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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: newsfactormagazine.com
SOURCE: newsfactormagazine.com (3-24-06)
Name of source: The Washington Post
SOURCE: The Washington Post (3-26-06)
There is no easy answer to this question, particularly since both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Germany flatly deny they are doing so. Officially known as the International Tracing Service, the archive contains comprehensive documentation from Dachau and Buchenwald, as well as prisoner lists and records from other concentration camps, slave labor camps, displaced-person camps and ghettos. These records, thought to contain more than 17 million names, were deposited in Bad Arolsen, Germany, by the Allied powers after the war and have been managed since 1955 by an international treaty with 11 signatories. The treaty gave the ICRC management of the archive on behalf of survivors and required the German government to fund its operations.
But in recent years it has become clear that this system no longer works. The backlog of victims waiting for information about their lives is now in the hundreds of thousands; evidence that archivists hold back documents is overwhelming; survivors' groups in Germany and elsewhere are protesting; and historians are demanding better access.
In theory, the 11 countries have now agreed to open the archives to historians. But in practice, the longtime director of the archive, Charles Biedermann -- a Swiss employee of the ICRC -- together with the German government has thwarted efforts by the United States, the Netherlands, France and others to make the documents more accessible. Mr. Biedermann, while claiming neutrality, has written letters to German officials in an effort to influence committee deliberations and has recently issued a statement calling wider distribution of the documents "neither morally nor legally justifiable." In conversation, he lists conditions -- his conditions -- that researchers would have to meet before the International Tracing Service could "agree" to open itself up to historians.
The German interior ministry, meanwhile, joins him in pointing out multiple legal issues that prevent them from making the archives more accessible, ranging from the privacy of relatives of camp collaborators to questions about archivists' liability -- despite the fact that similar archives in Belgium and Israel have posed no special problems. Germany, along with Italy, also opposed the creation of a scholarly group to assist the 11-nation commission, which meets once a year and is mostly composed of diplomats without special knowledge of the Holocaust or of archives in general. Perhaps, some suspect, the Germans and the Italians fear a flood of new compensation claims. Or perhaps archive employees simply fear for their jobs.
Both the Germans and the ICRC also claim that any change in the archives' regime requires unanimous approval of all the treaty signatories -- which is not clearly the case and is, of course, impossible, because the Germans object. Yet these are not, and were never intended to be, Germany's archives to control. Clearly it is time to raise this issue's significance, to involve diplomats at a higher level, and to reach a compromise. If possible, the archives should be made completely accessible, with no unusual restrictions, in Bad Arolsen. If legal issues make it impossible to open the archive in Germany, then yes, the documents should be copied and placed in appropriate archives abroad, where they could be managed under the rules of other countries. Sixty-one years later, survivors, historians and the rest of the world have a right to know what happened.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (3-26-06)
Workers found the stockpile of water drums, medical supplies, gauze bandages and bitter-tasting ration crackers in a cavernous masonry room under the bridge's main entrance ramp in Lower Manhattan, while performing a regular structural inspection on March 15.
Since news of the find became public last week, several city officials have contacted the city's Department of Transportation, which maintains the bridge.
Archivists from the Department of Records and Information Services want to catalogue the supplies and move some of them into proper storage.
The Office of Emergency Management, the successor to the civil defense agencies that coordinated fallout shelters and air raid sirens, wants to display the findings in its headquarters under construction in Downtown Brooklyn.
The Museum of the City of New York is interested in adding some of the supplies to its collection of ephemera.
''There's something so gripping about the time-capsule nature of this,'' said Sarah M. Henry, the museum's deputy director and chief curator. ''People are curious and intrigued. That makes for a great teachable moment.''
The precise origins of the supplies remain a mystery, though many items carry labels from the federal civil defense unit at the Pentagon. Several of the cardboard boxes are stamped with the dates 1957 and 1962.
On Friday, two employees of the Transportation Department, with a reporter, searched through 11 boxes of records from the city's Office of Civil Defense to find references to the Brooklyn Bridge stockpile.
The search proved fruitless, but it did cast light on the anxious era when officials hoped to shelter their populations to weather the apocalyptic effects of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.
Amid fears of Axis sabotage, the city's Office of Civilian Defense was created in 1941 under Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia. By the 1950's, magazines were trying to predict what would happen if, say, a 20-megaton bomb were dropped on Manhattan.
''The descriptions of the impact of nuclear war were almost pornographic in their lurid details,'' said Kenneth D. Rose, a historian at California State University at Chico. ''There was a fascination with the apocalyptic.''
The city archives demonstrate that anxieties ratcheted upward between the late 50's and the early 60's.
Among the residents recruited to help with drills and preparations was a young lawyer, Robert M. Morgenthau, who became deputy coordinator of civil defense for the Bronx in 1954, according to a newsletter in the files. (Mr. Morgenthau, 86, has been the Manhattan district attorney since 1975.)
In 1956, city officials proposed digging up flower beds in the plaza in front of the New York Public Library to build a ''hydrogen age'' bomb shelter for up to 30 people. ''I disagree emphatically with your suggestion,'' Robert Moses, the parks commissioner, wrote to Robert E. Condon, the director of civil defense. ''In fact I will not agree to the construction of such a shelter in any park area in New York City.''
The era also marked the beginnings of a peace movement that would gain force during the Vietnam War.
''All civil defense can do is to frighten children and fool the public into thinking there is protection against an H-Bomb,'' declared a flier calling for a Civil Defense Protest Day on May 3, 1960, in City Hall Park. ''The time has come not for civil defense drills but for unceasing demands for world-wide disarmament.''
After the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, city preparations for nuclear war intensified, bolstered by federal money.
The Waldorf-Astoria became the first hotel in the city to be stockpiled with fallout-shelter supplies, according to a 1963 city press release. An Emergency Mass Feeding Manual from 1964 mentioned the city's recommendation that survivors of a possible attack supplement ''specially prepared wheat biscuits'' with citrus juices, peanut butter and jelly.
''This is absurd, and people finally realized that it was,'' said Allan M. Winkler, a historian at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, who has written extensively on cold war anxieties. ''Maybe the crackers would be good, maybe not. If a bomb went off, all hell was going to break loose and those kinds of palliative efforts weren't going to make much of a difference.''
Paul S. Boyer, a historian at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said the Brooklyn Bridge hoard should not be interpreted only as a sign of naivete. ''Throughout this period, there was an enormous level of skepticism about this civil defense strategy of fallout shelters and stockpiling,'' he said.
The cold war fears were overtaken in the late 60's and early 70's by Vietnam, Watergate and the oil crisis, while relations between the United States and the Soviet Union stabilized.
By then, 230,000 buildings had been designated as fallout shelters in the metropolitan area, according to news reports. In 1979, the city, after unsuccessful efforts to give away the stale foodstuffs, was paying contractors $38 a ton to cart away fallout supplies from some of the 10,800 buildings across the city where they still lay.
An estimated 350,000 of those crackers, in shiny, watertight canisters, escaped destruction. They are still inside the Brooklyn Bridge, waiting for officials to decide their fate.
Iris Weinshall, the transportation commissioner, took some of the crackers found in the bridge to City Hall and presented them to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
''I asked her whether she wanted me to eat one. She said no, she had acted as the guinea pig and had been willing to sacrifice her palate for the city,'' he said. ''One mouthful and she spit it out, was my understanding.''
