Archaeologists have found evidence of settlements in the grounds of Wimpole Hall, where they have been carrying out digs ahead of a programme which will see thousands of trees planted in the grounds of the house.
Stephen Macaulay, senior project archaeologist at Oxford Archaeology East is leading a team of five who are digging small pits around the house.
He said: “We know from maps dating back to the 1600s that there were villages and hamlets around Wimpole Hall, such as Bennall End and Thresham End. But the owners of the house at the time, the Chicheley family, decided they wanted to surround it with parkland, so they turfed everybody out and landscaped over the area....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:01
Timbuktu was a center of learning centuries ago. Last week, French forces chased out Islamic militants who'd seized Timbuktu and tried to destroy its relics. But one man outsmarted the marauders.
Fabled Timbuktu these days is a small dusty town, but proud of its noble heritage as a center of Islamic culture, art and medieval scholarship. Last April, it was invaded by Islamic extremists who drove in to town with their heavy weapons and took over.
Abdul Kader Haidara was there. He's one of the keepers of a trove of priceless Arabic manuscripts. The extremists' arrival, he told us, triggered his emergency plan:
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 01:26
"As President Obama and lawmakers from both parties begin to take their first tentative steps toward again rewriting the nation's immigration laws, opponents warn that they are repeating the mistakes of the 1986 act, which failed to solve the problems that it set out to address. Critics contend that the law actually contributed to making the situation worse," the Washington Post reports.
"An estimated 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States when the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed. Now there are upwards of 11 million. And the question of who gets to be an American, far from being settled, has been inflamed."
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 12:30
The wartime leader was an unrivalled speechwriter, prolific author and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, but despite being a lover of poetry, he was only known to have written one poem, as a schoolboy at Harrow.
Now a 10-verse poem penned over two pages in blue crayon by Churchill while he was serving in the army has emerged for sale at auction in London.
The poem is a rousing celebration of the British Empire and of going to war to defend her, and describes anxious sailors and marines ahead of a battle. It is said to have been influenced by Kipling and Tennyson....
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 12:17
The Church of England, with support from the Queen and government ministers, has reportedly turned down a number of requests to perform forensic tests to establish whether the bones buried in Westminster Abbey are those of the king’s two nephews.
According to previously confidential correspondence, permission to carry out DNA testing has been withheld for fear of setting a precedent for digging up royal remains to test various historical theories.
There was also uncertainty by the church about what would be done with the remains if the DNA tests were negative, The Guardian reported....
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 12:15
Montana lawmakers have rejected a proposal to name the Winchester Model 1873 the state rifle after Native American legislators said they couldn't honor a weapon that "devastated" their ancestors...
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 21:01
As Rep. Joe Courtney watched the Oscar-nominated "Lincoln" over the weekend, something didn't seem right to him.
He said Tuesday he was shocked that the Oscar-nominated film, about President Abraham Lincoln's political struggle to abolish slavery, includes a scene in which two Connecticut congressmen vote against the 13th amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery...
Courtney, who majored in history at Tufts University, asked that the movie, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, be corrected before its release on DVD...
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 20:57
(Reuters) - Japan's government will review statements by previous administrations about wartime history including a landmark 1995 apology, Japan's education minister said, but added that any changes would not mean rejecting those statements but making them more "forward-looking".
Any moves to renege on the 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama - now in Beijing on a mission aimed at soothing tension over a territorial row - would raise hackles in both China and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan's military aggression and colonization run deep.
The government will also review guidelines for school textbook publishers aimed at addressing the sensitivities of neighboring countries which suffered under Japan's military invasion and colonization, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 19:05
...It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district....
The sight that greeted the geologists as they entered the cabin was like something from the middle ages. Jerry-built from whatever materials came to hand, the dwelling was not much more than a burrow—"a low, soot-blackened log kennel that was as cold as a cellar," with a floor consisting of potato peel and pine-nut shells. Looking around in the dim light, the visitors saw that it consisted of a single room. It was cramped, musty and indescribably filthy, propped up by sagging joists—and, astonishingly, home to a family of five....
Slowly, over several visits, the full story of the family emerged. The old man's name was Karp Lykov, and he was an Old Believer—a member of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect, worshiping in a style unchanged since the 17th century. Old Believers had been persecuted since the days of Peter the Great, and Lykov talked about it as though it had happened only yesterday; for him, Peter was a personal enemy and "the anti-Christ in human form"—a point he insisted had been amply proved by Tsar's campaign to modernize Russia by forcibly "chopping off the beards of Christians." But these centuries-old hatreds were conflated with more recent grievances; Karp was prone to complain in the same breath about a merchant who had refused to make a gift of 26 poods [940 pounds] of potatoes to the Old Believers sometime around 1900.
