Breaking NewsFollow Breaking News updates on RSS and Twitter
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: United Press International
SOURCE: United Press International (6-19-07)
The playing cards show pictures of Iraq and Afghanistan's cultural and archaeological sites, along with tips and entreaties to American troops on protecting the sites. The five of clubs, for instance, suggests they drive around rather than over archeological sites; the two of hearts shows the ancient ruins of Samara with the inscription: "99 percent of mankind's history can only be understood through archaeology."
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (6-21-07)
In an address to a group of historians who have long pressed for greater disclosure of C.I.A. archives, General Hayden described the documents, known as the “family jewels,” as “a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency.” He also directed the release of 11,000 pages of cold-war documents on the Soviet Union and China, which were handed out on compact discs at the meeting, in Chantilly, Va.
In a defense of openness unusual in an administration that has vigorously defended government secrecy, General Hayden said that when government withholds information, myth and misinformation often “fill the vacuum like a gas.” He noted a European Parliament report of 1,245 secret C.I.A. flights over Europe, a number interpreted in some news articles as the number of cases of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects were flown to prison in other countries.
In fact, General Hayden said, the agency has detained fewer than 100 people in its secret overseas detention program since the 2001 terrorist attacks. He said the questioning of those detainees, which in some cases has involved harsh physical treatment, had produced valuable information, contributing to more than 8,000 intelligence reports...
SOURCE: NYT (6-20-07)
SOURCE: NYT (6-20-07)
Salary and other compensation for the executive, Lawrence M. Small, whose formal title was Smithsonian secretary, soared from $536,000 in 2000 to $915,000 in 2006, the report said. But ultimately, it added, the institution became more dependent on taxpayer funds and obtained less of its budget from private donations during his tenure.
Mr. Small resigned in March amid growing controversy over his lavish expense-account spending.
From 2000 to 2006, the report said, he also took 70 weeks of vacation — nearly 10 weeks a year — and spent 64 business days serving on corporate boards that paid him a total of $5.7 million.
Rather than rein him in, the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents stood by passively, the document said, and allowed him to spend the institution’s money profusely on personal expenses and treat the board as irrelevant to decision-making.
“It appears that the board reported to him rather than the secretary reporting to the board,” the report said. “The Committee was told by a regent that Mr. Small ‘did not listen to the opinions of the regents’ and “did not seek input from the regents.’ ”
The report was issued after a three-month investigation by the independent committee, which was appointed by the Smithsonian after concerns were raised about Mr. Small’s expenditures on personal items...
SOURCE: NYT (6-19-07)
Digging in an Inca cemetery in the suburbs of Lima, they came on well-preserved remains of an individual with holes less than an inch in diameter in the back and front of the skull. Forensic scientists in Connecticut said the position of the round holes and some minuscule iron particles showed that the person most likely was shot and killed by a Spanish musket ball.
Ceramics and other artifacts in the 72 examined graves established the approximate time of the burials, archaeologists said, and this indicated that these were casualties of combat between Inca warriors and Spanish invaders, who seized the Andean empire in 1532. Spanish chronicles describe a pitched battle, a last stand of the Incas that was fought in the vicinity in 1536.
Conquistadors were equipped with some of the first effective firearms, which had been developed recently in Europe, military historians say.
The National Geographic Society announced yesterday the discovery of the gunshot victim by the independent Peruvian archaeologists Guillermo Cock and Elena Goycochea, who have conducted research at the Puruchuco cemetery for years. A NOVA-National Geographic television program on the research is scheduled for next Tuesday...
SOURCE: NYT (6-15-07)
The data show that Americans, who in the words of a recent paper by the economic historian John Komlos and Benjamin Lauderdale in Social Science Quarterly, were ''tallest in the world between colonial times and the middle of the 20th century,'' have now ''become shorter (and fatter) than Western and Northern Europeans. In fact, the U.S. population is currently at the bottom end of the height distribution in advanced industrial countries.''
This is not a trivial matter. As the paper says, ''height is indicative of how well the human organism thrives in its socioeconomic environment.'' There's a whole discipline of ''anthropometric history'' that uses evidence on heights to assess changes in social conditions.
For example, nothing demonstrates the harsh class distinctions of Britain in the age of Dickens better than the 9-inch height gap between 15-year-old students at Sandhurst, the elite military academy, and their counterparts at the working-class Marine School. The dismal working and living conditions of urban Americans during the Gilded Age were reflected in a 1-1/2 inch decline in the average height of men born in 1890, compared with those born in 1830. Americans born after 1920 were the first industrial generation to regain preindustrial stature.
So what is America's modern height lag telling us?
There is normally a strong association between per capita income and a country's average height. By that standard, Americans should be taller than Europeans: U.S. per capita G.D.P. is higher than that of any other major economy. But since the middle of the 20th century, something has caused Americans to grow richer without growing significantly taller...
Name of source: CBS News Philadelphia
SOURCE: CBS News Philadelphia (6-21-07)
“We could never have expected to find a find like this. Things that have such cultural value,” said Ed Lawler of the Independence Mall Association. A foundation fragment from the first president’s office can now be seen protruding from the ground.