Ms. Weinshall, in an interview, politely corrected the mayor. She took two bites and ingested the first, but ''could not fathom swallowing'' the second.
''It tasted like cardboard, but with a nasty backbite that stayed in your mouth for hours,'' she said. ''I cannot think of eating a saltine now without that taste coming up.''
SOURCE: NYT (3-27-06)
But in Iraq, the divide goes beyond that, partly because of geography and partly because of history. With sectarian tensions rising, Iraqis are paying more attention to the little things that signal whether someone is Shiite or Sunni. None of the indicators are foolproof. But a name, an accent and even the color of a head scarf can provide clues.
Complicating all of this is the reality that many Iraqis have intermarried and that for much of Iraq's history, the two communities have coexisted peacefully. Very rarely has sectarian identity been a life or death matter, the way it is now on some of Baghdad's streets.
SOURCE: NYT (3-26-06)
"It's blacks and Arabs on one side and Jews on the other," said Sebastian Daranal, a young black man standing in the parking lot of a government-subsidized housing project with two friends.
Ianis Roder, 34, a history teacher in a middle school northeast of Paris, said he was stunned by what he witnessed after Sept. 11, 2001. The next day, someone spray-painted in a stairwell of the school the image of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center beside the words "Death to the U.S., Death to Jews."
When he told his class months later that Hitler had killed millions of million Jews, one boy blurted out, "He would have made a good Muslim!" Mr. Roder told of a Muslim teacher who dismissed her class after a shouting match over Nazi propaganda. The students said the offensive images accurately depicted Jews.
Barbara Lefèbvre, a history teacher who has taught in several of the working-class suburbs, said many people minimize the anti-Semitism among France's youth.
"They say, 'That's the way the kids talk — they don't mean it in the same way that you or I would,' " she said. Ms. Lefèbvre, who is Jewish, said she had to argue with the principal of her school several years ago to get an investigation when a student wrote "dirty Jew" on a notebook used by her class. The student, a French-Arab boy, was ultimately given just two hours of detention.
Some teachers simply gloss over subjects likely to elicit anti-Semitic responses. Ms. Lefèbvre said she knows teachers who even show fictional films, like Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful," instead of treating the Holocaust directly.
SOURCE: NYT (3-24-06)
A mummified human time capsule took its broken shape before them. He carried a Sheaffer fountain pen. The newest coin in his pocket was dated 1942. But his nameplate was terribly corroded, and so the case of the frozen airman took its place among thousands of unidentified remains boxed on crowded shelves or spread on metal tables here at the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command.
On Friday, the World War II airman will be laid to rest in a private ceremony in his hometown, Brainerd, Minn., after teams of anthropologists and historians here pieced together his identity as the missing crew member from a plane crash 63 years ago. His journey from the snow to the laboratory to the grave fulfills what a commander here describes as the military's ''most sacred of promises'' to its members.
''We're going back to that basic promise we make to youngsters who enter the military,'' said Col. Claude H. Davis III of the Marines, deputy commander of the joint command, which is dedicated to finding and identifying the remains of Americans from all wars. ''We're going to make sure they get home again.''
An estimated 88,000 military personnel remain unaccounted for, a vast majority, 78,000, from World War II, and most of those are believed to be lost at sea.
About 8,100 service members remain missing from the Korean War; from Vietnam, 1,807. There are 126 military or intelligence officers missing from the cold war, mostly in spy planes that crashed. Some of the missing are civilians like Red Cross workers and C.I.A. agents, and some, like the frozen airman, went missing here in the United States.
The work is slow going. The 425-member staff of the accounting command identifies an average of six people a month, about 75 a year, each one ending with a flag-draped return to a family, often distant relatives.
''It's not like you're just working on a bunch of bones,'' Johnie E. Webb, 60, the senior adviser, said. ''It's very rewarding. It's also very agonizing. Family members are getting older.''
The laboratory is part cutting edge, part time warp. A computer can superimpose the image of an unidentified skull over a man's smiling picture, a haunting montage of optimism and fate, to see whether the eye sockets and teeth match up.
A bone sample the size of a thumb can yield mitochondrial DNA to link a man missing 60 years to a child in short pants.
Books about old military buttons and medals and knives line the walls. Broken stopwatches mark the time of long-ago crashes.
The command operates on an annual budget of $45 million to $50 million. The front end of the process, finding the remains, is expensive and often time consuming, involving linguists, investigators and hours spent developing leads and studying flight plans or battle reports.
Eighteen recovery teams of up to 14 members make several 35-day missions a year to Southeast Asia, Korea, Europe and the Pacific theater of World War II.
The easy cases are already closed.
''All the apples pretty close to the tree are gone,'' said Robert Richeson, deputy director of the section that oversees investigations. ''The crash sites we get to these days are a little tougher to do.''
In ''isolated grave'' cases, where an individual has been buried or left on a battlefield, the rate of recovery and identification is 17 percent of all sites investigated, Mr. Richeson said.
A stroll through the vault of remains shows where extractions were successful: Belgium, Burma, Cambodia, France, Laos, Papua and North and South Korea.
None of the remains in the boxes have been identified, and the frustration of the families of the dead runs deep. An old letter in a file from the mother of a missing Korean War soldier reads: ''I guess the search party didn't do a good job. I wish I was there. I would of dug every inch of that ground myself.''
Most crash-site investigations begin just as the airman's did, with someone happening upon it. After the hikers' discovery on Oct. 15, which generated widespread interest and news coverage, historians with the command turned to accident reports from the 1940's, in hopes of finding a match in the Sierra Nevada.
There it was. On the morning of Nov. 18, 1942, three young aviation cadets and a pilot took off from Mather Field, near Sacramento, for a four-hour navigational training flight. The airplane carried five hours' worth of fuel and never returned. The searchers -- military crews, police officers, loggers and local residents -- found nothing.
Almost five years later, two college students found parts of the airplane, a nametag belonging to one of the men and what a search team's report described as ''a small piece of frozen flesh.'' The remains were interred in a group burial in San Bruno, Calif., that bore the names of all four men.
If the frozen airman was one of the men, which one? His features were long ago obliterated by the elements.
''Even examining his body there on the autopsy table,'' Robert Mann, deputy scientific director at the command, said, ''it was difficult to tell what we were looking at.''
One leg was gone. There was no face, only deep holes in a dark mass. He had lost six teeth while alive, their sockets long ago healed, and one tooth at his death. The blond hair fell to the right, in the style of the day.
Most recoveries involve, at best, skeletons, the dirt around them slowly cleared with trowels and brushes. But more often there are just jagged pieces of bone no larger than a bullet, and even those are hard won.
''Every one's a new challenge,'' said Gregory Fox, 54, an archaeologist who works on several recovery missions a year. ''You're on a 60-foot slope this time or a cliff or you're diverting a stream.''
Often, they find nothing.
''I went on two missions without finding anything,'' Capt. Loren Graham, 34, a recovery team leader, said. ''That's 60 days. We found buckets and buckets, but we didn't find any bone and we didn't find any teeth.''
