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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: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (9-22-06)
Shedding light into why Edward Forbes Smiley III stole 98 of the world's most precious maps over seven years, papers filed in Connecticut's U.S. District Court said he initially acted because he felt he had been wronged and slighted.
"Although he had a large degree of access to many libraries for his research and used such access, he did not steal maps from every library that he visited," prosecutors wrote.
Smiley faces restitution and up to six years in prison when he is sentenced on September 27, more than a year after he was caught with seven rare maps in his briefcase and tweed blazer after leaving Yale University's rare-book library.
In June, Smiley, once one of the country's most respected dealers in rare maps, admitted to the thefts from the British Library in London, New York and Boston public libraries, the Harvard and Yale university libraries and a Chicago library.
He was arrested after a keen-eyed library staffer noticed a dropped X-Acto knife blade on the floor.
SOURCE: Reuters (9-21-06)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has opened to the public an underground archaeological exhibit near Jerusalem's most sensitive shrine, drawing fire from Palestinians who say the project endangers the foundations of the holy site.
Israel's opening of an archaeological tunnel near al-Haram al-Sharif, the site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque where the biblical Jewish Temples once stood, sparked Palestinian anger in 1996. Sixty-one Arabs and 15 Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes.
The "Chain of Generations Center" took over 10 years to construct and recently opened its doors to visitors for the first time. Among the attractions is a Jewish ritual bath dating to the 1st century which was discovered during building work.
SOURCE: Reuters (9-21-06)
Efraim Zuroff, head of the agency that tracks Nazis, said that U.S. authorities deserved praise for their diligence in finding Elfriede Lina Rinkel, who reportedly never told her late husband, a concentration camp survivor, of her past.
The U.S. Justice Department said this week Rinkel, who went to the United States in 1959, admitted she had served as a guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women north of Berlin for the last 10 months of World War Two. She was deported to Germany earlier this month.
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (9-24-06)
They were there because Jeff Miller, a local businessman in Hendersonville, N.C., started a campaign in March to send every World War II veteran in the country who wanted to see it.
"Sixteen million served in World War II. Now there's probably just a little more than 3 million alive," he says. "They're dying at a rate of anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 a day so, yeah, there was a lot of urgency."
After all, the memorial was built for them.
"I look at it this way," Miller says. "Everything good I have in my life is because of them — I mean everything. We wanted to take the veterans there to the World War II Memorial who had not been — that was the number one thing — and that had financial or physical limitations, or both.
Name of source: NYT
Israel and the United Nations say the land belongs to Syria and is part of the Golan Heights that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. But the Lebanese insist it is theirs, and Hezbollah says it will not lay down its weapons until Israel gives it back....
For as long as anyone here can remember, the people of Shabaa say they have farmed the southwestern slope of the Mount Hermon foothills, overlooking the Hula Valley of what is now northern Israel.
After France split Lebanon from Syria in the 1920’s, most maps showed the border running between the town of Shabaa and the farms. It is one of many pockets of land that were separated from their historic administrative jurisdictions when the Great Powers carved up the Levant, as the region was known, after World War I.
But the maps were moot as far as people on the ground were concerned. Though the French-drawn border put the Shabaa Farms in Syria, the people who owned the farms continued to pay taxes to the government of Beirut and continued to register births, deaths and other events in Lebanon.
The Lebanese say a study commissioned by President Adib al-Shishakli of Syria in 1951 and finally published in 1964 found that the farms were part of Lebanon and that the maps showing them in Syria were wrong. Even Syria still agrees that the farms are Lebanese.
The original 14 farms were divided and passed down through the generations to eventually become 14 hamlets of 20 or 30 houses each. By the time Israel took over the territory, about 200 families shared the land. Sitting in his parlor here, Mohamed Ibrahim Atui, 80, unfolded a stained handwritten deed from 1952 recording his purchase “of 32 olive trees.”
“My father sold the land to Mohammad Mahdi in the 1940’s, and I bought it from him,” Mr. Atui said. He keeps the deed hidden in his house for safekeeping....
But no phrase has crashed and burned as fast as the president’s most recent entry into the foreign policy lexicon: Islamic fascists, or, Islamo-fascism.
This latest iteration, which has percolated in neoconservative circles for several years, turned up in one of the president’s speeches last year, and resurfaced in August when British authorities foiled a plot to blow up airliners headed for the United States. It was, Mr. Bush said then, “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom.”
By Labor Day, Islamic fascists and Islamo-fascism were the hot new conservative buzzwords.
And then, just as suddenly, they were gone — at least from the president’s lips.
In 1950, Wu Xiuquan, a Chinese representative, denounced the Truman administration effort to promote Taiwan, saying, “This is a preposterous farce, unworthy of refutation, in which Truman makes a mockery of Truman himself.”
President Reagan came in for a Hollywood-specific scolding in 1987 from Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua. Denouncing Mr. Reagan’s decision to continue financing contras fighting his Sandinista regime, Mr. Ortega said, “Rambo only exists in the movies.”
The racial strife shut down Atlanta for four days and ended with the bodies of black men hanging from trees and streetlights. But of those Ms. Muwwakkil called, almost none had heard of it.
The riot, so contrary to Atlanta’s conception of itself as the progressive, racially harmonious capital of the New South, had been erased from the city’s consciousness, left out of timelines and textbooks.
Ms. Muwwakkil said she was not surprised by the response. “I’m an Atlanta native,” she said, “and I had never learned anything about the riot. It wasn’t taught.”
Private Lupo, of Cincinnati, was killed on July 21, 1918, while attacking German forces near Soissons, France. His remains were found by a French archaeologist in 2003 and identified by the Pentagon’s Joint P.O.W.-M.I.A. Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.
He is the first World War I casualty to be recovered and identified by the special command. The Pentagon said on Friday that Private Lupo, of the Army, would be buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Some of those upset with the council’s decision have compared it to hypothetically inviting Hitler to a meeting in the 1930’s,” the ambassador, Daniel Ayalon, wrote to the council’s president, Richard N. Haass. “In fact, meeting with Ahmadinejad is worse: Hitler did not openly call for genocide in the 1930’s, and today we have the lessons of the 1930’s to guide us. Foremost among those lessons is that appeasing fanatics like Hitler and granting them legitimacy leads to genocide and war.”
Nonetheless, on Wednesday morning, there it was: sailing through the narrows, up the Hudson and docking at a West Side pier. Yesterday it sat at its mooring at Pier 90 — albeit with a new hull, new innards and a new name.
The ship, rechristened Athena last year, had arrived in New York at the end of a trans-Atlantic cruise with a passenger list of Britons, many of whom were aware of — and apparently unfazed by — its macabre past.
Ever since Mr. Chávez held up a copy of a 301-page book by Noam Chomsky, the linguist and left-wing political commentator, during a speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, sales of the book have climbed best-seller lists at Amazon.com and BN.com, the online site for the book retailer Barnes & Noble, and booksellers around the country have noted a spike in sales.
