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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: http://www.thestate.com
SOURCE: http://www.thestate.com (9-23-08)
Bagnato flashed the green gems, which were as large as dominoes, and explained to the immigration and customs agent that he had bribed South American authorities and used fake paperwork to smuggle the highly illegal goods into the United States.
Authorities discovered Bagnato had a cache of more than 400 artifacts from Peru and Colombia, all predating Columbus' arrival in the Americas: burial shrouds, jewelry, terra cotta pots and other treasures were wedged in boxes in his van and kept in a storage unit.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (9-24-08)
Donald McNair was a member of the Plymouth Brethren who registered as a conscientious objector when conscription was introduced in 1916. As a member of the Exclusive Brethren, a branch of the Plymouth Brethren, McNair avoided the temptations of society. He never went to the cinema or theatre, never danced, and did not vote.
He was called before a tribunal but was tricked into giving an answer that led to his finding himself on the front line. He was asked what he would do if he found a German attacking his wife, to which he replied: “I would defend her against German and Englishman alike”. This was taken as an indication that he was prepared to fight to defend his country. He was posted to Palestine to fight the Turks with the 8th Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment, but told officers that he did not intend to fight. Some were understanding and assigned him duties behind the lines. Others warned him that he faced execution if he disobeyed.
SOURCE: Times (UK) (9-23-08)
Yet Luisa de Carvajal's description of life in the capital has come to light more than 400 years after she jotted down her thoughts for friends and relatives in Spain and Flanders.
Having lain in a Madrid convent, the notes have been translated into English for the first time by Glyn Redworth, a senior lecturer in history at the University of Manchester.
In 150 letters, Carvajal, who died in 1614 aged 48, paints an image of England in the 17th century with astonishing attention to detail. Her descriptions are a treasure trove for historians of Britain's social, religious and economic past.
SOURCE: Times (UK) (9-22-08)
The ancient reef, formed nearly 100 million years before the first known animal life evolved, is the only one of its age in the world. Scientists believe it may hold evidence of the earliest examples of primitive animal life.
The reef was discovered by three Melbourne scientists in the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Formed hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the earth, it existed for five to 10 million years in a tropical period sandwiched between two ice ages.
The next closest aged series of reefs are in Arctic Canada.
The scientists, from the School of Earth Science at Melbourne University believe the reef could also explain the extent of climate change in earth's early history.
"Some of the complex organisms we have seen in the reef have never been discovered previously," associate Professor Malcolm Wallace, told The Times Online.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-24-08)
The one-time laboratory at Manchester University was used by Ernest Rutherford at the turn of the last century.
He is known to have begun a series of experiments using radioactive material in 1906.
Officials from the Health and Safety Executive have now ordered a review to determine whether former lecturers, students and ancillary staff were contaminated by traces of radon and polonium left in the building.
All four of those whose deaths are under review worked in the university's psychology department, which moved into the old physics department in 1972.
Dr Arthur Reader, 69, died from pancreatic cancer last week. Shortly before his death his wife, Grace, said his illness appeared to be "more than a coincidence."
In February this year Vanessa Santos-Leitao, 25, a computer assistant who worked in the building from 2006, died of a brain tumour.
Dr Hugh Wagner, a psychologist, died last year of pancreatic cancer. He was 62 and had spent two decades working in room 2.62 of the Rutherford Building.
It was in this room in 1908 that Rutherford, assisted by a colleague, Thomas Royds, carried out experiments using radon.
The Rutherford Building is also known to have contained quantities of polonium, the substance which killed Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident, in November 2006.
One of Dr Wagner's colleagues, Dr John Clark, worked in the room directly below 2.62. He died of a brain tumour in 1992 after taking early retirement.
Concern about the Rutherford Building first emerged in June when three of the university's psychologists published the findings of a private investigation in June.
Although they were unable to establish any direct evidence to link the deaths of their colleagues to radioactive contamination, university officials have confirmed that the Rutherford Building was the subject of a precautionary decontamination exercise in 1999.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-23-08)
The sale price was some 50 per cent higher than the pre-sale estimate.
The George III gold and enamel rings were made by John Salter, a jeweller of the Strand in London, and distributed by the executors of his will. Three examples are held in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
It was one of a selection of Nelson items assembled for the auction to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth.
A small silver mounted commemorative oak box, believed to have been made from wood from the brandy-filled barrel used to hold Nelson's body on the voyage back to England, also sold at the Bonhams auction in London for £8,160. It was only expected to fetch up to £1,200. The box bore the inscription "Lost to his Country 21st Oct 1805".