In Southeast Asia, many crash sites were long ago picked over by looters. Some cases begin when a son or daughter in Vietnam or Laos finds American dog tags among a dead parent's possessions and takes them to the authorities.
On April 7, 2001, a command helicopter carrying a team searching for remains crashed in Quang Binh Province in Vietnam, killing all seven Americans and nine Vietnamese on board. A memorial stands outside the command office near Pearl Harbor.
Digging out the airman in the Sierra was relatively easy. At the laboratory, scientists picked through his modest personal effects -- a broken comb, the pen, six pennies, one nickel, four dimes, three address books that were illegible.
Most unusual was a scrap of paper that they fed into a high-resolution video spectral comparator, discovering what appears to be a bawdy limerick that read in part, ''A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, this the girls all know.'' The parachute on his back was intact. Spread on the asphalt outside, it even looked usable.
Finally, the corroded nameplate. Anthropologists used different sources of light to photograph the plate until teasing four letters from the scarred metal: ''EO A. M.''
One of the dead men was listed as Leo M. Mustonen, age 22. Close to the nameplate, but with a different middle initial. His death report listed his emergency contacts as his parents, Arvid and Anna Mustonen, Finnish immigrants on Maple Street in Brainerd, Minn.
A piece of bone generated mitochondrial DNA, but for a successful match, a sample has to be drawn from a maternal relative. The lone relatives of the airman named Mustonen were the wife and daughters of his brother, in Jacksonville, Fla. Their DNA would not be of help.
But relatives of the other three missing airmen -- John Mortenson, 25, of Idaho; Ernest Munn, 23, of Ohio; and the pilot, Second Lt. William Gamber, 23, also of Ohio -- were found. None matched the frozen airman's DNA.
Finally, anthropologists found that Mustonen's name had been misspelled on his nameplate all along. The A should have been M.
So by the nametag and genetic default, and ''to the exclusion of other reasonable possibilities,'' the airman was identified as Leo M. Mustonen. Formal notification was made to Leane Mustonen Ross in Jacksonville, who was not born when the airplane carrying her father's brother crashed.
His remains were cremated and shipped to Minnesota.
Ms. Ross said imagining her uncle's final moments haunted her.
''He actually made it out of the plane,'' she said. ''Then, the parachute didn't open. He might not have had enough altitude to open his parachute.''
She said she knew of three people alive who had known her uncle, and she planned the funeral for Friday at the First Lutheran Church in Brainerd. A military team will perform taps and fire a 21-gun salute.
A picture of the mummified airman is in Ms. Ross's house, in a report from the command, but she said she would not look. She prefers the high school picture of her uncle when he was 18, a member of a school band, his young face stern, his blond hair swept to the right.
SOURCE: NYT (3-24-06)
That book's publisher, Harper San Francisco, said the date was chosen more than a year ago for its proximity to Easter, a favorable time for sales of books on religion. Anchor announced the publication date for "The Da Vinci Code" two months ago. In London, a judge is weighing a decision in a case brought against Random House U.K., the novel's British publisher, by Mr. Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of the nonfiction book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" (published as "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" in the United States).
SOURCE: NYT (3-21-06)
The judge, Peter Jones, will not issue a decision for several weeks, and it is impossible to know how he will rule. But his tough questions appeared to reflect skepticism, even exasperation, toward some of the arguments put forward by the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail." (The book's other author, Henry Lincoln, is not taking part in the lawsuit.) They claim that Mr. Brown lifted the central "architecture" for his megaselling "Da Vinci Code" from their nonfiction book, published in 1982.
For instance, when the lawyer, Jonathan Rayner James, argued that Mr. Brown had "been hiding the truth" about when he and his wife, Blythe Brown, who does much of his research, had first consulted "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," Justice Jones stopped him short. If that were true, the judge asked, why had Mr. Brown left out "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" from the bibliography he submitted to the publisher, along with a synopsis of "The Da Vinci Code" in January 2001 — only to include a pointed reference to the book in the finished novel a year later?
SOURCE: NYT (3-21-06)
Name of source: scotsman.com
SOURCE: scotsman.com (3-23-06)
Giant meteorites from outer space, fire storms, tidal waves and an ice age have all been suggested by experts to explain the demise of T-Rex and other giant dinosaurs.
However, the latest theory to explain their extinction claims they did not survive because their reptilian sleeping patterns meant their brains did not learn new skills properly.
Unlike mammals and birds, reptiles are unable to experience slow wave sleep, the type of sleep believed to be responsible for boosting memories, especially those connected to performing new tasks.
As a result, reptiles are much more limited in the type of complex behaviour they can experience than other animals such as mammals and birds.
Name of source: Al-Ahram
SOURCE: Al-Ahram (3-23-06)
The town of Al-Qasr, otherwise known as Qasr Dakhla, lies in Dakhla Oasis deep in the Western Desert 450kms due west of Luxor. Despite its remote setting it has had a colourful history: Romans exploited the oasis for agricultural produce; Libyans, including the Sanusi, made conquering raids; and it was not far from the infamous Darb Al-Arbain slave route. In the picturesque mediaeval section of the town narrow, partly covered streets wind past heavy ancient doors topped with elaborate lintels, and here and there through an open doorway can be glimpsed old grinding stones or a staircase leading to a crumbling roof.
Al-Qasr is the older of the two towns in Dakhla -- the other being Mut -- and was built on top of a tell, that mound of crumbled debris that marks the site of an ancient structure or settlement and which over time, since any collapsed buildings are composed largely of mud brick, settles into the natural landscape.
Archaeologists have long supposed that beneath the foundations of Al-Qasr are the remains of a Roman citadel. Fred Leemhuis, professor of Islamic Studies at Groningen University and field director of the Qasr Dakhla Project -- part of the Dakhla Oasis Project (DOP) -- told this author two years ago: "Undoubtedly there was a fortress there in Roman times, or even a Ptolemaic one. The Romans probably built a structure to surround the well, and I would be surprised if there was nothing Roman. But we have simply not found any evidence."...
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (3-24-06)
The vessel could date to the mid-1500s, when the first Spanish settlement in what is now the United States was founded here, the archaeologists said.
But the exposed portion looks more like ships from a later period because of its iron bolts, said Elizabeth Benchley, director of the Archaeology Institute at the University of West Florida.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (3-25-06)
The hominid cranium -- found in two pieces and believed to be between 500,000 and 250,000 years old -- ''comes from a very significant period and is very close to the appearance of the anatomically modern human,'' said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia.
SOURCE: AP (3-24-06)
SOURCE: AP (3-23-06)
A new project called Earth Capsule gives anyone with a dollar and access to an Internet connection the ability to contribute a message (at earthcapsule.com) that will be preserved for 50 years. Instant immortality -- at least for your ideas.
Started by Ashley Rindsberg, Evan Strome and Jason Ressler, Earth Capsule is a digital take on a favorite pastime: burying time capsules. Admit it, at some point you've taken a few personal items, put them in a box and buried them for someone else to dig up at a later date.
You wouldn't be the only amateur historian out there. The International Time Capsule Society estimates that there are about 10,000 time capsules scattered around the globe, most of them lost.
SOURCE: AP (12-31-69)
"The place has this reputation of being just a different nation of poor people and strip mines and that sort of thing," said Abramson, co-editor of the newly released Encyclopedia of Appalachia, a 1,832-page volume that weighs nearly 3.6 kilograms.