“We think that may be the corner where the north wall of the office met the west wall of the office,” said Lawler.
The uncovered office is where Washington met with his Cabinet, and generals discussed military strategy.
Name of source: Birmingham News
SOURCE: Birmingham News (6-21-07)
The artifacts were found in a dig at what archaeologists are convinced is a former slave quarters at the park. Bergstresser, resident archaeologist and director of Tannehill's Iron and Steel Museum, said the site is one of 15 in two parallel rows with a common area between them. Each appears to be represented by a collapsed hearth and chimney and piles of stones that were likely four corner pillars. The dig is on a site about 36 feet by 39 feet.
Name of source: Al-Ahram Weekly
SOURCE: Al-Ahram Weekly (6-21-07)
While removing the debris out of a rock-cut shaft found inside the chamber of Uky's tomb, the archaeologists came across a huge limestone block indicating that a major find was imminent, in line with the ancient Egyptian custom of blocking their burial chambers with such a barrier. Through a hole in the block, they could see what they described as a beautifully-carved wooden statue of a man with large, staring eyes. After only an hour the block had been removed, and the team discovered a small but intact chamber richly stuffed with well-preserved wooden objects and containing a decorated sarcophagus.
"Even though the burial took place more than 4,000 years ago, the colours on the painted objects are very fresh, and there was even no dust covering them," mission director Harco Williams said.
The tomb lies on the southern slope of the hill of Deir Al-Barsha, near the Upper Egyptian town of Minya. Here the Leuven team members are nearing the completion of the excavations they began two years ago at Uky's tomb. After clearing the debris, they are restoring and documenting the objects they have found...
Name of source: Charleston Post and Courier
SOURCE: Charleston Post and Courier (6-21-07)
But Fort Johnson, from which those shots were fired, is another story. Today, most of that property is owned by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which isn't in the history business. If visitors know where to look, they can find a small stone marker placed in 1961 to explain that the historic mortar shot was fired nearby. There also are two or three modest structures that reflect the fort's late 18th century and early 19th century eras. Some earthworks remain along a nature trail.
That's about it, and that's too bad.
Part of the reason for this lack of historical interpretation is that there's not much left to see. Fort Sumter historian Rick Hatcher noted that the site where the actual first shot came from has eroded away into the water about 50 to 75 yards from the shore.
Also, the fort was an earthen tabby installation; it never was built of brick or stone like Sumter and Castle Pinckney.
Not far from the stone marker at Fort Johnson is a brick powder magazine that survives from the 1820s and two circular tabby structures, remnants of two late 18th century cisterns. "These are the oldest physical remnants you can see of the form Fort Johnson had," Hatcher said.
After the war, the fort served as a quarantine station run by the city and state.
The federal government took over the operation in 1906, and the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina took it over in the 1950s. Most of the property was transferred to DNR in 1970...
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (6-21-07)
The Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, best known for its sober rows of white grave markers honoring fallen U.S. troops in World War II, has at last gotten a visitor's center.
Nearly a million visitors trek every year to the cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, one of the two landing points where U.S. troops stormed ashore on D-Day — June 6, 1944 — and helped the Allies rid the menace of Nazi Germany over Europe.
Six years in the making, the new center was inaugurated recently by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the 63rd anniversary of the start of "Operation Overlord" that helped end the war.
"We build memorials like this to remind us of the past. So that successive generations will know the enormous cost of freedom," Gates said at the ceremony.
Designers faced a delicate task balancing the desire to educate while not overshadowing sacrifices of nearly 10,000 Americans buried nearby.
The US$30 million (€22.4 million) visitor center is purposely understated, with most of the 10,000-square-feet (929-square- meters) of display space underground, though it is now the entryway for tourists onto the cemetery's manicured lawn...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (6-20-07)
The change in plans was acceptable. Although he had not been one of those Americans who chanted "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" during war protests in the turbulent 1960s - still less "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" - the visitor had opposed the war and respected Ho's impulses more than he did Lyndon Johnson's. So, instead of heading for 28 Dien Bien Phu street and the Military History Museum, his original goal, the visitor stayed at the mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square.
It is a huge, gray temple, air conditioned against the fierce heat, and Ho's body is under glass and guarded by four soldiers in white uniforms. He died in 1969 and is said to have wanted not a mausoleum but cremation and burial of his ashes at three sites around Vietnam, north, central and south.
In the Presidential Palace Area near the mausoleum are more vestiges, as a tourist pamphlet put it, of Ho. The sparse dining room in the House of 1954, where he lived and worked from that year until 1958, has a table set for one. The workroom has portraits of Marx and Lenin, a small bust of Lenin, a collection of books and a clear desk.
The House on Stilts, where Ho lived and worked from 1958 until 1969, is also uncluttered. A metal air raid helmet sits behind three telephones, none of them red. A fish pond, orchards and a pergola complete the site except for the imposing Presidential Palace, formerly the seat of France's governor of Indochina. Acclaimed in the same pamphlet for his "simplicity, modesty, gentleness and dedication for the nation and the people," Ho seems never to have used the palace...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (6-19-07)
Nariaki Nakayama, head of the group created to study World War II historical issues and education, said documents from the Japanese government's archives indicated some 20,000 people were killed about one-tenth of the more commonly cited figure of from 150,000-200,000 in the 1937 attack. China says as many as 300,000 people were killed.
