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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: Herald Sun (Australia)
SOURCE: Herald Sun (Australia) (5-30-07)
The Herald Sun has obtained a list of the subjects covered in a new citizenship study guide, The Australian Way of Life.
Every question on the Government's new citizenship test will be drawn from the book.
An Australian history section will look at early settlement of the country, convicts, Aboriginal habitation, Federation and Australia's involvement in World War I and World War II.
There will also be chapters covering Australian values, rights and responsibilities of citizenship, national symbols and how to become a citizen.
Name of source: Buffalo News
SOURCE: Buffalo News (5-29-07)
But it might not be in a way Tubman would have recognized. The state so far has snubbed a proposal to honor the most popular Underground Railroad conductor by revamping a Niagara Falls street near where she moved escaped slaves to freedom.
Meanwhile, state officials have begun to embrace a $250,000 plan downriver in Lewiston to create a life-size bronze sculpture that would depict Tubman with Josiah Tryon, Lewiston's station master on the Underground Railroad, helping a slave family step from a rowboat to freedom in Canada.
"This would be the first freedom crossing monument on the border with Canada," said Lee Simonson, of the Historical Association of Lewiston.
A fine idea but for one thing, supporters of the Falls plan say: There's no proof Tubman ever helped Tryon send any slave to freedom from Lewiston.
[HNN: Two days after this news story a local columnist, Rod Watson, blasted the proposal as fake history:
If the folks in Niagara County are smart, they'll learn from Buffalo's experience: Fake history doesn't sell.
And selling is what the effort to capitalize on Underground Railroad icon Harriet Tubman is all about.
That's what makes Lewiston's bid to hijack Tubman's legacy more than just another historical falsehood. It's also about the bottom line: Who will benefit from efforts to create attractions that get Falls tourists to spend more time and money on the U.S. side?
Hence the $250,000 plan for a life-size sculpture of Tubman.
There's just one problem: It's in Lewiston, where Tubman never led escaped slaves across the Niagara River to Canada, but which now wants to claim her.
Name of source: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH)
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (5-31-07)
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (5-31-07)
Although that information is set out in an unclassified letter to Ms. Wilson that has been published in the Congressional Record, the C.I.A. insists that her dates of service remain classified and may not be mentioned in “Fair Game,” the memoir Ms. Wilson hopes to publish in October.
Agency employees sign agreements requiring them to submit manuscripts to the agency for permission before they are published.. Ms. Wilson’s suit said she worked with agency officials for 10 months to avoid disclosing national security information. But the agency’s refusal to allow her to include material already in the public domain, the suit said, violates her right to free speech.
SOURCE: NYT (5-30-07)
The questions reflect some of the deepest and most ambiguous strands in the history of a land that issued the Balfour declaration in 1917, offering “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine in almost the same breath as it promised Arab independence — and sent Lawrence of Arabia to help fight for the Arab cause.
Even earlier, did Shakespeare’s characterization of Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” sow an English seed of a Jewish stereotype that blossomed in the most gruesome chapters of the 20th century? Or, to reverse the argument, are the accusations of British anti-Semitism — or pro-Arabism — misplaced, reflecting not so much bias as sympathy for the perceived underdog?
Academic Fallout From Middle East (Inside Higher Ed)
SOURCE: NYT (5-30-07)
President Bush has insisted that those secret “enhanced” techniques are crucial, and he is far from alone. The notion that turning up pressure and pain on a prisoner will produce valuable intelligence is a staple of popular culture from the television series “24” to the recent Republican presidential debate, where some candidates tried to outdo one another in vowing to get tough on captured terrorists. A 2005 Harvard study supported the selective use of “highly coercive” techniques.
But some of the experts involved in the interrogation review, called “Educing Information,” say that during World War II, German and Japanese prisoners were effectively questioned without coercion.
“It far outclassed what we’ve done,” said Steven M. Kleinman, a former Air Force interrogator and trainer, who has studied the World War II program of interrogating Germans. The questioners at Fort Hunt, Va., “had graduate degrees in law and philosophy, spoke the language flawlessly,” and prepared for four to six hours for each hour of questioning, said Mr. Kleinman, who wrote two chapters for the December report.
Philip Zelikow: Legal Policy for a Twilight War
SOURCE: NYT (5-29-07)
Or at least ones like them. Throughout this month the library, in partnership with Microsoft, has been collecting e-mail notes that ordinary Britons and others have sent — 13,807 so far — as a way of capturing a sense of life in the 21st century.
