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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: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (12-15-05)
The painting was analysed by a University of Amsterdam computer using "emotion recognition" software.
It concluded that the subject was 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry, journal New Scientist was told.
The computer rated features such as the curvature of the lips and crinkles around the eyes.
The program, developed with researchers at the University of Illinois, draws on a database of young female faces to derive an average "neutral" expression.
The software uses this average expression as the standard for comparisons.
The New Scientist says that software capable of recognising emotions just by looking at photographs could lead to PCs that adjust their response depending on the user's mood.
SOURCE: BBC News (12-14-05)
SOURCE: BBC News (12-12-05)
Few crimes can make the flesh crawl like body snatching, but it was prevalent in the 18th Century.
The image of freshly raided graves scandalised the public, but few of the perpetrators and procurers were caught and, when they were, the punishments were trivial.
Simon Chaplin, senior curator of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, has new insights into this grisly conundrum.
In a recent speech, he pointed out that some of the great discoveries of medical history took place in the 18th Century - the small pox vaccine, advances in obstetrics, dental surgery and the treatment and detection of venereal disease.
SOURCE: BBC News (12-10-05)
The fate of the building has raised questions about German identity.
It's hard to overlook the Palace of the Republic: a squat, brown building on a vast expanse of empty concrete in the heart of Berlin.
It sits like an angry proletarian opposite the fake Italian Renaissance of the city's cathedral - which holds the bones of the Hohenzollern dynasty in its crypts.
This is a building, both in its style and its location that was designed to celebrate a state of workers and farmers. But that state has long faded into history, and the palace too is now on its death bed.
SOURCE: BBC News (12-11-05)
Name of source: Toronto Star
SOURCE: Toronto Star (12-15-05)
The 32 black flint artifacts, found in river sediments in Pakefield, England, date back 700,000 years and represent the earliest unequivocal evidence for human presence north of the Alps, said the scientists, whose discovery is detailed in the science journal Nature.
The finding dashes the long-held theory that humans did not migrate north from the relatively warm climates of the Mediterranean region until half a million years ago, they said.
"The discovery that early humans could have existed this far north this long ago was startling," said Chris Stringer, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum and one of four British scientists who took part in the study.
"Now that we know this, we can search for the remains of these people, knowing that we may find them. Their arrival in northern Europe could have happened even earlier," he said at a news conference in London.
Pakefield is a coastal village 190 kilometres northeast of London.
Jim Rose, a professor at the University of London who also was involved in the study, said England 700,000 years ago was still connected to the European mainland and enjoyed periods of balmy weather.
The artifacts, suggest the early humans didn't colonize northern areas of Europe, but merely expanded their migratory patterns there when the weather permitted, the scientists said.
Before that discovery, the earliest traces of humans in Europe north of the Alps were dated to about 500,000 years ago, and included flint artifacts and even some human remains that were discovered in Bosgrove on the southern coast of England.
The earliest traces of human presence in southern Europe are at least 800,000 years old.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (12-14-05)
In brilliant color, the mural tells the Maya story of creation, he said. It was painted about 100 B.C., but later covered when the room was filled in.
But the Gateses were not the first to see that money could sometimes move mountains in public health. They are following in the footsteps of the industrial giants of the late-19th century, said Dr. Howard Markel, director of the University of Michigan's Center for the History of Medicine.
These men also brought their fortunes to bear on social problems, and believed that they could succeed in philanthropy in much the way they had succeeded in business.
The donors of the robber-baron years started their philanthropy while still alive - a novel idea then. Andrew Carnegie, for example, gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to build libraries long before his death.
The largest bequest in American history prior to Carnegie's time was from Johns Hopkins, a Baltimore merchant, who left $7 million to found the eponymous university and hospital in 1873 - after he died.
But the closest parallel to the Gates approach to philanthropy is that of John D. Rockefeller, said Dr. Markel and Robert E. Kohler, a medical historian from the University of Pennsylvania.
SOURCE: NYT (12-13-05)
Harvard said it would create a universitywide program on Islamic studies, recruit new faculty members in the field, provide more support for graduate students and convert rare Islamic textual sources into digital formats to make them widely available.
Georgetown said it would use the gift - the second-largest it has ever received - to expand its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, which is part of its Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. It said it would rename the center the H.R.H. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
The prince, who is said to be in his late 40's or early 50's, and was fifth on the Forbes 400 list of wealthy people this year, with a fortune of $23.7 billion, has made a variety of other sizable gifts, including $20 million to the Louvre and to other universities.
One gift that backfired, however, was a $10 million check he gave Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in October 2001 for the Twin Towers Fund, a charity to help survivors of uniformed workers who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The prince had expressed his condolences for the lives lost and condemned "all forms of terrorism," in a letter accompanying the gift.
SOURCE: NYT (12-13-05)
But City News Service, where flowery prose was mocked and accuracy about the tiniest of factual detail was demanded, is closing. The demise of the wire service, which opened in 1890 as a cooperative deal among Chicago newspapers, signifies many ends.
It is the close of a pre-Internet age, when news outlets could afford to share basic information with their competitors. It is also a goodbye to the memories of an era when reporters drank, smoked and played poker on the job and said whatever it took to enter a crime scene.
It is also the closing of a boot camp for the greenest reporters, including a few who went on to be famous.
"You had to get everything exactly right or the editors would give you hell," said Kurt Vonnegut, the author, who worked at City News in the 40's.
