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This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used.
This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used. Because most of our readers read the NYT we usually do not include the paper's stories in HIGHLIGHTS.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (12-26-05)
The Istanbul court was acting after a group of nationalist lawyers asked the court to file a case against Hrant Dink, editor in chief of the bilingual Turkish and Armenian weekly Agos, and three Agos journalists, saying that the journalists ''tried to influence the judiciary'' through their editorials.
Mr. Dink, an Armenian who was born in Turkey, was sentenced to six months in jail by an Istanbul court in October for comments in an article he wrote against Article 301 of a revised penal code, which allows prosecutors to pursue cases against writers and scholars for ''insulting Turkish identity.''
The case is now before the Court of Appeals, one of several such freedom of speech cases that have highlighted European Union concerns about Turkey's efforts to become a member.
European officials say that such court cases are likely to hinder Turkey's progress toward full membership.
About 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915 during World War I. While historians are widely agreed that the 1915 massacres constituted genocide, the subject remains taboo in Turkey, which says the killings were related to World War I clashes after Armenian militants joined forces with Russia.
The nationalist Lawyers Unity Association asked the court to bring the case against the four journalists, who face jail terms of nine months to 4 1/2 years, if convicted.
SOURCE: NYT (12-26-05)
Built when Portugal's Jews had been forced to convert to Catholicism or risk being burned at the stake, the house of worship was hidden behind a false wall in a four-story house that the Rev. Agostinho Jardim Moreira, a Roman Catholic priest, was converting into a home for some older parishioners.
Father Moreira, a scholar of Porto's Jewish history, said that as soon as the workers told him of the wall, "I knew there had to be some kind of Jewish symbol behind it."
His hunch was confirmed when the wall came down to reveal a carved granite repository, about five feet tall, arched at the top and facing east toward Jerusalem. It was the ark where the medieval Jews kept their Torahs. The ark contained pieces of decorative green tile that further confirmed its age. Specialists determined that the tiles had been glazed by a method used in the 16th century.
"It's quite exciting," said the Israeli ambassador to Portugal, Aaron Ram, who has been involved in efforts to preserve the ark. "You feel part of history when you see it."
"It's a very important site," he added. "We all have to remember our history so we can be prepared for the future."
Only two other arks from the period have been found in Portugal, and last month the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage authenticated this one as the third.
The film's title suggests that this is the story of what happened at Munich in September 1972, and it is, though only in part. Most of the action - and if nothing else, this nail-biter is a full-on action movie - takes place in the immediate aftermath of Munich, after 11 Israeli hostages were murdered by members of a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. Based on George Jonas's disputed book "Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team," and adapted to the screen by the oddball couple of Eric Roth and Tony Kushner ("Forrest Gump" meets "Angels in America"), the film pivots on five Israeli agents, who, recruited to exact revenge by a country that will officially deny their existence, zigzag Europe as they hunt suspects over months and then years.
As his tours of duty with the historian Stephen Ambrose suggested ("Saving Private Ryan," "Band of Brothers"), Mr. Spielberg can give the appearance of wanting to be seen as more than just a Hollywood director, particularly since he added "adult contemporary" to his playlist, mixing history in with his dinosaurs. That makes him a soft target, and "Munich" has already been strafed by op-ed attacks. The accusations might make sense if the filmmaker took us into the terrorists' homes for some moral relativism. But Mr. Spielberg is doing nothing more radical here than advancing the idea that dialogue ends when two enemies, held hostage by dusty history and hot blood, have their hands locked around each other's throats. You can't hold your children with your hands so occupied, though evidently you can send them off to war.
It would do a disservice to Mr. Spielberg to linger too long on the pre-emptive attacks on the film: more than anything, "Munich" is a slammin' entertainment filled with dazzling set pieces and geometric camerawork. Different palettes help keep the narrative flowing (there's no danger of becoming lost on the way from Frankfurt to Cyprus), imparting a contrasting vibe to each landscape: the bleached-out Israeli exteriors are as faded as old family photographs, while the verdant French countryside where Avner meets a mysterious intelligence broker called Papa (Michael Lonsdale) has the seductive tug of an idyll. This pocket of green and Old World civility, embellished from Mr. Jonas's book, is the film's shrewdest and most entertaining conceit: a movie within a movie, it is a vision of evil as both seductive romance and bureaucratic banality.
SOURCE: NYT (12-25-05)
In a debate with Mr. Horowitz last summer, Russell Jacoby, a history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, portrayed Mr. Horowitz's approach as heavy-handed. "It calls for committees or prosecutors to monitor the lectures and assignments of teachers," he said. "This is a sure-fire way to kill free inquiry and whatever abuses come with it."
So far, the campaign has produced more debate than action. Colorado and Ohio agreed to suspend legislative efforts to impose an academic bill of rights in favor of pledges by their state schools to uphold standards already in place. Georgia passed a resolution discouraging "political or ideological indoctrination" by teachers, encouraging them to create "an environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas."
While comparable efforts failed in three other states, measures are pending in 11 others. In Congress, House and Senate committees passed a general resolution this year encouraging American colleges to promote "a free and open exchange of ideas" in their classrooms and to treat students "equally and fairly." It awaits floor action next year.
SOURCE: NYT (12-24-05)
Ever since, the Little Shell have known only diaspora.
Most came to Montana, where they lived near dumps and on the streets of Great Falls, Helena and other towns. In 1896, angry whites asked the government to do something about them, and the Army rounded them up at gunpoint, put them on boxcars and shipped them to Canada. "Most of them made their way back," said Mr. Shield, the vice president of the tribal council, which Mr. Boham serves as assistant.
The three other surviving Chippewa tribes from the Turtle Mountain area - the Turtle Mountain, the White Earth and the Rocky Boy - were all less scattered and received federal recognition over time; they now have reservations. But the 4,500 or so Little Shell still await official recognition from the Office of Federal Acknowledgment at the Interior Department, a quest for which they have gained the support not only of other tribes in Montana but also of the Montana governor's office, the State Legislature and Cascade County, which includes Great Falls.
The recognition process was created by the government in 1978 to make reparations to tribes that had been forced to move from place to place throughout American history. There are now 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States.
Roughly 220 others have expressed interest in recognition, but such efforts are often strongly opposed. Some of that opposition comes from tribes, already recognized, that are eager to protect their vast casino gambling income, and from states that do not want recognized tribes within their borders, because a bid for recognition is occasionally a ploy of relatively few Indians with dubious historical ties simply to open a new casino.
"We're running into the ripple effects of gaming
SOURCE: NYT (12-24-05)
The memorandum, released yesterday by the National Archives, made recommendations concerning a lawsuit against former Attorney General John N. Mitchell over a wiretap he had authorized without a court's permission in 1970. The government was investigating a plot to destroy underground utility tunnels in Washington and to kidnap Henry A. Kissinger, the national security adviser.
The White House said yesterday that the issues discussed in that memorandum were not the same as those posed by President Bush's orders to the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international communications without warrants.