The work, which took a decade to complete, has just gone on sale through the University of Tennessee Press for $79.95 US a copy. More than 1,000 historians, folklorists, sociologists, geologists and journalists contributed.
"What we tried to do across the entire encyclopedia was to make sure the information was authoritative, that the writing was clear and engaging and accessible, and we had balance," said Abramson's editing partner, Jean Haskell, retired director of Appalachian studies at East Tennessee State University.
The authors note that debate continues over exactly where Appalachia is and even how the name is pronounced.
They accept the federal definition of Appalachia as comprising all of West Virginia and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, roughly following the spine of the ancient Appalachian Mountains.
But the encyclopedia also considers the impact of Appalachian migrants to other areas, including cities in the Midwest, and recent trends such as "urban Appalachia" in growing metropolitan areas and "rural sprawl" in expanding tourism enclaves of the Great Smoky Mountains.
As for pronunciation, it's "Ap-pa-LATCH-a" in the southern mountains, but more commonly "Ap-pa-LAY-cha" in the rest of the country, particularly north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The region was America's first western frontier and provided such noble mountaineer figures as Davy Crockett. But the book goes to great lengths to tackle the overwhelming image of the hillbilly.
The first reference appeared in 1900 in the New York Journal. The paper described the species as "a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him."
The image stuck. However, a watershed moment came in 2002 when CBS tried to remake the 1960s Beverly Hillbillies into a reality show. Public reaction was "swift, negative and revealing," the encyclopedia said, and CBS shelved the idea.
Started in 1996 with a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the encyclopedia became a joint effort of the Center for Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State and the UT Press. Its goal was to provide context to the notions about the region and "try where possible to explain how they came about, why they happened and whether they are valid any more," said Abramson, an Alabama native and former Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
The upshot, he said, is that the region is revealed as more complex and interesting than most people think.
SOURCE: AP (3-20-06)
A new state law will help school districts develop and pay for civil rights curricula. Districts, though, will not be required to implement such courses.
Susan Glisson, executive director of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, spearheaded the bill. She said it was modeled after those in several states, including Mississippi, that required the Holocaust to be taught in public schools.
Glisson said the institute did not know of any other state with a similar program devoted solely to civil rights history.
Currently, textbooks in the state make reference to the civil rights movement, but districts usually don't devote an entire course to it.
Name of source: The Irish Times
SOURCE: The Irish Times (3-25-06)
A discussion in a former Stasi prison last week was disrupted by 200 former Stasi officers who dubbed their one-time victims "liars" and described the former prison, now a museum, as a phony "chamber of horrors".
"I was shaking all over with fury," said Matthias Melster (39), who spent five months in Hohenschönhausen prison in East Berlin for attempting to flee over the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. Now he works in the former prison as a guide.
"These men think they were right and all others are lying. And they feel secure saying that in the current political situation in Berlin."
The city-state of Berlin is governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Left Party-PDS, the successor to East Germany's Socialist Unity Party (SED).
The SED established the Stasi in 1950 to protect the socialist German state and soon established a network of 250,000 full-time and part-time informers to spy on fellow East Germans.
With one Stasi informer for every 68 people, the Stasi gathered 17 million files filling 178km of shelves by its end in 1990.
Last week's commotion is part of an increasingly organised campaign by former Stasi officials that could have serious political consequences for Berlin's cultural senator, Thomas Flierl of the Left Party.
Mr Flierl failed to intervene as ex-Stasi officials disrupted the discussion and instead told the appalled audience they were "historical eye-witnesses".
"When you're dealing with history, allowing perpetrators to speak as eye-witnesses is a mockery and derision of the victims of the Stasi," said Astrid Jantz, a local Christian Democrat (CDU) politician who also participated in the discussion.
Opposition politicians and Stasi victims have dismissed as half- hearted an apology Mr Flierl made in the Berlin state assembly on Thursday.
"He's an intelligent person and he knows that these people are his voters," said Mr Melster. "Before the discussion even began, the Stasi men made clear that the local people here in this area vote for the Left Party."
The implied threat, says Mr Melster, was that if Mr Flierl criticised them, they would make sure his party loses votes in the state election later this year.
The row coincides with the release of Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), a chilling new film about a Stasi official whose spying operation on a dissident East German playwright brings him to question his loyalty to the Stasi, the so-called "sword and shield of the party".
As Germany's first serious Stasi film, it is a timely contribution to the current debate and a welcome relief from the threadbare retellings of the Third Reich and the feel-good East German "ostalgia" films such as Goodbye, Lenin!
"The film shows the harshness in a way that is unsparing but also sober," says actor Ulrich Mühe, who gives a mesmerising performance as the doubting apparatchik.
"It gives Stasi victims the opportunity to confront once again the system so that they can be done with it once and for all. This is a film to finally say farewell to the GDR."
But the new-found confidence of ex-Stasi officers has German historians concerned that mistakes made in the post-war period that allowed Nazi officials live quiet lives are being repeated with Stasi officials.
"A group of high-ranking officers are organising a systematic historical revisionism that we only know from the neo-Nazis," Hubertus Knabe, head of the Stasi prison memorial centre, said to a Berlin newspaper.
"This is revenge for Germany dealing so mildly with the Stasi."
Name of source: South China Morning Post
SOURCE: South China Morning Post (3-24-06)
John Glanfield, author of a recently published book that examines the origins of the Victoria Cross, says new evidence points to the cannons being captured by Anglo-French forces in a battle for the Taku forts near Tianjin in 1860, one of the last battles of the second opium war.
That contradicts the long-held belief that the cannons were captured in battle against the Russians at Sebastopol in 1855 during the Crimean war.
Glanfield has told Victoria Cross experts of his findings and they are "absolutely amazed that at last we've been able to cast this light on a tremendously strong legend - that they came from Russia".
He was somewhat surprised himself, because while he and a few other experts knew the cannons were actually Chinese, "the presumption was that the Russians must have captured them in some earlier Sino-Russian war".
The Victoria Cross is the highest honour awarded to British and Commonwealth soldiers for valour "in the face of the enemy".
In Glanfield's book - Bravest of the Brave, the Story of the Victoria Cross, published in December - he wrote that there was no evidence showing the two cannons came from the Crimean war, although he was not able to pin down the origins by the time of publication. But he continued his research and in the past few weeks found evidence pointing to their Chinese origins.
In his book, Glanfield also cites research showing a third, mystery cannon was used to make the cross from its creation in 1856 until it was used up in 1914, when the armoury started using the two Chinese cannons.
There is compelling evidence, Glanfield said, that the two cannons - now stored at the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich, London - were captured by an 18,000 strong Anglo-French expeditionary force. The troops, on their way to Beijing, had sailed up the Hai estuary and on August 21, 1860, attacked the formidable Taku forts guarding the river. A lucky shot took out the fort's ammunition dump.
The troops continued on to Beijing, infamously looting the city, and burning down the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace.
A year later, 200 to 300 Chinese cannons captured in the battle arrived by ship at Woolwich arsenal, according to a contemporary news report that Glanfield found, which also featured drawings of captured weaponry resembling the two cannons.
