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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: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-31-08)
Millions of the 'hated landlord class' were denounced, killed or driven to suicide in the push which paved the way for each peasant to have his own slice of land.
But 60 years on, the Communist Party is preparing to renounce the country's final trace of collectivism.
Each of China's 800 million farmers will be given the right to sell their land to a landlord in a move designed to transform the countryside from a patchwork of tiny, hardscrabble plots into large, efficient farms.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-30-08)
Dr Toben, 64, a prominent Australian academic, is wanted to stand trial for material he published between 2000 and 2004.
The German authorities claim they are 'of an anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature'.
In the European Arrest Warrant issued in October 2004, he is accused of approving of or playing down the murder of the Jews by the Nazis.
But District Judge Daphne Wickham yesterday ruled the warrant invalid as it contains inadequate detail about the offences.
It neither states the name of the website nor where the propaganda is said to have been published from - merely referring to the 'world-wide internet'.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-29-08)
For the 40 years of the Cold War the Stasi – 'The Sword and Shield of the Party' – kept a lid on dissent in East Germany through a unique method of surveillance.
They did not need torture chambers and rubber truncheons to keep people in line, but instead exploited the insecurities of members of the public, according to author Christhard Laepple.
Turning one in three of the German Democratic Republic's 17 million citizens into informers, the Stasi injected fear, uncertainty and suspicion into every walk of life, making sure few people ever uttered anything which might anger the regime.
In Betrayal Has No Expiration Date Laepple, a journalist for German television station ZDF, details accounts of sisters turned against brothers, husbands against wives, sons against fathers and lovers against lovers.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-29-08)
Local officials have called for an end to the 'ostracism' and constant digs over collaboration.
The local mayor hit out after left-wing groups said it was inappropriate for the town to stage its first international summit for 60 years.
After being shunned for decades by conference organisers keen to avoid any links with the former capital of the pro-Nazi puppet regime, Vichy will finally stages an EU conference on integration and asylum.
The town's mayor Claude Malhuret, from President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the conference would "at last break the ostracism of the last 60 years."
"I find it scandalous that there are 10 conferences per year in Berlin, Hitler's city, and in Moscow, Stalin's city, and nobody says anything, while Vichy has long been forbidden to hold an international conference," he said.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-28-08)
The banned footage shows Jeroen Meus, a 30-year-old Flemish TV chef, catching trout before cooking up the "favourite meal of an atrocious man" at Hitler's Kehlsteinhaus, Eagle's Nest, hideaway in the Bavarian Alps.
Belgium's VRT broadcaster has cancelled the programme after deeming it "too sensitive" to air as part of the popular Plat Préféré, or Favourite Dish, series profiling the menu choices of famous people.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
She was a young Parisian student, a Jew, whose friends were daily disappearing to the concentration camps and she knew the net was tightening. Rumours had reached her that asphyxiating gas was being administered to convoys of Jewish deportees at the Polish border.
"To think that every person arrested yesterday, today, this very minute," she wrote, "is probably destined to suffer this terrible fate. To think that it is not over yet, that it continues with diabolical regularity.
"To think that if I am arrested this evening (which I have been expecting for ages now), in a week's time I'll be in Upper Silesia, maybe dead, and my whole life, with the infinity I sense within me, will be snuffed out..."
Two vintage airplanes, a DC-3 and a Junkers Ju-52, took off shortly before midnight as the final flights from the airport, which had been the focus of a legal battle that went on for several years.
To those who advocated for its closing, like Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, Tempelhof was an unprofitable drain on the city's budget. To its supporters it was an architectural masterpiece and a historic monument to freedom.
Tempelhof, although built by the Nazis, is best known as the site of the Berlin airlift of 1948 and 1949, after the Soviets blocked land access to the city. The United States and Britain brought in supplies by air, over 2 million tons of food, fuel and even machinery. It became a symbol of the Allies' commitment to protecting the city and indeed Western Europe.
On dark winter mornings, students will be asked to sit on the hinoki wood floors and meditate for 90 minutes. A class called "Realizing Bodymind" will be taught there next semester.