Things had only got worse for the Lykov family when the atheist Bolsheviks took power. Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov's brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 19:03
A former restorer of Pompeii is under house arrest on corruption charges, Italian police have said.
Five others, including the ex-special commissioner appointed to deal with the increasing degradation of the historic site, are also under investigation...
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 16:51
The identity of a mysterious patient who helped scientists pinpoint the brain region responsible for language has been discovered, researchers report.
The finding, detailed in the January issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, identifies the patient as Louis Leborgne, a French craftsman who battled epilepsy his entire life.
In 1840, a wordless patient was admitted to the Bicetre Hospital outside Paris for aphasia, or an inability to speak. He was essentially just kept there, slowly deteriorating. It wasn’t until 1861 that the man, who was known only as “Monsieur Leborgne” and who was nicknamed “Tan” for the only word he could say, came to physician Paul Broca’s ward at the hospital....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 11:00
PARIS — The cathedral of Notre Dame — French for “our lady” — has finally got the prima donna worthy of its name.
Weighing in at six and a half tons or 6,000 kilograms of glistening bronze, this lady is no ordinary person: she’s a bell named Mary.
Mary is in fact the largest — and loudest — of nine new, gargantuan Notre Dame bells being blessed Saturday in the cathedral’s nave by Archbishop Andre Armand Vingt-Trois....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:46
JERUSALEM — A State Department-funded study released Monday on the contentious issue of how Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in textbooks says both are locked into narratives that portray the other side as the enemy and erase it from maps, yet do not dehumanize each other.
The independent study, billed as the first empirical and quantitative analysis of textbooks on both sides, was boycotted by Israel’s Education Ministry, which refused to cooperate. The ministry called the study biased and said it was based on a false comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian school systems....
Funded with a grant from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the study was directed by Bruce E. Wexler, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University who worked with two Israeli and Palestinian experts on textbook analysis, subjecting books from both sides to identical evaluation questions, with results fed to a database....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:44
WASHINGTON — A statue of Frederick Douglass will soon be moved to the United States Capitol alongside statues of luminaries from the 50 states, and District of Columbia leaders are planning to celebrate the move.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the district in Congress, will host an event Monday evening to call attention to the statue’s upcoming relocation....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:41
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Prince Willem-Alexander’s ascension to the Dutch throne in April promises to be a shining moment on the world stage for his wife, Maxima, and her home country of Argentina. But there will be a glaring absence at the ceremony.
Queen Beatrix’s announcement this week that she’ll step aside and let her son become king raised new questions about the future queen’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, one of the longest-serving civilian ministers in Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
Maxima’s parents already missed out on their daughter’s 2002 wedding to avoid offending Dutch sensibilities about human rights violations by the South American junta. Anticipating more unpleasant questions, Maxima told the prime minister that her parents won’t attend her swearing-in as queen, either....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:41
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In 1931, Alabama wanted to execute the black Scottsboro Boys because two white women claimed they were gang-raped. Now, state officials are trying to exonerate them in a famous case from the segregated South that some consider the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
Two Democratic and two Republican legislators unveiled proposals Monday for the legislative session starting Tuesday. A resolution labels the Scottsboro Boys as “victims of a series of gross injustice” and declares them exonerated. A companion bill gives the state parole board the power to issue posthumous pardons....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:39
NEW YORK — Civil rights lawyers urged a judge Monday to stop the New York Police Department from routinely observing Muslims in restaurants, bookstores and mosques, saying the practice violates a landmark 1985 court settlement that restricted the kind of surveillance used against war protesters in the 1960s and ‘70s.
The city responded by saying it follows the law, but some legal experts say it might be time to look more closely at police practices as the Sept. 11 attacks fade into history....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:34
TIMBUKTU, Mali — For eight days after the Islamists set fire to one of the world’s most precious collections of ancient manuscripts, the alarm inside the building blared. It was an eerie, repetitive beeping, a cry from the innards of the injured library that echoed around the world.
