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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: Daily News
SOURCE: Daily News (4-4-06)
"Reverend King has been shot ... confirm ... Rev. King has been shot," the dispatcher bellows on an excerpt from a police dispatch tape.
The recording, part of a trove of archival records that Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood recently combed through, now is available on the Register's Web site, http://www.register.shelby.tn.us/mlk/audio/mpdtapes.mp3.
Name of source: macleans.ca
SOURCE: macleans.ca (4-3-06)
Peter Kirchner, mayor of Kirchlauter in the southern state of Bavaria where von Stauffenberg lived, said the widow of Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg died Sunday morning, but gave no further details.
Col. von Stauffenberg was one of the best known internal German resistance fighters during the Second World War, leading the failed attempt to kill Hitler with a briefcase bomb placed under a conference table on July 20, 1944.
Four people died in the bombing, but Hitler was only superficially wounded after an aide moved the briefcase before it exploded.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (4-3-06)
USS New York is about 45 percent complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Katrina disrupted construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast last summer, but the 684-foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm.
SOURCE: AP (4-1-06)
Bush, Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee, should be censured and possibly impeached.
''Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented,'' Dean said. ''Hopefully the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold before it.''
Republicans and their witnesses rejected the comparison between Watergate and Bush's wiretapping program, and attributed Sen. Russell Feingold's censure resolution to posturing in a year of midterm elections.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the comparison to Watergate is ''apples and oranges'' because Nixon's actions were more about saving himself and his presidency than national security.
Name of source: physorg.com
SOURCE: physorg.com (4-3-06)
Name of source: NYT
Mr. Halabjayi denies that he was hunting for fame or political asylum. He said his book, "Sex, Legislation and Women in Islamic History," was an honest effort to examine questions that matter deeply to him.
It was 1943, World War II was raging, and federal agents were sweeping through Albuquerque hunting for Italian sympathizers. They found Mr. Domenici's mother, Alda V. Domenici, a curly-haired mother of four and a local PTA president who also happened to be an illegal immigrant from Italy. Mr. Domenici, who said he was 9 or 10 years old then, wept when his mother vanished with the agents in their big black car.
Now 73, Mr. Domenici surprised many of his colleagues when he stood up on the Senate floor last week and shared the story, which he has kept mostly to himself for much of his life.
But his powerful account reflects a broader reality that has gone almost unnoticed as Republicans feud over whether to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants. Among the most passionate Republican voices in this debate are lawmakers with strong immigrant ties, who have woven the strands of family history into an outlook that has helped shape their legislative positions.
The area, site of the most decisive battle of the Civil War more than a century ago, is fighting over a proposal to build a 3,000- slot machine parlor about two miles from its center.
After a contentious two-hour meeting Monday night, the borough council voted 6 to 3 to support the application of Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa L.P. to build a gambling parlor near the town center. Crossroads has guaranteed the borough $1 million revenue, but only if council members support the plan before the state's Gaming Control Board, which must approve the application.
SOURCE: NYT (4-1-06)
Ken Burns, whose documentaries "The Civil War" and "Baseball" have become classics of the form, said in an interview yesterday that he believed that such an arrangement would have prohibited him from making some of his recent works, like the musical history "Jazz," available to public television because they relied heavily on Smithsonian collections and curators.
"I find this deal terrifying," Mr. Burns said in a telephone interview from San Francisco, where he is filming interviews for a documentary on the history of the national parks. "It feels like the Smithsonian has essentially optioned America's attic to one company, and to have access to that attic, we would have to be signed off with, and perhaps co-opted by, that entity."
Name of source: Haaretz
SOURCE: Haaretz (4-4-06)
Sixty years later Roni Lerner, an Israeli businessman and Gitl's grandson, set out to track down his family's murderers. In the course of his investigation, Lerner, pretending to be a historian, met the sole surviving murderer and uncovered the horrific case, which the prosecution in Poland has now reopened as a result.
Under Polish law, there is no statute of limitations on murders committed during World War II or the country's Communist era. However, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who assisted Lerner in his contacts with the Polish prosecution, says that despite admirable Polish willingness to bring criminals to trial, the proceedings drag on and convictions have been exceedingly few, in view of the number of suspects still alive.
With the help of an Israeli film crew and local researchers, Lerner managed to locate the last remaining suspect in the murder. The suspect, Joseph Radchuk, a 92-year-old farmer, led Lerner and his people to the place where the victims were buried 60 years ago. Lerner is going to Poland today at the head of a delegation to exhume the skeletons and bring them for burial in Israel, alongside his father's grave. "I won't leave my family members in that cursed land of Poland," he said before departing Israel.
Researchers from Poland's Institute for National Commemoration (IPN) are slated to meet with Lerner tomorrow and to be present for the exhumation of the victims' remains, if found, at the Catholic cemetery in Pashgalini.