The word getting the workout from the nation's top guns these days is "caliphate" - the term for the seventh-century Islamic empire that spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, then ended with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. The term can also refer to other caliphates, including the one declared by the Ottoman Turks that ended in 1924.
Specialists on Islam say the word is a mysterious and ominous one for many Americans, and that the administration knows it. "They recognize that there's a lot of resonance when they use the term 'caliphate,' " said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and now a scholar at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said that the word had an "almost instinctive fearful impact."
So now, Mr. Cheney and others warn, Al Qaeda's ultimate goal is the re-establishment of the caliphate, with calamitous consequences for the United States. As Mr. Cheney put it in Lake Elmo, referring to Osama bin Laden and his followers: "They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the seventh-century caliphate" to be "governed by Sharia law, the most rigid interpretation of the Koran."
A number of scholars and former government officials take strong issue with the administration's warning about a new caliphate, and compare it to the fear of communism spread during the Cold War. They say that although Al Qaeda's statements do indeed describe a caliphate as a goal, the administration is exaggerating the magnitude of the threat as it seeks to gain support for its policies in Iraq.
In the view of John L. Esposito, an Islamic studies professor at Georgetown University, there is a difference between the ability of small bands of terrorists to commit attacks across the world and achieving global conquest.
A continent removed from the scrutiny of scarred New Yorkers, Oliver Stone's film about 9/11 rescue workers is deep into its second month of principal photography. And crew members working round the clock are dressing one of the most sensitive movie sets imaginable.
The film, which as of now is to be called, simply, "World Trade Center," tells the story of two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who were the last two rescue workers pulled from ground zero alive. It is billed as an uplifting story about everyday New Yorkers helping one another amid a cataclysmic tragedy. So for 20 days in October and November, the cast and crew were in the New York metropolitan area, filming at the police desk in the Port Authority bus terminal and along the route the officers took downtown on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. They filmed scenes on the Staten Island ferry, the Long Island Rail Road and a subway train in Brooklyn. They shot in Clifton, N.J., near Mr. Jimeno's house, and in other suburbs.
A man in Nashville has admitted that, in trying to shock a colleague with a joke, he put false information into a Wikipedia entry about John Seigenthaler Sr., a former editor of The Tennessean in Nashville.
Brian Chase, 38, who until Friday was an operations manager at a small delivery company, told Mr. Seigenthaler on Friday that he had written the material suggesting that Mr. Seigenthaler had been involved in the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy. Wikipedia, a nonprofit venture that is the world's biggest encyclopedia, is written and edited by thousands of volunteers.
A courtly, sharp-witted presence in capital politics for half a century, Mr. McCarthy, a Minnesota Democrat, died in his sleep at an assisted-living home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, where he had lived for the last several years.
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (12-14-05)
In the lead-in to the story CBS declared: "Of all the founders, it was Ben Franklin – his wit, charm, and that practical side which produced so many of his inventions – who would have been most at home in modern America."
CBS built its story around an extended intervioew with Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson.
Name of source: National Security Archive
SOURCE: National Security Archive (12-14-05)
Thomas S. Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive responded to the new Executive Order by stating, "After five years of throwing sand into the gears of the FOIA, the Bush administration is finally designating someone at the agencies to be responsible for compliance and performance. Now the question is: Will they have the determination and the authority to implement any real changes in the current ailing FOIA system?"
Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs noted, "Up until now this administration has strongly resisted transparency and accountability. We can only hope that this is a sign that it intends to start being more responsive to the public."
The National Security Archive has extensively audited the performance of the FOIA during the Bush administration and published detailed reports on the depth of FOIA backlogs pending at major federal agencies and the impact of Attorney General John Ashcroft's October 2001 memo on the FOIA. The Archive found a system plagued by delay, inefficiency and functioning in large part without high level official support for the work of government FOIA personnel.
"We are hopeful this Executive Order will lead to greater concern from senior agency officials for the FOIA. It remains uncertain how it will be implemented and whether any actual processing changes will result. One wonders if the administration is just trying to preempt the growing bipartisan movement to strengthen the FOIA by issuing a potentially weak Executive Order," commented Barbara Elias, the Archive's freedom of information coordinator.
Name of source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency
SOURCE: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (12-14-05)
Name of source: Cliopatria, HNN Blog
SOURCE: Cliopatria, HNN Blog (12-14-05)
"... The historian is not a slave to current events. The historian does not dump contemporary ideological schemes on the past and does not introduce to past events today's sensibilities. ..."
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-14-05)
In a bid to appeal to people of African origins in the country's troubled housing estates, he also backed fighting discrimination by pressing employers to accept anonymous job applications.
Answering questions from readers of the daily tabloid newspaper Le Parisien, he again distanced himself from the language of his interior minister and would-be successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, by warning politicians to choose their words carefully when commenting on suburban crime.
Mr Sarkozy had talked about la racaille - "rabble" or "riff-raff" but capable of being understood as "scum" - when asked about the recent troubles.
But Mr Chirac said: "When someone commits a crime, that person is a delinquent or criminal. Those are the terms that should be used."
A weekend poll suggested only one per cent of the French want Mr Chirac to stand for a third term in 2007 and his words could be seen as a politician attempting to improve his standing.
France and its past and present overseas possessions have been torn in recent days by controversy about new legislation requiring children to be taught about the "positive" aspects of colonialism.