"Judge Alito's memo regarding a purely domestic threat is completely different from N.S.A.'s efforts to thwart threats from foreign terrorist organizations," said Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman.
Judge Alito's relatively positive assessment of the 1978 law [Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act] as useful clarification of the procedures to be followed in the context of national security surveillance, was a faint echo of his earlier strong advocacy, as a student at Princeton in 1972, for the establishment of a court to hear such warrant applications.
Judge Alito wrote on the subject as the chairman of a conference on privacy. The existence of the report he submitted for the conference, which included a discussion of gay rights, was first reported by The Boston Globe two months ago. But the report's extended discussion of wiretapping and other surveillance has not received much attention.
"We are convinced," Judge Alito wrote in 1972,"that in recent years government has often used improper means to gather information about individuals who posed no threat either to their government or their fellow citizens."
The solution, he wrote, was the creation of a"federal court of warrants." Six years later, the 1978 law established the intelligence court.
SOURCE: NYT (12-25-05)
The office of Muhammad Mehdi Akef, the supreme guide of the group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said that his initial remark, on Thursday, had been intended to make a point about Western attitudes toward democracy and the Palestinians. In that message, Mr. Akef said, "Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the Holocaust is concerned."
He cited as evidence of Western intolerance the cases of the French writer Roger Garaudy, who was convicted in France in 1998 of questioning the Holocaust, and the British historian David Irving, who faces similar charges in Austria next month.
But on Saturday, his office said: "Some media gave this a meaning which he did not intend, a denial that the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II happened. The fact is that he did not deny that it took place."
And it still is.
It's not just that the 1954 movie "White Christmas," highlighting Berlin's definitive musical statement on the splendor of the holidays, is playing - as it must, on Christmas Day - on television. And it is no surprise that a steadfast group of carolers will be singing that classic tomorrow night, as they have done for more than 20 years, outside 17 Beekman Place, the five-story town house that Berlin inhabited for 42 years.
After all, he was the nation's songwriter, and vestiges of his long sojourn in Manhattan are everywhere, a fact that is celebrated in a sumptuous new book, "Irving Berlin's Show Business" (Harry N. Abrams). And thanks to exhibitions and a festival, New York will become Berlin Country in the coming months, far in advance of the centennial of the first of his 1,500 songs in 2007.
His enduring prominence may seem improbable, since Berlin, the man who wrote "God Bless America," "Easter Parade," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Cheek to Cheek," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Blue Skies" and "Puttin' On the Ritz" was born 117 years ago. His six-decade career, from 1907 to 1966, spanned sheet music, the stage, recordings, radio, film and television, and for millions his canon continues to evoke powerful emotions.
"He hasn't had a hit song since 1966 with 'An Old-Fashioned Wedding,' but these days you can't go to many places in Manhattan without bumping into him," said David Leopold, author of the new book. "We all know his songs, and they are all part of who we are."
Over the years, the tomb's wall art has been subjected to learned analysis, inspiring considerable speculation. One interpretation is that the two men are brothers, probably identical twins, and this may be the earliest known depiction of twins. Another is that the men had a homosexual relationship, a more recent view that has gained support among gay advocates.
Now, an Egyptologist at New York University has stepped into the debate with a third interpretation. He has marshaled circumstantial evidence that the two menmay have been conjoined twins, popularly known as Siamese twins.
The oversized book, originally produced in a Syrian monastery, includes the first dated pictorial representation of the Crucifixion. Tests revealed, among other things, that in the repainting, Jesus's curly red hair was restyled as black and straight. The findings were presented at a conference this month at the Max Planck Institute organized by Gerhard Wolf, director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, and Massimo Bernabò, who teaches at the University of Pavia, in Italy. Mr. Bernabò said the discovery would force scholars to re-evaluate this significant monument of early Christian art and subsequent attitudes toward it.
"The path of the imam is the absolute path of the Islamic republic," Mr. Ahmadinejad said then. "He was the founder of the revolution. He is the reference of the revolution."
And so, it should not have been a surprise when he quoted Ayatollah Khomeini and called for Israel "to be wiped off the map," then labeled the Holocaust a legend that was the fault of Europeans, and said Israel should therefore be moved to Europe.
Since taking office, Mr. Ahmadinejad has had numerous problems, failing to deliver on his message of economic populism and to solidify the support of the conservatives who elected him, and of the clerics who supported him.
But he has worked aggressively to roll the clock back to the early days of the revolution. He has moved to erase the changes, especially in foreign policy, which evolved over eight years of rule by President Mohammad Khatami, seeking national unity through international isolation.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (12-24-05)
Napoleon invaded Russia with half a million men that summer but escaped with only a few thousand. Twenty-five thousand French soldiers escaped to Vilnius, Lithuania, during the retreat, but only 3,000 survived to continue the retreat. The rest were buried in mass graves.
Historians have long stressed the role of disease in the deaths, but now Dr. Didier Raoult and his colleagues at the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille have provided the first firm evidence confirming this supposition. The team worked with remains found during construction at a former Soviet army barracks in the northern suburbs of Vilnius.
Napoleon's soldiers were known to be plagued with body lice, Raoult said.
The team found body segments of five lice among clothing remnants from the soldiers. Three of the five lice contained DNA from \o7Bartonella quintana\f7, which causes trench fever, they reported this week in the online version of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
They also studied dental pulp from the unerupted teeth of 35 soldiers.
SOURCE: LAT (12-24-05)
The story was "Boston," Sinclair's 1920s novelized condemnation of the trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants accused of killing two men in the robbery of a Massachusetts shoe factory.
Prosecutors characterized the anarchists as ruthless killers who had used the money to bankroll antigovernment bombings and deserved to die. Sinclair thought the pair were innocent and being railroaded because of their political views.
Soon Sinclair would learn something that filled him with doubt. During his research for "Boston," Sinclair met with Fred Moore, the men's attorney, in a Denver motel room. Moore "sent me into a panic," Sinclair wrote in the typed letter that Hegness found at the auction a decade ago.
"Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth," Sinclair wrote. " … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them."
SOURCE: LAT (12-21-05)
But the filmmaker's tale of the Israeli hit team avenging the 1972 massacre of 11 of its Olympic athletes is already dividing viewers. One of the year's most anticipated movies and a potential Oscar contender, "Munich" has triggered debate among audiences -- including Oscar voters -- who have been the first to see it.
Some are finding fault with how the film tries to balance the initial terrorist act with the retaliation that followed. Others are challenging the historical accuracy of the book "Vengeance," by George Jonas, upon which the movie was based. While some commend Spielberg for creating multidimensional characters in an attempt to humanize the conflict, not everyone is applauding that approach.
As Spielberg avoids the traditional junketeering on the eve of the film's premiere, the marketing forces have staged screenings for community leaders and opinion-makers in Los Angeles, Washington, Berlin, Munich, Paris and Tel Aviv.
Heading the effort in Israel, where the movie has triggered mixed response: one of Ariel Sharon's top strategists, Eyal Arad. Last week, a screening held for the widows of two of the slain athletes was attended by producer Kathleen Kennedy and writer Tony Kushner, who have been touring Europe with the film.
