Ramadan 2020, in the Islamic year 1441, will always be remembered for one thing: Covid-19. But important events always occur during the holy month throughout the year.
As part of the Ramadhan digging series over the past few decades, starting in 1950, we look back over the past 70 years on some of the headlines from previous Ramadan, with an emphasis on positive, news that shows the strength and creativity of the human spirit.
1990 (1410) March 28 – April 25
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens overturned Adolf Hitler’s fantasy of a master race by winning four gold medals, including 100 meters, under the nose of the Nazi leader.
The irony is that in the original Owen, black people have almost the same level of racial prejudice, and abuse of their civil rights.
On March 29, 1990, Owens was awarded the fifth gold medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to his wife, Rush, by President George H Bush. That is a posthumous award; Owens died 10 years earlier, was denied a visit to the White House or even a telegram of congratulations from President Franklin Roosevelt on his return from Germany 53 years earlier.
Eid al-Fitr 1990 saw Space Shuttle Invention coasting into orbit carrying cargo that would soon become a household name.
The Hubble Space Telescope, named after American astronomer Edwin Hubble, will send us some of the most extraordinary images of our universe over the next 40 years.
But not at first. Errors in the telescope’s main mirror must be corrected during a service mission three years later. Still in operation, Hubble will be replaced by the more powerful James Webb Space Telescope next year.
1992 (1412) March 6 – April 4
Imran Khan bowl to British tail Richard Illingworth, to see him captured by Ramiz Raja. This is March 25th, in the month of Ramadan 1992, and Pakistan have defeated England to win their first Cricket World Cup.
The fifth World Cup was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and Pakistan only managed to reach the semi-finals, finishing fourth in the round robin round, just one point above the tournament favorites Australia.
Pakistan reached the final with a semifinal victory over New Zealand, and then defeated England with 22 rounds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with 72 innings of Khan captain who was the last before retiring from international cricket, and the beginning of his journey towards becoming the current Prime Minister of Pakistan.
1996 (1415) January 22 to February 20
On February 10, 1996, Gary Kasparov, a Russian grandmaster, and considered by many to be the greatest chess player in history, sat with his toughest opponent to date.
The place is Philadelphia and on the other side is Deep Blue, a supercomputer designed and built by IBM.
After 36 movements, Kasparov resigned. This is the first time a computer has defeated a chess world champion.
Russia later claimed that he believed there was human intervention in some computer movements, but later won three and drew two of the six tournament tournaments.
Kasparov and Deep Blue, now upgraded, met again the following year and this time the computer thinly came out on top. Russia demands a rematch but Deep Blue has been demolished by IBM.
By 2006, computers had become so sophisticated that there was no further compatibility with humans to determine excellence.
2001 (1422) November 16 – December 16
The Leaning Tower of Pisa which is famous for its fame, well, it’s leaning. Built in the 12th century, the cathedral bell tower has a clay foundation that immediately begins to subside on one side.
By 1990, the slope had reached 5.5 degrees and the historic building was in real danger of falling.
The rescue mission of Dh98 million was launched by Italian authorities in 1990 with a subtle task to reduce slope but only enough to allow the lean tower to remain a major tourist attraction.
The cathedral bell was first unloaded, while a steel cable anchored the tower to the ground. More than 70 tons of land was then removed from one side of the foundation, reducing the slope by 45cm and returning the building to the slope of 1838.
On December 15, 2001, the Leaning Tower (slightly less) of Pisa was declared stable for the next 200 years and reopened to the public.
According to Guinness World Records, the Capital Gate tower in Abu Dhabi is now the world’s “farthest man-made slant building” at 18 degrees or five times bigger than Pisa.
2008 (1429) September 1 – October 1
September 28, 2008, witnessed a successful demonstration of satellite payloads after being launched from an American military air base in the Pacific.
This is Falcon 1, the launch of the first privately funded and developed space rocket orbital.
Space X was founded in 2002 by billionaire Elon Musk with the ambitious goal of reducing space travel costs to enable privately funded missions to Mars.
Musk, born in South Africa but also a US citizen, made his fortune with the creation of PayPal, and had created Tesla, an electric vehicle company in 2003.
Ramadan headlines from the past
Space X was his most ambitious endeavor but the first three Falcon 1 flights ended in failure. The success of this fourth launch presents a new era of commercial space travel, with the next flight, in July 2009, putting observation satellites developed by Malaysia into low Earth orbit.
Falcon 1 was replaced by the stronger Falcon 9, whose first stage can be reused and can land under its own strength.
It was the Space X Falcon 9 that brought the experiment by Genes in Space winner Alia Al Mansoori to the International Space Station in August 2017.
Space X hopes to make history again later this month, when its dragon capsule will bring American astronauts to the ISS.
This will be the first US manned space flight since the end of the Shuttle program in 2011 and only the fifth manned spacecraft since America sent John Glenn into orbit in 1962.
Musk was still staring at Mars, expanding his eyes Starship which he said would be able to travel between planets and be able to do the first flight test at the beginning of next year.
Updated: May 18, 2020 06:15
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