"If the unusual weather patterns we have seen continue a tragedy is going to happen," he said.
Mr Telka, who is also a former mayor of Oswiecim, the Polish town closest to camp, added that at particular risk is the section of Auschwitz-Birkenau where pyres once consumed the countless victims, and a serious flood could wash away the victims' ashes.
He has called for the instigation of a flood-protection plan, drawn up after in 1998 after serious flooding in Poland the year before. Under the scheme, which Mr Telka claimed has been hampered and blocked by environmentalists, the current system of dykes running along the River Vistula would be raised and strengthened.
A local councillor and board member of the Auschwitz Museum trust, Stanislaw Rydzon, has added his voice to calls for greater protection, saying that the camp was almost flooded 2001 when the Vistula almost burst its banks following days of torrential rain.
A spokesman from the Malopolska regional council said they had plans to renovate the dykes, but conceded that the work may not start until 2010.
The flooding fears come as another source of concern over the upkeep of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which attracts around 500,000 visitors each year.
The names, contained in a dozen files each the thickness of a telephone directory, were presented to Judge Balthasar Garzon on Monday afternoon in the first step towards determining whether a full blown criminal investigation can be launched.
Last month he ordered state bureaucrats and the Roman Catholic church to hand over all relevant documentation - much of which has been unavailable to historians for most of the past six decades.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-20-08)
Dr Ian Dungavell, director of the Victorian Society, said there was widespread dismay at the Church's "intransigent" policy of closing churches, many of which have thriving congregations.
St Marie's Church in Widnes, an Italian Gothic church designed by Edward Welby Pugin, is on a list of the ten most endangered Victorian buildings in Britain, to be published by the Society this week.
Three other churches, including one of only three Swedish churches in the UK, are among those highlighted on the endangered list.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-21-08)
A judge who reluctantly ordered the council to pay the extortionate fee described the law as "utterly deplorable" .
There are now fears of a rash of similar cases in London and other cities which were bombed by the Luftwaffe.
The wrangle centres on a scrap of land measuring roughly 20 yards by 50 which makes up part of a public park called Fred Wells Gardens in Battersea, south west London.
A row of Victorian terraced houses, making up numbers 9 to 15 Orville Road once stood on the site, but they were destroyed by what is thought to have been a V1 flying bomb.
After the war the council cleared the site and added it to the neighbouring park, but it was privately owned.
It was bought for £30,000 in 2001 by an investment firm called Greenweb Ltd, which wanted to build houses there.
When the London Borough of Wandsworth refused planning permission to build on the site, Greenweb served a purchase notice compelling the council to buy the land because it would not allow it to be used for any commercial purpose.
The current market value of the land, as a public open space, was independently set at £15,000, but Greenweb's legal team invoked an obscure clause in the Land Compensation Act 1961 which gives automatic planning permission for the rebuilding of houses destroyed by German bombs.
The first dig around the circle in nearly half a century also suggests that the monument is 300 years younger than previously thought dating it to about 2300 BC.
The finding came in a project by Professors Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright who cut an 11 foot long trench in the inner circle, the first excavation of the site since 1964.
It unearthed chippings from the bluestones which suggested that the sick would break off a piece of the monument to become "talisman, lucky charms, to be used in the healing process is very important,"
Also an "abnormal number" of remains were found in tombs nearby that display signs of serious disease and their teeth prove that about half the bodies there were "not native" to the local area.
Prof Darvill of Bournmenouth University said: "Stonehenge would attract not only people who were unwell, but people who were capable of healing them. Therefore, in a sense, Stonehenge becomes 'the A & E' of southern England."
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-20-08)
But a new book reveals that she was not so steadfast in facing down her own more personal enemies within the Bush administration.
Instead, Miss Rice was so fazed by former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that she burst into tears at a meeting in the White House situation room.
The floodgates opened for the then national security adviser in February 2004, as the Bush administration was wrestling with growing instability in Iraq and the legal status of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
A new biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, called Angler after his Secret Service codename, recounts how he and Mr Rumsfeld conspired to delay the military tribunals which the president had ordered to be set up to try the terrorist suspects.
Miss Rice tried repeatedly to organise a meeting with the most senior figures in the government to discuss the tribunals, but Mr Rumsfeld twice refused to attend, sending his deputy Paul Wolfowitz instead.
Pulitzer prize winning author Barton Gellman writes: "He did not regard her as an equal and barely hid it. The opinions of her staff did not interest him."
On finding Mr Rumsfeld absent from a second meeting, CIA director George Tenet was so angry that he defied a direct order from Miss Rice to sit down and marched out of the meeting, declaring: "This is bullshit."