The structure — donated by a Japanese family with roots in Greenville's textile past and connections to a university professor — symbolizes an evolution for the private liberal arts school. Founded in 1826 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Furman is recasting itself as a regional center for Far Eastern studies.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (10-30-08)
The five-acre site, with its fortifications, dwellings and multi-chambered entry gate, will also be a weapon in the contentious and often politicized debate over whether David and his capital, Jerusalem, were an important kingdom or a minor tribe, an issue that divides not only scholars but those seeking to support or delegitimize Zionism.
Only a tiny portion of the site has been excavated, and none of the findings have yet been published or fully scrutinized. But the dig, led by Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is already causing a stir among his colleagues as well as excitement from those who seek to use the Bible as a guide to history and confirmation of their faith.
"This is a new type of site that suddenly opens a window on an area where we have had almost nothing and requires us to rethink what was going on at that period," said Aren Maeir, professor of archaeology at Bar-Ilan University and the director of a major Philistine dig not far from here. "This is not a run-of-the-mill find."
The 10th century B.C. is the most controversial period in biblical archaeology because it is then, according to the Old Testament, that David united the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, setting the stage for his son Solomon to build his great temple and rule over a vast area from the Nile to the Euphrates Rivers.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (10-28-08)
He did not realize it, of course. Thoreau died in 1862, when the industrial revolution was just beginning to pump climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In 1851, when he started recording when and where plants flowered in Concord, he was making notes for a book on the seasons.
Now, though, researchers at Boston University and Harvard are using those notes to discern patterns of plant abundance and decline in Concord — and by extension, New England — and to link those patterns to changing climate.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (10-31-08)
They said Halloween is a good time to highlight the "grave miscarriage of justice" suffered by the men and women falsely accused of being witches.
Their petition asks Justice Minister Jack Straw to recommend that Queen Elizabeth II issue a pardon.
"We felt that it was time that the sinister associations held by a minority of people regarding witches and Halloween were tackled head-on," said Emma Angel, head of Angels, a large costume supplier in London.
"We were gobsmacked to discover that though the law was changed hundreds of years ago and society had moved on, the victims were never officially pardoned."
Name of source: UPI
SOURCE: UPI (10-30-08)
Texas A&M nautical archaeologist Ben Ford said in a recently released research report that while the so-called Mardi Gras Wreck was found in 2002 off the coast of Louisiana, cannons and other weapons weren't found on board until last summer, the Houston Chronicle said.
Ford said using remotely operated vehicles, researchers were able to videotape portions of the underwater wreck and found evidence the ship likely had been used for questionable activities.
"It's a fairly large arsenal," Ford told the Chronicle of the weapons cache found on the vessel. "They were either out for mischief or they were concerned about coming to some harm."
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (10-31-08)
In an essay entitled "Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?" General Toshio Tamogami claimed that Japan had been provoked by the then US president, Franklin D Roosevelt, and that many of Japan's wartime victims took "a positive view" of its actions.
The claims, made today in an online essay, drew a swift rebuke from senior politicians.
The defence minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said he would dismiss the general immediately. "I think it is improper of the air force chief of staff to publicly state a view that clearly differs from the that of the government," he told reporters.
"It is inappropriate for him to remain in this position and I will swiftly dismiss him."
The prime minister, Taro Aso, a nationalist who has upset Japan's neighbours with ill-judged comments about the war, described Tamogami's views as "inappropriate, even if they were made in a personal capacity".
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (10-30-08)
Harry Patch, 110, who was born in Combe Down, Bath, was a plumber by trade before being called up.
He was a private when he fought at the Battle of Passchendaele.
Mr Patch will be on board HMS Somerset at Avonmouth docks to see a Beaver plane drop hundreds of poppies in remembrance of fallen personnel.
There will also be a fly-past by the Army Air Corps Historic Aircraft Flight.
Within minutes, news of the Armistice - the cease fire - had been flashed around the world that the war, which was meant to "end all wars", was finally over.
And yet it wasn't, because the cease-fire would not come into effect for a further six hours - at 11am - so troops on the frontline would be sure of getting the news that the fighting had stopped.