Mr Sarkozy was forced to call off a visit to the French Caribbean départements of Martinique and Guadeloupe amid threats of protests.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-11-05)
They claim the legislation ignores the torture, slavery and massacres "that sometimes went as far as genocide" and sometimes accompanied French colonialism.
The law aims to protect the reputations of "pieds noirs" - French people born in Algeria - and "harkis", Algerians loyal to France who were allowed to settle in the country when Algeria became independent in 1962. The legislation states: "School programmes are to recognise in particular the positive role of the French presence overseas, especially in North Africa, and give an eminent place to the history and sacrifices of fighters for the French army raised in these territories."
Hubert Tisson, general secretary of the History and Geography Professors' Association, said: "History shouldn't be used as an instrument to benefit this or that group or community.
"It's for historians to write history and for teachers to teach it. There shouldn't be an official history as in dictatorships."
Name of source: Detroit News
SOURCE: Detroit News (12-13-05)
Combined with other budget cutbacks, the plan is expected save $40 million. But major parts of the mayor's overall plan to avoid a budget deficit -- including pay and benefit cuts for union-represented workers -- remain unresolved.
The pink slips, following hundreds of layoffs earlier this year, will go out today and take effect Jan. 15. Kilpatrick says he has cut roughly 2,800 city jobs since taking office in 2001, reducing overall city employment to just under 17,000.
Included are nine layoffs and the closing of the Detroit Historical Museum for a savings of $475,000. Officials say the museum could remain open only if private funding were found immediately to avoid a shutdown.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (12-14-05)
The result, in line with most Japanese rulings on war-related compensation claims, comes at a time when Japan's ties with South Korea and China have been chilled by disputes stemming from Japan's past aggression in Asia.
In Wednesday's case, Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal from a lower court in which the relatives demanded that the Japanese government be ordered to pay 20 million yen ($166,600) in compensation for each of the four, Kyodo news agency said.
"It is legitimate to reject the case as it is clear that the right to file claims has been nullified," Presiding Judge Hiromu Emi was quoted by Kyodo as saying.
A court official confirmed that the appeal had been rejected but declined to give further details.
The court upheld an October 2004 ruling that said property claims by South Koreans who were forced to work in wartime Japan had been nullified under a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries, Kyodo said.
It said the court heard that the four deceased South Koreans were forcibly brought to Japan and made to labor at an ironworks in the city of Kamaishi, about 400 km (250 miles) north of Tokyo, for Japan Iron & Steel Co. -- now known as Nippon Steel Corp. They died in an Allied naval bombardment in July 1945, it said.
Japan says the issue of wartime compensation claims with South Korea was settled in the 1965 treaty, which required Japan to pay $500 million in economic aid to South Korea.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (12-14-05)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the comments to thousands of people during a speech in Iran's south-eastern city of Zahedan.
They follow the international outcry his remarks caused in October when he said that Israel should be "wiped off the map".
Germany's foreign minister warned that the "shocking and unacceptable" comments would influence coming nuclear talks between Europe and Iran.
The European Commission also said the remarks would hurt Iran's relations with other countries.
Addressing the crowds in Zahedan, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets."
He has previously expressed doubts about the murder of the Jews by the Nazis, but today was the first time he said publicly that the Holocaust was a myth.
Speaking as part of a tour of south-east Iran, Mr Ahmadinejad said that if Europeans insisted the Holocaust did happen, then it was they who were responsible and they should pay the price.
"If you committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?" Mr Ahmadinejad asked.
"This is our proposal: if you committed the crime, then give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews], so that the Jews can establish their country," he said.
These comments developed a theme he first raised in Saudi Arabia last week.
Name of source: Chicago Tribune
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (12-14-05)
"It's really breathtaking how beautiful this is," said William Saturno, an archeologist with the University of New Hampshire and the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology who discovered the mural in Guatemala.
"I was awestruck by its state of preservation," he said. "Its brilliant colors and fluid lines looked as though they could have been painted yesterday."
Scholars are calling the discovery the "Sistine Chapel" of the Pre-classic Maya world and one of the most significant archeological finds in decades.
Saturno spoke at a briefing organized by the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. The society came up with emergency funding when the site was discovered, and the magazine has covered the saga from the beginning. The latest research will be featured in the January issue of National Geographic.
"Our original dating of the murals to approximately A.D. 100 was a conservative estimate based largely upon stylistic comparisons," Saturno said. "We now know from the radiocarbon dating of the murals and of the construction and ancient debris that buried them that they more accurately date to 100 B.C."
The 30-foot by 3-foot painting was the last section of a room- size mural to be excavated since the site was discovered in 2001 at the ruins of the Mayan city of San Bartolo in the lowlands of northeastern Guatemala.
The mural was painted with pigments on smooth plaster by skilled artisans who had to work while the plaster was moist. It tells the story of creation, the mythology of kingship and the divine right of a king. The mural has a highly developed hieroglyphic script, only some of which can be read by scholars, Saturno said.
It features four deities, all of which are variations of the son of the corn god, a young deity and patron of kings, he said. The deities provide a blood sacrifice and an offering in four cardinal directions as they set up the physical world.
Name of source: EurActiv
SOURCE: EurActiv (12-14-05)
The trial will focus on remarks made by Pamuk in the Swiss newspaper Das Bild in February 2005. In that interview he said that "thirty thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in Turkey" during World War One and again in the 1980s and 1990s. He also said that "almost no one dares to speak out on this but me".
