It might have been something as simple as a portion of white asparagus. Peeled, steamed and served with a delicious sauce, as Germans traditionally eat it. And with real butter, a scarcity in wartime. While the rest of the country struggled to get even coffee, or had to spread margarine diluted with flour on their bread, Margot Wölk could have savored the expensive vegetable dish -- if not for the fear of dying, that is. Wölk was one of 15 young women who were forced to taste Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's food for some two and a half years during World War II.
The 24-year-old secretary had fled from her parents' bombed-out Berlin apartment in the winter of 1941, traveling to her mother-in-law's home in the East Prussian village of Gross-Partsch, now Parcz, Poland. It was an idyllic, green setting, and she lived in a house with a large garden. But less than three kilometers (1.9 miles) away was the location that Hitler had chosen for his Eastern Front headquarters -- the Wolf's Lair....
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 09:52
Raleigh, N.C. — A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.
The bill grew out of a federal lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In the lawsuit, the ACLU says the board has opened 97 percent of its meetings since 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers.
Overtly Christian prayers at government meetings are not rare in North Carolina. Since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered an explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, despite the fact that some senators are not Christian....
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 09:34
Were the Wright brothers first in flight? Read the fine print.
A little-known 1948 contract between the estate of Orville Wright and the Smithsonian has the museum legally bound to call the Wright brothers first in flight: "The Smithsonian shall [not state] any aircraft ... earlier than the Wright aeroplane of 1903 ... was capable of carrying a man under its own power in controlled flight," it states.
One aviation historian claims that contract is wrong, however, forcing the museum to ignore the truth. And for the first time, the museum has released the contract publicly to FoxNews.com, to let the world make its own decisions....
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 09:33
A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.
Known as Pluto's Gate -- Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin -- the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.
Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 17:29
A trove of Neanderthal fossils including bones of children and adults, discovered in a cave in Greece hints the area may have been a key crossroad for ancient humans, researchers say.
The timing of the fossils suggests Neanderthals and humans may have at least had the opportunity to interact, or cross paths, there, the researchers added....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 16:05
After long being sidelined for Roman excavations, an archaeological dig in western Germany has unearthed myriad traces of daily life in one of Europe's oldest and largest Jewish communities.
From ceramic dishes and tools to toys, animal bones and jewelry, some 250,000 artifacts have so far shed light on various periods in 2,000 years of the city of Cologne's history, the AFP news agency reported....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 15:47
As well as writing many of the world’s greatest plays, he was a successful businessman and major landowner in his native Warwickshire who retired an extremely wealthy man.
However, a new study has found that he was repeatedly prosecuted and fined for illegally hoarding food, and threatened with jail for failing to pay his taxes, The Sunday Times reported.
Court and tax records show that over a 15-year period Shakespeare purchased grain, malt and barley to store and resell for inflated prices, according to a paper by Aberystwyth University academics Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 13:04
Francis made his first remarks on the mysterious cloth since being elected Pope in a special video message as the shroud was shown live on television for only the second time in its history.
His remarks came on Holy Saturday, which falls between the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Francis referred to the 14ft-long strip of sepia fabric, which is imprinted with the face and body of a bearded man, as “the Holy Shroud” and asked: “How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 12:45
"I can't help it if the ladies take note of me," Nelson Mandela once said. "I am not going to protest."
The thrice-married former president of South Africa is a celebrated charmer who, even in old age, has captivated celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and the Spice Girls. But one woman, it has been claimed, turned down a proposal of marriage from Mandela before he went on to wed his current wife, Graça Machel.
Amina Cachalia, a distinguished activist in the anti-apartheid struggle, politely rebuffed the great statesman in the 1990s, according to her son, Ghaleb.
"She called me and my sister aside and said she wanted to tell us about this proposal and that she was not going to accept it," Ghaleb said on Monday. "She was very matter of fact about it."...
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 12:40
CLEVELAND, Miss.—The Illinois Central railroad tracks that once separated residents, white from black, have been torn out to make way for a landscaped promenade.
Cleveland's largest high school, founded in 1906 exclusively for the children of white residents, now has nearly equal numbers of black and white students.
But nearly a half century after a federal judge ordered Cleveland to begin school desegregation, government attorneys have returned to court to argue the district must, once and for all, "fully dismantle its racially identifiable one-race schools," in a legal battle that is again dividing the town.