The eight victims are Gitl and her five children (Miriam, 22; Hannah, 20; David, 17; Zvi, 15; and Haim, 13) and two young Jewish men known only by their surnames: Zefrin and Pomerantz. They were stabbed to death at their hideout in the small village of Pashgalini, near the family's hometown of Komarovka in eastern Poland, not far from the city Lublin. The family arrived at the hideout in April 1943, after a Polish farmer named Jan Sadovski found it for them.
While the family was in hiding, Lerner's father, Yitzhak, was living in Warsaw under an assumed identity. He heard of his family's murder from a Polish friend who lived in the village. In November 1944, after the Red Army had conquered the area from the Germans, Lerner went to the village to investigate. His testimony, preserved in the Jewish archives in Warsaw, states that the murder was perpetrated by Sadovski and four other farmers - one of them being Joseph Radchuk. The testimony stated that the murder had been committed to steal the Lerner family's possessions and those of their two friends, who were wealthy people.
Lerner Sr. met with Radchuk, who said he had witnessed the murder and admitted taking many of the family's possessions. Lerner Sr. filed several complaints with the Soviet authorities, but later learned that aside from Sadovski, who was tried and executed, nothing was done to his accomplices. After the war Lerner Sr. fled to Sweden and from there immigrated to Israel. He remarried, to a Holocaust survivor from a neighboring town in Poland and lived with her in Moshav Hibbat Zion.
Lerner began investigating his family's tragedy in July 2003, when he accompanied his daughter's school trip to Poland and tracked down his father's testimony at the archives in Warsaw. On returning to Israel, Lerner decided to commemorate his father's life with a book and a documentary film, and headed back to Poland. He kept Israel's ambassador, David Peleg, and his deputy, Yosef Levy, apprised of all his movements there. He also made contact with the local Jewish community and Monica Kravchuk, chair of the Jewish heritage foundation in Poland.
Research led to the home of the Ozdovski family, on whose land the Lerners' hideout had been located. The family, whose father apparently participated in the murder, said that the bodies were initially buried near the hideout, but were moved a year later to an unknown location because neighbors complained the place had become haunted. Lerner says that during an unannounced visit to the family's home, he spotted a Singer sewing machine that had belonged to his family and was mentioned in his father's testimony.
Last October the researchers located Radchuk, who showed them where the bodies were reburied at the edge of the Catholic cemetery in Pashgalini. If the skeletons are found there, they will be flown to Israel on Tuesday and the funeral will take place in Hibbat Zion at the end of the week.
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (4-4-06)
"We are finding new areas of collaboration which we didn't know about," said Stockholm University historian Klas Amark, who coordinated the research commissioned by Prime Minister Goran Persson in 2000 in connection with a Holocaust conference.
The series of studies released on Tuesday into Sweden's Nazi links shows it did not just avoid invasion by selling iron ore to Adolf Hitler and letting his troops through to invade Norway.
Swedish pastors stopped marriages between "Aryan" Germans and Swedish Jews for violating the Nuremberg laws promoting Aryanism. This was done on the advice of the foreign ministry.
"From 1937, Swedes wanting to marry Germans of so-called Aryan blood had to give written assurance that none of their grandparents belonged to the Jewish race or religion," reads a study on Sweden's church by Anders Jarlert of Lund University.
Newspapers gagged criticism of Hitler, of the occupation of Norway or the murder of millions of Jews in concentration camps, while cultural links between the Nazis and Sweden flourished.
"The government and authorities did what they thought was necessary to keep peace but I think they did more than was necessary," Amark told Reuters in an interview.
"There was not much rationale for a German attack as Germany got what it wanted from Sweden," he said. Although Hitler drew up plans to attack Sweden, it was easier to buy iron ore from Sweden than invade and risk it sabotaging iron mines.
He blamed Sweden's attitude to Hitler on the ruling class's links with Germany and on anti-Semitism that meant Sweden had -- and still has today -- its own small National Socialist party.
While Hitler idealised the Nordics as tall, blonde Aryans, Nazi propagandists who visited Sweden were disappointed to find a "peaceful people who had had Christianity for 2,000 years and had not been to war for 150 years", Amark said.
Jan Larsson of the Swedish Research Council, author of a summary of the studies, said Sweden needed to produce conclusive research so that it could move forwards after years of foreign studies criticising Sweden for its "ambiguous" war record.
The research also helps understand Sweden's attitude towards race and neutrality, as it continues to debate questions such as immigration and its decision to remain outside NATO.
"Sweden has a problem with the moral of neutrality. We don't know if we did the right thing in World War Two or not," said Amark, dwelling on the "moral responsibilities" of neutrality.
Sweden's wartime reputation was partly salvaged by diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps. But until 1941 it turned away German Jews unless they were political refugees, such as communists, said Amark.
In a later change of heart, in 1943 it gave shelter to about 7,000 Danish Jews saved from the Nazis by their non-Jewish neighbours, and saved many Norwegian Jews from death camps.
But a recent study by the Living History Forum shocked Jews in Sweden by suggesting that one in 20 Swedes still has strong anti-Semitic views and over a third were "ambivalent" towards Jews.
SOURCE: Yahoo News (4-4-06)
Timber and iron beams from a 10th-century wreck -- which could provide information about ancient trading routes and the arrival of Islam in Indonesia -- lie in a bath under the tropical sun behind yellow police tape.
