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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: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (8-9-08)
They plan to set off on Sunday on a journey that attempts to replicate what the Greek historian Herodotus mentions as the first circumnavigation of Africa in about 600BC.
Their vessel, the small, pine-wood Phoenicia, is modelled on the type of ship the Phoenician sailors he credited with the landmark voyage would have used.
The Phoenicians lived in areas of modern-day Lebanon, Syria and other parts of the Mediterranean from about 1200BC and are widely credited with being both strong seafarers and the first civilisation to make extensive use of an alphabet.
SOURCE: BBC (8-8-08)
Previous records found Mr Obama's fourth great-grandfather was a shoemaker in the midlands village of Moneygall, whose son Fulmuth Kearney left for the US in 1850.
But researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, delved further into the would-be-president's colourful past to find his sixth great-granduncle was a prominent Dublin businessman in the 1700s.
Wig-maker Michael Kearney brushed shoulders with Ireland's aristocracy on a daily basis and bought and sold property throughout the city and parts of the country.
Research director with the Trinity company heritage group Eneclann Fiona Fitzsimons said they were amazed by the discovery.
"I didn't expect this," she said.
"When we started off we had Joseph Kearney, shoemaker, that sounded like a country shopkeeper. We were surprised to find any link to Dublin at all.
"He (Michael) made his money from periwigs and perukes, but then he invested the profits from that in a lot of property.
"I think we found 16 deeds in the registry of deeds and some of those refer to other deeds which we didn't find."
His wig company - regarded as an exclusive and profitable trade at the time - was located just metres from Dublin Castle - the then seat of British power in Ireland.
In the 18th century wigs were worn by the aristocracy, professionals and gentry so Kearney would have been mixing with the elite of the Irish capital on a daily basis...
SOURCE: BBC (8-7-08)
Party leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif made the announcement after three days of talks. They would need a two-thirds majority to impeach.
Mr Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup in 1999.
He gave up control of the army last year and his allies were defeated in February's elections but he retains the power to dissolve parliament.
Mr Musharraf has previously said he would resign rather than face impeachment proceedings but he has made no comment yet on the latest move.
The BBC's Mark Dummett in Islamabad says an impeachment would take Pakistani politics into new territory, since no Pakistani leader has faced it before.
Mr Zardari, of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and the PML-N's Narwaz Sharif announced the impeachment move at a press conference in Islamabad...
Mr Zardari said: "We have good news for democracy. The coalition believes it is imperative to move for impeachment against General Musharraf."
Mr Zardari, the widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, derided Mr Musharraf's economic policies, adding: "He has worked to undermine the transition to democracy."
He also warned Mr Musharraf not to dissolve parliament, saying: "If he does it, it will be his last verdict against the people."
Mr Sharif said: "Pakistan cannot afford to see democracy derailed, this is not the same Pakistan as was the case in the 1980s and 1990s. People will not accept it now." ...
Name of source: Independent
SOURCE: Independent (8-10-08)
On 29 October 1908, Shackleton set out to become the first man to reach the South Pole. Two months later, after travelling south in severe weather conditions with temperatures dropping below -30C, the group, running perilously low on food, decided it would be too dangerous to continue and turned back. They were 97 miles short of their target. Three years later, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen succeeded where Shackleton's Nimrod expedition failed.
On his return to Britain, Shackleton was hailed a hero and awarded a knighthood for his achievements.
Now, relatives of that expedition will attempt to follow the same route, setting off exactly 100 years to the day since that great trek, and attempt to finish a journey their ancestors first took. It will be led by Lt-Col Henry Worsley, a descendent of Frank Worsley, who was Shackleton's skipper. Accompanying him will be Henry Adams, a great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, and Will Gow who, inspired by a desire to unite Shackleton's descendents at the pole, came up with the idea of recreating the voyage. Mr Gow is related to Shackleton by marriage.
SOURCE: Independent (8-9-08)
Officers executing a warrant last month at a house in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, found the letter, and three cheques mounted on a card, inside a plastic sleeve with a quantity of heroin.
A 55-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of theft and possessing class A drugs at the property. The woman's 32-year-old son and her sister, 41, were also arrested on suspicion of theft. They have been bailed until October while police make further inquiries.
The letter, dated 1942, is addressed to a married woman in the South Yorkshire area. The letter, signed by Clementine Churchill, says: "This is to acknowledge with grateful thanks your contribution to Mrs Churchill's Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund."
The Aid to Russia fund, set up by the Red Cross in 1941 to pay for clothing and medical supplies to send to Britain's Russian allies, raised £8m. Mrs Churchill was the fund's president.
PC Steve Roberts of Doncaster police said: "The address on the letter is not in Doncaster but it is South Yorkshire. I am confident it is not a reproduction as it is handwritten on both sides. We urge anyone with any information about the letter or who believes it may belong to them to get in touch with us."
SOURCE: Independent (8-9-08)
The decision introduced a note of discord to attempts to provide a dignified commemoration of the event in 1998, which is regarded as one of the worst incidents of the Troubles.
The size of the death toll, and that it took place as the Northern Ireland conflict seemed to be subsiding, means it has stayed high in the public consciousness in Ireland and further afield.
SOURCE: Independent (8-7-08)
The plan sheds new light on why the plinth has never had a full-time occupant and has been used recently to showcase the work of modern artists. It also explains why the Mayor of London, who has been informed of the plan, recently performed a mysterious U-turn on proposals for a permanent statue to be placed on the monument, blaming "complex planning issues".
Even the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, which oversees what goes on to the famous space in the central London square, is believed to have been kept in the dark over the decision.
Between 1841 and 1999 there was nothing on the fourth plinth, which was sometimes referred to as the "empty plinth", before a string of modern designs adorned the space.
"It's perfect," a source said of the rotation system. "The modern art world doesn't want a permanent statue up there, and nor does the establishment."
Although the Department for Culture would not comment last night, four well-placed sources confirmed the long-standing decision to The Independent.
No single person took the decision, and those involved would not discuss it publicly, but in recent years the desire for a monument to the Queen has been the subject of discussion between No 10, the Palace and the local authorities.
One person from City Hall familiar with the discussions said the plan was for Her Majesty to be depicted riding. "The plinth is wide enough and perfectly shaped for Her Majesty on horseback," the source said.
The revelation explains why theformer mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and his successor, Boris Johnson, would not commit to a permanent monument on the plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square by Nelson's Column...
Name of source: Telegraph
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-10-08)
He set out to investigate a theory that the prevalence of dark hair in the general population was increasing because brunettes were more likely to get married and have dark-haired offspring, while blondes tended to stay single and childless.
