Turkmenistan Gains Independence from the Soviet Union (1991)

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Following Turkmenistan's independence, the head of its Communist Party, Saparmurat Niyazov, became president. He developed a totalitarian cult of personality, isolating the Central Asian nation culturally and politically. Citizens were tested on their knowledge of Niyazov's autobiography and spiritual guide book, the Ruhnama—even on driver's license tests. Niyazov's successor later reversed many of his policies, including the decision to rename the months of the calendar after what? Discuss

USA PATRIOT Act Signed into Law (2001)

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Enacted quickly and with little opposition in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the sweeping USA PATRIOT Act dramatically enhanced the powers of law enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies within the US. The bill has since come under increasing scrutiny and criticism, and aspects of it have faced legal challenges in the courts. After it was renewed in 2006, most of its sections became permanent. What section of the act has riled librarians in particular?

US Invades Grenada (1983)

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After a left-wing government took control of Grenada in a 1979 bloodless coup, relations between the tiny Caribbean nation and its neighbors became strained. In 1983, the government was overthrown by radicals from within the same movement. Concerned about Grenada's leanings toward Cuba and the Soviet bloc, the US invaded. World leaders were outraged, and the UN voted 108 to 9 to condemn the invasion. How did US President Ronald Reagan respond when asked whether the lopsided vote concerned him?

Zambia Gains Independence (1964)

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The area that is now Zambia came under British control in the early 1900s with the development of the copper mining industry. After decades of nationalist struggle, the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, a former schoolteacher who had been jailed for nationalist political activities prior to independence, became its first president. Zambia may have been the first country to do what during the Olympics?

The Hungarian Republic Is Officially Proclaimed (1989)

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The defeat of the Central Powers in WWI brought the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary to an end and led to the creation of an independent Hungarian republic, which, in 1949, came under Communist control. Though a 1956 uprising was suppressed, Hungary became the most tolerant of the Soviet bloc nations of Europe and finally replaced Communism with a multi-party democracy with free elections in 1989. Hungary's relative freedom compared to other Eastern bloc countries led to what satirical nickname?

Final Attack by the Beltway Sniper (2002)

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For three weeks in October 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington, DC, metropolitan area by shooting random victims from a distance. Ten people were killed and three others wounded in the spree, which was later linked to earlier shootings. Two days after killing their final victim, Muhammad and Malvo were arrested after being found sleeping in the car from which they had shot their victims. Before the arrest, the pair had planned to travel to Canada to do what?

Siad Barre Leads Coup to Become President of Somalia (1969)

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Following the assassination of Somalia's president in 1969, a military coup installed Major General Mohamed Siad Barre as leader. His dictatorial administration was marked by human rights abuses and civil strife. Though he sought to end pervasive clan loyalties, warfare among rival factions intensified. In 1991, he was ousted. The country plunged into a civil war and has had no effective central government since. How did Siad Barre's regime terrorize the Majeerteen clan in particular?

The Saturday Night Massacre (1973)

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While investigating the Watergate scandal, special prosecutor Archibald Cox subpoenaed audiotapes of conversations implicating US President Richard Nixon in a cover-up of a burglary of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. Nixon refused to produce the tapes and ordered the US attorney general and his deputy to fire Cox. On the same Saturday, both men resigned in protest, and public outcry eventually forced Nixon to surrender the tapes. What happened to Cox?

Black Monday: Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls 508 Points (1987)

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On what is known in the financial world as Black Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points, nearly 23%—the largest drop since 1914. Although the cause of the crash is still debated, its result was immediately apparent: it sent the value of markets plummeting worldwide. By the end of the month, markets in Hong Kong and Australia had lost over 40%. That December, a group of eminent economists predicted that the next few years could be the worst since the Great Depression. Were they?

Earthquake Destroys Basel, Switzerland (1356)

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Estimated to have been greater than 6.0 in magnitude, the Basel earthquake of 1356 may have been the most serious seismological event in the recorded history of central Europe. The main earthquake struck around 10 PM. In the Swiss city of Basel, all the major buildings—including castles and churches—were destroyed by the quake and subsequent fires. Three hundred people are thought to have been killed. The event was felt across Europe, including as far away as what locations?