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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: Lee Formwalt in the OAH Newsletter
SOURCE: Lee Formwalt in the OAH Newsletter (5-19-06)
During negotiations with Hilton for the contracts required by the settlement, it became clear that Hilton would not sign the final three contracts if they contained the labor disputes clause. This placed the OAH Executive Board between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If we stuck to our guns and refused to budge on the labor disputes clause, the settlement would unravel and we would be facing the $390,000 penalty. If we conceded and removed "labor disputes" from the escape clause, we would be vulnerable to possible San Francisco-like disputes in the future. Several weeks before our deadline for signing the contracts, the board met by conference call and decided that signing the contracts for 2011, 2013, and 2014 without the labor disputes clause was the lesser of two evils.
A major consideration in this decision was that the board felt it could not take actions that would increase further the cost of moving the 2005 meeting. The 2005 fiscal year ended with a substantial deficit, a large portion of which was due to moving the meeting to San José. (Other factors contributing to the deficit included revenue shortfalls for our Magazine of History expansion efforts.) In order to cover these costs, the executive board had to borrow $328,000 from the OAH General Endowment. In our December 2005 conference call, executive board members concluded that we could not jeopardize the settlement and risk having to borrow more funds from the Endowment.
Last month, the consequences of 2005's deficit were evident as the board considered the proposed budget for FY 2007. The board agreed that it would pay back the $328,000 debt to the endowment over a five-year period which means that $66,000 out of each year's budget through FY 2011 will be returned to the Endowment. Also the failure to fully fund the expansion of the OAH Magazine of History with an increase of revenue for that purpose over the last two years will require cutting back its frequency from six to four issues a year. The cost of moving Talking History—OAH's weekly radio program—from Kansas City to Bloomington and producing the program here next year was beyond our means and the executive board decided to suspend production this summer. Finally, two full-time positions whose staff have left or will be leaving will become part-time this summer.
Name of source: Scripps-Howard
SOURCE: Scripps-Howard (5-19-06)
Trenches were dug on the bluffs above the Golden Gate. Machine guns were sited to cover Baker Beach on the western edge of the city. If the Japanese came, we were ready.
Nearly 65 years went by, and the world changed. The Army is gone from the Golden Gate. The Presidio is part of a national park now. The other day, National Park Service crews clearing weeds and making surveys for a hiking trail above Baker Beach found some of the old wartime trenches and machine-gun nests, still there, still ready for the invasion that never came.
The rangers were amazed. "It's hard to describe the experience," said Park Service historian Stephen Haller. "It's peeling back history."
The Park Service doesn't want to reveal the exact location of these trenches until archaeologists can look at them and prepare them for public viewing. There are perhaps a dozen trenches, on the bluffs north of Baker Beach, behind "keep out" signs.
The fear of those dark winter days in 1941 and 1942 seems nearly absurd now. The Japanese had no plans to invade and no fleet ready to mount an invasion _ a good thing, since the West Coast was defenseless. The Navy was out in the Pacific, and the Army was undermanned and unprepared. At one point in early 1942, Boy Scouts were sent to guard the Bay Bridge.
Retired ranger John Martini remembers taking an oral history from an old soldier named Dudley Riggs who had been stationed at the Presidio. "They gave me a World War I Army helmet, some ammunition dated 1920, a 1903 Springfield rifle and told me to shoot anyone coming up the hill," Riggs said.
On the afternoon of Dec. 7, the Army's Western Defense Command received a report of a Japanese fleet 30 miles off the Presidio. On Dec. 8, aircraft carriers were reported off the coast and a submarine off the Golden Gate, and at 6 that night, something suspicious was spotted on radar 100 miles west of San Francisco.
Sirens wailed, that eerie rising and falling sound that still signifies an air raid.
Cars and electric commuter trains were stopped on the Bay Bridge. Traffic stopped in the city, people piled out of buses and streetcars and took shelter. It was the war's first blackout on American soil, and it was a fiasco.
Many neon advertising signs stayed lit. Downtown San Francisco sparkled, one resident said, "like New Orleans at Mardi Gras time." The roadway lights and the rotating red beacon lights on the 4-year-old Golden Gate Bridge blazed away. The bridge, it was learned later, was defended by only three .30-caliber machine guns.
The next day, Lt. Gen. John de Witt, head of the Western Defense Command, came to City Hall to chew out the city fathers. He was in uniform, three silver stars glittering on each shoulder and blood in his eye. He was furious. He was convinced, he said, that Japanese bombers had flown over San Francisco _ and the city had not blacked out.
"No bombs fell, did they?" Mayor Angelo Rossi asked gently.
De Witt told the newspapers it might have been better if the city had been bombed. "I never saw such apathy," he snapped. "It was criminal. ... It was shameful."
There were no planes, but, according to Brian Chin's book "Artillery at the Golden Gate," there really were Japanese submarines off the coast.
They torpedoed a few ships off California and later shelled an oil refinery near Santa Barbara. On Dec. 17, Chin wrote, the submarine I-15 surfaced near the Farallon Islands. Its crew could see the glow of the city lights in the distance.
"If we weren't at war," said Capt. Hiroshi Imazato, "this would be an excellent chance to pass in through the Golden Gate and visit that famous city of San Francisco."
The Japanese officers all laughed.
Name of source: USA Today
SOURCE: USA Today (5-19-06)
DNA samples from 500-year-old bone slivers could contradict the Dominican Republic's competing claim that the explorer was laid to rest in the New World, said Marcial Castro, a Spanish historian and teacher who devised the study that began in 2002.
However, some of Columbus' remains also could have been buried in the Dominican Republic, he said.
The announcement came a day before the 500th anniversary of Columbus' death in the Spanish city of Valladolid.
A forensic team led by Spanish geneticist Jose Antonio Lorente compared DNA from bones buried in a cathedral in Seville with DNA from remains known to be from Columbus' brother, Diego, who also is buried in the southern Spanish city.
"There is absolute matchup between the mitochondrial DNA we have studied from Columbus' brother and Christopher Columbus," Castro said in a telephone interview.
Mitochondria are cell components rich in the genetic material.
Juan Bautista Mieses, the director of the Columbus Lighthouse — a cross-shaped building several blocks long that the Dominican government built to house the explorer's remains — dismissed the researchers' findings. He insisted that Columbus is buried in the Dominican Republic.
"The remains have never left Dominican territory," Bautista said.
Castro and his colleagues say they had tried in vain for years to persuade the Dominican Republic to open up the monument to compare the remains inside with those of Diego Columbus.
