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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: Observer (UK)
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (2-22-09)
There are signs of new beginnings at the reborn Abu Ghraib jail as it prepares to open its doors again to prisoners; there are greenhouses under construction, a rehabilitated sports yard, a barber shop - even beehives. But the ghosts of an infamous past are never far away throughout the whitewashed, 10-acre block on the western outskirts of Baghdad. Five years after Abu Ghraib entered the global lexicon it is, to many Iraqis, still a site of degradation and a forbidding reminder of the American occupation.
This month, Abu Ghraib will receive inmates, many from the two US detention centres in Iraq - Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca - that this year are handing over detainees at rates unparalleled in the six years since the invading US army captured its first detainee. In keeping with the spirit of renewal, the jail is to be renamed Baghdad Central Prison.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-22-09)
Sir Max Hastings Editor of The Daily Telegraph in the late 1980s
She regenerated the capitalist system in Britain and was right to privatise large areas of state ownership, but failed to reform such vital sectors as education and health which could not be delegated to private management. After a decade in power she had exhausted her energy, ideas and credibility, and governed increasingly erratically. I was much relieved that, after I was obliged to sack her daughter during a round of bracing Thatcherite redundancies, she never spoke to me again.
Sir John Tusa Managing director of the BBC World Service, 1986-92
Her most significant acts were fighting for the recovery of the Falklands and recognising that she could “do business” with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. She was wrong to say and believe that “there is no such thing as society”, undermining the essential bond that connects a humane society – shared responsibility for one another. She began the coarsening and degrading of local and national community...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-20-09)
Former Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter demanded that Mr Justice Weir retract and apologise, claiming the officers had been grievously and publicly wronged, left humiliated, their reputations shattered and personal integrity dissolved.
Innocent people in a modern democracy should not be subjected to such public castigation, he said.
And he added: "I know that if I, as a crown servant in a senior position of authority, had incorrectly and publicly asserted an individual was lying or involved in 'deliberate and calculated deception', I would have been immediately removed from duty by the Chief Constable."
His criticism followed a decision by the Public Prosecution Service in Belfast that the two officers would not be facing perjury charges. Both were investigated by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's Office, who found that part of their evidence which was challenged by Mr Justice Weir was accurate and correct.
The marathon trial ended in December 2007 with the acquittal of Sean Hoey, from South Armagh, who denied murdering the 29 people killed in the Omagh atrocity.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-19-09)
Even after 65 years, remembering how Vera Trotter was killed on a winter’s evening in 1943 as the Luftwaffe made one of its regular post-Blitz raids on London’s East End is still enough to bring Alf Morris to tears. Standing on the eastern steps of Bethnal Green Tube station, the 78-year-old dabs his eyes with a handkerchief as he describes the moment his father found his eight-year-old friend. “My dad was the person who eventually identified Vera,” he recalls. “Only the week before he’d taken a nail out of her shoe. That was the only way that he was able to recognise her.”
But Vera wasn’t killed by German bombs. She died in the worst civilian accident of the Second World War – or, indeed, since – a barely-reported crush of people that was kept secret for years. As the air raid warning sounded on 3 March 1943, Vera and her mother Lillian routinely gathered their bundles of bedding and made their way to Bethnal Green Tube, a brand new extension of the Central line that had yet to serve as a station |but for the previous two years had become a much-needed air raid shelter with 5,000 beds.
For those living in the surrounding bomb-ravaged area, the triple bunk beds of Bethnal Green, nestled deep underground, were a safe haven.
But Vera and Lillian never made it that night. They and 171 others were killed as they descended the eastern staircase of the station. For once the terrifying one-tonne bombs dropped from the German Heinkels were not to blame for the horrendous death toll. The Bethnal Green Tube disaster, as it came to be known, was simply a tragic accident that remained buried in secrecy for decades.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-22-09)
His invasion plans of Great Britain included making the Lancashire resort a headquarters for his paratroopers and also a "playground" for him and his men.