Name of source: Chicago Sun Times
SOURCE: Chicago Sun Times (12-24-05)
As an advocate for African- American soldiers in the War Department from 1940 through 1945, Mr. Gibson fought tirelessly to break down the segregation that ruled the U.S. Army, to persuade the military leadership to commit black servicemen to combat instead of relegating them to service and support duty, and to protect the rights and even the lives of African-American soldiers trained at camps mostly in the Jim Crow South where white violence was a constant threat.
"Truman Gibson was one of the great resources of the civil rights battles who was never acknowledged as he should have been," said Abner Mikva, the former Illinois congressman, federal appellate judge and White House counsel.
That story was the heart of Mr. Gibson's memoir, Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America, published this year by Northwestern University Press.
"I am just so thankful that he got to do that book, to say what he wanted to say," said his daughter, Karen Kelley of New York. "He lived nearly 94 years pretty much on his own terms, and it was such a wonderful life."
Name of source: NYT Book Review
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (12-25-05)
A preliminary list of people whose activities were monitored by military intelligence during the dictatorship, which ruled from 1964 to 1985, has already been made public. As of Jan. 1, those people will be allowed to examine their own files, which are being transferred from military control to the National Archives.
Government officials estimated the files contained more than a million printed pages, plus photographs and films.
The belated release of the documents comes little more than a month after the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued a draft report urging Brazil to be more assertive in dealing with the dark corners of its recent past.
That report, followed this month by a two-week visit by a United Nations emissary, noted that Brazil had been reluctant to identify and punish those responsible for rights abuses.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (12-25-05)
Accordingly, at Old Sturbridge Village -- an outdoor museum where an 1830s town has been re-created down to the cider mill and the Gloucester Old Spots pigs -- they used to ignore the holiday as well.
Used to. Until, in the past few years, attendance started to slip. "How many times can you tell the story, 'They didn't celebrate it'?"
asked Susanna Bonta, a museum spokeswoman.
Now, in December the village gets a makeover that might make a Puritan -- or a historian -- blanch. There is a Christmas tree (not popularized in the United States until the 1840s), a visit from Santa Claus (who didn't take his current form until after 1850) and a series of nighttime tours showing the village lit by (electric) candlelight. These are times for creative thinking at the country's "living history" parks, where officials worry that their old formula of restored buildings, costumed interpreters and anvil-banging demonstrations is losing its tourist appeal.
Museums from Virginia to Michigan are trying to add an edge. How about a walk-through theatrical production? An overnight stay in a pilgrim's house? Who'd like to try on 19th-century replica underwear?
In this fast-moving age, apparently, just making the past come alive isn't enough. "It's just a larger, competitive world," said John Caramia, a North Carolina museum official and past president of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums.
Name of source: Sun-Sentinel
SOURCE: Sun-Sentinel (12-23-05)
NORAD is responsible for handling the air defense of the North America continent. But it has also been tracking Santa's movements on Christmas Eve for the past 50 years.
NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa -- radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft.
The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can see heat. Rudolph's nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. Thus, the satellites can detect Rudolph's bright red nose with practically no problem.
The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955, when a local Sears, Roebuck and Co. store ran a newspaper ad urging children to make a phone call on Christmas Eve and talk to Santa Claus. As fate would have it, the phone number was misprinted and, instead of reaching Santa, youngsters found themselves talking with Air Force Col. Harry Shoup of the Continental Air Defense Command at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (12-23-05)
No one knows for sure whether Hitler owned the Krieghoff Drilling combination shotgun and rifle engraved with the initials "A.H." It is to be sold by Midwest Exchange, a Bloomington pawn shop, at auction at www.gunbroker.com.
Name of source: San Francisco Chronicle
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (12-23-05)
It is as if they had been transported back in time 2,000 years to the birth of Christ and the simple rural community where Mary and Joseph lived, probably less than a mile away. This is Nazareth Village, an authentic re-creation of a first-century Holy Land farm.
This week, the village was the scene for a dramatic retelling of the Nativity by torchlight, accompanied by readings from the Gospels and carols in Arabic for the local community. The play has been staged in Nazareth since 2000, and it draws thousands of spectators.
Although there are other Nativity plays in the Holy Land, this is probably the most authentic reconstruction of the birth of Nazareth's most famous son. The crowded courtyard is buzzing with the raucous sounds of donkeys, sheep and chickens that share the rough accommodation. The steady thud of hammers and chisels drift over from a nearby carpenter's workshop. The air is thick with the smoke of oil lamps, the fresh farmyard odors of animal dung and viscous white goat's milk cooking in a pot on an open fire.
Name of source: Haaretz
SOURCE: Haaretz (12-23-05)
The pool, whose present small dimensions date from Byzantine times, is the outlet for the spring water coursing through the ancient Hezekiah's tunnel. It was once huge - three to four dunams.
And if the huge dimensions of the pool had not been discovered, it is doubtful that the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Elad association, which is working for the development of the area also known as the City of David, would not have come across the dramatic discovery now underway: the far end of a street dating from the Herodian period, which begins at the outer southwestern corner of the Temple Mount and is familiar to visitors to the Western Wall.
When the sewage main first backed up during the winter of 2004, the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority, responsible for the archaeological sites around the Old City's walls, called for a halt to the repair work and took advantage of the opportunity to dig a heretofore unexcavated part of the City of David.
Archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, who are directing the dig for the IAA and Elad, say that for the first time they are now able to trace the street that connected the Temple Mount in Second Temple times with the Pool of Siloam. Other portions of the road were revealed by the 19th-century Jerusalem explorers Bliss and Dickey and in 1963 by archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. Now, the last piece of the puzzle has come to light near the pool.
Name of source: Japan Times
SOURCE: Japan Times (12-23-05)
The panel will set up a smaller group to examine the issue of history textbooks, in addition to its three current subgroups: one dealing with ancient history, another on medieval history and a third on contemporary history.
The government hopes the new round of talks will improve ties between the two countries, the sources said. Those ties have been badly strained by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted Class-A war criminals as well as the war dead, and by revisionist Japanese history texts that critics say whitewash the nation's wartime atrocities.
In October 2001, the two sides agreed to set up the joint study after a row over the history textbooks, which were penned by nationalists.
Historians from the two countries held a first round of discussions starting in May 2002 but were sharply divided on key historical events, including Japan's 1910 annexation of the Korean Peninsula, as shown in a report compiled by the panel in June.
The group is expected to deal with the issue of history textbooks in both countries at the second round of talks, in addition to topics taken up by the three subgroups during the first round, the sources said.
The scholars will analyze common and divergent points in the two countries' history, as well as how historical events involving the two countries are described.
Name of source: Gazette (Montreal)
SOURCE: Gazette (Montreal) (12-23-05)
"This is not the best time in relations between Canada and the United States," said Campagnolo in an interview. "This is a positive thing.
"We can't change the past, but we can do something about it."