The al-Qaida-linked extremists who ransacked the institute wanted to deal a final blow to Mali, whose northern half they had held for 10 months before retreating in the face of a French-led military advance. They also wanted to deal a blow to the world, especially France, whose capital houses the headquarters of UNESCO, the organization which recognized and elevated Timbuktu’s monuments to its list of World Heritage sites....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:27
ROME — Matthew Festing — aka His Most Eminent Highness The Prince and Grand Master of the Knights of Malta — bounds into the sitting room of his magnificent Renaissance palazzo sweaty and somewhat disheveled, and asks an aide if he should take off his sweater to be photographed.
Garrulous and self-effacing, Festing embodies some of the paradoxes of a fabled Catholic religious order that dates from the medieval Crusades: Steeped in European nobility and mystique, the order’s mission is humility and charity — running hospitals, ambulance services and old folks’ homes around the globe. It has many trappings of a country, printing its own stamps, coins, license plates and passports, and yet — a stateless state — it rules over no territory....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:03
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of onetime segregationist senator Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years, has died. She was 87.
Vann Dozier of Leevy’s Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Sunday. A cause of death was not given.
Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family’s black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community. She later said she kept his secret because, “He trusted me, and I respected him.”...
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 10:01
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four ancient petroglyphs that were stolen from a historic site in Northern California last year have been recovered, but no suspects have been identified in the brazen theft, federal authorities said on Thursday.
The petroglyphs, which were carved into volcanic rock more than 3,500 years ago, were discovered missing in October from the site in the Volcanic Tablelands, east of Yosemite, near California's border with Nevada.
They are said to represent a pristine example of Great Basin rock art that portrayed the daily hunter-gatherer activities that took place in the area at the time....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 09:57
A former LAPD detective who believes his father killed the "Black Dahlia" 66 years ago claims a cadaver dog's recent search of his old Hollywood home uncovered the scent of human decomposition.
The severed body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short -- nicknamed the Black Dhalia in media reports at the time -- was found on Jan. 15, 1947, in a vacant lot near the intersection of 39th Street and Norton Avenue in South Los Angeles. Nearly seven decades later, the infamous case remains unsolved.
Author Steve Hodel made the claim in his 2003 book, "Black Dahlia Avenger," that his father, Los Angeles doctor George Hill Hodel, committed the murder. Hodel has said he believes his father killed Short at the historic "Sowden House" in Hollywood where the family lived at the time....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 09:56
A facial reconstruction based on the skull of Richard III has revealed how the English king may have looked.
The king's skeleton was found under a car park in Leicester during an archaeological dig.
The reconstructed face has a slightly arched nose and prominent chin, similar to features shown in portraits of Richard III painted after his death.
Historian and author John Ashdown-Hill said seeing it was "almost like being face to face with a real person"....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 09:51
We may need to look again at the idea that a late Neanderthal population existed in southern Spain as recently as 35,000 years ago, a study suggests.
Scientists using a "more reliable" form of radiocarbon dating have re-assessed fossils from the region and found them to be far older than anyone thought.
The work appears in the journal PNAS.
Its results have implications for when and where we - modern humans - might have co-existed with our evolutionary "cousins", the Neanderthals....
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 09:49
Hundreds of people, including some of Michigan's political elite, gathered Monday to celebrate the late Rosa Parks on what would have been her 100th birthday by unveiling a postage stamp in her honor steps from the Alabama bus on which she stared down segregation nearly 60 years ago.
Parks, who died in 2005, became one of the enduring figures of the Civil Rights movement when she refused to cede her seat in the colored section of the Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man after the whites-only section filled up. Her defiance and the ensuing black boycott of the city bus system helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rise to national prominence...
The Parks stamp is the second in a set of civil rights stamps being issued this year by the U.S. Postal Service.
USPS launched the series Jan. 1 with the Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp, which was issued at The National Archives in Washington. In August, the series will culminate with the dedication of a stamp recognizing the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington...
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 22:57
In 1855, Charles Darwin took up a new hobby. He started raising pigeons....
Pigeon breeding, Darwin argued, was an analogy for what happened in the wild. Nature played the part of the fancier, selecting which individuals would be able to reproduce. Natural selection might work more slowly than human breeders, but it had far more time to produce the diversity of life around us.
Yet to later generations of biologists, pigeons were of little more interest than they are to, say, New Yorkers. Attention shifted to other species, like fruit flies and E. coli.
Now Michael D. Shapiro, a biologist at the University of Utah, is returning pigeons to the spotlight....
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 16:43
Florence, N.J., isn’t too different from other small towns in the Garden State, one marked, if anything, by a slew of very ordinary sights—chain flower shops at every major intersection, decidedly lower gas prices, and a few cozy diners. But it is also home to something else, acquired by Greg Kohfeldt when he bought Sam Carlani’s auto-repair shop here almost 20 years ago: Adolf Hitler’s toilet.