The plan explains why Blackpool escaped almost unscathed from the Luftwaffe'as bombing blitz despite the fact the RAF built hundreds of Wellington bombers in the town and thousands of troops went on leave there.
The German intelligence maps have been recovered from a military base and clearly reveal how Hitler had earmarked the safety of Blackpool Tower and the three piers.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-20-09)
It will take around 18 months to plant out the design at Kirkharle, subject to funding and permission to alter the Grade II listed parkland.
Brown was born and grew up in Kirkharle, 20 miles north west of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and it was there that the farmer's son first learned his craft as a "gardener's boy".
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-18-09)
Members of the Royal Family are exempt from the Freedom of Information legislation but individual cases can be challenged on public interest grounds. The Office of the Information Commissioner said the letters were of a "personal nature" and not related to government policy.
The correspondence may related to the a announcements to the Commons by Mr Major, as Prime Minister, that the Prince of Wales and Princess were to separate. He had been a key figure in the discussions between the couple.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-19-09)
The move is being offered in recognition of the suffering of those who became known as the "bastards of the Boche" and often suffered discrimination
The German interior ministry said the move was a "symbolic gesture to make up for past wrongs" suffered by the children who are now in their 60s.
According to research, 200,000 were born between 1941 and 1945 – most as a result of affairs between lonely, bored young women and troops billeted nearby.
Nazi rules prohibited marriage with French natives – unlike with Norwegians or Dutch who were deemed to be "Aryan" – so the liaisons were secret and often ended abruptly when they were discovered.
After the war, the mothers went through purgatory as France was swept with a tide of anti-German hostility and collaboration amnesia set in. Many were paraded through the streets with heads shaved, and some sent to jail for offences against "national dignity".
Name of source: Deutsche Welle
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (2-21-09)
The ultra-traditionalist bishop had been told he had 10 days to leave the country. If Williamson refused to leave voluntarily, he would be forcibly deported, officials said. He could, however, still appeal the decision.
Under pressure from the Jewish community and other groups in Argentina, the government on Friday was tried to formally deliver expulsion documents to the Holocaust-denying Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson, but were uncertain of his whereabouts.
The Argentine Interior Ministry and the state organ in charge of immigration procedures said on Friday that they did not know where the bishop was. But they said they would officially notify him at the address he has declared as his permanent address, which would start the 10-day clock running for him to leave.
Williamson was among four members of the Society of St. Pius X bishops whose 1988 excommunication Pope Benedict XVI revoked last month. The move provoked worldwide furor in the Catholic and Jewish communities as well as in the German chancellery.
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (2-21-09)
Kramer said that by meeting the Iranian president, Schroeder was supporting Ahmadinejad and his government, and appealed for the former chancellor to cancel his engagement, "on the grounds of human rights."
Just hours before he was due meet Ahmadinejad, the former German chancellor criticized the Iranian president's stance against the existence of Israel and his denial of the Holocaust.
"The Holocaust is an historic fact and there is no sense in denying this unparalleled crime," Schroeder said on Saturday, at a speech to the Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Teheran.
Name of source: BBC
Officials said the decision followed rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which has halted the referral of three similar cases.
The 57-year-old man, who has not been named, has been in custody since 2007.
He would be tried in Finland if a prosecutor charged him, officials said. A decision is expected later this year.
All 16 mosques in Banja Luka, the main town of the Serb-run Republika Srpska, were destroyed in the 1992-1995 war.
A lawyer for the area's Muslim community said the local court verdict was of historic importance.
Officials said the decision followed rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which has halted the referral of three similar cases.
The 57-year-old man, who has not been named, has been in custody since 2007.
He would be tried in Finland if a prosecutor charged him, officials said. A decision is expected later this year.
Finnish law allows prosecutions for crimes against humanity wherever they are committed. If convicted, the man would face life in prison.
SOURCE: BBC (2-21-09)
Observers noted what seemed to be a grid of streets and the outlines of a big city on the sea floor about 960km (600 miles) off the African coast.
Experts had said this was one of the possible sites of the city described by Plato, the Greek philosopher.
But Google said the lines represented sonar data collected from boats.