Several thousand centuries-old Chinese ceramic bowls are stacked in plastic crates. Under a nearby hangar, fragile copper mirrors, beautiful glass bottles and ancient ship parts are also being stored as the drama outside unfolds.
Last month police swooped in the middle of the night on two divers, German Fred Dobberphul and Frenchman Jean-Paul Blancan, accusing them of illegally salvaging their find during some 24,000 dives made over more than a year-long period.
"Blancan doesn't have a licence to do that, only PT Paradigma does," deputy national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam told AFP, referring to the Indonesian salvage company that employed them.
Their lawyer Yudhistira Setiawan denies the claim, pointing out that both divers have work visas as employees of the company and kept authorities fully informed of their excavation work.
Blancan is now in an Indonesian prison hospital, suffering from typhoid and dengue fever, after being shifted from his cell with Dobberphul. The pair face up to 10 years' imprisonment.
"It is incomprehensible and scandalous. It concerns disrespect of freedom and of human rights," a furious Blancan told AFP last week during a telephone interview.
Both the German and French embassies here have said that the salvage operations had the necessary permits from at least 11 ministries. The French embassy issued a protest note saying that Blancan's arrest was arbitrary.
Police say their charges are based on a 1992 law on cultural heritage, but the company's lawyer and Marine Ministry say this was superceded by a 2000 presidential decree aimed at making treasure-hunting transparent.
Under the decree, a salvage company receives a license to retrieve a wreck's contents and returns 50 percent of its earnings to the Indonesia government.
Luc Heymans, the Belgian head of the salvaging project begun two years ago, claims that a rival company, PT Tuban Oceanic Research and Recovery (TORR), was behind the arrests, aiming to get their own hands on the bounty.
He alleges that corrupt elements in the Indonesian police -- who work in a country regularly rated as one of the most graft-prone in the world -- have assisted his rivals.
When asked about the corruption allegations, police insisted their investigation followed the 1992 law while Budi Prakosa, director of TORR, has denied that his company wants to take over their work.
Prakosa told local investigative weekly Gatra last month that he had reported Heymans and his team to the Marine Ministry because he had "concrete data" about their illegality.
Indonesia's Agency for the Protection of Underwater Heritage, a government body that coordinates the complex issuing of permits for salvage operations, has sent repeated letters to police arguing that Heymans' team was legal, agency head Hasyim Zaini told AFP.
"We already checked the process for Paradigma, and we know it followed the rules and procedures for excavation," he said.
Each week the imbroglio drags on, Indonesia is at risk of losing a key portion of its maritime history, experts warn.
After sitting under the ocean for a thousand years, the treasures urgently need complex preservation treatments, Heymans said.
"Some of the artefacts are in great danger if the government doesn't open up the warehouse. The bronze pieces are in danger of eroding," he said.
Of particular concern are some fragments of the ship's structural timbers and iron bars, which are sitting in salty water in a desalination tank -- originally a horse bath -- open to the elements beside the warehouse.
While the fragments are not financially valuable, they provide important clues to trade between Indonesian kingdoms, Persia, Africa, and China, said Horst Liebner, a maritime historian advising the Marine Ministry.
"They are losing answers to (questions about) the Java and Srivijaya kingdoms, some of the richest kingdoms of their time," said Liebner, referring to early Indonesian maritime kingdoms flourishing between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Horst said preliminary research into the ship's cargo contested prior theories about the earliest arrival of Islam in the archipelago.
Tenth century wrecks, particularly with cargo from Egypt, China and Persia, are extremely rare, said Catherine Noppe, a curator of Belgium's Far Eastern Art at the Royal Museum of Mariemont.
"There are a lot of more recent shipwrecks, but nothing that could be compared with the Cirebon shipwreck," Noppe, who provided scientific advice to the salvage team, told AFP in an email.
Cirebon, near the location of the wreck, is located about 200 kilometres east of Jakarta and was once an important regional Islamic port. Heymans' wreck is among more than a thousand believed sunk off the coasts of Java and Sumatra.
Heymans and the Marine Ministry have asked both police and the Indonesian president for permission to continue the desalination and preservation process while the police investigation continues.
Asked whether police were concerned that Indonesia's early history was disintegrating behind police lines, spokesman Bachrul replied curtly: "That's their opinion."
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (4-4-06)
Scholars who combed through Austrian archives for an exhibition opening Tuesday on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s later years in Vienna found evidence that he was solidly upper-crust and lived the good life.
Letters show that Mozart repeatedly borrowed money from friends to pay for his travels and his social obligations, and that his family was forced to move at least 11 times. The new documents, on display at Vienna’s Musikverein, reveal that he earned about 10,000 florins a year — at least $42,000, in today’s terms.
That would have placed him in the top 5 percent of wage-earners in late 18th-century Vienna, say experts, who were unable to prove lingering suspicions that gambling debts took a big bite out of Mozart’s earnings.
“Mozart made a lot of money,” said Otto Biba, director of Vienna’s vast musical archives.