“E-mail is the first major upheaval in written English since the invention of the printing press,” said Jonnie Robinson, a sociolinguistic and education specialist at the library who has been working on the project, known as Email Britain.
SOURCE: NYT (5-29-07)
Toshikatsu Matsuoka was about to be questioned by Parliament.
Suicides have a long and often romanticized history in Japan, where they have been seen as a face-saving escape from public humiliation. But analysts said Mr. Matsuoka’s suicide could deal a fresh blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose popularity ratings have fallen amid the tinge of scandal and growing questions about his leadership.
Mr. Matsuoka, 62, was found unconscious in his Tokyo apartment after having hanged himself, and died in a hospital, the chief government spokesman and other officials said. While they did not disclose details, the national broadcaster NHK and other news media said he was found hanging from the hinge of a door in his living room. They reported that he was discovered around noon, when his political secretary went to look for him because he was late for a meeting.
His suicide was the first here by a serving cabinet minister since at least World War II, according to local newspapers.
In 1979, a photographer stood nearby as executioners shot Kurdish prisoners in Sanandaj, Iran. A picture he took for an Iranian newspaper was picked up by United Press International and published worldwide. To protect the photographer, his name was not printed.
But the image proved so compelling that it was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography. It was the first and still the only time that the Pulitzer, the highest honor in print journalism, has been given to an anonymous winner....
[Now, 27 years later, the anonymous winner has received his prize. He's Jahangir Razmi, who lives in Tehran.]
Experts at Trinity College in Dublin, where the Book of Kells has resided for the past 346 years, are allowing a two-year laser analysis of the treasure, which is one of Ireland’s great tourist draws.
The 21st-century laser technology being used, Raman spectroscopy, encourages hopes among those with a romantic view for an ecclesiastical intrigue like “The Da Vinci Code” or “The Name of the Rose.”
Four months later, Conrad was dead; and in another year, so was Charles, at about the age of 20. They were buried in the same grave at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, beneath a marble headstone that is an exquisitely carved open book inscribed with both their names. But the stone slowly sank into the earth as the centuries turned twice, and the cemetery and the city were completed around them.
The Joachim family’s sacrifice may have been forever lost to history if not for a formidable labor of detective work involving hundreds of volunteers and lasting longer than the Civil War itself. Now the Joachims are among more than 1,200 Civil War soldiers with new gravestones at Green-Wood. And today, for the first time, the cemetery is honoring the full known complement of veterans of the country’s deadliest war.
SOURCE: NYT (5-26-07)
Mr. Fox, who left office last year, envisions the library and museum, rising from the dust on his family’s ranch here, as a scholarly refuge devoted to the study of his place in history. There will be an academic center dedicated to democratization across the world, a collection of Mr. Fox’s presidential papers and an exhibition hall.
Still, the very notion of a presidential library has roiled many in Mexico’s chattering classes, who are used to seeing their former leaders, who can only serve a single six-year term, fade into the shadows. Indeed, the newspaper Reforma has given the project an amusement park name: “Foxilandia.”...
“I don’t know if it will take off as a Mexican tradition,” said Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “Other presidents may not want to do it. It may be a one-shot deal.”
SOURCE: NYT (5-26-07)
“Sadly, the administration’s refusal to heed these dire warnings, and worse, to plan for them, has led to tragic consequences for which our nation is paying a terrible price,” said Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the Democratic chairman. His was one of many dueling statements accompanying a long-awaited 226-page committee report on the intelligence agencies’ prewar predictions of the effects of toppling Saddam Hussein.
Republicans said the report exaggerated the prescience of the intelligence agencies.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (5-25-07)
In earlier wars, families had only the letters that soldiers sent home; often, bits and pieces were removed by cautious censors. Iraq is the first war of the Internet age, and McCormick is one of many fallen soldiers who have left ghosts of themselves online — unsentimental self-memorials, frozen and uncensored snapshots of the person each wanted to show to the world.
Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican of Trafford, Ala., wrote on his MySpace page before he was killed in Karbala, Iraq: "You don't have to love the war but you have to love the warrior."...
Bob Patrick, an Army veteran who runs the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, says, "War as we know it and as we're taught through schools, in most cases it's through the filter ... of a historian." MySpace pages, he says, "are grass-roots stories on the foxhole level, or the cockpit level."