The book goes on: "Something happened to Rice's face, control melting away. Her eyes welled up and her next words caught in her throat. The men in the room did not know where to look.
'She started to cry,' said one of them. 'And she said - I can't remember the exact words because I was so shaken - something like: "We will talk about this again," and she turned and walked quickly out of the door.'"
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-23-08)
Patch, who has just passed his 110th birthday, served with the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry until he was wounded in the trenches in front of Ypres in the summer of 1917 during the early phases of the battle of Passchendaele. Ninety-one years on, he sat passively in a wheelchair as Jean-Michel Veranneman de Watervliet, the Belgian ambassador to London, made the presentation in a reception room at the ambassador's residence in London.
If he seemed bemused, it may have been at the thought that it is his longevity that has brought celebrity and the Légion d'honneur from France, interviews, an autobiography and television crews beating a path to his nursing home in Somerset. When he was demobbed in 1919, Patch went back to his job as a plumber and did not speak about his war experiences for 80 years.
His silence yesterday may also have been due to the fact that September 22 is usually sombre - the anniversary of the day in 1917 when three other members of his Lewis gun crew were blown to pieces as they moved back from the frontline and Patch's stomach was ripped open by a piece of flying shrapnel. By such accidents of fate did some men die in their teens while their comrade is now Britain's second oldest man.
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-19-08)
Aso, a former foreign minister who is widely expected to be elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic party [LDP] on Monday, would not comment directly on Aso Mining's use of an estimated 10,000 Korean forced labourers and 300 allied POWs at its Yoshikuma pit in Kyushu, south-western Japan.
"I was only five years old when the war ended so I honestly have no personal recollection of that time," Aso, 67, told reporters in Tokyo.
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-23-08)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-22-08)
Excavations in the giant Gorham's and Vanguard caves on the Rock's eastern flank unearthed flint stone tools and remnants of seafood meals alongside the long-dead embers of hearths, which have been carbon-dated to around 28,000 years ago.
The findings suggest that Neanderthals who lived in the caves exploited the plentiful resources that the Mediterranean shoreline provided, and may help explain why groups living in Gibraltar clung on to life while those elsewhere became extinct around 7,000 years earlier.
An international team led by Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London and Clive Finlayson at the Gibraltar Museum uncovered bones and shells that had clearly been butchered with primitive cutting and stripping tools.
Among the remains of wild boar, red deer, ibex and bears, they found bones and shells from monk seals, dolphins and mussels. Many of the bones had sustained damage from cutting and peeling, while the mussels had apparently been warmed on a fire to open them up.
Today the caves are just 10 metres from the water's edge, but 30,000 years ago, when ice was still locked up in vast sheets to the north, the sea would have been 1-2 kilometres away, across sand dunes and woodland.
Gorham's cave, the larger of the two, is 35m high at the entrance and goes back more than 100m into the rock. Several smaller caverns that lead off the main cave have yet to be excavated.
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (9-22-08)
Forme of Cury, a recipe book compiled by King Richard II's master cooks in 1390, details around 205 dishes cooked in the royal household and sheds light on a little-studied element of life in the Dark Ages.
Written in Middle English, it contains the instructions for creating long-forgotten dishes such as blank mang (a sweet dish of meat, milk, sugar and almonds), mortrews (ground and spiced pork), and the original quiche, known in 14th century kitchens as custard.
It is one of 40 literary treasures being made freely available on the internet for the first time by the University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library.
Name of source: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (9-24-08)
CHTHO’s Judicial Office has set up a team of experts to look for the documents at the archives of Iran’s Customs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former prime ministerial office -- present Presidential Office, the office director Omid Ghanami told CHN on Monday.
The project aims to provide Iran with more documents to prove its ownership of the tablets kept at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.
“So far, the documents found during the search show that the tablets have been loaned to the University of Chicago and the artifacts have not been given as compensation in exchange for services performed,” Ghanami noted.
However, he said that the documents refer to implications of the subject and the team should search for more reliable documents.
According to Ghanami, it’s not certain when the court session would be held.
In spring 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people injured by a 1997 bombing in Israel could seize the 300 clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the university cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to the artifacts.
Following Iranian officials’ protests against the ruling, the court was slated to reexamine the case on December 21, 2006, but the court session was postponed to January 19, 2007, allegedly due to the fact that Iran had not provided all the documents necessary to the court.
The court session was held on the above-mentioned date, but no verdict was issued.
The Oriental Institute holds 8000 to 10,000 intact and about 11,000 fragmented tablets, as estimated by Gil Stein, the director of the university’s Oriental Institute.