That day many hundreds died, and thousands more injured.
The respected American author Joseph E Persico has calculated a shocking figure that the final day of WWI would produce nearly 11,000 casualties, more than those killed, wounded or missing on D-Day, when Allied forces landed en masse on the shores of occupied France almost 27 years later.
What is worse is that hundreds of these soldiers would lose their lives thrown into action by generals who knew that the Armistice had already been signed.
The recklessness of General Wright, of the 89th American Division, is a case in point.
Seeing his troops were exhausted and dirty, and hearing there were bathing facilities available in the nearby town of Stenay, he decided to take the town so his men could refresh themselves.
"That lunatic decision cost something like 300 casualties, many of them battle deaths, for an inconceivable reason," says Mr Persico.
So who were the last to die?
New research by the BBC's Timewatch tells the story of some of the last to fall in WWI.
29 October 2008
At least 160 people are killed in the Pakistani province of Balochistan after an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck 70km (45 miles) north of Quetta.
12 May 2008:
Up to 87,000 people are killed or missing and as many as 370,000 injured by an earthquake in just one county in China's south-western Sichuan province.
The tremor, measuring 7.8, struck 92km (57 miles) from the provincial capital Chengdu during the early afternoon....
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (10-30-08)
W. Richard West Jr., who retired last year as founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, has agreed to reimburse the Smithsonian $9,700 for payments that he should not have received, said Inspector General A. Sprightley Ryan. Other expenses might have to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service as income on his tax returns.
"It is regrettable that Mr. West's expenditures were not more in keeping with the prudence demanded of a nonprofit leader and, more importantly, that the Institution, because of its anemic oversight, permitted these types of expenditures and errors," Ryan said.
SOURCE: WaPo (10-30-08)
The review was requested after a series of reports in The Washington Post exposed spending abuses among Smithsonian managers. Inspector General A. Sprightley Ryan found "lavish" and "extravagant" spending by W. Richard West Jr., the former director of the National Museum of the American Indian, in a report released Wednesday.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (10-30-08)
Libya's Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam was quoted by the ANSA and Apcom news agencies as saying the Italians warned him of the raids launched from a NATO base on Italian soil because they were opposed to the action. Shalgam said the Italians informed him personally since, at the time, he was Libya's ambassador in Rome.
"I don't think I am revealing a secret if I announce that Italy informed us a day before — April 14, 1986 — that there would be an American aggression against Libya," the agencies quoted Shalgam as saying.
SOURCE: AP (10-28-08)
Twelve of the artifacts returned Monday are pieces"of high archaeological and artistic value" stolen from the Lords of Sipan tomb site in the 1980s, said Walter Alva, lead archaeologist on the dig. They include gold necklace pendants in the shape of an owl's head and a toad, and an embossed gold scepter. Gold masks and jewelry from the La Mina Mochica tomb in northern Peru and ceramics from several pre-Columbian cultures were also returned, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The artifacts were among 253 pieces that Spanish police seized in 2007 from a warehouse owned by Costa Rican Leonardo Patterson, a renowned antiquities dealer and former U.N. cultural attache.
SOURCE: AP (10-27-08)
Hans-Werner Sinn, the head of the Munich-based Ifo institute, was quoted as telling the daily Tagesspiegel in an interview about the global economic meltdown that "in every crisis, people look for culprits, for someone to blame."
"No one wanted to believe in an anonymous systemic error in the world economic crisis of 1929 either," he added, according to the report. "Back then it hit the Jews in Germany; today, it's the managers."
Recent weeks have seen widespread condemnation of perceived failings by financial experts prior to today's financial crisis.
In contrast, the 1929 crisis was followed by the rise to power in 1933 of the Nazis, who set in motion a systematic persecution of Jews that culminated with the death of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
Sinn drew strong criticism from the government and the opposition, from Germany's Central Council of Jews and from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He issued an apology a few hours after the interview hit newsstands.
"I regret very much that the Jewish community feels hurt by my comments," Sinn wrote in a letter to the Jewish council's president, Charlotte Knobloch. "I did not want in any way to compare the fate of the Jews after 1933 with the situation of managers today — such a comparison would be absurd."
