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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: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (12-15-08)
Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton believes the computer-generated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary beauty famed for her ability to beguile.
Pieced together from images on ancient artefacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra's reign 2,000 years ago, it is the culmination of more than a year of painstaking research.
The result is a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity - very different to the porcelain-skinned Westernised version portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1961 movie Cleopatra.
[See story for images]
Name of source: Larry Rothfield blog
SOURCE: Larry Rothfield blog (12-13-08)
As readers of this blog already know, in October the State Department issued a fact sheet laying out its support of what was described as “numerous activities relating to the protection and preservation of Iraq’s cultural heritage”:
These include emergency response to the looting of the Iraq National Museum, training of Iraqi museum professionals, support for archaeological site protection, and instituting legal measures to mitigate illicit trafficking in Iraq’s looted cultural property. Since 2003, several million dollars have been applied to these needs resulting in professional and infrastructure improvements to the National Museum as well as other museums and institutions, and improved archaeological site security in Iraq.
As usual, the issue of site protection was lumped together with others, leaving it unclear how much money has been applied to supporting archaeological site protection, for what programs, protecting how many sites, with what results.
Addressing the problem? Not exactly.
In response to my request, Darlene Kirk, a spokesperson from the State Department’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs, has amplified on the fact sheet’s summary, and kindly permitted me to share this information with the public. Kirk admits that “the Department of State has no mechanisms at its disposal to provide ongoing security at archaeological sites and museums in Iraq,” but she goes on to argue that State “has taken steps to address the problem in a variety of ways:
• The Department of State is funding the newly announced Iraq Cultural Heritage Project (ICHP) and the development of a site management plan for Babylon. Together, these initiatives include programs that will focus on, inter alia, building Iraqi professional capacity for conservation, for preservation of sites including archaeological sites, and for museum governance and administration. It is expected that strengthening the ability of responsible entities within the Iraqi government and its citizens to serve as the responsible stewards of their rich heritage will have a positive impact on site and museum security on a sustainable basis.
• In April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security promulgated U.S. import restrictions on all Iraqi cultural property after a decision to do so was made by the Department of State acting under authority delegated by the President. This import restriction is in addition to the ongoing OFAC regulations banning importation of Iraqi cultural property since 1990.
• The Department of State supported two security assessments of the National Museum in Baghdad which resulted in $1 m. in contracts to implement security measures at the Museum.
• In 2004, in response to evidence of serious looting of archaeological sites in southern Iraq, the State Department used funds donated by the Packard Humanities Institute to purchase 20 trucks and communications equipment for site guards in Dhi, Qar, Diwanyah, and Babil provinces. It was determined that these guards needed such tools to monitor the sites and deter the pillage that was being carried out by very well equipped looters. These vehicles and equipment were given to the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) which in turn issued them to the provinces for use by the site guards. According to SBAH officials in the affected provinces, this resulted in a substantial diminution of the looting in those provinces.
• U.S. personnel responsible for the Ministry of Culture during the period of the Coalition Provisional Authority until July 2004 worked closely with the SBAH and with the Department of State to build and train a Facilities Protection Service (FPS) Archaeological Site Protection Force devoted to site protection under the administration of SBAH.
• Throughout the past several years the Department has acted to address the problem of looting in other ways such as promoting coordination within the international law enforcement community and funding the development, publication and distribution of the Red List for Iraqi Antiquities at Risk which is produced by the International Council of Museums in Arabic, English and French. Now in its third printing, this publication helps raise awareness about the problem among law enforcement entities and would be collectors. The US Embassy in Baghdad recently distributed new copies of the Red List throughout the country and in particular at border crossings.
• The State Department has funded satellite imagery acquisition for large areas of Iraq to allow archaeolgists at SUNY Stony Brook to assess site looting. The Department has also funded training programs in satellite imagery analysis for Iraqi archaeologists.
• The State Department has recently allocated funding for meetings of a proposed Iraq archaeological site protection working group, to be composed of SBAH senior officials from Baghdad, and senior archaeologists and FPS commanders from governorates most affected by looting. The possibility of convening an international law enforcement working group on Iraqi cultural property is also under consideration. (Kirk added in a followup message that “$93,000 has been allocated for the site protection working group meetings. The budget for the international law enforcement working group on Iraqi cultural property has not yet been determined, as this meeting is in the early planning stages.”)