But he feels the business and the industry should have seen it coming.
Under new legislation any developer planning to build anything in a potentially sensitive area where there might be recorded remains, is required to have the land checked out by an archaeologist.
The law is understood to be responsible for a more than threefold increase in the number of working archaeologists, to 6,865 in the UK.
At least 345 have lost their jobs in the UK, according to a report for the Institute for Archaeologists and the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers.
Professor Mark Horton of Bristol University has predicted about a quarter will find themselves unemployed before the recession is over.
Tests on cannon recovered from an Elizabethan warship suggest she carried powerful cast iron guns, of uniform size, firing standard ammunition.
"This marked the beginning of a kind of mechanisation of war," says naval historian Professor Eric Grove of Salford University.
"The ship is now a gun platform in a way that it wasn't before."
Marine archaeologist Mensun Bound from Oxford University adds: "Elizabeth's navy created the first ever set of uniform cannons, capable of firing the same size shot in a deadly barrage.
"[Her] navy made a giant leap forward in the way men fought at sea, years ahead of England's enemies, and which was still being used to devastating effect by Nelson 200 years later."
SOURCE: BBC (2-18-09)
The Brooklyn Museum, like many others, began buying ancient Coptic and Pagan sculptures after World War II.
However, the museum's curators recently discovered that roughly a third of their collection is fake.
The resulting exhibition places genuine sculptures from the 4th Century AD alongside a small group of forgeries, probably from the mid-20th Century.
Experts say there is no way of knowing exactly who carved the limestone fakes, though one theory suggests they may have been produced by prisoners-of-war in Egypt.
Some of the fakes are easy to spot, but others display a high level of craftsmanship. Set among them are genuine works that have been touched up or re-carved.
The forgeries place a greater emphasis on Christian iconography than many of the real works - a sign, say experts, of them being made to order for European and North American buyers.
The Interior Ministry said Richard Williamson had been told he had 10 days to leave Argentina.
Earlier this month the bishop was removed from his post as the head of a Roman Catholic seminary in Argentina.
A row erupted in January after the Pope decided to lift Bishop Williamson's excommunication on an unrelated matter.
The Vatican said the Pope had been unaware of Bishop Williamson's views and had since ordered him to recant.
Operation Jericho was devised to give 100 French patriots the chance to escape the firing squad, scheduled for 19 February 1944, at Amiens Prison in occupied Northern France.
Pilot Officer Cecil Dunlop, 92, from Bath, was on one of the first bombers to fly over the prison and drop his payload.
The blast breached the walls of the prison and, while the explosion unfortunately killed 102 prisoners, 258 escaped, including 79 political prisoners.
The mission was completed with the loss of only two aircraft and Operation Jericho proved that the Mosquito was able to perform precision bombing raids.
Years later Mr Dunlop and his son met one of the prisoners the raid freed.
The Danton, with many of its gun turrets still intact, is sitting upright in over 1,000m of water.
It was found by the Fugro geosciences company during a survey for a gas pipeline between Algeria and Italy.
The Danton, which sank with 296 sailors still onboard, lies 35km southwest of the island of Sardinia.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (2-21-09)
The Rev. Damien de Veuster's canonization date was set Saturday during a meeting between Benedict and cardinals at the Apostolic Palace.
De Veuster will be canonized along with four other people, the Vatican said.
In July, Benedict approved a miracle attributed to the priest's intercession, declaring that a Honolulu woman's recovery in 1999 from terminal lung cancer was the miracle needed for him to be made a saint.
He was beatified — a step toward sainthood — in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.
SOURCE: AP (2-18-09)
Among the finds is a near-intact mammoth skeleton, a skull of an American lion and bones of saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, bison, horses, ground sloths and other mammals.
Researchers discovered 16 fossil deposits under an old parking lot next to the tar pits in 2006 and began sifting through them last summer. The mammoth remains, including 10-foot-long tusks, were in an ancient riverbed near the fossil cache.