To further his research, he asked a doctor at Bristol Royal Infirmary to compile and send him data on the hair colour of married and single female patients at the hospital.
The investigation took place a decade after the publication of The Origin of Species, Darwin's tome of 1859 which led to the theory of evolution.
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-9-08)
Compiled by the History Channel, the list includes crucial dates in our islands' story such as the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, the execution of Charles I in 1649 and Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805.
They are listed alongside such less-obvious events as the building of the Red House by the artist and architect William Morris in 1859, the creation of the FA Rule Book in 1863, Gandhi's visit to Britain in 1931, the miners' strike of 1984 and the completion of the Channel Tunnel in 1991.
The list will form the basis of a five-part television series, 50 Things You Need to Know About British History, which is sponsored by Telegraph Media Group. The first weekly installment will be at 9pm on Sunday 7 September.
Prominent individuals who are honoured with a place on the list include Alfred the Great, Charles Darwin, Shakespeare and explorer David Livingstone. There are entries for 'swinging 60s and the Beatles' and 'Monty Python and British humour'.
But there is no room for Boadicea, Sir Frances Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain Cook, Florence Nightingale, Sir Alexander Fleming, Sir Winston Churchill or Queen Elizabeth II.
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-9-08)
They tell, for instance, of "a contrary wind'', "a rain squall from the northeast'', and "a shift of the wind into the southwest''. They do not investigate how unusual the storms of summer 1588 were, nor do they make reference to the painstaking work of climate historians who have pieced together the sequence of weather events during those crucial weeks from ships' log-books and from daily weather observations on land.
Climatologist Professor Hubert Lamb deduced that the scattering of the Spanish fleet in the North Sea during the first week of August was due to two intense Atlantic depressions which tracked north-eastwards across northern Britain and thence to Scandinavia.
The complex sequence of wind-directions logged by both Spanish and English ships might at first sight appear random, but they fit exactly the pattern suggested by Lamb's reconstruction. In particular the violent north-westerly gale in the wake of the second depression would have been the sort of event to cause the losses suffered by the Armada as it limped around the Atlantic coasts of Scotland and Ireland.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Rosemary Museminali, the Rwandan Foreign Minister, said that the people responsible for the murders still needed to be brought to justice.
Rwanda cut diplomatic ties with France two years ago after a prominent French judge indicted senior Rwandan officials for allegedly conspiring to shoot down the aircraft carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana - an act which triggered the genocide.
Yesterday, Miss Museminali denied that the 500-page report condemning France and released on Wednesday after a two-year investigation was prepared in retaliation for the indictment.
She said: "It is completely wrong to suggest that. Our report was commissioned in April 2006, and the French indictments were in November of that year.
"Throughout the report there is damning evidence and testimony about the French involvement on diplomatic, political and implementation levels. There is also evidence that the (French) army and intelligence groups were working with the Government.
"They armed them (the Hutu militias) and they supplied those who killed. For us it is important that this comes out and that people are tried."
But she is also despairing about the lack of acknowledgement of the French involvement at European Government level and makes an impassioned plea for the rest of the world not ignore what went on.
Miss Museminali said: "With Africa, European leaders are willing to talk about Darfur and Zimbabwe, but not, it seems, about Rwanda. European leaders need to be asked what they are going to do about this report as Africa's problems are not just Mugabe and Zimbabwe.
"People cannot be allowed to just say 'oh, this is just another African country.' Genocide is not just a crime against Rwanda, it is a crime against humanity and as such it should not just be about Rwanda fighting this battle alone."
The report painstakingly details alleged French involvement from before the genocide and during it. In its communiqué it refers to "ideological complicity" and states: "In the political sense, the French Government greatly helped Habyarimana's regime to prepare the course of the genocide."
It claims that the French portrayed the issues in Rwanda as "purely ethnic" and that Francois Mitterrand, the late former president, was among the French officials who "towed this line."
Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, is also among the 33 military and political leaders named in the document...
Measuring just over an inch long, the 18 carat gold cross has been decorated with fine detail and is thought to have been worn as a pendant.
It is English made with gold that was probably melted down from Merovingian French coins.
Two of the red cabochon gemstones are missing as is the relic that would have been kept in its centre.
The red stones are among the world's most ancient gems and were used by ancient Greeks who called them granatum, the same word they used for pomegranate seeds.
The standard of preservation is remarkable and the anonymous finder knew immediately he had chanced upon a spectacular piece of history from an early English Christian.
He discovered the 1,400-year-old cross 12ins beneath the sod on a farm in Nottinghamshire.
The specific location is being kept secret for fear that so-called Nighthawks will descend on it in case there is anything else to be found.
The unnamed man focuses on raised ground because that is the most likely place to find treasure, as centuries ago the lower ground would all have been under water.
He said: "The farm had what I've come to call "quiet land", swathes of ground where the detector scarcely makes a sound.
"The near-silence in the headphones might lull the uninitiated into losing concentration.
"It has the reverse effect on me as I know that very shortly the silence will be broken by a positive signal that tells me I've found what was almost certainly a lost object, rather than a tossed-away bit of junk...
The blasts, against the US embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania's main city, Dar es Salaam, were the first blamed by Washington on the then largely unknown organisation headed by Osama bin Laden.
"The scale of this atrocity shocked our nation to the core," Mr Odinga said after laying a wreath at the site of Nairobi bombing.
"We must leave no stone unturned in fighting the scourge of terrorism.
But at the same time, unless we provide just solutions to political crises such as those in the Middle East, new extremists will continue to be created." More than 200 people died in the two attacks, mid-morning on August 7, 1998, most of them Africans. Another 5,000 were injured.
Four years later, another East African al-Qaeda cell suicide-bombed a hotel on the Kenyan coast and tried to shoot down a jet carrying Israeli holidaymakers.
Kenyan police said last weekend that the alleged mastermind of that plot, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, escaped from a hideout in the coastal city of Malindi just minutes before officers arrived to arrest him late on Saturday.
An American, a Jordanian, a Saudi Arabian and a Tanzanian were convicted in the United States for the 1998 bombings and are currently serving life sentences...
They ranged from Richard the Lionheart, whose exploits on the Crusades earned him fourth place on the list, to Lt Col Herbert "H" Jones, posthumous winner of a Victoria Cross for charging Argentine positions during the Falklands War in 1982, who came eighth.
Admiral Lord Nelson, who received 27 per cent of the vote, was known for bold action and a disregard for orders from his superiors.