To put his earnings in perspective: Successful professionals lived comfortably on 450 florins a year, according to Biba, who said Mozart’s main occupation in Vienna was teaching piano to aristocrats — a lucrative job that helped support his extravagant lifestyle.
Yet Mozart earned a reputation for money-grubbing, and evidence abounds that he squandered much of his cash. Among the items on display at the Musikverein are handwritten letters in which Mozart begged his patrons, publishers and acquaintances for huge sums to settle his debts.
One penned in June 1788 requesting a loan from arts patron Michael Puchberg reads: “If you will do me this kindness ... I shall be able to work with an easier mind and a lighter heart.”
The exhibition, which runs through June 30, is part of a year of special events in Austria celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in Salzburg on Jan. 27, 1756.
Mozart lived in Vienna from 1784-87, at the height of his brief but prolific music career. Among the works he composed in the Austrian capital was “The Marriage of Figaro.”
Mozart, who died in 1791 at age 35, was buried in a pauper’s grave at Vienna’s St. Marx Cemetery, perpetuating the notion that he spent most of his life barely scraping by in dire financial straits.
A simple column and a sad-looking angel mark the spot where scholars believe he was laid to rest.
No one disputes that Mozart’s wealth was long gone by the time he lay on his deathbed.
Researchers at Salzburg’s International Mozarteum Foundation say records of Mozart’s estate indicate that his widow barely had enough cash to bury him, and that he owed thousands, including debts to his tailor, cobbler and pharmacist.
American composer and music historian Allen Krantz is among those who think that Mozart may simply have been a victim of his own generosity, impulsiveness and largesse.
“Mozart grew up to be undisciplined, unworldly and a soft touch. Money went through his hands like water,” Krantz wrote in a recent biography. “Even Mozart’s mother, a gentle soul, complained: ’When Wolfgang makes new acquaintances, he immediately wants to give his life and property to them.”’
Name of source: China View
SOURCE: China View (4-1-06)
It's still a mystery to archaeologists when and where horses were first tamed in China, said Cai Dawei, a researcher with the center of archaeological research for China's border area under the Jilin University in Northwest China.
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (4-3-06)
But while celebrated in certain quarters at NYU, the mammoth gift has laid bare deep divisions among anthropologists, art historians and others who study antiquity at the university and elsewhere in academe, centered around fundamental questions about how best to study ancient worlds and thorny disputes between museums and scholars over whether collecting ancient objects encourages the looting of archaeological sites.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (4-2-06)
It was called the dissident cemetery since it was used by the Protestant and Jewish communities who were not allowed to bury their dead in the Roman Catholic cemeteries used by the majority of the population.
The find has excited experts keen to learn more about their country's early days.
The dead had lain undisturbed under this plaza in the heart of Buenos Aires for more than 100 years when builders laying drainage pipes exposed them to the light.
SOURCE: BBC (4-1-06)
The Church had wanted to buy the 19th Century property but had been unable to afford the hefty price tag.
John Paul II was born and grew up in the three-storey townhouse in the southern Polish town of Wadowice.
The announcement of the sale comes ahead of nationwide events to commemorate the first anniversary of his death.
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (4-1-06)
The area to be explored is the future site of a reservoir approved for construction last year, a project that has drawn fierce opposition from three Indian tribes.
The tribes also are upset about the archaeological dig, which will focus on 6,000 acres of forests and fields.
"Let the poor people rest, let the artifacts rest," said Warren Cook, assistant chief of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
The Pamunkey, Mattaponi and Upper Mattaponi tribes have refused to sign an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which governs the archaeological project.
But their opposition is largely symbolic. Under federal law, Newport News must locate archaeological resources under threat from the reservoir and protect them or mitigate their loss.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (4-3-06)
"No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially the same," the authors wrote in a paper posted on the Web site of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
"The United States has a terrorism problem in good part," they add a few pages later, "because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around."
The report, written by Kennedy School Dean Stephen Walt and John J. Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago, has ignited criticism. Academic critics, newspaper editorial pages and conservative bloggers have accused the professors of distorting history and trucking in anti-Semitic stereotypes. Harvard Law professor Alan M. Dershowitz says the professors "destroyed their professional reputations."
"We've heard all this before, the talk of powerful Jewish lobbies and the language one hears on Arab and extreme right-wing Web sites," Dershowitz said in an interview. "This is paranoid and conspiratorial."
Marvin Kalb, a senior fellow at the Kennedy School, said the report was filled with errors, not least the assertion that Israeli forces were better armed and positioned than the Arab armies in the 1947-1948 war. "It does play into the terrible argument that Jewish no-goodniks control the media and our foreign policy," Kalb said.
The professors, in fact, cast blame widely. They pointed at the powerful lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee and at neocon intellectuals, the editorial pages of the New York Times and think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, which they say all reveal a pro-Israel slant.
And they are not without academic support. Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Michigan, suggests the authors make commonplace points -- that U.S. Middle East policy is driven disproportionately by those who favor Israel, and that this lobby resorts to all manner of vile accusations to discredit opponents.
