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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: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-21-08)
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-19-08)
The Red Army Faction, which was also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, carried out a series of assassinations of leading German figures during the late 1970s and early 1980s, killing 34 people. It disbanded in 1998, several years after renouncing violence. It subscribed to a Marxist-Leninist ideology and sought to overthrow the capitalist West German government and to fight perceived American imperialism.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-18-08)
The bill, which is expected to pass in Parliament, would expand the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity.
That, critics said, would essentially let the authorities interpret any act against the state as treason, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (12-21-08)
Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over the town on 21 December 1988, claiming the lives of everyone on the plane and 11 local residents on the ground.
A number of"low key" ceremonies are taking place in the town in accordance with the wishes of the community.
A tribute is also planned in the US at the Lockerbie memorial in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.
SOURCE: BBC (12-21-08)
A number of "low key" ceremonies are taking place in the town in accordance with the wishes of the community.
A tribute is also planned in the US at the Lockerbie memorial in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.
Special "places to remember" are being opened in Lockerbie, with a wreath-laying ceremony taking place at the Dryfesdale Ceremony.
In the evening there will be services at both the Tundergarth and Dryfesdale Church.
A little after 1900 GMT the exact anniversary of the atrocity will be remembered.
The State Bank of Pakistan will issue about 300,000 special 10-rupee (16 US cents) coins.
The coin will read in Urdu,"Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto".
The criminal appeals court ordered the release of Alfredo Astiz and 13 others after finding he had been held for more than two years without a conviction.
The former Naval captain, known as the"Blond Angel of Death", is accused of the disappearance of dozens of people.
It will feature a square well brimming with water and bearing an inscription of a poem about the Holocaust.
The leader of Germany's Roma community, Romani Rose, praised the government for"recognising its historical responsibility" to those persecuted.
SOURCE: BBC (12-18-08)
The men worked at the Naval Mechanics School, known as Esma, the largest clandestine detention centre in Buenos Aires during the"Dirty War".
The men should be freed because they have been in prison for more than two years without trial, the court said.
SOURCE: BBC (12-18-08)
The ex-Bosnian Serb leader faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
His claim that he was offered immunity by US peace envoy Richard Holbrooke in 1996 in exchange for giving up his leadership is denied by Mr Holbrooke.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (12-19-08)
The traditional Routemaster had an open platform at the back, enabling passengers to get on and off quickly. It was phased out three years ago in favor of boxy-looking double-deckers deemed safer and more accessible.
But the Routemaster was widely loved and Mayor Boris Johnson said Friday that winning open-backed designs for its successor have been chosen.
He says the new buses could be in service by 2011.
SOURCE: AP (12-21-08)
Benedict said Sunday he wanted to salute all who are marking the 2009 anniversary and UNESCO's World Year of Astronomy.
Speaking on the winter solstice, Benedict said understanding the laws of nature can stimulate understanding and appreciation of the Lord's works.
The Catholic Church condemned Galileo in the 17th century for supporting Nicholas Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.
In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized, saying that the denuncuation was a tragic error.
SOURCE: AP (12-21-08)
President-elect Barack Obama won't be sharing a ride with thousands of long-distance commuters when he travels on a private charter train from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station to Washington's Union Station on Jan. 17, three days before he takes the oath of office. But his route will be exactly the same.
In fact, it hasn't changed much since Abraham Lincoln rode the rails before his inauguration.
Evidently Obama has thought deeply about the symbolism of the 135-mile journey, something that regular riders typically aren't inclined to do. Nonetheless, they develop a feel for the changing landscape.
"You see those deserted houses, and you know you're in Baltimore," said Gifty Kwakye, 27, a student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who commutes daily from Philadelphia.
The theme for Obama's inaugural is "Rewewing America's Promise," and as Kwakye noted, the need for such renewal will be clear in the five minutes before Obama's train pulls into Baltimore's Penn Station. The tracks pass through some of east Baltimore's most impoverished neighborhoods, where abandoned and burned-out row homes seem to outnumber inhabited ones. The city has nearly 30,000 abandoned properties...
The act of riding the train -- along with events in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore -- expands the inaugural festivities to include more people, something that previous presidents with a mandate to change Washington have done.
"It does remind me a bit of Jimmy Carter jumping out of the limo on his inauguration, walking through the streets, and through the act reminding Americans this presidency would be different," said Julian E. Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University.