Name of source: National Security Archive
SOURCE: National Security Archive (2-21-09)
The motion, filed by the Justice Department on January 21, just after the inauguration, sought to dismiss the White House e-mail litigation even while admitting that a secretive restoration process was still not finished. Today the Archive responded to that motion.
"We had hoped the new administration would give a hard look at whether to allow the defense of the Bush Administration's loss of millions of White House e-mails to proceed on its current course," commented Sheila Shadmand, a Jones Day partner and counsel for the Archive. "This second motion to dismiss is similar to the one the court already denied months ago -- and it admits they have not even completed the restoration project they apparently have been conducting under wraps."
The Archive's Director, Tom Blanton, commented, "President Obama on Day One ordered the government to become more transparent, but the Justice Department apparently never got the message, and that same day tried to dismiss the very litigation that has brought some accountability to the White House e-mail system. Justice could have pulled back from that first misstep but they have not. The White House e-mail presents a high-level test of the new Obama openness policies, and so far, the grade is at best an incomplete."
Name of source: Oregonian
SOURCE: Oregonian (2-19-09)
But this challenge isn't easy. They must research Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and write two paragraphs on how he used literacy to fight for freedom.
The two start reading a two-page biography aloud.
"He taught other people to read the Bible," says Turner, 13. "He formed a church using literacy."
In her journal, Hoggans, 13, writes, "Church was the place that blacks could have freedom and self-expression."
Each week, about 30 students from several middle schools in Portland gather in a first-floor classroom at Jefferson High School. For an hour and a half, they are South Carolina slaves.
They use a plastic board game to reinforce basic literacy concepts, increase reading comprehension and discover what it was like to live through one of the most tumultuous and divisive parts of American history.
The game -- Journey to Freedom: The Power to Read and Write -- is the creation of Jefferson teacher Karanja Crews.
As an elementary school teacher in Beaverton nearly five years ago, Crews started trying to inspire kids to read, write and learn history by sharing the stories of slaves who learned to read and write even though they faced dire consequences, such as whippings, separation from family members and even death.
He devised the game last year, tried it out on students at Jefferson and last month began working with middle school students in North and Northeast Portland.
Name of source: LAT (blog) Top of the Ticket
SOURCE: LAT (blog) Top of the Ticket (2-21-09)
In a video released Friday Keyes, who lost to Obama in the 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois that launched the new president's national political career, calls Obama a communist and usurper and says he refuses to acknowledge the validity of Obama's inauguration over lingering questions in the minds of many conspiracists about the 44th president's birth place.
The U.S. Constitution requires any president be born an American citizen.
In June, the Obama campaign released to The Ticket a copy of the then-senator's Hawaiian birth certificate (see the jump below and also here). But stubbornly persistent critics demand to see the original, which the state has refused to provide, citing personal privacy reasons.
And the critics, including Keyes explaining here, cite Obama relatives in Kenya as saying he was actually born there in his father's native land when his American mother was too young to pass on her U.S. citizenship.
Name of source: China Central Television
SOURCE: China Central Television (2-19-09)
This is another latest uncover of ancient tombs following similar discoveries in surrounding areas in 2002.
The excavation site contains 29 tombs, including two imperial wooden chariots and two dead horses.
Field work for this excavation began in August 2008 and took archaeologists three months to finish. Many artifacts such as pottery, bronze weapons and jade were found despite the fact that most of the tombs had already been plundered by grave robbers.
The horses, laying back to back in an orderly arrangement, were evidently killed before the burial. The two wooden chariots had rotted away, leaving only dusts.
According to local archaeologists, this is also the first time a burial chamber with two horses and two chariots has been discovered in the Luoyang region.
Name of source: News Post Online
SOURCE: News Post Online (2-20-09)
The three-meter Amenhotep statue was dug out with only one damage in the nose and one in the teeth, Moustafa el-Waziri, director of the archaeological mission, told the state MENA news agency.
He added that more antiques would be unearthed in the future.
Name of source: IHT
SOURCE: IHT (2-20-09)
The claim is part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Geronimo's death.