"We conclude that the death toll in the Nanking advance was nothing more or less than the death toll that would be expected in a normal battle," Nakayama told a news conference.
He said the study, which was initiated in part because this year marks the 70th anniversary of the slaughter, determined was no violation of international law.
"We have no intention to fan the problem over the interpretation of wartime history between the two countries, but we want to achieve justice," he said. "We cannot ignore propaganda trying to portray the Japanese as brutal people, so we decided to examine primary documents to restore the honor of the Japanese people."
Nakayama distributed to the news conference a document submitted in 1938 by China's Nationalist government to the League of Nations, the forerunner to the United Nations, calling for Japan to be denounced for killing 20,000 people in the attack...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (6-18-07)
After the Holocaust, Germany performed the necessary long division in paying token reparations to survivors. More recently, Swiss banks and European insurance companies have concealed bank account and policy numbers belonging to dead Jews. Only with the Holocaust have dehumanization and death been as much a moral mystery as a tragic game of arithmetic. And the numbers continue, although now largely in reverse.
After 60 years, Holocaust survivors are inching toward extinction. According to Ira Sheskin, director of the Jewish Demography Project at the University of Miami, fewer than 900,000 remain, residing primarily in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union. Most are in their 80s and 90s. Unless immediate measures are taken, many of those who survived the Nazi evil will soon die without a proper measure of dignity.
According to Sheskin's data, more than 87,000 American Holocaust survivors - roughly half the American total - qualify as poor, meaning they have annual incomes below $15,000. The United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization of the American Jewish Federations, determined that 25 percent of the American survivors live at or below the official federal poverty line. (The poverty figure in New York City is even higher.) Many are without sufficient food, shelter, heat, health care, medicine, dentures, eyeglasses, even hearing aids.
Conditions worldwide are similar. It's a sad twist that the teenagers who mastered the art of survival so long ago have been forced, in their old age, to call on their survival instincts once again.
It doesn't have to be this way. Although the various global financial settlements represent only a small fraction of the Jewish property that was plundered during the Holocaust, they still amount to billions of dollars.
Which raises questions: Why aren't the funds being used to care for Holocaust survivors in whose name and for whose benefit these restitution initiatives were undertaken? Why weren't survivors permitted to speak for themselves in the very negotiations that led to the recovery and distribution of their stolen assets?...
Name of source: Montreal Gazette
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette (6-21-07)
An eclectic assemblage of artifacts of "exceptional universal value," the UN registry has also added the 1939 U.S. film classic The Wizard of Oz and the court transcripts of Nelson Mandela's 1963 trial to a collection billed as a kind of virtual time capsule for civilization.
Other items previously listed include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the archives of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Now in its 10th year, the Memory of the World project provides international recognition and UNESCO funding for the conservation and digitizing of globally significant specimens of documentary heritage.
Archival collections from several countries have been honoured, but less conventional artifacts - such as the 1906 Australian movie The Story of the Kelly Gang, the world's first feature-length film - have also been listed.
Canada's first successful nominees represent not only the centuries-old holdings of two key institutions from Canada's early history, but also the competing interests of Britain and France in colonizing North America.
The Hudson's Bay Company, established in 1670, built a network of trading posts that penetrated Canada's vast interior and set the stage for British control of much of North America.
The company's massive documentary collection - which includes business records, medical journals, ships' logs, maps, paintings, photographs, scientific data, census records and dictionaries of native languages - was donated to the Manitoba government in 1993 and is now held by its provincial archives.
"For two centuries, the HBC operated not just a business enterprise, but also a government," said the archives' UNESCO nomination. "These records illuminate important aspects of Canadian social and cultural history. Their continuity is unparalleled, allowing historians and researchers to check and compare positions and points of view from all ends of the corporate perspective of one company." Among the archives are the journals, letters, maps and drawings of key figures in the company's - and the country's - early history, including explorers Samuel Hearne and David Thompson.
One of the most significant artifacts in the collection is an 1801 map by the Blackfoot chief Ac-ko-mok-ki showing the territories of all tribes living in the Rocky Mountains region of Canada.
The Quebec Seminary Collection, held at the main provincial museum in Quebec City, documents nearly 200 years of religious education and associated activities in New France.
Letters between officials in Canada and France - including French kings - are part of the seminary's vast archive.
Name of source: Telegraph
SOURCE: Telegraph (6-21-07)
A previously unseen copy of a bank statement suggests that is what he did. The document shows Lord Nelson wanted to maintain his wife in reasonable style, possibly to keep her quiet.
The two-page statement sent by the bankers Messers Marsh and Creed in the last quarter of 1802, shows that on Nov 3 he paid his estranged wife, Frances (Fanny), an annuity of £400, the equivalent of almost £30,000 today.
Lord Nelson left Frances in 1801 and set up with Emma Hamilton. His behaviour meant that he was shunned by high society.
SOURCE: Telegraph (6-20-07)
The cup - said to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper - is the focus of countless legends and has been sought for centuries.