SOURCE: AP (5-29-07)
Such a designation prevents the public from learning who visited the vice president.
The Justice Department filed the letter Friday in a lawsuit by a private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, seeking the identities of conservative religious leaders who visited Cheney at his official residence.
SOURCE: AP (5-28-07)
Chuck Greene and other history buffs have discussed plans to create a local historical society and to open a museum.
‘‘Our near-term goal is preserving documents and memorabilia from the history of the community and doing oral histories with as many early residents as we can,'' Greene told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
‘‘In the longer term, we're looking at creating a museum that will focus on the history of our community and, through that lens ... the history and the heritage of the rest of the basin,'' he added.
SOURCE: AP (5-29-07)
Historians don't know how many schools are left standing, and several states are conducting surveys to try to identify how many have survived and if these crumbling remnants of the Jim Crow era can be refurbished.
Scores of blacks at the time would likely have gone without an education had it not been for the schools, which educated close to 664,000 students in 15 states before the program ended in 1932.
Most of the schools closed by the 1960s in the wake of integration and many were then torn down, converted to homes or turned into community centers. Others were left to fall apart.
Former Rosenwald students have also formed alumni groups in recent years to draw attention to the buildings' decrepit condition, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the schools to its list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places in 2002.
North Carolina, the state that had the most Rosenwald schools at 787, is one of several Southern states in the process of tracking down its remaining schools.
Others like Arkansas have completed their survey, which found that less than 4 percent of the nearly 390 schools and other structures like teacher's homes built with Rosenwald funds are still in existence.
SOURCE: AP (5-28-07)
The project's director, retired Army Colonel Bob Patrick, says there are already some 50,000 stories in the archives, but more are needed. Patrick notes that World War Two veterans are dying at a rate of about a thousand a day. He says, "we're losing this collected memory of the most cataclysmic event in world history."
The memoirs of some of those who served from World War One through the Iraq War are on the project's Web site. And some of the recollections are graphic. Korean War veteran Paul Alexander Steppe Junior says simply: "The smell of the bodies stays with you forever."
Former Army nurse Jeanne Markle says the young soldiers she was treating in Vietnam were "just as scared as I was."
SOURCE: AP (5-27-07)
But can you believe what they say?
That's a concern of some Philadelphia hospitality officials, who worry the city's most valuable asset — its history — is being tarnished by unreliable tour guides who mix up dates and spice up biographies of famous founders like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
"Bring it on," said Jill Lawrence, a Colonial re-enactor who supports the idea. She said many of her interactions with tourists include correcting misinformation they've heard elsewhere — such as flagmaker Betsy Ross, a three-time widow, killed her husbands. Not true.
"These are things we hear over and over," she said. "It would be terrific if we didn't have to correct these rumors all day long."
SOURCE: AP (5-27-07)
A thousand years ago, the curved-prow warship might have spewed out hordes of bloodthirsty Norsemen ready to pillage and burn.
This time, the spoils are adventure rather than plunder.
The Sea Stallion of Glendalough is billed as the world's biggest and most ambitious Viking ship reconstruction, modeled after a warship excavated in 1962 from the Roskilde fjord after being buried in the seabed for nearly 950 years.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (5-31-07)
Kan Zhonggan was a spy. His master was the government of Taiwan, an island that broke with mainland China in 1949 after a protracted civil war. Ever since, mutual espionage has been a way of life, but it was especially robust in the early years of the split.
Little was known about the lives of the secret agents who risked everything for the cause until a group of elderly former spies decided to speak out recently in hopes of seeking redress and compensation from Taipei. They say that instead of being treated as war heroes, they were abandoned by the island that recruited them....
During the height of the Cold War, an estimated 30,000 Taiwanese spies were dispatched to the mainland, said Jiang Jianguo, 73, a former spy now living in Hong Kong who spent 13 years in prison. Of those, an estimated 20,000 were executed by the communists, he said. The rest probably died of old age or are living in exile, mostly in mainland China and Hong Kong, said Jiang, whose Cross Strait Relations Victims Assn. has contacted about 70 former spies.
SOURCE: LAT (5-31-07)
Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, told reporters that Bush believes U.S. forces eventually will end their combat role in Iraq but will continue to be needed in the country to deter threats and to help handle potential crises, as they have done in South Korea.