The Sto:lo First Nation still recounts stories of a moonlit night in February 1884, when the 14-year-old boy was kidnapped and hung 130 paces from the border, allegedly for a murder historians believe he didn't commit.
"We have to remember in an oral society, nothing is forgotten," said Campagnolo, who thinks the only U.S. lynching in Canada now deserves an apology because the U.S. government apologized to its own citizens last June for failing to protect 4,743 Americans who were hung. "I think this is a human rights issue."
Campagnolo chose to act for Louie Sam in September, in a speech given to Washington State's Lieutenant-Governor Brad Owen, who, unlike Canada's crown representatives, is elected by the public.
"Our government spent years seeking justice in the case without effect. Today, the issue is still one contention between the Sto:lo people and our government. The case is the only fully documented lynching ever to take place in Canada."
The bid seems to be working.
Owen is preparing to steer a resolution through the state legislature to issue an apology, one that won't involve any monetary compensation but seeks to offer "healing." Washington's lieutenant-governor also sent a letter this week to the B.C. government asking they, too, follow through with an apology for not doing enough to bring Sam's murderers to justice.
Name of source: Christian Science Monitor
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor (12-22-05)
"I understand it's in their tradition to celebrate the event but I have to admit I am deeply offended," says Patrick Chapell, an African-American musician living here in Utrecht.
Zwarte Piet - whose multiple incarnations are portrayed by white Dutchmen sporting black greasepaint, red lipstick, and woolly Afro wigs - is supposedly darkened by his countless chimney trips delivering presents. But variations on the legend say the Moorish-looking helper came from a slave background.
Mr. Chapell is not alone in his dislike of the tradition, which dates back to the 12th century. Many - especially those people of color who make up 25 percent of the country's population - are also offended.
But where some see offense, others see fun. "It's our tradition and I am really proud of it," says Marjoline Wentzel, a Dutch-born museum worker who has received gifts from Sinterklaas. "I don't see any racism in it. It's just fun."
In many Dutch towns, thousands of people flood the busy streets hoping to catch a glimpse of Sinterklaas and his convoy as Piet poses for pictures with his fans....
Dutch historian Bert Theunissen says Sinterklaas has been celebrated long enough in the Netherlands to dispel any racial implications.
"I think I speak on behalf of many Dutch people when I say it's utter nonsense to associate it with racism," says Mr. Theunissen, a history professor at Utrecht University. "It's a tradition that goes back to way before the 19th century and it simply has no racial connotations whatsoever."
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor (12-2-05)
Now, a new report challenges the view that held sway for many years - that a provocative statement about white women and black men by a mixed race (then known as mulatto) newspaper editor caused the 1898 riot in a South gripped by fears of miscegenation.
As a horse-drawn machine-gun regiment fired into crowds and frightened blacks fled into the cold swamps, the dream of a Reconstructed South died on the streets of Wilmington, N.C., on Nov. 10, 1898 - more than 30 years after Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox ended the Civil War.
The uprising began a day after the election in Wilmington, then North Carolina's largest city. The city's Democrats, who regained power from the Republicans, proceeded to wrest control of the government immediately. Supported by para-military networks, historians now say, white Democratic leaders staged a planned insurrection resisted by bands of black men. The party mob, which grew to as many as 2,000, smashed the press and toppled kerosene lamps in a black newspaper office, setting the press ablaze. As many as 100 people were killed in the race riot.
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (12-22--05)
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (12-21-05)
The study will appear in the journal Critical Review and its authors argue that it provides more evidence about political bias in academe. But leaders in some of the disciplines studied say that the study overstates and oversimplifies the role of party affiliation in academic life, and that the authors do not provide evidence of discrimination.
The latest study is based on surveys conducted in 2003 of members of various disciplinary associations. On the question of political affiliation, the survey found the following breakdown of Democrats to Republicans:
Anthropologists and sociologists — 21.1:1
Political and legal philosophers — 9.1:1
Historians — 8.5:1
Political scientists — 5.6:1
Economists — 2.9:1
Name of source: scotsman.com
SOURCE: scotsman.com (12-20-05)
Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.
According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."
In 1926 the Politburo in Moscow passed the request to the Academy of Science with the order to build a "living war machine". The order came at a time when the Soviet Union was embarked on a crusade to turn the world upside down, with social engineering seen as a partner to industrialisation: new cities, architecture, and a new egalitarian society were being created.
The Soviet authorities were struggling to rebuild the Red Army after bruising wars.
And there was intense pressure to find a new labour force, particularly one that would not complain, with Russia about to embark on its first Five-Year Plan for fast-track industrialisation.
Mr Ivanov was highly regarded. He had established his reputation under the Tsar when in 1901 he established the world's first centre for the artificial insemination of racehorses.
Mr Ivanov's ideas were music to the ears of Soviet planners and in 1926 he was dispatched to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his first experiment in impregnating chimpanzees.
Meanwhile, a centre for the experiments was set up in Georgia - Stalin's birthplace - for the apes to be raised.
Name of source: Reuters
In an interview marking his 72nd birthday on Friday, the emperor said "there were rarely peaceful times" in the 20 years to 1945 when Japan surrendered to the allies to end World War II.
"I believe it is extremely important for the Japanese people to strive to accurately understand this past history along with the ensuing era," Akihito said.
"This is also important when the Japanese people interact with other peoples of the world," he added in the interview held recently with the Imperial Palace press corps for publication on Friday.
The past year has been cluttered with ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the war's end.
Japan came under intense fire from its neighbours throughout the year about how it perceives its past aggression. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi again visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which honours the Japanese war dead including convicted war criminals.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko toured the Pacific island of Saipan in June, their first overseas trip solely to pay respects to the war dead.
He said he felt "heavy-hearted as I thought of the severe combat 61 years ago."
Akihito also used the interview to praise "major roles" by women in Japan's royal family, in a carefully worded comment. The country is moving to break with more than two centuries of male-only rule.
He refused to clarify his view on a recent proposal by a government panel to allow women to ascend the throne of the world's oldest monarchy.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the teaching of the subject for teenage pupils was dominated by 20th Century dictatorships and other topics such as England's Tudor monarchs like Henry VIII who ruled during the 16th century.
"There has been a gradual narrowing and 'Hitlerisation' of post-14 history," the QCA said in its annual report, adding that there was also too little emphasis on black or multi-ethnic aspects of British history.
Chief executive Ken Boston said lessons often failed to give an impression of life in post-war Germany.
"While that period was absolutely critically important to us and we need to understand it and learn from it," he told the BBC, "history didn't end in Germany with the death of a dictator: the modern era began in Germany from that point."
Britons' fascination with Hitler and World War Two was part of the reason for teachers choosing the topic, according to Historical Association secretary Sean Lang.
"The main reason, to put it really bluntly, is because Hitler sells, as any publisher will tell you," he told the BBC.
This prejudice irked one former German ambassador to London so much that he lambasted Britons for their "profound ignorance" of modern Germany when he left his post in 1999.