Alfredo Barbagallo, an Italian archaeologist, claims that it is buried in a chapel-like room underneath the Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, one of the seven churches which Christian pilgrims used to visit when they came to Rome.
Mr Barbagallo based his claim on two years spent studying mediaeval iconography inside the basilica and a description of a particular chamber, in a guide to the catacombs written in 1938 by a Capuchin friar named Giuseppe Da Bra.
The friar describes a room of about 20 square metres with a vaulted roof ceiling. "In the corner of a wall-seat there can be seen a terracotta funnel whose lower part opens out over the face of a skeleton," he wrote.
Da Bra then explains that giving liquid refreshment (refrigerium) to the dead was part of ancient funeral rites.
According to Mr Barbagallo, who heads an association called Arte e Mistero [Art and Mystery], this funnel is the Grail...
Name of source: CBS3 Philadelphia
SOURCE: CBS3 Philadelphia (6-20-07)
The uncovered office is where Washington met with his Cabinet, and generals discussed military strategy.
“Now we have the artifact of the office of the president. We have the underground passage that was used by the servants, including he enslaved. We have the bow window that Washington adds that later is echoed in the Oval Office,” said Lawler.
The house that was destroyed in 1832 has answered many questions for city historians.
“The wonderful thing about the archeology is that is validates both the presidents and the enslaved,” said Lawler.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (6-20-07)
Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu were senior members of an armed faction that toppled the government in 1997.
They were found guilty of 11 of the 14 charges, but acquitted of alleged sexual slavery and other inhuman acts. The men will be sentenced on 16 July.
The judges read out their verdicts before a packed courtroom. The three men face lengthy prison terms.
During the conflict tens of thousands were killed as the rebel forces raped and mutilated defenceless innocent civilians.
The US-based Human Rights Watch hailed the verdict as "the first time that an international court has issued a verdict on child recruitment"...
Iran's foreign ministry summoned the UK ambassador in Tehran and said the knighthood was a "provocative act".
Pakistan voiced similar protests, telling the UK envoy in Islamabad the honour showed the British government's "utter lack of sensitivity".
Britain denied that the award was intended to insult Islam.
Castle archaeologist Graham Keevill called it "a very important discovery". He said: "We don't have many Roman city walls surviving in England. To get an unexpected one like this is fantastic. It is also a perfect example."
Shouts of "Murderer!" greeted Erich Priebke, 93, as he arrived for his first day on the back of a scooter.
A court ruled last week that Priebke, who is serving a sentence for multiple murders, could work on day release.
Priebke was jailed for life in 1998 for his role in the massacre of 335 Italians in 1944.
He had been discovered working as a schoolteacher in Argentina, and was extradited to stand trial.
In 1999, he was given leave to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest in his lawyer's home, on the grounds of his ill health.
But a military court ruled last week that he could go to work at his lawyer's office "every day, freely" and also to "go out to satisfy, at nearby places and for the time strictly necessary, the indispensable necessities of life" - interpreted as going out for lunch.
He will work as a translator, and will also spend time on his biography, which he began during his brief spell in jail...
Name of source: Sci-Tech Today
SOURCE: Sci-Tech Today (6-20-07)
A jet chartered by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration landed in the United States recently with hundreds of plastic containers brimming with coins raised from the ocean floor, Odyssey co-chairman Greg Stemm said. The more than 500,000 pieces are expected to fetch an average of $1,000 each from collectors and investors.
"For this colonial era, I think (the find) is unprecedented," said rare coin expert Nick Bruyer, who examined a batch of coins from the wreck. "I don't know of anything equal or comparable to it."
Citing security concerns, the company declined to release any details about the ship or the wreck site Friday. Stemm said a formal announcement will come later, but court records indicate the coins might come from a 400-year-old ship found off England...
Name of source: Secrecy News
SOURCE: Secrecy News (6-20-07)
The photographic and motion imagery produced by military photographers "enhances the commander's situational awareness and establishes a historical operations record."
If and when such imagery is eventually released, it has the potential to add a new dimension to public understanding of military operations and to supplement external oversight.
"COMCAM forces perform unique and highly specialized missions ... supporting the full range of military operations in all operational environments. COMCAM personnel maintain qualifications enabling them to operate with airborne forces, special operations forces, and military divers."
"In an increasingly media-driven world and global information environment, the ability to exploit VIDOC [visual information documentation] has enabled the warfighter to gain a battlespace advantage."
Name of source: IHT
SOURCE: IHT (6-19-07)
Yacef's ultimately successful fight against colonial France was immortalized in the 1965 film "The Battle of Algiers." He played a character based on himself in the movie, which has become a celluloid primer for revolutionaries.
The mystique attached to terrorism across the Middle East and the difficulty of combating its broader appeal have their roots in Algeria, whose war for independence is a model for other Arab movements, from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.
Since 1992, Algerian Islamist insurgents have killed tens of thousands of their fellow citizens. Yacef says he is unrepentant about his role in popularizing the tactic of deliberately targeting civilians, even though the insurgents are using it in his own country for aims he doesn't endorse.
"Our methods and theirs are both cruel, but you must distinguish between an objective - ours - which was liberation, and theirs, which is just destruction," Yacef said in an interview at his home near Algiers.