The tablets were discovered by the University of Chicago archaeologists in 1933 while they were excavating in Persepolis, the site of a major Oriental Institute excavation.
SOURCE: Tehran Times (9-23-08)
Gamard in his recent visit to Konya said that he brought “The Quatrains of Rumi” to Konya to show his loyalty to Rumi and regarded this visit as an occasion to thank the 13th century Sufi poet.
The California-based Gamard indicated he was first introduced to Rumi’s philosophy through a group of Muslims who visited California in 1978, and since then he has been studying Rumi’s spiritual legacy.
“I converted into Islam in 1984 and made the Hajj pilgrimage in 1999. I have been learning Persian since 1981. I want to stay informed about Rumi’s ideas,” he said, adding, “However, my true love is to work with Rumi’s poetry.”
Gamard noted that he was introduced to Professor Rawan Farhadi in 1985, requested his help in translating Rumi’s quatrains into English, and the two started to work on translations.
The book contains the English translations of all of Rumi’s quatrains as well as their original Persian versions and commentary on them.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (9-23-08)
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday presented Greek authorities with a small piece of sculpture from the Parthenon kept in a museum in Palermo, Sicily, for the past 200 years.
The 2,500-year-old marble fragment was one of the works Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the ancient Acropolis in the early 19th century.
Elgin gave it to a friend in Sicily during a stop on his trip back to London, where the rest of his collection is still displayed in the British Museum — despite repeated Greek requests for its return.
SOURCE: AP (9-22-08)
The U.S. Mint unveiled the new designs during a ceremony Monday at the Lincoln Memorial. The coin changes are part of the government's commemoration next year of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.
Lincoln's profile will reman on one side of the coin but the Lincoln Memorial will be replaced on the other side by the new images, with a different one being introduced every three months.
The first new design will depict a log cabin, representing the place in Kentucky where Lincoln was born in 1809.
The second design will feature a young Lincoln taking a break from working as a rail splitter in Indiana by reading a book. Lincoln as a young lawyer standing in front of the old state capitol building in Springfield, Ill., will be the design on the third coin.
The final coin in the series will show the half-completed Capitol dome, evoking Lincoln's famous order that construction of the Capitol should continue during the Civil War as a symbol that the Union would continue.
The first new penny is scheduled to go into circulation starting on Feb. 12, Lincoln's birthday, and then every three months after that.
SOURCE: AP (9-22-08)
Microphone in hand, the New York captain addressed the 54,610 fans who came to say so long to Yankee Stadium, his words booming around the old ballpark where the voices of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle had echoed years before.
"So take the memories from this stadium, add it to the new memories that come with the new Yankee Stadium and continue to pass them on from generation to generation," he said.
The winning tradition that began with a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on April 18, 1923, ended with a 7-3 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday night. It was a bittersweet evening in which the Yankees staved off postseason elimination rather than add another title to their vast collection.
Next April 16 they open a $1.3 billion palace nearing completion across 161st Street, which also will be called Yankee Stadium. But it will not be the same.
Its finances ruined, the organization created by two freed slaves in the wake of the Civil War left little behind other than its iconic brick building in Little Rock's black business district. But even that relic is now gone, left in disrepair until transients trying to stay warm burned it down in March 2005.
However, 2,500 miles away in the tropics of the West Indies, a lodge still bears the Templar's name — one of the chapters that had once popped up in 26 states and six countries — and has kept the society's fire going while all others faded out.
"One seed was planted and from that seed, much fruit has been reaped," said Angelina Thornhill, a member of that surviving Mosaic Templars' lodge on the island of Barbados.
The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points....
More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can't win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don't have such views.
Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books. Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.
SOURCE: AP (9-21-08)
It was the flagship school in what was then the most defiantly white supremacist state in the union. Now, Ole Miss is a diverse university where racial conflict is a topic for history classes rather than a fact of everyday life, and it's hosting the first presidential debate featuring a black nominee for a major party.
"I think what we have here is really a confluence of two lines of history, where you have a new Ole Miss, a post-racial Ole Miss, and you have a post-racial black candidate running for president," said David Sansing, professor emeritus of history at the university. "Nowhere in America could these two forces reinforce each other as they do here at Ole Miss."
In presidential campaign debates, a slip of the tongue, an awkward gesture, style points and the seemingly spontaneous one-liner have provided the telling moments that shape elections and live on in history. The elder George Bush's words from 1992 may be forgotten. The fact that he looked at his watch, isn't.
More often than not the debates have been standoffs, not turning points. Debates have done more to reinforce trends and reputations than to change them.
