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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: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (6-18-09)
The nonbinding resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is similar to a House resolution adopted last year that acknowledged the wrongs of slavery but offered no reparations. The House will have to vote on the issue again because the composition of that chamber changed after last November's elections.
Several states have passed similar resolutions, but the House resolution was the first time a branch of the federal government did so.
Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendants of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery.
Apologies for the Crimes of History
SOURCE: CNN (6-18-09)
Asked directly if he thought his successor was embracing "socialist" polices, Bush stopped short of weighing in one way or the other, instead saying: "We'll see."
In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies, the president appeared to take issue with the new administration's early decision to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of aggressive interrogation techniques.
Bush also appeared to take a broad swipe at the tone of American politics in general, noting that partisan vitriol dates back to the founding fathers when Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.
SOURCE: CNN (6-16-09)
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a measure awarding the women one of the national's highest civilian honors. The Senate passed a similar measure in May and President Obama is expected to sign it.
With only about a quarter of the former WASPs still alive and all in their late 80s or older, it was important for the House to act quickly, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, a sponsor of the bill, told CNN.
"This is a largely overlooked veterans group. They haven't gotten the medals they deserve, the recognition they deserve," Ros-Lehtinen told CNN.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (6-18-09)
When the wide-open spaces of the West quickly grew too small, the couple returned to Washington a year later, renewing their ties to the establishment that they had rejected.
But the government says the real reason for the Myerses’ 1980 return was to spy for Cuba. In a complaint that reads in parts like a novel, federal prosecutors allege that Mr. Myers, now 72, used his top-secret clearance as a State Department analyst to steal classified information from government files for nearly three decades, and that Ms. Myers, 71, who worked as a bank clerk, helped pass the information to Cuban handlers. They were arrested earlier this month and are being held without bail.
SOURCE: NYT (6-10-09)
The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials as James W. von Brunn, who embraces various conspiracy theories involving Jews, blacks and other minority groups and at one point waged a personal war with the federal government.
Name of source: National Security Archive
SOURCE: National Security Archive (6-18-09)
* Did not properly track or record FOIA requests;
* Overstated the number of requests it received and understated its response times, leading to inaccurate reporting about its program to Congress;
* Failed to comply with the Electronic Freedom of Information Act requirements to include all frequently requested records in its Electronic Reading Room;
* Failed to inform all requesters of their appeal rights under the law; and
* Failed to notify interested third parties, such as government contractors, of the intent to release information.
"Four years after our law suit, and despite multiple court orders, the Air Force system remains broken," said David P. Dean, of the law firm James & Hoffman, P.C., who represents the Archive. "The facts, though stunning, speak for themselves. In 2005, we complained about 82 unprocessed FOIA requests that the Archive had submitted up to eighteen years earlier. Despite several court orders requiring the Air Force to complete processing and to create a functioning FOIA system, today six requests are still outstanding and the system is still dysfunctional."
The Archive's suit was filed in March 2005 and alleged that the Air Force failed to acknowledge FOIA requests, lost FOIA requests, failed to process requests, tried to discourage the public from pursuing FOIA requests, failed to respond to inquiries about the status of the requests, and let requests languish while records were destroyed or transferred to other agencies. The Archive's lawsuit resulted in a court decision in 2006 finding that the Air Force had a pattern and practice of not processing FOIA requests in accordance with the law. At that time, the court noted that "the Air Force only woke up in May 2005 to its need to fulfill its FOIA obligations on a more timely basis..."
Since that time, and as a result of the lawsuit, the Air Force has instituted numerous changes to its FOIA program, including:
* Committing to training all Air Force personnel about the agency's FOIA obligations;
* Committing to posting all released records in its Electronic Reading Room and linking all of its Electronic Reading Rooms;
* Putting in place a centralized database system that will track FOIA requests from initial submission to completion; and
* Receiving FOIA requests online through its FOIA web site.