SOURCE: AP (10-29-08)
Albania's top prosecutor said Monday she would not help a visiting Serbian war crimes prosecutor who is investigating claims of organ-trafficking that surfaced in a book earlier this year by the former chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte.
In "The Hunt: War Criminals and Me," Del Ponte wrote that, according to her sources, about 300 people were kidnapped during the Kosovo war and transported across the border to Albania where they disappeared. There are reports that some ended as victims of an organ harvesting operation, Del Ponte wrote.
Albanian authorities refused to offer an explanation for their decision.
SOURCE: AP (10-28-08)
Today, barring traffic, it takes nine hours and 31 minutes to drive south from the White House in THAT Washington to the town square of this one, where you'll find, among other attractions, a taxidermist, Miss Fanny's Tours and a monument to Confederate battle heroes of the Civil War.
This is an outpost in the small-town America coveted by John McCain and Barack Obama, and none of those "Beltway insiders" — much maligned wheeler-dealers who operate inside the ring-road that circles the national capital — is in sight.
Viewed from here, the District of Columbia — the Washington that John F. Kennedy wryly called "a city of southern efficiency and northern charm" — seems like another world.
"I feel out of touch with them. I think most Americans do," Ashley Barnett, Wilkes County's tourism director, says in her office on Washington's town square.
That refrain has resounded through administrations from Lyndon Johnson to Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, and never more than at this moment: To candidates and many voters, Washington — D.C., not Georgia — is, simply, broken. Insiders are out, and outsiders are most definitely in.
America, the thinking goes, needs a leader with a non-Washington sensibility to parachute in and repair the damage, to infuse heartland-bred common sense into a faltering federal behemoth whose corruption and ineptitude is dragging down the nation.
Name of source: FoxNews.com
SOURCE: FoxNews.com (10-30-08)
Rome destroyed the Phoenicians' greatest city — Carthage — centuries ago, but new genetic studies indicate that as many as one in 17 men living in communities around the Mediterranean may be descended from these ancient mariners.
Originating from what is now Lebanon, the Phoenicians were early seafarers and traders who spread their culture, including a love for the color purple, to North Africa, Spain and other countries around the region.
But they seemed to fade from history after their main colony, Carthage, was defeated in a series of wars with Rome.
SOURCE: FoxNews.com (10-28-08)
Officials at Wiener Linien, which operates the Austrian capital's subway, bus and tram system, said Tuesday the man has been fired after uttering the Nazi greeting over the tram's public address system over the weekend.
State-run ORF radio and television said on its Web site that the unidentified 35-year-old made the comment at the end of a a brief statement mentioning that this was his streetcar's last trip on the historic Vienna Ring encircling the city center. Transit authorities ended some streetcar routes on the Ring and changed schedules for others Sunday.
"This is a historic moment and is a day of remembrance of historic events," the Web site quoted him as saying. "Sieg Heil!"
Name of source: Harvard Crimson
SOURCE: Harvard Crimson (10-30-08)
Harvard had been one of five academic libraries—along with Stanford, Oxford, Michigan, and the New York Public Library—to partner with Google when the book scanning initiative was announced in October 2004. University officials said that Harvard would continue its policy of only allowing Google to scan books whose copyrights have expired.
Google’s initiative has drawn fire because the Internet search company plans to digitize books that are still in copyright. The Association of American Publishers, the trade group that brought the lawsuit and that represents more than 300 publishing houses, has alleged that Google’s initiative amounted to copyright infringement on a massive scale.
Name of source: Salon
SOURCE: Salon (10-29-08)
Last month, students at George Fox University in Oregon hanged an effigy of Barack Obama. Earlier this week, an effigy of Sarah Palin with a noose around its neck that was hung at a home in West Hollywood, Calif., attracted national attention.
Wednesday morning, another effigy of Obama was found. This one was hanging from a tree on the campus of the University of Kentucky. It has since been taken down.
While any such faux brutality is horrifying, it's hard to avoid particular alarm at a simulated lynching of a black man occurring below the Mason-Dixon line. While the earlier incidents were of course offensive and inappropriate, they don't carry quite the same painful freight this latest one does.