"Now, studying the remains in the Dominican Republic is more necessary and exciting than ever," Castro said.
Although his team is convinced the bones in Seville are from Columbus, he said, that does not necessarily mean the ones in Santo Domingo are not. Columbus' body was moved several times after his death, and the tomb in Santo Domingo might conceivably also hold part of the explorer's body.
"We don't know what is in there," Castro said.
Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492, landing at the island of Hispaniola, which today comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Historians have been debating for more than 100 years whether Spain or the Dominican Republic has legitimate bragging rights to the remains of Columbus.
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (5-4-06)
They've taken a close look at old pictures of the 3300-year-old mummified king.
His sexual organ has been just another puzzle in the story of the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
Harry Burton (1879-1940) photographed the royal penis intact during Howard Carter's excavation of King Tut's tomb in 1922.
But it was reported missing in 1968, when UK scientist Professor Ronald Harrison took a series of x-rays of the mummy.
There was speculation that the penis had been stolen and sold.
"Instead, it has always been there. I found it during the CT scan last year, when the mummy was lifted. It lay loose in the sand around the king's body. It was mummified," says Professor Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Name of source: La Vista Sun
SOURCE: La Vista Sun (5-17-06)
But her young listeners quickly assumed their former uneasy hush as the charming, well-dressed woman on the platform continued speaking almost effortlessly of the torrent of abuse she witnessed.
Though her delivery of grim memories was well rehearsed, occasionally a caustic edge to her voice, a clenched fist, a wrathful expression slipped free and the audience witnessed a child's rage shoving its way through her retrospection.
"I never knew a world without a Hitler," Karp told the students. "I was born in 1932 in Germany and Hitler came to power in 1933."
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (5-17-06)
Geologist Aly Abd Barakat was sent by Egypt’s government to join the local team researching what Bosnian-born amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic says are three 12,000-year-old pyramids — the Bosnian Pyramids of Sun, Moon and Dragon.
“In my opinion, it is a type of pyramid, probably primitive pyramid ... (that) we did not know until now,” Barakat told reporters at the dig on the northeastern side of Visocica hill, where huge stone blocks have been found.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (5-19-06)
Now the critics are getting their day in the court of scientific discourse.
In today's issue of the journal Science, researchers led by Robert D. Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago present evidence they say supports their main argument, that the skull in question is not that of a newfound extinct species, but of a modern Homo sapiens afflicted with microcephaly, a genetic disorder characterized by a smaller than normal brain and head size.
The researchers said the evidence used in previous studies to rule out microcephaly was flawed. They noted that the analysis was primarily based on comparisons with a brain cast made from a poorly preserved skull of a 10-year-old who was microcephalic, not one from an adult.
SOURCE: NYT (5-19-06)
Using cadaver dogs borrowed from the Detroit police, and aided by students and professors from Michigan State University, F.B.I. agents began a search on Wednesday of the 80-acre farm in Milford Township, Mich., northwest of Detroit, for signs of a crime involving Mr. Hoffa, the former Teamsters president. Daniel D. Roberts, the special agent in charge of the Detroit F.B.I. office, said the search could take weeks.
In fact, the search has taken more than 30 years, and has led investigators to trash dumps, construction sites and homes throughout the region. One theory even held that he was entombed under Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
SOURCE: NYT (5-18-06)
A new comparison of the human and chimp genomes suggests that after the two lineages separated, they may have begun interbreeding.
The analysis, by David Reich, Nick Patterson and colleagues at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., sets up a serious conflict between the date of the split as indicated by fossil skulls, about 7 million years ago, and the much younger date implied by genetic analysis, as late as 5.4 million years ago.
Certainly, it was a wonderful success a few months ago when for a mere 5,900 euros (about $7,500), she purchased a pristine copy of "A Natural History of Birds," by Pierre Belon du Mans, published in Paris in 1555 and complete with 160 woodcuts, representing one of the first major works of its kind based on observation.
But only a couple of weeks ago, there was not nearly enough money to get a much desired book, the 17th-century "Rings of Saturn," by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, which went at auction for $16,500, about $10,000 more than she had to spend.
In the intense early years, five Vietnamese-American journalists were killed in the United States, apparently by a radical anti-communist group. Mr. Do chose not to visit his mother in Vietnam before she died, fearing reprisals from those who oppose any contact with the country they had fled.
"They continue to fight with each other," he said of the Vietnamese refugees in an interview before his illness became critical.
"Many don't know how to deal with each other in peacetime," he said. "We need to educate them step by step to be part of the larger community. But to expect some of them to behave like normal immigrants, no way."
Mr. Carrol's death, which was made widely public only recently, was reported by the Solimine Funeral Home, in Lynn, Mass., his hometown. No cause was announced.
The puppy, a black-and-white cocker spaniel named Checkers, became a famous political asset for the girls' father, Richard M. Nixon, then the Republican vice-presidential candidate. In a nationally televised address in September 1952, Nixon, responding to charges of fiscal impropriety, invoked Mr. Carrol's gift to sentimental effect.
SOURCE: NYT (5-16-06)
In an effort to placate conservatives, Mr. Bush talked tough about cracking down on immigrants who slip across the United States' long border with Mexico.
But the real theme of his speech was that the nation can be, as he phrased it, "a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time" and that Congress could find a middle ground between deporting illegal immigrants and granting them immediate citizenship.
SOURCE: NYT (5-16-06)
Mr. Crile, who spent much of his career working on the CBS program "60 Minutes," took on formidable topics, many in foreign countries, and earned a reputation for boldness that both won awards and drew stinging criticism. His 1982 documentary about Vietnam, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," engendered one of the most bitter disputes in television history.
Working with the correspondent Mike Wallace and others, Mr. Crile attempted to build a case that General Westmoreland, the United States commander in Vietnam, participated in a conspiracy to mislead Americans about the war. The charge was that the military had deliberately underestimated enemy numbers in order to encourage Americans to believe the war was going favorably.
TV Guide printed an article listing ways it said the "CBS Reports" documentary violated network fairness standards, and a subsequent internal CBS investigation found 11 instances in which the program violated network guidelines or was unfair. General Westmoreland strenuously denied the program's charges and sued for libel, asking $120 million in damages.
The result was an 18-week trial in late 1984 and early 1985; CBS and General Westmoreland agreed to an out-of-court settlement in which no money changed hands shortly before the jury was to retire for deliberation.