He pulled off an audacious victory at the battle of the Nile in 1798 when he sailed his ships between the shore and the unprepared French fleet who were expecting an attack from the opposite direction.
Three years later Nelson, who lost his right eye and arm in combat, destroyed the Danish navy at Copenhagen after ignoring a signal to disengage by placing a telescope to his blind eye with the remark: "I really do not see the signal."
His finest hour came in 1805 when he inspired his men to victory at Trafalgar with the message "England expects that every man will do his duty".
Earlier this year the remorseful pilot visited Bath for a memorial service to apologise for his role in bombings of the town which killed 400 people.
Last Friday he returned to Bath after promising event organiser Chris Kilminster, 61, a flight in one of his planes.
But just moments after taking off from a private airstrip near Marshfield, Glos, the small four-man plane lost engine power and plummeted towards the ground.
Mr Schludecker was forced to make an emergency crash landing in a field just eight miles north of the Georgian city he once bombed.
No-one was hurt in the accident but thieves later ransacked the stricken plan, stealing £30,000 worth of equipment including an expensive GPS system.
It was the first time that Mr Kilminster – who lost several members of his family during the city's raids – had been up in a plane...
SOURCE: Telegraph (8-6-08)
But even though his real life role bears a striking resemblance to that of Charles Bronson's character in the classic motion picture, the airman was less than impressed with Hollywood's version of events.
Sq Ldr Dowling, who knew seven of the 50 soldiers murdered during the escape, was particularly scathing of Steve McQueen's role.
"He was a fountain of knowledge about World War II but he didn't think much of the Steve McQueen film," said his son Peter, 60.
"He said the film left out a lot of the reality of digging the tunnels. He wasn't one of America's greatest fans and said it wasn't like it was in the film at all and that the scene with the motorbike was rubbish."
Born in Glastonbury, Somerset, on 22 July 1915, keen cricketer Dowling joined the RAF at the onset of the Second World War in September 1939.
After completing his training in South Africa he saw active service as a navigator and flew 29 missions with Bomber Command 57 Squadron out of RAF Feltwell in Norfolk.
He was imprisoned in the infamous Polish prison camp after his plane was shot down over Nazi Germany in April 1942.
But when the airman arrived at the camp he was recruited by escape mastermind Roger "Big X" Bushell to assist with his planned mass breakout.
Dowling's hard work excavating tunnels Tom, Dick and Harry led to his nickname and he also contributed by forging documents and preparing maps.
His vital role bears a striking resemblance to that of Bronson's character in the movie who was nicknamed "The Tunnel King".
The airman was one of 250 planned escapees but failed to make it out of the camp on March 24, 1944, because the 77th prisoner was spotted by guards...
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (8-3-08)
Like oil, particularly in its early days, whaling spawned dazzling fortunes, depending on the brute labor of tens of thousands of men doing dirty, sweaty, dangerous work. Like oil, it began with the prizes closest to home and then found itself exploring every corner of the globe. And like oil, whaling at its peak seemed impregnable, its product so far superior to its trifling rivals, like smelly lard oil or volatile camphene, that whaling interests mocked their competitors.
“Great noise is made by many of the newspapers and thousands of the traders in the country about lard oil, chemical oil, camphene oil, and a half-dozen other luminous humbugs,” The Nantucket Inquirer snorted derisively in 1843. It went on: “But let not our envious and — in view of the lard oil mania — we had well nigh said, hog-gish opponents, indulge themselves in any such dreams.”
Name of source: Philadelphia Inquirer
SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer (8-9-08)
On Thursday afternoon, a honey locust tree that had stood as one of the last living testaments to the Battle of Gettysburg cracked in a storm and crashed to earth.
Standing on Cemetery Hill, 150 feet from the platform on which the Gettysburg Address was given, it was one of the last of what are termed "witness trees" to the one of the most devastating of all Civil War battles, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863...
...The battle at Gettysburg was the biggest, deadliest and perhaps most decisive of the Civil War. More than 50,000 soldiers from the North and South became casualties. Afterward, Confederate armies never again invaded the North.
Heiser said only three other witness trees that he knows of still stand in the heart of the battlefield.
One is an oak in Devil's Den. Another is on the McPherson Farm. And a third, a black walnut, is on Hancock Avenue.
The National Park Service for the last five years has been deliberately clearing more than 500 acres of trees that had grown since 1863 and begun to obscure the sprawling battlefield as the Civil War soldiers would have seen it.
Thursday's storm, which rolled in from the west about 5:30 p.m., produced rain, hail and wind gusts. The National Weather Service said it had no reports of other damage in Adams County, in which Gettysburg is located.
Jo Sanders, a park spokeswoman, said the locust was split.
"The top of it is totally broken off, and [the storm] severely damaged 70 to 80 percent of the tree," she said. "That means there's not a whole lot left of it. But it didn't kill the tree."
Heiser said that park maintenance officials will have to assess what to do with the remains.
"When it's something this bad," he said, "it's highly doubtful that a tree like that can survive."
Name of source: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (8-10-08)
The first season of excavations was carried out on the site in 1997, during which several architectural ruins and artifacts dating back to ancient times and the early Islamic era were discovered.
A team of archaeologists led by Yusef Majidzadeh excavated the site in October 2005 for the second time.
During the excavations, a Median fortress and a series of mud bricks, which are believed to be the first instance of these kinds of artifacts, were unearthed at the site that includes Gomush Tepe, Jeyran Tepe, Yan Tepe, Maral Tepe, and Doshan Tepe.
Excavation projects have been halted at many ancient sites in Tehran Province, Archaeology Research Center of Iran (ARCI) Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli told the Persian service of CHN on Friday.
According to Fazeli Nashli, TCHTHO is also unable to safeguard the sites due to the shortage of funds.
Name of source: Bloomington Pantagraph
SOURCE: Bloomington Pantagraph (8-9-08)
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers in-depth analysis of the three-day riot with its exhibit, “Something so Horrible: The Springfield, Illinois, Race Riot of 1908.” It runs through October.
Using artifacts, photos, news reports and oral histories, the exhibit walks visitors through the tragic weekend in Illinois history, and how it led to the birth of the nation’s pre-eminent civil rights organization — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“It presents a chapter in our history that most people would like to forget, but that we must remember so that we can avoid repeating those mistakes,” said museum spokesman David Blanchette...
Name of source: Asian News International
SOURCE: Asian News International (8-9-08)
In the letter he sent to The Times, the year of his expulsion from the Soviet Union in 1974, Solzhenitsyn panned the 83-year-old historian branding him an apologist for the regime and making public statements that served the Soviet empire better than the "whole Soviet propaganda apparatus".