• In July 2008, State Department and US Embassy Baghdad personnel arranged a helicopter overflight of 40+ sites in Qadissiya, Dhi Qar, and Wasit governorates to assess current looting. The results of this mission are being analyzed and will be shared with SBAH authorities for followup. (Kirk later added that “the July 2008 overflight of 40+ sites was conducted by a pair of US military helicopters at the request of the US Embassy in Baghdad. The expert participants were the Cultural Heritage Liaison Officer of the US Embassy and the State Department Special Coordinator for Iraqi Cultural Heritage. The sites were extensively photographed from the air by both experts. The data are being analyzed by the expert participants.”)
This list says volumes about the failure of American policy to deal with the problem of site looting. Import restrictions, Red Lists, site management programs, and security efforts at the Iraq Museum do not secure archaeological sites. The funding for trucks by the Packard Foundation in 2004 was never supplemented by any governmental assistance, nor was any effort made to solicit additional support from other foundations. The FPS force was never given the funding and logistical support it needed, and I believe it has now been disbanded. The funding for satellite imagery was not for large areas of Iraq, but only for southern Iraq, and was provided only in part by the State Department; given that the US military certainly has time-series satellite images available for all sites, it remains puzzling why the State Department did not arrange for those images to be provided to archaeologists, rather than paying for a private company to provide images for only a fraction of sites (and not in a coherent time series even for those sites).
A hopeful development
Only the last two of these bullet points deal directly with contemporary site-protection efforts. Most welcome is the news that a working group on site protection has finally been proposed and allocated funding for meetings. It would have been even more welcome if the working group included some experts on securing and protecting sites (not archaeological sites but all kinds of sites) from the military or State Department.
Where's the Report?
The final bullet point raises interesting questions of its own. A similar helicopter tour of eight sites was conducted in June 2008, leaked almost immediately, and published in mid-July. Why is it taking so long to release the findings from the helicopter overflight in July? Could it be because they would contradict the message that both the US and the Iraqi governments want to present, that the looting is over? One hopes not, and it is always possible that the “expert participants” (presumably John Russell and Diane Siebrandt, neither of whom to my knowledge is an expert at analyzing imagery though both are highly competent, dedicated, and indeed heroic individuals putting their lives on the line in Iraq) simply are better at keeping things under wraps than the British Museum, but the delay certainly raises suspicions.
Name of source: FoxNews.com
SOURCE: FoxNews.com (12-12-08)
Visitors to the four-room museum can see the general's uniform, sabers, books and knives — even his collection of toy soldiers.
Guided visits for groups of 12 will start on Monday and more than 150 people have registered to visit.
Pinochet's widow, Lucia Hiriart, said the inauguration shows that"little by little justice is being done" for her husband.
Pinochet museum divides Chileans
SOURCE: FoxNews.com (12-12-08)
For the first time since the Army's 4th Infantry Division captured Saddam in a dramatic raid on Dec. 13, 2003, the U.S. intelligence officer who hunted him down has come forward with his story.
Speaking to FOX News, Staff Sgt. Eric Maddox, who still serves as an interrogator for the Department of Defense, described how he bucked what had been the strategy to find Saddam in the first months of the war -- going after the big name players in the defeated government who were on the loose in the hopes that, if caught, they would reveal Saddam's whereabouts.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (12-12-08)
An archaeologist in the city of Kwidzyn — the Teutonic fortress of Marienwerder in the Middle Ages — said Friday that DNA tests indicate the remains are those of Werner von Orseln, the knights' leader from 1324-1330; Ludolf Koenig, who ruled from 1342-1345; and Heinrich von Plauen, who reigned from 1410-1413.
"Taking everything into account, we see that we are dealing with Teutonic Knights grand masters," Bogumil Wisniewski, an archaeologist who spearheaded the search, told The Associated Press."We are 95, 96 percent sure it is them."
The Republican vice presidential candidate and her comedic doppelganger, Tina Fey, took the top two spots in this year's list of most memorable quotes compiled by Fred R. Shapiro.
First place was "I can see Russia from my house!" spoken in satire of Palin's foreign policy credentials by Fey on "Saturday Night Live."
Palin actual quote was: "They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
Final figures from nearly every state and the District of Columbia showed that more than 131 million people voted, the most ever for a presidential election. A little more than 122 million voted in 2004.