Public schools east of the former railroad tracks are still virtually 100% black. Schools west of the former racial divide remain predominantly white....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 12:38
DAMASCUS, Syria — A Jewish synagogue in Damascus believed to be thousands of years old has been damaged and looted as clashes have consumed the surrounding neighborhood, a Syrian official and an anti-government activist said Monday.
Damage to the Jobar Synagogue, which tradition holds was built by the biblical prophet Elisha, is the latest example of Syria’s rich cultural heritage falling victim to the civil war between President Bashar Assad’s regime and rebels seeking his ouster.
Syria is home to thousands of years of civilizations at the crossroads of the Levant and boasts important cultural sites dating back to the Bible, the ancient Roman empire, the Crusaders and the arrival of Islam....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 12:30
WASHINGTON — Has the nation lived down its history of racism and should the law become colorblind?
Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.
In one case, the issue is whether race preferences in university admissions undermine equal opportunity more than they promote the benefits of racial diversity. Just this past week, justices signaled their interest in scrutinizing affirmative action very intensely, expanding their review as well to a Michigan law passed by voters that bars “preferential treatment” to students based on race. Separately in a second case, the court must decide whether race relations — in the South, particularly — have improved to the point that federal laws protecting minority voting rights are no longer warranted....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 12:29
With the passing of legendary New York Times newsman Anthony Lewis this week, observers have noted that his lasting legacy will likely be his clarion insights and logical, lucid writing style that helped make the courts and the law more accessible for everyday news consumers. From his two Pulitzer Prizes for reporting, to his opinion column which he wrote for more than three decades, Lewis' imprint on the Times was vast.
What may be getting overlooked in the remembrances though, and what the Times itself neglected to mention in its otherwise thorough Lewis obituary, was the pivotal role Lewis played during the 1990s when he stood up to his own newspaper, as well as to an army of Republican partisans waging war against President Bill Clinton. Lewis wrote passionately about the mindless pursuit of the Whitewater story and the Clinton impeachment saga. As a legal scholar, Lewis was utterly appalled by the conduct of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and his office of "thuggish deputies."
Today, pointing out the gaping holes in the Whitewater tale and the impeachment media circus might seem like common sense punditry. But at the time, and especially inside the Times, where a fever-swamp disdain for Clinton ran wild, Lewis' level-headed truth telling stood out....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 11:56
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Every winter they come and go, like birds migrating south. Most of them nest in downtown Khartoum’s old Acropole Hotel, but they’re not here to rest. They’re here to work in Sudan’s blistering deserts, and the past few years have yielded outstanding results.
For many people around the world, Sudan conjures images of war, instability, drought and poverty. All of those things exist here, often in tragic abundance. But lost in the narrative are the stories of the ancient kingdoms of Kush and Nubia that once rivaled Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Lost to many, that is, but not to the archaeologists who have been coming here for years, sometimes decades, to help unearth that history....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 11:13
RALEIGH, N.C. – A Confederate battle flag hung inside the old North Carolina State Capitol last week to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being taken down after civil rights leaders raised concerns.
The decision was announced Friday evening, hours after the Associated Press published a story about the flag, which officials said was part of an historical display intended to replicate how the antebellum building appeared in 1863. The flag had been planned to hang in the House chamber until April 2015, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of federal troops in Raleigh.
"This is a temporary exhibit in an historic site, but I've learned the governor's administration is going to use the old House chamber as working space," Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz said Friday night. "Given that information, this display will end this weekend rather than April of 2015."...
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 09:35
WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. — Ever since American soldiers massacred men, women and children here more than a century ago in the last major bloodshed of the American Indian wars, this haunted patch of rolling hills and ponderosa pines has embodied the combustible relationship between Indians and the United States government.
It was here that a group of Indian activists aired their grievances against the government with a forceful takeover in 1973 that resulted in protests, a bloody standoff with federal agents and deep divisions among the Indian people.
And now the massacre site, which passed into non-Indian hands generations ago, is up for sale, once again dragging Wounded Knee to the center of the Indian people’s bitter struggle against perceived injustice — as well as sowing rifts within the tribe over whether it would be proper, should the tribe get the land, to develop it in a way that brings some money to the destitute region....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 09:07
...The word “cholo” itself has a contentious history. In the Spanish colonial era, it was a derogatory term for some indigenous people, and by the 19th century it was used in the United States to demean Mexican laborers and some mixed-raced people, according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States.
By the 20th century, the term “cholo” shifted to refer to people associated with a gang, or to those who simply copied their aesthetics and style, implying “a refusal to assimilate” into the dominant mainstream culture, the encyclopedia explains. Today, the term is deplored by some and embraced by others.