However, Medvedev dismissed the accusations, insisting that the claims were "absolute rubbish"
He said that the letter was designed to spawn a public row so that the world would know they were no longer friends.
"It is not anger. It is cold calculation - a normal episode in which I was insulted a little. I did write a book about him," Times Online quoted him, as saying
"Everybody knew that we were friends, so it would be unnatural for us to stop talking. So if he wanted to cut [communication], he would have to do something cruel," he added.
In his letter, Solzhenitsyn claimed that Medvedev had made a "mockery of the truth" stating that using the term "Soviet regime" was an unfair slur on the Soviet Union's elected government, during an interview on radio in 1973...
... However, refuting the allegations, Medvedev said that he had been warned by the institute that it was customary not to discuss prize candidates and so gave a cautious reply when asked about Sakharov at a public event.
"I was in a difficult situation. I said, 'He is a good candidate, but I am not in a position to judge the others'," he said.
"I knew sooner or later it would happen. was cut from his circle like others before. It is sad. He died, unfortunately, without a single friend. He was absolutely isolated. He didn't have anyone who came to discuss politics with him," he added.
The Times had refused to print the letter unless the he could provide evidence that he had quoted Dr Medvedev accurately.
Solzhenitsyn, who was then at the height of his fame, angrily declined then sent the letter to Aftenposten, a Norwegian newspaper, and a Russian-language newspaper based in Paris. The letter appeared in both publications, but it was never published in English.
Name of source: China Daily
SOURCE: China Daily (8-3-08)
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (8-8-08)
Researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, read the complete sequence of DNA held in tiny biological powerhouses called mitochondria, which provide energy for cells. The mitochondria are only passed down the female line, so can be used to trace the species back to an ancestral "Eve", the mother of all Neanderthals. The team analysed the DNA of 13 genes from the Neanderthal mitochondria and found they were distinctly different to modern humans, suggesting Neanderthals never, or rarely, interbred with early humans. The genetic material shows that a Neanderthal "Eve" lived around 660,000 years ago, when the species last shared a common ancestor with humans.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (8-8-08)
While no protests were reported in Myanmar itself, activists around Asia planned to mark the 20th anniversary with demonstrations at the embassies of both Myanmar and China, a key ally of the junta that critics say could pressure the leadership to bring about change. The protests also coincide with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
"We are here because China is the main supporter of the military regime," said Kyaw Lin Oo, a Myanmar activist living in Thailand and who was among 30 protesters at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok.
"We want the Chinese government to understand the actual cost of their support to the people inside of Burma," he said, using the country's former name. "China can help our democratization process by putting pressure on the military regime."
He later joined about 100 others outside the Myanmar Embassy. They chanted "Free Burma, Free Aung San Suu Kyi" and threw red paper airplanes with the message "We will never forget. We will never give up. 1988." over the embassy wall.
No one was arrested.
A similar protest was held in the Philippine capital, Manila, where some 50 people demonstrated outside the Chinese Consulate...
Name of source: The Boston Channel
SOURCE: The Boston Channel (8-8-08)
Police are hoping some public attention will help track down a 2,000-year-old relic.
"It's a relic of St. Andrew --- a very small, small bone of the saint," said the Rev. Demetrios T. Costarakis, of the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church.
He said that the relic was passed down through many generations and that the church acquired the bone about six years ago. Sometime between Sunday's service and Monday afternoon, someone went into the chapel and stole the bone, Costarakis said.
"(We are) worried that the individual or individuals who might have taken this do not know how holy and how serious this is," Costarakis said.
Mosaics in the sanctuary attest to the importance of the saint in the Greek Orthodox faith.
"There is a sense of awe. There is a sense of veneration that we prostrate ourselves for and we venerate these beautiful relics of the saints, and we ask them for their intercessions to God," Costarakis said.
A new lock was put on the chapel door on Friday, Costarakis said.
"Whoever took it -- I hope he has second thoughts and returns it," church member John Gkolias said.
"I would just ask that person or those people to bring them back -- no questions asked," Costarakis said.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (8-8-08)
The move was criticized in both countries. The Society of American Archivists said seizing and removing the documents was "an act of pillage" prohibited under the laws of war. Iraq's acting minister of culture, Akram H. Hadi, issued a statement in late June expressing the Iraqi government's "absolute rejection" of Makiya's deal. The documents "are part of the national heritage of Iraq," the statement declared, and must be returned to Iraq promptly.
Given the hundreds of thousandsof deaths and the millions of refugees, why should anybody care about Iraq's archives? It comes down to whether you care about what happens to Iraq. It's part of its cultural patrimony. It's part of its ability to hold the previous regime accountable.
About 100 million other pages of Iraqi government documents are still in the hands of the U.S. military after being seized during the fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction. The documents now at the Hoover Institution were taken from the Baath Party Regional Command Headquarters in Baghdad and are particularly significant because they almost certainly reveal who secretly collaborated with Hussein -- politically explosive information.
How did one man get possession of the entire Baath Party archives?
Makiya is best known not for his foundation or his 1989 book "Republic of Fear," but rather for his crucial role in convincing Americans -- particularly leading journalists -- to support a war to overthrow Hussein. "More than any single figure," Dexter Filkins wrote in the New York Times last October, Makiya "made the case for invading because it was the right thing to do." Makiya was an ally of Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney, and gained fame for a face-to-face meeting with President Bush two months before the U.S.-led invasion during which he said American troops "will be greeted with sweets and flowers."
Shortly after U.S. troops took Baghdad, Makiya and some associates discovered the documents in "a labyrinthine network of basement rooms under the Baath Party's regional headquarters," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Makiya told a Chronicle reporter in January that he received permission from the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ruled Iraq at the time, to move the documents to his parents' home in Baghdad. In 2005, Makiya's foundation reached an agreement with the U.S. military to move the documents to the U.S., and they finally arrived at Stanford in mid-June.
Makiya and the Hoover Institution assert that Baghdad is still too unsafe for the archives. They promise to protect and restore the documents, and eventually return them to Iraq.
SOURCE: LAT (8-7-08)
The military judge hearing the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, has said previously he will credit Hamdan with at least five years of the 6 1/2 years he has been imprisoned at Guantanamo.
Prosecution lawyers asked for a life term but at least 30 years in prison for Hamdan, while the defense urged that he be sentenced to less than four years.
The sentence was delivered by the six-member jury that on Wednesday found Hamdan guilty on the material support charge but acquitted him of conspiracy.
Justice Department lawyer John Murphy urged the jury of senior military officers to weigh whether that sentence would be appropriate for Hamdan.