The paperback edition of “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” a detailed critique of American foreign policy that Mr. Chomsky published two years ago, hit No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list yesterday, and the hardcover edition, published in 2003, climbed as high as No. 6. At both Borders Group and Barnes & Noble, sales of the title jumped tenfold in the last two days.
SOURCE: NYT (9-22-06)
By his 30’s, Dr. Koza was a co-inventor of the scratch-off lottery ticket and found it one of the few sure ways to find fortune with the lottery.
Now, a 63-year-old eminence among computer scientists who teaches genetic programming at Stanford, Dr. Koza has decided to top off things with an end run on the Constitution. He has concocted a plan for states to skirt the Electoral College system legally to insure the election of whichever presidential candidate receives the most votes nationwide.
“When people complain that it’s an end run,” Dr. Koza said, “I just tell them, ‘Hey, an end run is a legal play in football.’ ’’
SOURCE: NYT (9-22-06)
The inspector general’s office, which acts as the Defense Department’s internal watchdog, said in a report that its investigators found no evidence to suggest that the intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified Mr. Atta, the Egyptian-born ringleader of the attacks, or any of the other terrorists before Sept. 11.
“We concluded that prior to Sept. 11, 2001, Able Danger team members did not identify Mohamed Atta or any other 9/11 hijackers,” the report said. “While we interviewed four witnesses who claimed to have seen a chart depicting Mohamed Atta and possibly other terrorists or ‘cells’ involved in 9/11, we determined that their recollections were not accurate.”
The claim that a secret Pentagon data-mining program had known of Mr. Atta and other hijackers before Sept. 11 created a stir when the witnesses’ accounts became public last year, because it suggested that the Defense Department had information that might have helped pre-empt the attacks had it been shared outside of the Pentagon.
“What should he apologize for?” asked Daniele Corbetta, 43, a psychologist in Rome. “There is freedom of speech, and what he said is objectively true.”
There was, without doubt, a low-grade seething where Mr. Corbetta stood, with thousands of pilgrims and tourists — probably few of them Muslims — in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, as the pope again addressed a speech in which he had quoted a medieval emperor who called Islam “evil and inhuman.”
Three days after saying he was “very sorry” about the reaction to his remarks, delivered last week in Germany, Benedict sought to clarify them again.
“This quotation, unfortunately, was misunderstood,” he said, alluding to protests and attacks on churches by offended Muslims. “In no way did I wish to make my own, the words of the medieval emperor.”
“I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together,” he said. He added that he hoped he had made clear his “profound respect for world religions and for Muslims.”
But they say their efforts are being hindered by a parallel investigation in the United States that has been stalled since President Bush took office and that is withholding potentially important documents.
Mr. Letelier, one of the most visible leaders of the opposition to the Pinochet dictatorship, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt were killed on Sept. 21, 1976, when a bomb planted under his car exploded as they were riding to work.
Even after 9/11, the Letelier assassination remains the most audacious act of state-sponsored terrorism committed on American soil.
“Every day it is clearer that Pinochet ordered my brother’s death,” said Fabiola Letelier, a prominent human rights lawyer here. “But for a proper and complete investigation to take place we need access to the appropriate records and evidence.”
The paleontologists who are announcing the discovery in the journal Nature today said the 3.3-million-year-old fossils were of the earliest well-preserved child ever found in the human lineage. It was estimated to be about 3 years old at death, probably female and a member of the Australopithecus afarensis species, the same as Lucy’s.
An analysis of the skeleton revealed evidence of a species in transition, the scientists said in interviews yesterday.
"By entrusting our national security to another country and putting a priority on economic development, we were indeed able to make great material gains,” Mr. Abe wrote of the postwar era in his campaign book, “Toward a Beautiful Country.” “But what we lost spiritually — that was also great.”
The emergence of a prime minister with no personal experience of World War II is considered a turning point in Japan, where the absence of a consensus on the war still troubles relations with the rest of Asia....
Hakubun Shimomura, a Liberal Democratic lawmaker and an ally of Mr. Abe’s, said the next prime minister would “look back objectively at the postwar period, removed from its trauma and able to make choices as part of the postwar generation.”
“I think the symbolic start of the independent nation of Japan will be Mr. Abe’s revision of the Constitution,” Mr. Shimomura said.
But Shusei Tanaka, a professor at Fukuyama University and a former Liberal Democratic lawmaker, worried that Mr. Abe’s greatest influence was from his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, a wartime cabinet member imprisoned as a Class A war crimes suspect but never tried, who became prime minister in 1957. Recently, Mr. Abe has avoided commenting on Japan’s wartime past....
On wartime history, Mr. Abe has allied himself with Japan’s right-wing politicians, news media and scholars. Unlike Mr. Koizumi, he has doubted the validity of the postwar Tokyo trials in which Japan’s wartime leaders were condemned.
In the past he has indicated that he rejects the mainstream, postwar view that Japan waged a war of aggression and invasion in Asia. But he has not publicly embraced the hard-line position that Japan waged war in Asia to liberate it from Western imperialism. Unlike Mr. Koizumi and other prime ministers, Mr. Abe, though pressed many times, has avoided endorsing a landmark apology issued in 1995 by the Japanese government to Asian countries.
Never raising his voice and thanking each questioner with a tone that oozed polite hostility, he spent 40 minutes questioning the evidence that the Holocaust ever happened — “I think we should allow more impartial studies to be done on this,” he said after hearing an account of an 81-year-old member, the insurance mogul Maurice R. Greenberg, who saw the Dachau concentration camp as Germany fell — and he refused to even consider Washington’s proposal for Russia to provide Iran with nuclear reactor fuel, and take it back once it is used. (Without the capacity to enrich fuel on its own soil Iran would be unable to make fuel suitable for a nuclear weapon.)
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (9-18-06)
In one case, frescos in a Roman-era tomb in Tyre were shaken to the ground when a building 500 feet away was bombed, said U.N. experts, who visited Lebanon and reported on their findings. Some of the paintings were destroyed.
In the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos, ruins were stained by an oil spill. In Baalbek, another Phoenician city which has some of the finest examples of imperial Roman architecture temples may have suffered structural damage, the experts said.
SOURCE: Guardian (9-20-06)
Illustrator Walter Moers is famous for his comic books depicting the dictator as a frustrated little man who throws fits every time the Jews are mentioned. But with the release of the short film "Der Bonker", Germans seem to feel he has gone too far.
Despite thousands of Moers fans making the clip one of this week's top internet downloads, many prominent German Jews have complained at the comic portryal of the mass-murdering dictator.
Jewish author Ralph Giordano, one of those speaking out against Moers' film, said: "You cannot treat the father of the Holocaust in this way."
The video can be viewed (in German) on www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq4gQPReH2E.