The Apache warrior's heirs are seeking to recover all his remains, wherever they may be, and have them transferred to a new grave at the headwaters of the Gila River in New Mexico, where Geronimo was born and wished to be interred.
Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott Bush - father of President George H.W. Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush - broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group's clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.
The story gained some validity in 2005, when a historian discovered a letter written in 1918 from one Skull and Bones member to another saying the skull had been taken from a grave at Fort Sill along with several pieces of tack for a horse.
Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general who is representing Geronimo's family, acknowledged that he had no hard proof that the story was true. Yet he said he hoped the court would clear up the matter.
SOURCE: IHT (2-17-09)
The two Qing dynasty bronze animal heads, one depicting a rabbit and the other a rat, are believed to have been part of a set comprising 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac that were created for the imperial gardens during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century.
China views the relics as a significant part of its cultural heritage and a symbol of how Western powers encroached on the country during the Opium Wars. The relics were displayed as fountainheads at the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, until it was destroyed and sacked by British and French forces in 1860.
At a news briefing in Beijing last week, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the two bronzes should be returned to China because they had been taken by "invaders." A group of Chinese lawyers says it plans to file a lawsuit this week in Paris seeking to halt or disrupt the sale.
But Christie's says the sale is legal and plans to go ahead with the auction on Monday through Wednesday in Paris, where the two bronze items could fetch as much as $10 million to $13 million apiece.
In recent years it has been using its growing political and economic muscle to push other nations to hand over lost or stolen Chinese treasures, and to help it fight international smugglers who continue to loot historic sites in the country and peddle items on the black market.
After more than three years of diplomacy, the Bush administration reached an agreement with China last month to ban the import of a wide range of Chinese antiquities into the United States, in an effort to discourage illegal trade in artifacts.
Name of source: Foxnews
SOURCE: Foxnews (2-21-09)
John Lennon once claimed the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Now President Obama has evidence that he's more popular than both.
Obama topped a new Harris interactive poll that asked 2,634 Americans who they admire enough to call a hero.
Jesus came in second on a list that includes God, Mahtma Gandhi and George Washington.
Other historic or notable figures making the top 10 were Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, John F. Kennedy, U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger and Mother Teresa.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (2-20-09)
Jackson was Davis' house servant and personal coachman. He learned high-level details about Confederate battle plans and movements because Davis saw him as a "piece of furniture" -- not a human, according to Ken Dagler, author of "Black Dispatches," which explores espionage by America's slaves.
Jackson and other slaves' heroic efforts have been a forgotten legacy of the war -- lost amid the nation's racially charged past and the heaps of information about the war's historic battles. But historians over the last few decades have been taking an interest in the sacrifice of African-Americans during those war years.
Dagler said slaves who served as spies were able to collect incredibly detailed information, in large part because of their tradition of oral history. Because Southern laws prevented blacks from learning how to read and write, he said, the slave spies listened intently to minute details and memorized them.
Whatever happened to William Jackson, the spy in Jefferson Davis's house?
Unfortunately, that remains a great unknown.
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Ed
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-19-09)
The two academics that American conservatives most love to hate are scheduled to appear together next month at the University of Colorado at Boulder. According to an article in today’s Colorado Daily, William Ayers will appear on the campus with — and voice support for — Ward Churchill on the night of March 5, just days before Mr. Churchill’s lawsuit challenging his dismissal by the university goes to trial.
Name of source: Voice of America
SOURCE: Voice of America (2-20-09)
At a Justice Department commemoration of Black History month, Eric Holder, the nation's first African-American attorney general, had some strong words about the state of race relations in the United States.
"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race," he said.
Holder said while Americans have largely integrated the workplace during the week, blacks and whites still tend to segregate themselves on weekends.
Name of source: NY Post
SOURCE: NY Post (9-20-09)
It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.
It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.
But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.
This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.
However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.
To them, no apology is due.
Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (2-20-09)
More than 600 miles off the coast of Africa and nearly 3.5 miles below the surface lay a mysterious grid of lines and markings that closely resembled the streets of a city.