In recent decades, Turkey has made significant progress in protecting the freedom of expression, but many restrictions are understood to remain. In recent months, trials similar to that of Pamuk have been held against some 60 other writers.
In 2004, Turkey amended its constitution in order to render international human rights treaties applicable in domestic law. While the EU has been generally content with the amendments, it continues to urge Ankara to modify or scrap Article 301 which it believes curbs the freedom of expression.
In the broader context of accession, Turkey is expected by the EU to meet the so-called Copenhagen criteria. In this respect, the EU continues to see "significant shortcomings" in the area of fundamental freedoms and human rights, "particularly on freedom of expression, women’s rights, religious freedoms, trade union rights, cultural rights and the zero tolerance policy against torture and ill-treatment".
The issue of the Armenian massacres is highly sensitive in Turkey. While Ankara denies claims that the Ottoman forces committed genocide against Armenians, it has recently called for historians to debate the issue.
Name of source: Xinhuanet
SOURCE: Xinhuanet (12-14-05)
Alxa Mongolian folk songs are more than 300 years old, according to Gerel, secretary of the Alxa Association of Folk Songs in the Alxa League, based in north China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
"Since September 2003 when the association was reconvened, we have covered almost every corner of Alxa and visited hundreds of seniors," he said. "We have now a collection of 1,100 rare folk songs."
Alxa folk songs are sung by herdsmen. About two thirds of them express homesickness, love and friendship, or are odes to horses.
The lyrics are mostly philosophical and rendered in couplets. Alxa tunes are in the ancient pentatonic style.
Gerel noted that Alxa folk songs are characterized by few lyrics and long tunes so that they are fit for arias. This allows the singer almost unrestrained freedom.
Alxa folk songs are a record of the geography, history and culture of the region.
"However, these traditional folk songs are disappearing," said Gerel, adding that at present Alxa folk song singers number less than 200, most of whom are elderly.
Fortunately, most of the lost Alxa folk songs have now been retrieved and are under good preservation. The collected songs have just been compiled and will come out soon.
Name of source: Science Daily
SOURCE: Science Daily (12-14-05)
The work, by a team of anthropologists and biologists from Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Massey University in New Zealand and the University of Maine, appears this week on the web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Integrating genetics and archaeology, the researchers assembled a collection of ancient remnants of bottle gourds from across the Americas. They then identified key genetic markers from the DNA of both the ancient gourds and their modern counterparts in Asia and Africa before comparing the plants' genetic make-up to determine the origins of the New World gourds.
"For 150 years, the dominant theory has been that bottle gourds, which are quite buoyant and have no known wild progenitors in the Americas, floated across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa and were picked up and used as containers by people here," says Noreen Tuross, the Landon T. Clay Professor of Scientific Archaeology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Much to our surprise, we found that in every case the gourds found in the Americas were a genetic match with modern gourds found in Asia, not Africa. This suggests quite strongly that the gourds that were used as containers in the Americas for thousands of years before the advent of pottery were brought over from Asia."
The researchers say it's possible the domesticated gourds -- differentiated from wild bottle gourds by a much thicker rind -- were conveyed to North America by people who arrived from Asia in boats or who walked across an ancient land bridge between the continents, or that the gourds floated across the Bering Strait after being transported by humans from their native Africa to far northeastern Asia.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (12-13-05)
Perhaps Franklin thought better of that letter because he never sent it. But it was preserved and is one of 75 items in the Library of Congress' exhibit, "Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words." The display was unveiled this week, a month ahead of the anniversary of Franklin's Jan. 17, 1706 birth, and is drawn from the more than 8,000 documents in the library's Benjamin Franklin Collection.
The exhibit will be on view through June 17, 2006. Admission is free.
SOURCE: AP (12-10-05)
A team of Fort Drum archaeologists surveying a wooded hillside near where the Army is putting a new National Guard training site unearthed an unusual looking stone tool. With the help of a U.S. Marine archaeologist, the team was able to identify it as a triangular-pointed reamer, a typical prehistoric boat-building tool. They also found a punch and other three-dimensional blade tools.
The discovery was made half way down on a sloping wooded hillside that ended with a sharp 100-foot plunge.
"At that time, it would have been a bay or inlet. It would have been a perfect beach for building and launching boats," said Dr. Laurie Rush, Fort Drum's chief archaeologist.
With the help of other experts, Rush has estimated the site is about 11,000 years old _ about the time Indians first arrived in what is now upstate New York.
Rush has found two other sites to strengthen the theory of a prehistoric maritime culture in upstate New York. Two hills _ once islands in Lake Iroquois _ have also yielded stone boat-building tools. Rush will present her findings on the islands in the spring at an annual archaeology conference.
Rush works as the Army's cultural resources program manager at Fort Drum, a sprawling 107,000-acre installation near the U.S.-Canadian border in northern New York that serves as home to the 10th Mountain Division. Any time the ground of a federal installation is disturbed, archaeologists must first survey the site to make sure no historical artifacts will be lost or imperiled.
With Fort Drum building living and training quarters for a new brigade of 6,000 additional soldiers, Rush and her staff of three are nonstop busy. Each summer they get help from a cadre of 20 or so college students.
Since 1998, the team has dug more than 138,000 holes around the post. Amy Wood, a Colorado State University analyst who is part of Rush's staff, keeps track.