"While we are extremely glad that our litigation has forced the Air Force to bring its program closer to what the public is entitled to expect under the law, we are concerned that these small changes are not sufficient to bring about the transformation that is needed at the Air Force," commented Meredith Fuchs, the Archive's General Counsel. "The Air Force has not yet addressed its problems with interagency referrals and consultations--which has proven to be a significant black hole--and it has not yet gotten the old, long pending requests into its new tracking system." Ms. Fuchs concluded, "If the Air Force is going to enter the new era of transparency promised by President Obama, then it is going to have to shift its culture to one that appreciates the agency's legal obligation to keep the public informed about its activities on their behalf."
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (6-18-09)
"What we see is the remnants of genocide," Gration told reporters at a briefing in Washington. "The level of violence that we're seeing right now is primarily between rebel groups, the Sudanese government and . . . some violence between Chad and Sudan."
Gration's remarks come as the Obama administration is finishing a review of its Sudan policy. The comments appeared to expose an emerging rift between Gration and Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who accused the Sudanese leadership of genocide as recently as two days ago.
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (6-12-09)
"You have no moral right to preach to us," he lectured the envoy."What kind of talk is this, 'punishing Israel'? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic?"
That scolding was 28 years ago, but it echoes as a cautionary tale.
Today, President Obama is pushing a reluctant Israeli government to halt the growth of Jewish settlements and embrace the goal of a Palestinian state. In the 1981 showdown, Prime Minister Menachem Begin held his ground after the Reagan administration suspended a strategic cooperation pact to protest Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. The territory, captured from Syria in 1967, remains in Israel's hands.
SOURCE: LAT (6-16-09)
Mohammed made the assertion during hearings at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was transferred in 2006after being held at secret CIA sites since his capture in 2003.
"I make up stories," Mohammed said, describing in broken English an interrogation probably administered by the CIA concerning the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "Where is he? I don't know. Then, he torture me," Mohammed said of his interrogator. "Then I said, 'Yes, he is in this area.' "
SOURCE: LAT (6-16-09)
Polish-born Meyer Hack, who now lives in Boston, found the gems while sorting the clothing of victims sent to die in the gas chambers, which was his job at the camp where his mother, brother and two sisters died.
SOURCE: LAT (6-15-09)
The criminal actions grew out of a two-year undercover investigation in the Four Corners region, in which a wired informant purchased more than $300,000 in illicit antiquities. Most were bought in the high desert town of Blanding, Utah.
You might have an imaginary picture of the pot hunters and collectors who live there, a crew of dirty, well-armed black-market privateers roving the desert (in the case of many Western pot hunters, you'd be right). But the scenario becomes more complicated when you look closely at who is actually named. The federal action laid bare a little known culture of ordinary citizens who collect and sell human history.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (6-18-09)
The project was completed by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), which was founded in 1941 as a self-help organisation by those refugees who fled Nazi-occupied Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The association now aims to provide social and welfare services to victims of Nazi persecution living in Britain and to promote and support projects related to Holocaust education and commemoration.
The Wiener Library, founded in 1933 and the world’s oldest Holocaust memorial institution, is the first UK institution to receive a copy of Refugee Voices.
Name of source: Editorsweblog.org
SOURCE: Editorsweblog.org (6-18-09)
Included in the collection are archives from the Graphic, an illustrated weekly publication which ran from 1869 to 1932. Writing on October 13 1888 after the Jack the Ripper murders, one journalist said: "To the general public it is some comfort to reflect that the late atrocities were aimed at a particular class, and that their object was not robbery. Educated persons, who have many interests and subjects of conversation, can, perhaps, scarcely realise the impression made by these occurrences on poor and ignorant people, whose lives are usually monotonous and uneventful."
Meanwhile, in the Penny Illustrated Paper, another weekly, a self-described "old-fashioned woman" explains why women want the vote: "Under these altered conditions it is a matter of paramount importance that the women who help to find the money which keeps up the State should also have a voice in the spending of that money, and more, that they should have a voice in electing the men who make the laws under which they live and which they must obey." Women would have to wait an additional 18 years before being granted the right to vote on the same terms as men.
Other key topics, as highlighted by the British Library, include Slavery and its Abolition; Chartism; The Sepoy Mutiny; Bryant and May Match Girls' Strike; Sex and Scandal; The Napoleonic Wars; and the Crimean War.