Name of source: Cafe 227 (blog)
SOURCE: Cafe 227 (blog) (9-3-06)
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (9-22-06)
Cosby, who already has committed $1 million to the project, joined Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder on Friday in launching a new campaign to raise $100 million toward the Fredericksburg museum's $200 million price tag.
"The incentive is that they would join in with the rest of the United States of America in saying yes, as an American, I gave $8 to help build something that tells the story," he said in a teleconference with Wilder.
In a nation of some 300 million people, even a tepid response would surpass the $100 million goal, Cosby said.
He admitted this kind of campaign "generally fails badly."
"But I'm going to try again because I'm going to present this national slavery museum as a jewel that's missing in a crown."
SOURCE: CNN (8-21-06)
Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, the black Republican nominee for Maryland's open Senate seat, disavowed the ad Thursday as "insulting to Marylanders." He said his campaign asked the Washington-based National Black Republican Association to stop running it.
At an event in Baltimore, Steele said, "I don't know exactly what the intent of the ad was" but that "it's not helpful to the public discourse."
The ad does not mention Steele or his Democratic opponent, Rep. Ben Cardin.
... The spot begins with one woman telling another, "Dr. King was a real man. You know he was a Republican."
Steve Klein, a senior researcher with the Atlanta-based King Center, said Thursday that King never endorsed candidates from either party.
"I think it's highly inaccurate to say he was a Republican because there's really no evidence," Klein said.
A King biographer, Taylor Branch, also said Thursday that King was nonpartisan.
Name of source: Haaretz
SOURCE: Haaretz (9-21-06)
In fact, even though he was a civilian analyst for U.S. Naval Intelligence, the FBI did not even know that Pollard was Jewish. This, according to a new book, "Capturing Jonathan Pollard" (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2006) by Ronald J. Olive, the retired officer from the Naval Investigative Service, a branch of Naval Intelligence, who interrogated Pollard.
According to Olive, up until the moment Pollard approached the Israeli Embassy, he was suspected of spying for another country, possibly several countries, among them Pakistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and others. Even after his arrest, had Pollard not admitted that he was spying for Israel, the FBI would have focused on other possibilities.
Name of source: The Gazette (Montreal)
SOURCE: The Gazette (Montreal) (9-22-06)
In a lengthy article that appears in the latest Journal of Military History, the field's top scholarly publication, Canadian War Museum historian Tim Cook explores the complex and volatile "politics of surrender."
He found, in a startling number of cases, "unlawful" killings of Germans after they had given up the fight, laid down their guns and thrown up their hands.
"Becoming a prisoner was one of the most dangerous acts on the battlefield of the Great War," Cook writes.
His essay is filled with detailed accounts of prisoner killings unearthed from letters, diaries and postwar interviews or collected from previous writings.
"The pleading of mercy and the downing of weapons did not always stop the bloodshed," he observes. "The moment of capitulation for a potential prisoner was of crucial importance: Would the surrender be accepted or would it result in a bayonet thrust?"
In one example Cook highlights as "an inexcusable act of cruelty," a Canadian soldier escorting a group of German prisoners to the rear lines is described as having "casually dropped a Mills No. 5 grenade into the greatcoat pocket of one of the prisoners, which dismembered him seconds later."
He notes that "the desire for revenge was the most common reason why a prisoner might be executed."
Cook quotes an August 1918 letter from Lt. R.C. Germain to his parents in Canada that describes the grim aftermath of a bloody battle for a strategic ridge:
"After losing half of my company there, we rushed them and they had the nerve to throw up their hands and cry, 'Kamerad.' All the 'Kamerad' they got was a foot of cold steel thro' them from my remaining men while I blew their brains out with my revolver without any hesitation.
"You may think this rather rough, but if you had seen my boys go down you would have done the same and my only regret is that too many prisoners were taken."
Cook describes the war as one of "nearly unparalleled brutality" and stresses that Canada's infantrymen from the 1914-18 war are not being "condemned for their actions almost a century later by a historian comfortably employing hindsight and gathered material from the safety of an archives."
But he does target earlier generations of war historians for largely "burying this harsh reality of Western Front war-fighting."
And he challenges mythic portrayals of Canada's First World War soldiers as inherently more humane than their German enemies, or as patriotic innocents sacrificed to the seemingly senseless trench-to-trench holocaust that consumed millions of men on all sides.
"How does the execution of prisoners fit into this view of innocent victims caught in war's vortex?" Cook asks, concluding that "the Great War soldier was as much an executioner as he was a victim."
In an interview, he said the question of how soldiers deal with prisoners at the moment of surrender is still a controversial issue in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
That's why, he added, it remains important to analyze and understand from history the dangerous "grey area" between trying to kill an adversary one minute and, after he drops his weapon, "holding his life in your hands."
Cook's foray into one of the darkest corners of Canadians' wartime experience has garnered praise from fellow military historians, including one of the deans of the discipline, McGill University professor Desmond Morton.
"Canadians, in my experience, including veterans, wish to keep their distance from that part of their history and I don't blame them," Morton told CanWest News Service.
"However, I don't see the point of denying a familiar reality. I think that once soldiers have screwed up their emotions to kill, it is easier to continue than to stop.
"It is a time of acute mental disability, and a predictable consequence of sending armed men into harm's way."
University of Calgary historian Pat Brennan said Cook's "fascinating" study sheds light on the "emotional inferno" that engulfed soldiers of the First World War.
"The real insight in most of these cases is about what combat is really like, what fear is like and how difficult it is to turn that off in an instant."
Added University of Western Ontario historian Jonathan Vance: "What would surprise me is that it didn't happen more often."
Cook writes that much of the evidence of Germans being killed while or after surrendering came from interviews conducted with aging veterans in the 1960s for a special CBC radio series about the First World War.
"Dozens of Canadians testified to the execution of German prisoners," Cook said of the 600 interviews. But "none of these grim accounts found their way into the final 17-hour script."
Cook argues that some cases of Canadian troops stabbing or shooting unarmed enemies were the result of battlefield confusion.
"We don't have the adrenaline coursing through us," he said in an interview. "I'm not passing judgment on these guys 90 years later."
He adds Canadians were by no means the only troops committing such acts, pointing to "ample evidence" of British, German, Australian and "likely all soldiers" executing prisoners on the battlefield.
And he notes examples of Canadians intervening to prevent the killing of some prisoners, including one case in which an officer ordered a group of surrendered Germans shot because "there were too many discarded rifles" lying around - before a soldier saved the lot by suggesting they be used as stretcher bearers for wounded Canadians.
But Cook dismisses sentimentalized depictions of trench warfare, including the famous "Christmas Truce" of 1914 that saw enemy soldiers at one battlefield temporarily suspend shooting to mark the holiday.
Cook writes that the "cruel accounts" of prisoner slayings that he collected "are far different from our cigarette-swapping, football-kicking soldiers at Christmas, and to date there are few, if any, books, documentaries, short films or choir songs devoted to the killing of prisoners."
