgia.
- 1997 – J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter fantasy novel series, is released.
Today's featured picture
The diamond firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) is a species of estrildid finch that is endemic to Australia. To safeguard their eggs and nestlings, they are often recorded building their nests into the base of the large stick-nest of a bird of prey, such as a whistling kite, white-bellied sea eagle, wedge-tailed eagle, brown falcon, nankeen kestrel, or square-tailed kite; one recorded nest of a whistling kite contained nine diamond firetail nests within. This diamond firetail was photographed in Glen Alice, New South Wales.
Photograph credit: John Harrison