This year's total is 61.6 percent of the nation's eligible voters, the highest turnout rate since 1968, when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey, said Michael McDonald, a political science professor at George Mason University.
Debate over whether to call this son of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan biracial, African-American, mixed-race, half-and-half, multiracial — or, in Obama's own words, a "mutt" — has reached a crescendo since Obama's election shattered assumptions about race.
Obama has said, "I identify as African-American — that's how I'm treated and that's how I'm viewed. I'm proud of it." In other words, the world gave Obama no choice but to be black, and he was happy to oblige.
HNN Hot Topics: Obama and Race
SOURCE: AP (12-13-08)
Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville located the 55-foot long dagger-board ship unexpectedly this fall using deep scan sonar equipment off the lake's southern shore, west of Rochester.
The ship is the only dagger-board known to have been found in the Great Lakes. Kennard said vessels of this type were used for a short time in the early 1800s. The dagger-board was a wood panel that could be extended through the keel to improve the ship's stability. The dagger-boards could be raised when the schooner entered a shallow harbor, allowing the boat to load and unload cargo in locations that would not otherwise be accessible to larger ships.
The shipwreck was found upright and in remarkable condition considering it had plunged more than 500 feet to its resting place on the bottom, the men said.
The schooner's origin is a mystery so far.
The name of the schooner is unknown and there are no documented accounts of a dagger-board schooner sinking in Lake Ontario.
SOURCE: AP (12-12-08)
Carter spent five days talking to top Lebanese leaders and members of parliamentary blocs but didn't sit down with lawmakers from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which is on the State Department list of terrorist groups.
Carter offered to have his Atlanta-based Carter Center monitor Lebanon's parliament elections next year. The vote will be fiercely contested between Western-backed groups that now hold a majority in the 128-member parliament and a Hezbollah-led coalition supported by Syria and Iran.
During a lecture at the American University of Beirut on Friday, Carter expressed disappointment Hezbollah refused to see him.
"We came here with the hope that we can meet with all the political parties and factions in Lebanon," he said. "If the leaders of Hezbollah wanted to meet with me, I would have been delighted."
SOURCE: AP (12-10-08)
In total, the president recognized 23 individuals and one posthumously on Wednesday with the second highest honor for a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The awards were conferred in the Oval Office in a private ceremony.
Bush recognized Charles Colson, the first member of the Nixon administration to serve prison time for Watergate-related offenses. After being released from Maxwell prison in Alabama, Colson founded Prison Fellowship in 1976, which conducts outreach to prisoners, former convicts, crime victims and their families.
"For more than three decades, Chuck Colson has dedicated his life to sharing the message of God's boundless love and mercy with prisoners, former prisoners and their families," the White House said in the citation. "Through his strong faith and leadership, he has helped courageous men and women from around the world make successful transitions back into society."
SOURCE: AP (12-11-08)
A Culture Ministry statement says the discovery includes at least 110 ax and hammer heads, but several more should be extracted from compacted masses of corroded metal.
SOURCE: AP (12-11-08)
Munich prosecutors will now decide whether there is enough evidence of John Demjanjuk's alleged involvement in the deaths of 29,000 Jews at Sobibor camp to charge him and request that he be returned to Germany for trial, spokesman Anton Winkler said. Demjanjuk, 88, lives in suburban Cleveland.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-15-08)
Now that turn-of-the-century junk, which experts say may be the last salvageable vessel of its type, could be destroyed if it does not find a permanent home by the end of December.
With it would go a piece of U.S. and Chinese history - the boat's name, the"Free China," evokes Cold War rhetoric. But the ship also holds the unwritten knowledge of traditional Chinese boat building, said Hans Van Tilburg, a historian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-14-08)
Ten years ago this week, Bill Clinton became the first elected U.S. president ever impeached by the House of Representatives, the culmination of a sex-and-lies scandal that consumed the United States and fractured its political system. Although he was eventually acquitted by the Senate, the scars run deep even as veterans of that showdown return to power under a new president promising to repair a breach that still divides Washington.
As key members of Clinton's defense a decade ago, Podesta, his chief of staff; Emanuel, his senior adviser; and Craig, his special counsel, bring the lessons of that searing moment to the table as they now serve in President-elect Barack Obama's inner circle.