According to Kohfeldt, the toilet came off of Hitler’s biggest private yacht, the Aviso Grille, which was between 400 and 500 feet long, and at the time one of the biggest private boats in existence. “He wanted to ride it down the Thames in London and go live in Windsor Palace when he invaded,” Kohfeldt told me on a subzero morning last week as he pulled a sink—also from the ship, and now in pieces—out of a box and laid them out for me to examine each of the maker’s stamps and faucets. Another resident of Florence, Dick Glass—an expert on Hitler’s yacht—told me that the ship was armed, had a crew of 245 men, a private room for Eva Braun, and was bigger than J.P. Morgan’s ship Corsair. The Aviso Grille also played a significant role in one particular moment in history: Hitler’s Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz stood on the deck of the ship on May 1, 1945, and gave the first word of the Führer’s death and took command of Germany.
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 12:20
In the spring of 1945, Harald Quandt, a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe, was being held as a prisoner of war by Allied forces in the Libyan port city of Benghazi when he received a farewell letter from his mother, Magda Goebbels -- the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels....
Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert -- Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage -- would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later....
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 12:03
LEICESTER, England (AP) — He wore the English crown, but he ended up defeated, humiliated and reviled.
Now things are looking up for King Richard III. Scientists announced Monday that they had found the monarch's 500-year-old remains under a parking lot in the city of Leicester — a discovery Richard's fans say will inspire new research into his maligned history.
University of Leicester researchers say tests on a battle-scarred skeleton unearthed last year prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that it is the king, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, and whose remains have been missing for centuries....
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 11:21
OTTAWA - The splashy home pages for the Harper government's elaborate War of 1812 website were by far the most popular feature for visitors who crowded into the online museum last year, thanks to an ad blitz during the Olympics.
The next most popular page? The exit.
The government spent upwards of $28 million to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, billing it as an under-appreciated piece of Canadian history.
Indeed, polls conducted in the years prior to the anniversary suggested most Canadians had little knowledge or interest in the conflict that some argue lay the groundwork for Confederation....
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 11:20
It is the last remaining survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland with its glory days far behind it.
But now, the future of this historically significant war ship looks decidedly brighter.
HMS Caroline has been given a grant of £1million for urgent repairs.
The vital money will pay for work that will prevent further decay to the Belfast-based light cruiser while plans are finalised for its long-term future in the city.
Works will include making the ship wind and water tight and incorporate the removal of dangerous asbestos while the ship is in situ and afloat....
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 11:18
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is re-displaying a stovepipe hat synonymous with the country’s 16th president, amid renewed speculation about its authenticity.
The purported $6.5 million hat is being put on display to mark Lincoln’s 204th birthday.
Questions about the origin of the iconic hat were raised last spring by the Chicago Sun-Times.
The description next to the hat reads that only three of the stovepipe hats are known to exist "two silk ones from his last days of life, and this."...
Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 15:50
As the debate over Idaho's proposed state health insurance exchange heats up, state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (R) compared the role of insurance companies to "the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps," saying the federal government is using private insurers and in the future will "pull the trigger" on them, the Idaho Spokesman-Review reports.
Nuxoll defended the analogy: "I felt badly for the Jews - it wasn't just Jews, but Jews, and Christians, and Catholics, and priests. My thing was they didn't know what was going on. The insurance companies are not realizing what's going to end up in their demise."
Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 17:50
CHICAGO, Jan. 30, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Maya Angelou's Black History Month Special 2013, "Telling Our Stories," features five celebrated guests, Kofi Annan, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Regina Taylor and Oprah Winfrey sharing candid stories about their paths to achievement and their place in the annals of black history. The program is available to all PRI (Public Radio International) affiliated stations and African American Public Radio Consortium stations free of charge. Maya Angelou, a 2011 recipient of the President's Medal of Freedom and civil rights activist appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, brings music, poetry, history and insight to the stories of her guests.
"Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright's pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace," says Angelou.
"AT&T is honored and proud to continue our support of Dr. Maya Angelou's Black History Month Special for a third year," said Jennifer Jones, vice president of Diverse Markets, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "The candid stories that Dr. Angelou's guests share are very inspiring. We encourage consumers to tune in and enjoy these interviews with some of America's most influential individuals."...
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:11
What would you tell seven astronauts if you knew their space shuttle was crippled on orbit?