In an e-mail to the campus community, the university's president apologized to Obama and his family and said that investigators are currently engaged in determining whether any laws were broken.
Name of source: http://ancientworldbloggers.blogspot.com (Click to see pics.)
SOURCE: http://ancientworldbloggers.blogspot.com (Click to see pics.) (10-29-08)
Her response to me included a set of photographs of some of the objects confiscated from the smugglers. Those photographs are published here with her kind permission.
Name of source: San Francisco Chronicle
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (10-30-08)
Among John McCain's favorite books, culled from news reports, are "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway, "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque and Edward Gibbon's "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
According to Barack Obama's Facebook profile, his favorite books include "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison, "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville and Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance."
We asked a handful of Bay Area authors for their response to the lists; their answers follow.
Susan Griffin, author of "Wrestling With the Angel of Democracy" and "A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War":
A novel depicting warfare, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" may seem an obvious pick for McCain, were it not for the fact that the hero, Robert Jordan, eventually confronts the absurdity of war. Or that, as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War, this hero would have been labeled socialist or anti-American by the right wing. (Even more ironic, this hero fears that the wealthy in America might turn to fascism out of an objection to being taxed!) McCain's second choice, "All Quiet on the Western Front," by a German veteran of the First World War, also captures the meaninglessness of war.
And "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"? We may be witnessing a similar decline in our own fortunes today, yet Gibbon does not fault war but the lack of manliness in Roman society, brought about partly because of, guess what, the pacifism preached by Christianity. This strange conglomeration leads me to wonder if the confusion McCain has displayed throughout his campaign may reflect a profound inner ambivalence.
Obama's choice of "Song of Solomon," a novel about a man who, while searching for gold, gains an understanding of his roots and sense of community and thus finds his own soul, mirrors in subtle measure the choices of a man who, upon graduating with honor from Harvard Law, chose to work with community organizations in the South Side of Chicago instead of accepting a more lucrative appointment.
This book uses myth and metaphor to bring out many different levels of meaning, as does "Moby-Dick." Captain Ahab's madly compulsive pursuit can be read as a mirror of the self-destructive path the Bush administration has taken during the last eight years. Hopefully, Obama can read our current crises on many levels, too, and give us the complex, nuanced understanding we so badly need. Contrary to popular misconceptions, Emerson's essay is not about pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps but on the independence of heart, spirit and mind that is aligned with integrity. And that choice speaks for itself....
Name of source: Spiegel Online
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (10-28-08)
It’s impossible to walk through Wittenberg, also known as "Luther City," without stumbling across reminders of Martin Luther. There’s the "Luther oak," then Luther Street, which leads to the Luther House. Along the way are restaurants offering a "Luther menu" (choice of meat or fish) and a travel agency touting a tour boat named after the city, which couples can book for their weddings. The bars serve Luther beer; the bakery has Luther bread. There's a huge memorial to Luther in the main marketplace. And the city is crawling with guides decked out in long frocks à la Luther. The city has been completely Lutherized.
Wittenberg, in fact, is as important to the history of Protestantism as Rome is for the Catholic Church. But there’s an essential difference: While Rome is full of Catholics, less than 10 percent of Wittenberg’s 46,000 citizens are Protestants.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (10-30-08)
The dig's uncovering of the past near the ancient battlefield in the Valley of Elah, now home to wineries and a satellite station, could have implications for the emotional debate over the future of Jerusalem, some 20 km (12 miles) away.
Archaeologists from the Hebrew University said they found five lines of text written in black ink on a shard of pottery dug up at a five-acre (two-hectare) site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa.
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (10-29-08)
Researchers in Thailand and Indonesia wrote in two articles in Nature magazine that the tsunami hit around 1400, long before historical records of earthquakes in the region began.
"Tsunamis are something we never experienced before and after 2004, people thought it was something we would never experience again," Kruawun Jankaew of Thailand's Chulalongkorn University told Reuters by telephone.
