Today's featured article


Paratroopers dropping near Heraklion
Paratroopers dropping near Heraklion

The Battle of Heraklion was fought during World War II on the island of Crete between 20 and 29 May 1941. British, Australian and Greek forces defended the port and the airfield of Heraklion against a German paratrooper attack. The German assault was launched without direct air support , and drops occurred over several hours rather than simultaneously. German units dropping near Heraklion (pictured) suffered very high casualties; those dropping further away were severely hampered by Cretan partisans . The German attack failed. When it was renewed the next day it failed again. The fighting then settled into a stalemate. A convoy of German seaborne reinforcements was intercepted by a British naval squadron and scattered. The Germans refocused on the battle for Maleme airfield , which they won, causing the Allies to evacuate. Commonwealth troops were taken off Crete by Allied warships on the night of 28/29 May; at sea, two Allied destroyers were sunk and two cruisers badly damaged, causing many casualties. ( Full article... )

Did you know?


Joseph Lancaster Budd
Joseph Lancaster Budd
  • ... that American horticulturalist Joseph Lancaster Budd (pictured) traveled to England, France, Austria, Russia, and China in 1882 to discover fruit trees that could grow in Iowa ?
  • ... that the New Zealand government has officially apologised for articles published in the New Zealand School Journal about the Moriori people in the early 20th century?
  • ... that the 48-story Uris Building went into foreclosure just two and a half years after it was completed?
  • ... that media promotions for the film Blood Friends were not allowed to mention that cast member Nina Makino is part of the girl group NiziU ?
  • ... that it is purportedly hard to find a more interesting card game played with German-suited cards than Sansprendre, a variant of German Tarok ?
  • ... that the parents of Bob Glenalvin insisted that he play baseball under an assumed name?
  • ... that the Turkish multirotor combat drone Songar was recently equipped with six 40 mm (1.6 in) mini missiles?
  • ... that US radio regulators sought to shut down Ohio station WEBE , which was said to operate from the owner's bedroom using "parts of a questionable nature"?

On this day


May 20 : National Day of Remembrance in Cambodia ( 1976 ); National Day in Cameroon ( 1972 ); National Awakening Day in Indonesia ( 1908 ); Sanja Matsuri begins in Tokyo, Japan (2022)

Abdulaziz, also known as Ibn Saud
Abdulaziz, also known as Ibn Saud
More anniversaries:

Today's featured picture


Heteractis magnifica

Heteractis magnifica , commonly known as the magnificent sea anemone, is a large species with a widespread distribution in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific . The pink anemonefish , seen here among the sea anemone's tentacles , is one of a number of species of small fish which use it as a host , finding safety from predators among the stinging tentacles.

Photograph credit: Nick Hobgood

Today's featured list


The Shetland archipelago is located 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of mainland Scotland and the capital Lerwick is almost equidistant from Bergen in Norway and Aberdeen in Scotland. The Shetland archipelago comprises about 300 islands and skerries , of which 16 are inhabited. In addition to the Shetland Mainland the larger islands are Unst , Yell and Fetlar . The geology of Shetland is complex with numerous faults and fold axes. These islands are the northern outpost of the Caledonian orogeny and there are outcrops of Lewisian , Dalradian and Moine metamorphic rocks with similar histories to their equivalents on the Scottish mainland. The islands all fall within the Shetland Islands Council local authority. They have been continuously inhabited since Neolithic times and experienced Norse rule for several centuries, the first written records being the Norse sagas. ( Full list... )

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