And by beginning his trip in the nation's birthplace, Obama will be emphasizing the historic nature of his own election as the first black president -- "reminding voters how, unlike almost any other election, the choice voters made in itself was a watershed," Zelizer said.
SOURCE: AP (12-18-08)
Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the bill into law Thursday. Sponsor and Republican state Rep. Mike Nofs of Battle Creek says it will make up for Africa's "vibrant culture and complex civilizations" being ignored for too long.
The bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate.
SOURCE: AP (12-17-08)
"It's not a matter of luck," Bush said, defending his security policies.
Addressing a supportive military audience at the U.S. Army War College, Bush sought to shape how he will remembered after Barack Obama succeeds him on Jan. 20. Bush held little back in depicting his two terms as a time of transformational change, saying the world has "more people live in liberty than at any other time in human history."...
"While there's room for an honest and healthy debate about the decisions I made — and there's plenty of debate — there can be no debate about the results in keeping America safe," Bush said...
The president even made a rare mention of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader whose has escaped capture. Crediting the work of the U.S. military and the Iraqi people, Bush said, "We have delivered a devastating blow to al-Qaida in the land Osama bin Laden once called the central battleground in the war on terror."
Name of source: The New Yorker [issue of 1-5-09]
SOURCE: The New Yorker [issue of 1-5-09] (12-21-08)
When Laura Bush stopped in at the Council on Foreign Relations for a chat the other day, the crowd contained, in addition to the usual bankers and Park Avenue types, a contingent of sharp-elbowed publishers. Sitting in the audience was her lawyer, Robert Barnett, as well as at least four editors from prominent publishing houses...
Name of source: ABC News (Australia)
SOURCE: ABC News (Australia) (12-22-08)
Pan Am Flight 103 was en route from London to New York when it was blown up by a bomb in the luggage hold over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.
Everyone on the plane, and 11 local residents on the ground, were killed...
Services and vigils are being held on both sides of the Atlantic to mark the anniversary and to remember the victims.
Name of source: Washington Post
SOURCE: Washington Post (12-21-08)
In an interview with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney fired back at Biden's contention that he was probably "the most dangerous vice president" in U.S. history. He also ridiculed Biden for mistakenly citing Article I of the U.S. Constitution, rather than Article II, in talking about executive branch powers during an October debate.
"If he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call," Cheney said of Biden. "President-elect Obama will decide what he wants in a vice president and apparently, from the way they're talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I have had during my time."
Cheney, speaking less than a month before he and President Bush leave the White House, was blunt and unapologetic about his central role in some of the most controversial issues of the past eight years, including the invasion of Iraq, warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and harsh interrogation tactics. Cheney also said he disagreed with Bush's decision to remove embattled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2006, saying that "the president doesn't always take my advice."
SOURCE: Washington Post (12-21-08)
Federal law requires outgoing White House officials to provide the Archives copies of their records, a cache estimated at more than 300 million messages and 25,000 boxes of documents depicting some of the most sensitive policymaking of the past eight years.
But archivists are uncertain whether the transfer will include all the electronic messages sent and received by the officials, because the administration began trying only in recent months to recover from White House backup tapes hundreds of thousands of e-mails that were reported missing from readily accessible files in 2005.
The risks that the transfer may be incomplete are also pointed up by a continuing legal battle between a coalition of historians and nonprofit groups over access to Vice President Cheney's records. The coalition is contesting the administration's assertion in federal court this month that he "alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records" and "how his records will be created, maintained, managed, and disposed," without outside challenge or judicial review.
SOURCE: Washington Post (12-19-08)
Felt died at 12:45 p.m. at a hospice near his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. where he had been living since August...
As the second-highest official in the FBI under longtime director J. Edgar Hoover and interim director L. Patrick Gray, Felt detested the Nixon administration's attempt to subvert the bureau's investigation into the complex of crimes and coverups known as the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
He secretly guided Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward as he and his colleague Carl Bernstein pursued the story of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office building, and subsequent revelations of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies.
Felt insisted on remaining completely anonymous, or on "deep background." A Post editor dubbed him "Deep Throat," a bit of wordplay based on the title of a pornographic movie of the time. The source's existence, but not his identity, became known in Woodward and Bernstein's 1974 book, "All the President's Men," and in the subsequent movie version, in which actor Hal Holbrook played the charismatic but shadowy source.
Name of source: NYT
The monthly Current Population Survey found that fewer than 12 percent of Americans moved since 2007, a decline of nearly a full percentage point compared with the year before. In the 1950s and ’60s, the number of movers hovered near 20 percent.