"You're just never sure what you might find so you have to pay close attention every time you look somewhere new," Wood said.
Army archaeologists already have identified a major Iroquois village in the middle of the post with dozens of lesser sites scattered around the installation. Rush said nearly 200 significant sites have been located on post.
SOURCE: AP (12-13-05)
Prosecutors argued that Jaruzelski violated the constitution when he imposed martial law in 1981, said Ewa Koj, a prosecutor with the National Remembrance Institute, which pursues communist-era crimes.
Jaruzelski, 82, also could face charges for harassment, the internment of thousands of government opponents and the deaths of almost 100 people during some 18 months of martial law.
Jaruzelski could not be reached for comment, but he has maintained that martial law pre-empted a Soviet invasion.
Koj indicated the charges, which were expected to be filed early next year, could lead to three years in prison.
"It's necessary to say at last that the general is not a hero, that what he did was bad and brought about serious consequences," she said on TVN24 television.
Jaruzelski's government imposed martial law on Dec. 13, 1981, and outlawed the Solidarity movement, which was pushing for economic reforms and democracy.
On Tuesday, President-elect Lech Kaczynski visited the Wujek coal mine in southern Poland where nine miners were killed on Dec. 16, 1981, when protesting martial law.
"We will never forget this crime," Kaczynski wrote in the visitors' book, later placing flowers at the monument to the fallen miners.
In Warsaw, youths dressed as communist-era riot police evoked the gloomy atmosphere of martial law as they stood in the Royal Castle Square, at the time the site of many violent clashes between civilians and security forces.
Jaruzelski still faces trial for the 1970 shooting deaths of striking shipyard workers in the Baltic port cities when he was defense minister. The trial began in 2001 but was stalled due to procedural problems.
Some 15 years after he stepped down as the nation's leader in 1990, formally ending communist rule in Poland, Jaruzelski remains a controversial figure. Vilified by political conservatives for martial law, he is lauded by former communists for peacefully relinquishing power.
Name of source: Financial Times
SOURCE: Financial Times (12-14-05)
Mr Cheney's advocacy, however, is best understood not as a defence of torture but as a key battle in the war over presidential power. His views of executive power were forged during the US retreat from Vietnam at a time of congressional assertiveness on foreign policy. After September 11 2001 he saw a chance to implement ideas about expansive executive power that he had long embraced and swing the pendulum back towards the president.
In an ABC interview in January 2002, Mr Cheney set out his philosophy: "In 34 years, I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job. One of the things that I feel an obligation on - and I know the president does too - is to pass on our offices in better shape than we found them."
His interest in the issue can be traced to his formative political years as chief of staff to President Gerald Ford from 1975. His promotion came amid growing public unease over Vietnam. In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Act, forcing the president explicitly to consult and report back to them when committing troops overseas. In 1974 the Church committee flexed its authority over intelligence activities, sparked by revulsion against CIA dirty tricks in the 1960s and 1970s.
"He saw the power of the presidency emasculated under his watch, particularly with the inability to stay the course in Vietnam," says Vin Weber, a Republican strategist who has known him for 25 years. "He's been determined to reverse this ever since from the energy taskforce to national security. I believe the current issue is less about the value of torture than about an imperative to preserve and strengthen the presidency."
Even as a congressman, Mr Cheney's loyalties lay with the White House. According to Congressional Quarterly, in 1981, 83 per cent of his votes backed Ronald Reagan, and in 1982, it was 87 per cent, making him the second strongest supporter in the House. His instincts were reinforced by Iran-Contra. The scandal was caused in part by Reagan's efforts to get around a congressional prohibition on giving aid to the Nicaraguan Contras by using the proceeds of secret arms sales to Iran. Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, says Mr Cheney's role as minority chair of the Iran-Contra committee crystallised his views. "The minority report is a sophisticated analysis of the separation of powers and Dick Cheney's staff wrote that section."
One conclusion of the minority report, published in 1987, was that Iran-Contra could be traced to a boundless view of congressional power in the 1970s, and the "state of political guerilla warfare over foreign policy between the legislative and executive branches."
Name of source: NYT & White House website
SOURCE: NYT & White House website (12-13-05)
Speakling at a meeting held by the World Affairs Council, Mr. Bush said:
A few blocks from here stands Independence Hall, where our Declaration of Independence was signed and our Constitution was debated. From the perspective of more than two centuries, the success of America's democratic experiment seems almost inevitable. At the time, however, that success didn't seem so obvious or assured.
The eight years from the end of the Revolutionary War to the election of a constitutional government were a time of disorder and upheaval. There were uprisings, with mobs attacking courthouses and government buildings. There was a planned military coup that was defused only by the personal intervention of General Washington. In 1783, Congress was chased from this city by angry veterans demanding back-pay, and they stayed on the run for six months. There were tensions between the mercantile North and the agricultural South that threatened to break apart our young republic. And there were British loyalists who were opposed to independence and had to be reconciled with America's new democracy.
Our founders faced many difficult challenges -- they made mistakes, they learned from their experiences, and they adjusted their approach. Our nation's first effort at governing -- a governing charter, the Articles of Confederation, failed. It took years of debate and compromise before we ratified our Constitution and inaugurated our first president. It took a four-year civil war, and a century of struggle after that, before the promise of our Declaration was extended to all Americans.
Speaking just a few blocks from Mr. Bush at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Mr. Murtha said that if the French had remained in the United States after the Revolutionary War,"we'd have thrown them the hell out of here."