Name of source: Baltimore Sun
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun (6-17-09)
But as archaeologists are discovering to their delight, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries Zekiah was a growth center for the young Maryland colony.
The site of a 1674 courthouse was found last summer. Excavations this month have uncovered what might be traces of the "summer house" that Gov. Charles Calvert built to dodge his political enemies. And diggers are searching for traces of Zekiah Fort, built in 1680 to resettle several hundred "friendly" Piscataway Indians.
Name of source: Science Daily
SOURCE: Science Daily (6-17-09)
Evidence shows the manioc field -- at least one-third the size of a football field -- was harvested just days before the eruption of the Loma Caldera volcano near San Salvador in roughly A.D. 600, said CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Payson Sheets, who is directing excavations at the ancient village of Ceren. The cultivated field of manioc was discovered adjacent to Ceren, which was buried under 17 feet of ash and is considered the best preserved ancient farming village in all of Latin America.
The ancient planting beds of the carbohydrate-rich tuber are the first and only evidence of an intensive manioc cultivation system at any New World archaeology site, said Sheets. While two isolated portions of the manioc field were discovered in 2007 following radar work and limited excavation, 18 large test pits dug in spring 2009 -- each measuring about 10 feet by 10 feet -- allowed the archaeologists to estimate the size of the field and assess the related agricultural activity that went on there.
Name of source: http://www.andina.com.pe
SOURCE: http://www.andina.com.pe (6-17-09)
Resident archaeologist Francisco Huaycaya Quispe said that these remains would belong to a woman from the Quillke culture, an indigenous which flourished before the Inca Empire.
According to the archaeologist, this hypothesis is based on the pottery and ruminant and poultry bones found at the site.
Name of source: Irish Times
SOURCE: Irish Times (6-17-09)
Ireland has a very high level of prehistoric gold objects especially from the early Bronze Age (2400-1800BC) when large quantities of it was used by skilled craftsmen.
They turned out beautiful objects such as the gold collars or lunula similar to the one which turned up recently following a robbery in Co Roscommon.
SOURCE: Irish Times (6-17-09)
Ireland has a very high level of prehistoric gold objects especially from the early Bronze Age (2400-1800BC) when large quantities of it was used by skilled craftsmen.
They turned out beautiful objects such as the gold collars or lunula similar to the one which turned up recently following a robbery in Co Roscommon.
This led to speculation for centuries about the source of so much easily available gold and a belief there had to be lots of gold available locally to the craftsmen.
Now archaeologists and geologists believe they have found that source, following a 14-year study which used not only the most modern scientific equipment but also involved the teams using primitive gold-mining methods.
According to a report in the current edition of Archaeology Ireland, the scientists used X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to look at the silver content of prehistoric Irish gold in more than 400 objects. As that work was going on, others were literally out panning for gold in Irish rivers, walking the mountains looking for gold in the hills and extracting gold from rocks by fire, as prehistoric people would have done.
Name of source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
SOURCE: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (6-16-09)
The Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered the main aqueduct that conveyed water to the Sultan's Pool during an excavation prior to the construction of the Montefiore Museum in Mishkenot Sha'ananim by the Jerusalem Foundation. The ancient aqueduct supplied pilgrims and residents with water for drinking and purification.
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (6-17-09)
At most places, six or seven armed officers moved in, rousting the occupants and securing the homes so that government archaeologists and photographers could enter and begin cataloguing evidence. At one house, an FBI SWAT team was used.
More than 20 people were arrested June 10 -- including four people older than 70. A day later, one of the men arrested -- a prominent doctor -- committed suicide, and local residents began complaining the government was heavy handed in the raids, especially given that no one was accused of any violent crime.
The episode has put the federal government on the defensive in what has been touted as the nation's largest-ever investigation into the theft of archaeological objects.
Bruce Adams, a commissioner in San Juan County in southern Utah where many of the arrests took place, said there have been reports of ''regular neighbors'' being roughed up and facing agents in bulletproof vests with weapons drawn.