He wrote a book, "Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History" (2003), that told how a Texas congressman and a C.I.A. operative worked together to supply Afghan rebels with weapons to fight the Soviets; the Russians' defeat helped precipitate the end of Soviet Communism and helped bring militant Muslims to power in Afghanistan. A movie is being made of the book.
SOURCE: NYT (5-15-06)
Now, after a nearly quarter-century fight, the University of Washington has decided to display prominently a bronze bust of Mr. Jackson at the school that bears his name.
The debate over the Jackson bust — actually, a series of quiet discussions rather than a knock-down drag-out battle — ended last week when the three-foot statue was moved from an alcove at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies to a tree-shaded spot in front of the school's building. The move was front-page news in The Seattle Times, reflecting Mr. Jackson's enduring status here.
SOURCE: NYT (5-15-06)
"Look at that megalith, it's got to weigh 40 tons," Mr. Osmanagic said eagerly, pointing to one of the roughly rectangular-shaped stones. "After so many thousands of years, it is amazing that they are still here."
Mr. Osmanagic, an amateur archaeologist, is convinced that he has discovered a huge ancient pyramid that will rewrite the history of Europe — not to mention that of Bosnia, a country suffering from war recriminations, political divisions and sunken pride. Anthropological genetics, he said, has proved that Bosnia is "the second oldest oasis of life in Europe," and the pyramid proves Bosnia is a source of civilization on the Continent.
"It's not just any pyramid," he said from beneath his flat-crowned Navajo hat, which has led the local press to liken him to Indiana Jones. "It's the biggest pyramid in the world."
Archaeologists and historians inside and outside Bosnia are appalled, insisting it is simply a peculiarly symmetrical bit of geology.
On the sacred walls and inside the dark passageways of ancient ruins in Guatemala, archaeologists are making discoveries that open expanded vistas of the vibrant Maya civilization in its formative period, a time reaching back more than 1,000 years before its celebrated Classic epoch.
The intriguing finds, including art masterpieces and the earliest known Maya writing, are overturning old ideas of the Preclassic period. It was not a kind of dark age, as once thought, of a culture that emerged and bloomed in Classic times, at places like the spectacular royal ruin at Pelanque beginning about A.D. 250 and extending to its mysterious collapse around 900.
At the derelict ceremonial center of pyramids and wide plazas, a site in remote northeastern Guatemala known as San Bartolo, archaeologists have uncovered the unexpected remains of murals in vivid colors depicting the Maya mythology of creation and kingship.
The murals date to 100 B.C., and nearby, a column of hieroglyphs, a century or two older, attests to an already well-developed writing system.
News of the discoveries, announced in the last six months by an American-Guatemalan team led by William A. Saturno of the University of New Hampshire, is reverberating through the small community of Mayanists.
They see these and other recent finds as strong evidence for the early origin and remarkable continuity of the culture's concepts of cosmology and possibly governance over more than a Preclassic millennium.
The Classic splendor was no sudden, unanticipated efflorescence.
Coming away from a visit to San Bartolo, Michael D. Coe, a retired Yale Mayanist who was not involved in the work, called the murals ''one of the greatest Maya discoveries of all time.''
Stephen Houston, of Brown, said, ''We are entering a golden age of Preclassic study,'' adding that the discipline of Maya research ''will be marked by a time before the discovery of these paintings in the jungle of Guatemala, and a time thereafter.'' Other experts have already focused new research on Preclassic ruins, some dating at least to 900 B.C., and are reinterpreting finds in light of the San Bartolo evidence.
''San Bartolo has created excitement and momentum for investigations deeper into the Preclassic period,'' said Julia Guernsey, a specialist in art history and Maya iconography at the University of Texas. ''More attention is being paid to the antecedents of the Classic Maya.''
In her book ''Ritual and Power in Stone,'' to be published in December, Dr. Guernsey reviews many examples of stucco facades, painted murals and carved monuments that illustrate Preclassic development of the imagery of enduring Maya concepts of creation, the spirit world and the metaphorical expression of power and authority of rulers.
New attention, Dr. Guernsey said, is centered on the common monumental motif in the Classic period that has now been increasingly recognized as early as the middle Preclassic era, 900 to 300 B.C. It is known as the quatrefoil. The design is something like a four-leaf clover and is found in the arrangement of stones or carved in stone or crated with packed earth and painted clay at a ceremonial site, as at La Blanca on the Pacific coastal plain in Guatemala. La Blanca, occupied from 900 B.C. to 600 B.C., is being excavated by Michael W. Love of California State University-Northridge, with Dr. Guernsey as the project iconographer.
Other Preclassic examples are being examined at Izapa, across the Mexican border from La Blanca, where quatrefoils and monuments date to between 300 B.C. and 50 B.C. An Izapa throne is framed in a quatrefoil. Similar imagery has been uncovered in Mexico at Chalcatzingo, dating from as early as 700 B.C. Dr. Guernsey said this was ''the clearest expression of the links between quatrefoils, animal mouths, caves and portals.''
Archaeologists think the quatrefoil, often in association with water channels and basins, may have been part of the iconography in ceremonies to the rain god and fertility. In other cases, it is formed around a cave entrance, perhaps symbolic of creation and the supernatural.
Dr. Guernsey surmised that the previously underappreciated quatrefoil might have been a prop for public performances in which the ruler dances and passes through the open center in a ritual demonstrating his power to intercede with the gods, hence his authority as leader. Even then, rulers were actors, and this was the Maya version of a staged photo opportunity.
Today, the quatrefoil can be seen as a symbolic portal through which archaeologists are passing to explore mysteries of Maya culture far back in Preclassic time.
One new puzzle yet to be solved is the Preclassic Maya script found at San Bartolo. The column of 10 glyphs, painted in black on white plaster, is definitely Maya writing from 300 B.C. to 200 B.C., experts say, but so far it is unreadable.
Dr. Saturno, the discoverer, and colleagues reported that the writing sample ''implies that a developed Maya writing system was in use centuries earlier than previously thought, approximating a time when we see the earliest scripts elsewhere in Mesoamerica.''
Dr. Houston, an expert in Maya glyphs at Brown, agrees, saying the sophistication of the scribe's technique and the inventory of signs suggest that ''this was not a system invented the day before.'' How long before, a few generations or centuries, he added, is not known in the absence of further evidence, but its origins could be contemporaneous with Zapotec writing in Oaxaca, Mexico, or some symbolic systems of the Olmec along the Gulf Coast.