"But from this, we are able to identify that the place has been hit by a mega tsunami in the past. So even though it is infrequent for this part of the world, it still happens and there is a need to promote tsunami education for coastal peoples."
SOURCE: Yahoo (10-24-08)
"Throughout the period of the Holocaust, the Vatican knew very well what was happening in Europe," Isaac Herzog, Israel's social affairs minister, told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. "Yet there is no evidence of any step being taken by the pope, as the stature of the Holy See should have mandated." Herzog, whose role in government is to serve as a liaison with the Christian community, insisted that the pope's failure to speak out should disqualify him from being considered for sainthood, a process that has been delayed since Pius's death in 1958. "The attempt to turn him into a saint is an exploitation of forgetfulness and lack of awareness," Herzog said. "Instead of acting according to the biblical verse 'Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbor,' the pope kept silent--and perhaps even worse."
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (10-30-08)
Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.
A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.
The US press has repeatedly rehearsed Mr Obama’s extraordinary odyssey, but the other side of the family’s American experience has only been revealed in parts. Just across town from where Mr Obama made history as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, some of his closest blood relatives have confronted the harshness of immigrant life in America.
SOURCE: Times (UK) (10-30-08)
His H4 marine chronometer, the fourth version of a “Great Sea Clock” he had designed to keep perfect time in ocean conditions, had been successfully tested on not one but two intercontinental voyages. But still Parliament’s Board of Longitude refused to pay up.
Harrison’s indignant response was to publish an 18-page pamphlet of protest, addressed to “the Commissioners constituted for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea”. Today, one of the very few surviving copies of the document’s first edition will go on sale at Bloomsbury Auctions in London. The only other copy to be auctioned in the past 30 years was sold for $90,000 (£56,000).
SOURCE: Times (UK) (10-29-08)
Eight of our US and foreign policy experts have considered, compared, debated and finally ranked all 42 presidents in order of greatness to give us a complete list of the best and worst.
Yesterday we published the ten worst and today it is time for numbers 32 to 22:
32. Jimmy Carter
Many of the comment posters on yesterday's worst ten presidents could not believe Carter missed the roll of shame. Well our panel only just left him out - making him their 11th worst President.
The Carter administration was dominated by a series of foreign policy disappointments including the surrender of the Panama Canal, the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
In Washington, Carter instituted major civil service reform and restructured the health and education departments but he failed to excite the voting population and, with the economy struggling, he was comfortably voted out of office after a single term.
"Carter got just about everything wrong." Chris Ayres, Los Angeles correspondent
31. John Tyler
Tyler assumed the presidency after a brief constitutional crisis following the sudden death of William Harrison. He had been the Vice President and from this moment, all VPs were a heartbeat away from the White House.
He struggled to assert his authority and his presidency was often referred to as “his accidency”. He managed to survive the first ever attempt to impeach a President after an unpopular veto and went on to annex Texas and then bring Florida into the Union....
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (10-30-08)
The discovery of the 2,000-year-old ossuary, or bone box, bearing the words, 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus', was regarded as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries when it emerged nearly a decade ago.
But other experts decided the inscription on the 'priceless' limestone artefact had been added at a later date.
It was dismissed as a fake and Israeli authorities began criminal investigations.
But yesterday a three-year forgery trial in Israel was close to collapse, reopening the possibility it might indeed be the only tangible evidence for the life of Jesus.
Jerusalem judge Aharon Farkash told prosecutors trying Israeli collector Oded Golan: 'Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artefacts are fakes as charged in the indictment?'
Name of source: http://www.catholicculture.org
SOURCE: http://www.catholicculture.org (10-29-08)
‘Our Catholic moral principles teach that a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity is insufficient to justify their constant support of abortion laws, including partial-birth abortion, and infanticide for born-alive infants,’ Bishop Finn noted. ‘Promotion of the Freedom of Choice Act is a pledge to eliminate every single limit on abortions achieved over the last thirty-five years … I ask you to join me in invoking the Guardian Angels of 47 million babies lost through abortion in our country in the last thirty-five years. This horrendous loss of life remains one of the greatest threats to human civilization we have ever faced.’