"There's nothing intellectually wrong with arguing that U.S. policy in the Middle East is dislodged from its natural moorings by the power of a domestic constituency," Cole said. "But most people are timid -- they don't want to be smeared and risk having their lives ruined."
Walt and Mearsheimer, leaders in what is known as the "realist" school of foreign policy and stringent critics of the war in Iraq, embarked on their study in 2002 in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, as the drums beat loudly for an invasion of Iraq. They described a constellation of Christian evangelicals and neocon intellectuals, including then-Defense Department officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, who strongly supported Israel and advocated an aggressive expansion of U.S. power in the Middle East.
They unsuccessfully shopped their article -- which pointedly relies on much Israeli scholarship -- here before the London Review of Books published it in March. An academic, footnoted version was posted on the Kennedy School Web site -- but as the controversy raged, the Harvard logo was removed.
"We are arguing it's difficult to fully explain the remarkable level and the unconditional level of U.S. support for Israel by reference to strategic interests or purely moral interests," Walt said in an interview last week. "We knew that some of the responses would not be gentle or fair."
The professors say Israel's American allies have skewed the national interest, inflamed Islamic opinion and endangered U.S. policy around the world. Foreign policy elites, they write, believe U.S. support for Israel's "repression in the occupied territories is morally obtuse and a handicap in the war on terrorism."
Nor, they say, is there much evidence the war in Iraq was about oil. "Instead the war was motivated," they wrote, "by a desire to make Israel more secure.
The authors draw a distinction among Jewish groups, which often have supported the Iraq war, and American Jews, who have opposed the war in greater proportion than most Americans.
Their critique has drawn applause from some liberal Jewish critics. But left-wing Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky -- a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- wrote that the professors took a naive view of U.S. foreign policy. Although he applauded their courage in standing up to "anticipated hysterical reaction," Chomsky wrote that throughout the 20th century a broad swath of the political intellectual class has favored a muscular and illegal exercise of imperial power, in the Middle East and worldwide.
"Has it been a failure for U.S. grand strategy based on control of . . . middle eastern oil and the immense wealth from this unparalleled material prize? Hardly," Chomsky wrote.
University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and describes the professors as "incredibly bold" at stirring policy and theoretical debates. But, although Telhami is a critic of the war, he does not believe Jewish neocons and their Christian supporters forced the United States into the war.
"There's no doubt that neocons long wanted a war," Telhami said. "But in the end it was the decision of a president who was super-empowered after 9/11 and who could have ignored them."
Name of source: The Daily Telegraph
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (4-3-06)
Their year-long trip, which ended in 2003, was met at first with enthusiasm by local media. But when The Daily Telegraph first reported their finding that the March was little more than half the official distance Chairman Mao had originally announced, Chinese media ignored that detail. It has since responded following the publication of their book last month.
"The length of the Long March may mean nothing to two young foreigners, but not to Chinese people,'' the Beijing Daily wrote.
"The 25,000 li of the Red Army's Long March are a historic fact and not open to doubt.''
The figure of 25,000 li (12,500 kilometres or about 8,000 miles) was Mao's verdict, given to his sympathetic American biographer Edgar Snow not long after the end of the march in 1935.
During their journey, Mr Jocelyn and Mr McEwen, a historian and a journalist who both live in China, spoke to scores of veterans and witnesses. They made a careful note of the original route taken, measuring out the distances they covered daily.
"I knew from the start that the Long March wasn't 25,000 li,'' Mr McEwen wrote. "By Mao's own maths every single one of the 267 days the Reds were on the march they walked an average of 46.5 kilometres, or 29 miles.
"I knew that was impossible. I didn't believe even the vanguard units could maintain such a pace, let alone the convalescent units, baggage carriers, cooks and all.''
The "official version'', distributed to several media outlets to counter their story, says the marchers did not move in a straight line from point to point but had to double back to fight battles and escape their attackers.
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (4-2-06)
1837online.com, the family history website, has signed a pounds 2.5m deal to scan and place online the National Archives' entire historical database of passengers who embarked on sea voyages from Britain's shores between 1890 and 1960. This includes the one and only voyage of Titanic, which was made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio.
The estimated 30m individual records include details of emigrations to Australia, North and South America, India and Africa.
1837online.com will begin scanning the originals in April and aims to have the records online towards the end of this year.
James Strachan, the director of public services and marketing at the National Archives, said: "This demonstrates our commitment to our conservation objectives by putting records online.''
Tracing family trees is becoming one of the most popular uses of the internet. A clutch of companies, including 1837online.com and Genes Reunited, a sister company to Friends Reunited, have sprung up to meet demand from amateur historians and family archivists.
Name of source: BBCNews
SOURCE: BBCNews (4-2-06)
2005: SCHOOL REFORM
In February 2005, education minister Francois Fillon was forced to withdraw key elements of school reform after protests by pupils and teachers.
President Jacques Chirac's government had been considering revamping the education system, which would have meant teaching more practical skills and replacing many examinations with continuous assessment.