SOURCE: New York Times (6-10-09)
The shift in focus began in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when a generation of academics began looking into the roles of people generally missing from history books — women, minorities, immigrants, workers. Social and cultural history, often referred to as bottom-up history, offered fresh subjects. Diplomatic historians, by contrast, generally work from the top down, diving into official archives and concentrating on people in power, an approach often tagged as elitist and old-fashioned.
Over the last three decades the number of history faculty members at four-year institutions has more than doubled to 20,000-plus, said Robert B. Townsend, assistant director for research at the American Historical Association. Yet the growth has been predominantly in the newer specializations, spurring those in diplomatic, military, legal and economic history to complain they are being squeezed out.
How have some departments sliced up the pie? At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, out of the 45 history faculty members listed (many with overlapping interests), one includes diplomatic history as a specialty, one other lists American foreign policy; 13 name either gender, race or ethnicity. Of the 12 American-history professors at Brown University, the single specialist in United States empire also lists political and cultural history as areas of interest. The department’s professor of international studies focuses on victims of genocide.
So students still study, say, World War I and the cold war, but while a traditional class would focus on the actions and statements of presidents and secretaries of state, a newer approach might look at how the imperial powers treated their colonies in the Middle East or how Soviet propaganda that tried to tarnish democracy by pointing to racism in America may have contributed to President Harry S. Truman’s decision to integrate the armed forces.
Name of source: The Tennessean
SOURCE: The Tennessean (6-18-09)
Now they're pushing even harder — hiring a publicist, launching a Web site and opening new lines of dialogue with the National Park Service, the agency that would permit the exhumation.
Some historians have criticized the effort, and how much evidence is in Lewis' grave is a matter of debate.
Several archeologists have signed on to help the family, including James Starrs, a professor of law and forensic sciences at George Washington University who has worked with the family since the mid-1990s, and anthropologists at Middle Tennessee State University.
Larry McKee, senior archeologist with the archeology and preservation firm TRC, said there's a chance that the true story of Lewis' death might still be etched on his bones.
Nearly 200 distant nieces, nephews and cousins have signed a petition seeking permission to exhume the remains in hopes of learning what really killed him and, if nothing else, giving him a proper Christian burial.
Name of source: U.S News and World Report
SOURCE: U.S News and World Report (6-18-09)
Americans are fascinated by their ex-presidents. The public has been through so many experiences with them that even when they leave office, the "exes" remain celebrities and, more important, compelling reminders of the recent high and low points in our history.
There are four of them alive now—Carter, Bush, Clinton, and George H. W. Bush. There are two Democrats and two Republicans, each very different in personality and outlook, and all of them experienced in the toughest job on Earth.
The potential relationship between the old and the new started out in a promising way, when Bush the younger, at Obama's request, hosted all the living ex-presidents at the White House before he left the scene. This generated memorable photographs in the Oval Office but, apparently, little else so far.
Incumbent presidents sometimes avoid contact with their predecessors because they don't want to be tarnished by past errors and seem insecure in their own judgments. But experts say misplaced pride should not keep Obama from using his predecessors to help him govern.
Former presidents usually want to be useful in some way, in part to burnish their legacies and also out of a patriotic desire to help the country. And Obama wants to reach out to all of his living predecessors. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama is speaking to them privately, but he doesn't want to violate confidentiality by talking about the frequency and content of the president-to-president contacts. Other White House advisers say Obama realizes that only a president can fully understand what his job entails. And experts say it would be a shame if he failed to make maximum use of the other four living members of the world's most exclusive club.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (6-18-09)
Artist Martin Jennings created the winning sculpture, which will stand in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital in central London.
The Jamaican-born nurse was voted the greatest Black Briton of all time in a poll in 2004.
The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal was set up to create a permanent reminder of the 19th Century nurse.
In 1854, she approached the War Office asking to be sent as an army nurse to the Crimea where there were known to be poor medical facilities for wounded soldiers.
She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as "Mother Seacole".
SOURCE: BBC (6-18-09)
The Forme of Cury, compiled by master cooks to Richard II, is part of a collection of medieval texts held by the John Rylands Library, Manchester.