But when two candidates go head to head live, you just never know.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (9-21-08)
During the first presidential debate, when the moderator, Jim Lehrer, noted that Mr. Kerry had repeatedly accused President Bush “essentially of lying” about his Iraq war strategy, Mr. Kerry instantly demurred.
“I’ve never, ever used the harshest word as you did just then, and I try not to,” he said, before going on to argue that Mr. Bush “had not been candid” and had “misled” voters, and to assert that “it is important to tell the truth to the American people.”
Ah, euphemisms: So 2004. So quaint.
Once considered politically out of bounds, the word “lie” — stated bluntly and unapologetically — has had its unveiling in the 2008 campaign. Rarely does a day go by when aides to the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, do not accuse the Republican ticket — John McCain, Sarah Palin, or both — of lies and lying.
SOURCE: NYT (9-22-08)
The share of non-Hispanic whites in the city had been shrinking since at least 1940. As the overall population grew, their ranks declined by 361,000 in the 1990s alone. Since 2000, though, their number has increased by more than 100,000. Half of that increase was recorded from 2006 to 2007.
“The fact that it is not going down is the news,” said Joseph J. Salvo, director of the population division at the Department of City Planning. “The increase is small, but the relative stability of the number and percent is meaningful.”
SOURCE: NYT (9-20-08)
But no one has formally requested the remains in order to bury them.
“Politically, one can understand that this is a hot potato,” said Muneer Fareed, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America and a former professor of Islamic studies. “People don’t want to identify with the political equivalent of Jeffrey Dahmer.”
SOURCE: NYT (9-19-08)
Although some lawmakers and former officials are tempted by the idea, other experts say the analogy is faulty and the current situation is vastly larger and more complex than the comparatively contained savings and loan mess of two decades ago.
For the moment, creation of an R.T.C.-style agency is not on the table. The Bush administration’s proposed fix does not envision the creation of a quasi-governmental body like the R.T.C. to put a value on and try to market hundreds of billions of dollars in securities held by banks, trading houses and insurance companies that are at the core of today’s financial freeze-up.
The biggest difference between the mid-1980s crisis and now, and where the R.T.C. model falls notably short, is that the government, which insured the deposits of the failing savings institutions, ultimately became the owner by default of the savings and loans, with all of their bad paper, foreclosed real estate and other assets, some above-par and readily marketable.
In the current crisis, the government is trying to keep private institutions like the American International Group and many commercial banks and investment houses operating while relieving them only of tens of billions of dollars in paper nobody else wants.
Name of source: San Francisco Chronicle
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (9-22-08)
John Friede, the de Young Museum trustee who pledged his 4,000-piece collection to the museum in a series of deals from 2003 to 2007, said today that he has no intention of turning the artwork over to his brothers, despite a Florida probate court's order to do so.
A San Francisco judge, at the request of City Attorney Dennis Herrera, issued a contradicting order on Friday, directing the artwork to remain where it is.
"Right now, the two courts offset each other, so I don't have to do anything. I'm frozen," Friede said from his home outside New York City. "These are ugly matters and I certainly hope that they resolve in a way that everyone in the family can be happy together."
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (9-22-08)
Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report finding relatives of Geochelone elephantopus alive and well.
Cross-breeding these living tortoises might re-create the extinct species - though it could take a century.
The distribution of related tortoises between the islands was one of the pieces of evidence Charles Darwin used in formulating his theory of evolution.
But of 15 known Galapagos species, four have since gone extinct - elephantopus less than two decades after Darwin visited the island.
The radiocarbon date is said to be the most accurate yet and means the ring's original bluestones were put up 300 years later than previously thought.
The dating is the major finding from an excavation inside the henge by Profs Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright.
The duo found evidence suggesting Stonehenge was a centre of healing.
The stone weighs 478 carats and is the 20th largest rough diamond ever found, said Gem Diamonds.
The company said the uncut rock was recovered recently from the Letseng mine, owned by the company in Lesotho.
The diamond, which is as yet unnamed, has the potential to yield a 150 carat cut stone, and could sell for tens of millions of dollars, the company said.
"Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates it will yield a record-breaking polished stone of the very best colour and clarity," said the company's chief executive Clifford Elphick.
It would be bigger than the 105 carat round-cut Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is part of the British Crown Jewels.
It would still be dwarfed by the Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905, which was 3,106 carats uncut and yielded a teardrop shaped diamond of 530 carats called the Great Star of Africa.
The radiocarbon date is said to be the most accurate yet and means the ring's original bluestones were put up 300 years later than previously thought.
The dating is the major finding from an excavation inside the henge by Profs Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright.
The duo found evidence suggesting Stonehenge was a centre of healing.