However, a backlash from high school pupils forced a rethink. Lycee students marched to denounce planned changes to "le bac", the baccalaureate school-leaving examination. They said the reforms would leave thousands of students with worthless qualifications.
1995: PENSION REFORM
Crippling strikes and mass protests forced Prime Minister Alain Juppe's government to abandon pensions reforms.
The proposals included pension reforms, a new tax to repay welfare debt, raising hospital patients' fees and tying hospital spending to the inflation rate, a special charge on pharmaceutical companies and on doctors, and freezing family allowances the following year and taxing them a year later.
They were the centrepiece of a government austerity drive to ensure France qualified for European monetary union.
France qualified anyway, but Mr Juppe's government fell in 1997.
1994: LOW-PAY SCHEME
Prime Minister Edouard Balladur abandoned a controversial plan to allow employers to pay young workers less than the legal minimum wage, after a month of street protests by students and unions.
The government maintained that the plan would encourage firms to take on young workers, afflicted by a catastrophic 23% unemployment rate. Student organisations countered that the proposal devalued young peoples' work and turned them into cheap labour.
1994: FISHERMEN AND STUDENTS
In January, hundreds of thousands of people turned out to protest against a government plan to tamper with a 19th-Century law governing the state funding of private schools. Prime Minister Edouard Balladur's government wanted to extend state funds to private schools, but teachers, parents and pupils accused the government of trying to bail out private education at the expense of state-run schools.
France's constitutional court annulled the crucial clause of the funding bill and the plan was abandoned.
A month later, Mr Balladur bowed in the face of fishermen demonstrating - sometimes violently - against falling prices and cheap foreign imports. Having warned the fishermen that "violence doesn't pay", the prime minister awarded the fishermen several million francs in increased benefits.
1993: AIR FRANCE CLIMBDOWN
In the autumn of 1993, Mr Balladur's government climbed down over a plan to restructure Air France and lay off workers. Demonstrations included Air France ground staff invading runways and halting flights for days. Bernard Attali, the company's president resigned.
1986: UNIVERSITY REFORM
Jacques Chirac, then prime minister, shelved plans to implement university reform, in an attempt to defuse an increasingly explosive situation. One demonstrator was killed.
The University Reform Bill would have allowed universities broader scope in selecting students and encouraging them to issue their own, rather than national, degree certificates. But, after mass demonstrations, Mr Chirac announced the government's decision to give in to student demands to withdraw the whole of the bill.
May 1968 became synonymous with chaos and revolutionary zeal as students in Paris, initially angered by university reform, challenged the status quo, erecting barricades round the Sorbonne university.
On This Day: May 1968 riots
The violence which police used to suppress the protesters brought French workers onto the streets in their support. As the protests grew, the country was almost brought to a standstill.
In a "back me or sack me" speech on 30 May, President Charles de Gaulle called a snap parliamentary election. The June poll resulted in a resounding victory for the Gaullist conservatives, which ended the crisis and restored the president's authority.
In the longer run, however, the 1968 revolt helped undermine the legitimacy of General de Gaulle, who stood down the following year.
Name of source: Independent (London)
SOURCE: Independent (London) (4-1-06)
Name of source: Rocky Mountain News
SOURCE: Rocky Mountain News (4-2-06)
"We have never fielded a request like this before, under these precise circumstances," said Toni Wheeler, staff attorney for the city of Lawrence.
Grave Site 555 in Section 4 of the city-owned Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence is officially identified as belonging to John Wesley Hill-mon. Hillmon, an aspiring rancher and cattleman, reportedly died March 17, 1879, at age 31 in an accidental shooting near Crooked Creek - now known as Spring Creek - outside Medicine Lodge, Kan.
But historians and legal scholars have debated the point for years because the insurance companies that carried policies on Hill-mon fought the claim of Hillmon's widow, Sallie. The companies insisted the grave actually holds the remains of an Iowan named Frederick Adolph Walters.
That dispute, known to legal scholars as Mutual Life Insurance Co. vs. Hillmon, sparked six trials and two U.S. Supreme Court rulings - including an 1882 Supreme Court decision that gave birth to a key piece of federal evidence law.
Wesson hopes the dig can be conducted in mid-May and that Van Gerven can quickly determine with certainty who really is in the Hillmon grave.
Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin ruled Friday that the Hillmon/Walters remains can be out of the ground for no more than 48 hours.
Whether Van Gerven is successful in making a positive identification will depend, in part, on the condition of what is found in the grave.
"Dennis said to me, 'If we don't find very much, I won't need 48 minutes. But otherwise, I won't be sleeping very much for 48 hours,' " Wesson said.
Van Gerven, noted for his studies involving health and disease in ancient populations of the Nile Valley, expects to focus on comparisons between the cadaver's skull structure and surviving photographs of both Hillmon and Walters.
He hopes to use laboratory facilities of a colleague at the University of Kansas to complete his work.
Hillmon reportedly was the victim of an accidental shooting at the hands of a traveling companion who said his rifle went off as he unloaded the pair's wagon.
