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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: Politico (Mike Allen)
SOURCE: Politico (Mike Allen) (3-17-09)
Name of source: Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times (South America)
SOURCE: Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times (South America) (3-16-09)
Hidden by the region’s lush vegetation for centuries, the paintings were discovered in caves located near the village of Tambolic, in the district of Jamalca, province of Utcubamba.
“Over the past two years,” said Olivera, “we have found 6,000-year old cave paintings, especially in the Cuaco and Yamón mountains, located in the Lonya Grande district. These are in addition to those recently found in Shupcha, Tambolic, were many of these ancient images are concentrated.”
According to Olivera, most of the Tambolic paintings depict hunting scenes and are similar to those found in Toquepala. The artists used mainly red, brown, yellow and black pigments.
Name of source: Slate
SOURCE: Slate (3-16-09)
You may think you've heard all this before. When Barack Obama became the first president to put his weekly radio address on YouTube, it was heralded as his version of FDR's famous fireside chats. It was a sloppy comparison. FDR wasn't the first president to use radio. (Here's Hoover giving a fireside-chat-like address on unemployment.) And FDR did not speak weekly. (That was a Reagan invention.) Roosevelt spoke only 30 times in 12 years. But what made the addresses so powerful and popular was the connection the president created with the country as he explained his sweeping policies.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (3-17-09)
The body of President Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan was unearthed after a former Afghan general involved in the secret burial pointed the way last year to two mass graves. In July 2008, graves were opened that held the bodies of the former leader and 17 family members and associates killed with him.
Daud Khan, whose shooting death ushered in an era of Soviet domination over the country that lasted for a decade, was identified by teeth molds _ but the key was the Quran, a gift from a Saudi king found along with the body in July 2008.
President Hamid Karzai, who directed the effort to identify his predecessor's remains, led Tuesday's ceremony, which began in the presidential palace where Daud Khan and his family were killed. Among those who attended were Karzai, his allies and political opponents, and the former president's surviving family members, along with international ambassadors.
An honor guard accompanied Daud Khan's body from the palace, with soldiers bearing the coffin and larger-than-life portraits. He was buried along with family members on a hillside overlooking the mountains that surround Kabul.
SOURCE: AP (3-14-09)
The head of the living history museum says attendance jumped 32 percent in January and February, marking its best start in seven years.
Old Sturbridge Village had nearly 12,000 visitors during the first two months of 2009, compared to just under 9,000 in the same period a year ago.
President and CEO James Donahue speculates that many people in these difficult days have an interest in learning about "simpler times."
SOURCE: AP (3-16-09)
Archaeologists are excavating sites along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in hopes of saving artifacts before they wash away.
Although the National Park Service typically leaves such artifacts alone, about 60 sites are being undercut by water, or unearthed by wind, topography and a lack of sand, which is largely blocked from getting into the canyon by Glen Canyon Dam upriver.
National Park Service archaeologists and the Museum of Northern Arizona are working to uncover nine of the sites, which are mostly about 1,000 years old.
The artifacts will ultimately end up on display at the South Rim.
SOURCE: AP (3-16-09)
The increased access to the pyramids south of Cairo is part of a new sustainable development campaign that Egypt hopes will attract more visitors but also to avoid some of the problems of the urban sprawl that have plagued the famed pyramids of Giza.
Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the chambers of the 330-foot-pyramid outside the village of Dahshur, 50 miles south of Cairo, will be opened for the first time to tourists within the next "month or two."
Dahshur's bent pyramid is famous for its irregular profile. The massive tomb's sides rise at a steep angle but then abruptly tapers off at a more shallow approach to the pyramid's apex.
Archaeologists believe the pyramid-builders changed their minds while constructing it out of fear the whole structure might collapse because the sides were too steep.
Hawass said archaeologists believe the 4th dynasty founder Pharaoh Sneferu's burial chamber lies undiscovered inside the pyramid.
SOURCE: AP (3-15-09)
James Spirek of the South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology is making the first comprehensive historical map of the harbor bottom to record everything from fortifications to sunken ships.
Fort Sumter, where the war began in 1861, sits in the harbor. The fight over Charleston continued for four years and historians say the fort has been shelled more than any other site in the Western Hemisphere.
There are thought to be about 45 wrecks in the harbor, ranging from ironclads to blockade runners and the so-called stone fleet, ships the Union sank to obstruct blockade runners.
The study will also help preserve what remains.
SOURCE: AP (3-14-09)
Sara Jane Olson, a 1970s radical who became a fugitive after attempting to kill Los Angeles police officers and participating in a deadly bank robbery near Sacramento, is scheduled to be released from a California prison next week.
