Rep. Joe Courtney says he had no idea he was wading into controversy when he questioned the accuracy of a key scene in “Lincoln.”
After all, he knows Washington politics, not Hollywood politics.
Last week, the Connecticut Democrat called on Steven Spielberg to “correct an historical inaccuracy” in the Oscar-nominated box-office hit — a scene, at the film’s climax, suggesting that two of his state’s three representatives voted against outlawing slavery in 1865.
Courtney told us Monday he was captivated by the movie until it came to that moment: How, he wondered, could a Connecticut congressman have voted that way? “Our state abolished slavery completely in 1848. Children of slaves were emancipated by 1784,” he said. “The Harriet Beecher Stowe house in Hartford is a shrine in Connecticut history.” Courtney checked and discovered that the movie was wrong: In fact, all four of the Nutmeg State’s delegates voted for the 13th amendment....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 17:55
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.
Wertham’s personal archives, however, show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.
“Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence in arguing against comics, but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 17:37
A bill to appropriate $250,000 for archaeological and historical surveys in the Killdeer Mountains battlefield area before oil wells are developed drew widespread support Thursday, until the owner of the land testified.
The Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee took no action on SB2341 following nearly two hours of testimony.
Sen Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, one of the prime sponsors of the bill, said the area, which was the site of a battle between the U.S. Army and numerous American Indian tribes in July 1864, should be studied before more oil exploration is allowed....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 13:05
...Strong, stronger, strongest — one of those words has been used to describe the union in each of the last 17 State of the Union addresses.
But it was not always so. Presidents once used other words to describe the state of our union. President Jimmy Carter liked to call it “sound.” President Harry S. Truman liked to call it “good.” President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a lyrical moment, described the state of the union in 1965 as “free and restless, growing and full of hope.”
And when things were not going well, they said so.
“I must say to you that the state of the union is not good,” President Gerald R. Ford said in 1975, citing high unemployment, slow growth and soaring deficits. He added, “I’ve got bad news, and I don’t expect much, if any, applause.”...
What changed? The simple answer is President Ronald Reagan....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:31
An excavation of a mausoleum in the grounds of Pentillie Castle in Cornwall is thought to have uncovered the body of Sir James Tillie, who died 300 years ago in 1713.
His final resting place has been a mystery for centuries – leading to him being dubbed Cornwall’s very own Richard III.
Sir James, who built the home in 1698, left instructions that on his deathbed he should not be buried....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 11:26
A painting of a sixtysomething Queen Elizabeth I, depicting her with facial wrinkles, is being exhibited at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.
Produced by the studio of Gheeraerts in the early-mid 1590s, the painting now owned by the Elizabethan Gardens in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is having its first public showing after conservation and authentication in 2010-2011.
The exhibition’s co-curator, Thomas Herron, an author and English professor at East Carolina University, noted that the reason for the portrait’s obscurity may lie in Elizabeth’s efforts to control her image.
And according to Anna Riehl, author of The Face of Queenship: Early Modern Representations of Queen Elizabeth I the Elizabethan Gardens portrait is a "rare exception in not covering up the queen's flaws”....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 11:25
A new tool has been developed that can reconstruct long-dead languages.
Researchers have created software that can rebuild protolanguages - the ancient tongues from which our modern languages evolved.
To test the system, the team took 637 languages currently spoken in Asia and the Pacific and recreated the early language from which they descended.
The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 11:23
Pablo Picasso, famous for pushing the boundaries of art with cubism, also broke with convention when it came to paint, new research shows. X-ray analysis of some of the painter's masterworks solves a long-standing mystery about the type of paint the artist used on his canvases, revealing it to be basic house paint.
Art scholars had long suspected Picasso was one of the first master artists to employ house paint, rather than traditional artists' paint, to achieve a glossy style that hid brush marks. There was no absolute confirmation of this, however, until now.
Physicists at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., trained their hard X-ray nanoprobe at Picasso's painting "The Red Armchair," completed in 1931, which they borrowed from the Art Institute of Chicago. The nanoprobe instrument can "see" details down to the level of individual pigment particles, revealing the arrangement of particular chemical elements in the paint....
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 11:19
What would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up in modern-day Berlin to find that it was not occupied by Russian soldiers but instead by a vibrant, multicultural citizenry? This is the premise of the debut novel by German journalist Timur Vermes, Er Ist Wieder Da (He’s Back), which has topped Germany’s best-seller list.