Others have argued that the monument was a shrine to worship ancestors, or a calendar to mark the solstices.
A documentary following the progress of the recent dig has been recorded by the BBC Timewatch series. It will be broadcast on Saturday 27 September.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (9-21-08)
Vietnam's relations with the United States are on an even keel, and Vietnam has little at stake in the election.
While McCain wins points among some Vietnamese for having supported the normalization of relations with the United States in 1995, his story, for the most part, has taken on an aura of wartime kitsch in Vietnam, like the self-parodying propaganda posters that are now sold in galleries, or the "Good Morning Vietnam" T-shirts popular with tourists.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (9-22-08)
Some 8,000 people have died on this remote peninsula since the Hawaiian Kingdom started exiling leprosy patients here in 1866. Many were torn from their families and left to scrounge for shelter, clothes and food. The vast majority were buried in unmarked graves.
Today, visitor interest in Kalaupapa, on the northern edge of Molokai island, is growing. And it will likely increase when the Vatican proclaims Father Damien — the 19th century priest who cared for the leprosy patients — a saint, most likely late next year.
The two dozen patients still living here are eager to celebrate Kalaupapa's most famous resident, a selfless man who cared for leprosy patients when many others shunned them. They would welcome pilgrims at Damien's church and grave.
But therein lies a dilemma. The patients and their supporters also don't want throngs of tourists disturbing the community's privacy and desecrating the land.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (9-22-08)
At issue in recent days in Palm Beach County is a local judicial race that is hardly of national note. But problems with administering the local election, and statements from county officials that some critics call confusing, if not contradictory, have some worried about the coming presidential election.
Polls showing a dead heat in the battle for Florida's 27 electoral votes only add to the drama.
"Managerially, software-wise, procedure-wise, training-wise, there is no confidence that these people will be ready in less than 50 days for the election we are all going to have," said Sid Dinerstein, the Palm Beach County Republican chairman.
SOURCE: CNN (9-22-08)
But prospects seemed dim at a time when Sudan has shown little willingness to compromise and launched an expansive military offensive against rebels in the western Darfur region. Efforts by African countries, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, and France to solve the crisis also have not yielded tangible results.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked judges to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges he carried out genocide in Darfur.
Name of source: http://www.womensenews.org
SOURCE: http://www.womensenews.org (9-21-08)
Today, every available surface of their living room is jammed with family photos.
"When we did have children, it was incredible; it was wonderful. We were two dedicated parents; we needed every asset we had," said Marsha King, whose two daughters are now grown.
King and her husband helped make legal history in 1973 as anonymous plaintiffs--Mr. and Mrs. John Doe--in Roe v. Wade, the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court recognized for the first time that women had a constitutional right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy prior to viability and that states could not unilaterally make all abortions illegal.
The names of Marsha and her husband David were never made public and appeared only in a letter contained in archival documents deposited at a Connecticut college by a New York lawyer who offered assistance on the case. Few people today are aware that the Kings were two of the three plaintiffs who sued the state of Texas over its restrictions on abortion.
This past summer Marsha King agreed to an exclusive interview with Women's eNews, after Operation Save America--a Dallas-based anti-choice group that has been aligned in recent years with a more famous plaintiff in the case, Norma McCorvey--mounted protests in July in Atlanta, where King now lives. (Operation Save America was formerly known as Operation Rescue.)
Name of source: Secrecy News, written by Steven Aftergood, is published by the Federation of American Scientists
If that episode happened as described (and it cannot readily be confirmed), it left no traces on the public record. It"is only one of many hidden battles" between Iran and the West, writes Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman in his new book"The Secret War with Iran" (Free Press, 2008).
The book, translated from the Hebrew and based on extensive interviews with Israeli intelligence officials and others, provides a wealth of insights, unfamiliar anecdotes, and telling observations regarding the three-decade-old confrontation with Iran. A few random examples:
Hizballah, acting as a proxy for Iran, temporarily refrained from taking American hostages between June 1985 and September 1986 in support of the arms sales deal between the U.S. and Iran that later became known as the Iran-contra affair.
Israel itself helped arm revolutionary Iran in an operation codenamed"Seashell" and described in the book. Earlier, Israel had also supplied advanced weaponry to the Shah, and"if Khomeini had not taken power as early as he did, he might have taken over a country [equipped] with long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads... as well as a jet fighter that was supposed to be the best in the world."
Out of a list of some 500 opposition figures targeted by Khomeini, nearly 200 of them were killed by Iranian assassins in Europe between 1980 and 1997.