Gebhardt von Moltke, who worked in London until 1999, said he had been particularly offended by references to all Germans being Nazis as two of his uncles had been executed for being leading members of the resistance to Hitler.
SOURCE: Reuters (12-22-05)
"Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the Holocaust is concerned," Mohamed Mahdi Akef said in a statement.
Last week the deputy leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Habib, asked about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, said reports of Nazi attempts to wipe out European Jews might have been exaggerated.
"We don't have confirmed things to enable us to prove this matter or refute it. It needs documentation but what one can be sure of is that there were attacks on the Jews but not by means of gas chambers or perhaps not in these numbers or on this scale," Habib told Reuters in an interview.
But Habib said the debate was irrelevant to the situation of the Palestinians. "What the Jews propagate about there being a Holocaust has nothing to do with the way they treat the Palestinians on the land of Palestine," he said.
Sweden is now known for its strong social welfare system and outspoken advocacy for human rights, but in the past it has experimented with social engineering. This led to abuses such as the forcible sterilization of around 60,000 women in 1936-76.
In 1922, the National Institute for Race Biology was founded with support from a range of political parties. The first of its kind in the world, the institute investigated whether race was a determining factor in illness or human character traits.
"An over-arching question is to find out more about the kind of society which could develop thinking on race biology and have scientifically accepted research in that area," Education Minister Leif Pagrotsky said in a statement.
The Living History Forum, a government body tasked with spreading "a deeper knowledge about crimes against humanity", was appointed to chart what is known about the Swedish history of eugenics and, if necessary, do more research on the issue.
The Forum was founded by Social Democrat Prime Minister Goran Persson's government in 2003, mainly to improve public knowledge about the Holocaust in which around 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies from 1933-1945.
The Swedish eugenics research body was merged in the 1950s with a university genetics department.
Other negative aspects of Sweden's past have come to light recently. The government this month promised an official inquiry into claims by thousands of Swedes of physical abuse and cruel treatment in state children's homes for decades from the 1950s.
SOURCE: Reuters (12-20-05)
Japan approved a new edition of 'The New History Textbook' in April, drawing protests from China and South Korea.
The Education Ministry first approved the book, written by nationalist scholars for junior high schools, in 2001 in the face of strong protests from Japan's two Asian neighbours.
Kyodo said a group of about 1,000 plaintiffs including Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese sued Moriyuki Kato, governor of Ehime in western Japan, and the Ehime school board demanding that they revoke a decision, made in August, to use the new book at four government-run schools from next April.
The plaintiffs are also seeking around 120,000 yen ($1,000) in compensation for mental anguish that they claim to have suffered due to the decision to adopt the book, Kyodo said.
'We would like to cooperate with people across Japan who are against the textbook,' the agency quoted South Korean plaintiff Kim Jong-suk, 42, as saying.
The plaintiffs argue in the lawsuit, filed in Ehime, that the textbook glorifies Japan's invasions of Asian countries in the 20th century, and that the governor had illegally intervened in the process to select the textbook, Kyodo said.
To concentrate on the latest case, some of the plaintiffs had already dropped a similar lawsuit filed against the Ehime school board's decisions in 2001 and 2002 to adopt an earlier version of the book, the agency said.
Critics say the textbook plays down the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China and ignores the sexual enslavement of women for Japanese soldiers.
The book's authors and supporters have argued that the text's approach corrected a 'masochistic' view of history which they said had deprived Japanese of pride and patriotism.
Very few school districts have adopted the textbook for use in their schools.
Name of source: The Age (AU)
SOURCE: The Age (AU) (12-22-05)
They were left by children, adolescents and adults between 19,000 and 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last ice age, as they ran and walked across a moist clay area near the Willandra Lakes.
The prints were laid down in wet clay containing calcium carbonate, which hardened like concrete.
The first footprint was spotted by Mary Pappin jnr, of the Mutthi Mutthi people, two years ago and more than 450 more have since been uncovered by a team led by Steve Webb of Bond University.
Professor Webb said the find provided a unique glimpse into the lives of those who lived in the arid inland. "It brings these people to life in a way no other archaeological evidence can. You can see how the mud squelched between their toes."
Name of source: Washington Times
SOURCE: Washington Times (12-22-05)
More recently, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- the secretive judicial system that handles classified intelligence cases -- wrote in a declassified opinion that the court has long held "that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information."
Such warrantless searches have been at the center of a political fight in Washington after the New York Times reported Friday that the Bush administration had a program to intercept communications between al Qaeda suspects and persons in this country, a story whose publication coincided with the congressional debate over reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act.
In a 2002 opinion about the constitutionality of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the USA Patriot Act, the court wrote: "We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."
Indeed, previous administrations have used that same authority.
One of the most famous examples of warrantless searches in recent years was the investigation of CIA official Aldrich H. Ames, who ultimately pleaded guilty to spying for the former Soviet Union. That case was largely built upon secret searches of Ames' home and office in 1993, conducted without federal warrants.
In 1994, President Clinton expanded the use of warrantless searches to entirely domestic situations with no foreign intelligence value whatsoever. In a radio address promoting a crime-fighting bill, Mr. Clinton discussed a new policy to conduct warrantless searches in highly violent public housing projects.
Previous administrations also asserted the authority of the president to conduct searches in the interest of national security.
In 1978, for instance, Attorney General Griffin B. Bell testified before a federal judge about warrantless searches he and President Carter had authorized against two men suspected of spying on behalf of the Vietnam government.
That same year, Congress approved and Mr. Carter signed FISA, which created the secret court and required federal agents to get approval to conduct electronic surveillance in most foreign intelligence cases. ...
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (12-22-05)
State senator Tom Reynolds has introduced a bill that would prevent the state's school boards from adopting textbooks unless the books use the B-C designation.
B-C stands for "before Christ." Increasingly authors and historians are using the religiously neutral term B-C-E, which stands for "before the Common Era."
Reynolds says schools shouldn't use books that use the revisionist dating method. His bill would impose a fine between 25 and 100 dollars.
Madison School District spokesman Ken Syke says schools have more pressing needs to deal with.
SOURCE: AP (12-21-05)
In the 16th century, an unremarkable thick-walled granite house that still stands in a row of narrow, small-roomed buildings along a cobbled street held a dangerous secret. At the back of the house, steep steps lead down to a warren of alleys ideal for conspiratorial comings and goings that helped keep an outlawed religious ceremony hidden. Four centuries later, the secret of the clandestine synagogue is out.
The mystery began unraveling when Father Agostinho Jardim Moreira, a Roman Catholic priest, bought the four-story house for use as an old people's home for his parish. When workers told him they had come across a false wall, he immediately instructed them to pull it down - sensing there was a discovery to be made.
He had studied the city's Jewish history and knew his parish had been an officially designated Jewish quarter in the 15th and 16th centuries. He also knew that after they were forced to convert to Catholicism in 1496, many Jews privately kept their faith and worshipped in secret.
"I suspected that false wall was hiding something," said Jardim Moreira. "I knew there had to be some kind of Jewish symbol behind it"
A construction worker's sledgehammer proved his hunch right.