The Iraqis, he said,"are not against democracy, they are against our occupation."
Name of source: Press Release David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies,
SOURCE: Press Release David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, (12-13-05)
Prof. Laurel Leff of Northeastern University will speak on "American Journalism and the Plight of Jewish Refugees from Nazi Germany," at the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), the premier organization of Jewish scholars.
Prof. Leff will speak at a session of the AJS conference that has been organized by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. The Wyman Institute's session of the conference will be held at the Washington Hilton and Towers, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., on Monday, December 19, 2005, from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm.
The session will be chaired by Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute.
Prof. Leff will present new research revealing that while many academic departments of American universities added Jewish refugee scholars to their faculties to help save them from Hitler, none of America's approximately 40 journalism schools placed refugee journalists on their staffs. She will document how some journalism school officials not only failed to aid refugee journalists, but expressed outright hostility to the idea and in some cases offered blatantly antisemitic rationales for their refusal to admit Jewish refugee journalists to their schools to retrain them as American journalists.
Prof. Leff will also describe how U.S. newspaper publishers refused to hire refugee journalists, and how the American Newspaper Publishers Association would not even allow a Harvard professor ten minutes to speak at its 1939 convention about the plight of refugee journalists.
Prof. Leff is the author of the critically-acclaimed new book about the New York Times and the Holocaust, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper, which was published by Cambridge University Press earlier this year.
For media representatives interested in attending this session should call the Association for Jewish Studies, 212-294-3801, x 6249, to make the necessary arrangements.
Those interested in interviewing Prof. Leff, either before or after her lecture, should call the Wyman Institute at 215-635-5622.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (12-12-05)
The group Proud Heritage has just sent out a survey this week hoping to compile these records into a national database; its director Jack Gilbert commented: ‘For the first time ever, we are asking museums, libraries and archives throughout Britain to revisit their holdings and reveal what they have that is queer. At the moment these are not classified correctly, or held completely out of context and never see the light of day.’ Exhibits could include Oscar Wilde’s cell doors in Reading jail, currently in the HM Prisons archive, army documents on gay officers and artefacts from the campaign to repeal Section 28. Proud Heritage is hoping to establish a permanent museum, possibly in King’s Cross, London, once the virtual museum is set up. Gay rights and equality groups OutRage! and Stonewall have supported the scheme.
SOURCE: History Today (12-13-05)
Name of source: Bloomberg News
SOURCE: Bloomberg News (12-12-05)
Wen canceled an annual trilateral summit with Koizumi and South Korea's President Roh Moo-Hyun during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur because of Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which has memorials of World War II war criminals among the dead it honors.
Name of source: Radio Free Europe
SOURCE: Radio Free Europe (12-13-05)
The plains of Iraq are dotted with giant mounds that archeologists call "tals," sites that have grown higher and higher over the millennia, as people built new homes upon the ruins of older ones.
Much of what we now know of ancient Mesopotamian civilization comes from excavations of such sites.
But Iraq's archeological sites -- some of the richest in the world -- attract few researchers today. The problem is security, illustrated by the kidnapping on 25 November of the German archeologist Susanne Osthoff. She is still being held captive and will be killed, insurgents say, unless Germany breaks off relations with Baghdad.
But officials in Kurdish-administered northern Iraq say their region is safe enough for excavation work. And one fascinating place to probe is the 36-meter-high tal in the center of Irbil, a citadel that historians and archeologists say has been continuously inhabited for 6,000 years. Below the homes that now stand on the hill are the remains of ancient civilizations still waiting to be explored.
Kanan Mufti, general director for antiquities in the western Kurdish region, says that probes sunk deep into the hill have shown evidence of layers of successive civilizations. Not enough work has been done to be able to identify who exactly those inhabitants were, but among the peoples who have lived in the Irbil region are Akkadians, Sumerians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Parthians, and Abbasids. All have been attracted by Irbil's location, on a fertile plain at the junction of two rivers and in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains.
Mufti says the successive names of Irbil give some idea of this history. Sumerian scripts refer to it as Urbylon. The Assyrians called it Arbaillo and considered it one of their most important cities. The Medes knew it Hadeap. A historian accompanying Alexander the Great named it Arbella. And the Kurds still call it Hawler, probably meaning "the place where the sun is worshipped" since the name is thought to derive from the ancient Kurdish word "helio" (sun).
As Irbil, now the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region, became the densely populated city it is now, the citadel itself became less popular, with its inhabitants abandoning their homes for more spacious apartments in the city below.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (12-12-05)
But last week, the National Park Service got hold of the real thing. A carved-back, cane-seat parlor chair that was in the presidential box the night Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth -- perhaps the one Mary Todd Lincoln was sitting in -- was donated to the government by a Virginia family that had kept the artifact for 140 years.
"This is a fabulous thing we've been given. We're very excited about it," said Gloria Swift, the Park Service's curator for Ford's Theatre.
After the assassination darkened the theater in 1865, the government bought the structure on 10th Street NW and turned it into a three-story office building. One of the workers dismantling the theater claimed that his boss had told him to take anything he wanted out of the presidential box. He removed the parlor chair and gave it to the Virginia family, where it was handed down for generations, Swift said.
The family, which Swift said has asked to remain anonymous, tried to sell the chair to the Park Service in the 1950s, when the theater box was being reconditioned as a historic site. But the agency didn't have the cash to buy it and made a replica instead, Swift said.