Name of source: The Boston Globe
SOURCE: The Boston Globe (9-22-06)
But opening today at the Boston Public Library is the first public exhibition of the second president's vast personal library, a priceless collection of 3,802 works whose breadth helps show why this Braintree farmer is gaining recognition as one of the true American giants.
Not only will the public be able to see the entire collection for the first time, but dozens of Adams's books have been laid open in glass cases to display the notes, musings, and commentaries he wrote in the margins of nearly everything he read. The free exhibit will continue until April, but the library already has embarked on a years-long project to digitize the books for public study on the Internet.
"God bless the man," said Beth Prindle, curator of the John Adams collection. "It seems that a thought never trickled through his mind that he didn't write down."
Scholarly and scathing, catty and conversational, Adams's writings show strong opinions on many of the great events, leaders, and debates of his day.
"Not one of the Projects of the Sage of La Mancha was more absurd, ridicu lous or delirious than this of a Revolution in France," Adams wrote in 1812 in the margins of Mary Wollstonecraft's "Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution." In that book, whose author Adams alternately called "a Lady of a masculine masterly Under standing" and "this foolish Woman," the former president penned 10,000 words of analysis.
There's a forensic map, drawn by Paul Revere, that Adams used at trial in his defense of British soldiers in the Boston Massacre. And there's his personal atlas, published in Paris in 1778, that shows his native Massachusetts in careful, stunning detail.
David McCullough, the historian who wrote a Pulitzer Prize- winning biography of Adams, said the exhibit is of great national importance.
"John Adams was the most widely and deeply read American of his day, and there are his books!" said McCullough, who used the Boston Public Library, which has held the Adams collection since 1894, to research his biography. "This is one of the most important Americans in our history, a man who was never wealthy, who believed in education, who was himself transformed by education, and who never lost his love of learning."
From his personal copy of the first printing of the US Constitution to the first Koran printed in the United States, the books show the staggering scope of Adams's intellectual interests and his impact on the nation's democratic experiment. The notes from Adams's pen are vivid evidence of that mind at work.
"His marginal notes are not the kinds of notes that most of us would make," McCullough said. "They are conversations with the author, and there are some 50 different figures from the 18th century of huge consequence with whom he's having these conversations. . . . It's thrilling to sit there and listen to that conversation, to that effect."
Before this exhibit, the Adams library was kept largely out of public view in the rare books collection, accessible only to researchers willing to review individual books in near-seclusion. The researchers also had to know what to look for.
Now, with 30 volumes digitized from the Adams collection, an ambitious project has been launched to put as many of the president's books on the Internet as funding and technology will allow. The plans also include an electronic cross-referencing of Adams's reflections. .
Vivian Spiro, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Associates of the Boston Public Library, hopes the exhibit will kindle a love of learning for learning's sake in the public.
"I hope they will be inspired . . . by the fact that a man of modest origins, whose mother was illiterate and whose father was a laborer, went on to become one of the writers of the Constitution," Spiro said.
Name of source: Philip Graitcer in the Voice of America News
SOURCE: Philip Graitcer in the Voice of America News (9-21-06)
It was a warm Saturday night when a crowd of about 5,000 white men gathered in Atlanta's downtown and began randomly attacking African-American men, boys and women, pulling them from trolley cars and dragging barbers from their shops. June Dobbs Butts, now 78 years old, remembers her father talking about the riot. "As a child I thought they must have done something very bad," she admits. "I could not think that this rage came from the mayor, the governor, people running for governor. So when we tried to find out what bad things did the black people do, he said, 'nothing.' Like if you are going to be punished, what did you do wrong? I couldn't believe it was jealousy, anger, venom, what else?"
A century later, it's still not certain what caused the riots.
In 1906, Atlanta was a rapidly growing city, and the economic capital of the new South. Just 50 years after the end of the American Civil War and the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, Atlanta was a center of change. And it was home to a growing community of educated, affluent, and often-assertive African-Americans whose presence posed a threat to many whites within the city.
Cliff Kuhn, a professor of history at Georgia State University, says the summer of 1906 was a season of mounting racial tensions in Atlanta. Those tensions came to a head on September 22, 1906. "Thousands of men gathered that Saturday afternoon and early evening," Kuhn explains, adding that the afternoon newspapers had published 'extra editions' reporting new purported black on white assaults. "A guy gets up on a soapbox and waves one of these newspapers, saying, 'Are we going to let them do this to our women? Come on boys!' And the mob surges down Decatur Street. The mob scatters throughout the downtown area, attacking hundreds of black men and women -- a pitched battle in the heart of downtown Atlanta that lasts for over 4 hours."
The violence continued for 4 days, and in the end, at least two dozen blacks and two whites were dead. In Europe, newspaper reports compared the Atlanta riot to the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia. In the weeks after the riot, at least 1,000 African-Americans moved from Atlanta, never to return. Many black businesses moved out of the downtown area. And although black and white community leaders held meetings to repair Atlanta's image, most Atlantans -- both black and white -- went about their business.
Memories of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot seemed to fade quickly. It wasn't taught in Georgia history classes. Blacks who passed the story on to their children, did so as a cautionary tale. Others never discussed it.
But some Atlantans believe the unspoken memories of the riot have subtly influenced the city's race relations. "How is it that something so seemingly graphic and disturbing could have occurred in my home town, and I had no knowledge of it?" wonders Atlanta native Saudia Muwwakkil, a public information officer at the
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. She first
learned about the riot just 10 years ago and thinks she knows why it had been forgotten. "The story of the riot was buried because it would have inflicted serious damage on the city's image as racially progressive."
But Muwwakkil adds there are lessons to be learned. "As we look back to 1906, what happened in our city, in Atlanta, at that time, we look for opportunities to learn and apply those lessons to our lives today."
Now, on the centennial of the riot, a group of civic leaders, historians, genealogists, and educators has formed a coalition to explore the riot's roots, document what happened, and use the story as a way to open a contemporary dialogue about race and race relations in Atlanta.
The coalition has organized a new exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Site. Along with news clippings and magazine stories from the period, it features life-sized models of a trolley car and barbershop, like the ones from which the angry mob dragged African American victims.
June Dobbs Butts plans to visit the exhibit. She hopes to learn the truth about the riot because, as she observes, "Uncovering lies is always useful." She says that after 100 years, it is more than enough time to find the truth and discover unwritten legacies.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (9-21-06)
At the start of his talk Wednesday, during which Chavez referred to President Bush as ''the devil,'' Chavez held up a book by Noam Chomsky, ''Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance,'' and recommended it to everyone in the General Assembly, as well as to the American people.
''The people of the United States should read this ... instead of the watching Superman movies,'' Chavez later told reporters.
As of Thursday afternoon, ''Hegemony or Survival,'' originally published in 2003, had jumped into the top 10 of Amazon, where it was ranked 20,664 the day before, and Barnes & Noble.com, from a previous ranking of 748.
Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt, has ordered an additional paperback printing of 25,000 copies.