Beyond the false wall was a room containing a medieval holy ark - a nook in the wall of a synagogue where Torah scrolls are kept. Only two other arks from the period have been found in Portugal.
After corroboration by medieval experts, the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage last month authenticated the house as the site of a secret synagogue.
The chance discovery solved an enigma that had baffled historians for years, said Elvira Mea, a lecturer at the University of Porto who specializes in Jewish history.
Immanuel Aboab, a Jewish scholar born in Porto in mid-16th century, had written that as a child he had visited a synagogue in the third house along the street counting down from the 14th-century Our Lady of Victory church.
But he didn't specify which side of the street, and archaeological digs had turned up nothing. Then came confirmation of the accuracy of Aboab's text: The house Moreira bought was the third house down on the very street the Jewish scholar had described.
Historians had been thrown off by the fact that Aboab never described the synagogue as a clandestine one. His childhood experiences took place five decades after the forced conversion - at a time when secret Jewish worshippers would be tortured and burned at the stake if caught - so there was no chance a synagogue could function out in the open.
"Everyone assumed Aboab had got his dates mixed up," said Mea. "But it had been preying on my mind and as soon as I saw the ark, all the pieces fell into place. I was so happy I could hardly believe it."
The secret synagogue dates from a convulsive period in the Jewish history of the Iberian peninsula.
When in 1492 neighboring Spain expelled all Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism, some 60,000 Jews poured across the border into Portugal.
Their community flourished here. It was the Age of Expansion, when Portuguese seafarers reached previously unknown lands in South America, as well as Africa and Asia. Jewish merchants in Porto built fortunes on the trade in sugar from Brazil, then a Portuguese colony, which was shipped to Portugal and sold onwards to northern Europe at a handsome profit.
Socially, though, the Jews were kept at arm's length. The designated Jewish quarter was marked off and subject to a curfew, and the law stated a Christian woman entering there had to be chaperoned by at least two men.
Then came the crackdown. Portugal's King Manuel I - hoping to seal a royal alliance with Spain's powerful rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella, by marrying their daughter - forced all Jews in his country to convert.
Some fled, but those who stayed were subjected to humiliating public baptisms. They were designated "New Christians" or "Marranos," Iberian slang for pigs. Even then, they remained at risk from religious persecution. In 1506, some 3,000 Jews were massacred in Lisbon.
The royal edict forced the Jewish faith underground, while publicly Jews performed Catholic rituals.
The ark is a carved granite repository, about 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall and arched at the top. Like most arks, it faces east - towards Jerusalem.
Experts have dated the broken pieces of decorative green tiles in the ark to the 16th century because marks reveal they were glazed using methods particular to the period.
Jardim Moreira, 64, says he intends to place a glass screen over the ark for protection while authorities decide how it can be exhibited.
The Israeli Ambassador to Portugal, Aaron Ram, is involved in efforts to preserve the ark.
"It's quite exciting. You feel part of history when you see it," Ram said. "It's a very important site. ... We all have to remember our history so we can be prepared for the future."
Name of source: Baltimore Sun
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun (12-21-05)
She isn't mad that the Oscar winner said on CBS' 60 Minutes that it's "ridiculous" to relegate one month to black history and that the practice should be abolished.
But as director of the group founded by the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, Cyrus-Albritton says she has an important message for Freeman: "We're not there yet, Morgan."
It was a response echoed by many civil rights leaders and historians across the country yesterday after Freeman's statements, broadcast Sunday, sparked a heated debate over whether, as he suggested, the only way to eliminate racism is to just stop talking about it.
"Mr. Freeman was giving an opinion that does not jibe with the best information we have," civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson says. "Unless blacks are given due credit for what they do, we need to continue teaching black history, for both esteem purposes and edification. ... I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, but [the] actor makes a statement, an observation. He is not a historian. He is projecting an idealism. We should leave this debate to historians."
Cyrus-Albritton of the 90-year-old Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Washington, agreed that the job of educating Americans about black history is far from done.
Name of source: David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
SOURCE: David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (12-21-05)
By contrast, in the United States and Europe, Holocaust-deniers suffered a number of setbacks in 2005, as a result of public protests and government action. Protests in the U.S. resulted in C-Span's cancelation of a broadcast of Holocaust-denier David Irving; the withdrawal by Teen People magazine of an article whitewashing a Holocaust-denying singing duo; and the Jordanian government's decision to halt an antisemitic and Holocaust-denying television series. At the same time, the governments of Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and the Netherlands took legal action against Holocaust-deniers.
In another significant development, the U.S. State Department for the first time officially described Holocaust-denial as a form of antisemitism. In its report on antisemitism around the world, issued in January 2005, the State Department included instances of Holocaust-denial as manifestations of antisemitism.
"The U.S. government now acknowledges that Holocaust-denial is anti-Jewish bigotry, not a legitimate interpretation of history," said Dr. Medoff. "This establishes an important precedent that other governments should follow."
Holocaust-denial was the subject of widespread public attention this past year, due to Holocaust-denial statements by the president of Iran and the announcement that Mel Gibson is involved in a forthcoming television series about the Holocaust. (Gibson's father denies the Holocaust, and Gibson himself has made statements minimizing and distorting the Holocaust.) These developments were reported extensively by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Associated Press, and other major news media.
Name of source: TruthOut
SOURCE: TruthOut (12-20-05)
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (12-21-05)
A small man with glasses and thinning hair, he looked more like a bureaucrat than a guerrilla fighter. But his revolutionary credentials were impeccable, starting with a 1971 conviction for plotting to blow up British government buildings and a four-year stint in the infamous Maze prison. A photo from that time shows him with his arm draped over the shoulder of cellmate Bobby Sands, the Irish Republican Army icon who died on a hunger strike in 1981. Then, last week, Donaldson revealed his secret: For two decades, he had been a British spy.
Donaldson's announcement has roiled Northern Ireland's fragile political world, where mistrust between Protestants and Catholics still runs high despite the IRA's announcement last summer that it was permanently ending its armed campaign. Politicians from all sides are demanding official inquiries into one of the province's most sensational cases of espionage since the beginning of the sectarian violence known as the Troubles, a three-decade war that cost more than 3,600 lives.
''People are just gobsmacked," said Tim Pat Coogan, an Irish historian and author of a history of the IRA.
Even Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland, who said he would seek an investigation, called the situation ''as bizarre as it gets."
A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain said over the weekend that Blair would have ''no comment whatsoever."
Donaldson, 55, had emerged from Maze prison as a rising republican star. He eventually became a top official in Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, where he was a confidant of party leader Gerry Adams and represented the party on fund-raising trips to the United States. And for much of that time, Donaldson admitted Friday, he was being paid by the British government to inform on his colleagues.
''I deeply regret my activities with British intelligence," he said in a statement broadcast on television. Apologizing to his ''former comrades" and his family in a calm voice, he said he ''was recruited in the 1980s after compromising myself during a vulnerable time in my life." He did not elaborate, and it remains unclear how the British government recruited him.