The current matriarch of the family told the Park Service recently that ownership of the chair was weighing on her.
"All her friends told her she is crazy, that she should sell it on eBay," Swift said. "But she said that giving it to us felt like the right thing to do."
Name of source: Newsday
SOURCE: Newsday (12-12-05)
And these are a fraction of the high-profile volumes now tumbling from publishing houses - not to mention the TV histories and films in the works - all centering on a man who died 140 years ago: President Abraham Lincoln.
"Lincoln does seem to be speaking to the country," says Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of October's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," which Steven Spielberg is turning into a film starring Liam Neeson. Her narrative details Lincoln's ability to bring opponents together, including giving former presidential rivals jobs on his cabinet. "Now that we're in a time of great turmoil, with the war in Iraq, we look back at the great leaders of the past," Goodwin says.
Lincoln is already the most written-about American, with more than 1,000 biographies in print. "He's such a vast figure, so important, that every generation looks at him through its own prism," says Andrew Ferguson, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard magazine working on a Lincoln book.
The current buzz on the 16th president also arises from the upcoming bicentennial celebration of his birth, which will take place in 2009. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, already sponsoring and coordinating events (see www.lincolnbi centennial.gov), has been in place for several years now. And in April a huge Lincoln museum opened in Springfield, Ill.
Next month, the History Channel will air "Lincoln," exploring Lincoln's darker moments. In February, The Criterion Collection of films will issue an extras-saturated two-disc set of John Ford's 1939 "Young Mr. Lincoln." Another film, "Manhunt" (based on a book by James L. Swanson to be published in February) is slated for 2007, with Harrison Ford as leader of the chase for Lincoln's assassin.
Name of source: Financial Times (UK)
SOURCE: Financial Times (UK) (12-12-05)
In an article in Le Journal du Dimanche, Mr Sarkozy said France must acknowledge the legitimate suffering of the victims of its colonial past. However, the frontrunner in the 2007 presidential election race also condemned those who wanted "to apologise for being French".
"France is a great country because she has a great history. Let us understand that without complacency, but also without an excess of repentance," he wrote.
Last week, Mr Sarkozy was forced to postpone a trip to the French Caribbean after local politicians expressed their anger about a section of a law adopted by the interior minister's party acknowledging the "positive role" of the French colonial presence overseas, particularly in north Africa.
On Friday, President Jacques Chirac announced the creation of an official commission, consisting of historians and politicians from several parties, to "evaluate parliament's activities in the fields of memory and history".
"There is no official history in the French republic. It is not up to the law to write history," he said. "Emotions should calm down now."
The commission is due to report within three months.
Name of source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (12-12-05)
Historian Cathy Loving insists every visitor sign the guest book at the Atlanta school district's low-profile museum and archive.
As they're writing, she says, "You know, you're leaning on history."
The guest book sits on a wooden counter that Loving says Martin Luther King Jr.'s parents stood before when they enrolled their son in David T. Howard Grammar Junior High School back in the 1930s. Just a few yards away, a glass case contains ticket stubs from the premiere later in the decade of the movie "Gone With the Wind." Author Margaret Mitchell also attended Atlanta Public Schools. King sang in a choir that performed at the premiere.
Citing security concerns, Loving won't say how much the clearly valuable collection is worth. It recently moved from the old Howard School on John Wesley Dobbs to a former gym on the campus of the renovated New Schools of Carver, formerly Carver High. The district's longtime historian and archivist, Loving has covered the walls from floor to rafters with photos, paintings and artifacts.
The museum is a testament to African-Americans who succeeded at a time when opportunities were few. For example, David T. Howard, for whom King's school was named, was a mortician, philanthropist and one of Atlanta's first black millionaires.
The school system's history is central to understanding the city's past, said Karen Kelly, director of education at the Atlanta History Center, one of several museums that has worked with Loving.
"It's a really fascinating story," Kelly said. "Atlanta Public Schools had a fairly peaceful integration and that's important to the city's history."
Name of source: USA Today
SOURCE: USA Today (12-12-05)
Almost half, or 3.7 million, entered illegally, according to an analysis of Census data by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates controlling the flow of legal and illegal immigrants.
The report comes as a heated immigration debate is likely to take place this week in Congress. The House is expected to tackle a Republican bill that aims to strengthen border security and increase penalties for illegal immigration. An estimated 11 million immigrants live illegally in the USA.
The nation's immigrant population hit a record 35.2 million in March 2005, 2 1/2 times the number at the peak of the last great immigration wave of 1910, says Steven Camarota, author of the report. Immigrants make up 12.1% of the U.S. population, compared with 14.7% in 1910.
Despite an uptick in the educational levels of immigrants in recent years, the analysis shows that 31% of adult immigrants have not completed high school. A third lack health insurance.
Name of source: Günter Bischof, in an email to HNN
SOURCE: Günter Bischof, in an email to HNN (12-12-05)
[Mr. Bischof has been “post-Katrina” visiting professor of history at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge during the fall of 2005 and will return to the University of New Orleans in January to teach and chair the department of history.]
Name of source: CP
SOURCE: CP (12-12-05)
The 4 1/2-page report is by George Townshend, who commanded the victorious British forces during the last stage of the battle after the death of Gen. James Wolfe. The outcome of the battle - in which Wolfe's counterpart, French Gen. Louis Montcalm, was also killed - led to British supremacy in Canada.