The number has been declining steadily, and 12 percent is the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began counting people who move in 1940.
Interviews with about 50 New Yorkers — people from upstate and across town, people of all ages and races and political persuasions — suggest that the Kennedy brand is rich with resonance. But it also provokes resentment and puzzlement, especially among younger voters, who are suspicious of dynastic politics as the Bush era ends, and are uncertain of where in the famous family tree she falls.
“I don’t know who her father is, but if you told me, I bet I would know,” said Michelle Kuhns, 21, a senior at St. John’s University in Queens who was working during her holiday break at a bagel shop on Long Island. “I’ve heard the name, yes. But that’s it.”
There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.
But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.
From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.
Senator Lisa Murkowski and her soon-to-be colleague, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, are the daughter and son of two Alaskans who squared off in the 1970 race for the state’s sole House seat. Nick Begich ended up beating Frank H. Murkowski 38 years ago.
“It just kind of speaks to the small-town politics in place in Alaska,” Ms. Murkowski said.
The Murkowski-Begich legacy, combined with the current fascination with the possibility of Caroline Kennedy joining the Senate from New York, puts a spotlight on the blood ties that course through the House and Senate chambers.
SOURCE: NYT (12-18-08)
“Reflections by a guy who’s headed out of town,” Mr. Bush called his musings in a question-and-answer session at the American Enterprise Institute. “An old sage at 62 ... headed to retirement.”
The president, who has described himself as uncomfortable with introspection, loosened up considerably before a friendly audience of conservatives. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all was a theme he embraced several times.
SOURCE: NYT (12-18-08)
Ryan J. Wampler had never made much money selling his own homes.
Starting in 1999, however, he began to do very well. Three times in eight years, Mr. Wampler — himself a home builder and developer — sold his home in the Phoenix area, always for a nice profit. With prices in Phoenix soaring, he made almost $700,000 on the three sales.
And thanks to a tax break proposed by President Bill Clinton and approved by Congress in 1997, he did not have to pay tax on most of that profit. It was a break that had not been available to generations of Americans before him. The benefits also did not apply to other investments, be they stocks, bonds or stakes in a small business. Those gains were all taxed at rates of up to 20 percent.
The different tax treatments gave people a new incentive to plow ever more money into real estate, and they did so. “When you give that big an incentive for people to buy and sell homes,” said Mr. Wampler, 44, a mild-mannered native of Phoenix who has two children, “they are going to buy and sell homes.”...
The change in the tax law had its roots in a Chicago speech that Senator Bob Dole, Mr. Clinton’s Republican opponent in the 1996 presidential election, gave on Aug. 5 of that year. Trailing Mr. Clinton in the polls, Mr. Dole came out for an enormous tax cut, including an across-the-board reduction in the capital-gains tax.
The proposal made Mr. Clinton’s political advisers more nervous than almost anything else during the campaign. The campaign’s chief spokesman, Joe Lockhart, traveled to Chicago to stand outside the ballroom where Mr. Dole was speaking and make the case that the Dole tax cut would cause the deficit to soar.
At the same time, Mr. Clinton’s aides began scrambling to come up with their own tax proposal. Dick Morris, the president’s chief outside political adviser, argued that Mr. Clinton could assure his re-election by matching Mr. Dole’s call for a big cut in the capital-gains tax.
SOURCE: NYT (12-19-08)
HNN Hot Topics: Deep Throat and Watergate WaPo News Story
Name of source: Independent
SOURCE: Independent (12-21-08)
Last week a German judge threw out a libel suit Heesters brought against Volker Kuehn, a German documentary maker and author who said he had performed for SS guards at Dachau concentration camp. The singer never denied visiting the camp in 1941 as a member of the Munich Gärtnerplatz Theatre Ensemble, and admits he was "gullible, credulous and naïve", but says: "I was ordered there, and I never performed." Kuehn cited the testimony of a former Dachau inmate, who has since died. He said he actually "pulled the curtain" on the stage when Heesters entertained the brutal camp overseers.
The judge ruled there were "certain indications of a performance" by Heesters, but "more than six decades later it is no longer possible to clarify whether a performance took place". The inconclusive judgement means Heesters is unlikely ever to clear his name, particularly in his native Netherlands, where he was booed off stage when he attempted a comeback concert earlier this year. Many Dutch people have never forgiven Heesters for making a life in Germany – a good part of it in Nazi Germany, which inflicted so much suffering on his homeland. He has spent a good part of his later life seeking to justify himself, without much success.
