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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: Jonathan Dresner at HNN
SOURCE: Jonathan Dresner at HNN (5-1-06)
Joseph Esherick, UCSD Hsiu Professor of Chinese Studies, ran an undergraduate seminar in which students"read The Unknown Story with some care, and then attempted to trace the sources of Chang and Halliday’s account, and compare them with other books and articles on modern Chinese history." Six of the essays produced by three of the students are posted in their entirety, complete with endnotes and e-mail addresses for feedback. In Divide and Conquer, for example, Tony Wan checks Chang and Halliday's claim that Mao planned for a Soviet-CCP partition of China against the interviews and other sources they cited as evidence, and found in every case"a flagrant distortion of Mao’s personal perceptions of the international scenario during World War II."
One of the most frequently cited results of Chang and Halliday is Mao's status as the greatest mass murdering autocrat of modern history, with over seventy million deaths to his discredit. Tom Worger looks closely at those figures and finds substantial room for doubt, including double-counting, demographic implausibilities, selective use of questionable statistics, and contradictions with existing scholarship. It is obvious from this, as from the other discussions, that the UCSD project is not intended to be a defense of Mao -- the number of deaths resulting from Mao's policies is still in the millions -- but a defense of responsible historical research.
The Mao site is part of the UCSD Chinese History Resources site.
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (4-28-06)
The National Park Service has issued a permit for a Klan demonstration June 10 on a farmstead at Anti-etam National Battlefield in western Maryland. The battle in 1862 remains the bloodiest day in U.S. history.
The National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization, demonstrated last year at Yorktown Battlefield in Virginia and in 2004 at Valley Forge National Historical Monument in Pennsylvania, both Revolutionary War sites.
Anti-etam Battlefield superintendent John Howard says the right to free speech meant he was obligated to issue the permit. "The First Amendment is very clear on that," he said. "The framers of the Constitution decided this for me in 1791. It applies to all, not just people we like."
Name of source: Louisville Courier-Journal
SOURCE: Louisville Courier-Journal (5-1-06)
Now Louisville's Ed Hamilton is being courted for another artistic challenge: creating a $2 million memorial to Abraham Lincoln at Waterfront Park in time for the Great Emancipator's 200th birthday in 2009.
Name of source: Sioux City Journal
SOURCE: Sioux City Journal (5-1-06)
The federal government took the land by eminent domain in 2000 and demolished the steel structure as part of a campaign to restore the area to the way it looked during the Civil War.
"This is a tremendous relief for me, I don't even care about the money anymore," said landowner Hans Engrenn, 77, of New Oxford. "My wife and I could have had a lot of fun with that money 10 years ago. Now, we don't even buy green bananas."
Name of source: Daily Record
SOURCE: Daily Record (4-6-06)
The graves at the cemetery date back to the 1700s and include veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, former slaves, a Medal of Honor recipient and other deceased Pequannock-area residents, local historians said.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (4-30-06)
For the moment, they are still on the walls or in the vaults. The Rembrandts, Van Dycks, Ruysdaels and Cranachs continue to draw visitors to Holland's greatest museums and galleries.
But not for much longer. Under a landmark ruling by the Dutch government, more than 200 pieces, including scores of major masterpieces tracked down by a team of top art detectives, will be stripped from cultural institutions and returned to the family of Jacques Goudstikker, a Jewish collector and dealer who died during the Second World War.
The story of one of Europe's biggest collections of 16th and 17th-century paintings is not just about art. It is about modern Holland's painful reconciliation of a war history that is less honourable than usually thought. A new book claiming Dutch people had known about mass deportation and extermination of Jews has provoked a bitter controversy. 'There was some resistance [to the German occupation] of course, and many can be justly proud of what they did,' said Ies Vuysje, the author. 'But most people just got on with their lives and did nothing, despite knowing what was going on.'