Her bid for freedom after serving seven years is not ending quietly.
Police leagues in Los Angeles and Minnesota are objecting to the terms of her parole, her attorneys are nervous after Olson was mistakenly released and sent back to prison a year ago, and those in her home state have conflicting views about the return of a woman with two identities — a quiet, caring community volunteer and a domestic terrorist.
Olson, 62, is scheduled to be released Tuesday from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, about 150 miles southeast of San Francisco. Where she goes next has become a point of contention.
Name of source: 3-17-09
SOURCE: 3-17-09 (12-31-69)
Forty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey said another depression is likely.
"Will the Great Recession turn into another Great Depression? A growing number of Americans think it might," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Last December, 38% said a depression like the one the U.S. experienced in the 1930s was likely in the next year. Now that number is up 7 points."
The poll described the 1930s' Great Depression as a time in which roughly one out of four workers was unemployed, banks failed across the country and millions of ordinary Americans were temporarily homeless or unable to feed their families.
Nearly nine out of ten people questioned in the survey said economic conditions in the country are poor today, with only 11% suggesting that conditions are good.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (3-17-09)
That changed the course of the war: a graphic account of the sinking by an American journalist aboard was credited with helping to push the United States into joining the conflict after it was read to both Houses of Congress.
But the discovery of the hull of the former Cunard liner 160 miles off Ireland by Odyssey Marine Exploration, a Florida-based company, has turned RMS Laconia into the source of a new transatlantic power struggle. The treasure-hunters have been appointed "custodian" of the wreck and its contents, including 852 bars of silver and 132 boxes of silver coins worth an estimated £3m.
Odyssey found the Laconia last November along with another First World War British merchant vessel, but kept secret the identity and precise location of the wrecks. The names of the ships were disclosed in a British government document obtained by The Independent.
Name of source: IHT
SOURCE: IHT (3-15-09)
For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.
To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.
A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said that the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Gulf War in 1991, or the invasions of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.
SOURCE: IHT (3-16-09)
Henderson also served as ambassador to Poland, Spain, Germany and France, and as private secretary to Britain's foreign minister.
Alexandra Drogheda, his daughter, said Henderson played an instrumental role in building support in the U.S. for Britain's decision to invade the Falkland Islands — known in Spanish as Las Malvinas — after they were seized by Argentina in 1982.
SOURCE: IHT (12-31-69)
Professor Kulchytsky, though, would not go along.
The other day, as he stood before a new memorial to the victims of the famine, he recalled his decision as one turning point in a movement lasting decades to unearth the truth about that period. And the memorial itself, shaped like a towering candle with a golden eternal flame, seemed to him in some sense a culmination of this effort.
The concrete memorial was dedicated last November, the 75th anniversary of the famine, in a park in Kiev, on a hillside overlooking the Dnepr River in the shadow of the onion domes of a revered Orthodox Christian monastery. More than 30 meters, or 100 feet, tall, the memorial will eventually house a small museum that will offer testimony from survivors, as well as information about the Ukrainian villages that suffered.
In the Soviet Union, the authorities all but banned discussion of the famine, but by the 1980s the United States and other countries were pressing their own inquiries, often at the urging of Ukrainian immigrants.
In response, Communist officials embarked on a propaganda drive to play down the famine and show that the deaths were caused by unforeseen food shortages or drought. Professor Kulchytsky said he had been given the task of gathering research but concluded that the famine had been man-made.
The famine is known in Ukrainian as the Holodomor — literally, death or killing by starvation — and the campaign to give it recognition has played a significant role in the Ukrainian quest to shape a national identity in the post-Soviet era. It has also further strained relations with the Kremlin, another of the festering disputes left by the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The pro-Western government in Kiev, which came to power after the Orange Revolution of 2004, calls the famine a genocide that Stalin ordered because he wanted to decimate the Ukrainian citizenry and snuff out aspirations for independence from Moscow.
The archives make plain that no other conclusion is possible, said Professor Kulchytsky, who is deputy director of the Institute of Ukrainian History in Kiev.
Last month, Russian historians and archivists sought to bolster the Kremlin's case, issuing a DVD and a book of historical documents that they said demonstrated that the famine was not directed at Ukraine.
Many of the documents were translated into English, underscoring how the two countries are waging their fight on an international stage.
Professor Kulchytsky said the Kremlin feared that if it conceded the truth, Russia, considered the successor to the Soviet Union, could face claims for reparations. Still, he said he would not ignore misstatements by the Ukrainian side, either.