Someone attired in Hillmon's clothes was promptly buried at Medicine Lodge. Hillmon's widow held three life insurance policies on her husband totaling $25,000, and the insurance companies suspected a scheme was afoot to defraud them.
Four of the six trials in Hill-mon's case over the next 20 years resulted in mistrials. Two yielded verdicts in Sallie Hillmon's favor, but those were subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (4-2-06)
Hidden in the city's rewritten history were darker realities. In the chaos, San Franciscans lashed out at the underclass -- beating and shooting Chinese immigrants, in part to keep them from rebuilding Chinatown. Officials covered up the death count -- now thought to have surpassed 3,000 -- doctored photographs to minimize the appearance of damage and removed earthquake faults from maps. And the upper class illegally took over city government.
A century later, civic leaders are struggling to commemorate one of San Francisco's defining stories, but one saddled with much loss of life and conflicting interpretations. Complicating the tribute even more is the certainty that another catastrophic earthquake looms in the future.
"I feel sorry for the organizers," said Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at Cal State Sacramento. "How do you decide to commemorate a human tragedy that could repeat itself any time?"
Fault lines emerged early.
One historian has insisted that the events should be marked with solemnity, in honor of the thousands of dead the city only recently officially acknowledged. San Francisco's Chinese community is emphasizing the era's historical atrocities.
As in 1906, business interests are stressing a debatable, feel-good story line that highlights the city's continuing comeback as a global competitor.
And with memories of Hurricane Katrina still raw, donors are focusing on seismic preparedness, shunning ideas based on celebrations.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, 38, offered his own idea: a party with local rock hero Carlos Santana. It was scuttled when donors worried that a concert would be in poor taste.
A smattering of events has taken shape around a judiciously balanced theme -- "Commemorate, Educate and Celebrate" -- including an earthquake expo and the city's belated embrace of a memorial gathering held annually at a downtown fountain.
Newsom acknowledged that the 1906 earthquake was an "awkward" event to mark.
"Do you sit there with a candlelight vigil and say, 'My God, how dare the city do what it did back then, with the corruption of city officials or the mistreatment of its Chinese American residents?' " he said.
"Do you sit there and tell people, 'Why are we all here? The next earthquake is going to come, and most of us are not going to make it.' Or do you focus on the city's comeback and rebuilding?"
Striking just after 5 a.m., the April 18 quake and the ensuing three-day firestorm leveled most of San Francisco: 29,000 buildings, including 37 banks, two opera houses and rooming houses packed with immigrants.
What followed were scenes of heroism and cruelty.
Rescuers risked their lives to pull victims from collapsed buildings, and residents patiently endured months in shabby tent cities. But city officials also tried unsuccessfully to move Chinatown from its central location to a remote outpost.
An immediate campaign began to sanitize events: City officials called the disaster "The Great Fire," excising the word "earthquake." Headlines boasted of the recovery, and for years the official number of disaster dead was set at 478 -- a figure widely accepted even though no list was ever compiled.
The rebuilding was rapid and extravagant, including a gilded City Hall, and a reinvented San Francisco unveiled the result in 1915 with its Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Reality was lost in the retelling. Philip Fradkin, author of "The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906," said predisaster San Francisco was a gritty, industrial city. Officials used the catastrophe to cultivate a more precious identity as a "fun-loving" cultural and economic mecca.
"It was never true, and certainly is not true today," Fradkin said. "It's a very provincial, inward-looking city. It lost its position after the 1906 earthquake, and since that time has promoted the image of what it has never been. It's become a tourist city. It's no longer a real city."
In fairness, historians say, California by nature prefers the future to the past.
"It's part of the mythology, which is: The place didn't exist before I got here," Hodson, of the Center for California Studies, said. "Back home, you were Norma Jean. In California, it's Marilyn Monroe."
Hodson said many California cities ignore disasters in their past. Others reinvent: Santa Barbara used its 1925 quake, which flattened much of downtown, to remake itself -- hiring Hollywood set directors to come up with a colonial style that bore no relationship to the destroyed architecture.
Cities that do commemorate disasters often do so gingerly.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 has been remembered mostly through the uninspiring National Fire Prevention Week.
In Galveston, Texas, civic leaders worried about how to mark the hurricane and flood in 1900 that killed more than 6,000.
Business interests "said that to be so identified with hurricanes was awful. We shouldn't even mention it," said Linda Macdonald, who helped organize the centennial.
Until the earthquake's 100th anniversary approached, San Francisco had done little to commemorate the historic event.
For decades, a small gathering of survivors has observed the day at Lotta's Fountain, an ornate downtown landmark that in 1906 served as a message board for the dispossessed.
Historian Gladys Hansen was even turned down by the city when she wanted to erect a memorial to victims; she had to turn to a cemetery in nearby Colma. (At Hansen's urging, supervisors recently passed a resolution acknowledging that the death toll exceeded 3,000.)
But the centennial was a marker the city could not ignore. Newsom created a committee two years ago to organize what he promised would be a world-class observance. But only in the last few months did any plans begin to take form.