The origin of writing in Mesoamerica, the area of southern Mexico and parts of Central America, is a contentious issue. Zapotec scholars say writing started first in Oaxaca as early as 600 B.C. and spread into Maya territory to the south. But if it did, the San Bartolo glyphs show the time gap is closing.
At the University of Texas, David Stuart, a professor of Mesoamerican art and writing, ran his finger down a drawing of the San Bartolo text. Such Maya glyphs are stylized lines and dots with animate figures, some human and others birds, snake heads and jaguars. It is writing without an alphabet, and had defied decipherment until the last decades of the 20th century.
''The text is 1,000 years before the late Classic writing, which we are good at reading -- up to 95 percent of it,'' Dr. Stuart said. ''Any script is going to go through significant changes over that time. But these glyphs are very unusual, very different from later writing.''
The single glyph he thought he could read was the seventh one down the column. It includes the sign for the word lord or noble. ''But if it referred to a true king,'' Dr. Stuart said, ''the sign would have a symbol with it to say 'divine lord.' ''
A hand appears to be in the top glyph. Dr. Houston speculated that it looked like a human hand clutching a brush, perhaps referring to the scribe. Dr. Stuart pointed to what could be a human profile in the 9th glyph, a bird perched on a nest in the 8th one and a bird with hooked beak in the 10th. But neither expert could say what the message was.
This inability to read the text, Dr. Houston said, may be because the Maya system underwent a major change at the time the Preclassic culture collapsed, around A.D. 100 to 200, with widespread evidence of destroyed or abandoned cities.
Even though the disruption was sharp, scholars say, the similarities between the few samples of Preclassic writing and the Classic style testify to a measure of continuity. But it was not as obvious, say, as the transitions from Chaucerian English to Shakespeare down to that used on blogs.
As in any code breaking, Dr. Stuart said, success usually depends on having many text samples to work with. Even computers would not speed up decipherment. ''Computers would be overwhelmed by the virtual variations,'' he said. ''There's a human element to it. A computer code breaker would be fabled, and the human mind is the only thing that can access this, because the glyphs were created by humans.''
Archaeologists expressed hope that more of the text or similar ones would eventually be found and that new efforts would be made to search for writing at larger Preclassic sites, like the ruins around El Mirador.
The 100 B.C. murals at San Bartolo, one 30 feet long, were found in a pyramid chamber below 50 feet of rubble. Dr. Saturno found the first painting when he ducked into a trench for shade and saw the face of a maize god on the north wall. It took two years of careful digging to expose the entire chamber.
Examining the painting on the west wall, scholars recognized figures and mythic scenes common to much later Maya art. It was the traditional Maya depiction of creation as it has been described in manuscripts some 13 centuries later. The world is supported by trees with roots running into the underworld and branches hold the sky. The trees represent the four corners of the world and water, earth, sky and paradise.
In the mural, the maize god is setting up the tree at the center of the world and crowning himself king. Scenes depict the god's birth, death and resurrection. Other deities make blood sacrifices at each tree.
''Art speaks volumes, and we don't necessarily need the texts,'' said Dr. Guernsey, the art historian.
The San Bartolo art provided David Freidel, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University, with insights for interpreting a discovery his team made earlier at Yaxuna in the Yucatan. Members uncovered a ceremonial structure that contained a cloverleaf pattern like a quatrefoil. Beneath, they found pottery, an ax and other artifacts from the late Preclassic period but in the style of the earlier Olmec civilization.
Dr. Freidel concluded that the Maya rulers at Yaxuna held ceremonies to connect their reign to the preceding Olmec culture, which faded away in the fifth century B.C.
Other recent digs have revealed stone monuments, altars and figurines at La Naranjo, near Guatemala City, that was occupied as early as 800 B.C. Naranjo, Dr. Stuart said, ''is proving to be one of the most exciting excavations in the Maya area.''
The chief excavator, Barbara Arroyo of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, said Naranjo was an important ritual site near a water spring. The origin of the gods is associated with places where water flows.
In his autobiography, ''Final Report,'' being published this month by Thames & Hudson, Dr. Coe, the Yale Mayanist, concluded: ''The great age of Maya archaeology is far from over. In fact, it's just beginning.''
SOURCE: NYT (5-14-06)
The language is from a resolution to be put before the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education at its annual conference in Blackpool from May 27 to 29.
The move has reopened a fiery debate that seized another college union, the Association of University Teachers, last year. In response to appeals from 60 Palestinian organizations, the Association of University Teachers voted in April 2005 to boycott two Israeli universities, saying it would bar faculty members from Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities from taking part in academic conferences or research with British colleagues.
Name of source: The Irish Times
SOURCE: The Irish Times (5-19-06)
When the socialist parliamentary group filed the proposed law last month, few imagined it would be so divisive. The law is an addendum to that of January 2001, which publicly recognised the Armenian genocide of 1915. The new law, which may now never come to a vote, would make denying the Armenian Holocaust an offence punishable by up to one year's imprisonment and a fine of EUR 45,000.
After the national assembly voted the 2001 law, Turkey cancelled contracts with the French groups Thomson, Alcatel and Bouygues. Some French products were boycotted, and taxi-drivers in Istanbul and Ankara refused to take French passengers.
This time the French and Turkish governments did their utmost to prevent the law passing. President Jacques Chirac appealed for a "spirit of responsibility" on this "sensitive question". The French ministry of trade circulated a list of French contracts with Turkey - worth $4.7 billion (EUR 3.7 billion) last year.
The French nuclear power company Areva hopes to build Turkey's first reactors soon, and the French minister for foreign trade will visit Turkey with the heads of 40 companies on June 14th.
The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened trade sanctions if the law passed, while the Turkish foreign minister warned of "irreparable damage" to relations.
"Dear colleagues, we resisted the United States during the Iraq crisis," the right-wing UMP deputy Roland Blum said. "Surely we can stand up to the Turks!" His outburst was widely applauded.
Western historians are nearly unanimous in recognising that, as the centre-right UDF deputy François Rochebloine recounted yesterday: "From April 1915, the Young Turk government unleashed the horrible process of the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, through organised massacres . . . which prefigured the Jewish Holocaust two decades later." French deputies who followed their heads - and pocketbooks - opposed the law. Those who followed their hearts supported it. The main parties splintered, and there was plenty of hypocrisy to go around. The right dragged out debates on two other laws, to eat up the socialists' time slot before the Armenian debate.