It was a question that faced NASA's Mission Control considered after initial suspicions that something might be wrong with the shuttle Columbia as it was making its doomed reentry in 2003.
Wayne Hale, who later became space shuttle program manager, struggled with this question after the deaths of the Columbia crew 10 years ago. Recently he wrote about the debate in his blog, recalling a meeting to discuss the dilemma:
"After one of the MMTs (Mission Management Team) when possible damage to the orbiter was discussed, he (Flight Director Jon Harpold) gave me his opinion: 'You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System). If it has been damaged it's probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don't you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?"...
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:03
Jan. 30, 2013 — Rebutting a speculative hypothesis that comet explosions changed Earth's climate sufficiently to end the Clovis culture in North America about 13,000 years ago, Sandia lead author Mark Boslough and researchers from 14 academic institutions assert that other explanations must be found for the apparent disappearance.
"There's no plausible mechanism to get airbursts over an entire continent," said Boslough, a physicist. "For this and other reasons, we conclude that the impact hypothesis is, unfortunately, bogus."
In a December 2012 American Geophysical Union monograph, first available in January, the researchers point out that no appropriately sized impact craters from that time period have been discovered, nor have any unambiguously "shocked" materials been found....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:02
AUSTIN, Texas — For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether.
According to new anthropological research from The University of Texas at Austin, Wichita State University and Washington State University, the answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.
Using ancient DNA (aDNA) sampling, Jaime Mata-Míguez, an anthropology graduate student and lead author of the study, tracked the biological comings and goings of the Otomí people following the incorporation of Xaltocan into the Aztec empire. The study, published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the first to provide genetic evidence for the anthropological cold case....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 16:58
DARIEN, Ga. — Residents of a tiny barrier island in Georgia on Tuesday won a temporary reprieve from property tax increases that they feared would drive them from their historic community.
Taxes rose by as much as 1,000 percent last year on Sapelo Island, where the country’s largest population of Geechees lives. Sometimes called the Gullahs, the Creole-speaking descendants of African slaves have lived on the island and along the coast of the Southeast for more than two centuries.
McIntosh County officials say their land has long been undervalued. But on Tuesday, the county’s Board of Equalization sided with the residents and ordered a reassessment of their property....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 11:10
Journalism is meant to be the first draft of history, and newspaper articles fit that mold nicely, fading into the archives. But books are not so neat.
The digitization of books has facilitated the rerelease of a spate of nonfiction works years or decades after their initial publication, and in some cases the common interpretation of their subject matter has evolved or changed significantly.
Melville House confronted this situation with its decision to reissue in December a 1964 book by A. M. Rosenthal, “Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case.” The book was originally released just months after the murder in March 1964 of 28-year-old Catherine Genovese, known as Kitty, who at around 3 a.m. was returning from her job at a tavern to her apartment in Kew Gardens, Queens, when she was assaulted, stabbed to death and then raped by a psychotic killer....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:51
WARSAW, Poland — It was the place where Jewish women did their ritual bathing. It was a tuberculosis clinic. It survived the German onslaught and became a gathering point for Holocaust survivors.
Now “the white building,” the headquarters of the Jewish community and one of the few surviving remnants of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, could be torn down to make way for a multistory tower that would fit seamlessly into a modern city skyline.
The building’s fate will soon be determined by the Culture Ministry, which has been asked by advocates of historic preservation to declare it a historical monument, a classification that would ban its destruction. It’s not yet clear how officials will decide, though previous rulings by other state offices had declared the building not worth saving. Now those for and against destroying the old building are anxiously awaiting a verdict....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:43
HACKENSACK, N.J. — Four years ago, noticing plaques at the county courthouse commemorating slavery, the Holocaust and other atrocities, Korean-American community leader Chejin Park struck upon the idea of adding a tribute to the “comfort women” of World War II.
To his surprise, the seemingly small, local gesture — to honor the more than 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers — would make a tiny northern New Jersey town a flashpoint in an international controversy.
Local officials would rebuff a request by Japanese officials to take down the first plaque put up just over two years ago in the town of Palisades Park, a square-mile borough outside New York where a majority of residents are of Korean descent....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:42
JOHANNESBURG — Islamist extremists damaged or stole only a limited number of manuscripts in Timbuktu in Mali before they fled the fabled desert city, a South African university said Wednesday.
People in the north Malian city who have knowledge of the documents reported that there was no malicious destruction of any library or collection, said the University of Cape Town, which helped fund a state-of-the-art library to house manuscripts.