"In September or October, I put my ear to the railroad track and didn't hear any trains coming," said city Fire Capt. James Lee, who is active in the department's historical society. The group is sponsoring an expo featuring 1906 memorabilia, as well as earthquake and fire safety information.
As the main event, the city has now officially embraced the Lotta's Fountain gathering, and tens of thousands are expected, along with 18 survivors. A moment of silence will mark the quake and will be shattered at 5:13 a.m. when fire stations sound their sirens and churches ring their bells.
Also planned are a parade, firefighters costume ball and a $500-a-plate dinner to benefit the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society and the Chinese Historical Society of America.
Current and planned independent events are plentiful. Among them are photo exhibits, a massive gelatin model of the city, a specially commissioned symphony and a ballet set to the sound of seismic movement from the Hayward fault.
Despite the initial criticism, the city's centennial organization, called San Francisco Rising, is not shying away from all negative imagery. It supports the Chinese historical society, which will remind residents of some of San Francisco's darkest moments through a oneman theater production and exhibit.
"We're not going to tell a happy story," said historical society Executive Director Sue Lee. "It's a very complicated story."
The city also will be the site of three conferences for seismic professionals. Safety and preparedness education will occur in schools throughout the year.
And Wells Fargo -- the city's largest private employer and one rooted here since before the quake -- has taken a lesson from Hurricane Katrina and is sponsoring a program to photograph children for identification purposes in the event of a disaster.
The city has officially acknowledged the eventual reality of the Big One, but many residents still prefer to ignore it.
"I hope it happens while I'm in the office; we're prepared," said San Francisco native Tami Espino, 48, who has neglected to assemble her own earthquake preparedness kit.
"If it happens at home, I'm a dead duck."
Name of source: CRIENGLISH.com
SOURCE: CRIENGLISH.com (4-1-06)
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (4-1-06)
Workers at the factory that produced the quintessential cowboy rifle for 140 years were laid off this week amid howls of protest from gun-lovers around the world, and the plant closed yesterday. “John Wayne and so many actors carried a Winchester: They didn’t say: ‘Hand me my rifle’. They said: ‘Hand me my Winchester’,” David Bichrest, the secretary of the Texas-based Winchester Arms Collectors Association, said.
Name of source: Canada.com
SOURCE: Canada.com (3-30-06)
The auction on eBay began March 20 and ended Thursday afternoon with Golden Palace Casino placing the winning bid, said D'Army Bailey, a Memphis judge who owned the tub.
Golden Palace has bought numerous historical or noteworthy artifacts for a travelling display. On Thursday, its website touted its purchase of four toilets formerly owned by late Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia.
Bailey said he has been assured the casino will treat the tub "with sensitivity for its historical significance."
The tub first went on sale in 2004 and drew a bid of $152,000, but eBay removed it due to concerns the item might be considered offensive, particularly by King's family.
But the website's operators later decided the item met its guidelines for historical artifacts.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (3-26-06)
Mr. Doss was one of only two conscientious objectors to receive the Medal of Honor. Thomas W. Bennett, who was an Army corporal and medical aidman during the Vietnam War, also received the medal, according to Carol Cepregi, administrative assistant with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Bennett died while serving in Vietnam.
Alvin C. York, a World War I sergeant about whom a patriotic movie was made, applied for conscientious objector status but was turned down.
Mr. Doss grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, whose tenets forbid bearing arms. However, when he was called to the draft, the lanky native Virginian declined a religious exemption that would have allowed him to continue working in a shipyard.
SOURCE: Wa Po (3-31-06)
For Thomas E. Jones, the last day of World War II offered, quite literally, 15 minutes of fame. Now, six decades later, the Montgomery County resident has received an unwanted 16 minutes more.
The new short movie "The Messenger," directed by Florida filmmaker Quincy Perkins, purports to tell the story of Jones's brush with U.S. history on the afternoon of Aug. 14, 1945. But Jones, 76, feels compelled to respond to the film, saying: "I just wanted to set the story straight."
Also wanting to set the record straight is his family, as well as the film's executive producer, Pat Croce, they said. The movie created a stir this week when Croce -- author, motivational speaker and former president of the Philadelphia 76ers -- announced that Perkins had deceived him and had hired an actor to portray the older Jones for interview footage in the film.
In a dramatized portion of the 16-minute film, Jones, a 16-year-old courier, is seen at work at the RCA communications office on Connecticut Avenue NW when a cable arrives announcing Japan's acceptance of the Allied demand for surrender. The young Washingtonian is told to deliver the message to the White House but, feeling no urgency, he stops at a diner to eat pancakes and socialize. After getting back on the road, he is cited by a police officer for an illegal U-turn, further delaying the delivery.
During an interview scene in "The Messenger," a man identified as Jones recalls hand-delivering the telegram to President Harry S. Truman at the White House. And the film -- which is dedicated to Jones -- indicates that he lived in Allentown, Pa., and died in December.
The real Thomas E. Jones, a retired C&P telephone worker, quietly begs to differ. "Even though I've had a lot of health problems," he said yesterday, "I'm still around."