In Brazil, however, lowriders and the aesthetics of Mexican-American street culture took a different route, one that sometimes passed through another country first. “I saw my first lowriders in Japan, and I was immediately fascinated by their allure,” said Sergio Hideo Yoshinaga, 43, the owner of a garage in São Paulo where motorists pay hefty amounts, sometimes reaching more than $100,000, to have their cars transformed into curb-crawling masterpieces....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 09:05
SALEM, Ore. — Nurse Ratched slept here.
The punctiliously cruel psychiatric ward tyrant in the book and movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was brought to cinematic life by the actress Louise Fletcher during filming here at the Oregon State Hospital in the 1970s.
But the melding of real life and art went far beyond the film set. Take the character of John Spivey, a doctor who ministers to Jack Nicholson’s doomed insurrectionist character, Randle McMurphy. Dr. Spivey was played by Dr. Dean Brooks, the real hospital’s superintendent at the time.
Dr. Brooks read for the role, he said, and threw the script to the floor, calling it unrealistic — a tirade that apparently impressed the director, Milos Forman. Mr. Forman ultimately offered him the part, Dr. Brooks said, and told the doctor-turned-actor to rewrite his lines to make them medically correct. Other hospital staff members and patients had walk-on roles....
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 09:03
American Public Radio's This American Life is reporting a story that undermines the claims of success for the Clinton-era reform of welfare. After the legislation was passed by Congress welfare rolls dropped by half in two years. Where did all the people go who were dropped? The assumption at the time was that they found jobs. But NPR reports strong evidence that millions simply moved from welfare to the Social Security disability program. Growth in the program exploded in a few short years. States hired companies to push people from welfare onto the rolls of the disabled to save money. Welfare is jointly paid for by both the states and the federal government. Social Security is paid for entirely by the federal government.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 11:20
Amid a two-year bloody civil war that has killed an estimated 70,000 civilians and left 2.5 million people homeless, a profound loss of another kind has unfolded inside Syria – an attack on the country's cultural heritage, as missiles demolish ancient sites and looters steal artifacts as old as civilization.
More than 12 of the country's 36 museums have been raided and at least six historical sites have been damaged – including the Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers – since the uprising began in March 2010, according to several international groups tracking the destruction.
Aleppo – one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East and a crossroads of Christian, Jewish and Arab cultures – is among the hardest hit by the fighting between regime forces and rebels....
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 18:26
In a pre-emptive move against a school safety proposal from the National Rifle Association that is expected to include a call for more people trained and approved to carry guns at schools, a coalition of civil rights groups unveiled its own safety plan Thursday. It seeks the creation of positive school climates, thoughtful and comprehensive crisis plans, and improved safety features that don’t turn schools into fortresses....
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 15:58
"I was stunned by how big it was," marine archaeologist Jim Hansson told The Local of the find.
Hansson was out for a stroll along Kastellholmen island with his girlfriend on Sunday, taking in some rare springtime sun, when he noticed a pattern of wooden stumps penetrating the surface.
"If it had only been one or two beams sticking up, I may not have noticed it," he said.
"But I saw immediately that it was a shipwreck. You could clearly see the bow and the stern."...
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 15:56
Christians will mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter by donning their Sunday best, attending church and going on egg hunts. But what's the history of the holiday? And how much will we actually spend on those yummy chocolate rabbits? Read some fast facts about Easter below.
77 -- Percent of Americans who identify themselves as Christian, as of December 2012....
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 14:36
The skeletal remains of an individual living in northern Italy 40,000-30,000 years ago are believed to be that of a human/Neanderthal hybrid, according to a paper in PLoS ONE.
If further analysis proves the theory correct, the remains belonged to the first known such hybrid, providing direct evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred. Prior genetic research determined the DNA of people with European and Asian ancestry is 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal.
The present study focuses on the individual’s jaw, which was unearthed at a rock-shelter called Riparo di Mezzena in the Monti Lessini region of Italy. Both Neanderthals and modern humans inhabited Europe at the time....
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 08:01
ROME (AP) — In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center — a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.
No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis' gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a "questionable example." Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church.
Speaking to the young offenders, including Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Francis said that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service....
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 07:59
Buried for 100,000 years at Xujiayao in the Nihewan Basin of northern China, the recovered skull pieces of an early human exhibit a now-rare congenital deformation that indicates inbreeding might well have been common among our ancestors, new research from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Washington University in St. Louis suggests.