The arsenal had also received a big shipment of captured Russian weapons in 1857. Captured cannons were typically melted down to make new weapons, but Glanfield said Russian metal was preferred.
"I'm afraid to say Chinese cannons were dangerous. The Chinese metal carried impurities, and those impurities made it of less strength," he said.
Therefore, it is highly likely only the Chinese cannons were left by 1914, when the order came down that more metal was needed for the Victoria Cross.
Arsenal staff probably mistakenly assumed that the cannons they chose were Russian, he said.
"The fact is those two guns, in all logic, can only have come from the Taku fort action."
He plans to publish his findings in a specialist journal.
SOURCE: South China Morning Post (3-24-06)
Mr Liu said the map had been subject to accelerator mass spectrometry dating in tests in Singapore and the results showed it was probably drawn between 1730 and 1800. He said his map was drawn by Mo Yitong in 1763 and was a copy of Zheng's 1418 map.
Also defending the map in Beijing yesterday were Gavin Menzies, author of 1421 - The Year China Discovered the World, and Gunnar Thompson, director of the New World Discovery Institute in Washington.
Mr Liu contacted Mr Menzies and Dr Thompson via e-mail to take part in his research into the map after he was snubbed by historians on the mainland.
Mr Menzies admitted he had some initial reservations about the map because of the controversy. "I looked through all those things that've been mentioned as possible concerns and I found there is no reason to believe they aren't all authentic to the original," he said.
Mr Liu said he had not expected the controversy. "But the more people can take a good look at the map without prejudice, the more they will realise it can't be false."
The intellectual property rights lawyer has said he bought the map in a Shanghai bookshop in 2001. If authentic, the document may prove that Zheng and his crew circumnavigated the globe and discovered the Americas well before Columbus ever set sail.
However, Geoff Wade, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore's Asia Research Institute, who has studied Ming dynasty foreign relations for 20 years, last night stood by his earlier conclusion that the map was a "21st century forgery".
"It's an old piece of paper from somewhere. It's a paper that got tested and came back as an 18th century piece of paper. You can easily find old paper around. But it doesn't prove anything about the map. It's the content of the map which show it's been completely fabricated in the last five years," said Dr Wade, who has studied the map online.
He said he could give 20 reasons why the map was a forgery. One example was the use of simplified characters which would not have been used on an official map presented to the emperor. "Why do you want to prove it's real when every scholar in China who has looked at it has said it's a fake?"
James Qian Jiang, from the University of Hong Kong's Centre of Asian Studies who has studied Chinese maritime history for 26 years, said Mr Liu was misleading the public. "We academics are angry because everybody is being cheated," he said.
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (3-23-06)
What happened in Armenia in 1915 is well known. The Ottoman Empire attempted to exterminate the Armenian population through slaughter and mass deportation. It finished half the job, killing about 1.2 million people. Yet the State Department has long avoided the word "genocide," not out of any dispute over history but out of deference to Turkey, whose membership in NATO and location between Europe and Asia make it a strategic ally.
It is time to stop tiptoeing around this issue and to accept settled history. Genocide, according to accepted U.N. definition, means "the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Armenia is not even a borderline case. Punishing an ambassador for speaking honestly about a 90-year-old crime befits a cynical, double-dealing monarchy, not the leader of the free world.
Turks point out that their Ottoman ancestors considered it treason to side with Russia at the outbreak of World War I, as many Armenians did. But the massacres were also fueled by Muslim animosity toward a Christian minority. When then-U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morganthau protested the bloodletting, he received a telling response from Mehmed Talaat, the interior minister in charge of the anti-Armenian campaign. "Why are you so interested in Armenians anyway? You are a Jew, these people are Christians," Talaat said. "Why can't you let us do with these Christians as we please?"
For Armenians who escaped the killing and came to this country, inadequate recognition of their history is crazy-making. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), whose district includes the heart of the Armenian diaspora, keeps introducing a bill to officially recognize the genocide, only to see congressional leadership quash it each year, under pressure from the State Department.
Some nations, thankfully, are stepping where Congress fears to tread. The European Parliament last year passed a nonbinding resolution asking that Turkey acknowledge the genocide as a precondition for joining the European Union. The Turkish government, typically, was infuriated, yet it still desperately wants to join the EU.
One day, the country that was founded as a direct repudiation of its Ottoman past will face its history squarely, as part of a long-overdue maturing process. Some day before then, we hope, the State Department will too.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (3-24-06)
"I've got a huge lump in my throat," Camilla said afterwards.
Her father, Major Bruce Shand, was wounded and captured in the aftermath of the 1942 battle that claimed 23,500 UK and Commonwealth soldiers' lives.
SOURCE: BBC News (3-22-06)
The archaeologists in Virginia are arguing with UK experts over American founding father Bartholomew Gosnold, born in Grundisburgh, Suffolk.
DNA tests revealed a skeleton buried in Suffolk is not related to the US bones.
US experts claim they have the real Gosnold while UK scientists believe the Suffolk skeleton is authentic.
The British experts believe the body buried at Shelley, Suffolk, is Gosnold's sister, buried in the 1600s, and are casting doubts on the American find.
Bartholomew Gosnold is said to have founded the first English-speaking American colony in Virginia in 1607.
SOURCE: BBC News (3-20-06)
The trust's chairman has warned that it could close if extra resources for the museum could not be found.
Jones played a key part in the US War of Independence and was regarded as the "father of the US Navy".
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (3-23-06)
For early humans, the biggest competitors for such prehistoric housing may have been an extinct species of bear larger than the grizzly that lived in Europe during the last glacial period.
Scientists know that Neandertals and cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) once used the same caves in southeastern France during the ice age (1.6 million to 10,000 years ago).
The question has been whether early humans and bears were challenging one another for food and shelter.
Now a new study of ancient bear bones and cave paintings shows that bears and Neandertals were not competing for caves, but instead were trading off with perhaps centuries-long gaps in between.
Name of source: Louisville Courier-Journal
SOURCE: Louisville Courier-Journal (3-22-06)
The Washington-based Civil War Preservation Trust has placed two Kentucky sites -- in Cynthiana and Columbus -- on a list of the nation's 20 most endangered historic battlefields.
The Civil War Preservation Trust's recent report, "History Under Siege," states that remnants of battlefields in and around Cynthiana in Harrison County are endangered by development, and the battlefield at Columbus-Belmont State Park in Hickman County is at risk from the Mississippi River and from surface-water erosion of the river bluff on which it is situated.
Name of source: WUSA
SOURCE: WUSA (3-22-06)
The bugs were torture to wartime soldiers. So were fleas and flies, all smaller and deadlier than any bullet, as Gary says.
"We had 110,000 die in battle-related injuries, 200,000 died of disease."
Gary blames insects for spreading much of the disease. And he should know. He gained his Civil War expertise as an entomologist. When reading those history books, he kept noticing bugs.
On Friday, July 10, 1863, one soldier wrote this to his wife: “The flies are in the millions, they are never off the table, dead and dying in every mouthful you eat."
It's not the stuff of Civil War reenactments, or even real photographs. Gary says he's only found one picture that even hints at the problems of insects. Yet, he says, they probably did more human harm than either North or South.