“The custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the rebel occupation of Timbuktu to ensure the safety of their materials,” said the university. Islamist rebels have been in control of Timbuktu for nearly 10 months....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:40
The Volgograd city council voted to use the name Stalingrad at city events on six commemorative days including February 2, the day Nazi forces fully surrendered to Soviet troops and May 9, Victory Day, Russian news agencies reported.
The decision was made "based on the many requests of Second World War participants," said Sergei Zabednov, quoted by the city parliament's press service.
"Deputies have taken a decision to establish the name 'hero-city Stalingrad' as a symbol of Volgograd. We will be able to use this symbol officially in our speeches and reports and at mass events," Zabednov said....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:36
A 14-year battle over the fate of a modern structure at the heart of Gettysburg National Military Park is over.
The National Park Service said Thursday that it would begin demolishing the Cyclorama building as soon as February, clearing the site ahead of the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle.
The site will be restored to its 1863 appearance, complete with a period apple orchard and replicas of the wood fences that once crisscrossed the fields, park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. The massive painting that the building once housed has been separately preserved....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 18:26
LONDON — What does it mean to be British? Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python are all important parts of the nation’s heritage, according to a new guide for immigrants introduced Monday.
The government is revising the “Life in the U.K.” handbook and test taken by those seeking to become British citizens or settle here permanently.
While the previous version — created under the former Labour government — included some practical questions about daily life, the emphasis is now firmly on British history and culture. There are questions on sports, music and historical figures from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:33
As a pathologist, Michael Zimmerman was familiar with dead bodies, but when he was asked to autopsy a mummy for the first time, he wasn’t sure what to expect. There were a dozen layers of wrapping, which he peeled off one at a time, “like Chinese boxes,” he said. When he finished, he found the body was dark brown and hard. “It smelled like old books.”
That was more than 30 years ago. Now, having dissected and CT-scanned mummies from all over the world — some ancient and some just two or three centuries old — Zimmerman has begun drawing conclusions about health and disease in past eras. His work and that of other so-called paleopathologists is starting to challenge assumptions about which diseases are caused by modern lifestyles and which ones are as ancient as the pharaohs....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:17
RICHMOND, Va. — A humble 5-cent coin with a storied past is headed to auction and bidding expected to top $2 million a century after it was mysteriously minted.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it’s the coin’s back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal.
It all adds up to an expected sale of $2.5 million or more when it goes on the auction block April 25 in suburban Chicago....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:13
SEVARE, Mali — Timbuktu, the fabled desert city where retreating Muslim extremists destroyed ancient manuscripts, was a center of Islamic learning hundreds of years before Columbus landed in the Americas.
It is not known how many of the priceless documents were destroyed by al Qaida-linked fighters who set ablaze a state-of-the-art library built with South African funding to conserve the brittle, camel-hide bound manuscripts from the harshness of the Sahara Desert climate and preserve them so researchers can study them.
News of the destruction came Monday from the mayor of Timbuktu. With its Islamic treasures and centuries-old mud-walled buildings including an iconic mosque, Timbuktu is a U.N.-designated World Heritage Site....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:11
LONDON — One European queen has announced her retirement. Any chance Europe’s most famous queen — Elizabeth II of Britain — might join her?
Not likely, experts say....
Author Robert Lacey, who has written several books about the British monarchy, said Beatrix’s decision would likely firm up Elizabeth’s resolve.
“It would reinforce her feeling that the Dutch don’t know what monarchy is about, and that she should go on forever,” he said. “The crown is a job for life in the British system.”...
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:07
LOS ANGELES — During a 1960s renaissance, California’s public university system came to be seen as a model for the rest of the country and an economic engine for the state. Seven new campuses opened, statewide enrollment doubled, and state spending on higher education more than doubled. The man widely credited with the ascendance was Gov. Edmund G. Brown, known as Pat....
Last year, he told voters that a tax increase was the only way to avoid more years of drastic cuts. Now, with the tax increase approved and universities anticipating more money from the state for the first time in years, the second Governor Brown is a man eager to take an active role in shaping the University of California and California State University systems.
Governor Brown holds a position on the board of trustees for both Cal State and UC. Since November, he has attended every meeting of both boards, asking about everything from dormitories to private donations and federal student loans. He is twisting arms on issues he has long held dear, like slashing executive pay and increasing teaching requirements for professors — ideas that have long been met with considerable resistance from academia. But Mr. Brown, himself a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, has never been a man to shrink from a debate....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:49