Name of source: News Max
SOURCE: News Max (6-20-07)
The new name in Japanese looks and means the same as Iwo Jima - or Sulfur Island - but sounds different, the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute said.
The institute announced the name change Monday after discussing the issue with Japan's coast guard. An official map with the new name will be released Sept. 1.
Iwo Jima was the site of the World War II battle immortalized by the famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on the islet's Mount Suribachi.
Before the war, however, the volcanic island was known as Iwo To by the 1,000 or so civilians who lived there.
They were evacuated in 1944 as U.S. forces advanced across the Pacific. Some Japanese navy officers who moved in to fortify the island mistakenly called it Iwo Jima, and the name stuck. After the war, civilians weren't allowed to return and the island was put to exclusive military use by both the U.S. and Japan, cementing its identity.
Never satisfied that the name Iwo Jima took root, locals took action in March after the release of Eastwood's two films "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "Flags of Our Fathers" spotlighted the misnomer....
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (6-20-07)
El Moudjahid daily said local tour guide Hadj Brahim found about 40 images near the town of Bechar, about 800 km (500 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers.
Name of source: Discovery Channel
SOURCE: Discovery Channel (6-20-07)
According to archaeologist Penelope Allison of the University of Leicester, the majority of the population consumed food "on the run."
Allison excavated an entire neighborhood block in Pompeii, a city frozen in time after the eruption of volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Historians often extend findings from Pompeii to other parts of Italy, particularly Rome, given the city's proximity to the Roman Empire's center.
"In many parts of the western world today, a popular belief exists that family members should sit down and dine together and, if they don't, this may represent a breakdown of the family structure, but that idea did not originate in ancient Rome," she told Discovery News.
Her claims are based both on what she did not find during the excavation, and what she did.
Allison noticed an unusual lack of tableware and formal dining or kitchen areas within the Pompeii homes. Instead she found isolated plates here and there, such as in sleeping quarters...
Name of source: Live Science
On Thursday, Ancestry.com unveils more than 90 million U.S. war records from the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 through the Vietnam War's end in 1975. The site also has the names of 3.5 million U.S. soldiers killed in action, including 2,000 who died in Iraq
"The history of our families is intertwined with the history of our country," Tim Sullivan, chief executive of Ancestry.com, said in a telephone interview. "Almost every family has a family member or a loved one that has served their country in the military."
The records, which can be accessed free until the anniversary of D-Day on June 6, came from the National Archives and Records Administration and include 37 million images, draft registration cards from both world wars, military yearbooks, prisoner-of-war records from four wars, unit rosters from the Marine Corps from 1893 through 1958, and Civil War pension records, among others.
The popularity of genealogy in the U.S. has increased steadily alongside the Internet's growth. Specialized search engines on sites like Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com and FamilySearch.com, along with general search portals like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc., have helped fuel interest...
Images captured from space pinpoint telltale signs of previous habitation in the swatch of land 200 miles south of Cairo, which digging recently confirmed as an ancient settlement dating from about 400 A.D.
The find is part of a larger project aiming to map as much of ancient Egypt's archaeological sites, or "tells," as possible before they are destroyed or covered by modern development.
"It is the biggest site discovered so far," said project leader Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Based on the coins and pottery we found, it appears to be a massive regional center that traded with Greece, Turkey and Libya."
Another large city dating to 600 B.C. and a monastery from 400 A.D. are some of the four hundred or so sites that Parcak has located during her work with the satellites. The oldest dates back over 5,000 years.
Egypt contains a wealth of already identified archaeological tells like these, but even they represent only about 0.01 percent of what is out there still uncovered, Parcak said.
Investigating a collection of graves from the Upper Paleolithic (about 26,000 to 8,000 BC), archaeologists found several that contained pairs or even groups of people with rich burial offerings and decoration. Many of the remains were young or had deformities, such as dwarfism.
The diversity of the individuals buried together and the special treatment they received could be a sign of ritual killing, said Vincenzo Formicola of the University of Pisa, Italy.
"These findings point to the possibility that human sacrifices were part of the ritual activity of these populations," Formicola wrote in a recent edition of the journal Current Anthropology.
Name of source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
SOURCE: Richmond Times-Dispatch (6-19-07)
The museum finished last fiscal year with an operating loss of $389,000, forcing cutbacks. Doors were closed on Wednesdays, the magazine was cut from four issues to three, and the annual journal was axed.
But thanks to an emergency fund drive that raised about $1 million, the museum has reopened on Wednesdays, brought back the journal and increased publication of its magazine to four times a year.
Name of source: Agence France Presse
SOURCE: Agence France Presse (6-19-07)
Japan voiced regret Tuesday as the US Congress moved forward with a resolution demanding an unambiguous apology from Tokyo for forcing Asian women into sexual slavery before and during World War II.
"It is regrettable," Foreign Minister Taro Aso told reporters as a US congressional committee set a debate on the resolution about so-called "comfort women" for next week.
The session will allow lawmakers the chance to debate, amend and possibly vote to send the resolution to the full House.