Narrated in the first-person by Hitler, the story follows the Führer as he awakens from a 66-year sleep in his bunker beneath Berlin to find an entirely changed Germany. In the celebrity-obsessed modern-day city, everyone assumes the fulminating leader of the Nazi party is a comedian in character — and soon he becomes a celebrity with a guest slot on a Turkish-born comedian’s TV show. His bigoted rants are interpreted as a satirical exposure of prejudice, leading him to decide to start his own political party....
Monday, February 11, 2013 - 13:36
The Confederate flag was mistakenly raised for a few hours over the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson on Friday.
A replacement was needed a Mississippi state flag that was tattered and torn, Kym Wiggins, public information officer for the state Department of Fiance and Administration told the Clarion-Ledger.
Calling the incident, "highly unusual," Wiggins explained to the paper that a local vendor was tasked with the job of purchasing new state flags to replace the one that was torn. Wiggins claims they were given two boxes labeled "Mississippi State Flag," but the boxes actually contained Confederate battle flags. After a maintenance worker raised the flag, the mistake went unnoticed for a couple of hours....
Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:03
The team behind the 12-time Oscar-nominated film "Lincoln" talks about how they brought the president and his world to life. Lesley Stahl reports.
Monday, February 11, 2013 - 00:26
It's unclear whether Christie would be the heaviest president in American history, but he would certainly share one of the top two spots with William Howard Taft, who served as our 27th president from 1909 to 1913. And though that was a long time ago, in a much different era, there may be a thing or two that Christie can learn from Taft's experience.
Perhaps the most important lesson is that Taft — who probably never got stuck in a bathtub, but did once travel to the Panama Canal with a tailor-made tub that was reportedly "the largest ever manufactured" — embraced his ample size with good humor.
Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 21:21
SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) -- A war crimes investigator cast fresh doubts on the account of a purported Holocaust survivor who says he was a child mascot for Nazis.
Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, wrote to officials last week at the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, contesting the miraculous survival story of Alex Kurzem, an elderly man who now lives in Melbourne.
“Everything in this case appears to point to a scam, but only a comprehensive investigation can finally determine whether Kurzem is indeed a Holocaust survivor, which I very much doubt, or an impostor whose main motivation was to gain fortune and fame by distorting his unusual wartime experiences,” Zuroff wrote....
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 14:45
Shakespeare's Globe will perform the bard's three Henry VI plays at historic battle sites of the Wars of the Roses.
As part of its new season, the theatre will stage the plays at Towton, Tewkesbury, St Albans and Barnet, which were all sites where battles took place.
The plays – billed under their original titles: Harry The Sixth, The Houses of York and Lancaster and The True Tragedy of the Duke of York – will be directed by Nick Bagnall and embark on a tour from June 26 until September 26....
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 14:00
Two days after unveiling a reconstruction of the face of Richard III, Leicester experts have now recreated how Greyfriars, his final resting place, might have looked.
Built in 1230, Greyfriars was one of the first Franciscan friaries to be established in England, just 6 years after the order came to Britain, but it was completely demolished during the 16th century Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Now artist and archaeological illustrator Jill Atherton has recreated the friary church, as well as the choir where Richard’s grave was located, in sketches based on similar Medieval buildings, together with archaeological evidence from the recent excavation , including window fragments and pieces of lead, suggesting stained glass, together with stonework, pieces of a large window frame, and roof and floor tiles....
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 13:58
An abundance of gold wreaths appear to lay hidden in a subway network in Greece.
Indeed, excavation work during construction of a new subway in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, has revealed another gold wreath – the ninth since work started in 2006.
Found on the site of an ancient cemetery at what will be the Dimokratias Station stop, the wreath of olive leaves lay buried for some 2,300 years.
According to the Greek Reporter, the wreath was found “inside a large box-type Macedonian tomb on the head of a buried body.”...
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 13:56
In a symbolic move to teach “personal responsibility,” an Idaho lawmaker has proposed requiring every high school student in the state to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”
State Sen. John Goedde introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require Idaho secondary students to read and pass an examination on the iconic 1957 novel touted by conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh....
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 11:35
Editor's Note: No, it did not.
As gun control moved toward the top of the American agenda after the Dec. 14 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, gun rights activists began to invoke a curious analogy: the Holocaust.
On television, radio and in letters to the editor, the argument went that Hitler’s gun control laws left European Jews defenseless, and that the Holocaust would not have happened — or at least would not have been as catastrophic in scale — had Jews had guns....