Name of source: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (3-17-09)
Saffarids were an Iranian dynasty of lower class origins that ruled a large area of eastern Iran during the 9th century CE.
The team also has been scheduled to demarcate the city of Decius and to study industrial workshops located in the site, she added.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (3-16-09)
An edition of the manuscripts is currently being prepared and the study of the volumes has provided both a fascinating insight into the organisational structures of the court and a detailed picture of the way in which it operated.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (3-17-09)
Mr Khan was killed in a communist-inspired coup in 1978. His remains were found in a mass grave last year.
He ousted his cousin, King Zahir Shah, in a coup in 1973 to become president.
SOURCE: BBC (3-16-09)
Hesperonychus was the size of a small-chicken, and used its rows of serrated teeth to feed on insects, experts say.
The bird-like creature is closely related to Microraptor - a tiny feathered dinosaur discovered in China.
The specimen helps to confirm that reptiles, and not mammals, filled the role of small predators during the age of the dinosaurs.
The fossil skeleton, which lay misidentified for 25 years as a lizard, belongs to a group of dinosaurs called the theropods - bipedal reptiles that eventually gave rise to birds.
"Despite the discovery of exquisitely preserved skeletons of small bird-like dinosaurs in Asia, they are exceedingly rare in North America," explained Dr Philip Currie, a palaeontologist from the University of Calgary and co-author on the paper.
Dr Currie had been pondering why so few small fossils have been unearthed in Alberta, Canada - one of the world's richest sites for large-dinosaur bones.
The authors also suggest this discovery helps to resolve debate over whether flight originated from animals that ran on the ground, flapping their arms, or whether it started with tree-climbing animals gliding downwards.
SOURCE: BBC (3-16-09)
Queen Cleopatra was a descendant of Ptolemy, the Macedonian general who ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great.
But remains of the queen's sister Princess Arsinoe, found in Ephesus, Turkey, indicate that her mother had an "African" skeleton.
Experts have described the results as "a real sensation."
The discovery was made by Hilke Thuer of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
"It is unique in the life of an archaeologist to find the tomb and the skeleton of a member of Ptolemaic dynasty," he said.
"That Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra's family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe."
SOURCE: BBC (3-14-09)
The Casa Di Giulietta (house of Juliet) is in the heart of Verona.
Folklore suggests it was once the home of the Cappello family - possibly the model for the Capulets in Shakespeare's fictional play, Romeo and Juliet.
Although some historians say there is scant evidence to back this up, the balcony on the 14th century building is still one of the city's most popular tourist destinations.
From next month, you will be able to hire it as a venue for weddings.
SOURCE: BBC (3-15-09)
He said Nato's European members must do more if it was to "come through this test of its resolve and character".
Lessons learned there and in Iraq would lead to a "transformation" of policy by the UK Ministry of Defence.
Asked if the mission had changed to a counter-insurgency one, Mr Hutton said lessons had to be learned from the "complicated operations" in Iraq and Afghanistan as they were going to "define the characteristics of future conflict for decades" and "much of the politics of the 21st Century".
SOURCE: BBC (3-15-09)
The document, known as the Safe Conduct, was written by the King of France and was supposed to guarantee Wallace safe passage to visit the Pope.
It is currently held at the National Archives in Surrey.
South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame said it should be in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Ms Grahame has lodged a parliamentary motion calling for the return of the letter, and also lodged a parliamentary question asking if Scottish ministers will make a formal request to have it returned.
Ms Grahame said it would be "entirely inappropriate that it should languish, forgotten in some closed drawer in Surrey and urge the UK National Archive to pass it to the National Museum of Scotland where it can be properly displayed."
She claimed the document will be "an inspirational boost" for Scots to return for the Homecoming celebrations.
SOURCE: BBC (3-14-09)
Her remains were found by an archaeologist on unconsecrated ground next to Hoo St Werburgh Parish Church, near Rochester.
Her head had been placed by her side, suggesting she may have committed suicide or been executed for a crime.
Her body has now been reburied in the church's main graveyard.
The girl was affectionately named Holly by church officials because her remains were found beside a holly tree used over many years to decorate the church at Christmas.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
The country is displaying early symptoms of being trapped in a so-called “debt deflation trap” where families find themselves pushed further and further into the red every month, according to a Bank report published today.
The stark warning will cause serious concerns, since it was this combination of falling prices and soaring debt burdens that plagued the US in the 1930s.
This extraordinary painting depicting 103 figures from world history in striking detail has become the latest internet hit.