Nariaki Nakayama, a conservative lawmaker who has led a drive to tone down Japan's past apology to former comfort women, lashed out at the US Congress.
"I don't think the US House would do something so senseless," Nakayama told reporters."It wouldn't show common sense to adopt a cooked-up bill, as there are no facts" that back US lawmakers' assertions, he said."We, the Japanese lower house, wouldn't ask for an apology from the US government for the slavery system, saying they brought black people from Africa, enslaved them and forced them to work and did such cruel things." Japan has lobbied hard against the bill, seen as more likely to pass since the Democrats took power of Congress from US President George W. Bush's Republicans in January. Historians say up to 200,000 young women from Korea, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan were forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese army brothels. The bill says the"government of Japan should formally acknowledge, apologise and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as 'comfort women'." Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sparked controversy in March by saying there was no evidence the imperial army directly coerced thousands of women into brothels across Asia. Abe has since stressed he stands by Japan's landmark 1993 apology to the women and expressed his sympathy for the women during a US visit in late April. But critics say he has not taken back his initial remarks. Last week, 44 Japanese lawmakers, some close to Abe, took out a full-page advertisement in The Washington Post denying Japan's military forced the women into sexual slavery. Aso, the foreign minister, said the Japanese government's stance had been" consistent" on the issue. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, chief cabinet secretary and the government's top spokesman, withheld comment on the US move.
Name of source: Washington Post
SOURCE: Washington Post (6-19-07)
Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.
For the first time, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office -- Congress's investigative arm -- tried to ascertain whether the administration has made good on such declarations of presidential power. In appropriations acts for fiscal 2006, GAO investigators found 160 separate provisions that Bush had objected to in signing statements. They then chose 19 to follow.
Of those 19 provisions, six -- nearly a third -- were not carried out according to law. Ten were executed by the executive branch. On three others, conditions did not require an executive branch response.
The instances of noncompliance were not as dramatic as some of the signing statements that have caused the most stir, such as Bush's suggestion that he was not bound by a ban on torture in U.S. military detention facilities. But congressional aides said they were significant...
SOURCE: Washington Post (6-18-07)
"Currently there exists no convincing rationale for maintaining the large number of existing Cold War nuclear weapons, much less producing additional warheads," the House Appropriations Committee said in its report, released last week, on the fiscal 2008 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The full House is expected to vote on the measure this week.
The Bush administration had sought $88 million for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program next year so that cost and engineering studies could be completed and a decision could be reached on congressional approval to build the first RRW model, with the first new warheads ready by 2012.
The House already passed the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, which reduced RRW funding and called for development of a new nuclear weapons strategy before steps are taken to produce new warheads...
SOURCE: Washington Post (6-17-07)
Underground, though, the problems may be huge: Slowly, almost imperceptibly, parts of the complex seem to be sinking into the mud.
It's probably not endangering the majestic 32,000-ton domed structure itself, although it's being monitored for movement.
The big problem seems to be a section of the sea wall that is breaking from the memorial's plaza and settling into the Tidal Basin. The "ring road" along the memorial's circumference also seems to be shifting, officials say.
Such movement is an alarming -- and chronic -- problem at the Jefferson Memorial, which was built in the late 1930s and early 1940s atop pilings and caissons sunk into an artificial mud flat that is about 100 feet deep. Engineers have been struggling for decades to keep everything firmed up.
The National Park Service, which oversees the 18-acre memorial site, is trying to see how bad the movement is this time and is wondering what it will take to fix it.
The current problems, at one of the most photogenic monuments in the country, were noticed early last year, said Stephen Lorenzetti, acting superintendent of the National Mall & Memorial Parks.
Since then, the western section of the sea wall, which separates the memorial complex from the Tidal Basin, has dropped in places about six inches below the plaza, which it adjoins...
SOURCE: Washington Post (6-17-07)
The 42 former Chinese laborers had sought $6.89 million in damages from the Japanese government and 10 companies they worked for, including major contractors and mining operators. The lawsuit was originally filed in 1997, and only half the laborers are still alive.
Toru Takahashi, a Japanese lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the court issued "a decision to reject the appeal" on Friday, but had no other details.
The court was closed Saturday.
The case was dismissed in June last year by the Tokyo High Court, which ruled that the 42 plaintiffs could not seek compensation because a 20-year statute of limitations had expired.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court, also citing the statute of limitations, rejected appeals by six Chinese people demanding $905,000 in compensation for being forced into slave labor at nickel mines in Kyoto in western Japan during World War II.
In that case, the court said the current government was not responsible for the wrongdoing of leaders who followed the wartime constitution. Japan enacted a pacifist constitution after its WWII defeat.
In April, the Supreme Court ruled that Chinese citizens lost their right to seek redress from Japan following the 1972 signing of a Joint Communique restoring bilateral ties between the countries. In the communique, Beijing abandoned its right to claim war reparations from Japan...
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (6-19-07)
Kush, which was called Nubia by the Greeks, was the first urban civilization in sub-Saharan Africa. The discovery of the gold center and a related graveyard is providing new information about the relationship between rulers in the capital city, Kerma, and its peripheral subjects, said archeologist Geoff Emberling of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, who is announcing the find today.