"Take one second to think of the victims of Mr. Hamdan's support of terrorism," Murphy said in a closing argument that cast Hamdan as a committed extremist and included graphic images of Al Qaeda terror attacks. "Your sentence will be their justice. Your work is our justice and you shouldn't flinch from it."
Defense lawyer Charlie Swift, the retired Navy officer who was first assigned to represent Hamdan five years ago and took his challenge of the tribunal to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, appealed to the jurors to keep in mind that American justice is based on law, not vengeance.
"One of the things that makes us unique is we don't sentence based on passion, we sentence based on law," Swift told the jurors, noting that they had acquitted Hamdan of a charge of conspiracy, the more serious of two alleged offenses and the only charge brought against him in the Pentagon's original war-crimes indictment in 2004.
That case was scuttled when the Supreme Court quashed the tribunal as unconstitutional in a June 2006 ruling...
Name of source: National Coalition for History
SOURCE: National Coalition for History (8-8-08)
The three-year grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and the legislation authorizes the program beginning in fiscal year 2009 and for five successive fiscal years.
Funding can be used to:
design and implementation of programs of study, courses, lecture series, seminars, and symposia;
development, publication, and dissemination of instructional materials;
support for faculty teaching in undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate programs;
support for graduate and postgraduate fellowships, if applicable; or
teacher preparation initiatives that stress content mastery regarding traditional American history, free institutions, or Western civilization,
The funds may also be used to conduct outreach activities designed to ensure information developed under the program are widely disseminated.
In addition, funds may be used to support collaboration with entities such as–
local educational agencies, for the purpose of providing elementary and secondary school teachers an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of traditional American history, free institutions, or Western civilization; and
nonprofit organizations whose mission is consistent with the purpose of this section, such as academic organizations, museums, and libraries, for assistance in carrying out activities described under subsection (a);
Traditional American History is defined in the bill as “the significant constitutional, political, intellectual, economic, and foreign policy trends and issues that have shaped the course of American history; and the key episodes, turning points, and leading figures involved in the constitutional, political, intellectual, diplomatic, and economic history of the United States.”
Free Institutions is defined as “an institution that emerged out of Western civilization, such as democracy, constitutional government, individual rights, market economics, religious freedom and religious tolerance, and freedom of thought and inquiry.”
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (8-8-08)
SOURCE: History Today (8-8-08)
SOURCE: History Today (8-6-08)
Name of source: CathNews
SOURCE: CathNews (8-8-08)
Projo.com reports that academics have increasingly noted links between Shakespeare and the persecuted Catholics of his times.
A new book by Joseph Pearce, The Quest for Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon and the Church of Rome lays out the case that Shakespeare was indeed a believing Catholic who, for the sake of his career and his neck, kept that a secret.
Shakespeare came from Stratford in Warwickshire, a hotbed of Catholic non-conformity. His father John Shakespeare was identified in 1592 as a recusant, meaning a Catholic who refused to attend Protestant church services.
William himself appears on no records attending Protestant services or registering with the Church of England — something he was required by law to do. His mother Mary Arden came from a family of fiercely loyal Catholics. His school teachers included at least two Catholics.
William and Anne Hathaway’s wedding took place not in Stratford but four miles away, at a church presided over by a man identified in 1586 as a Catholic priest.
A bricklayer working on the Shakespeare home in 1757 found a document hidden in the rafters, its wording copied from a pamphlet distributed by Edward Campion, a Catholic priest who was tortured and executed under Queen Elizabeth in 1581. The document seemed to be a promise by John Shakespeare to die in the faith, even if he was unable to obtain last rites from a priest...
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (8-7-08)
Friday is the anniversary of a huge popular uprising, on Aug. 8, 1988, that was crushed by soldiers at the cost of some 3,000 lives, leaving the country in the grip of a military junta and setting the course of Myanmar's history ever since - and very likely well into the future.
"We had a big hope that we would succeed," said Win Min, who was a student leader in what was then known as Burma. "It was the biggest struggle ever in Burmese history. Not just in one town but even in remote villages. The whole country was marching in the streets."
On Thursday, Win Min will be among a small group of activist exiles who are scheduled to meet in Bangkok with President George W. Bush, who has given his backing to what has so far been a fruitless struggle for democracy.
The junta that seized power in 1988 has only tightened its grip since then, locking up opponents and hunkering down in the face of criticisms and sanctions from the West. The pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years.
In the past few months the junta has bared its teeth, first with a violent suppression of a peaceful uprising led by monks last September, and more recently by restricting foreign aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated much of Myanmar in May and left about 138,000 dead and missing.
"Twenty years afterward, well, you know we won't see that kind of demonstration happen again in the near future," said Win Min, who is now a lecturer at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. "And if it happens, we know that as long as this government is in power they will crack down."
Since the September crackdown on monks, Bush has intensified a longstanding American policy of ever-tightening economic restrictions. The restrictions, along with harsh criticism of the military government, has added to a wall of hostility between the two nations that limits Washington's influence.
This is the message that Aung Naing Oo, another former student leader, hopes to bring to Bush when they meet on Thursday...
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (8-6-08)
The former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who has said he is about 40, faces a possible life term, a sentence that will be determined in a proceeding that was scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon.
As the verdict was read, Hamdan, who has been in U.S. custody since he was seized in Afghanistan in November 2001, stood passively at the defense table in a white headscarf, his head bent slightly down.
The conviction of Hamdan, a Yemeni who was part of a select group of drivers and bodyguards for bin Laden until 2001, was a long-sought, if somewhat qualified, victory for the Bush administration, which had been working to begin military commission trials at the isolated naval base here for nearly seven years. It was also the first war-crimes trial conducted by the United States since the end of World War II.
Hamdan was convicted by six senior military officers who, the military judge ordered, could not be identified publicly. The officers deliberated for eight hours over three days. As permitted under a law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2006 for trials at Guantánamo Bay, the trial included secret evidence and testimony in a closed courtroom...
Name of source: Washington Post
SOURCE: Washington Post (8-7-08)
Federal investigators uncovered e-mail messages written by bacteriologist Bruce E. Ivins describing an al-Qaeda threat that echoed language in the handwritten letters mailed to Senate offices and media organizations in September and October 2001. Ivins, who worked in high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md., had a motive because of his work validating a controversial anthrax vaccine that had been suspended from production, authorities said.