The United States has 30,000 troops in South Korea; its military presence there dates to the 1950-53 Korean War....
Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at Brookings Institution, said Snow's comparison of Iraq and South Korea would hurt efforts to convince Iraqis and others that the United States does not plan an indefinite military stay.
"In trying to convey resolve, he conveys the presumption that we're going to be there for a long time," O'Hanlon said. "It's unhelpful to handling the politics of our presence in Iraq."
SOURCE: LAT (5-28-07)
Beneath tall, swaying evergreens and palm trees, more than a hundred such antiquities rest in splendid obsolescence in a dusty dirt lot in South El Monte. Retrograde tanks and personnel carriers, outdated anti-aircraft guns, boxy Jeeps and hulking trucks of World War II, Korean conflict and Vietnam War vintage, all crowd the premises at the easily overlooked American Society of Military History Museum.
Every artifact in the place is armored, if only with resonant memory for the once-young men who operated them in all their former power and ferocity.
The museum, brainchild and life's mission of Don Michelson, was established as a nonprofit in 1962.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (5-31-07)
[The list includes: Helen Gahagan Douglas, Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Fred Grandy, Jesse Ventura, Ben Jones.]
But at no time during events in Algona, Mason City, Charles City or Emmetsburg was she asked for her reaction to a pair of soon-to-be-released books that portray her and her husband in an unflattering light and that recount in illuminating detail the stormy history of their days together in Arkansas and later in the White House.
Clinton advisers say the early reaction confirms their belief that Americans long ago digested those controversies, drew whatever conclusions they wanted and moved on.
"This is not the first time we've had books written about the senator that were less than favorable, campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said. "Our experience is that there is some initial media interest in them and then they don't have any impact on the race."
Neither book has been officially released. When they are in early June, both will be backed by major publicity tours and advertising. As such, even without new bombshells, the books threaten to plunge candidate Clinton back into the soap opera that was so often the Clinton administration.
For the answer, look no further than the response to the devastating fires at Eastern Market and the Georgetown public library. The people of this city care deeply about its history. They grieve when artifacts of that history are lost, whether they are documents, photographs, paintings or other irreplaceable symbols of our past.
Equally vulnerable are the stories such artifacts represent. There are countless stories, all different, some of them in conflict with one another. They are our heritage. Government has an obligation to support efforts to preserve them.
That is why so many states and cities across the country allocate substantial tax dollars for the preservation of history. They fund cultural programming, archives, historic preservation efforts, school programs, traveling exhibits, oral history projects, publications and more.
Last year, 25 states had history budgets of $8 million or more. And it's not just the big states. States with populations similar to the District's make substantial investments in their histories. Delaware budgeted $6.7 million this year; in North Dakota, the figure was $5.8 million.
Few places in the nation have the amount of history that Washington has. Yet the District's fiscal 2007 budget included only $2 million for its historical legacy. Only three states invested less.
Twenty years ago, Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old dreamer from West Germany, pierced the Soviet Union's air defenses on what seemed like a delusional mission to unite East and West. But in one of the Cold War's most iconic footnotes, he handed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev an excuse to purge his defense minister and other military hard-liners opposed to his glasnost reforms, an important step toward the fall of communism.
"When I look back, I am of two minds about what I did," said Rust, now a wealthy investor and high-stakes poker player who divides his time between Germany and the former Soviet republic of Estonia. "I caused myself a lot of problems, but it was my destiny and you have to live your destiny."
In 1987, Rust was upset over the continuing U.S.-Soviet standoff and deeply disappointed with the failure the previous year of the Reykjavik summit between Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan. The two leaders had seemed on the verge of a historic breakthrough on nuclear arms control, but the talks collapsed at the last minute.
"I was full of dreams then, and I believed everything was possible," Rust said in a telephone interview from Hamburg, where he has an apartment. "My intention with the flight was to build a kind of imaginary bridge between East and West."
Name of source: The Detroit News
SOURCE: The Detroit News (5-31-07)
As of last week, due in part to a strategy devised to appeal more intimately to potential backers of his congressional resolution, Cohen had collected 90 co-sponsors.
In separate letters to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Jewish caucus and to members of the Missouri, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey congressional delegations whose state legislatures have considered, or passed, similar resolutions, Cohen made his appeal.