SOURCE: Guardian (5-1-06)
Greek and British archaeologists hope their planned excavation will shed light on whether windswept Keros was a major sanctuary for the mysterious Cycladic civilisation 4,500 years ago. The tantalising suggestion that the uninhabited isle may have housed the gateway to the underworld has also not been ruled out.
Name of source: Springfield Journal-Register
SOURCE: Springfield Journal-Register (4-30-06)
"Finding that slate pencil was a real treat. It's as close as we're going to get to a Lincoln artifact," said Robert Mazrim, director of the Sangamo Archaeological Center in Elkhart.
Lincoln arrived at New Salem by flatboat in 1831, working first as a clerk in Offutt's shop. He later operated a store with William Berry and served as a postmaster and deputy surveyor before moving to Springfield to practice law. The log village was reconstructed in the 1930s and now is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Thomas Schwartz, interim director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, recently discovered an 1830s document that revealed Lincoln owned a half interest in two lots and a structure in the frontier settlement.
Name of source: physorg.com
SOURCE: physorg.com (5-1-06)
Cultural links between the Aegean and Near Eastern civilizations will have to be reconsidered: A new Cornell University radiocarbon study of tree rings and seeds shows that the Santorini (or Thera) volcanic eruption, a central event in Aegean prehistory, occurred about 100 years earlier than previously thought.
The study team was led by Sturt Manning, a professor of classics and the incoming director of the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell. The team's findings are the cover story in the latest issue of Science (April 28).
The findings, which place the Santorini eruption in the late 17th century B.C., not 100 years later as long believed, may lead to a critical rewriting of Late Bronze Age history of Mediterranean civilizations that flourished about 3,600 years ago, Manning said.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (4-29-06)
Riley signed the bill April 21 without making an official announcement, Jeff Emerson, the governor's communications director, said Thursday.
Those arrested or family members of those deceased would have to request the pardons under the bill, which passed April 17.
The bill names the new law "The Rosa Parks Act." It could lead to pardons for Parks, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King and hundreds of others convicted of violating laws aimed at keeping the races separate.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (4-29-06)
The author of "Witness in Philadelphia," published in 1977 by the Louisiana State University Press, she repeatedly spoke out against the Ku Klux Klan and other forces oppressing the black population of east central Mississippi. A fourth-generation resident of the area and a member of its landed gentry, she was also a significant source of information for the F.B.I. agents investigating the killings, and she testified before a federal grand jury.
Miss Mars paid dearly for her efforts. The Klan organized a boycott against the stockyard where she sold cattle, forcing it to close, and she was compelled to resign from posts at the First United Methodist Church.
SOURCE: NYT (4-30-06)
Or a little bit of both.
In fact, American intelligence leaks have created divisions since the Revolutionary War, when the pamphleteer Thomas Paine publicized documents containing a state secret: that the United States received covert aid from France before it openly became an ally. Paine was forced to resign as secretary of a Congressional committee in 1779.
In the last three decades, there have been several other episodes in which an intelligence leak generated a national debate over the benefits and harm of such disclosures.
In 1974, for example, Seymour Hersh, then a reporter for The New York Times, chronicled the details of what government sources had leaked to him: a 690-page compilation of agency break-ins, wiretapping and reading of mail, plus files on 10,000 Americans.
Mr. Hersh began his Dec. 22, 1974, article: "The Central Intelligence Agency, directly violating its charter, conducted a massive, illegal domestic intelligence operation during the Nixon Administration against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States, according to well-placed government sources."
The article prompted a presidential commission and two Congressional inquiries, leading to new laws governing the spy agencies. Mr. Hersh, now with The New Yorker, declined to comment on his reporting or on leaks. "I never talk about sources," he said.
Name of source: The Age (Australia)
SOURCE: The Age (Australia) (4-30-06)
The new dates would change the chronology of the Minoans, Greeks, Cypriots and others by a century and question Egyptian chronology and the genesis of Classical civilisation.