Message boards have erupted with contests to identify all those featured, who range from instantly recognisable figures like Gandhi to some more obscure figures such as Liu Xiang, the Chinese hurdler who limped out of the Beijing Olympics in the summer.
An element of mystery also surrounds that origins of the picture, which appears to have drawn inspiration from Raphael's Renaissance fresco The School of Athens.
While the figures in Raphael's painting were all ancient philosophers, there appears little to connect the characters in the recent work which finds room for historical greats like Napoleon as well as Bill Gates, the bespectacled face of modern success.
But eagle-eyed observers have spotted clues to the painting's provenance in some of those depicted.
Mr Allingham, 112, the oldest Royal Navy veteran, was moved to tears as he received France's highest military honour in a ceremony at the official London residence of the French ambassador in recognition of his role in the First World War.
The veteran, who lives at St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel in Ovingdean, near Brighton, has held the rank of chevalier, or knight, in the Legion d'Honneur since 2003 and was promoted this afternoon to the rank of officer.
Unlike most early modern princes the Tudor monarch was brought up in a feminine household and was almost certainly taught to write by his mother, analysis shows.
This upbringing shaped Henry's "emotionally incontinent" personality, leading him to fall and love with – and marry – so many women, Starkey claims.
The consequences for British history were immense; the 16th Century king's desire to secure a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon so he could marry the attractive young Anne Boleyn helped bring about the country's break from Rome, and eventual acceptance of Protestantism.
Starkey, a Tudor specialist who has presented several television series about English monarchs, has curated a new exhibition at the British Library where examples of the king's handwriting will go on show.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-13-09)
Mr Barton said it was the conflict's equivalent of the discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian boy-king Tutankhamen.
He unearthed the archive hidden deep under the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva, where shelf after shelf of boxed, typed records had lain untouched by researchers for decades.
The information has the potential to show where many of the dead were laid to rest all along the Western Front and other battlefields of the Great War and could mean that many of the headstones marked "Unknown Soldier" or "Known Only Unto God" might be changed.
Name of source: http://www.thespectrum.com (Utah)
SOURCE: http://www.thespectrum.com (Utah) (3-14-09)
Following an update on the college by president Stephen D. Nadauld and the introduction of student body present-elect, Dewey Denning, board members delved into their first action item on the agenda, the Dixie Rebel nickname and mascot.
"There have been some matters of advice that probably suggest that it would be wise that we just go ahead and vote," said Trustees chairman Shandon Gubler. "You can change that direction if you want, but it would probably be the wise thing to do."
Community members and students helped choose a new nickname and mascot, which was then approved by the Board of Trustees. Their vote led to hundreds of upset students and alumni announcing their disapproval to the Board during the Feb. 9 meeting approving DSC's new Red Storm nickname and bull mascot.
After talking to students, Board members decided to continue discussion on the issue. On Friday, some were still hesitant to move forward with a decision.
Board member Bill Ronnow made the motion to retire the Rebel name and mascot and "any and all items associated with the Confederate symbol."
Vicki Wilson, vice chair, seconded the motion.
Name of source: NYT blog
SOURCE: NYT blog (3-16-09)
That was a different age, of course. Congress was very much on board, supervising the reorganization of the bankrupt Northeastern railroads and then forming Conrail, in 1976, to run them. The auto companies, in contrast, are being pushed by the White House and Congress to reorganize themselves and remain private corporations, owned by shareholders.
Conrail presided over huge cutbacks in rail operations, leaving the railroad system with much less track and roughly half the number of employees. By 1981, it was turning a profit hauling freight, and eventually its operations were sold back to privately operated lines.
Five years after Conrail’s creation, Ronald Reagan became president and gave government takeovers a bad name by popularizing the view that government was inept in the marketplace. The Obama administration, respectful of this continuing view, wants the automakers to stand on their own, with only temporary federal loans to get them through the hard times.
Name of source: Stars and Stripes
SOURCE: Stars and Stripes (3-15-09)
The flag was brought to Japan by Air Force Col. Charles Eastman, who is in Japan with members of the Air War College in Alabama, where he is an instructor. Eastman got the flag from Casey Breslin, a friend who says the colonel is the only servicemember she knows, Eastman said after the ceremony..
Breslin is the granddaughter of Army Maj. Hugh Breslin Jr., who had possession of the flag for a short time until his death last year. Hugh Breslin had received it from Army Col. John H. Blair, who served with Breslin and who had kept the flag for more than 60 years. According to a fact sheet released by the U.S. Embassy, the exact circumstances relating to how Blair obtained the flag are unknown.