They learned the imperatives of moving quickly, closing ranks, controlling information and never conceding an inch when the president faces a threat, strategies employed with varying degrees of effectiveness back then.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-11-08)
In between interviewing cabinet nominees and announcing health care plans, Obama plans to meet Thursday with the leaders of a commission that has proposed revamping the legal process for launching military action, to require more consultation between a president and Congress.
The proposal would scrap the problematic War Powers Act of 1973, a measure passed in the hangover from Vietnam to give Congress more say in committing troops to the battlefield but largely honored in the breach ever since by presidents who deemed it unconstitutional. In its place, the commission proposes a law requiring a president to consult lawmakers before any"significant military action" and calling on Congress to vote up or down within 30 days.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-11-08)
On the surface, this haunted capital, its ancient mosques and Orthodox churches still pocked with holes from mortar fire, appears to be enjoying a renaissance. Young professionals throng to stylish cafés and gleaming new shopping centers while the muezzin heralds the morning prayer. The ghosts of Srebrenica linger - recalling the worst massacre in Europe since World War II - but Sarajevans prefer to talk about Barack Obama or the global financial crisis than about genocide.
Yet the aftermath of war is ever present. The Dayton accord divided Bosnia and Herzegovina, a former Yugoslav republic, into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb republic after a savage war from 1992 to 1995 in which about 100,000 people were killed, the majority of them Muslims. A million more Muslims, Serbs and Croats were driven from their homes, while much of this rugged country's infrastructure was destroyed.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-12-08)
The decision has come at a difficult time. Russia's incursion into Georgian territory in August awakened real fears, catching policy makers and citizens off guard. Poland's attempt to transform its military into a smaller, modern integrated force this fall is occurring in a season of turmoil, as its soldiers have left Iraq and are expanding their presence in Afghanistan.
Analysts say there are not enough funds and not enough men without the conscripts, while Poland is trying, in essence, to do it all at the same time. Supporters of the decision called it an overdue step toward matching the quality of the military forces of the country's chief NATO allies in Western Europe and across the Atlantic. Critics called it a hasty and expensive move during an economic crisis, more a product of politics than of sound planning, and a lower priority than badly needed new equipment.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (12-12-08)
The report was issued jointly by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the panel, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican. The report represents the most thorough review by Congress to date of the origins of the abuse of prisoners in American military custody, and it explicitly rejects the Bush administration's contention that tough interrogation methods have helped keep the country and its troops safe.
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (12-12-08)
Most of these revelations haven't gotten the kind of hype that we saw this year for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
"But as much as crystal skulls were the year's most prominent 'artifacts,' we're more likely to remember 2008 as the Year of the Earliest North American Coprolites (ancient human feces), or perhaps the Year of the Imperial Roman Marble Heads," Archaeology's editors wrote.
SOURCE: MSNBC (12-10-08)
"The cloth and buttons which accompanied your favor of the 30th ... really do credit to the manufacturers of this country," Washington said in a letter to Acting Secretary of War Henry Knox. The letter was displayed at a news conference today at the National Archives.
Archives historian Marvin Pinkert said Washington had made a conscious decision to have his inaugural suit made in Boston instead of in one of the European fashion centers.
"It's striking that the president was concerned that he show a 'Made in America' suit to the American public," Pinkert said.
At the same time, Washington was apparently upset at the public for its apathy toward his first inaugural.
"The stupor, or listlessness with which our public measures seem to be pervaded, is, to me, a matter of deep regret," Washington wrote to Knox. "Indeed it has so strange an appearance that I cannot but wonder how men who solicit public confidence or who are even prevailed upon to accept of it can reconcile such conduct with their own feelings of propriety."
Name of source: Austin-Statesman
SOURCE: Austin-Statesman (12-11-08)
The Austin City Council could decide to pay as much as $700,000 for a three-month dig in Zilker Park to uncover troves of these stone tools. The dig was prompted by a major sewer line upgrade that was completed late last year that touched on an area of known archaeological deposits. The dig, which is expected to begin in February, would expand on a preliminary archaeological investigation in Zilker Park in 2006 that uncovered 887 flint flakes associated with the making of stone tools about 10,000 years ago.