Many American Jews and others have had enough of the claim, and are denouncing as specious the comparison between the Third Reich law that forbade Jews to own guns and current gun control proposals under consideration by President Obama, Congress and state legislatures.
The Anti-Defamation League “has always strenuously objected to the use of Nazi analogies to advance any kind of political debate, including the gun control debate,” said Deborah Lauter, the group’s civil rights director. “We believe it’s historically inaccurate and incredibly insensitive, particularly to Holocaust survivors and their families.”...
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:43
WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins’ team name has been the subject of legal battles, political debate and now will be part of a scholarly discussion at the Smithsonian about the use of Native American mascots and nicknames in American sports.
The National Museum of the American Indian will host a daylong symposium Thursday entitled “Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports.” Scholars, sports writers and Native Americans will gather for the public discussion.
The Redskins’ name, perhaps the most visible, has been the subject of ongoing debate. As recently as Tuesday night, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray specifically avoided saying the name of Washington’s NFL franchise in his State of the District speech and instead referred to “our Washington football team.”...
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:37
...[L]ess than 10 percent of [Haiti]’s 10 million people speak French fluently, and in most schools, even the teachers don’t understand it very well although they’re asked to teach in it.
The private Louverture Cleary School has already broken from that linguistic tradition and is instead emphasizing the Haitian Creole children speak at home. The school is also introducing students to Spanish from other parts of the Caribbean and the English they will likely need in the future....
Haiti’s 1805 Constitution declared that tuition would be free and attendance compulsory for primary students. But the quality of education lagged through the years, and plunged during the 29-year-long dynasty of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude, or “Baby Doc,” which ended in 1986. Haiti’s professionals fled into exile to escape political repression, spawning a major brain drain the country has never bounced back from....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:36
WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian is celebrating Black History Month with a series of programs in February.
Throughout the month, the National Museum of American History will present performances by historical characters in “Join the Student Sit-Ins.” Visitors will meet a civil rights activist from 1960 and take part in a training session based on an actual civil rights manual to prepare for a sit-in. The performance is presented Tuesdays through Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
On Monday, the National Museum of American History will mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by hosting a webcast for high school students. Scholars will reflect on the abolition movement of the 19th century....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:32
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The legacy of onetime Confederate fighter and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest has sparked new discord in Memphis amid moves to rename parks whose very names recall the Old South.
Fresh division arose before the Memphis City Council voted recently to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis, where a statue of Forrest stands and the general is buried. The council also voted to rename two other parks whose names evoke the Confederate Civil War heritage.
The fight over Forrest highlights a broader debate over what Confederate figures should represent in the 21st century. Other U.S. cities also have wrestled with the issue of naming parks and buildings after Confederate figures....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:28
At least 35 small pyramids, along with graves, have been discovered clustered closely together at a site called Sedeinga in Sudan.
Discovered between 2009 and 2012, researchers are surprised at how densely the pyramids are concentrated. In one field season alone, in 2011, the research team discovered 13 pyramids packed into roughly 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), or slightly larger than an NBA basketball court.
They date back around 2,000 years to a time when a kingdom named Kush flourished in Sudan. Kush shared a border with Egypt and, later on, the Roman Empire. The desire of the kingdom's people to build pyramids was apparently influenced by Egyptian funerary architecture....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:06
Researchers’ recent confirmation that a body long hidden under a municipal parking lot is King Richard III will no doubt stir interest in British archaeology — as it should. While X never marks the spot and you’re unlikely to unearth an undiscovered king, Britain’s long history means that almost anywhere you plant a shovel, there’s history to be found.
From Iron Age forts to Victorian gardens, hundreds of archaeological digs are happening in Britain at any given time – and many of them welcome volunteer diggers to help uncover the past. Instead of just visiting Britain’s ancient churches, villages and stone circles, you could be part of the teams that are discovering new sites and artifacts every day. Just get ready for a little hard work....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:05
MOSCOW – The Soviet soldiers used their own bodies as shields, covering women and children escaping on ferry boats from a Nazi bombardment that killed 40,000 civilians in a single day. It was the height of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II.
"They were all hit in the back," said 90-year-old Alexei Stefanov. "But they did not flee."
Stefanov is among the few surviving veterans of the battle, which claimed 2 million lives and raged for nearly 200 days before the Red Army turned back the Nazi forces, decisively changing the course of the war. Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of that victory on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin taking part in ceremonies in Volgograd, the current name of the city in southern Russia that stretches along the western bank of the Volga River....
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:03
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