Even as Justice Department officials declared the worst act of bioterrorism in U.S. history all but solved, scientists and legal experts noted that the evidence is far from foolproof. Investigators were unable to place Ivins in Princeton, N.J., on the days when the letters were dropped into a Nassau Street mailbox. They did not try to match his crabbed handwriting with the distinctive block print on the 2001 letters. And they did not silence congressional critics who wondered yesterday whether one man could have carried out the elaborate attacks.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) called for a "full-blown accounting" of the $15 million investigation, which took nearly seven years and included multiple wrong turns. Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), from whose district the letters were mailed, called for hearings to address questions such as "why investigators are so certain that Ivins acted alone."
Other congressional sources said that the FBI case was compelling but that doubts lingered in part because of the bureau's lengthy and ultimately fruitless pursuit of former Fort Detrick researcher Steven J. Hatfill. In June, the Justice Department agreed to pay Hatfill a $5.8 million settlement to resolve his privacy lawsuit. The only veiled reference to the government's wrong focus came in a footnote in the documents, which said that tests to make a clear genetic link to a specific scientist did not exist in the early years of the investigation...
SOURCE: Washington Post (8-6-08)
The claim was made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, whose book "The Way of the World" also contends that the White House obtained compelling evidence in early 2003 that Iraq possessed no significant stocks of nuclear or biological weapons but decided to invade the country anyway.
Suskind, who has written two previous investigative books that contained criticism of Bush administration policies, described the alleged forgery as a deliberate "misusing of an arm of government, the kind of thing generally taken up in impeachment proceedings." White House condemnations of the book were equally dramatic, with officials blasting it as "gutter journalism." In separate statements, several former and current CIA officials disputed portions of the account, including two named by Suskind as key sources.
"The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter . . . is absurd," said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto.
The book's most contentious claims involve Tahir Jalil Habbush, the former head of intelligence in Saddam Hussein's government in the years before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. As the deadline for war neared, U.S. and British intelligence officials arranged a series of secret meetings with Habbush in early 2003 and confronted him regarding their concerns about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction .
In those private meetings, Habbush explained why U.N. weapons inspectors had been unable to find evidence of active Iraqi WMD programs: There were none. According to Suskind, Habbush said Saddam Hussein had ended Iraq's nuclear weapons work after the first Persian Gulf war in 1991, and halted biological weapons research in 1996...
SOURCE: Washington Post (8-5-08)
Numerous State Department cables to foreign government delegations in 2002 and 2003 show that each country was subject to rules and regulations "to protect the interests and ensure the safety of all concerned." Condition No. 1 stated that U.S. authorities would closely monitor the interrogations, a practice that the Defense Department confirmed last week was also carried out to gather intelligence.
"The United States will video tape and sound record the interviews between representatives of your government and the detainee(s) named above," read several of the nearly identical cables, obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Should such videotapes exist, they would reveal how representatives from countries such as China, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia treated detainees in small interrogation booths at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- sessions that some detainees have said were abusive and at times contained threats of torture or even death. Though attorneys for the detainees have long sought to obtain such evidence, the administration has thus far denied the requests and has not indicated that such tapes exist...
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (8-7-08)
“The total damage and losses will exceed $10,000,” said Paula Peters, a spokeswoman for the living museum. The invaders, described as a group of kids, allegedly stole a range of items, most notably beaver and muskrat pelts, as well as two steel pieces of chest armor valued at $700 each.
“It is incredibly disheartening when an institution dedicated to learning and cultural understanding falls victim to such an ignorant and destructive act,” John McDonagh, executive director, said in a prepared statement.
The group of vandals slipped unnoticed last week into the village, where the clock has been set back to 1627, and broke locks on eight houses, said Captain Michael E. Botieri of the Plymouth Police Department.
They proceeded to smash pottery, break fences, and steal antique hammers and replica tools, Botieri said. Many of the items were recreated by artisans working at the museum, Peters said.
An employee noticed the damage Saturday morning and reported it to police, Botieri said. An on-duty security guard did not notice any disturbances the night of the raid, and there was no taped surveillance of the area.
Officials are reviewing security measures to prevent future break-ins, Peters said. The village, used to re-create Pilgrim life, is popular among school groups and tourists.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (8-7-08)
Daniela Agre said her team found the four-wheel chariot during excavations near the village of Borisovo, around 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.
"This is the first time that we have found a completely preserved chariot in Bulgaria," said Agre, a senior archaeologist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
She said previous excavations had only unearthed single parts of chariots — often because ancients sites had been looted.
At the funerary mound, the team also discovered table pottery, glass vessels and other gifts for the funeral of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat.
In a separate pit, they unearthed skeletons of two riding horses apparently sacrificed during the funeral of the nobleman, along with well preserved bronze and leather objects, some believed to horse harnesses...
SOURCE: AP (8-7-08)
But his arrival in Beijing Thursday night on the eve of the opening of the games came amid an atmosphere of tension with China's leaders over his high-profile speech in Thailand exhorting the growing world power to grant more freedom to its people.
Bush, first lady Laura Bush and their daughter Barbara came off Air Force One together, where they got a red-carpet greeting from Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and others, and then sped away in a motorcade.
Bush, an avid sports fan, has said he wants to enjoy the Summer Olympics competition, but also will talk to President Hu Jintao about human rights and a host of other bilateral issues.
Before his plane landed here, China's Foreign Ministry released a terse statement saying that no one should interfere with China's internal affairs.
Bush plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night and go to a series of sporting events through Monday, including U.S. basketball and baseball games against China. Although he exhorted Beijing to improve human rights in a major speech in Thailand before flying here, Bush has said he is intent on making his Olympics visit about sports, not politics.
In a speech outlining America's achievements and challenges in Asia, Bush had pushed Thursday for a free press, free assembly and labor rights in China, and spoke out sharply against its detentions of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists. He said he wasn't trying to antagonize China, but called such reform the only path the potent U.S. rival can take to reach its full potential.
He antagonized the Chinese anyway, setting the stage for an interesting reception when he attends the opening ceremonies Friday evening and meets with Hu on Sunday after attending church.
"The Chinese government puts people first, and is dedicated to maintaining and promoting its citizens basic rights and freedom," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday in response to Bush's speech. "Chinese citizens have freedom of religion. These are indisputable facts."
He said China advocates discussions on differing views on human rights and religions on "a basis of mutual respect and equality," then indicated it didn't see Bush's criticism in that light.
"We firmly oppose any words or acts that interfere in other countries' internal affairs, using human rights and religion and other issues," Qin said.
Bush did offer praise for China's market reforms. "Change in China will arrive on its own terms and in keeping with its own history and its own traditions," he said. "Yet, change will arrive."