Now an edition of the cookbook dating from the early 15th Century, compiled in about 1420, has been digitalised and uploaded to the library's website.
John Hodgson, keeper of manuscripts, said it contained hundreds of recipes.
Among them are exotic dishes featuring porpoise and more recognisable names like blancmange.
Flt Sgt Archibald Blyth Kirkwood's headstone read: "Treasured memories of Archie our beloved elder son and brother."
Robert and his wife Elizabeth, from Dalmellington, Ayrshire, also noted the next grave, that of Flying Officer James Arthur MacDonald, from Vancouver.
Concerned that 23-year-old Archie had been buried so far from his home, Robert Taylor later make a pledge to track down his relatives.
Returning to the cemetery a year later they noticed a framed photograph of Mr MacDonald had disappeared and learned the cemetery had been vandalised.
Robert managed to track down Flying Officer MacDonald's family to let them know what had happened. His next mission was to find Archie's relatives so he could put a photograph on the airman's grave.
Robert spent the last two and a half years trying to trace Archie's relatives and within three days of enlisting the help of history detective David Webster, of Ross Genealogy, he was in contact with Alistair Dick, a nephew Archie never met.
The fossil, from about 160 million years ago, has been named Limusaurus inextricabilis.
The find contributes to a debate over how an ancestral hand with five digits evolved to one with three in birds.
The work, published in Nature, suggests that the middle three digits, rather than the inside three, remain.
Dr Adrian Lister obtained new dates for mammoth bones unearthed in the English county of Shropshire in 1986.
His study in the Geological Journal shows the great beasts remained part of Britain's wildlife for much longer than had previously been supposed.
Mammoths may finally have died out when forests encroached on the grassland habitats they favoured for grazing.
SOURCE: BBC (6-15-09)
Scientists in Leiden, in the Netherlands, have unveiled the specimen - a fragment from the front of a skull belonging to a young adult male.
Analysis of chemical "isotopes" in the 60,000-year-old fossil suggest a carnivorous diet, matching results from other Neanderthal specimens.
Name of source: Pew Research Center
SOURCE: Pew Research Center (6-18-09)
The slippage in the president’s economic ratings appears unrelated to the public’s assessments of his administration’s impact on current economic conditions – most (53%) say his policies have “not had an effect so far” or that it is too early to tell. Instead, it may have more to do with his relatively poor ratings for handling the problems of troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.
Nearly as many disapprove (44%) as approve (47%) of Obama’s performance in handling the automakers’ problems. There is even less support for government efforts to keep G.M. and Chrysler in business: 58% disapprove of the government spending billions to keep the troubled automakers in business, while just 36% approve.
The new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 10-14 among 1,502 adults, finds:
Obama receives solid ratings on foreign policy: Majorities say he strikes the right balance in dealings with U.S. allies and the Middle East, and most reject the notion that his terrorism policies have made the country less safe than during Bush’s presidency.
Public attitudes toward health care show some similarities – but also clear differences – with opinions in 1993. A large majority (75%) favors changing the health care system so that all Americans are covered for medically necessary care; that is down somewhat from 1993 (83%). Substantially fewer say the health care system should be completely rebuilt than did so then.
Half of Americans (50%) support Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court while 25% are opposed. Opinion was similar regarding John Roberts’ confirmation to the Court in 2005.
Both Barack and Michelle Obama remain overwhelmingly popular. Currently, 72% have a favorable view of the president while 76% -- including 59% of Republicans -- have a favorable impression of the first lady.
Name of source: Time Magazine
SOURCE: Time Magazine (6-17-09)
Name of source: Secrecy News, written by Steven Aftergood, is published by the Federation of American Scientists
In April 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft testified (pdf) that the failure to properly share threat information in the summer of 2001 could be attributed to Justice Department policy memoranda that were issued in 1995 by the Clinton Administration. That is an erroneous oversimplification, the staff monograph contends: “A review of the facts… demonstrates that the Attorney General’s testimony did not fairly and accurately reflect” the meaning or relevance of those 1995 policy documents. For one thing, those policies did not even apply to CIA and NSA information, which could have been shared with law enforcement without any procedural obstacles.