The rewriting of the history of the Aegean has come, in part, from a study of charcoal and seed samples from sites dated to between 1700BC and 1400BC, and a single olive tree.
The gnarled stump was found in a volcanic rock layer on the Greek island of Santorini (Thera). During the second millennium BC, it was the site of an eruption that buried thriving civilisations, including Crete's famed Minoans.
Researchers reported in the journal Science that they can now tell when this eruption occurred, how old these Bronze Age cultures were and how they were connected to other cultures in Egypt and the Gulf.
Archaeologists and scientists have been trying to solve this culture-linking problem for decades. A decisive carbon-dating technique has been reported by a team led by Dr Sturt Manning of Cornell University. They implemented the theories of Thomas Bayes, (1702-1761) an English cleric and mathematician.
This work is backed by a study by a team led by Dr Walter Friedrich of the University of Aarhus in Denmark. The radiocarbon dating was done at Oxford, Vienna and Heidelberg, and the software implementing Bayes' theories used by both teams was developed at Oxford University by Dr Christopher Bronk Ramsey.
The eruption of Santorini offers an important reference point. Because of the way the branches and bark were preserved, researchers knew the tree had been buried alive. This gave the researchers a rare opportunity to work out the age of the eruption, because trees form new rings each year as they grow. As the tree was still growing when the volcano exploded, the newest ring would be almost exactly the same age as the eruption.
The researchers used radiocarbon dating to work out the ages of the tree rings and learned that the eruption was between 1627BC and 1600BC. This is a century earlier than some archaeologists had thought.
That means that many of the cultures that researchers once assumed were trading with each other, may have existed at different times. Researchers have thought that the civilisations on the islands of Crete, Cyprus and in Greece had many ties to Egypt.
But the new timeline indicates that these civilisations may have been more tightly linked with cultures of the Levant, which today includes Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The cultures were contemporaneous with Egypt's Second Intermediate Period — when northern Egypt was controlled by a Canaanite dynasty with links to the Levant — instead of the subsequent New Kingdom.
Before the study, the New Palace culture on Crete, an influence on ancient Greek civilisation, had been linked to the New Kingdom period in Egypt. But since the 1970s, radiocarbon dates have indicated that the New Palace period and others in the Aegean — including the Shaft Grave period of mainland Greece and the period that saw the development of new coastal sites on Cyprus — may have been older.
Until recently, there was enough uncertainty in the radiocarbon data to keep this chronology open to debate.
Egyptologist Manfred Bietak of the University of Vienna is one proponent of the late chronology who is sticking to his guns. "I am not impressed," he told Science.
Name of source: Canoe News (Canada)
SOURCE: Canoe News (Canada) (4-30-06)
The proposed changes to compulsory Grade 10 Quebec and Canadian history classes - leaked to media outlets last week - stresses ideas and inclusiveness instead of divisive events."It represents a departure from the traditional framework of history structured around conflict between francophones and anglophones to offer a more unifying history," said Jean-Francois Cardin, a history professor at Laval University who advised the government on the changes. But critics argue the reforms gloss over such hot-button topics as the 1763 Conquest, the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution and the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. In an op-ed piece published in a Montreal paper, historian Felix Bouvier and Laurent Lamontagne, president of the Society of Quebec History Teachers, called the new curriculum"ultra-fedederalist" and one-sided. According to Lamontagne, who has taught history in Montreal-area high schools for more than 20 years, it is impossible to tip-toe around political tensions."There is the point of view of Quebec within Canada, where Quebec gets its due," Lamontagne said."That could be true. But there is also another option, the Quebec sovereigntist movement. And this one we seem to brush aside." Lamontagne wasn't alone in calling the proposed changes into question, as unions, politicians and pundits criticized what they saw as a move to downplay essential elements of Quebec history. Another Laval University professor who helped the government draft the changes said he was bombarded by angry e-mails after publicly defending the reforms. In Quebec, politics and education have always