"Slavery and Jim Crow laws were able to survive in our country because they were protected by the actions and acquiescence of the United States government, including Congress; we are still fighting their enduring legacies to this day," the letters say.
Name of source: Independent (South Africa)
SOURCE: Independent (South Africa) (5-31-07)
In the latest rejection in a string of similar cases, the Nagoya High Court upheld a lower court's ruling that the six Korean women - aged 76 to 78 - and a relative of a now deceased woman had lost their rights to seek damages.
Judge Kunio Aoyama acknowledged the plaintiffs were "forced to come to Japan and work after being threatened or deceived."
But he also said that under the agreements between Japan and South Korea when they restored relations in 1965, the case was a matter between states rather than between states and individuals.
The plaintiffs filed the suit against the Japanese government and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, demanding money and apologies.
The Korean women said they were brought to Japan in 1944, then aged 13 to 15, convinced they would work and earn money while going to school.
Name of source: Japan Focus
SOURCE: Japan Focus (5-28-07)
That is not hard to do. Records produced by both Aso Mining and the Japanese government clearly show that POWs toiled at the Aso Yoshikuma mine in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Name of source: MESA website
SOURCE: MESA website (5-29-07)
The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has more than 2700 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.
The Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of MESA has written to President Ahmedinejad calling for the release of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and has been closely monitoring the actions of the Iranian government. CAF notes with alarm the growing number of scholars and researchers in recent weeks, among them Kian Tajbakhsh, who, like Dr. Esfandiari, have been harassed, detained, and subject to defamatory campaigns.
It is unprecedented in the history of this organization to issue a statement of concern; however, CAF feels compelled to bring the emerging pattern of grave infringements on academic freedom, scholarly research, and intellectual exchange to the full attention of MESA members and other scholars who may be contemplating travel to Iran.
Name of source: Denver Post Editorial
SOURCE: Denver Post Editorial (5-29-07)
Yet Churchill remains.
That's because the ethnic studies professor has been given the appropriate due process - and then some.
It's never been easy to fire a tenured professor, which is good, but that time has come for Churchill.
Name of source: OneWorld/Yahoo
SOURCE: OneWorld/Yahoo (5-30-07)
"It's a wake-up call," said Ron Wimberley, distinguished professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. "It's always been assumed that rural areas will always produce what they're supposed to produce: natural resources, food, fiber, water, air, timber -- the things that are our daily basic needs."
"But if we keep extracting all the good things out of these areas and then dumping the bad things like pollution back on them without giving anything back, we're going to be heading for some big problems," Wimberley said.
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-29-07)
Brown emphatically rejected the idea that First Amendment issues were raised because the inquiries into Churchill started after his comments about 9/11. Brown noted that more than 25 faculty members were involved in formal reviews of a series of research misconduct charges against Churchill, that none of the charges had anything to do with Churchill’s views, and that “each faculty member, without exception, determined that Professor Churchill engaged in deliberate and repeated research misconduct.”
In this context, Brown said it would be wrong to give Churchill a pass because the 9/11 remarks led people to file complaints against him. “The university cannot disregard allegations of serious research misconduct simply because the allegations were made against a professor whose comments have attracted a high degree of public attention,” Brown wrote to the regents. “The prohibition against research misconduct extends to all faculty members, irrespective of their academic disciplines or political views. Were it otherwise, the university could not maintain the integrity of the scholarly enterprise.”
Inside Higher Ed: Ward Churchill and Academic Freedom
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-29-07)
Trivers never got to give his talk. He says that hours before he was scheduled to lecture, he was called by an organizer and told that the appearance was being called off because of statements he had made about and to Alan Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal last week, Trivers quoted from an April letter he had sent Dershowitz. In that letter, Trivers wrote: “Regarding your rationalization of Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians, let me just say that if there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me. Nazis — and Nazi-like apologists such as yourself — need to be confronted directly.”
According to Trivers, Dershowitz used his letter to have him declared “a threat” and blocked from speaking at Harvard.
[HNN Editor: The scientist, whose two sisters are married to Lebanese nationals, says he never intended to threaten Dershowitz physically.]
Name of source: Scotsman
SOURCE: Scotsman (5-30-07)
Archaeologists said that historic treasures could be lost forever unless action is taken now.
The most endangered sites include Viking and Iron Age remains in Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides - where rare dry-stone brochs and Viking houses are threatened by global warming, rising sea levels, storms and erosion.