But if Attorney General Ashcroft was misinformed, he was not alone. The 1995 procedures governing information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence “were widely misunderstood and misapplied” resulting in “far less information sharing and coordination… than was allowed.” In fact, “everyone was confused about the rules governing the sharing and use of information gather in intelligence channels.”
“The information sharing failures in the summer of 2001 were not the result of legal barriers but of the failure of individuals to understand that the barriers did not apply to the facts at hand,” the 35-page monograph concludes. “Simply put, there was no legal reason why the information could not have been shared.”
The prevailing confusion was exacerbated by numerous complicating circumstances, the monograph explains. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was growing impatient with the FBI because of repeated errors in applications for surveillance. Justice Department officials were uncomfortable requesting intelligence surveillance of persons and facilities related to Osama bin Laden since there was already a criminal investigation against bin Laden underway, which normally would have preempted FISA surveillance. Officials were reluctant to turn to the FISA Court of Review for clarification of their concerns since one of the judges on the court had expressed doubts about the constitutionality of FISA in the first place. And so on. Although not mentioned in the monograph, it probably didn’t help that public interest critics in the 1990s (myself included) were accusing the FISA Court of serving as a “rubber stamp” and indiscriminately approving requests for intelligence surveillance.
In the end, the monograph implicitly suggests that if the law was not the problem, then changing the law may not be the solution. The document, which had been classified Secret, was released with some small though questionable redactions. See “Legal Barriers to Information Sharing: The Erection of a Wall Between Intelligence and Law Enforcement Investigations,” 9/11 Commission Staff Monograph by Barbara A. Grewe, Senior Counsel for Special Projects, August 20, 2004.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-9-09)
John Moffat was informed recently by the Fleet Air Arm museum that research had highlighted his role in sinking the German battleship.
The 89-year-old, who lives in Dunkeld, Perthshire, was flying a Swordfish biplane when he carried out the mission. Days before, Bismarck had sunk HMS Hood with the loss of 1,416 lives and Winston Churchill, the prime minister, had ordered: "Sink The Bismarck".
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-17-09)
The creature, Psittacosaurus gobiensis whose name means "parrot lizard", is thought to have lived about 110 million years ago.
Psittacosaurs are noted for being the most species-rich dinosaur genus with at least nine different species, including the latest found in the Gobi Desert, a famous dinosaur graveyard.
The three feet long psittacosaurs may also have had a diet dominated by nuts and seeds, owing to the presence of many large stomach stones, according to the findings published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-17-09)
The nesting site on a precarious cliff edge is still continually used by gyrfalcons, the world's largest species of falcon.
Three other nests, each over 1,000 years old, have also been found, one of which contains feathers from a bird that lived more than 600 years ago.
However it is feared climate change may soon drive the birds from these ancient nesting sites.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (6-17-09)
A 19th-century image of Abraham Lincoln hangs on a back wall in one classroom where studies began in 1801, 60 years before he took office.
That history comes to a close on Thursday. Fewer kids and rising costs prompted townsfolk this year to vote to close the elementary school and instead pay tuition to send their roughly 20 children to neighboring schools.
SOURCE: AP (6-17-09)
He enforced rigid morality and stressed the importance of helping others, while he also had a share in developing capitalism. He supported the destruction of religious statues and other images, but described the arts as gifts from God.
This is how Calvin's role in history is being assessed by theologians and historians in countless lectures, studies and biographies 500 years after he was born on July 10, 1509. The quincentenary is being observed around the globe with the Geneva-based World Alliance of Reformed Churches acting as a central organizer of "Calvin 09."
Name of source: Zenit
SOURCE: Zenit (6-16-09)
It has long been conjectured that Hitler had ordered the SS commander in Italy, General Karl Wolf, to seize the Vatican and take the Pope.
Dan Kurzman wrote about it in his 1997 book "A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius the XII," which is based on interviews with Wolf himself. Wolf's accounts, however, could never be verified.
New evidence published today by Avvenire now points to the role of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (the Third Reich's main security office) in devising a plot to take out the Pope.