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (10-30-08)
"We're in the process of building 10 provincial museums, training more archaeologists, repatriating stolen treasures and making a red-list of [looted] art works," the deputy culture minister, Omar Sultan, said during an official visit to Greece.
"But we also desperately need to educate young Afghans about the importance of their culture," he told the Guardian. "There is a whole generation out there who have only ever known weapons and war. If they are sensitised, if they can be made to feel there is a cultural heritage of which they can be proud, they can influence their parents who help the gangs."
The authorities are starting to make progress with repatriating stolen artefacts retrieved from overseas: in the past year, thousands of treasures have been repatriated from Denmark and Switzerland. Four tonnes of valuable items, holed up at Heathrow airport since 2005, are also due to be returned in coming weeks.
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (10-29-08)
It was 8.35am on November 21 1916. The four-funnel ocean liner, built to be even larger and safer than the "unsinkable" Titanic, her ill-fated sister, was listing fast. Bartlett knew the ship was doomed, but on this eerily calm morning as it sailed to collect troops wounded in the first world war's Balkans campaign, neither he nor any of his crew could have imagined the speed with which the vessel would go down.
The explosion occurred at 8.12am, sending a giant shudder through the gargantuan vessel, badly damaging its bow as it steamed past the Greek island of Kea. Fifty-five minutes later, the 269-metre (883ft) "wonder ship" lay starboard side down on the seabed.
There the Britannic, which was launched in February 1914 at Belfast, and, the following year, put to use as a wartime hospital ship for the first time, would stay at a depth of 122 metres (400ft), untouched and forgotten, until being discovered by the explorer Jacques Cousteau, in 1975.
Now, the mystery, and controversy that has shrouded this vessel - which sank so quickly compared with the 160 or so minutes taken by the Titanic - could soon be lifted.
There are plans to turn the shipwreck into a spectacular underwater museum. Its location, which until now has been glimpsed only by a handful of divers, will be opened up to tourists. The aim is for the first tours in submersibles to begin next summer.
Name of source: Science News Daily
SOURCE: Science News Daily (10-7-08)
Whisonant and Ehlen examined the geomorphology of several battlefields and compared the terrain to known casualties for each day of fighting. The question, says Whisonant, is whether a correlation exists between the geology of the battlefield and casualties taken there. For some battles in the Civil War, the story told by the shape of the land is clear: soldiers were at greater risk in some areas because the underlying geology created a more dangerous terrain.
"Gettysburg is a good example where the Union had the high ground, but one disadvantage was the hard rock that forms that high ground is so close to the surface that the soldiers couldn't dig trenches." They were open targets for artillery assault by the Confederates. But the disadvantage didn't just go one way: "Those Confederate soldiers had to go up an open slope formed on more erodible rock with nothing to get behind when they finally had to attack." That's what Whisonant and Ehlen mean by their presentation title, "No Place to Run, No Place to Hide."
Name of source: Salon (Click here to listen to LBJ audio tape.)
SOURCE: Salon (Click here to listen to LBJ audio tape.) (10-29-08)
After years of badgering by Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., Johnson in 1967 promoted Vice Adm. John S. "Jack" McCain Jr. from a dead-end post to commander of the Atlantic fleet, according to archived letters, documents and tapes of phone conversations that have not been reported until now. Johnson did it even though Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said in a 1966 phone conversation with Johnson that he had been told McCain wasn't competent and that "he's not a good strong tough commander."
McCain, his father and his grandfather learned the levers of power, made White House contacts and cultivated powerful, helpful allies among important members of Congress when each of them served in a mid-career posting as the Navy's liaison to Congress, according to documents and books. While all three McCains had celebrated military careers, Johnson's intervention in Jack McCain's case fits a pattern: Records show that presidents intervened to help McCain's grandfather, John S. "Slew" McCain; Jack McCain; and McCain himself.
Name of source: Christian Science Monitor
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor (10-28-08)
The history of one-party rule in America is fraught with triumphs and peril.
Franklin Roosevelt swept into power in 1933 at a time of economic depression, and, with a Democratic congressional majority behind him, was able to enact a raft of legislation in just a few months. But in his second term, President Roosevelt overreached and ran afoul of his own party.