Writing from an Israeli perspective, Mr. Bergman does not delve deeply into Iranian grievances or aspirations. But neither does he flatter the competence, judgment or morality of Israeli intelligence and military officials.
Categorized as"political science," the book is more of a work of intelligence history, with numerous strange tales of intelligence deeds and misdeeds, like the Israeli intelligence officer who was arrested for murdering his agent, and the Lebanese source who provided perfect warning of an impending attack only to be ignored in a turf battle between Israeli security agencies. The CIA is credited with"brilliantly" dismantling the Abu Nidal Organization,"sewing discord among its members by getting them to believe that they were being robbed by other operatives."
Mr. Bergman, an investigative journalist who writes for Israel's Yediot Aharonot, earned his doctorate under historian Christopher Andrew at Cambridge University. His dissertation explored Israeli intelligence operations in Africa.
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (9-22-08)
At least 50 titles about Lincoln are due out between next month and early 2010, not counting those recently published. The number is probably unprecedented for so short a period, and the range of angles is wide. There are three complete biographies; books of essays and photographs; books about Lincoln as a youth, as president-elect, as a military leader, as a writer, and as an inventor; books about Lincoln and his family, about Lincoln as victim of conspiracy, about Lincoln and his connections with others - his secretaries, his admirals, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, scientist Charles Darwin, even the poet Robert Burns. There are at least seven children's books on the way.
"The interest in Lincoln has been continuous in history," said Brandeis University historian David Hackett Fischer, "and there is a surge right now. Something is going on today."
One reason for the wave is that Feb. 12, 2009, marks the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. But more important to publishers than the date is that the readers are there.
"People are hungry for details about Lincoln," said Alice Mayhew, editorial director of Simon & Schuster, who has edited about a dozen Lincoln books. "He's clearly the greatest hero, with a poignance and a sadness - what he had to endure as president and in his personal life." Beside the man is the dramatic arc of the story. "That this man happened to come along when he did, when he was the one essential person on the planet, is the fascinating thing."
Name of source: http://www.fredericksburg.com
SOURCE: http://www.fredericksburg.com (9-21-08)
Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant needed a victory. He had just lost 35,000 men in two weeks of intense fighting near Spotsylvania Courthouse. President Abraham Lincoln wanted to be re-elected, but as the war continued with few victories for the Union, that re-election was in jeopardy.
And the American public knew more about the horrors of war thanks to a brand-new phenomenon: photojournalists who followed the troops.
These photographers captured the gritty details of war: dead bodies, burned cities and sad soldiers.
"It was shocking to people to see these gruesome scenes," said Terry Thomann, director of the National Civil War Life Foundation in Spotsylvania. "It showed not only the faces of soldiers, but it also showed the face of war."
In early May, Grant's troops attacked entrenched Confederate forces near the Courthouse. Grant needed a new strategy to lure the Southern troops out into the open.
He and Gen. George Meade had the pews pulled out of Massaponax Baptist Church and held a strategy meeting on the church grounds. They determined to push the Union army on toward Richmond.
Photographer Timothy O'Sullivan captured that meeting on glass plates and developed it into a photo that became one of the defining images of the Civil War.
That photo was titled "Council of War at Massaponax Church" and printed on wooden plates for distribution in illustrated magazines.
Yesterday, Thomann re-created that famous photo at a celebration of the Spotsylvania church's 220th anniversary.
Re-enactors--including Grant's great-great-grandson John Griffiths--sat on the same pews dragged out for the strategy session.
Name of source: Bloomberg News
SOURCE: Bloomberg News (9-16-08)
Name of source: Sydney Morning Herald
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald (9-22-08)
Then there was the globular shape resting on top of the buckles, in pride of place. Lynette Silver rubbed away the dirt, spat on it and rubbed again. Now she could see an outline map of Australia and, now, a crown on top, and then the words "Australian Military Forces". It was a brass tunic button from an Australian uniform.
"The button was most likely a treasured possession," Ms Silver, the historian, said last week, "with the map of Australia a reminder of home. Its placement, on top of the buckles, appears to be an attempt to identify the nationality of those imprisoned there."
By the time the button and other relics were buried 63 years ago, the burial party would have harboured no hopes of survival, or rescue, or of anyone in the outside world knowing where they were. They knew that people who came to this remote place were doomed to die. This place was the last camp.
So the dying soldiers buried these artefacts, the only non-perishable things they owned, in the hope that someone, one day, would know that Australians had been there, eight kilometres south of Ranau.