Name of source: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (12-14-08)
"Excavations at the Rashak 3 Cave have uncovered an oven at a depth of 5 meters," team director Hamed Vahdatinasab said."We have also discovered shards in the oven, which are very similar to Neolithic pottery works," he added. Vahdatinasab said that Ezzatollah Negahban, the father of modern Iranian archaeology, had excavated the region about 40 years ago.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (12-15-08)
Armenians and many international historians describe as "genocide" the massacres and deaths during a forced deportation from eastern Turkey.
Turkey firmly denies that, saying those killed were just victims of war.
The petition - the first of its kind - was initiated by prominent Turkish academics and newspaper columnists.
They say they want to challenge the official denial and provoke discussion in Turkish society about what happened.
The petition is entitled "I apologise", and a short statement at the top rejects what it calls the ignorance and denial in Turkey of what the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915.
It then apologises for the pain that was caused.
It is a bold and original step in a country where writer Hrant Dink was killed just last year for openly saying that the events of 1915 were genocide.
SOURCE: BBC (12-13-08)
Instead, nearly 300 agents were brought into the Secret Intelligence Service - later MI6.
Officially SOE, the organisation set up to run resistance in occupied countries, was "liquidated" in January 1946.
SOE operatives were trained in all aspects of clandestine operations. They organised sabotage, guerrilla actions, black propaganda operations and financial warfare. They were active in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
SOE researchers had perfected secret communications and even developed weapons such as exploding rats.
Training schools, like the one at Beaulieu in Hampshire, taught agents all manner of spy techniques, including how to kill an opponent with their bare hands.
When peace came, some in Churchill's government argued that SOE could have a valuable role. Lord Selborne, the minister responsible, suggested it could be used to run clandestine operations in communist Europe and elsewhere. But the incoming Labour Government was less enthusiastic. It was Clement Attlee who oversaw its demise.
SOURCE: BBC (12-12-08)
Two exclusive hotels, a TV tower and a number of other buildings around the beautiful West Lake area will all be made shorter, the developer said.
The 40m yuan ($5.8m) project is to help the city become a Unesco World Heritage site, Chinese media reports.
But one of the hotels named said it was unaware of the plans.
SOURCE: BBC (12-11-08)
Mr Sobhan said it was a "disgrace" that the pair had not been recognised.
His case for them to be honoured is expected to be heard by the Bangladeshi High Court at the end of December.
SOURCE: BBC (12-12-08)
Brains consist of fatty tissue which microbes in the soil would absorb, so neurologists believe the find could be some kind of fossilised brain.
The skull was found in an area first farmed more than 2,000 years ago.
More tests will now be done to establish what it is actually made of.
The team from York Archaeological Trust had been commissioned by the university to carry out an exploratory dig at Heslington East, where campus extension work is under way.
The skull was discovered in an area of extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, trackways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-15-08)
Hundreds of aircrew perished when their planes crashed into mountains in bad weather or were shot down over thick jungles where their remains have lain for more than 60 years.
Now the US military is determined to find them and bring them home.
One of the military's most remarkable units – the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) – has begun the first of a series of missions to find the wreckage of Second World War aircraft and their crew in their last resting places scattered across the vast border region between India and China.
JPAC has worked in the jungles of South-East Asia and New Guinea and the battlefields of Europe locating the remains of thousands of servicemen to live up to the US military creed of leave no man behind.
This month a JPAC team located its first crash site on India's border with China, several days walk from the nearest road in dense forest.
Demjanjuk moved to America in 1952 and changed his first name to John, and now lives as a retired car worker in Ohio.
Last month, a court in Munich ruled that Demjanjuk, who was dubbed Ivan the Terrible for his role in the mass murder, could not be charged in Germany.
But Germany's Federal Court of Justice has overturned the verdict, making it possible for Demjanjuk to be indicted and tried in Munich, where he lived before emigrating to America.
"As it is, the palace is a national disgrace. I have filmed there extensively and it has got to the point now that they are just slapping Dulux magnolia paint on the grubby bits. It needs some serious money spent on it. All the palaces are in various states of repair, but Buckingham Palace is in the most dire need of help."
Starkey, 63, says the Government should take its lead from other countries which look after their official residences, notably the Elysée Palace.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-11-08)
The letter, in German, is dated 12th December 1914, but the couple were not divorced until Valentine's Day 1919.
The theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner famed for his theory of relativity married Mileva Maric on 6th January 1903.
They had three children, a daughter, Lieserl, and two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard.
In the early years of their marriage Einstein praised Maric's strength and independence but the pair had an acrimonious split.
He speaks of his grievances in the two page letter to her accusing Maric of not passing on his letters to his children.
The 81-year-old said earlier that the papers had been given to him by King and his late wife, Coretta Scott King, and that he intended to donate the proceeds of the sale – estimated at up to 1.3 million dollars – to charities that help "the disfranchised".
But after the King estate learned of the sale, it objected and claimed the documents were "the property of the estate of Martin Luther King Jr".
"The King estate believes the documents being offered in Thursday's auction are a part of the wrongly acquired collection," said a statement issued on behalf of the estate. "The King estate is currently in conversations with Sotheby's to establish the truth."
Name of source: Los Angeles Times
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (12-6-08)
"I feel like I am right there on the front lines," said Wang Binyan, a 23-year-old teacher. "I can feel what the Chinese soldiers felt. In this place, Americans are the enemy."
The museum in this provincial city on the North Korean border tells a personal version of the Korean War, one that casts U.S. foreign policy and military tactics in a decidedly negative light. Hundreds of historical photographs and exhibits present a pro-Beijing side of a conflict that saw Chinese forces rush to the aid of North Korea.
There are photos of glum-looking American prisoners of war, accusations of U.S. germ warfare, and maps and pictures that purportedly show evidence of widespread civilian damage from American bombs.
The commentaries with each exhibit are often heated, using phrases such as "American imperialists," "wanton U.S. bombing" and "despise and hate" to describe China's view of the United States.
Name of source: NYT Book Review
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (12-12-08)
The archive, housed at the University of Michigan, holds documents from Col. Henry Tufts, former chief of the Army’s investigative unit, that reveal widespread killing and abuse by American troops in Vietnam. Most of these actions are not known to the public, even though the military investigated them. The crimes are similar to those committed at My Lai in 1968. Yet, as Nelson contends, most Ameri cans still think the violence was the work of “a few rogue units,” when in fact “every major division that served in Vietnam was represented.” Precisely how many soldiers were involved, and to what extent, is not known, but she shows that the abuse was far more common than is generally believed. Her book helps explain how this misunderstanding came about.
Name of source: Miami Herald
SOURCE: Miami Herald (12-12-08)
When World War II bomber pilot Charlie Brown is laid to rest Saturday, his burial will close a chapter on one of the most remarkable war stories in modern history.
It's a tale of two pilots -- one American, the other German -- and of a bloody, deadly battle in the sky that led to an extraordinary friendship.
Name of source: http://hitlernews.cloudworth.com
SOURCE: http://hitlernews.cloudworth.com (12-12-08)
The Nazi-hunting group said the same holds true for Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine, adding all countries in question face no legal obstacles in bringing suspects to justice.
The findings were published in the center's annual report, which graded the investigation and prosecution efforts of countries around the world between April 2007 and March 2008.
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (12-12-08)
But the residents of Alexander Solzhenitsyn Street - as it is now known - appear to have other ideas. Together with Russia's communists, locals have waged a furious campaign against the change of name - and have demanded that the street get its old name of Big Communist Street back
Communist activists have complained that Medvedev's decision to rename the street after Solzhenitsyn - Russia's greatest literary chronicler of communist repression - is, in fact, illegal. Under Russian law, the authorities are supposed to wait ten years before they can name a street after a dead person.
Locals, meanwhile, have gone one step further. Last Sunday residents tore down the street sign, leaving a gaping space above house number 12.
The authorities have now put the Solzhenitsyn sign up again. Another plaque bearing the writer's name hangs at the end of the avenue next to branch of McDonald's, an outlet the Nobel-prize winning author - no fan of western capitalism - was unlikely to have eaten in.
Changing the name of the street was "not only a gross breach of existing legislation but also a challenge to all people with communist views because Solzhenitsyn always fought with the communists," Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the communist Left Front youth organisation, told the Moscow Times.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (12-13-08)
The history, the first official account of its kind, is circulating in draft form here and in Washington among a tight circle of technical reviewers, policy experts and senior officials. It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (12-13-08)
At the offices of the leading human rights group Memorial, however, a daylight raid by masked men speaks of a darker Soviet tradition of state power. Police confiscated computer hard drives containing 20 years’ work documenting victims of Stalin’s Terror and political persecution in the Soviet Union.