SOURCE: Zenit (6-15-09)
Gary Krupp, president of the New York-based Pave the Way Foundation, affirmed this today in a statement to ZENIT, and stated that the documents from the years 1940-1945 will be made available to the public for research.
The president, himself a Jew, reported that these papers, found through the organization's private research, give "strong support to the argument that Pope Pius XII -- Eugenio Pacelli -- worked diligently to save Jews from Nazi tyranny."
As a part of a private research project, the foundation found the documents in a monastery in Avellino, Italy. The foundation's statement noted the possibility that "many more vital documents could be found in larger dioceses, if researchers simply took the time to look."
Name of source: Voice of America
SOURCE: Voice of America (6-16-09)
If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Sotomayor would become the country's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
From humble beginnings in New York City to some of the country's finest universities, Sotomayor would also fulfill the president's desire to appoint a Supreme Court justice with a diverse background and experiences.
"I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government," she has said.
Sotomayor can expect to face hours of questioning about her background and legal views when her nomination is considered next month by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jeffrey Rosen teaches law at George Washington University and was a recent guest on VOA's Encounter program.
"The American confirmation process for the Supreme Court is an elaborate Kibuki dance, a kind of ritual where senators ask long-winded and often unfocused questions, and the nominees elaborately dodge and weave and try not to answer them. So the amount of light that emerges from this remains to be seen," Rosen said.
Veteran Washington political insider Tom Korologos knows the process well. He has helped several Republican presidents with their Supreme Court nominees, beginning with President Richard Nixon in 1971.
"In the early days, nominees got approved the same day they got named. And it has now become very contentious. It is a function of this town in which we live. The town has gotten very partisan," Korologos said.
Korologos says the key to the confirmation process is for the nominee to let the senators do most of the talking at the hearings.
"What I advise nominees is that you must follow the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule is that if they are talking 80 percent of the time and you (nominee) are talking 20 percent, you are winning," he said. "The hearing is not about you, it is about them, and they want to show that they understand the issues and they want to make their points across. As they are asking the question they are making their point, so you better listen."
Korologos says one past nominee who failed to follow his advice was Judge Robert Bork. He was nominated to the high court in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, but was eventually voted down by the Democratically-controlled Senate.
Bork and his Republican supporters never forgot what they considered to be unfair treatment at the hands of Senate Democrats.
"To be quite frank about it, the amount of disinformation and falsehoods told about me were such that I do not think the country conceivably could have understood the case (my nomination) on the merits," Bork said.
Four years later, another bitter confirmation fight took place over the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas. Thomas was a conservative African-American nominated by President George H.W. Bush.
During the Senate hearings, Thomas had to fend off allegations of unwanted sexual advances on an associate. He was eventually confirmed. But the process was politically polarizing for the country and left Thomas embittered, even though he won Senate approval.
"This is a circus. It is a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I am concerned, it is high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves," Thomas said.
In the case of Judge Sotomayor, Republicans have promised rigorous, but fair hearings.
In addition to Sotomayor's legal opinions, Republicans are expected to ask about remarks she made in 2001 when she said that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who has not lived that life.
Robert Alt is with the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.
"I think what is causing a great deal of trouble for most people is that, in fact, she has made some suggestions with regard to ethnicity and ethnic superiority that have raised hackles, and which are giving the White House some trouble in responding to," he said.
Even though they are in the minority in the Senate, Republicans could try to block Sotomayor's nomination through a parliamentary delaying tactic known as the filibuster.
But political experts say that is unlikely because Democrats control 59 of the 100 Senate seats. In addition, Republicans may be wary of politically offending Hispanic voters, the country's fastest growing demographic group.
Legal expert Jeffrey Rosen expects that Sotomayor will be easily confirmed.
"In the end, the sheer political symbolism of the first Hispanic justice, with this compelling life story is so overwhelming that it will be difficult for Republicans as well as Democrats to resist that. I think she will be handily confirmed to the United States Supreme Court," Rosen said.
Historically, the record shows that Judge Sotomayor's confirmation is likely, but not a certainty.