The skull, known as Xujiayao 11, has an unusual perforation through the top of the brain case - an enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) or 'hole in the skull' - that is consistent with modern humans diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation in the homeobox genes ALX4 on chromosome 11 and MSX2 on chromosome 5. These specific genetic mutations interfere with bone formation and prevent the closure of small holes in the back of the prenatal braincase, a process that is normally completed within the first five months of fetal development. It occurs in about one out of every 25,000 modern human births....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 14:20
Julia Pierson was sworn in Wednesday as the first female director of the Secret Service in its 148-year history. She took the standard federal oath administered by Vice President Joe Biden with President Obama holding the Bible in the Oval Office.
"As Joe Biden pointed out, this person now probably has more control over our lives than anyone else, except for our spouses, and I couldn't be placing our lives in better hands," Obama told reporters after the swearing-in....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 14:18
When Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner’s works went on sale in 2010, auction house Christie’s said the collection of 90 items “was nearly a complete representation of Faulkner’s work,” according to the Huffington Post. But last year, Lee Caplin, executor of Faulkner’s literary estate, and others discovered a “treasure trove of these literary papers” in the Faulker family barn in Virginia. Now, the papers, which include a story Faulkner wrote in college, along with Faulkner’s Nobel medal, are going up for auction with Sotheby’s....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 11:49
Experiments conducted by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ.
Many Catholics believe that the 14ft-long linen cloth, which bears the imprint of the face and body of a bearded man, was used to bury Christ's body when he was lifted down from the cross after being crucified 2,000 years ago.
The analysis is published in a new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" or The Mystery of the Shroud, by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalist....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:39
Construction workers backed by German police have removed a section of the Berlin Wall to make way for a building project, despite calls for the historic site to be preserved.
Residents expressed shock at the removal of the East Side Gallery, as that section is known, which followed a series of protests, including one attended by the actor David Hasselhoff.
A police spokesman, Alexander Tönnies, said there were no incidents as work had begun at about 5am to take down four sections of the wall, each about 1.2 metres wide, to make way for an access route to the planned high-rise luxury flats along the Spree river....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:31
They beat her, bound her and led her from home. She knelt before the crowds as they denounced her. Then they loaded her on to a truck, drove her to the outskirts of town and shot her.
Fang Zhongmou's execution for political crimes during the Cultural Revolution was commonplace in its brutality but more shocking to outsiders in one regard: her accusers were her husband and their 16-year-old child.
More than four decades on, Fang's son is seeking to atone by telling her story and calling for the preservation of her grave in their home town of Guzhen, central Anhui province, as a cultural relic....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:41
As soon as the travelling crate was opened and the shroud of white tissue paper carefully peeled away, it was clear there was damage to the dark blue coat: a hole in the left shoulder, and some of the gold braid on the epaulette torn away. The damage happened more than two centuries ago, and the coat's arrival in France was one of the most unusual days in the history of the National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich, south London, and the Musée de l'Armée, at Les Invalides in Paris.
"I think it's a wonder," said Emelie Robbe, a curator of the Paris museum's new exhibition on Napoleon and Europe. "It is astonishing that it should be here."
The coat, an undress uniform of the Royal Navy, already slightly old fashioned when it was made in the late 18th century, had never left England since 1805, when it came back in a sea chest on the same ship that carried the body of Horatio Nelson preserved in a barrel of brandy. It has now voyaged again, through the Channel tunnel, into the heart of his enemy's empire....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:40
A poem inspired by her late mother's stories of the first world war, which has drawn comparisons with Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, has won the poetry journal Agenda's editor Patricia McCarthy the National Poetry Competition.
McCarthy, who has published several poetry collections of her own, beat 13,040 other entries to win the anonymously-judged prize. Her winning poem, "Clothes that escaped the Great War", tells of the plodding carthorse who would take boys away to war, and then return, later, with just their clothes. "These were the most scary, my mother recalled: clothes / piled high on the wobbly cart, their wearers gone," writes McCarthy.
Judges and poets Vicki Feaver, Nick Laird and WN Herbert said they were first struck by the poem's unusual title, but then drawn in by its atmosphere. "We loved the journey it takes – both literally, as the horse and cart piled high with old work-clothes trundles down the lanes, and metaphorically, as these clothes come to represent the ghosts of all the young men lost in the Great War," said Feaver. "It follows on from the wonderful poems written by poets like Owen and Sassoon about their war experience, to show the grief of the women left behind."...