A few months earlier in 1945, the Japanese high command had ordered that no prisoners survive the war. With Allied forces nearing Sandakan, the Japanese ordered prisoners to march 265 kilometres to Ranau. Of 2434 Australian and British prisoners in Sandakan, only six survived - 1787 Australians and 641 British perished in the camp, along the track or at Ranau. The last were executed on August 27, 12 days after World War II ended.
Now the owner of the land on which the relics were discovered, with the help of Ms Silver, the foremost authority on the Sandakan tragedy, is planning to preserve the site. He will build a community facility with the artefacts in special pavilions.
Name of source: Deutsche Welle
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (9-21-08)
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (9-19-08)
Suddenly it seem everyone is weighing in on whether George W. Bush will be remembered kindly or poorly by history.
Conservative columnist George Will issued a blistering attack on the White House Thursday night for bailing out mismanaged Wall Street giants, saying Bush's intervention makes him a liberal.
"Where is the Bennigan's bailout?" he said in a speech before the West Michigan Regional Policy Council, asking why the administration would bail out AIG and not Bennigan's restaurant chain, which recently declared bankruptcy. He added:
We may be witnessing the most left-wing, the most liberal administration in U.S. history. This is an astonishingly interventionist administration.
Another conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer, interviewed Bush on Monday and came away impressed at his calm and "confidence in eventual historical vindication. In a Washington Post article titled "History Will Judge," Krauthammer said:
It is precisely that quality that allowed him to order the surge in Iraq in the face of intense opposition from the political establishment (of both parties), the foreign policy establishment (led by the feckless Iraq Study Group), the military establishment (as chronicled by [Bob] Woodward) and public opinion itself. The surge then effected the most dramatic change in the fortunes of an American war since the summer of 1864.
Finally, there's Politico.com's Roger Simon, who argues that Bush has been absent without leave during the most traumatic financial crisis in years. He argues that Bush has done little more than issue a few words, "a very few words. Delivered with the greatest reluctance."
Thursday's remarks, he noted, were two minutes long.
That’s right, two minutes. Delivered, according to the official White House transcript, from 10:15 a.m. EDT to 10:17 a.m. EDT. Maybe you missed it. Maybe you were at work. Maybe the president doesn’t care. Maybe that’s the problem.
George W. Bush will continue to draw a paycheck until noon on Jan. 20, 2009. (If there is still any money left in the U.S. Treasury to pay him, that is.) But what has he been doing to earn his pay lately? Not calming fears among his fellow citizens about their life savings, that’s for sure.
So you be the judge. Is Bush a conservative turned socialist? A stalwart war president who will be vindicated by history? An uncaring president blind to suffering of American citizens?
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (9-20-08)
It would be hard to find a superlative that would overstate how much the parameters and contours of American economic policy have been reshaped over the past two weeks.
The degree of government intervention into the workings of the private marketplace is unprecedented. Three giant financial institutions taken over. Government purchases of vast quantities of hard-to-sell assets from banks, investment banks and anyone else whose demise might threaten the financial system. Trading outlawed in an entire class of securities. A government guarantee extended to a whole new category of investments.
Laws have been stretched until they are barely recognizable -- like the one, from the days of the gold standard, that authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to buy and sell the precious metal, now used to authorize a wholly new insurance program for money-market funds.
Roles have been expanded well beyond anything that could have been imagined only weeks ago, like the central bank taking control of a giant insurance company.
And tossed aside have been long-standing conventions, such as the quaint ideal that independent agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve should keep a proper distance from the White House and the executive branch.
Name of source: Politico
SOURCE: Politico (9-16-08)
Of course, no movie is as exciting as the real deal. And when the 2008 presidential candidates hold their first face-off next Friday night, it might break the all-time record set by the Jimmy Carter-Ronald Reagan debate, which drew more than 80 million viewers back in 1980. If you’ve wanted to check out that chic new restaurant in town, go on Sept. 26 — eateries, multiplexes and bars will likely be as desolate as the Painted Desert, with folks staying home to watch John McCain and Barack Obama duke it out in their initial mano a mano contest.
Cracking 80 million viewers, however, will rely heavily on real-time streaming of the event on the Internet.
“The debates will be watched more widely on the Web than ever before,” predicted Alan Schroeder, a former Boston television producer and current associate professor at Northeastern University. He’s the author of “Presidential Debates: 50 Years of High-Risk TV.”
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (9-19-08)
Archaeologists say the remains are more than 3,000 years old and were found within two months of each other, in prehistoric burial grounds surrounded by ceremonial beads, pottery, shells and animal bones, the Sun daily reported.
"These remains are very important as the skeletons are almost fully complete," Mokhtar Saidin, head of the Malaysian Centre for Archaeological Research told the paper.