The image - discovered on the internet mapping tool Google Earth - lay in an area of the Atlantic long thought to be a possible location for the fabled lost city.
There were just two problems.
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (2-18-09)
The excavation of six mass graves on the Somme will begin in May after archaeologists found human remains and fragments of kit and equipment. The work is expected to take up to six months.
The bodies will each be buried with full military honours in a new cemetery near the town of Fromelles.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (2-20-09)
Locals hope the impact of the 12 years of nuclear testing will aid their bid, and in turn bring tourism back to the atoll, which forms part of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia in the North Pacific.
Jack Niedenthal, a spokesman for the people of the Bikini Islands, told The Times that Bikinians believe the “tremendous amount of history” at their former Pacific island home should validate its entry into the World Heritage list.
If approved, he said that it would be one of only a few 20th-century listings to feature on the World Heritage list, which also features sites such as Hiroshima and Auschwitz.
Name of source: Spiegel Online
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (2-20-09)
The government said Williamson's denial of "a proven historical truth" had "deeply shocked Argentine society, the Jewish people and all of humanity." An official statement added, without giving detail, that he had also deceived Argentina's immigration services.
Williamson's repeated questioning of the Holocaust sparked an international furore earlier this month. Pope Benedict XVI faced a storm of criticism over his decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops with the ultra-conservative brotherhood of St. Pius X, including Williamson. Responding to intense international criticism, however, he ordered Williamson to recant his views before he could be reinstated as a Catholic bishop.
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (2-20-09)
But now she's got a new worry brewing. Once again, the issue of how to remember those Germans expelled from Poland following World War II has come to the fore. Merkel only his two choices available to her. She can either side with the expellees, which could do serious damage to Berlin's relations with Warsaw. Or, she could decide in favor of German-Polish relations and risk alienating the conservative wing of her party just months before the general elections. So far, the chancellor has opted to do nothing at all.
The thorn currently working its way into Merkel's side has a name: Erika Steinbach. She is the president of the Federation of Expellees, a group dedicated to remembering the plight of Germans forced out of parts of Eastern Europe following the defeat of Nazi Germany. For years, Steinbach has been lobbying for the creation of a museum in Berlin documenting the expulsions.
Name of source: Spiegel
SOURCE: Spiegel (2-17-09)
Original blueprints showing construction plans for the Auschwitz death camp have gone on display in Berlin in an exhibition opened on Monday evening by a survivor, 86-year-old former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.
The exhibition is being shown at the Berlin headquarters of German publishing group Axel Springer, publisher of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper, until February 28.
Bartoszewski was imprisoned by the Nazis in Auschwitz in 1940, before it had been converted from a concentration camp into a death camp. He was released after he became seriously ill.
The construction plans are dated 1941 and 1942 and include a gas chamber and a crematorium. More than a million people were murdered in Auschwitz. An estimated 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
This is the first time the blueprints are being displayed. They were found by chance in an apartment in Berlin last year. Historical experts from the German government archive and the Auschwitz memorial site confirmed their authenticity.
The owner's asking price for the blueprints was so high that the Federal Archive refused to purchase them. Bild bought the blueprints instead.
Name of source: Live 5 News
SOURCE: Live 5 News (2-17-09)
Thirteen men lost their lives that night in 1864: eight from the Hunley and five from the Housatonic.
But their mark had been left; naval warfare had changed.
After a march from Fort Moultrie to the Sunrise Presbyterian Church at Breach Inlet on Sullivans Island was a memorial service and a reading of the names of each of the fallen seamen, each followed by the ringing of a bell.
After the service was a procession to the beach where two wreaths were laid in the water, then 13 flowers carried by 13 cymbolic lady mourners.
Finally, three rounds of musket fire followed by three rounds of cannon fire to remember the ones they called "brave men."
The Hunley remained missing for generations until it was tracked down in Charleston Harbor with modern equipment in 1995.
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (2-18-09)
Led by University of Miami professor John Gifford, underwater archaeologists are exploring Little Salt Spring, 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Sarasota.