Name of source: http://www.newswatch50.com (New York State)
SOURCE: http://www.newswatch50.com (New York State) (5-28-07)
Local archaeologist Dr. Timothy Abel says he has uncovered remains of a palisaded breastwork in the village.
Sackets Harbor was a major Navy base and shipbuilding site during the War of 1812. It saw heavy fighting during a brief British invasion in 1813.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (5-29-07)
History tomes crowd best-seller lists. Historical documentaries fill the airwaves. And people pay thousands of dollars to spend whole weekends with noted historians, much the way rock-n-roll or baseball fans attend fantasy camps with their heroes.
"At all levels of American society there is this hunger to understand the past and relate it to the present," historian David Nasaw said at one such event. "The people who are fascinated reach from the top income bracket to ordinary folk."
Nasaw, who won the 2007 American History Book Prize for his biography of Andrew Carnegie, was a star attraction at a weekend fundraiser for the New York Historical Society, which raised more than $1.5 million from patrons who donated at least $5,000.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (5-28-07)
In a sinister borrowing of the now familiar and trusted lexicon of M&S, the publishers insist that "this isn't just a book . . . (it's) an opportunity to become part of that magical day . . . to take a step closer to the woman who is still alive to so many throughout the world . . . (to) join that shy girl as she made her hesitant way down the aisle."
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-28-07)
A wave of threatened demolitions in the Anjou area has sparked fears of a wider phenomenon as mayors struggle to pay for the upkeep of the buildings, a responsibility they have held since secularisation laws passed in 1905.
No exhaustive list of the nation's rural churches exists.
However, of its 15,000 protected rural religious buildings, 2,800 are "in peril'', according to l'Observatoire du Patrimoine religieux, a religious heritage watchdog.
Name of source: Juan Cole at Informed Comment (blog)
SOURCE: Juan Cole at Informed Comment (blog) (5-29-07)
Shaikh Abdul Qadir al-Gilani (d. 1166 A.D.) was a great mystic who founded the vast Qadiriya Sufi order.
An Ottoman mystic, Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak Efendi, later wrote of him,
' "The venerable 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani passed on to the Realm of Divine Beauty in A.H. 561/ 1166 C.E., and his blessed mausoleum in Baghdaad is still a place of pious visitation. He is noted for his extraordinary spiritual experiences and exploits, as well as his memorable sayings and wise teachings. It is rightly said of him that 'he was born in love, grew in perfection, and met his Lord in the perfection of love.' May the All-Glorious Lord bring us in contact with his lofty spiritual influence!" '
The Qadiri Sufi order is very important in Iraq, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan and India, among other places.
The shrine was likely attacked by radical Sunni Salafis, with several objects in mind. First, Salafis hate Sufi shrines (see below). Second, the Salafi Jihadis in Iraq are trying to mobilize all Iraqi Sunnis behind them, and do not want rivals from among the Sufi orders and tribal shaikhs. Third, the Salafi Jihadis want to throw Iraq into ever greater chaos, such that they strike at all national symbols. Fourth, they are probably hoping that at least some Sunni Arabs will blame Shiite militiamen for the attack, or will blame the Shiite government for not preventing it, so that the bombing has the effect of heightening sectarian tensions further. The guerrilla attack on the Shiite Askariya Shrine in Samarra in February, 2006, set off an orgy of sectarian violence, and was the most successful single act of terrorism the guerrillas have ever carried out.
One saving grace is that Sufis are oriented toward symbolic meaning, and physical places are therefore not central to their worship. One famous medieval Sufi, al-Hallaj, famously thought that it was better to visit God in your heart truly than to undertake a perfunctory pilgrimage to Mecca. (The orthodox were outraged.) It is a little unlikely, therefore, that there will be a backlash from this bombing in Nigeria or Senegal or India. For Iraqi Sunnis, likewise, it seems a little unlikely to produce further violence, since the imam himself blamed the radical Salafis (takfiris), themselves Sunni.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Muhammad al-Isawi, the prayer leader and preacher at the mosque attached to the shrine, said, "I send condolences not only to myself but to all Iraqis for what befell this mosque for everyone, for Sunni and Shiite, for Turkmen and Kurd. Who venefits from blowing it up? We must be patient and resigned and deny any opportunity to the enemies, the Takfiri terrorists." [Takfiris are radical Salafis who declare Sufis and other non-Salafis to be non-Muslims and deserving of death.] He added, "They have idled the charitable works in the mosque, which provides food to widows, orphans and the needy; it also contains a library, to which seekers after knowledge resort. It was, truly, a cowardly act."