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (12-20-08)
But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania on its final journey in May 1915.
Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military target.
The Cunard vessel, steaming from New York to Liverpool, was sunk eight miles off the Irish coast by a U-boat.
Maintaining that the Lusitania was solely a passenger vessel, the British quickly accused the 'Pirate Hun' of
The disaster was used to whip up anti-German anger, especially in the U.S., where 128 of the 1,198 victims came from.
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (12-21-08)
New forensic analysis on a fragment of the timing device alleged to have triggered the bomb that brought down Pan Am jet 103 on December 21, 1988, is said to have found no trace of explosive residue.
Lawyers acting for Abdelbasset Al Megrahi, the 56-year-old Libyan jailed for life for the bombing in 2001, will present the evidence at a forthcoming appeal into his conviction.
Name of source: Deutsche Welle
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (12-18-08)
For Marianne Birthler, the head of the Federal Commission for the Records of the State Security Service of the former East Germany, it was the fulfillment of a long-held dream: to deal with Cold War secret police issues on an international basis.
There has been contact between the countries in the past, but nothing systematic. The European network -- which will include the documentation agency of the East German Stasi, as well as their counterparts in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary -- is expected to change all that.
"One of our projects will be to provide information about our work in all seven countries, either via the internet or in printed form," Birthler said. "Of course, we will also host conferences. There could even be a joint exhibition. We'll have to see."
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
When they wash the grotto's marbled altar and guard its silver lamps, they are watching over the cradle of the Christian world: the exact spot where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.
Yet despite this sacred trust, a ten-year row between the different sects that manage the church has forced the Palestinian government's Muslim leaders to intervene to prevent the basilica's ancient lead roof from collapsing on its mosaic floors.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian national authority, has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a decree that the church must be repaired.
Analysis of DNA obtained from Neanderthal remains has revealed key differences from modern humans that suggest their bodies produced excess heat.
While in the cold climate of an ice age this would have provided the species with an advantage, as the earth warmed they would have been less able to cope. Ultimately this would have caused their extinction around 24,000 years ago.
Young people were particularly doubtful about the nativity, with 78 per cent of 16-24-year-olds saying they were not convinced of its historical reliability.
Overall, 70 per cent were sceptical of the baby's birth in a manger to a virgin mother, according to the poll of 1,000 people by the British Marketing Research Bureau.
Almost a quarter of those questioned who described themselves as Christians admitted they did not believe certain aspects of the Bible's teaching about Jesus.
Jones, who died on Thursday, earned attention across the United States after she mailed in her ballot for President-Elect Barack Obama in late October. When word of her vote spread, Jones was profiled on National Public Radio and ABC News.
Her granddaughter, Brenda Baker, said Jones had recently been admitted to hospital, but she was still preparing for a standing-room only birthday party Sunday afternoon. She celebrated her birthday on Dec 16.
Umberto Broccoli, the archaeologist in charge of the Colosseum, said that he is planning to bring the gladiatorial clashes of ancient Rome to the modern Italian capital as part of a"serious project" to revive interest in its monuments and museums.
Whereas the gladiators who entertained ancient Roman crowds in the huge amphitheatre often battled to the death, today's fighters will engage in mock battles.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-18-08)
Dr Williams said he believes that in certain circumstances it could actually benefit from being freed from this arrangement. That would mean disestablishment and the loss of the special place in society it has held since the Reformation. Surely the risk is that its voice would then be reduced to just one among the many who lobby ministers?
The papers, compiled in 1946 by Aso Mining, show that 101 British prisoners, 197 Australians and two Dutch were put to work digging coal for Japan's war effort in 1945. An estimated 10,000 Korean slave labourers were also put to work in the company's mines during the war. Aso Mining has since become Aso Cement and was headed by Mr Aso himself in the 1970s.
Mr Aso and his supporters have previously claimed that the authenticity of the paperwork could not be confirmed and cast doubt on foreign media accounts of the POW labour that first began appearing in 2006.
Shortly before Mr Aso, 67, was elected head of the Liberal Democratic Party and prime minister of the country, he was questioned about his family company's use of forced labourers at its pits in Kyushu, southern Japan.
"I was only 5 years old when the war ended, so I honestly have no personal recollection of that time," he said.
He used exactly the same response to Mr Fujita in the Diet in mid-November, adding that, "No facts have been confirmed."