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:39
"Do Jews have big noses?", "Are they particularly business savvy?", "Can you make jokes about the Holocaust?", "Is 'Jew' a curse word?"
Seconds after visitors have stepped through the sliding doors and into the exhibition space at Berlin's Jewish Museum, they are confronted by these and other often equally disquieting questions, beamed onto the floor in front of them.
They were collected from comments in the 800 visitors' books the museum has compiled since it opened in 2001, and whittled down to 32 of the most frequently asked, to form the backbone of its latest show, The Whole Truth – What You've Always Wanted to Know About Jews (but might have been too afraid to ask, the title could have added)....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:38
Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital with a recurrence of a lung infection, the South African government said on Thursday.
A statement said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader and former president was admitted shortly before midnight. It gave no further details other than to say he was receiving the "best possible expert medical treatment and comfort". Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:37
Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) was a highly influential religious and anti-slavery leader. Among Haynes’s many firsts, he was the first African-American to be ordained to the Christian ministry and the first African-American to receive a college degree (an M.A. from Middlebury in 1804). After serving in the Continental Army during the Revolution, Haynes began his career as a minister in Rutland, Vermont, where he remained for thirty years. It was during this ministry that Haynes delivered his famous sermon, Universal Salvation, a Very Ancient Doctrine: with Some Account of the Life and Character of Its Author. Delivered as a response to a lecture by Hosea Ballou on the doctrine of universal redemption, Haynes’ Universal Salvation stands as one of the most famous and reprinted works of religious satire. This copy of the sermon, in Haynes own hand, contains more than sixty textual differences and three deletions from the printed copies. Including this copy, only three sermons in Haynes’s own handwriting are known to exist.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:31
In the fall of 1799, George Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk.”
The whiskey Washington spoke of was produced in his own distillery, at Mount Vernon, and the popularity of the spirit (in these parts) remains. Mount Vernon historians-turned-distillers have been busy making Washington’s unaged rye whiskey, following his recipe and manual methods, since early this month and will put 1,100 bottles up for sale in April.
The team, led by former Maker’s Mark master distiller Dave Pickerell, has perfected the craft since they began distilling at the old mill twice a year beginning in 2009. (A $2.1 million grant from the distilled spirits industry helped fund the project.) And the demand for their product has grown: The waiting list is more than 4,000 for this year’s batch....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:28
WASHINGTON — The National Portrait Gallery will host a trivia night in honor of Women’s History Month.
Women’s History Month is recognized during the month of March.
The gallery’s event, titled Pop Quiz!, convenes Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Kogod Courtyard....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:27
BEIJING — A photo of China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to martial-law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace this week.
It was swiftly scrubbed from China’s Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image — seen and shared by outside observers — revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China.
The country has no recent precedent for the role of first lady, and also faces a tricky balance at home. The leadership wants Peng to show the human side of the new No. 1 leader, Xi Jinping, while not exposing too many perks of the elite. And it must balance popular support for the first couple with an acute wariness of personality cults that could skew the consensus rule among the Chinese Communist Party’s top leaders....
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:23
Ahn Sehong had to go to China to recover a vanishing — and painful — part of Korea’s wartime history. Visiting small villages and overcoming barriers of language and distrust, he documented the tales of women — some barely teenagers — who had been forced into sexual slavery during World War II by the Japanese Army.
Starting in 2001, he began tracking down 13 of these women who had been stranded in China after the war. Now in their 80s and 90s, some were childless, others penniless. Most lived in hovels, often in the same dusty rural towns where they had endured the war. They had been away from their native land so long, some could no longer speak Korean.
Mr. Ahn had no doubts about their identity.
“Each one of these women is history,” he said. “They have suffered the biggest pain created by the war. Everyone forgot about the suffering these women went through. But I want to embrace them. As Koreans, we have to take care of them.”...
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 09:16
New research into Thonis-Heracleion, a sunken port-city that served as the gateway to Egypt in the first millennium BC, is being examined at an international conference at the University of Oxford. The port city, situated 6.5 kilometres off today’s coastline, was one of the biggest commercial hubs in the Mediterranean before the founding of Alexandria.
The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford is collaborating on the project with the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) in cooperation with Egypt's Ministry of State for Antiquities...