Name of source: http://www.expatica.com
SOURCE: http://www.expatica.com (3-14-09)
Francesco Coran told the ANSA news agency that the military appeal court in Rome had quashed the sentence handed down against Hans Dietrich Michelsen, who was tried in his absence by a military tribunal in La Spezia in February last year.
Michelsen, then a 29-year-old Wehrmacht major, had been tried in his absence for the killing of the civilians on August 18, 1944 in the central Italian village of Grotta di Maona.
Name of source: Time
SOURCE: Time (3-16-09)
Elior, who teaches Jewish mysticism at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, claims that the Essenes were a fabrication by the 1st century A.D. Jewish-Roman historian, Josephus Flavius, and that his faulty reporting was passed on as fact through the centuries. As Elior explains, the Essenes make no mention of themselves in the 900 scrolls found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea. "Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls," Elior tells TIME. "But they didn't exist. This is legend on a legend."
Elior contends that Josephus, a former Jewish priest who wrote his history while a captive in Rome, "wanted to explain to the Romans that the Jews weren't all losers and traitors, that there were many exceptional Jews of religious devotion and heroism. You might say it was the first rebuttal to anti-Semitic literature." She adds: "He was probably inspired by the Spartans. For the Romans, the Spartans were the highest ideal of human behavior, and Josephus wanted to portray Jews who were like the Spartans, in their ideals and high virtue."
So who were the real authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Elior theorizes that the Essenes were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century B.C. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom — their scrolls — with them. "In Qumran, the remnants of a huge library were found," she says, with some of the early Hebrew texts dating back to the 2nd century B.C. Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest known version of the Old Testament dated to the 9th century A.D. "The scrolls attest to a Biblical priestly heritage," claims Elior, who speculates that the scrolls were hidden in Qumran for safekeeping.
Elior's theory landed like a bombshell in the cloistered world of Biblical scholarship. James Charlesworth, director of the Dead Sea Scrolls project at Princeton Theological Seminary and an expert on Josephus, says that it is not unusual that the word "Essenes" does not appear in the scrolls. "It's a foreign label," he tells TIME. "When they refer to themselves, it's as 'men of holiness' or 'sons of light.'" Charlesworth contends that at least eight scholars in antiquity refer to the Essenes. One proof of Essene authorship of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he says, was the large number of inkpots found by archeologists at Qumran.
Elior is braced for more criticism of her theory. "Usually my opponents have only read Josephus and the other classical references to the Essenes," she says. "They should read the Dead Sea Scrolls — all 39 volumes — the proof is there."
Name of source: The Local (Germany)
SOURCE: The Local (Germany) (3-12-09)
The two 7,000-year-old wooden boats and a third one thought to be around 6,000 years old, were hailed as a sensation when they were found during construction work on the Baltic coast near Stralsund in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern seven years ago.
But now they are effectively ruined, after a lack of funds resulted in them being stored inappropriately. “It is a loss for Germany if not for the whole world,” said Andreas Grüger, director of the Stralsund historical museum.
The boats had been entrusted to the Authorities for Culture and Preservation of Ancient Monuments in Schwerin for restoration and conservation. But Michael Bednorz, head of the State Office admitted that financial difficulties meant that they were kept in a shed instead of an appropriate space.
The remains of the boats have now been sent to the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin where students are planning to investigate the extent of the damage and draw up a plan to save at least fragments.
Name of source: The HIndu
SOURCE: The HIndu (3-15-09)
However, details of the papal visit are still under discussion, but some cities being considered include London, Birmingham, Oxford, Edinburgh, Armagh and Dublin, 'The Daily Telegraph' quoted the unnamed sources as saying.
And, a senior cardinal is due to make a private trip to Britain in the summer to make preparations for the Pope's visit, which could be announced by the end of this year, the newspaper said.
Name of source: Science Daily
SOURCE: Science Daily (3-15-09)
Pharaoh Hatshepsut was a power-conscious woman who assumed the reins of government in Egypt around the year 1479 B.C. In actual fact, she was only supposed to represent her step-son Thutmose III, who was three years old at the time, until he was old enough to take over.
Hatshepsut's perfume is also presumably a demonstration of her power. "We think it probable that one constituent was incense – the scent of the gods," Michael Hoveler-Muller declares. This idea is not so wide of the mark, as it is a known fact that in the course of her regency Haptshepsut undertook an expedition to Punt – the modern Eritrea, and the Egyptians had been importing precious goods such as ebony, ivory, gold, and just this incense, from there since the third millennium B.C. Apparently the expedition brought back whole incense plants, which Hatshepsut then had planted in the vicinity of her funerary temple.