There are lots of strands of Sunni Islam. Many of them are better thought of as tendencies than as sects in their own right. If we make an analogy to Christianity, so there are scriptural literalists (fundamentalists), and there are mystics seeking union with God, and there is everything in between.
The mystics organized into orders or brotherhoods (tariqa) are called Sufis. (The etymology of 'Sufi' is disputed. Some say it refers to the early mystics' preference for woollen (suf) cloaks. Others say it is derived from the Greek Sophia or wisdom.) The mystics typically get together on a Thursday night (or other occasion) at the mosque and sit in a circle and chant spiritual verses and listen to the teachings of their spiritual master or shaikh (in Persian, pir). Some Sufi meetings, with their chanting and rhythmic dancing, resemble Pentacostal services in Christianity. When the shaikh died, often a shrine grew up around his tomb, which was thought a center of blessings and people would come there to touch it and be cured of infertility and other woes.
Sufism was so successful as an organized movement from about the 1100s that it took over Islam, and there were very few Muslims who were not in some sense Sufis in the period 1200 through about 1850. From the mid-1700s, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab in Arabia began attacking Sufism. The attacks were taken up and refined by the Salafis (revivalists) of the late 19th and early 20th century. It began being argued, under Wahhabi and Salafi influence, that it was wrong to attend at shrines, wrong to seek the intercession of saints, wrong to chant and to dance for God. Modern Wahhabism (mostly a Saudi Arabian phenomenon) and Salafism (much more widespread) have a "Protestant" character to them, emphasizing puritanism and the casting down of all images (iconoclasm) and saints' shrines.
Sufism has rapidly declined in much of the Muslim world. The Sufi orders still have a central place in society and even politics in Senegal. The Sufis of Morocco are not inconsiderable. But they no longer are in the mainstream in Egypt and are minor affairs in Palestine, Syria and Jordan. The Sufis of the Hijaz in western Arabia are said to be having a bit of a revival, but Wahhabism has reduced them to a shadow of their former selves. Aside from Morocco, Iraq may have been the Arab country with the biggest Sufi presence, both among Sunni Arabs and among Kurds (a lot of Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Turkey are Sufis and some are Qadiris).
Some of the Sufi orders, including branches of the Qadiriya, have at one time or another joined the Sunni Arab insurgency (a major guerrilla leader at Falluja was a Qadiri shaikh). Other branches of the Qadiriya have, however, been quietists and avoided politics (the shrine keeper is in that category, another reason that the shrine may have been hit).
There is a whole web site on al-Gilani and his order by an adherent.
Name of source: http://www.shippingtimes.co.uk
SOURCE: http://www.shippingtimes.co.uk (5-29-07)
Glasgow's Evening Times newspaper reported today that the world's oldest clipper, the sv CARRICK, is to be scrapped.
North Ayrshire Council have decided that the ship should be 'deconstructed', despite pleas from Sunderland and Australia as well as voices in Scotland pointing out the historic merits of the Sunderland-built ship.
North Ayrshire Council planning committee took the decision to log the the dismantling of the ship, built in 1864, after years of negotiations with other interested parties to give the ship a new home failed.
Name of source: LiveScience
SOURCE: LiveScience (5-26-07)
The discoloration is most noticeable at the complex’s White Tower, the original square fortress built by William the Conqueror in 1078. “When we question visitors, they say the color is cream,” said study co-author Peter Brimblecombe, an atmospheric chemist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. The results are detailed in this month’s issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
In the next 20 years, Brimblecombe said, the famous tower will turn a more brownish yellow. “You might imagine how angry people are going to get about paying a large sum of money to see a yellow tower that’s supposed to be white,” he said.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-29-07)
James Ford Seale, 71, a former crop duster and sheriff's deputy, faces spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted in a trial that civil rights groups hope will be the first prosecution in a wave of rekindled investigations into unsolved race killings from the era.
Seale and fellow Klansmen are alleged to have picked up the two 19-year-olds - Henry Dee and Charles Moore - as they were hitchhiking in rural southwestern Mississippi.