French opponents of the law do not deny the Armenian genocide happened. But many were burned by a 2005 law praising the alleged benefits of colonialism, which had to be rescinded due to public outrage.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, the leader of the socialist parliamentary group, who accused the right of obstruction, is known to be at best a reluctant supporter of the law, because he wants historians - not politicians - to judge history. Mr Ayrault and fellow group presidents must now decide whether to continue the Armenian debate during the next socialist slot in November.
In the meantime, there is bitter disappointment among many parliamentarians, not to mention the Armenians who demonstrated outside the assembly yesterday.
"They gave [ the law] a third class funeral," said Patrick Devedjian, a UMP deputy of Armenian origin. He alluded to the defacing of memorials to the Armenian Holocaust this spring. "Memorials abroad are the only sepulchres we have, so it felt like a desecration to Armenians," he said.
Mr Devedjian corrected the foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, when he alluded to "the memory of massacres committed in 1915", emphasising, "The genocide, Monsieur le Ministre".
"The Armenian cause is just," Mr Douste-Blazy continued. "It must be defended and respected. But national representatives must take account of the interest of France . . . The text submitted to you would be considered, like it or not, as a hostile act by the vast majority of Turkish people."
Name of source: Press Release -- AHA
SOURCE: Press Release -- AHA (5-18-06)
There is still time to take a few minutes and write or call your Representative.
The U.S. House of Representatives is tentatively scheduled to consider the FY2007 Interior Appropriations bill between Friday, May 19 and Tuesday, May 23. Recently, the Interior Appropriations Committee supported the President's request and recommended funding for the NEH at $142 million. Despite the appearance of level funding, this actually is a proposed cut of $1.3 million to the agency's core programs of research, education, preservation & access, public programs, and challenge grants.
We expect that when the bill comes to the House floor, an amendment will be introduced by the leadership of the Congressional Humanities Caucus [Rep. Jim Leach (IA-2) and Rep. David Price (NC-4)] and the Congressional Arts Caucus [Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Rep. Christopher Shays (CT-4)] to increase funding for the NEH and the NEA by $10 million to $15 million, evenly divided between the two endowments. This would mean an increase for the NEH of $5 million to $7.5 million that would help rebuild program lines suffering from budget rescissions and inflation.
We strongly encourage you to send a message to your member of Congress via email or fax, urging them to vote in favor of this amendment.
Beginning text and talking points are provided for you to amplify at
Many thanks for your help in this important effort to increase funding for the humanities!
Many thanks for your help in this important effort to increase funding for the humanities!
Name of source: Business Week
SOURCE: Business Week (5-16-06)
Back in 1998, with help from prominent local donors, the St. Louis Museum of Art cobbled together $499,000 to buy a beautiful ancient Egyptian burial mask. The piece, one of the gems of the museum's collection, recently became controversial when the Egyptian government demanded its return, contending it had been stolen from a warehouse in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (5-20-06)
Their ancestors packed up and left southern Afghanistan in 1881 after two disastrous wars.
The Afghan militants today don't outwardly look much different from their forefathers who picked off the British troops struggling down the snowbound passes after the first Anglo-Afghan war.
But today's British soldier is almost unrecognisable. Their leadership has been a lot more thoughtful about this new deployment than some of their predecessors.
SOURCE: BBC (5-17-06)
The USS Oriskany, which served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, was sent to its watery grave in a finely tuned operation by the US navy.
It took 500lb (226kg) of explosives to sink the 32,000-metric ton vessel to its new home off the Florida coast.
The new tourist attraction is expected to reap yearly revenues of $92m (£49m).
SOURCE: BBC (5-17-06)
A digitised version of the notes will eventually be available on the web.
The document, which had lain hidden in a house in Hampshire, was rescued from a public auction after a fundraising effort pulled in the £940,000 needed.
The "white knights" have been revealed as the Wellcome Trust, which gave £469,000, and 150 donors who came forward after the Royal Society appealed to its fellows and the general public.
The manuscript will now be rebound, transcribed and carefully analysed; and infrared scanning will be used to reveal some notes that have become illegible over time.
Robert Hooke, who died in 1703, was a polymath whose many contributions included coining the term "cell", devising a law of elasticity, creating spring regulators for time pieces; and designing several major buildings, such as the Monument to the Fire of London.
In 1662, Hooke became curator of experiments at the Royal Society, and he was later elected a fellow in 1664.
They are scattered with sketches and marginal observations, which the society hope will give insight into the man whose work crossed so many fields.
SOURCE: BBC (5-16-06)
The Northern Ireland Office bought the ship at an auction in Paris for £171,320 in January.
Social Development Minister David Hanson said a submersible barge will be used to bring the ship home.
He said this would present "the least risk to successfully transporting the 95-year old vessel".
SOURCE: BBC (5-16-06)
Baldwin wrote in glowing terms about the German leader to a friend in 1936, talking of his "great achievements", three years before World War II.
The letter, from the MP for Bewdley, Worcestershire, will be auctioned at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire.
Baldwin was prime minister three times between 1923 and 1937. He died in 1947.
SOURCE: BBC (5-16-07)
The 500kg (1,102lb) World War II explosive was found by the Royal Navy at Twelve Quays dock, Birkenhead.
The Mersey Viking and Dublin Viking were finally allowed to berth on Tuesday afternoon after waiting since the early hours of the morning.
Navy divers are moving the 7ft (2.1m) German penetration bomb out to deeper waters in the Irish Sea to detonate it.
Name of source: People's Daily Online
SOURCE: People's Daily Online (5-18-06)
The tomb was identified to belong to a general's mother who died in AD 435. Taking up an area of 24 square metres, it was found in a cemetery of 12 tombs excavated last summer by local archaeologists.
Lying on a plateau in the rural suburbs of Datong, the cemetery dates back to the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534).
Name of source: The Independent
SOURCE: The Independent (5-18-06)
Punctiliously noted in the Totenbuch or Death Book kept at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria is the camp commandant's "present" to Hitler on the occasion of the FŸhrer's birthday on 20 April 1942. Three hundred Russian prisoners were specially selected for execution to mark the event.
The death list covers how each prisoner was subjected to a so-called Genickschuss or neck shot - a single bullet fired from a pistol pressed against the base of the skull. The names, inmate numbers, dates and places of birth are meticulously recorded on each line. The slaughter started at 11.20 am, when the word Genickschuss first appears, and is repeated 299 times every two minutes thereafter.
This week files containing details of some 17 million victims of the Nazi death camp and slave labour system have been made public for the first time.