Education programmes, human rights work and research on the still secret graves of an estimated 2.7 million Leningraders were all taken from the research and information centre. So too was material for one of Memorial’s most important and potentially most powerful projects - a “Virtual Museum of the Gulag”.
The Prosecutor’s Office in St Petersburg claimed that it was investigating links between Memorial and an article in Novy Peterburg, an obscure anti-semitic newspaper that was shut down a year ago. Staff at Memorial say that they have never had anything to do with this newspaper and are under no illusion that the allegation is simply a pretext to wreck their work.
Russia has no national Gulag Museum. Indeed, there has been no legal assessment of Soviet repression and none of the efforts to understand the past that countries like Germany and South Africa have pursued. The Virtual Gulag was to provide an important alternative to a growing cult of Stalinism, in which the dictator’s methods are gradually being justified again.
Name of source: Times (of London)
SOURCE: Times (of London) (12-12-08)
The row began after Ahsanullah Moni, a wealthy Bangladeshi film director, gave the first glimpse of his copy of the Taj Mahal this week.
The project has cost about £40 million and is being built about 20 miles northeast of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital. But the Indians are upset. “You can't just go and copy historical monuments,” an official at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka told a reporter this week.
“Someone will go out there and have a look. This [the original Taj Mahal] is a protected site we are talking about, so we need to find out if it really is the exact size.”
Deepak Mittal, a spokesman for the High Commission, confirmed to The Times that the matter was being investigated. “We have heard about this new Taj. We are checking the details,” he said.
For their part, Bangladeshi officials are incensed by suggestions that the Taj Mahal - which was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and completed in 1653 - is protected by some sort of copyright.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (12-11-08)
Now, the camera-shy Plouffe is revealing what surprised him the most about Clinton’s campaign: the New York senator's strategists willingness to concede a string of caucus states to the Obama camp. In the process Obama won a vast sum of delagates and created a lead in the delegate count that ultimately proved fatal to Clinton's chances.
"We were surprised because at some point it became likely that it was going to be a battle that went on for some time, and delegates that are gained through a caucus are no different than through a primary—so every contest mattered," Plouffe told Portfolio Magazine.
Name of source: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net
SOURCE: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net (12-11-08)
"They're grabbing a bag full of bones that may or may not belong to one person," she said."There may be two people mixed in, there may be three people mixed in. They may all belong to one person. So what we did was we got all these fragments together in one place and looked at them as a group to try to see if we could reassemble individuals."
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (12-12-08)
Pottery, glass and ceramics originating in the Middle East, Moorish Spain, or merely bearing the influence of Islamic art have been found in sites throughout both Ireland and Britain. These can date from as early as the ninth century. Arab dinars are among the coins that have been found in Scandanavia, a relic of Viking raids on these shores.
However, perhaps the most surprising element of the brief review to the non-specialist reader is the indirect but strong influences which Islam held over early modern British and European architecture as a whole. The author traces a line from seventh-century Palestine (the Gothic arch) and ninth-century Iraq (the Tudor four-centre pointed arch) through to prominent Mughal-influenced British buildings such as Brighton's Royal Pavillion.
SOURCE: History Today (12-11-08)
It is the first time that remains of victims of the dictatorship have been found en masse in an illegal detention centre and the discovery marks a considerable step in the fight for justice for the victims of the dictatorship and their relatives. In the words of Maria Vedio, a legal chairwoman for the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights La Plata:
"This is the first time there is proof that Arana wasn't only a detention and torture centre, but also a centre of elimination."
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (12-12-08)
It was a huge "supergrass" case, with the one-time IRA member Christopher Black giving evidence against almost 40 alleged former associates. Those who were present recall an atmosphere of almost electric hatred as a packed court room held the judge and the police and, in poisonous proximity, scores of republicans ranged in the dock and public gallery.
No one doubted that Basil Kelly was a marked man: the IRA had already assassinated a number of legal figures, declaring them to be part of what republicans in those days called "the British war machine". Earlier that year they had killed Judge William Doyle, gunning him down as he left church after mass. Some years earlier they had shot and killed one of Kelly's close friends, the magistrate Martin McBirney. A few years later they would use a landmine to kill the senior judge Maurice Gibson and his wife.