Believed to have flourished from about 2400 BC until the 2nd century AD, Kush "is gradually coming out of the shadow of Egypt," said archeologist Derek A. Welsby of the British Museum, who was not involved in the excavation.
"We didn't know that Kush extended into the 4th Cataract zone" of the Nile, Welsby said, referring to the region where Emberling excavated
Much new information is emerging about Kush because of the salvage archeology being conducted ahead of next year's opening of the Merowe Dam, also known as Hamdab, which will flood thousands of archeological sites...
Name of source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
SOURCE: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (6-19-07)
All three items are part of an immense private collection put together by a Lincoln fan over 35 years. Now the collection is about to go public after being purchased for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The collection contains hundreds of letters and documents, but its strength is the array of personal, everyday items related to the 16th president, his wife and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
The presidential library's executive director, Rick Beard, said it should help remind visitors that Lincoln was a real person with real problems who still managed to do great things.
"I think it's very important to understand that there are indeed great men, but that these great men are human, that they have a complexity to them, that they're not marble figures," Beard said.
The hat's brim shows two finger-sized spots where Lincoln continually touched it to take the hat off. Its band is stretched from his habit of stuffing legal papers inside to carry around with him.
Lincoln hated wearing gloves, Beard said, yet he always carried them. This particular pair appears to have been dropped on a red dirt road, but the stains are blood from Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865.
And the rhyme, neatly written in a childhood "sum" book for practicing math, shows a 15-year-old smart-aleck: "Abraham Lincoln is my name/ and with my pen I wrote the same/ I wrote in both haste and speed/ and left it here for fools to read."...
Name of source: Toronto Star
SOURCE: Toronto Star (6-19-07)
The memorial - a stone monument by architect Jonathan Kearns, four life-sized bronze figures by Rowan Gillespie depicting the Irish in all their misery, a wall carved with the names of 600 identified deceased - promises to be both stark and stirring. There is, after all, little more primal than hunger and thirst.
Name of source: Diverse
SOURCE: Diverse (6-18-07)
Recently Lefkowitz's publisher, New Republic Books, sponsored a debate between her and a leading Afrocentrist, Martin Bernal, author of "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Culture."
Washington -- The crowd began arriving early, nearly an hour before Martin Bernal and Mary Lefkowitz were to take the stage at George Washington University. They came in all colors, ages, backgrounds. Some wore kente and sported dreadlocks, while others came buttoned-down double-breasted, Eddie Bauered, lugging backpacks or brief cases. One quartet spoke German.
But all were drawn by a common interest, one that for many was about more than whether Black Egypt inspired the ancient Greeks. It was about much more, argued Bernal, the grizzled-bearded government scholar at Cornell University and author of "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization." It was about finally correcting past wrongs.
At the top of the debate, moderator and GW professor Linda Solomon told the audience, "The questions of history happen in many layers. How do we know? How can we be sure we know?"
"This is a political debate in one form or another because we are here," admitted New Republic editor James Woods, whose publication co-sponsored the event. "But this is also an academic debate."
It also was yet another debate on Black contributions to history devoid of a Black scholarly point of view...
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (6-18-07)
Harlyn Geronimo, of Mescalero, N.M., wants to prove the skull and bones that were purported spirited from the Indian leader's burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., to a stone tomb that serves as the club's headquarters are in fact those of his great-grandfather.
If so, he wants to bury them near Geronimo's birthplace in southern New Mexico's Gila Wilderness...
Name of source: Tahlequah Daily Press
SOURCE: Tahlequah Daily Press (6-18-07)
Candidates included incumbent Principal Chief Chad Smith and Stacy Leeds, and incumbent Deputy Chief Joe Grayson Jr. and Raymond Vann. The event, sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix, was held at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center, with over 300 people in attendance...
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (6-18-07)
But for the country's school children, the Khmer Rouge remain off the curriculum, leaving students virtually clueless about how the now-defunct communist group became a killing machine in late 1970s.
Now that knowledge gap may at least be partially filled through the newly released "A History of Democratic Kampuchea," a textbook about the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule by Khamboly Dy, a Cambodian genocide researcher.
It's a start in Cambodia's painful journey to seek healing, said Khamboly Dy, a 26-year-old staffer at the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group collecting evidence of the Khmer Rouge atrocities.
"Nothing can compensate for the Cambodian people's sufferings during the Khmer Rouge," he said, adding that learning about the regime's history "is the best compensation for them."
The book comes at the right time, as Cambodia may finally put surviving Khmer Rouge leaders before an internationally-backed tribunal for genocide and crimes against humanity, Khamboly Dy said...
Name of source: Scotsman
SOURCE: Scotsman (6-18-07)
In a radio programme to be aired today, Scots historian Fiona Watson and literary expert Molly Rourke claim the story of Macbeth was penned by a Scottish monk on St Serf's Island in the middle of Loch Leven 400 years before William Shakespeare even drew breath.
In Macbeth the Highland King to be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, Watson says Macbeth and his wife, Gruoch, were in fact "respected, God-fearing folk".
According to Watson, the "almost entirely fantastical view" of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth drawn by William Shakespeare is lifted, almost word for word in places, from a collection of folklore recorded by St Serf's monk, Andrew de Wyntoun.