During the past six decades they have been used exclusively by the Red Cross International Tracing Service to establish the fate of the millions who went missing under Nazi rule. The files were kept off limits to the public largely because of German objections about the need to protect victims' privacy. But last Tuesday the 11-nation commission which controls the archive finally agreed to open the files to historians for the first time. The data will provide fresh insights into the workings of the Nazi death and slave labour machine.
Ulrich Herbert, a historian at Freiburg University, said: "These are terrible stories from a terrible time. It is frustrating, even appalling, that these records have been kept off limits to researchers for so long."
The archives spell out the barbarity of Nazi rule inflicted on millions in terse but telling detail. One file records the plight of Katrina, a French woman arrested by the Gestapo for "complaining that she was involuntarily sterilised by the authorities after giving birth to a coloured bastard".
Another records the fate of a German banker sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1937 after an informant overheard him criticising the Nazi regime. He was given "25 strokes for laziness" in 1944 and a mouthful of "missing teeth" after interrogation.
There is also the story of a 31-year-old nurse who was forced to wear a black and yellow "Star of David" branding her as a Jewish "race defile". Her file notes: "The woman is a half-Jew who lives with her Aryan boyfriend. She acknowledges they have had sexual relations." The woman disappeared after being dispatched to RavensbrŸck concentration camp.
Since 1945, the Red Cross has relied on the Bad Arolsen files to respond to more than 11 million requests from 62 countries for information about relatives who went missing under Nazi rule. Last year alone the number of queries was more than 150,000. The records have recently been used to help slave labour victims claim compensation. Some have been able to claim simply because camp de-lousing records enabled them to be identified.
Apart from providing galling historical detail about Nazi rule, Jewish groups say that the files will provide a powerful antidote to Holocaust denial.
Israel Singer, of the World Jewish Council, said: "The millions of written documents proving Nazi mass murder against Jews will be open for researchers. It is a strike against all Holocaust deniers."
Name of source: Financial Times
SOURCE: Financial Times (5-18-06)
Turkish academics have warned that if the opposition proposal becomes law, it would be "disastrous" for the democratic movement in Turkey. It could also cause economic disruption, with business leaders warning that French products could be boycotted in Turkey.
Ankara recalled its ambassador to Paris briefly last week "for consultations" in protest at today's vote. It also pulled back its ambassador to Ottawa, following comments by the Canadian prime minister that appeared to express support for Armenia's view that the killings were genocide.
The Armenian issue is particularly sensitive in France because of its 450,000-strong Armenian community.
Armenians claim up to 1.5m people died in 1915-18. Turkey denies genocide, and admits only that hundreds of thousands of both Armenians and Turks died, largely due to civil war and famine.
Halil Berktay, one of the first Turkish historians to break the taboo on Armenia, said in yesterday's Le Monde that the effects of thenew French law would be "disastrous".
He warned that Ankara could retaliate with a law criminalising recognition of the genocide. "There is a strong nationalist, anti-European wave in Turkey at the moment." he said.
The French bill would punish denial of the genocide with one year in prison or a Euros 45,000 fine, matching the penalty for denial of the Jewish Holocaust.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (5-17-06)
The Da Vinci Code - set to be one of the biggest movies of the year - will open the festival.
Since his groundbreaking BBC television 1960s plays - like Cathy Come Home - Loach has forged a reputation for intense and often controversial cinema, dealing with historical, social and political topics.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (5-17-06)
The search was being conducted in Milford Township, 30 miles west of Detroit. Police from nearby Bloomfield Township were assisting the FBI agents.
A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said the search is for Hoffa's body.
SOURCE: CNN (5-16-06)
The mummy was accompanied by ceremonial items including jewelry and weapons, and the remains of a teenage girl who had been sacrificed, archaeologists reported.
The burial was at a site called El Brujo on Peru's north coast near Trujillo.
They said the woman was part of the Moche culture, which thrived in the area between A.D. 1 and A.D. 700. The mummy was dated about A.D. 450.
Name of source: eureka alert
SOURCE: eureka alert (5-17-06)
"The study of culture contact in the past has conventionally used ideas of unidirectional change and modification of a subordinate population by a socially dominant group. The idea that authoritarian European powers forced changes in submissive native cultures dominated this work," explains Michele R. Buzon (University of Alberta). "However, more recent research has reevaluated these traditional notions and suggests that this model might not be appropriate for all situations of culture contact."
Name of source: ansa.it
SOURCE: ansa.it (5-16-06)
A DNA comparison of Etruscan skeletons and a sample of living Tuscans has thrown up only "tenuous genetic similarities", said lead researcher Guido Barbujani of Ferrara University .
"If the Tuscans were the direct descendants of the Etruscans the DNA should be the same," said Barbujani, a genetecist who coordinated the study with Stanford University in the United States .
Name of source: Press Release
SOURCE: Press Release (5-17-06)
This free site tells the story of Reagan's life as an actor in Hollywood, his role as governor of California and president of the United States through more than 45,000 original newspaper pages.
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (5-17-06)
The government's move is likely to spur a fresh debate on a long-running controversy over the mysterious disappearance of the independence leader, popularly known as "Netaji".
A report by a panel released last year had concluded that Bose had not died in the plane accident. The report also said ashes lying in a Japanese temple said to be Bose's were actually not his.
The panel, headed by retired judge Manoj Mukherjee, did not indicate what it thought his fate had been.
However, in its own report to parliament presented Wednesday, the government formally rejected those findings.
The government said it "has not agreed with the findings that Netaji (Bose) did not die in a plane crash and the ashes in the Renkoji Temple were not of Netaji."
Two previous probes by government panels had concluded that Bose did indeed die in a plane crash at Taihoku airport in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.
According to historical accounts, Bose -- who founded the Indian National Army (INA) and allied with Japan and Germany during World War II to fight the British -- was put under house arrest by the British in 1940 in Kolkata.
But on January 16, 1941 he escaped and fled to Moscow on an Italian passport from where he went to Berlin and raised the INA with the support of Indian prisoners of war, the accounts say.
In 1943, he reached Tokyo before continuing on to Singapore, where he formed an interim Indian independent government and declared war against the British.
He led the INA into northeast India in 1944 and unfurled the national flag but had to retreat after a British army offensive.
In August 1945, it was reported that Bose had been killed in a plane crash in Taiwan.
But Mukherjee told AFP last year that the Taiwan government had shown him documents which said there was no record of a plane crash in Taiwan between August 14 and September 20, 1945.
Mukherjee and other historians who dispute the plane crash theory have not offered alternatives to the circumstances of Bose's death.