On this occasion, Kelly handed down sentences of more than 4,000 years' imprisonment to 22 people after one of the longest trials in UK legal history. He sentenced one leading republican to almost 1,000 years in jail. Years later the majority of those convicted were to be freed on appeal as senior judges registered their view that the "supergrass system" was offensive to human rights and unsuited to Northern Ireland. No one who witnessed the court proceedings of the time was left in any doubt that this was one of the battlefields of Northern Ireland's long undeclared war, and that judges were very much in the front line. Basil Kelly lived to the age of 87: if the IRA had had its way his death would have come many years earlier. Instead, he outlasted them.
Name of source: Center for Public Integrity
SOURCE: Center for Public Integrity (12-10-08)
Broken Government documents more than 125 examples of government breakdown in areas as diverse as education, energy, the environment, justice and security, the military and veterans affairs, health care, transportation, financial management, consumer and worker safety, and more — failures which adversely affected ordinary people and made the nation a less open or less secure place to live.
Name of source: Jerusalem Post
SOURCE: Jerusalem Post (12-10-08)
The new theory about the source of the great flood detailed in the Book of Genesis comes amid continuing controversy among scholars over whether the inundation of the Black Sea more than seven millennia ago was the biblical flood.
In the theory posited by British marine archeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley and published in the Bulletin of the Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society, the drowning of the Carmel Mountains villages - which include houses, temples, graves, water wells, workshops and stone tools - is by far "the most compelling" archeological evidence exposed to date for Noah's flood.
Name of source: Nate Silver at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com
SOURCE: Nate Silver at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com (12-10-08)
FYI. If the Supreme Court took the case, It isn't clear that the Senate has the Constitutional authority to refuse to seat a senator who has been validly appointed under the Constitution.
Art I Section 5 says that"Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..."
In Powell v McCormack, the Court held that the House of Reps couldn't refuse to seat Adam Clayton Powell as long as he met the Constitution's qualifications for membership (age, residency, citizenship.).
I guess, theoretically, the Senate could seat the appointee and then expel him with a 2/3rds vote. The Court wouldn't interfere on Political Question grounds: the Constitution doesn't specify the standard for expulsion so it is properly at the discretion of the Senate.
The tricky part here is that Article 1 of the Constitution stipulates that the Senate is the"Judge of Elections, Returns and Qualifications" of its own members. The Senate actually has fairly broad latitude on questions of"Elections and Returns", which is why it could intervene, say, in the Minnesota recount (as it has done in similar cases in the past). An appointment, however, is not an election, which means the only vehicle open to the Senate is challenging the appointee's qualifications, and the Powell v McCormack precedent stipulates that such a review would be limited to his age, residency or citizenship. What the Senate would have to do instead is actually expel the member they just admitted to the chamber, which requires a 2/3 majority and would be much stickier in terms of precedent -- the Senate has not expelled a member since the Civil War.
This places even more pressure on the Illinois Legislature to impeach Blagojevich, who in all likelihood is too delusional and/or too stupid to resign his seat. Impeachments have been a rarity in Illinois, and the state's Constitution does not establish specific grounds for a conviction on impeachment proceedings (that is, there's nothing analogous to"treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" as stated in the US Constitution). But nobody stands anything to gain by defending Blagojevich and he'd seem like a longshot to survive an impeachment trial, even if the legislature is somewhat making up the precedents as it goes along.
EDIT: Short of impeaching Blagojevich, the Illinois Legislature could also rewrite its appointments law in conjunction with establishing a special elections procedure, removing the governor's power to make an appointment, as some states like Oregon have done. See Adam B's legal explainer for more.
FURTHER UPDATE: Crain's Chicago Business suggests this is exactly what the state legislature will try and do.
Name of source: http://www.terradaily.com
SOURCE: http://www.terradaily.com (12-11-08)
Based on chemical signatures in a piece of calcite from a cave near Jerusalem, a team of American and Israeli geologists pieced together a detailed record of the area's climate from roughly 200 B.C. to 1100 A.D.
Their analysis, to be reported in an upcoming issue of the journal Quaternary Research, reveals increasingly dry weather from 100 A.D. to 700 A.D. that coincided with the fall of both Roman and Byzantine rule in the region.