The real king Macbeth once made an endowment of land to the monks of St Serf, together with privileged access to the port of Inverkeithing. But in an act of double-cross befitting the murderous play, Wyntoun's work, which he called his Oryginalle Cronykil, portrays Macbeth as a "changeling", or Devil's child.
Name of source: The Guardian
SOURCE: The Guardian (6-18-07)
The army academy, designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer, is encased in the Teufelsberg (Devil's Mountain), a 116-metre (380ft)-high mound in Berlin which was constructed from the 26m cubic metres of the capital's wartime rubble.
The unfinished building, for which Nazi leader Adolf Hitler laid the foundation stone in 1937, was meant to become part of Germania, the huge capital of the 1,000-Year Reich. But "war-specific" problems, according to an internal Nazi memorandum, caused building work to be stopped just three years later.
The British occupation forces planned to turn the building into their headquarters, until it proved too difficult to convert. It was also too sturdy to demolish. Instead, half of Berlin's rubble - equivalent to 400,000 buildings - was poured on top, along with grass-seed, and so the Teufelsberg was born.
It has been a favourite place for Berliners to ski and sled in winter and fly kites in summer. The existence of the military college had been virtually forgotten by all but a handful of enthusiasts, until the Association of Berlin Underworlds discovered documents pointing to the academy.
"Most of the faculty must still be intact, despite the attempts to blow it up," said Dietmar Arnold of Underworlds. The association, which has found 50 bunkers in its 10-year existence, is keen to dig down. "We know for sure that underneath there is also a massive multistorey bunker complex."
SOURCE: The Guardian (6-17-07)
Yet the Etruscans, whose descendants today live in central Italy, have long been among the great enigmas of antiquity. Their language, which has never properly been deciphered, was unlike any other in classical Italy. Their origins have been hotly debated by scholars for centuries.
Genetic research made public at the weekend appears to put the matter beyond doubt, however. It shows the Etruscans came from the area which is now Turkey - and that the nearest genetic relatives of many of today's Tuscans and Umbrians are to be found, not in Italy, but around Izmir.
The European Human Genetic Conference in Nice was told on Saturday the results of a study carried out in three parts of Tuscany: the Casentino valley, and two towns, Volterra and Murlo, where important finds have been made of Etruscan remains. In each area, researchers took DNA samples from men with surnames unique to the district and whose families had lived there for at least three generations.
They then compared their Y chromosomes, which are passed from father to son, with those of other groups in Italy, the Balkans, modern-day Turkey and the Greek island of Lemnos, which linguistic evidence suggests could have links to the Etruscans.
"The DNA samples from Murlo and Volterra are much more highly correlated to those of the eastern peoples than to those of the other inhabitants of (Italy)," said Alberto Piazza of the University of Turin, who presented the research. "One particular genetic variant, found in the samples from Murlo, was shared only with people from Turkey."
This year, a similar but less conclusive study that tracked the DNA passed down from mothers to daughters, pointed to a direct genetic input from western Asia. In 2004, a team of researchers from Italy and Spain used samples taken from Etruscan burial chambers to establish that the Etruscans were more genetically akin to each other than to contemporary Italians.
The latest findings confirm what was said about the matter almost 2,500 years ago, by the Greek historian Herodotus. The first traces of Etruscan civilisation in Italy date from about 1200 BC....
Name of source: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
SOURCE: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (6-18-07)
Name of source: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (6-13-07)
On March 14, 2007, by a vote of 333-93, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1255.
In November 2001, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233, which gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely. The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 would nullify the Bush executive order and establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.
The National Coalition for History is asking everyone in the historical and archival community to contact their U.S. Senators to ask them to urge Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the “Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007″ (H.R. 1255/S. 886) to the Senate floor. All Senate offices can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202)-224-3121....
Name of source: New Jersey Star-Ledger
SOURCE: New Jersey Star-Ledger (6-17-07)
The 3,725 pages obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act do not make conclusions about the still-unsolved killings at Moore's Ford Bridge. But they raise the possibility that Eugene Talmadge's politics may have been a factor when a white mob dragged the four from a car, tied them to a tree and opened fire.
"I'm not surprised . . . historians over the years have concluded the violently racist tone of his 1946 campaign may have been indirectly responsible for the violence that came at Moore's Ford," said Robert Pratt, a University of Georgia history professor who has studied the case. "It's fair to say he's one of the most virulently racist governors the state has ever had."
Talmadge, who died just months after his 1946 election to a fourth term, dominated Georgia politics in the 1930s and 1940s with a mix of racism and pocketbook populism. He came under FBI scrutiny because of a visit he made to the north Georgia town of Monroe two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a highly charged racial incident there, a fight in which a black sharecropper stabbed and severely wounded a white farmer. The sharecropper was one of the four people who would later be lynched.
In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the investigation said Talmadge met with George Hester, the brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone "taking care of negro."
In the FBI memo to Hoover, the agent cited the opinion of Monroe assistant police chief Ed Williamson, who had spotted Talmadge meeting in front of the Walton County Courthouse with the brother of the stabbed farmer.