The emergence of the documents now give Mr Aso little leeway.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-18-08)
Forty ships have been hijacked this year by pirates operating from bases along the Somali coast. On Tuesday, a Chinese fishing vessel was boarded by pirates but escaped being taken after international warships in the area responded to its distress call and forced the pirates to flee. The 17 man crew of a Chinese fishing vessel seized in November are still being held hostage.
Britain, France, Russia and the US have already sent ships to the region, making China the only permanent member of the UN Security Council not to have committed to the anti-piracy mission. China has sent increasing numbers of troops to join UN peacekeeping forces in recent years, but never in frontline combat roles. News of the potential deployment, though, was hailed in China by people who flooded internet chat rooms to express their support.
If the ships sail, it will be the first time the navy has embarked on a combat mission outside Chinese waters since Zheng He, a eunuch who became China's most famous explorer, led seven missions to the Middle East and Africa in the early 15th Century.
Name of source: Wall Street Journal
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (12-20-08)
But a vocal group of revisionists -- including a British cockroach expert, a former BBC journalist and a human-rights lawyer -- say the spotlight should be on another man: Alfred Russel Wallace.
Mr. Wallace, a naturalist who spent many years collecting bird and insect specimens in the jungles of Indonesia, was famed in the Victorian era as the co-discoverer with Mr. Darwin of evolution by natural selection. But his reputation languished in the mid-20th century as scholars focused their attention on Mr. Darwin. More recently, several books have attempted to resuscitate Mr. Wallace's name, and most mainstream scientists now regard him as the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory.
Name of source: http://www.brooklynpaper.com
SOURCE: http://www.brooklynpaper.com (12-18-08)
Workers who have begun prepping Pier 1 to become a large sweeping front lawn for the hotel, condo and open-space development have unearthed a 19th-century flour mill that operated when a thriving, independent Brooklyn was the region’s bread basket.
Indeed, uncovering the former Jewell Brothers’ mill, which stood from 1830s until 1910 at the foot of what was then called Fulton Street, but is now Old Fulton Street, is a metaphor for Brooklyn’s decline.
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (12-17-08)
An inscribed limestone block might have solved one of history's greatest mysteries — who fathered the boy pharaoh King Tut.
"We can now say that Tutankhamun was the child of Akhenaten," Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Discovery News.
The finding offers evidence against another leading theory that King Tut was sired by the minor king Smenkhkare.
Name of source: Slate
SOURCE: Slate (12-18-08)
As his second term wanes, however, Bush is getting in touch with his inner president. At an event Thursday hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Bush promised to "share some thoughts about the presidency—you could call it 'reflections by a guy who's headed out of town.' " He has also revisited the ups and downs of his own presidency this month in interviews with ABC and CNN and in speeches at the U.S. Army War College, Texas A&M, and West Point. If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Bush is marking it up with a big red pen.
The tour is going well so far, give or take a shoe. At the Baghdad press conference, he was able to hail the new status of forces agreement between the United States and Iraq as the twilight of the old era and the dawning of a new one. At the U.S. Army War College, he actually listed his foreign-policy accomplishments, including "a vastly upgraded network of homeland defenses," "a revamped intelligence community," and "a strong coalition of more than 90 nations—composing almost half the world—who have committed to combating terror." At West Point, he told a seamless story about how 9/11 led us to invade Afghanistan and then, logically, Iraq. "[W]e offered Saddam Hussein a final chance to peacefully resolve the issue," Bush said. "And when he refused, we acted with a coalition of nations to protect our people—and liberated 25 million Iraqis." Why wait for the memoir? It's all here.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (12-19-08)
You cannot walk the streets today without the reminders: Sherwood Crescent, where the wing and fuel tank ploughed into the houses and evaporated them, leaving a massive crater, reeking of aviation fuel; Rosebank Crescent, where the fuselage came down and scattered bodies across gardens, on the rooftops and the hillsides around.
Tundergarth, four miles outside the town, is where the nose cone came to rest, its name, Maid of the Seas, written plainly on the side, to become the unforgettable memorial to the 270 who died: pilots, stewards, passengers and the 11 Lockerbie people who perished with them.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (12-18-08)
Today, two years after the death of the notorious dictator, the house is opening as a visitor attraction.
Displays include an extensive collection of model soldiers, a throne-like chair used for afternoon breaks, treasured statues of Napoleon, and the uniform Pinochet wore when leading the 1973 coup that overthrew the Marxist president Salvador Allende.