Name of source: National Security Archive
SOURCE: National Security Archive (3-23-06)
The documents include a formerly secret transcript of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's first staff meeting after the coup during which he ordered the immediate support of the U.S. government for the new military regime. Told by his staff that there would be "a good deal of blood in Argentina before too long" and that Washington should delay embracing the new junta, according to the declassified transcript posted today, Kissinger stated: "I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States."
The Archive also posted actual internal records from the infamous Argentina intelligence unit, Battalion 601, as well as a document from the Chilean secret police agency, known as DINA, which was secretly collaborating with the military in Buenos Aires and which provided an internal military account of the number of dead and disappeared at the hands of the Argentine security forces.
The DINA document, based on secret body count lists put together by Battalion 601, put the number at 22,000 people between 1975 and mid 1978. Other Argentine and declassified U.S. documents illuminated the repression of "Operation Condor" -- a collaborative effort among the Southern Cone secret police services to track down and eliminate opponents of their regimes in the mid and late 1970s. Several documents highlight the case of an Uruguayan couple who were disappeared in September 1976, as part of a Condor operation to wipe out an Uruguayan resistance group known as OPR-33.
The Archive's posting on Argentina coincides with a decision made public today by the Argentine Defense Ministry to open its still secret archives to researchers and victims of repression during the eight year military dictatorship. Carlos Osorio, director of the National Security Archive's Argentina project, hailed the decision as "a major step toward accountability for the past" that would "help clarify massive human rights violations during the dictatorship." But Osorio urged that intelligence documents, such as the one from Battalion 601 included in this posting, be released as well. For this new policy of openness to succeed, according to Marcos Novaro who directs the Political History Project at the University of Buenos Aires, "it is important that the relevant archives of the State Intelligence Secretariat be included."
Name of source: People's Daily Online
SOURCE: People's Daily Online (3-23-06)
They made the conclusion on the basis of several years' study into the symbols carved on over 600 pottery ware items unearthed from the New Stone Age site in Shuangdun village, Xiaobengbu town of Bengbu, a city in East China's Anhui Province.
Name of source: Ansa.it
SOURCE: Ansa.it (3-20-06)
Name of source: Timesonline (UK)
SOURCE: Timesonline (UK) (3-22-06)
THIRTY-SIX years after he deserted from the US Marines to avoid being sent to Vietnam, Ernest “Buck” McQueen believed that the military had long ago given up looking for him.
But on January 12 his past caught up with him. After his brother-in-law inadvertently tipped off an undercover investigator about his whereabouts, Mr McQueen, 55, was arrested in a burger bar close to his home in Fort Worth and shipped off to a Marine jail in California.
“It wouldn’t have taken a brain surgeon to find me any time,” Mr McQueen, balding and grey, said. “It must be to send a message to the young guys in Iraq not to desert. Why else would they suddenly be chasing down old men?” Mr McQueen, who is now back home, is not the only Vietnam deserter who believes that.
In the past 18 months, after years in which “cold case” absent-without-leave investigations remained effectively closed, the Marine Corps has caught 34 long-time deserters after reopening dozens of files. The latest arrest came last week. Allen Abney, 56, who deserted from the Marines in 1968, was arrested crossing from Canada to the US, a journey he had made hundreds of times in recent years.
The sudden aggressiveness, which resulted last August in Jerry Texiera, a 65-year-old who deserted from the Marines 40 years ago, being arrested and jailed for five months, comes amid growing concerns in the Pentagon over the number of soldiers who have deserted since the Iraq war began. According to Pentagon records released last week, at least 9,000 members of the all-volunteer US military have deserted in the past three years.
Name of source: Sun-Sentinel (Fl)
SOURCE: Sun-Sentinel (Fl) (3-21-06)
"Cradle of Christianity," an exhibit created by the Israel Museum, will boast objects that have never before left the Holy Land, museum officials said Tuesday.
They will include:
The famed Temple Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that rocked the biblical world with their discovery in the Judean desert in 1947.
An inscription stone with the name of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to death, according to the New Testament.
The burial box of Caiaphas, the high priest who the Bible records as handing Jesus over to Pilate.
The exhibit, set for Dec. 7 through April 15, will show the roots of Christianity in Judaism, and how the faiths influenced each other, museum officials said.
Name of source: NPR
SOURCE: NPR (3-23-06)
Name of source: CBS
SOURCE: CBS (3-23-06)
Their bones will now be studied and DNA tests performed.
"It could tell you migration patterns, information that was lost, who came over from where," said archaeologist Anna Naruda.
Their discovery also unearthed Los Angeles' dark history of bigotry. The Chinese workers were not allowed to be buried next to the city's more prominent families but were given a corner of Potter's field.
And now the disturbance of this lost grave has caused controversy.
The bones were first unearthed last summer but it wasn't until September when it was revealed they were bones of Chinese immigrant men buried in a pauper's grave.
Chinese historians are accusing Los Angeles' Metropolitan Transportation Authority of hiding the find so its $898 million project to build a subway extension would not be interrupted.
"We never told them because we didn't know who they were until the lab analyzed the remains," said MTA spokesperson Jose Ubaldo.
Still, the bones were found with Chinese tablets revealing the dead person's name. There were also rice bowls, jade, Chinese coins and opium pipes.
Chinese historians now want an apology and the MTA to give the men a dignified burial.
"Sure there's anger, deep disappointment," said Sue Lee of the San Francisco Chinese Historical Society. "Chinese contributed so much to the building of the West, built railroad, reclaimed the land for agriculture, yet something like this happens."
One Los Angeles County supervisor is calling for an investigation into why the MTA did not detect the grave before starting the subway project.
Name of source: Baltimore Sun
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun (3-22-06)
The authors note that debate continues over exactly where Appalachia is and even how the name is pronounced. They accept the federal definition of Appalachia as comprising all of West Virginia and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, roughly following the spine of the ancient Appalachian Mountains.
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (3-22-06)
The statues, which depict two nude men with precious stones around their eyes, were found by a Polish team in the northern Nile Delta region of Daqahliya, said a statement by chief archaeologist Krzysztof Cialowicz.
The effigies are believed to date from Egypt's predynastic era (3,700-3,200 BC), before Egypt started to unify under the pharaohs.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (3-22-06)
As for the well-preserved antebellum downtown itself? In spite of its role in the clash of armies, all that many battlefield visitors have seen of Gettysburg proper is a glimpse through the car window on their way to Hershey Park.
But now the town that involuntarily surrendered its name to American history is asserting itself a bit. A new series of guided downtown walks, modeled on the popular licensed battlefield tours, seeks to reveal the "civilian experience" of those three days of horror and carnage in July 1863. The long-neglected downtown rail depot where Abraham Lincoln arrived to deliver his famous address has been restored and will reopen next month as a towncentric interpretive center; a few blocks away, the Wills House, where Lincoln polished his final draft, is also undergoing a renovation. And perhaps most ambitiously, the Majestic, a grand vaudeville-era theater, reopened in November after a $16 million restoration as an 850-seat performing arts center and twin-screen repertory movie house.
SOURCE: Wa Po (3-21-06)
The last two weeks have provided a snapshot of White House optimism that skeptics contend is at odds with the facts on the ground in Iraq.