The Klansmen, who believed the pair were trying to smuggle guns into the state, drove them into the woods where they were questioned and beaten with tree branches.
They were then bound with duct tape and taken by boat on to the river where - still alive - they were thrown overboard, weighted down with chains and an engine block. The bodies were not discovered for two months.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (5-29-07)
He is among former soldiers who gave their views to mark the end of the Army's role in supporting the police in Northern Ireland.
Sir Mike, who served in NI for seven years, was a captain with the parachute regiment on the day.
He said people must wait for the outcome of the Saville Inquiry before drawing any conclusions.
The tribunal investigated the deaths of 14 civilians shot by soldiers during a civil rights march in Londonderry on 30 January 1972.
Name of source: NBC
SOURCE: NBC (5-28-07)
Name of source: http://www.azzaman.com
SOURCE: http://www.azzaman.com (5-26-07)
The Basra Museum was looted shortly after U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. The British troops who occupied Basra did nothing to protect the museum.
The museum’s collection of magnificent and priceless artifacts was stolen or broken and homeless families moved into its premises.
A statement by The Antiquities Department faxed to the newspaper says the museum and its annexes are now occupied by an influential political faction in Basra which paid off the families to persuade them to move.
The statement did not name the political party but said its leaders were demanding huge sums of money before leaving.
Most of the museum’s possessions are still missing and the building itself is in need of repairs and renovation.
The statement said the department has received numerous artifacts that belonged to the Basra Museum. It said it hoped its reopening would persuade those still holding its relicts to return them.
The statement said it has received 12 tablets out of hundreds which used to be housed in the museum.
The retrieved collection also includes 72 pottery pieces, 177 coins as well as 33 artifacts representing different stages of Mesopotamian history.
[Chuck Jones, who runs the Iraq Crisis list, commenting on thbis article, says: "the Basra museum had
deposited all its collections in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, like most of the other museums from other Iraqi cities, just before
the war of 2003, and it did not lose its collections after 2003. It lost its whole collection after the war in 1991."]
Name of source: Advertiser (Australia)
SOURCE: Advertiser (Australia) (5-25-07)
"We thought that it would change for the better,'' Brown says without rancour when asked about the 40th anniversary of a landmark vote that recognised Aborigines as full Australian citizens for the first time.
He is speaking from one of the impoverished ghettos surrounding Alice Springs where most of the town's Aboriginal population lives.
Name of source: http://www.taipeitimes.com
SOURCE: http://www.taipeitimes.com (5-27-07)
This book follows in the wake of Gavin Menzies' 1421 [reviewed in Taipei Times Jan. 19, 2003]. Whereas Menzies, together with many other claims, speculated that a Chinese fleet reached North America in that year, Paul Chiasson points to an actual Canadian site that, he believes, contains the remains of a Chinese settlement.
Chiasson has much in common with Menzies. Both come to their sensational subject-matter via personal enthusiasm triggered by a chance incident, in Chiasson's case taking a hike up a small mountain. Neither is a professional historian — Menzies is a retired sea-captain and Chiasson a Toronto architect — and both books are marked by personal anecdote and descriptions of the circumstances in which they came across the documents, maps and sites they are now promoting....
You only have to look up this book on Google to find a mass of derisory comment. One blogger, Rob Ferguson, claims that the aerial photo of Cape Dauphin showing some kind of road, that Chiasson dates 1929, was actually taken in 1953 and exhibits firebreaks. Other photos, the same writer insists, show roads developed in connection with a proposed quarry site, plans for which were later abandoned.
More evidence is presented in this book than it's possible to detail here. Prominent are arguments about the conceivable influence of Chinese on the Native American Mi'kmaq language, and about characteristic Chinese building techniques and habits that make, in the author's eyes, the remains at Cape Dauphin unlike anything that might have been constructed by Vikings, Portuguese, and so on.
Name of source: Arizona Republic
SOURCE: Arizona Republic (5-25-07)
When fifth-graders open their history book, History Alive! America's Past, this fall they may not find some notable events, or noteworthy people, you'd expect to be there.
"Give me liberty or give me death"?
Not there, and neither is Patrick Henry, the fiery Virginian credited with making the famous declaration.
Founding father Alexander Hamilton and The Trail of Tears also fail to make an appearance.
And as for Harriet Beecher Stowe, whom Civil War President Abraham Lincoln described as "the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war," she's missing in action, too.