Two more recent presidents, Democrats Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, also began their tenure with congressional majorities – in Carter’s case, quite sizable ones – but with both men, the relationship grew tense. Carter enjoyed some success with Congress, but his outside-the-Beltway style, and the aides he brought with him from Georgia, often clashed with the Washington insiders.
With Clinton, the failures of his first two years – fueled by a cantankerous Democratic majority – cost his party control of both houses in the first mid-term elections. It was only when Clinton faced Republican majorities in Congress that his presidency took off.
For Senator Obama, should he become president, the most relevant historical example is President Franklin Roosevelt, says presidential historian Robert Dallek.
“We were in dire straits,” says Mr. Dallek. “As Roosevelt said himself in his first inaugural, ‘This country is asking for action and action now.’ That’s what he gave them. In the first 100 days, he passed 15 major pieces of legislation. He couldn’t have done it unless he had a crisis and strong party support.”
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (10-28-08)
With the nation facing its worst economic crisis in decades, economists and historians say it is hard to predict how much sway either Barack Obama or John McCain will ultimately have over the nation’s economic woes. That’s partly because the crisis is moving so rapidly and partly because a new president’s power depends in part on external factors that are difficult to gauge, such as whether he faces a cooperative Congress.
“There are limits on what a president can achieve or do, but the expectations are so great,” said Robert Dallek, a longtime presidential historian.
Name of source: Common Dreams (liberal website)
SOURCE: Common Dreams (liberal website) (10-29-08)
A county clerk in West Virginia invited a video crew to watch his demonstration of the reliability of the disputed voting machines but instead he saw the machine flipping the votes, as critics claimed. He put this down to the faulty calibration of the voting machine. However, even after he recalibrated the machine it continued to flip votes. Watch the video here:
Name of source: http://www.liveleak.com
SOURCE: http://www.liveleak.com (10-28-08)
French reporter Francois Chalais conducted the interview. His widow says the online release this week of 4 minutes, 33 seconds of footage is the fullest distribution of the interview since it first aired four decades ago.
The video shows McCain shirtless and unshaven, smoking a cigarette. Answering questions from Chalais, he spoke about being shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 25, 1967, and parachuting into a lake....
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (10-28-08)
Democratic senators hope Mr. Byrd will step aside voluntarily, the aides said. But, they added, a growing number of Democratic senators would, reluctantly and sorrowfully, try to ease him out as chairman if he did not do so.
Mr. Byrd, 90, entered the House of Representatives in 1953 and has been a senator since 1959. In a statement Tuesday, he indicated that he would try to hold on to his leadership of the committee, which controls about one-third of all federal spending.
SOURCE: NYT (10-25-08)
“One of my philosophies is that what ‘once was’ can be again,” he said.
In New York, where Mr. Sitt owns 11 waterfront acres of Coney Island, he is having a hard time proving the point. (His plans for hotels and condominiums have failed to win city approval, and the future of the area is in doubt.)
But in Chicago, Mr. Sitt has restored the Palmer House Hilton, a huge hotel he bought in 2005. The hotel had been a dowager for so long, according to Mr. Sitt, that Chicagoans were skeptical about his promises to bring it back to life. But the renovation has not only improved the hotel, it has also helped revive a once-downtrodden section of the Loop.
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Ed
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (10-28-08)
The settlement, which still needs court approval to go into effect, would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought in 2005 by the Authors Guild as well as a separate lawsuit filed on behalf of the publishers’ association. Publishers and authors argued that Google’s scanning of books for its Google Book Search program was a flagrant violation of copyright law's provisions governing fair use....
If approved by a judge, the accord would allow users of Google Book Search in the United States to see the full texts of books they can read only in snippets now. The deal would also have the potential to put millions more out-of-print or hard-to-find titles within the reach of readers and researchers. Institutions would be able to buy subscriptions so that their students and faculty members could have full access to complete texts. All public libraries in the United States would be given free portals for their patrons. (The settlement does not apply to the use of Google Book Search outside the United States.)