Earlier this year, students working about 30 feet (9 meters) below the surface found the remains of a gourd that probably was used as a canteen by an ancient hunter about 8,000 or 9,000 years ago, according to Gifford.
Archaeologists have been recovering primitive relics from the spring since 1977, when divers found the remains of a large, now extinct tortoise and a sharpened stake that may have been used by a hungry hunter to kill the animal 12,000 years ago.
Gifford and other archaeologists found more from the tortoise this past July, along with the slaughtered remains of a giant ground sloth.
The discovery of the sloth's bones, Gifford said, could indicate that Little Salt Spring was a sort of ancient butcher shop where hunters often killed their prey and prepared meat when this was dry land.
These remains come from the earliest known period of human activity in the Western Hemisphere, said Gifford, who has received funding for his work from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.
Name of source: Science Daily
SOURCE: Science Daily (2-18-09)
The ancient Rapanui people did abuse their environment, but they were also developing sustainable practices—innovating, experimenting, trying to adapt to a risky environment—and they would still be here in traditional form if it weren’t for the diseases introduced by European settlers in the 1800s.
While evidence suggests the Rapa Nui people cut down 6,000,000 trees in 300 years, for example, they were also developing new technological and agricultural practices along the way—such as fertilization techniques to restore the health of the soil and rock gardens to protect the plants. As a result, every rock on Easter Island has probably been moved three or four times, Stevenson said.
Other archaeological evidence indicates that the Rapanui people radically changed their societal structure from one dominated by chiefs to one that was much more egalitarian in nature, too, which effectively leveled out their consumption patterns.
Name of source: Quad-City Times (Iowa)
SOURCE: Quad-City Times (Iowa) (2-17-09)
They lived in a doughnut-shaped village around a communal area and occupied 20 to 25 tree branch and bark wigwams capable of housing up to 10 people each.
The group is believed to be part of the Weaver culture located not far from the confluence of the Iowa and Cedar rivers in Louisa County where fish and game were plentiful, said Dave Benn, a research archaeologist. He was hired to excavate the site as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sited a new location for a levee to protect the town battered by flooding last year.
A team of archaeologists toiling under a plastic canopy off Louisa County Road H22 are carefully unearthing remnants of the village from a 10-foot-by-213-foot trench cut right through the middle of it. They are hoping to gain a greater insight into the lives of these prehistoric people who once flourished throughout the region.
In eight weeks of meticulous digging and cataloging, the site has yielded 100,000 artifacts, Benn said. Many are unrecognizable bone fragments and pottery shards, but there are also stone arrowheads and spear points, stone axe heads and pits laden with ancient trash that give a glimpse of how the village lived.
Name of source: New Statesman
SOURCE: New Statesman (2-19-09)
This is not as great a departure as you might think. The popular image of archaeology may be about romantic quests to uncover lost civilisations, but deep excavation is only one part of a field that begins with the mundane reading of documents, geophysical surveys and surface investigations. There is no reason why any of this needs to be limited to the ancient or exotic. Even Channel 4's Time Team, who generally get excited about Roman bathhouses and Saxon burial grounds, have run programmes about the D-Day landings and warplane crash sites.
Contemporary archaeology is a response to the problem of preserving and recording our disposable, rapidly changing culture. The structures of the postwar era - 1960s tower blocks, mobile-phone masts, distribution warehouses, retail parks - are fairly temporary and likely to disappear quickly. That is why Change and Creation, an archaeological project on the late 20th-century landscape run by English Heritage, is focusing on transient sites such as the code-breaking huts at Bletchley Park or the Greenham Common peace camp. The latter is now slowly turning from airbase concrete to its original grassy state, but is offering up piecemeal evidence of its former life in the form of moss-covered children's toys and anti-American graffiti.
All historians, and not merely archaeologists, are likely to encounter difficulties researching our own era because so much of the material will be ephemeral or intangible. The historian Niall Ferguson recently said that he did not envy future members of his profession, because of the "disappearing decision trail" in the contemporary period. The archival record of the present day is likely to be both too scarce and too abundant. Email databases may not survive, or they will be so full that no scholar will know where to start, or they will be unreadable because of changes to hardware or software. So perhaps we will have to rely on the archaeologists, whose whole training teaches them to make wider deductions from fragmentary material remains - the smudge of black on pottery providing proof of a hearth, for example.