Name of source: Science News
SOURCE: Science News (3-28-09)
What comes out of the ground passes through international networks of plunder. At the end of the line, people purchase archaeological artifacts in shops, on the Internet and in private and public auctions. Buyers rarely know or, apparently, care how a $2.99 Native American arrowhead or a $75,000 Egyptian sarcophagus managed to come into their possession.
During the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting, held in Philadelphia in January, researchers offered analyses of auction and Internet data documenting an ongoing demand for archaeological artifacts. Buyers show no hesitation when offered desirable items that have no documented ownership history, or provenance. Auction-house catalogs of available items contain a fair number of fake pieces and genuine ones illegally obtained.
The laws and conventions aimed at stopping illegal looting are difficult to enforce.
Name of source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
SOURCE: Las Vegas Review-Journal (3-14-09)
A University of Nevada, Las Vegas archivist says the daguerreotype appears to be an authentic image of Grant, who served two terms as president from 1869 to 1877.
Collector Randall Spencer said he would prefer to sell the image to a historical institution for public display, but would consider selling it to a private collector to finance his search for vanishing images of U.S. history.
"There was at that time still an abundance of Early American photography that had not been examined, especially in San Francisco, because when people went West in the mid-19th century, that's where they ended up," Spencer said. "And what really launched me into photography was discovering a picture of Mrs. Thomas Lincoln, Sarah Bush Lincoln, the stepmother who raised Abraham Lincoln."
A rare photo of a person widely admired, Spencer said, has a stronger market than an even rarer photo of some historic scoundrel. And while Grant's presidency was considered a poor one, most Americans greatly appreciate his winning the Civil War.
Spencer said he hoped to find a corporation or an individual willing to pay $2.5 million for what he called the only image of its kind.
Name of source: The Courier News (Chicago)
SOURCE: The Courier News (Chicago) (3-16-09)
The two-day event began Saturday and drew more than 1,000 visitors, said Virginia Larsen, chair of the Chicago Suburban Antique Dealers Association show.
Presenting rare finds -- ranging from an original bust of Lincoln, dated in 1865, to a steel engraved Lincoln portrait and a vintage beaver-felt top hat similar to those worn by the president -- Ray McCaskey presented "Collecting Lincoln" and explained the types of items that typically comprise a collection.
"Sometimes, collectors actually set out to acquire particular items, and other times, collections just happen," said McCaskey, a member of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum Foundation board in Springfield. "The prime types of collectibles are things the person handwrote or actually used, while other items in a collection might be things that represent what a person might have used."
He discussed books and newspaper articles about Lincoln, as well as commemorative items such as a campaign fob about the size of a nickel, with Lincoln's portrait on one side and vice presidential running mate Andrew Johnson's on the other, and a campaign booklet introducing Lincoln as a presidential candidate.
Original documents bearing the president's signature also are coveted items for the collection, he said. One exhibit included an original pass issued to a soldier for a temporary leave, along with one of President Lincoln's hand-signed calling cards given to the soldier during a chance meeting with Lincoln. Plaster casts of Lincoln's hands, possibly created from the original set of molds, were also part of the collection. McCaskey also had a few novelty items on hand, pointing out a plastic aftershave bottle shaped like Lincoln, and a Lincoln-themed plastic candy dispenser.
At the show, 55 vendors displayed antiques from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The Garfield Farm Museum in LaFox sponsored the event.
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (3-13-09)
A University of South Carolina archaeologist is scanning the bottom of Charleston Harbor for Civil War artifacts, using a twin-outboard motor boat and a clutch of scientific equipment.
James Spirek of the South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology has been on the water this week putting together the first comprehensive historical scan of the harbor bottom.
Friday, on a cold, gray, windy morning, the search was focused on Confederate frame torpedoes. They were essentially mines anchored to the bottom with wooden frames guarding to inland waterways from Yankee ships.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (3-16-09)
The regional government of Melilla, one of Spain's North African enclaves along with Ceuta, said the bronze statue of General Franco would be removed "within the period of 15 days".
The move means no more commemorative figures will stand in public streets to the man who ruled Spain between the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and his death in November, 1975.
Daniel Conesa, spokesman for the Melilla regional government, said the statue, which shows Franco standing, would be kept in storage then transferred to a military museum.
The Melilla government is removing the effigy of El Caudillo in compliance with the controversial Law of Historical Memory, which offers redress to victims or their relatives who were killed or "disappeared" during the Civil War and its aftermath.