SOURCE: AP (9-20-06)
The discovery should fuel a contentious debate about whether this species, which walked upright, also climbed and moved through trees easily like an ape.
The remains are 3.3 million years old, making them the oldest known skeleton of such a youthful human ancestor.
"It's pretty unbelievable" to find such a complete fossil from that long ago, said scientist Fred Spoor. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime find."
Spoor, professor of evolutionary anatomy at University College London, describes the fossil in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature with Zeresenay Alemseged of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and other scientists.
The skeleton was discovered in 2000 in northeastern Ethiopia. Scientists have spent five painstaking years removing the bones from sandstone, and the job will take years more to complete.
Name of source: Jewish News Weekly
SOURCE: Jewish News Weekly (9-21-06)
The diary quoted Pius as saying, “I won’t be afraid. I prefer to beg for alms” than to give into pressures from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime, said French historian Philippe Chenaux.
The diary was written by Monsignor Domenico Tardini, a top aide who served as Pius XI’s foreign minister, and was based on Tardini’s private conversations with the pontiff in September 1938. That was just before the Munich conference, which became a symbol of Western Europe’s futile attempt to appease Hitler.
The Vatican opened the archive Monday to scholars, allowing them access to millions of documents from Pius XI’s pontificate, which lasted from 1922 to February 1939.
Chenaux said Tardini quoted Pius XI as uttering the alms quote after being informed that Mussolini’s regime had prohibited Italian newspapers from reporting on articles in the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
The diary also indicated that Pius XI was determined to oppose the 1938 anti-Jewish laws enacted by Mussolini’s regime, Chenaux said in a telephone interview.
Entries “showed the great firmness of Pius XI. He wasn’t afraid” to oppose both fascism and Nazism, said Chenaux, who is a professor of church history at the Pontifical Lateranense University in Rome and a biographer of wartime Pope Pius XII.
Many scholars and researchers had predicted the archives would yield fresh evidence that Pius XI took a harsher stance against the German and Italian regimes at the end of his papacy.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (9-21-06)
On Wednesday, more than seven decades after their deaths, the bodies of two of Herzl's children were laid to rest here near the grave of the famed Zionist leader, whose public legend left little room for the unhappy saga of his troubled children.
The solemn ceremony for Paulina and Hans Herzl, attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials, was in many ways an act of atonement by a Jewish establishment that once gave Herzl's children financial support but snubbed them after their deaths in 1930.
"We have come here today to do justice -- Jewish justice, historical justice, Zionist justice and, above all, human justice," said Zeev Bielski, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, which for years let the pair remain in a Jewish graveyard in France.
Theodor Herzl, a journalist who during the 1890s led the movement for a national home for Jews, made it clear in his last testament that he and immediate family members should be buried in Israel once a state was founded.
Herzl died in 1904 in Vienna and was buried there. Soon after Israel's creation in 1948, the young government transferred his body to Jerusalem, where it was buried on a hilltop that now bears his name. Herzl's parents and sister also were buried there.
But Paulina and Hans were not. Both battled depression for years. Paulina was 40, broke and homeless when she died in Bordeaux, France, possibly of a morphine overdose. Overcome with grief over his sister's death, Hans, 39, killed himself the next day. They were buried side by side in a Jewish cemetery in Bordeaux.
The third Herzl child, Trude, died in a Nazi concentration camp in the former Czechoslovakia in 1943; her remains were never located. Her only son committed suicide in the United States a few years later, ending Theodor Herzl's bloodline.
Despite Herzl's wishes that his children be buried near him, the bodies of Hans and Pauline remained in Bordeaux, largely ignored by Jewish leaders who saw them as an embarrassment.
Religious authorities in Israel deemed Hans ineligible to be moved here as a Jew because he had converted to Christianity during the 1920s and committed suicide, said Ariel Feldestein, an Israeli historian. Suicide is a violation of Jewish law.
In addition to the religious objections surrounding Hans, he said, Jewish leaders who had crafted a heroic mystique around Theodor Herzl wanted no part of his family's untidy story.
"They wanted to shape a myth about Herzl and they didn't want us to read the truth," said Feldestein, who attended Wednesday's service and was credited by Olmert and others for bringing attention to Herzl's last testament not being fulfilled.
The effort to transfer the Herzls' remains to Israel meant getting Hans officially declared a Jew.
Several weeks ago, Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Shlomo Amar, ruled that Hans, who had returned to Judaism before his death, was Jewish because he was deemed so by the French rabbi who had approved his burial in Bordeaux.
The transfer was opposed by ultra-Orthodox leaders, who viewed the move as an erosion of Jewish law.
Theodor Herzl might have appreciated the muted pomp of Wednesday's ceremony, during which the wooden caskets, each draped with an Israeli flag, were carried to the graves by cadets from a preparatory academy.
The Hungarian-born Herzl made Zionism an all-consuming project, and he envisioned his children as future members of a Herzl political dynasty in the making.
According to historical accounts, the children lived in privileged isolation, educated by tutors and in the best schools.
Herzl spent the bulk of his personal wealth on the campaign for a Jewish homeland, and his family was left destitute after his death at 44. Friends and allies raised money to support the surviving family members. His wife, Julie, died three years after him.
All three Herzl children battled mental illness.
Paulina and Trude had rocky marriages and checked in and out of mental institutions.
Hans veered among religious beliefs, becoming a Baptist in 1924, then a Catholic, Unitarian and Quaker, according to an Israeli news account in 2000.
The impoverished Hans was living in London when he learned of Paulina's death in Bordeaux. He went to the French city and wrote a suicide note in which he held himself responsible.
"I have lost my beloved sister," he wrote.
He then shot himself.
Seventy-six years later, the siblings took their places a short distance from the squat monument that marks the burial site of their celebrated father. The new graves are side by side, next to those of Herzl's father, mother and sister -- last in a neat row marking a dynasty that would never be.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (9-21-06)
She said Allen asked her directly about his Jewish heritage when he was in Los Angeles for a fundraiser. "We sat across the table and he said, 'Mom, there's a rumor that Pop-pop and Mom-mom were Jewish and so were you,' " she recalled, a day after Allen issued a statement acknowledging and embracing his Jewish roots as he campaigns for a second term in the U.S. Senate.
At the table in Palos Verdes, Calif., Allen's mother, who is 83, said she told her son the truth: That she had been raised as a Jew in Tunisia before moving to the United States. She said that she and the senator's father, famed former Redskins coach George Allen, had wanted to protect their children from living with the fear that she had experienced during World War II. Her father, Felix Lumbroso, was imprisoned by the Nazis during the German occupation of Tunis.
SOURCE: Wa Po (9-18-06)
In the buttery sunlight, faded billboards hang from old buildings. Iron gates seal entrances to bookstores and stationery shops. On this Friday, like the past 13 Fridays, the violence has taken its toll. There is not a customer around, only ghosts.