made for a potent brew. Last month, when a prominent sovereigntist group published Let's Talk about Sovereignty at School - a guide aimed at helping teachers promote Quebec independence - politicians on all sides were up in arms. Even though there was little chance the book would ever find its way into a classroom, Premier Jean Charest called it"scandalous" and something"seen in the old countries of Eastern Europe." Quebec's education minister, Jean-Marc Fournier, reacted swiftly to the most recent controversy. Fournier asked his bureaucrats to rework the document after he heard media reports about its contents, before he even had the chance to read it, his spokesperson said. Fournier told reporters last week he would never support curriculum changes that"rub out" historical conflicts. Though the content apparently still has to be finalized, widespread changes to Quebec's high school history courses are scheduled to be implemented by September 2007. But for some, insisting that strife between French and English take centre stage in any overview of Quebec's past is dangerously reductive. There's a"hell of a lot that happened that wasn't strife between French and English," said Graeme Decarie, a professor of Quebec and Canadian history at Concordia University."For that matter there was strife between English and English and French and French." Focusing too much on conflict gives students the wrong impression about history, says Decarie, himself a former high school teacher."History is not a matter of learning what is true. History is a matter of learning to understand what you see, and to understand the many ways it can be understood."
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (4-30-06)
As the construction industry in Russia's capital surfs a tide of petro-dollars, preservationists are warning the city's unique architectural heritage is under threat. Where the wrecking ball misses, neglect and botched restorations are doing equal damage. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, an estimated 400 historic monuments, some dating to the 17th century, have been destroyed.
The boom in construction is fueled by an increasingly muscular Russian economy. High oil prices mean cash is pouring in to state coffers and wages are rising, prompting demand for new stores and housing. Shopping malls are mushrooming across the city, while new skyscrapers cast shadows over entire neighborhoods.
''In every other Russian city, it's the absence of money that is destroying historic buildings," said Aleksei Komech, director of the State Arts Research Institute. ''In Moscow, it's the abundance of it."
Critics say Moscow's city authorities are deeply enmeshed with building companies in a multibillion-dollar industry that has little regard for preservation. Since 1996, the area of new housing being constructed every year has increased by 60 percent, but a strong framework of laws to protect endangered monuments is frequently ignored because of corruption.
Historical groups such as the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society and Moskva, Kotoroy Net (''The Moscow That Is No More") say the trail of destruction leads to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has expressed disdain for ''idiots for whom the preservation of old bricks is an aim in itself" and whose wife owns a construction business valued at more than $1 billion.
Earlier this month, architecture preservationists from across the world gathered in Moscow for the Heritage at Risk conference, calling on Luzhkov and President Vladimir Putin to stem the demolition.
Most threatened are avant-garde works from the early 20th-century such as the Narkomfin complex, famed architect Konstantin Melnikov's house-studio, and a series of workers' clubs. These buildings came from a brief flowering of vernacular architecture after the Bolsheviks' victory in the revolution and the civil war in the early 1920s, part of a wider movement to synchronize art with life.
Name of source: ABC 27 (Harrisburg, PA)
SOURCE: ABC 27 (Harrisburg, PA) (5-1-06)
The federal government took the land by eminent domain in 2000 and demolished the steel structure as part of a campaign to restore the area to the way it looked during the Civil War.
Landowner Hans Engrenn, a 77-year-old resident of New Oxford, says he's relieved but he and his wife could have had fun with the money ten years ago.
The award will be split between the Engrenns and Overview Limited Partnership, which was principally owned by Thomas Ottenstein, the tower's creator.
Ottenstein called the 393-foot National Tower, which opened in 1974 and afforded tourists an aerial view of the historic battlefield, a "classroom in the sky."
But historians and preservationists considered it an ugly modern intrusion, and started the campaign to have it removed. Ottenstein died a month after the demolition.