Under the law, introduced in 2007, local authorities must remove symbols of the dictator or his supporters such as statues or plaques and change road names associated with the regime.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (3-14-09)
For years, a mysterious water leak had plagued the walls of the Old Senate Chamber in the Maryland State House, the nation's oldest continuously operative legislative building. The water was causing ugly bubbles in the plaster of the historic room, where in 1783 George Washington stood in front of the Continental Congress and resigned his commission as head of the army....
In search of the source of the water, the preservationists last year peeled back all of the plaster and paint accumulated over the years in the Old Senate Chamber, revealing the bare brick beneath. And, stripped to its bones, the room began to share its secrets.
Name of source: Daily Mail
SOURCE: Daily Mail (3-14-09)
From all over Austria, people are here to pay their respects to their fallen hero. But the solemnity of the occasion is cut with tension. Beyond the crowd of about 300, armed police are in attendance. They keep a respectful distance but the rasping bark of Alsatians hidden in vans provides an eerie soundtrack as the crowd congregates in mist and light rain.
This is a neo-Nazi gathering and in the crowd are some of Austria’s most hard-faced fascists. Among them is Gottfried Kussel, a notorious thug who was the showman of Austria’s far-right movement in the Eighties and Nineties until he was imprisoned for eight years for promoting Nazi ideology.
This is a gathering in memory of an Austrian-born Nazi fighter pilot, who during WWII shot down 258 planes, 255 of them Russian. Such was Major Walter Nowotny’s standing at the time of his death in 1944 that the Nazi Party awarded him a grave of honour in Vienna’s largest cemetery, close to the musical legends Mozart, Brahms and Strauss.
But in 2005 that honour was revoked and his body moved to lie in an area of public graves. The decision infuriated the far right and made their annual pilgrimage an even greater event.
Today, the anniversary of Nowotny’s death, also coincides with Kristallnacht, the ‘night of broken glass’ in 1938 when 92 people were murdered and thousands attacked across Germany as stormtroopers set upon Jews in an outpouring of Nazi violence.
Some 70 years on from that infamous pogrom, the world faces a similar financial crisis to the one that precipitated the rise of Hitler and, in chilling echoes of Thirties Europe, support for far-right groups is exploding. Hitler’s birthplace has become the focus for neo-Nazis across the world.
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (3-15-09)
Centuries of work and scholarship had been plowed into alchemical pursuits, and for what? Countless ruined cauldrons, a long trail of empty mystical symbols, and precisely zero ounces of transmuted gold. As a legacy, alchemy ranks above even fantasy baseball as a great human icon of misspent mental energy.
But was it really such a waste? A new generation of scholars is taking a closer look at a discipline that captivated some of the greatest minds of the Renaissance. And in a field that modern thinkers had dismissed as a folly driven by superstition and greed, they now see something quite different.
Alchemists, they are finding, can take credit for a long roster of genuine chemical achievements, as well as the techniques that would prove essential to the birth of modern lab science. In alchemists' intricate notes and diagrams, they see the early attempt to codify and hand down experimental knowledge. In the practices of alchemical workshops, they find a masterly refinement of distillation, sublimation, and other techniques still important in modern laboratories.
Alchemy had long been seen as a kind of shadowy forebear of real chemistry, all the gestures with none of the results. But it was an alchemist who discovered the secret that created the European porcelain industry. Another alchemist discovered phosphorus. The alchemist Paracelsus helped transform medicine by proposing that disease was caused not by an imbalance of bodily humors, but by distinct harmful entities that could be treated with chemicals. (True, he believed the entities were controlled by the planets, but it was a start.)
Alchemists might have been colossally wrong in their goals, but they were, in some fundamental way, part of the story of science, these scholars say. Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton, fathers of modern chemistry and physics, were also serious students of alchemy. And the fact that alchemists have been marginalized as hand-waving mystics says less about alchemists themselves than about modern society's need to separate itself from the supposedly benighted past.
Name of source: Politico
SOURCE: Politico (3-14-09)
The former president and first lady have already begun holding small private dinners to persuade wealthy friends to invest in a monument and incubator based on the values and events of his presidency. By this fall, he’ll be armed with architect’s renderings and will hold travel around the country to meet with groups and build support for the complex on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas....
Groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center is scheduled for the fall of 2010, with the grand opening expected in the spring of 2013. The center will have three parts — a library, where Bush’s papers will be stored; a museum of exhibits; and a policy institute, with plans for such novel programs as conversations with retired international leaders about their time in office.
NYT Mag. article about the Bush library and institute
Name of source: The DC Examiner
SOURCE: The DC Examiner (3-13-09)
Historians differ on the exact details of the assassination. Some say Caesar was outside the Senate when he was stabbed by the senators, others have him inside.