Perched on a red chair outside a closet-sized bookshop, the only one open, Naim al-Shatri is nearly in tears. Short, with thin gray hair and dark, brooding eyes, his voice is grim. This is normally his busiest day, but he hasn't had a single sale. A curfew is approaching.
Soon, his sobs break the stillness. "Is this Iraq?" he asked no one in particular, pointing at the gritty, trash-covered street as the scent of rotting paper and sewage mingled in the air.
It is a question many of the booksellers on Mutanabi Street are asking. Here, in the intellectual ground zero of Baghdad, they are the guardians of a literary tradition that has survived empire and colonialism, monarchy and dictatorship. In the heady days after the U.S.-led invasion, Mutanabi Street pulsed with the promise of freedom.
Now, in the fourth year of war, it is a shadow of its revered past. Many of the original booksellers have been forced to shut down. Others have been arrested, kidnapped or killed, or have fled Iraq. "We are walking with our coffins in our hands," said Mohammad al-Hayawi, the owner of the Renaissance book store, one of the street's oldest shops. "Nothing in Iraq is guaranteed anymore."
Name of source: David Remnick in the course of an interview posted at the New Yorker following his 23 page profile of Clinton
He told me that he liked a biography by John Harris, "The Survivor," that is not entirely complimentary, but he thought it was quite good and accurate and fair. So he's not interested in only his own hagiographies, although no one resists his hagiographers. But he is very interested in making sure people get things right where his Administration is concerned, as he sees it. And, sometimes, he's right. When it comes to this docudrama, the behavior ascribed to Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright is wrong, scandalously wrong. Even John Podhoretz in the New York Post this morning wrote that, and he's hardly a fan of Bill and Hillary Clinton's.
The Clintons believe in fighting back, and fighting back quickly and effectively and forcefully. If one thing unites Bill and Hillary Clinton it's their frustration, and even disgust, with Democratic candidates who fail to fight back. Clinton says he just can't understand the phenomenon of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth tarring a guy like John Kerry, who was a real war hero in Vietnam, and getting away with it, with all the tacit encouragement of the Republican national campaign. It's beyond his imagining.
Because Clinton would never have let that happen to him?
No. That was the whole purpose of the so-called "war room" in 1992. It was filled with political tough guys who act that way in the service of winning so that they can then do good. That's the way they see themselves. If you are too polite and hesitant, you never get the chance to do good because you don't win.
Name of source: Press Release -- The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
SOURCE: Press Release -- The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (9-20-06)
Mrs. Dina Babbitt, 83, now of Fenton, CA, was deported to Auschwitz as a teenager in 1943, but her life was spared after the war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele learned of a mural of Snow White that she had painted in the children's barracks. Mengele ordered her to paint portraits of some of the victims of his savage medical experiments. In the 1970s, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a Polish government institution on the site of the former death camp, acquired eight of the paintings, but refuses to give them back to Mrs. Babbitt.
Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which organized the cartoonists' petition, said: "Holocaust survivors have a right to reclaim their belongings. Four years ago, Congress declared that the paintings belong to Mrs. Babbitt, and instructed the State Department to intervene. Yet Poland refuses to budge, and the State Department has not acted. This must change."
The Congressional resolution (Section 705 of PL 107-228) was sponsored by Rep. Shelly Berkley (D-Nevada), who has been the leader of Capitol Hill efforts for return of the paintings.
After the war, Mrs. Babbitt worked in Los Angeles for major animation studios, illustrating such well-known cartoon character as Wile E. Coyote, Speedy Gonzalez, Cap'n Crunch, Daffy Duck, and Tweety Bird.
Now her fellow-cartoonists are mobilizing on her behalf. The 450 signatories on the Wyman Institute's petition include Stan Lee of Marvel Comics (co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the X-Men); DC Comics president Paul Levitz; Pulitzer Prize winners Art Spiegelman and Michael Chabon; and the creators of such popular newspaper comic strips as "Beetle Bailey" and "For Better or For Worse."
Although most of the artists are from the United States, there are also many signatories from Italy, France, Spain (including the president of the Spanish Comic Authors Association), Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Israel, Canada, England, and other countries.
Their petition, addressed to museum director Dr. Piotr Cywinski, declares in part:
"The fundamental principle that art belongs to the artist who created it is recognized everywhere except in totalitarian countries. One would hope that Poland, having been liberated from totalitarian rule, would not revert to the mentality that regards everything as the property of the state.
"We agree that the display of Mrs. Babbitt's artwork is of great educational value, and we are pleased that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum recognizes their importance. But that educational purpose could just as easily be achieved by displaying high-quality reproductions of the paintings, while returning the originals to their creator and rightful owner. Mrs. Babbitt has suffered enough. We implore you to do the right thing and give her back her paintings."
The petition was spearheaded by veteran DC Comics artist and editor Joe Kubert, whose acclaimed graphic novel "Yossel," features a teenage artist whose life is spared by the Nazis so he can draw cartoons for them; his son Andy Kubert, the current artist on the "Batman" comic book; and his son Adam Kubert, the current artist on "Superman."
Other signatories include:
* Joe Quesada, editor in chief of Marvel Comics; Nick Meglin, coeditor of MAD magazine; and Rick Stromkowski, president of the National Cartoonists Society.
* The artists and writers on numerous newspaper comic strips, including Beetle Bailey, For Better or For Worse, Family Circus, Hagar the Horrible, Mutts, Big Nate, Brenda Starr, Alley Oop, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon.
* Animators from such hit movies as "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ant Bully."
* Legendary comic book artists Neal Adams and Jim Steranko.
* Famed science fiction writers Harlan Ellison and Michael Moorcock.
To arrange with interviews with Stan Lee or other signatories, contact the Wyman Institute at 202-434-8994 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the text of the petition and the complete list of the 450 signatories, contact the Wyman Institute at 202-434-8994 or by email: email@example.com.
The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Dr. Piotr Cywinski, can be reached by calling (+4833) 843 21 33; by fax at (+4833) 843 22 27; or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org The Museum's web site is: www.auschwitz.org.pl
Name of source: David W. Jacobs in the newsletter of the American Revolution Round Table
SOURCE: David W. Jacobs in the newsletter of the American Revolution Round Table (9-21-06)
SOURCE: David W. Jacobs in the newsletter of the American Revolution Round Table (9-21-06)
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (9-19-06)
The book "Inside the Communist Party Central Committee Politburo" includes heated discussions about the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
It covers the period from 1985, when Mr Gorbachev launched the perestroika reforms, to the USSR's fall in 1991.
The notes were made by Gorbachev aides on their own initiative.
"Nobody instructed us to do this, but nobody stopped us either, although all Politburo members knew perfectly well that since Stalin's time it was forbidden to record anything," one of the aides, Anatoly Chernyayev, told the BBC Russian service.
"We made notes of everything, apart from trivia, and tried to give a lively picture of events. They argued, swore at each other, roughed each other up," he said.