Vice President Cheney said Sunday that his 10-month-old claim that the insurgency was in its "last throes" was "basically accurate" and reflects reality. Since Cheney's original comment, on at least 70 days there have been violent attacks that in each instance killed more than 10 people. Two weeks ago, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States is making "very, very good progress" -- less than 48 hours before the U.S ambassador warned of a possible civil war breaking out. And Bush yesterday said his optimism flows in part from success in Tall Afar, a city in northern Iraq, though local residents there said sectarian violence is spreading.
SOURCE: Wa Po (3-21-06)
Former commerce secretary Donald L. Evans, a West Texan himself and chairman of the presidential site-selection committee, delivered the bad news in a letter late last week.
"This was a difficult decision for the committee," Evans wrote to David A. Miller, chairman of the West Texas Coalition, which represented Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Midland College in Midland. "Your team has brought to light many important ideas, and it is our hope that the final selection and site will make you and the institutions you represent proud."
The West Texas Coalition had proposed a contemporary-style or Spanish Renaissance library on 100 acres west of Texas Tech's Health Science Center and, at Midland College, a Laura Welch Bush Center for Early Literacy.
Still in the running as library sites are Southern Methodist University in Dallas (Laura Bush's alma mater), the University of Dallas and Baylor University in Waco. Although SMU has little land available for new building, it is perceived to be the favorite because Laura Bush is a member of the board of trustees.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (3-22-06)
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Justice Department failed to prove that the rock art taken from national forest land had market value of more than $1,000.
Name of source: Der Spiegel
SOURCE: Der Spiegel (3-22-06)
The camera pans leisurely along the façade before zooming in on secret trap doors set into the road running in front of the monumental structure. Not far away, a truck suddenly disappears below the street riding on a hidden lift. In a different scene, the camera rotates a full 180 degrees around a sumptuous courtyard. If you look closely, you'll see the Adolf Hitler looking out of his office window.
When they were in power, the Nazis were careful not to allow such intimate images of the Reich Chancellery, then located in the heart of Berlin, to reach the public. But now -- some 50 years after the last remnants of the building, designed by Hitler's private architect Albert Speer, were demolished -- a new, animated video has emerged full of sharply focused and detailed images of the ambitious project -- a digital tour through Hitler's grandest building. Christoph Neubauer, 34, spent much of the last three years assembling his virtual visit.
The video, called "Albert Speer's Neue Reichskanzlei," hit the shelves of German stores earlier this month and almost immediately triggered a scandal. During one presentation, the video's creator was berated by the audience and accused of having created a video sure to be an instant hit among the neo-Nazis -- a film for the right wing to revere.
"I really have absolutely nothing to do with the neo-Nazis," Neubauer protested, saying he was "totally surprised" by the accusations. Neubauer, the head of a small graphics company, has been living in the South African capital of Pretoria for the past four years. He is dating a black woman -- and he says he was shocked by the xenophobia they encountered recently on a vacation he and his partner took to Neubauer's home in Germany.
Neubauer has received support against his critics by Laurenz Demps, a historian at Humboldt University in Berlin. Neubauer's film, Demps says, is "much too sober and far too complicated" for it to be fetishized in the right-wing scene. Demps himself finds the animation fascinating. Photos, he says, could never "communicate the atmosphere created by such buildings."
That's exactly the effect Neubauer was trying to produce and to do so he recreated even the minutest of historical details when rebuilding the chancellery on his PC. The resulting animation also shows how fixated Speer was on the needs of his Führer to the exclusion of all else; he clearly didn't care how comfortable the rest of the offices in the building were.
The central section of the building, for example, where Hitler's office was located, is roomy and elegant. In the offices reserved for the bureaucrats, on the other hand, the atmosphere is bleak. A number of rooms received hardly any natural light at all and the tar-paper roof ensured that the top floors of the building were unbearably hot in the summer and icy cold in the winter. Because the central part of the building was reserved for Hitler's office and pompous excess, there were also no hallways connecting the upper floors of the building's two wings. Those who wanted to go from one side to the other had to walk all the way down to the cellar.
The film also shows, more clearly than any photo possibly could, just how arduous the journey from the building's entrance to Hitler's office was for foreign guests. "The long journey from the foyer to the reception hall will surely demonstrate something of the greatness and the power of the German Reich," Speer noted in his memoirs in discussing the almost sadistic pleasure Hitler derived from the design. As if the walk itself wasn't enough, Speer also used numerous tricks of light and optics to intensify the building's cool and daunting atmosphere.
Neubauer destroys one myth about the construction of the Reichskanzlei right at the beginning of the video. Speer, so goes the myth, erected the building in the impossibly short time of just one year. Not so intones the narrator. Rather, the myth is a "Nazi propaganda lie that even today is repeated by historians and journalists."
The confusion comes from Speer himself. In his memoirs, published in 1970 under the title "Inside the Third Reich," he says that Hitler sprung the project on him at the end of January 1938 and said he wanted it finished on Jan. 10, 1939. "That was the most careless promise of my life," Speer writes about accepting the challenge. But in 1981, historian Angela Schönberger, in her book "The New Reichs Chancellery of Albert Speer," presented a rather different version of the story. According to her, Speer had already submitted a cost estimate for the first chunk of the building in March 1937. In total, in other words, he had two years to complete the chancellery.
The work of Schönberg, now director of the applied arts museum in Berlin, provided the foundation for Neubauer's film. And he needed the help. Even six months after beginning his project, he had still never even visited the site on Vossstrasse in central Berlin where the Reichskanzlei once stood.
Name of source: Inside Higher Education
SOURCE: Inside Higher Education (3-21-06)
With AAUP board members and the foundations that were paying for the conference all urging postponement, the association announced it would do just that, but vowed to regroup and hold the session.
But in a letter sent last week to conference participants, association leaders said that they could not go ahead with the conference.
The organizers wanted to hold the conference with the original invitees, but realized, the letter said, that such a course of action would “reactivate opposition that has proved too severe to enable us to go forward.” So instead, no conference will be held, but written comments prepared by the invitees for the meeting will be published by the AAUP in Academe, its magazine.
Name of source: Press Release -- Students for Academic Freedom
SOURCE: Press Release -- Students for Academic Freedom (3-21-06)
The debate will be held Thursday evening on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC. Young America’s Foundation and the Center for the Study of Popular Culture are the co-hosts of the debate.
The conference will also feature U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, House Leader Jack Kingston, and Colorado high school student Sean Allen whose recording of an anti-American rant by his geography teacher, Jay Bennish, created a national furor over classroom indoctrination. The conference (apart from the debate) will take place at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC.
Since its inception in the Summer of 2003, Students for Academic Freedom has led the way in promoting intellectual diversity and academic freedom in higher education. The April event will be the culmination of three years effort in which the organization has built student organizations on over 150 campuses, and moved legislation in 16 states and the U.S. Congress. The efforts of Students for Academic Freedom have brought the issues of intellectual diversity and academic freedom to the attention of a national public, generating more than two thousand press articles over the last year and stimulating debate on tens of thousands of sites across the World Wide Web.