"We will ask the government why it has rejected the Mukherjee report," said Nanda Das of the Forward Bloc party, which Bose founded in 1939, and whose three members in the federal parliament support the ruling Congress government.
Supporters of Bose, who is most revered in his home state of West Bengal, claim that their hero was in Soviet captivity after his reported death and allege a cover-up by Indian authorities.
SOURCE: Yahoo News (5-15-06)
Looters have been plundering the area around Preah Khan, Cambodia's largest temple enclosure, trying to remove the few statues remaining in the complex as well as searching for valuable bronze artefacts, Heritage Watch director Dougald O'Reilly said in a statement.
The temple, in the northern province of Preah Vihear, is unguarded and difficult to reach. This makes it an easy target for a growing number of tomb raiders who have been destroying archaeological sites across the country's northern provinces.
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-16-06)
While the panel was unanimous in its findings about Churchill’s conduct, it was divided about whether he should lose his tenured position as professor — as politicians and many others have been demanding for more than a year. Three of the panel’s five members believe that the violations of academic standards are severe enough to make dismissal “not an inappropriate sanction.” But only one of those three members believes that dismissal is the “most appropriate sanction.” Two others favor suspension without pay for five years.
Two other members of the panel said that they did not believe that the violations were serious enough to merit dismissal. They recommend a suspension of two years without pay and say that they fear dismissal would “have an adverse effect on other scholars’ ability to conduct their research with due freedom.”
Among the violations that the committee found Churchill had committed were falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, failure to comply with established standard regarding author names on publications, and a “serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research.” The committee also found that Churchill “was disrespectful of Indian oral traditions” in his writings about an 1837 smallpox epidemic.
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-15-06)
Not surprisingly, many Jewish students at Irvine are angry. They are not calling for events to be banned, but have asked Irvine’s leaders to condemn the language being used as offensive and as a way to hurt Jewish students, not to engage in debate about Israel’s policies. Irvine officials are refusing to do so — saying that they can’t get into picking which campus events to disagree with or pick sides between the vocal critics and supporters of Israel on the campus.
Irvine in many ways reflects the way debates about diversity and respecting different groups of students are no longer issues of black and white. A majority of undergraduates at Irvine are Asian American — and largely uninvolved in a series of Middle East wars that have taken place at Irvine for years. But campus leaders who have spent their careers focused on how to encourage black and white students to get along (and of course Latino students and at some institutions Native Americans or foreign students) are finding that they may have their biggest challenge with religious differences among groups of American students. (While there are some campuses where strong criticism of Israel comes from students from the Middle East, the students at Irvine and many campuses are American citizens.)
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (5-16-06)
And yet, few if any textbooks are ever subjected to independent field testing of whether they actually help students learn.
“This is where people miss the boat. They don’t realize how important the textbooks are,” Wang said. “We talk about vouchers and more teachers, but education is about the books. That’s where the content is.”
Name of source: CBS
SOURCE: CBS (5-16-06)
But first the draft must be signed by government ministers in Berlin — a date has not been set — and be sent back to the countries for ratification, said Paul Mertz, the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry official who is the chairman of the commission that oversees the archive.
The process is likely to delay the opening of the 50 million files to researchers until at least the end of the year, Mertz said.
The move to unlock the storehouse in the German town of Bad Arolsen came amid pressure from the dying generation of Holocaust survivors and victims' families who feared their histories would be lost forever unless the rules were changed.
Name of source: UPI
SOURCE: UPI (5-15-06)
A recent find brings to six the number of historic sea wrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War found by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project in its search for relics in Newport Harbor.
Project director D.K. Abbass told the Providence Journal the ships are believed to be part of a private fleet of 13 British transports sunk during the war for independence.
Name of source: NBC17.com
SOURCE: NBC17.com (5-16-06)
"If you don't see it then, you won't see it for awhile," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, project director for the Queen Anne's Revenge Project.
The public can get a glimpse of the cannon from noon to 1 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park.
Name of source: Cultural Heritage News Agency
SOURCE: Cultural Heritage News Agency (5-15-06)
“Before the start of this season of excavations, our geophysical tests in area number 33 of Bolaghi Gorge had revealed to us the possible existence of a huge building near the Sivand Dam. Clay artifacts found in this area showed that this building used to be the residential palace of the Achaemenid kings. With the start of the new excavation season, we resumed our excavations in area number 33 with this attitude,” said Mohammad Taghi Ataee, head of the Iran-French joint archeology team at Bolaghi Gorge.
Name of source: NYT Editorial
SOURCE: NYT Editorial (5-16-06)
Name of source: The Daily Telegraph
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (5-17-06)
For as those who run Westminster Abbey have found, one particular best-selling book has set cash registers ringing out like cathedral bells in a number of churches across the country.
Gangs of feverish literary pilgrims are even now padding around the nation's apses looking desperately for clues to confirm the gospel according to Dan Brown - that Jesus Christ married and had children by Mary Magdalene. Now, the imminent release of the film of The Da Vinci Code is expected to turn this dribble of dotty followers into a procession of demanding zealots.
And this cascade of freshly generated cash is putting kindly theologians in a hilarious quandary. These gentlemen may not want to be bothered by believers in Dan Brown's fanciful notions - but also, they don't want to dismiss new spending customers out of hand.
Take, for instance, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the Very Rev Alec Knight, who, while cheerfully branding the book ''a load of old tosh'', happily agreed to let the film be shot at the cathedral after the producers made a donation of pounds 100,000. Staff gave out printed apologies to those turned away while Tom Hanks, who plays the heroic Harvard professor with irritating hair and an unchanging gormless expression, performed the ''old tosh'' in question.
And while the "Code'' might be theological drivel, visitor numbers have already increased at the cathedral and so it has proved only sensible for the Lincoln authorities to sell the book and indeed a number of its spin-offs (of the ''Cracking The Da Vinci Code'' type) in its shop.
A hearty selection of Da Vinci Code books can also be found on the shelves of the gift shop in Winchester Cathedral. It featured in two of the film's scenes and accepted a pounds 20,000 location fee after several other churches turned the film makers down. However, to make amends for this bung, it has spent part of the money on a lecture series on the ''good for nothing'' novel which has included a point-by-point demolition of the book by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joint. Why have a cake if you're not going to eat it?
Meanwhile, the Master of the Temple Church in London - it owes its name to the Order of the Knights Templar which plays a major role in the book - has taken an even more disingenuous approach.