The version up for sale - dated Sept. 20, 1759, and addressed to British Secretary of State William Pitt - is one of several drafts that the official report went through.
Also being sold by Christie's are a first-edition, four-volume study by 19th-century historian Francis Parkman containing engravings depicting the battle, two letters by Wolfe and a letter by Pitt passing on news of the victory.
Name of source: Payvand's Iran News
SOURCE: Payvand's Iran News (12-12-05)
"David Brown Book, a publication company in the U.K, is to provide a digital reproduction of a unique manuscript which records the major events of the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid, the greatest king of the Safavid dynasty. This valuable manuscript was discovered recently in Christ's College of Cambridge University.
Shah Abbas's 45-year reign revived the fortunes of the dynasty and made Iran a prominent power in the early 17th century, developing strong commercial and diplomatic relations with Europe. His reign has been documented by several court historians, but the new and exciting discovery of Fazli Beig's contemporary chronicle, long thought to have been lost, will provide some new information about Shah Abbas's reign in particular and Safavid provincial administration in general" says the editor of the book.
Prior to this discovery, it was supposed that these handwritings were destroyed. Due to improper listing, the chronicle was lost in the Christ's College of Cambridge University for 150 years.
Name of source: Bloomberg
SOURCE: Bloomberg (12-12-05)
Wen canceled an annual trilateral summit with Koizumi and South Korea's President Roh Moo-Hyun during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur because of Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which has memorials of World War II war criminals among the dead it honors.
The postponement of talks ``is not something that China wants, it's just that Japan's leader won't own up correctly to its history,'' Wen told reporters at Asean's annual summit. ``Good long-term relations are in the interests of the people of both countries, but the leader's continued visits to the shrine seriously hurts the feelings of the Chinese people.''
Wen's remarks follow a Dec. 6 incident in China in which police opened fire on protesters at a coastal village near Hong Kong, killing three and wounding eight. The commander has since been detained by the provincial government, which said his ``wrong actions'' were to blame for the deaths, the New York Times reported.
Name of source: CBS5 San Francisco
SOURCE: CBS5 San Francisco (12-12-05)
The six students from Calvary Chapel Christian School about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles claim the University of California system violated their rights to free speech, religion and association and equal protection. They cited UC's decision to dismiss as "too narrow" high-school classes such as "Christianity's Influence on American History" while approving courses
"This is a case in which a university system is unfairly denying college credit ... because of the viewpoints expressed through the teaching of certain courses," said Robert H. Tyler, co-counsel for the plaintiffs.
UC administrators decided not to recognize the course work after examining the curriculum between October 2004 and July 2005.
"The problem with these courses aren't that there is some Christianity in them," said Christopher M. Patti, a lawyer in the office of the UC general counsel in Oakland. "The problem is that they don't teach the subject matter, (such as) biology."
Universities and religious high schools throughout the country are closely watching the suit because it could affect college admission standards nationwide.
"The stakes are very high here because other colleges and universities across the nation look to the University of California system for guidance and trends," said Steven Roy Goodman, a Washington, D.C.-based educational consultant.
No UC campus has turned down a Calvary student for a lack of acceptable credits. Calvary offers UC-approved courses in core subjects such as history and literature, but the students argue they are being illegally prevented from taking the courses with a Christian perspective.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (12-11-05)
Historians knew the capsule contained priceless pieces of the islands' history, including photos of royal families dating back to Kamehameha the Great and a constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom. But until now the capsule's exact location was unknown.
"We found it within the first 10 minutes we were here," said Larry Conyers, a University of Denver professor who used ground penetrating radar to find the hollow spot in the northeast corner of the Aliiolani Hale building.
"It never happens like this," he said.
The capsule was left undisturbed. Digging it up would destroy the building above, which is also a historic treasure, experts said.
Name of source: NYT`
SOURCE: NYT` (12-11-05)
And the future looks very expensive, the scientists said this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. With wealth and property values increasing, and more people moving to vulnerable coasts, by the year 2020 a single storm could cause losses of $500 billion - several times the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.
Roger A. Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, presented preliminary results of a study that retraced the path of hurricanes from the past 105 years and calculated the havoc they would wreak on the present-day United States landscape.
Dr. Pielke said the traditional way of looking at the damage inflicted by past hurricanes - calculating the value of property destroyed and adjusting for inflation - was misleading. "Something else is going on," he said. "That something else is society is changing underneath."
Using a database of information about property and people in 168 counties along the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard, Dr. Pielke and his collaborators, Christopher Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Joel Gratz of the University of Colorado, calculated the damage that would occur today from the winds and storm surges of past hurricanes. Their numbers, all adjusted for inflation to 2004 dollars, generally do not include damage from inland flooding.
No. 1 is a storm that received little attention in the historical comparisons that followed Hurricane Katrina: the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. Similar to Hurricane Katrina in size and ferocity, it caused about $760 million in damage, in 2004 dollars. But if a hurricane of that magnitude followed the same track today, it would leave behind $130 billion of devastation across a Miami area that is far more crowded than it was in 1926, the scientists said.
Similarly, the hurricane that hit Galveston, Tex., in 1900 would cause $53 billion in damage today, and Hurricane Andrew, which caused a record $25.5 billion in damage when it hit Florida in 1992, would cause $51 billion in damage if it hit today.