The centrepiece of the museum, in the affluent neighbourhood of Vitacura, will be the general's fully restored office. The rest of the exhibit comprises display cabinets filled with military awards and gifts received from around the world, including a samurai sword from Japan and – oddly, given famously tense relations – a medal from Cuba...
Chile is still sharply divided over the general, who died from heart complications, aged 91, on 10 December 2006. The anniversary of his death this month saw ardent supporters – who say he turned around Chile's fortunes and refer to him affectionately as "my general" – making pilgrimages to his tomb to pay respects. Opponents will never forgive the torture and "disappearances" suffered during his regime or the failed war crimes trial which disintegrated in 2000 after he was deemed to be suffering dementia.
Reaction to the museum is similarly polarised...
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (12-18-08)
The picture painted by Charles Dickens of starvation rations in an 1830s workhouse north of London is wide of mark, according to an analysis of menus and other historical evidence.
Dickens' eponymous hero famously asked for more of the "thin gruel" doled out three times daily in the grim institution for the poor where he grew up.
In fact, contemporary recipes suggest such workhouse gruel was substantial, with each pint containing 1.25 ounces of best oatmeal, and servings supplemented by wholesome coarse bread.
Historical data also shows large quantities of beef and mutton were delivered to workhouses, pediatric dietician Sue Thornton of Northampton General Hospital in central England and colleagues wrote in the British Medical Journal.
Such a diet, comprising three pints of gruel a day, would sustain growth in a nine-year-old child like Oliver, unless he was exceptionally active.
"Given the limited number of food staples used, the workhouse diet was certainly dreary, but it was adequate," they concluded.
Name of source: Chicago Tribune
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (12-16-08)
But the 104-year-old church also has been the subject of a contentious struggle between the Chicago archdiocese and preservationists seeking to rescue the Romanesque building from the wrecking ball.
Touching off another battle to preserve its crumbling walls, the archdiocese earlier this month asked the city for a permit to raze the building, saying the cost of transforming the structure would be prohibitive in ordinary economic times much less now.
[Cost to fix up the church? $25,000,000.]
Name of source: NPR
SOURCE: NPR (12-18-08)
These are the ultimate cold cases, says Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which hunts down and tries former Nazis hiding in the United States.
"If one remembers how hard it is to prove a crime that took place down the street a week ago, imagine what it is to prove crimes that took place decades ago," Rosenbaum said.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (12-17-08)
Many of those Obama is bringing to Washington -- including his Education secretary, Homeland Security chief, Treasury secretary, United Nations ambassador and Energy czar -- came of age in the era of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
And their shared experiences offer insights into how they may govern: They tend to be less ideological than early boomers, more respectful of contrary opinions, more pragmatic and a lot less likely to get bogged down by the shibboleths of the 1960s, according to historians, marketers and pollsters.
Late boomers were doing wheelies on bikes and playing with dolls back when early boomers were fighting in Vietnam, avoiding the draft, singing along with the Mamas & the Papas, mourning a president, marching for civil rights and trekking to Woodstock.
Obama's peers were defined by Watergate, stagflation, gas lines and 20% interest rates. Their cultural touchstones were groups like the Carpenters and Steely Dan (on cassette or 8-track tapes, of course), and shows like "All in the Family" and "Charlie's Angels" (you know who you are). In Hawaii, young Barry Obama was tuning into "Soul Train," which began its 35-year run in 1971.
Name of source: Radio Free Europe
SOURCE: Radio Free Europe (12-18-08)
Al-Qaeda gunmen who once roamed the city at will to enforce their draconian strictures and terrify the population have been driven out to desert hideouts by U.S. and Iraqi security forces, and the main focus now is transitioning to stability -- and that includes rebuilding Samarra's symbol of hope and progress.
"The mosque is simply the economic lifeblood of the place," says Captain Juan Garcia, who works civil-affairs projects in Samarra for Charlie Company, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. "Samarra is a mosque with a city, not a city with a mosque."
Samarra Mayor Mahmud Khalif Ahmad al-Bazzi puts it in more concrete terms: "You know it's very important to us. The tourist people would come to visit it, stay at hotels, go to the shops, use the taxis. Before, especially during holy days, 100,000 people came. Now it's only a few thousand."
Samarra is located north of Baghdad in Salah Al-Din Governorate, part of the so-called Sunni Triangle. During the rule of Saddam Hussein, the city (population about 100,000) was said to have been marginalized by Hussein in terms of political influence, public services, and economic development in favor of Tikrit, the provincial capital and the area from where he came.