The Rev Robin Griffith-Jones is presiding over a thousand extra visitors a week at his church, all demanding to know about ''the orb'' on the tomb of one of the effigies of crusader knights (no, no, not a word more - no spoilers to be found here).
The Master is charging pounds 4 a head to deliver a weekly, witty, one-hour talk on the subject matter of the thriller - a book that he cheerfully describes as ''historical rubbish''. Furthermore, he has expanded this talk into a short book of his own, The Da Vinci Code and the Secrets of The Temple.
Perhaps the most important church location in the book is the Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh. This beautiful and ornate church has long been associated with the legend of the Holy Grail and stands close to the last Knights Templar stronghold in Britain.
In the novel (oh all right - just one spoiler) Dan Brown claims that the chapel was built on the site of an ancient temple and stands on a ''north-south meridian'' that runs through Glastonbury on a Rose Line - a sort of ley-line - from which the chapel gets its name. (Its name actually comes from Ross, meaning headland, and Lynn, meaning pool.)
Dr Andrew Sinclair, a descendant of the family that founded the chapel and a former Cambridge historian, said that he believed filming would ruin the chapel's reputation and would lead people to believe the ''preposterous'' claims made in the book.
However Stuart Beattie, the director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust who called the Da Vinci Code an ''airport read'', is more phlegmatic. ''We're an historic building that is used as an Episcopalian church and have always had many visitors,'' he says. ''We stock the book itself and a Da Vinci game but otherwise we haven't changed anything. The Chapel was merely a backdrop to a film.''
In three years, visitor numbers to Rosslyn Chapel have trebled and well over 100,000 should make the trip this year, following the film's release. The chapel has sensibly introduced a new series of Da Vinci-inspired guided tours -and, by good fortune, it also has a pounds 12 million restoration fund on the go. With visitors paying pounds 7 to enter and the film location fee estimated at pounds 100,000, it should be reached within a couple of years.
And now of course, it seems that even Westminster Abbey - which famously turned down pounds 100,000 and refused to allow the film crew access on religious grounds, claiming that the book was "theologically unsound'' - has now given in and will be helping itself to a soupçon of Da Vinci gold. Not only will it be holding two lectures - admission pounds 25 a head - by the Abbey's canon theologian Nicholas Sagovsky and that old hand Rev Robin Griffith-Jones of Temple Church, but the admission also includes ''optional'' evensong, a ''self-guided'' tour and wine and canapés. Meanwhile, the Abbey shop is producing a booklet on the Code and its connection to Westminster Abbey - price pounds 2.99 - as well as selling Griffith-Jones's Da Vinci book.
Now, while it is certainly the case that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, attacked the global obsession with the novel, which he described as ''the stuff of imagination'', it seems that the C of E is taking a much more sanguine view than the Vatican, which is imploring us to give the film a miss.
But hell, if these new seekers after Da Vinci truth are willing to pay good money to pop into church, I am sure no one can quibble with a bit of good old-fashioned English compromise.
Name of source: netscapenews
SOURCE: netscapenews (5-15-06)
The cave includes a huge cistern with 28 steps that lead to an underground pool of water. Some 250,000 pottery shards were also found and are presumed to be remnants of small water jugs used in the Christian baptismal ritual performed by the fiery New Testament preacher. Wall carvings etched into the cave tell John's life story; they were likely made by monks in the fourth or fifth century. In addition, a stone was found in the cave that researchers believe was used for ceremonial foot washing.
Now new secrets and mysteries have emerged from this cave, known as the Suba Cave.
Name of source: Japan Focus
SOURCE: Japan Focus (5-15-06)
The legacy of the United States' use of Agent Orange tops that list. From 1962 to 1971, the US military dumped an estimated 83 million liters of highly toxic herbicides, including Agent Orange, mostly over Vietnam but also Laos and Cambodia, in an attempt to flush out jungle-covered guerrilla fighters. Agent Orange contained trace amounts of dioxin, a toxic substance known to cause cancer in humans at high doses.
A group of alleged Vietnamese victims are the first to seek legal redress and compensation from the US companies, namely Dow Chemical and Monsanto Corp, that then manufactured the chemical. In their complaint filed in New York, they claimed the defoliant had caused widespread birth defects, miscarriages, diabetes and cancer, and should be considered a war crime against millions of Vietnamese.
The chemical companies, for their part, have maintained that no such scientific link has ever been proved, and that the US government, not the companies, should be held responsible for how the chemical was deployed.
COMMENTARY FROM JAPAN FOCUS:
The American war in Southeast Asia featured the most widespread use of chemical warfare since World War I. Earlier, the British had resorted to chemicals in their colonies, Italy did so in Ethiopia, and Japan in China in the 1930s and 1940s. These were lethal chemicals where the Americans thought theirs were not. Iraq in the 1980s made the largest-scale known use of lethal chemical weapons in its Iran war and against its Kurdish minority. But two elements distinguished the U.S. effort in Vietnam. First, massive quantities of these chemicals were used, as the below article makes clear. The amounts cited are equivalent to roughly 60,000 tons of chemical agent. By comparison, in the 1972 Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam, which some hold to be the decisive air campaign of the war, and including both B-52 bombers and tactical aircraft, the Nixon administration loosed some 36,000 tons of munitions over Hanoi and its environs.
Second, the Americans resorted to chemicals with poorly understood effects. The main defoliants utilized by the U.S. in the Vietnam War, Agents Purple, Blue—and, best known—Agent Orange, contained ingredients found to be carcinogenic in studies by the U.S. National Cancer Institute in 1969 and subsequently banned from use in the United States.
There were two main propagating methods for the defoliant chemicals used in the Vietnam War. Operation Ranch Hand, which has garnered the most attention, was an aerial spraying initiative begun on an experimental basis in January 1962 and continued until January 7, 1971, though in its last years on a greatly reduced basis. In 1967, its peak year, Ranch Hand defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals. The other technique used vehicles and manual dispensers to defoliate land surrounding military bases, villages, and roads.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (5-15-06)
Then, in March, I met Steve Perry, executive director of the Army Heritage Center Foundation, at the awards dinner for the Lincoln Prize in New York. The foundation is the institute’s fundraising arm. Perry assured me that I was welcome to visit, as was anyone else who wanted to see the collection.
Well, it turns out Perry was right. If the institute’s reputation for exclusive access was once valid, it is no longer. The staff appeared dedicated to making sure that I, and a dozen other visitors, got to see what we came for. I stayed for the day and left reluctantly just before it closed, having filled a folder full of copies of files on a regiment I am researching.