Name of source: IHT
SOURCE: IHT (9-18-06)
But maybe you've heard his words, if you're one of the 320,000 people so far who have bought Bob Dylan's latest album, "Modern Times," which made its debut two weeks ago at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.
It seems that many of the lyrics on that album, Dylan's first No. 1 album in the United States in 30 years (down to No. 3 last week), bear some strong echoes of the poems of Timrod, a Charleston, South Carolina, native who wrote poems about the U.S. Civil War and died in 1867 at the age of 39.
"More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours," the 65-year-old Dylan sings in "When the Deal Goes Down," one of the songs on "Modern Times." Compare that with these lines from Timrod's "Rhapsody of a Southern Winter Night":
A round of precious hours
Oh! here, where in that summer noon I basked
And strove, with logic frailer than the flowers.
"No doubt about it, there has been some borrowing going on," said Walter Brian Cisco, who wrote a 2004 biography of Timrod, when shown Dylan's lyrics. Cisco said he could find at least six other phrases from Timrod's poetry that appeared in Dylan's songs. But Cisco didn't seem particularly bothered by that.
"I'm glad Timrod is getting some recognition," he said.
Henry Timrod was born in 1828 and was a private tutor on plantations before the Civil War. He tried to enlist in the Confederate army but was unable to serve in the field because he suffered from tuberculosis. He worked as an editor for a daily paper in Columbia, South Carolina, and began writing poems about the war and how it affected the residents of the South. He also wrote love poems and ruminations on nature.
Name of source: Press Release-- Yale University
SOURCE: Press Release-- Yale University (9-20-06)
New Haven, Conn. — Yale has just established the first university-based institute in North America dedicated to the study of antisemitism.
The new center, the Yale Initiative for Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, will be directed by Charles Small and based at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), 77 Prospect St.
“As an institute that has a long-standing commitment to the scholarly exploration of inter-group conflict, ISPS takes special pride in hosting the first center in North America devoted to the study of antisemitism,” says Donald Green, director of ISPS and the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Political Science at Yale. “The interdisciplinary scope of the topic and magnitude of the policy questions it raises are sure to attract top scholars and generate valuable discussion and research.”
Name of source: UNESCO
SOURCE: UNESCO (9-19-06)
Despite the limited extent of war damage to cultural heritage, the mission found several areas that require attention to safeguard and revitalize that heritage.
Name of source: Press Release--National Security Archive
SOURCE: Press Release--National Security Archive (9-20-06)
Hundreds of documents implicating Pinochet in authorizing and covering up the crime were due to be declassified under the Clinton administration but were withheld in the spring of 2000 as evidence for a Justice Department investigation into the retired dictator's role. After more than six years, according to Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's Chile Documentation Project, it is time to release them. "If there is not going to be a legal indictment," Kornbluh said, "the documents can and will provide an indictment of history."
The Archive today released a declassified memo to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reporting on a CIA approach in early October 1976 to the head of the Chilean secret police, Manuel Contreras, regarding U.S. concerns about Operation Condor assassination plots. The secret memo, written by Kissinger's deputy for Latin America, Harry Schlaudeman, noted that Contreras had denied that "Operation Condor has any other purpose than the exchange of intelligence." While the car bombing in downtown Washington, D.C. that killed Letelier and Moffitt took place on September 21, 1976, the memo contains no reference to any discussion with Contreras about the assassinations--even though DINA was widely considered to be the most likely perpetrator of the crime. In 1978, Contreras was indicted by a U.S. Grand Jury for directing the terrorist attack.
The document was obtained by Kornbluh under the Freedom of Information Act.
The memorandum to Kissinger adds to a series of documents that have been obtained by the National Security Archive that shed light on what the U.S. government knew about Operation Condor--a collaboration of Southern Cone secret police services to track down, abduct, torture, and assassinate opponents in the mid and late 1970s--and what actions it took or failed to take prior to the Letelier-Moffitt assassination.
The Archive also released a second memo from Schlaudeman to Kissinger reporting on a cable from U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Ernest Siracusa voicing his concerns on presenting the Condor demarche. Siracusa, the memo suggests, feared that he would become a target of Operation Condor if he followed his diplomatic instructions, and recommended that Schlaudeman approach Uruguay's ambassador to Washington instead. In his memo to Kissinger dated August 30, 1976, Schlaudeman spelled out the U.S. position on Condor assassination plots: "What we are trying to head off is a series of international murders that could do serious damage to the international status and reputation of the countries involved."
Kornbluh noted that neither the CIA memorandum of conversation with Contreras nor the Sircusa cable has been declassified and urged the Bush administration to release all records relating to Operation Condor and the Letelier-Moffitt case. "Amidst today's ongoing effort against international terrorism," he noted, "it is important to know the full history of the failure of U.S. efforts to detect and deter a terrorist plot in the heart of Washington, D.C."
Name of source: Sentinel
SOURCE: Sentinel (9-20-06)
Excavations will be led by Eric Klingelhofer, of Macon, Ga., and Nick Lucetti, of Jamestown, Va., co-vice presidents of the First Colony Foundation.
Phil Evans, Foundation president, of Durham, said the objectives are to “find out where the site exactly is, what it looks like, how big is it and what has been lost to erosion and the ravages of time.”
Name of source: ABC Scince Online (Australia)
SOURCE: ABC Scince Online (Australia) (9-19-06)
Associate Professor Chris Mackie from the University of Melbourne says the survey will combine conventional mapping with electromagnetic surveying to produce the most comprehensive historical and archaeological study ever conducted there.
"Most of the attention in the post-war period has been on the cemeteries," he says about studies of Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula.
"One of the things we'll be spending a great deal of time on is the mapping of the trenches to see how they cohere with surviving maps of the trenches and exploring what lies beneath."
Mackie says there's a "distinct possibility" that a wealth of material dating back to the days of antiquity lies buried beneath the battlefield, perhaps the most historically significant military site in Australia's history.
Name of source: The Daily Telegraph (LONDON)
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (LONDON) (9-20-06)
For the first time, aspiring genealogists can electronically search for forgotten relatives among 72 million telephone directory entries between 1880 and 1984. Experts say this will bridge a frustrating gap between the 1901 census and living memory, providing clues that lead to more traditional researches through the electoral roll and census.
Nick Barrett, a genealogist on BBC2's Who Do You Think You Are? and The Daily Telegraph's family detective, said: "This is a major breakthrough and will make research so much easier. You can search for lost grandparents by typing in a name or place.''
The first records to appear today on the website ancestry.co.uk are for London, Surrey, Herts, Essex, Kent and Middlesex, with the rest of the country following next year, with 250 million entries.
Tony Robinson, the actor and a spokesman for the site, which draws three million visitors a month, said: "[Directories] were always seen as either boring or so large and useless that strong men tear them apart.
"But I believe they will have enormous ramifications for how we see ourselves in the world . . . they will reveal our own small family dramas. We are at the birth of a brand new science.''