More recently, some historians have argued Caesar was attacked by the senators before he arrived at the Senate.
Either way, the death blow came after friction grew between the senators and Caesar over perceived indignities propagated by Caesar.
The final blow, some historians argue, came when a group of senators met with Caesar and Caesar did not rise to greet
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (3-15-09)
Cheney told CNN's "State of the Union" that the Bush administration's "alternative" interrogation techniques were "absolutely essential" to preventing further assaults like the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Critics said those techniques amounted to the torture of prisoners in American custody.
Since taking office in January, Obama has announced plans to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to halt the military trials of suspected terrorists there, and to make CIA officers follow the Army field manual's rules on interrogations.
During Sunday's wide-ranging interview, Cheney also defended the Bush administration's economic record, arguing he and former President Bush handled multiple crises as best they could.
The Bush administration took office with a budget surplus and left with deep deficits and higher unemployment.
But Cheney said the administration had to grapple with the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks and the resulting war in Afghanistan, as well as the disaster of 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
He also defended the invasion of Iraq, which the administration launched in 2003. Obama has begun to wind down the widely unpopular war, but Cheney said: "We've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do."
Name of source: Times Online
SOURCE: Times Online (3-15-09)
Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus who is often described as Europe’s last dictator, introduced the ban after a teenage girl on a charity trip to the United States expressed a wish to stay there.
Although she has since returned to Belarus, authorities in the former Soviet republic have halted visits to Britain and other European countries.
More than 4,000 children born in regions worst hit by the Chernobyl disaster 23 years ago travel to Britain every year on free summer holidays. Many are suffering from cancer and leukaemia.
Britain and other European governments are trying to have the ban lifted. Belarus is demanding an undertaking from each country that it will return home any child who wants to stay in the West. A similar arrangement has already been accepted by Italy and Ireland. But the regime insists that only children under 14 will be allowed to leave.
Belarus was badly affected by the explosion at Chernobyl, in neighbouring Ukraine, when strong winds blew in contaminated dust.
Lukashenko, 55, has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994. He has jailed opposition leaders who accused him of vote rigging. Other critics have disappeared.
Name of source: Foxnews
SOURCE: Foxnews (3-14-09)
President Obama may have abolished contentious Bush-era restraints on federal funding of stem cell research on Monday, but a legislative obstacle still remains for scientists seeking more money.
A spending bill that Obama signed on Wednesday explicitly bans federal funding of any "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death," language that pertains to creation of new stem cell lines.
This provision, known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, was included in the 465-page omnibus spending bill that will fund government agencies through September. The amendment is a measure Congress has included in spending bills in every fiscal year since 1996.
Bush's executive policy additionally had limited researchers receiving federal aid to just 21 stem cell lines created before August 2001. Obama's reversal allows them to use hundreds of other stem cell lines already in existence.
But the Dickey-Wicker provision still prevents federally backed researches from creating their own stem cell lines, blocking their access to hundreds of new embryonic stem cell lines, usually from embryos left over from fertility treatments that would otherwise be discarded. Scientists tout such promising, long-term research in hopes of creating better treatments, possibly even cures, for conditions ranging from diabetes to paralysis.
Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Mike Castle, R-Del., are seeking a quick vote on legislation to repeal the amendment, after failing twice in the past to overturn Bush's restrictions. Degette said she doesn't want stem cell research to become a "pingpong ball going back and forth between administrations."
A battle over the Dickey-Wicker provision erupted after Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for embryo-destroying stem cell research.
The New York Times called on Congress to repeal Dickey-Wicker in an editorial on Tuesday.
Name of source: Times Online (UK)
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (3-14-09)
Archeologists and forensic experts believe they have identified the skeleton of Cleopatra’s younger sister, murdered more than 2,000 years ago on the orders of the Egyptian queen.
The remains of Princess Arsinöe, put to death in 41BC on the orders of Cleopatra and her Roman lover Mark Antony to eliminate her as a rival, are the first relics of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be identified.
The breakthrough, by an Austrian team, has provided pointers to Cleopatra’s true ethnicity. Scholars have long debated whether she was Greek or Macedonian like her ancestor the original Ptolemy, a Macedonian general who was made ruler of Egypt by Alexander the Great, or whether she was north African.
Evidence obtained by studying the dimensions of Arsinöe’s skull shows she had some of the characteristics of white Europeans, ancient Egyptians and black Africans, indicating that Cleopatra was probably of mixed race, too. They were daughters of Ptolemy XII by different wives.