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 16:40
A stunning historical discovery was made at the first meeting of the revived Russian Military History Society when President Vladimir Putin asserted that the Bolsheviks used Finnish “armed formations” for executing the coup in October 1917 (Rossiskaya Gazeta, March 14). Even more remarkable was his reinterpretation of the Winter War with Finland (1939–1940) as not an act of aggression aimed at subjugating a neighbor that rejected the Communist model, but merely an attempt to correct earlier mistakes of drawing the border too close to St. Petersburg (Vedomosti, March 14). Putin conceded that the first months of that war were “bloody and inefficient” but concluded on a positive note that necessary forces were eventually mobilized and “everything fell into their right places” so that “the other side felt the entire might of the Russian—then Soviet—state” (RIA Novosti, March 14). This glorification of Stalin’s militaristic expansionism adds only a tiny fresh dose of poison to Russian-Finnish relations, but it speaks volumes about Putin’s perception of the modern world and Russia’s place in it....
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 16:38
With its inspiring images of citizens around the Middle East taking to the streets to demand an end to dictatorship, the Arab Spring rekindled our faith in democracy. As the dramatic events unfolded on television, it was impossible not to believe that however tightly autocrats may try to hold on to power, and however messy transitions may be, in the end, despotism must yield to the will of the people....
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 15:51
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Even life-long St. Louis residents may not realize that a big battle was once fought on what is now the site of Ballpark Village, which is in the early stages of development just north of Busch Stadium.
Interestingly, this wasn’t a conflict during the U.S. Civil War, but the Revolutionary War.
The “Battle of St. Louis” — also known as the “Battle of Fort San Carlos” — took place in May 1780, and downtown looked much different 233 years ago.
“The early French city of St. Louis had a wall that enclosed it on three sides, and the fourth side was the Mississippi River,” notes Michael Fuller, history professor at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and one of the foremost experts on the battle....
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 11:14
There were “the Shooter” and “the Point Man.” Now a third member of SEAL Team 6 offers another account of the raid on Osama bin Laden that led to his death in 2011.
The report from CNN appears to contradict Esquire’s widely circulated story, "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden," by Phil Bronstein. The unnamed source from CNN calls the Esquire account "complete B-S."
The SEAL team member in the Esquire profile, who was described simply as the Shooter, claimed that he entered the compound and found bin Laden with a gun in reach and shot him....
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 08:41
It couldbe the year for discovering notorious monarchs.
Just weeks after remains found under a car park were confirmed as Richard III, archaeologists now believe they may just have stumbled on Alfred the Great.
Amid great secrecy, a team exhumed an unmarked grave at a more fitting location for a Royal burial - a churchyard in Winchester named in ancient documents as his burial place.
After a delicate 10-hour operation on Monday, human skeletal remains were unearthed in the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s in the Hyde area of the city, and taken for storage at an undisclosed location....
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 08:40
CHICAGO — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is spending his time in federal prison teaching Civil War history and learning to play the guitar, while his attorneys work on an appeal, his wife said on Friday, the one-year anniversary of the beginning of his 14-year term for corruption.
"All that we have been left with is a aching hole in our lives," Patti Blagojevich also said in a Facebook post. Glenn Selig, a longtime spokesman for Rod Blagojevich, confirmed the posting was from Patti Blagojevich.
Blagojevich reported to a Colorado federal prison on March 15, 2012. Jurors had convicted him on 18 counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat.
Patti Blagojevich wrote that attorneys are "working diligently" on her husband's appeal but they wouldn't have any answers for at least six months....
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 19:27
It's the barely-known disaster which claimed the lives of four Birmingham seamen at the height of the Second World War.
But the sinking of HMS Dasher is still at the centre of mystery and intrigue, 70 years later.
A total of 379 lives were lost when the aircraft carrier went down in just eight minutes off the coast of Scotland on March 27, 1943.
The tragedy was put down to an explosion caused by petrol fumes igniting....
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 16:21
We've all heard the story of the "40 acres and a mule" promise to former slaves. It's a staple of black history lessons, and it's the name of Spike Lee's film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government's massive confiscation of private property -- some 400,000 acres -- formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven't heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves....
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 16:03
(Reuters) - The French dubbed it the neglected "Cinderella" of their African colonial empire; modern observers have called it a "phantom state".
Landlocked, isolated and poverty stricken, despite its reserves of gold, timber, uranium and gemstone quality diamonds, Central African Republic has been racked by debilitating rebellions for more than a decade.
In the latest revolt, fighters from a loose rebel alliance demanding an end to years of exclusion from government seized control of the riverside capital Bangui on Sunday, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee....
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 15:40