Martin McGuinness, deputy leader of Sinn Fein, told BBC Radio Ulster on Saturday that the disclosure showed that, despite the IRA's disarmament, British security forces were still trying to undermine the landmark 1998 Good Friday peace accord. That plan called for a power-sharing agreement between Northern Ireland's Catholic republicans, who want to see Northern Ireland reunited with the Republic of Ireland, and Protestant unionists, who support British rule in the province.
SOURCE: WaPo (12-17-05)
But people in those places were not always happy with what accompanied the French largess, including war, slavery, torture and the eradication of their cultures.
Those competing views of history have set off an emotional debate in France and places it colonized, following passage of a law here mandating that French schools give more emphasis to the positive aspects of French colonization.
Critics call the law an effort to obscure abysmal treatment of blacks and other indigenous peoples during colonial times and suggest that it mirrors a similar attitude toward immigrants in France today.
The link between the eras "is very, very great discrimination," said Victorin Lurel, a socialist member of Parliament from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. "The youngsters in the suburbs are sons of immigrants -- they are colored and blacks and Algerian, and their parents were discriminated against in French society, and that is one motivation that was at the foundation of the violence and riots in the suburbs" that rocked France for three weeks in October and November, he said.
The law is part of an otherwise uncontroversial bill that Parliament passed in February to improve conditions for French people who left Algeria after independence there and moved to France.
The language in question calls for French school programs to "recognize in particular the positive role of France's presence overseas, notably in North Africa, and give due prominence to the history and sacrifices of French army fighters from these territories."
"I wanted to pay homage to all the troops from our overseas territories who fought so valiantly for France during World War II," the measure's sponsor, Christian Vanneste, said in an interview, "and to pay tribute to the one million Frenchmen and some 150,000 repatriates who had to leave Algeria in 1962."
The bill generated criticism in France and its former colonial realm at the time, and the debate was reignited after Parliament reaffirmed the law two weeks ago.
Some history teachers and left-wing politicians contend that conservatives were trying to legislate away massacres and torture perpetrated by French troops during Algeria's 1954-62 war of independence and to whitewash France's role in the slave trade and the subjugation of indigenous cultures in the Caribbean.
Name of source: Baltic Times (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
SOURCE: Baltic Times (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) (12-21-05)
The documentary has drawn criticism because it reportedly juxtaposes video material from World War II with recent minority-related demonstrations in the country.
The documentary was shown to local journalists shortly after the European Council decided to end human rights monitoring in Latvia, causing some members of Parliament to conclude that the film was Russia’s answer to the recent decision to end monitoring. Many have interpreted the documentary as depicting a revival of fascism in Latvia today.
It includes a march to the Freedom Monument by members of All For Latvia and some veterans of the Latvian legion on the day honoring the legion. The footage shows protestors clad in prison uniforms with the Star of David being hauled away by local police for physically obstructing the march.
“This tendentious and one-sided interpretation of the events of World War II cannot even for a small measure pretend to be an objective and serious historical expertise,” Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks told the Baltic News Service.
The Greens and Farmers’ Union have called for a halt to showing the film, which was produced by a little-known Russian company Third Rome, claiming it would ignite ethnic hatred and harm relations between the two countries.
“The film incites ethnic hatred, and is a noteworthy example of [Joseph] Goebbels’ propoganda. It lies and distorts history,” Janis Strazdins, a member of the Greens and Farmers’ Union, said at a press conference.
“This is a known provocation in order to start a debate about the monitoring of human rights in Latvia,” said parliamentarian speaker Ingrida Udre.
The prosecutor’s office is reportedly considering a probe into whether the film promotes ethnic hatred.
Other than a group of journalists and politicians, few have yet to see the whole film.
Name of source: Edwin Black in the JTA
SOURCE: Edwin Black in the JTA (12-19-05)
Iran’s links to the Third Reich began during the pre-World War II years when it welcomed Gestapo agents and other operatives to Tehran, allowing them to use it as a Middle East base for agitation against the British and the region’s Jews.
Key among these Gestapo men was Fritz Grobba, Berlin’s envoy to the Middle East, and often called “the German Lawrence” because he promised a Pan-Arab state stretching from Casablanca to Tehran.
Relations between Berlin and Tehran were strong from the moment Hitler came to power in 1933, when Reza Shah Pahlavi’s nation was still known as Persia.
The shah became a stalwart admirer of Hitler, Nazism and the concept of the Aryan master race. He also sought the Nazis’ help in reducing British petro-political domination.
So intense was the shah’s identification with the Third Reich that in 1935 he renamed his ancient country “Iran,” which in Farsi means Aryan and refers to the Proto-Indo-European lineage that Nazi racial theorists and Persian ethnologists cherished.
The idea for the name change was suggested by the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of Hitler’s trusted banker Hjalmar Schacht. From that point, all Iranians were constantly reminded that their country shared a bond with the Nazi regime.
Shortly after World War II began in 1939, the mufti of Jerusalem crafted a strategic alliance with Hitler to exchange Iraqi oil for active Arab and Islamic participation in the murder of Jews in the Mideast and Eastern Europe, predicated on support for a Pan-Arab state and Arab rule over Palestine.
During the war years, Iran became a haven and headquarters for Gestapo agents and German operatives. It was from Iran that the seeds of the abortive 1941 pro-Nazi coup in Baghdad were planted.
After Churchill’s forces booted the Nazis out of Iraq in June 1941, the German air crews supporting Nazi bombers escaped across the northern border back into Iran. Likewise, the mufti of Jerusalem was spirited across the border to Tehran, where he continued to call for the destruction of the Jews and the defeat of the British. His venomous rhetoric filled the newspapers and radio broadcasts of Tehran.
From Tehran and elsewhere, the Mufti was a vocal and vigilant opponent of allowing Jewish refugees to be transported or ransomed into Palestine. Instead, he wanted them shipped to the gas chambers of Poland.
In the summer of 1941, with the support of key Iranian military and government leaders, the mufti advocated implementing in Iran what had failed months earlier in Iraq. The plan once again was for a total diversion of oil from the Allies to the Nazis in exchange for the accelerated destruction of the Jews in Eastern Europe and support for an Arab state.
Through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Iran already had been supplying Hitler’s forces in occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria. Now the mufti agitated to cut off the British and the Allies completely and supply Germany in its push against Russia and the East.
In October, 1941, British, Russians and other Allied forces invaded Iran to break up the Iran-Nazi alliance. Pro-Nazi generals and ministers were arrested and the shah’s Western-leaning son was installed.
The mufti scampered into the Italian Embassy, where he shaved his beard and dyed his hair, and was then allowed to exit the country along with the rest of the Italian delegation.
Once the mufti relocated permanently to Berlin, where he established his own Reich-supported “bureau,” he was given airtime on Radio Berlin. From Berlin and other fascist capitals in Europe, the mufti continued to agitate for the destruction of international Jewry, as well as a pan-Arab and pan-Islamic alliance with the Nazi regime.