Bush has been trying to walk a tightrope in attending the games, wanting to avoid causing Beijing embarrassment during its two weeks on the world stage while also coming under pressure to use his visit to openly press China's leaders for greater religious tolerance and other freedoms. Chinese officials bristled when he met with Chinese activists at the White House last week.
"With this speech, Bush is trying to address two polar issues: easing the controversy created by those who oppose his visit during the Games and simultaneously maintaining America's strategy with China," said Yan Xuetong, an expert in U.S.-China relations at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University.
The possible foundations of what is known as simply, The Theatre, were unearthed by builders excavating the site — a vacant garage — for another structure. Museum archaeologists were called to the location to make sure nothing was destroyed, and had a eureka moment.
"We were there, scratching our heads, looking into the trenches, thinking, 'this could be it,'" said Jo Lyon, a senior archaeologist at the museum. "So we did some more research, and then we found the angled walls. And we all went, 'Oh my gosh, this should be it.' "
Other theaters of similar vintage also have angled walls, so the discovery was significant. Archaeologists had known for a long time there was a high probability for The Theatre to be on this particular site. But there are no maps that show its location, no images to show what it might have looked like, and only a vague description of it.
"It's in the right place, it's at the right angle to be a polygonal shape," Lyon said. "It's a pretty high possibility."
The possible discovery of The Theatre, built in 1576 and where Shakespeare's troupe performed in the 1590s, could complete the set of open-air theaters where the Bard's plays were staged. The Rose theater's location was discovered in 1989 in Bankside, just south of the River Thames in central London, and the Globe theater is nearby. A replica of the Globe was built on a site close to the original and opened in 1997...
The North Carolina Maritime Museum moved the rare Higgins boat to its Watercraft Center in Beaufort, where restoration work is to begin Thursday.
"There are only four left in the United States, including this one, so it's a very unique boat," museum spokeswoman Michelle McConnell said. "We have the opportunity to restore one of these, which is restoring history."
The divers found a cannon, pieces of a ship, human bones, a sword and a medal engraved with the name Isabel II, said Sgt. Angel Rivera Rodriguez, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's police department.
Divers were dispatched to Playa Monserrate, near the town of Luquillo on the island's Atlantic coast, after a fisherman reported finding what he thought were human remains, Rivera said.
The artifacts turned up in six different spots across the sea floor, said Laura del Olmo, director of archaeology at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, which sent a team of experts to the site.
So far, divers have recovered more than three dozen pieces, including a small silver cross, bottles, and fragments of wood and chain, which will be analyzed by the institute's experts, del Olmo said.
According to archeologists, the pieces appear to be from the 17th or 18th century but further analysis is required before their exact age can be confirmed, she said.
Divers planned to continue exploring the area for more artifacts, Sgt. Rivera said.
The two tiny female fetuses, between five to seven months in gestational age, were found in King Tut's tomb in Luxor when it was dissevered in 1922.
DNA samples from the fetuses "will be compared to each other, along with those of the mummy of King Tutankhamun," the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, said in a statement.
The testing is part of a wider program to check the DNA of hundreds of mummies to determine their identities and family relations. Hawass said the program could help determine Tutankhamun's family lineage, which has long been a source of mystery among Egyptologists.
The identity of Tut's parents is not firmly known. Many experts believe he is the son of Akhenaten, the 18th Dynasty pharaoh who tried to introduce monotheism to ancient Egypt, and one of Akhenaten's queens, Kiya. But others have suggested he was the son of a lesser known pharaoh who followed Akhenaten.
Scholars believe that at age 12, Tutankhamun married Ankhesenamun — a daughter of Akhenaten by his better known wife Nefertiti — but the couple had no surviving children. There has been no archaeological evidence that Tut, who died around the age of 19 under mysterious circumstances over 3,000 years ago, left any offspring.
Tutankhamun was one of the last kings of Egypt's 18th Dynasty and ruled during a crucial, turmoil-filled period when Akhenaten's monotheism was ended and powers were returned to the priests of ancient Egypt's multiple deities.
The council said that if the tiny mummies are unrelated to Tut, they may have been placed in his tomb to allow him to "live as a newborn in the afterlife."
Ashraf Selim, a radiologist and member of the Egyptian team, said the tests could take several months. So far, the team has carried out CT scans on the two fetuses and taken samples for DNA tests...
Government documents listed Achacaz's age at 79, but some believe he was close to 90.
Experts estimate that only about a dozen full-blooded Kaweskars — or Alacalufes — survive and the group appears destined to disappear in the near future as there are no women of fertile age left...
...About 6,000 years ago the Kaweskars inhabited the Patagonian channels and lived aboard their canoes. They were hunter-gatherers and ate mostly seafood and seabirds.
It was not until the middle of the 20th century when the Kaweskars began establishing campsites on firm land, in Puerto Eden, a town on the Patagonian island of Wellington.
Since the arrival of the first Europeans, Chile has lost five of its original 14 indigenous tribes to disease, displacement or the overuse of their natural resources.
In a ceremony, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba also announced the launch of a two-year study to gauge the psychological toll of the Aug. 6, 1945, attack in the closing days of World War II.
Japan submitted a resolution in the U.N. last year calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Akiba said that 170 nations supported the resolution, while the U.S. was one of only three countries to oppose it.
"We can only hope that the U.S. president elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority," Akiba told a crowd of 45,000 gathered beneath at the spot where the bomb detonated...
Name of source: Benton County Daily Record
SOURCE: Benton County Daily Record (8-7-08)
A 100-year celebration is planned for 11 a.m. Friday at the Bentonville Public Library to honor the monument. The event will feature speakers who will discuss the history behind the statue.
Johnny Haney, a downtown businessman and Bentonville resident, explained why the Confederate flag won't be flown.
"Many may view the flags in a different light," Haney said. "You know, this event isn't about the Confederacy. We felt it would be enjoyed by more people without the Confederate flags about as part of the recognition."
Haney explained that the celebration is more about the statue's dedication to Sen. James H. Barry than about the Confederacy.
"The statue is a wonderful memorial, but the war was 143 years ago," Haney said.
John Scott, superintendent of the Pea Ridge National Military Park, explained some of the history behind the Confederate flag. The famous "rebel flag"with the red background and blue "X"was not a Confederate flag during the Battle of Pea Ridge, Scott said.
"At the battle here at Pea Ridge, the flag that the Confederate Army would have been carrying was the first National Flag. It was basically similar to the U. S. flag, which had 13 stars and a circle, whereas we had 34 stars."
During the early battles of the war, Smith said, the flags looked so similar that Confederate and Union soldiers would often attack their own troops by mistake. So in 1863, the Confederate battle flag was adopted.