The academic freedom campaign has shaken the complacency of the higher education community. In Colorado and Ohio, the higher education systems have formally adopted academic freedom rules based on the Academic Bill of Rights and are preparing to implement them. Principles of the Academic Bill of Rights have been incorporated into the authorization bill for the Higher Education Act at the federal level. The American Council on Education has issued a statement on Academic Freedom which incorporates key reforms proposed in the Academic Bill of Rights. In Pennsylvania, a special Committee on Academic Freedom was created by the Pennsylvania House to examine the state of academic freedom in public colleges and universities. Even though hearings before the committee are still in progress they have already stimulated proposals for reform. A final report by the committee on academic freedom is due in June.
In addition to its keynote speakers, the April conference will feature a series of panels discussing academic freedom issues and the responses to the academic freedom movement. The panels will include students involved in the academic freedom movement, professors, university trustees, representatives of educational associations and legislative sponsors of the Academic Bill of Rights.
“The purpose of this conference is to raise the awareness of this historic movement,” said SAF Chairman and Founder David Horowitz. “SAF has made great strides in ‘waking up’ the political and educational establishments and the general public to the seriousness of these problems. Now is the time to showcase our achievements, outline our goals to a national audience, and accelerate our efforts to institute these reforms.”
More information including a schedule and a list of confirmed speakers are available at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org. Registration for the conference is free for students, interns, non-profit and legislative staffers, educators, and the media, and only $75 for the general public. To register for the conference, please contact Elizabeth Ruiz at 800-752-6562, ext. 202 or at Elizabeth@cspc.org.
Students for Academic Freedom is a national movement to promote intellectual diversity and to restore educational values to America’s institutions of higher learning. The organization recommends that colleges and universities adopt an Academic Bill of Rights to ensure that these principles are respected. The Academic Bill of Rights is available on the organization’s website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org.
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom
1413 K Street NW #1000
Washington, DC 20005
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (3-20-06)
Construction workers found the limestone sarcophagus last week in a tomb near the village of Kouklia, in the coastal Paphos area. The tomb, which probably belonged to an ancient warrior, had been looted during antiquity.
"The style of the decoration is unique, not so much from an artistic point of view, but for the subject and the colors used," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the island's antiquities department.
Only two similar sarcophagi have ever been discovered in Cyprus before. One is housed in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other in the British Museum in London, but their colors are more faded, Flourentzos said.
SOURCE: CNN (3-21-06)
City Department of Transportation employees were conducting maintenance on the structure Wednesday when they found the cache on the top floor of a three-floor space inside the bridge's base, agency spokeswoman Kay Sarlin said.
Some containers were marked with two dates notorious in the annals of the Cold War: 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space, and 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis when the two superpowers may have come closest to war.
Sarlin said one of the containers was marked, "To be opened after attack by the enemy."
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (3-21-06)
"It is our ambition that by 2007 the museum will be open to visitors," he told journalists after touring the half-finished building near the ancient hilltop temples of the Acropolis.
Greece had hoped to open the museum before the 2004 Olympics to push its claim for the return of the 5th-century BC Parthenon marbles, widely known as the Elgin marbles, from the British Museum.
But after decades on the drawing board, the museum is now three years behind schedule and, at a projected final cost of 129 million euros (89.3 million pounds), 25 percent over budget.
Name of source: Canada.com
SOURCE: Canada.com (3-21-06)
"It should be pointed out that the recent creation of the (Canada Border Services Agency) as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has resulted in a significant reduction in the priority given to issues not related to health, safety and security," reads an internal evaluation by Canadian Heritage, obtained by the Ottawa Citizen under the Access to Information Act.
"The CBSA has explicitly indicated that ... export controls are outdated and it wishes to get out of the business."
Key informants from government and private cultural institutions, who were interviewed for the evaluation and warned of the lost treasures, indicate significant numbers of cultural exports bypass controls, and that some institutions ignore temporary permits for travelling exhibitions completely.
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-20-06)
Altmann has lent the paintings to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a temporary exhibition. She hopes that the exhibition, which opens on April 4, will attract a buyer. "My wish, and the wish of the other heirs, is that they will be bought by people who will have them on public display," she told the Guardian. "I can promise you they won't hang in my living room."
Name of source: The Boston Globe
SOURCE: The Boston Globe (3-21-06)
The Salem Athenaeum has made preliminary inquiries about selling its copy of the Massachusetts Bay Charter to raise funds for its endowment. Critics fear that the document could end up in private hands or possibly a foreign country.
"I take it very personally when people try to sell off our history," said Bonnie Hurd Smith, executive director of the Ipswich Historical Society and one of many local history buffs steaming at the news. "People are just in shock."
Since the early 1900s, the Salem Athenaeum has kept the four-page charter in the Peabody Essex Museum for safekeeping. The athenaeum's 85 shareholders will meet April 3 to discuss the possible sale.
"It does have a financial value that, turned to investment dollars and utilized for our endowment purposes, could go a long way to helping us meet many of our goals," Salem lawyer Francis Mayo, president of the athenaeum's board of trustees, said last night, adding that he was unhappy with how infrequently the Peabody Essex Museum showed the charter.
He believes that the document may be worth millions of dollars. Representatives from several auction houses have visited Peabody Essex Museum to examine the document, but Mayo said that any deal with an auction house would have to stipulate that the charter be sold to a local institution that could display it publicly.
"Ideally, the document would remain in Salem," said Mayo, though he acknowledged that the athenaeum had no control over the charter once it was sold.
The document was brought here in 1629 by John Endicott, the original chief executive of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The charter was held by the Massachusetts Bay Company, based in England. In addition to securing the company's right to land a parcel starting 3 miles north of the Merrimack River and ending 3 miles south of the Charles River the document provided for governance, including a two-house legislature and an elected governor. It was the New World's first written constitution.
"It becomes the basis of the government of Massachusetts," said Francis Bremer, a history professor at Millersville University in Pennsylvania and editor of the John Winthrop family papers. "It was a very important document."
The copy in Salem was the first to arrive in the New World. A year later, John Winthrop brought over the original copy, with the seal of King Charles I. That one is stored in state archives in Dorchester and is viewed by the state as the original. The first page was stolen in 1984. Police recovered the missing page two years later. There are four other copies of the document in England.
Though less celebrated than the 1620 Mayflower Compact, the charter was far more influential in shaping the government and economy of Massachusetts, historians say. It also influenced the drafting of the US Constitution.
Word of the charter's possible sale leaked Friday in the area's tight-knit historical community. That day, Dan L. Monroe, the Peabody Essex Museum's executive director, sent the Salem Athenaeum a letter opposing the sale.
"A decision to sell the Charter would, in our view, constitute a fundamental ethical breach," the letter said. "All indications are that the library has one primary motive for selling the Charter: to use the funds to help support operations."
Others echoed that sentiment. "They are not being good stewards of our history," Smith said. "How can they possibly think this is an ethical and appropriate decision?"
But Bremer was more sanguine. "If they can do something that enhances their collection, that may not be bad. I'd love to see them sell it to a museum," he said.
He also said that the document's true importance was not paper and ink but its words, which have been preserved in countless books and Internet sites. "We're not going to ever lose the text of the document," he said.
Name of source: Andrew Bernstein article on HNN's homepage
SOURCE: Andrew Bernstein article on HNN's homepage (3-21-06)
The column, by Adele Ferguson, was published in the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal (KPBJ) on March 13, 2006. In the article Ferguson argued that black Americans should abandon the Democratic Party, claimingf it doesn't have their true interests at heart.