He called upon all Muslims to “kill the Jews wherever you see them.” In Tehran’s marketplace, it was common to see placards that declared, “In heaven, Allah is your master. On Earth, it is Adolf Hitler.”
When the mufti organized three Islamic Waffen SS divisions to undertake operations in Bosnia, among the 30,000 killers were some volunteer contingents from Iran. Iranian Nazis, along with the other Muslim Waffen SS, operated under the direct supervision of Heinrich Himmler and were responsible for barbarous actions against Jews and others in Bosnia. Recruitment for the murderous “Handschar Divisions” was open and public in Iran.
Iran and its leaders not only were aware of the Holocaust, they played both sides. The country offered overland escape routes for refugee Jews fleeing Nazi persecution to Israel — and later fleeing postwar Iraqi fascist persecution — but only in exchange for extortionary passage fees. Thousands of Jews made their way to Israel via Iran both during the Holocaust and after the fall of Hitler, when Arab leaders, especially in Iraq, tried to continue Germany’s anti-Jewish program. Iran profited handsomely.
To play all sides of the Holocaust drama — and now to deny that the Holocaust even happened — should be very difficult in a nation named for Hitler’s master race.
Name of source: Times Online (UK)
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (12-20-05)
A new architect-designed space, covered in glass, will also feature the bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius with his arm outstretched — the most celebrated statue in the Ancient world — and a gigantic head of the Emperor Constantine. Walter Veltroni, the Mayor of Rome, said that the new wing of the Capitoline Museums was a stunning sight.
Anna Mura Sommella, the director of the Capitoline Museums, said it had been thought that only the foundations of the temple were left. But excavation work in the new space, a neglected courtyard of the Renaissance-era museum buildings on Capitol Hill, had brought to light a 7m (22ft) stretch of the temple wall.
The Temple of Jupiter dates to the 6th century BC and was dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. According to the Roman historian Livy it was built on the site of a sacred oak, where Roman soldiers deposited the spoils of war. At the height of its fame, its doors, roof and statues of the deities were ablaze with gold.
The finds have helped archaeologists to identify the site and dimensions of the temple, dedicated in 509BC, which measured 60m x 52m (197ft x 171ft) and had a portico of six marble columns. It was the focal point of religion and politics and the scene of triumphal processions after military victories.
Name of source: Peoples Daily (China)
SOURCE: Peoples Daily (China) (12-20-05)
Although there is no evidence that the two constructions had any direct connections, indirect influence from the Great Wall on the Roman Limes is certain, said Visy Zsolt, a professor with the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Pecs in Hungary.
Visy made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua as he attended an international conference in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province recently, and his opinion was shared by some Chinese and foreign scholars.
The Roman Limes are Europe's largest archaeological monument, consisting of sections of the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD.
All together, the Limes stretch over 5,000 kilometers from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
Vestiges include the remains of the ramparts, walls and ditches, close to 900 watchtowers, 60 forts, and civilian settlements which accommodated tradesmen, craftsmen and others who served in the military.
The long distance and the great number of different peoples and cultures in Central Asia made any connections between the two ancient Roman and Chinese empires almost impossible.
However, curiosity and the challenge of covering great distances and seeing remote lands excited people in the past, Visy said.
"Indeed, more information about each other could be gained exactly in times as the one or the other became stronger and could start some programs toward the other," Visy said.
As for the Roman Empire, the silk trade started during the reign of Augustus. The trade became intensive both on the Silk Route and in the sea.
The Chinese chief commander Ban Chao led an army up the Caspian Sea in the 1st century AD and sent a delegation to the west to get information about Rome (called Daqin in Chinese).
Visy noted that there are a lot of similarities between the Roman Limes and the Great Wall. Both empires wanted to launch a strong barrier against "barbarians" and to prevent their invasions. In doing so, the Han Dynasty (226 BC-220 AD) built a continuous wall, but Rome built a wall only in special cases.
Name of source: Japan Focus
SOURCE: Japan Focus (12-20-05)
The official Japanese response to the issues is emblematic not only of the ability to put war issues behind it but also of the fact that serious historians differ on many of the specifics of the massacre. The present article presents Chinese conclusions about casualties, notably 300,000 dead and 80,000 rapes. However, as David Askew has noted in “New Research on the Nanjing Incident,” several of the most exhaustive Japanese and international studies suggest that figures closer to 100,000 deaths may be more plausible.
With Chinese archives still closed, and with Nanjing deniers continuing to challenge the important research findings of critical Japanese historians, important issues pertaining to the massacre remain contested. Likewise, the number of lives saved by the actions of Rabe and other members of the international community remains moot. What is not in question is the fact that the Japanese military committed major atrocities at Nanjing. Is it possible that historians of China and Japan will eventually produce a common understanding of the events of Nanjing? If the recent history of East Asian nationalism is a guide, that will not be any time soon. The stakes, however, are high in terms of the peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia. Japan Focus
Name of source: Independent (London)
SOURCE: Independent (London) (12-20-05)
Stephen Fry uncovered the scam after mentioning Tiddles during a BBC interview to plug the DVD of his quiz show QI. A few days later, he received a letter from Evans's widow, Anna.
'I ought to tell the world that Tiddles is a myth,' it read. 'He first appeared in a letter written by my husband to The Spectator in 1990. He followed it up in an article in the Nelson Society Journal, with very convincing and entirely fictional footnotes.
'From there, Tiddles snowballed to become part of popular folklore and has featured in books, magazines and academic journals.'
Fry's producer, John Lloyd, says this has surprised even tour guides on HMS Victory. 'We research questions exhaustively at QI, and we have never come across something like this before,' he tells me.
Name of source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Telegraph (UK) (12-20-05)
Mary Seacole, the nurse who served in the Crimea, Olaudah Equino, an 18th century anti-slavery writer, or Dadabhai Naoroji, the first South Asian MP who sat for Finsbury in the 1890s, have all been suggested as candidates.
Linda Colley, the author of several books on British identity, said in an interview for Fabian Review, the magazine of the Fabian Society, that "practical measures'' were needed to create a new definition of Britishness to include blacks and Asians.
''There are omissions which are painfully obvious and which could easily be put right,'' she said. ''Why, for instance, are all the people on the British banknotes always white?''
While most of the historical figures depicted on the notes are household names, such as Charles Darwin and Sir Edward Elgar, the Fabians - who are organising a major conference on the future of Britishness - are questioning why Sir John Houblon should stay on the pounds 50 note when few have heard of him.
The first governor of the Bank of England, he replaced Sir Christopher Wren in 1994 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the bank.
Sunder Katwala of the Fabian Society said it was time for a national debate about the identities of new faces.
''Few people know how these things are decided, or how somebody like Sir John Houblon was chosen to be the face of the pounds 50 note,'' he said.
"Our national symbols should reflect the nation that we are today.
"Deciding how we should do that could be a really positive way to capture and increase the growing public interest in our history.
"Just as Florence Nightingale was on the pounds 10 note from 1975 to 1994, Mary Seacole could be a symbol not just of our history but of the diversity which is today at the heart of our most cherished national institution, the NHS.''