The Battle of Pea Ridge, fought in 1862, took place during the original flag's incarnation.
Scott said he understands the conflicting opinions regarding the flag. "For one group of people, it's seen as something … to be proud of, and for another, it's seen as a symbol of … terrorism," Scott said. Current connotations of the rebel flag "certainly came out of the post-Civil War era, when the Ku Klux Klan and various white-supremacy groups adopted that flag as a symbol. "
Scott noted that the current stigma of the rebel flag is reminiscent of another symbol that was once a religious symbol, representing good and peace, and later taken on as a symbol of hate...
Name of source: U.S. News and World Report
SOURCE: U.S. News and World Report (8-7-08)
The province's chief constable says rebel activity is as high as it's been in six years. A main goal of the dissidents is to kill a Catholic police officer or prison guard to destabilize an increasingly successful effort to recruit more Catholics to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In June, two Catholic members of the PSNI were injured in a landmine attack that may have proved lethal had the device properly triggered. Last November, two other Catholic officers were badly wounded in gun attacks. And one dissident group recently warned that it may soon target Customs workers and other civil servants as well.
Britain's domestic security agency, MI5, is taking the threat seriously. It's reported that 60 percent of its recent electronic intercepts have come from Irish dissidents—who number fewer than 100. That's a startling admission given MI5's current focus on the suspected 2,000 Islamic terrorists believed operating in Britain. Accordingly, MI5 has stepped up its security operations in the province.
To be sure, the peace process in Ulster continues to progress, albeit slowly. In May 2007, the Northern Ireland Assembly finally began operating after a power-sharing agreement was reached between the two largest parties: the Protestant Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing. That deal was reached after the DUP finally accepted that the IRA—which first announced a cease-fire 14 years ago—had indeed decommissioned its weapons, and Sinn Fein agreed to support the PSNI.
Historically, Catholics have distrusted and disliked the police. The PSNI's forerunner, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, was overwhelmingly Protestant and considered antirepublican.
Following Sinn Fein's lead, Catholic acceptance of—and membership in—the police force is growing. Twenty-five percent of its officers are now Catholic. "The Catholic community is still suspicious of the police to some degree," says Adrian Guelke, a political scientist at Queen's University, Belfast. "But there is a greater willingness [among Catholics] to join the police."
Moreover, despite some DUP foot dragging on the issue, the unionists and Sinn Fein are near an agreement to allow oversight of the police and judiciary to be handed over from London's Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont. That could ultimately—though not initially—lead to the policing portfolio going to a Sinn Fein minister. "That will happen, eventually," Guelke says. A police force overseen by a Catholic party would be a big blow to the terrorists, which is why they're trying to scuttle that eventuality.
Security forces believe there are around 80 hard-core members belonging to three breakaway groups: the Real IRA, which set off the bomb in the market town of Omagh in 1998, killing 29 people; Continuity IRA; and a newer faction, Oglaigh na hEireann. They're largely based in rural areas near the border with the Irish Republic to the south, where republicanism has deep, historic roots. The groups consider Sinn Fein a sellout for seeking a political rather than an armed solution to a divided Ireland.
Ironically, another reason the dissidents may be more active now is that the success of the peace process has given them a freer hand. Since setting aside its weapons and forsaking violence, the main IRA may be finding it harder to "police" the breakaway groups itself, Guelke says. "It's created something of a vacuum for the dissidents to exploit." Although the rebel factions are for now targeting other Catholics, there is some risk their actions could provoke a violent response from Protestant paramilitary groups, which remain on cease-fire but are still armed.
Still, there are doubts that the breakaway groups have the material capacity to wreak too much havoc. An Irish man and woman were arrested last January in Lithuania attempting to buy guns and weaponry—a sting operation that's hampered the dissidents' supply lines. For instance, the landmine used in the June attack might have triggered properly if the perpetrators had access to semtex, a plastic explosive...
Name of source: Sunday Herald
SOURCE: Sunday Herald (8-6-08)
Two recent thefts have highlighted poor security at the more than 25 collections - mainly in private hands - which draw thousands of summer visitors along the Normandy coast. In one incident, the booty included a rare German "Enigma" encoding machine which investigators suspect was stolen to order.
In the other, scores of items - including several weapons - were replaced by fakes and then resold to dealers.
In recent years there has been a huge increase in demand for anything from the second world war - guns, uniforms, buckles, helmets," said Michel Brissart, who runs the Omaha D-Day museum at Vierville-sur Mer.
"It all ends up going abroad: the US, the Emirates, Russia, Australia. Here in France we are too poor to keep it."
It was Brissart's museum - overlooking the scene of the US landings on Omaha beach - that two assailants targeted in March this year, overpowering the receptionist when she opened for business. The thieves took some 30 articles, including daggers, uniform caps and firearms - as well as the Enigma machine valued at £120,000.
"Practically everything they took was German, because sadly German memorabilia commands a much higher price than Allied stuff," said Brissart. After reporting the incident to police, Brissart alerted contacts in the world of collectors and two weeks later he was telephoned by a dealer in Paris.
"He said he'd been approached by two men with a list of items for sale, including photographs. It was ours, all right." Police staked out the dealer's premises and two men - aged 19 and 20 - were arrested. The Enigma has been returned to Vierville with most of the other goods. Six items are still missing...
Name of source: Mother Jones
SOURCE: Mother Jones (8-5-08)
The study looks a little like a high school text book, devoting chapters to Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, Genghis Khan, and Napoleonic France and citing texts by Sun Tzu, Livy, and Jared Diamond. It attempts to break down exactly how historic empires sustained their military might across continents and even centuries. The study posits that the historical examples offer "insights into what drives U.S. military advantage," as well as "where U.S. vulnerabilities may lie, and how the United States should think about maintaining its military advantage in the future." There is no one secret to world domination, however. The Mongols' military advantage was rooted in their "tactical and operational superiority"; the Macedonians' in the "exceptional leadership" of and "cult of personality" surrounding Alexander the Great; Napoleon's in "innovative operational concepts" and "information superiority"; and the Romans' in "robust tactical doctrine" and "strong domestic institutions" which were "designed to incorporate conquered peoples as the empire grew." In an extraordinary passage, the study cites the Roman experience—from over a millennium ago—as a precedent for America's long-term dominance: "The Roman model suggests that it is possible for the United States to maintain its military advantage for centuries if it remains capable of transforming its forces before an opponent can develop counter-capabilities. Transformation coupled with strong strategic institutions is a powerful combination for an adversary to overcome..."