The resurrection of Britain's 19th and 20th century directories also offers a fascinating glimpse of an age before cold-callers, 11-digit numbers and the vogue for going ex-directory.
In 1910 Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, was proud to be listed at Victoria 1436, and in 1925 callers wishing to contact Sir Winston Churchill simply called Paddington 1003, although they probably had to contend with a butler.
Almost anybody could track down the escapologist Harry Houdini in 1911, by calling Gerard 1312; Ivor Novello was to be found on City 1667 and Laurence Olivier was at Kensington 6505. Sigmund Freud and Marie Stopes were listed, as were Virginia Woolf, Benjamin Britten, Noel Coward, Lytton Strachey and Ian Fleming (call Tate 2300).
Viscount and Lady Astor had a number each, both in St James's Square, in 1920, while Sir Oswald Mosley was at Sloane 3395 in 1950. In 1961, before the Christine Keeler scandal broke, John Profumo could be called on Welbeck 6983.
But it is the apparent listing of the spy Kim Philby, in 1943, that shows how Britain was once a country where even those with most to hide need not be ex-directory.
"There is just something so exciting about finding the telephone numbers of famous and infamous people who would not be listed now, as well as relatives,'' said Josh Hanna, the managing director of ancestry.co.uk, which is believed to be paying BT pounds 25,000 a year for the right to use the directories.
"This is important and fascinating 20th century information that has been very difficult to find until now.''
The first telephone exchange opened in London in 1879, to be followed a year later by the first four-page directory, which listed names rather than numbers because so few people had a phone.
Callers hoping to contact the Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, just told the operator to whom they wished to speak and the call was connected.
By 1883, businesses were already being offered the opportunity to be ex-directory. But the idea was slow to catch on, with 588,000 people and businesses listed in the national directory by 1910 and 250,000 in London alone by 1924.
Telephone-owners are now more timid, with 60 per cent choosing not to be listed in the phone book this year, up from 37 per cent in 1997.
A BT spokesman said: "People seem to value their privacy more. I would be surprised to find a modern Kim Philby listed now.''
Name of source: The Washington Post
SOURCE: The Washington Post (9-20-06)
The sponsors of the conference, about whom more later, began with a question: How did the Venetians maintain their far-flung Mediterranean empire and also prosper as a free republic for over five centuries? Was their model of empire -- heavy on mercantile trading relationships, lighter on military intervention -- an example for the United States in the era of globalization? Did Venice practice a version of "Empire Lite" that America might emulate?
The conference organizers had gathered a retinue of professional historians, so the answers were far more hedged than the questions. The scholars described a Venetian republic that was far from democratic, vesting political power in a small circle of aristocratic families. The imperial ambitions of the city-state were founded on a carefully cultivated myth of Venice's divine right to power, backed by the strongest fleet in the Mediterranean.
But compared with America's current imperial troubles, Venice was serenity itself. One secret was that its empire sought trade, not territory. "The Venetians tried to keep local people and institutions in power. It was very much a hands-off model," explained Edward Muir, a professor at Northwestern University who spoke at the conference.
The Venetians' imperial difficulties came on dry land -- "Terrafirma," as the island state called the territories it administered in northeast Italy. But even there, says Muir, the Venetians sought to extend their power through a system of laws and patronage, rather than military occupation. "The Venetian empire was a judicial network, more than an economic or political one," he argued.
John Martin, a history professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, suggested a comparison between Rome and Venice. If the Roman Empire was about hard military power, imposed by the Roman legions, Venice was "soft power," to use the term popularized by Harvard professor Joseph Nye. It survived so long because it recognized limits to its ability to impose its will abroad.
The canny mercantilism of Venice's ruling families was another advantage for La Serenissima. The merchant families protected their republican form of government at home, even as their trading empire expanded. In contrast to imperial Rome, whose senate became a shell, Venice maintained its system of a non-hereditary ruler, known as the "doge"; its Great Council, where every adult male aristocrat was represented; and its secretive Council of Ten, which supervised a vast intelligence network. A far-flung empire required a strong executive, but Venetians resisted the temptation to turn their doge into an emperor or king, noted Martin.
Now, who might be inquiring into the contemporary lessons of an empire that died more than 200 years ago? The answer is as intriguing as the conference itself. The sponsor was a little-known group called the Committee for the Republic, which was formed back in 2003 by a group of establishment Washingtonians -- paleoconservatives, one might call them -- who were concerned about neoconservative enthusiasm for foreign interventions. The group briefly got into trouble in 2005 after it sponsored a discussion of the Palestinian issue that riled pro-Israel groups in Washington.
A leading member is C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel in the Bush 41 administration and a longtime amateur historian of Venice. Gray, now the U.S. representative to the European Union in Brussels, wasn't able to attend the gathering. Presiding in his place was William Nitze, the son of former arms negotiator Paul Nitze.
Gray explained his interest in the Venetian model in an e-mail to other members of the group: "Whenever Venice won a naval battle, it asked not for territory, taxes or tribute but free-trade zones," he noted. "As part of its commercial empire, Venice had to rely on extensive intelligence in order to avoid foreign troop basing. As a result, its intelligence service was unmatched and its diplomacy unrivaled."
The quirky Venice conference is important less for any precise parallels it may offer for contemporary America than as an example of the debate that's growing among both liberals and conservatives in the wake of the Iraq war about the limits of American power. It raises the big strategic questions that too often get overlooked in Washington's endless round of seminars: How does a nation maintain a far-flung network of commercial interests without subverting its values at home? How does a nation have the benefits of imperial reach without the ruinous costs of empire? It's a debate that will widen as America moves toward its post-Iraq introspection.
Name of source: Bruce Craig in the newsletter of the National Coalition for History
SOURCE: Bruce Craig in the newsletter of the National Coalition for History (9-20-06)
Each year, the MacArthur Foundation awards an unrestricted fellowship to talented individuals who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication to their creative pursuits and marked capacity for self-direction.” The cash prize is given in the hope that recipients will pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.
This year’s winners include 25 individuals of which 15 are scientists, doctors, and astronomers. Of the remaining ten winners, there are two musicians; five writers, playwrights and journalists, and three artists/sculptors. When the history coalition contacted MacArthur Foundation to ask “where are the historians?” a spokespersons stated that “that there has not been a shift” in fellowship priorities or emphasis. According to the spokesperson, “over the 26-year trajectory, there have been many historians and there undoubtedly will be others in the future.”
The names of those people who nominate candidates for the fellowship remains a secret. According to the foundation website, each year over a hundred nominators are approached by the foundation to nominate the most creative people they know within their field and beyond. The nominations are then evaluated by a Selection Committee (the deepest kept secret list) composed of about a dozen leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities professions, and for-profit and nonprofit communities. Recommendations are then made to the President and Board of Directors of the foundation. Typically, 20 to 30 fellows are named; to date over 700 individuals have received the award, including over 70 historians.