Name of source: AFP
SOURCE: AFP (2-19-09)
Of the 6,900 languages spoken in the world, some 2,500 are endangered, the UN's cultural agency UNESCO said Thursday as it released its latest atlas of world languages.
That represents a multi-fold increase from the last atlas compiled in 2001 which listed 900 languages threatened with extinction.
But experts say this is more the result of better research tools than of an increasingly dire situation for the world's many tongues.
Name of source: The New Nixon (blog)
SOURCE: The New Nixon (blog) (2-19-09)
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (2-18-09)
"It is really a special mountaintop experience to be here," King said. "My parents had often shared with me how moving their experience in India was. My father said he came to many countries as a tourist, but he came to India as a pilgrim."
King Jr. came to India in February 1959, four year after Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and 11 years after Gandhi was assassinated. He drew powerful lessons about the way the bony, bare-chested Gandhi had deployed the weapon of nonviolence in his fight to free India from more than 200 years of British rule. Gandhi's philosophy of peaceful resistance had a lasting impact on how King Jr. shaped the U.S. civil rights movement.
Name of source: NYT blog
SOURCE: NYT blog (2-18-09)
The students, who came from three local schools here, heard from Adm. Stephen W. Rochon, the chief usher, who runs the mansion and oversees everything from state dinners to redecorating. He is the first African-American to hold that position.
They also heard from Mrs. Obama, who told the students a little bit about the black history of the White House. She talked about the slaves who helped build the executive mansion, about Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation there and about Marie Seilka, a soprano, who became the first African-American artist to perform in the White House in 1878.
She described President Kennedy’s meeting with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the White House and President Obama, who is the first African-American president to live there. Then – as her daughters, Malia and Sasha, listened along with the students — she urged the students to remember that they would write the next chapters in history.
“So you have to ask yourselves, what will you do in life to help someone else in need?” Mrs. Obama said to the young people who were gathered in the East Room. “You have to ask yourselves, what are you going to do to make your own community stronger? What are you going to do to make sure that this nation is even greater? And what are you doing right now in school and in your neighborhoods to prepare yourselves to assume a level of responsibility and to be good citizens?’’
“Think about, as the Admiral says, getting up every single day and working hard, as hard as you can; putting your best foot forward all the time, not just when somebody is looking, but every single moment; and supporting your family, the folks in your own households; making your beds, putting the dishes up, cleaning your rooms,’’ she said.
“That’s not just a story that Barack Obama is writing, or Admiral Rochon is writing,’’ the first lady said. “Those are the stories that we’re all writing together. And you’re an important part of that.’’
And after that, the five members of the all-female, African American a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock, sang their hearts out.
Name of source: HNN Staff
SOURCE: HNN Staff (2-18-09)
The hotel is the location of the next annual meeting of the American Historical Association.
In January the AHA was pressed by labor and gay members to join the gay boycott of the hotel. Instead, the AHA decided to sponsor a series of teach-ins on gay history.
Clinton's appearance drew protests from the Huffington Post's Rick Jacobs, the Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign, a progressive political organization in California:
Bill Clinton happily took a six figure fee to undermine a boycott of Doug Manchester's San Diego Hyatt on Sunday. Mr. Manchester gave $125,000 to the Yes on 8 Campaign, so the LGBT and progressive communities, led by Cleve Jones and our friends at UNITE HERE, have been boycotting the hotel since July. But not Bill Clinton. He spoke yesterday even as we protested outside, trying to present him with the signatures of 30,000 Courage members who, in only forty hours, signed to ask Mr. Clinton not to speak at Mr. Manchester's hotel. Irony of ironies that Bill Clinton would actually support Ken Starr by helping to put money in the pocket of Mr. Starr's funders. But then again, Bill Clinton always had a different view of Fidelity than the rest of us.