According to the Senate historian's office, 28 of the 158 nominees to the Supreme Court have been rejected since 1789. This is a failure rate of about 18 percent, or nearly one in five.
Name of source: USA Today blog
SOURCE: USA Today blog (6-17-09)
In a July meeting of the British Society for the History of Science, historian Brian Regal of Kean University in Union, N.J., will demonstrate how werewolves, feared hiding behind every tree in travelers' tales for centuries, died out in folklore following the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
"The spread of the idea of evolution helped kill off the werewolf because a canid-human hybrid makes no sense from an evolutionary point of view,” Regal says, in a society statement. Instead, tales of ape-men -- Yeti, Sasquatch and Bigfoot -- began to appear in popular tales, began to "evolve" in the popular imagination, he finds.
Name of source: Globe and Mail
SOURCE: Globe and Mail (6-17-09)
For more than a decade, the Dominion Institute has commissioned surveys chronicling the national malaise about Canada's history: Four in 10 Canadians cannot name our first prime minister or identify the year of Confederation. Young Canadians often know even less about our country's past than their parents or grandparents.
The Dominion Institute decided to find out what exactly was required of high-school students in Canada when it comes to learning about the country's past. What events, people and themes are they required to learn in our nation's classrooms? What skills are they expected to acquire?
The results, found in the just-released Canadian History Report Card (the full report is available at report-card.dominion.ca), are troubling.
HNN Hot Topics: Low History IQ's
Name of source: Statesman (Texas)
SOURCE: Statesman (Texas) (6-17-09)
He was a Buffalo Soldier: one of the legendary African American members of the U.S. Army who served at remote military outposts in the years after the Civil War.
But his grave outside an abandoned New Mexico fort had been violated. His bones were scrambled. And investigators think his skull, still with most of its hair, became a relic hunter's trophy before it was returned to authorities in a paper bag.
Last month, experts working at the Smithsonian Institution matched the young man's skull with a skeleton exhumed from the fort's cemetery, solving a gruesome mystery of looted graves, purloined artifacts, and life and death on the frontier.
It was part of a project of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and federal land, water and law enforcement agencies looking into the decadeslong ransacking of the cemetery outside Fort Craig, in New Mexico.
Federal officials shipped 39 sets of well-preserved remains last month from New Mexico to Washington. Scientists pored over the bones with microscopes, CT scanners, X-ray machines and digital measuring devices for insights into the lives of the fort's dead.
Name of source: HNN Staff
SOURCE: HNN Staff (6-17-09)
In a note to HNN Len Colodny reported that in a 1989 interview Dean admitted"I'm gonna be very honest with you. I didn't even reread my testimony when I wrote my book."
In the original acknowledgements to the book Dean wrote that he had reviewed his own testimony in writing the book.
Dean is releasing the new edition of his autobiography at an event at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum. His appearance has drawn strong criticism from old Nixon supporters. The library is now run by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The interview is posted at Watergate.com.
Dean and Colodny have long been at odds. In the 1990s Dean sued Colodny, the co-author of the controversial book, Silent Coup (St. Martins Press, 1991), which claimed that Dean, not Nixon, was behind the Watergate Affair. The suit ended in a secret settlement that included the withdrawal of Silent Coup from sale by the publisher.
HNN Hot Topics: The Watergate Transcript Controversy
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (6-17-09)
The hunting accident took place near Versailles in September 1766 and appears to have caused the 18th-century equivalent of banner headlines all over the country.
In a laconic note to his cousin, the Duc de Penthièvre, the king reports that his "adventure" has been "certainly exaggerated".
"The wild boar, which was very large, charged at me... My rifle misfired when I saw him and I didn't have the time to turn him aside... [the bullet] wounded my horse in the buttock," he wrote.
The collection of 344 rare letters written by French kings and princes and their wives and courtiers is expected to fetch €150,000 (£127,000) when it goes under the auctioneer's hammer at Sotheby's in Paris. The letters once belonged to the last king of France, Louis-Philippe, who was forced to abdicate in 1848 and died in exile in England two years later.
Name of source: Michael Isikoff in Newsweek
SOURCE: Michael Isikoff in Newsweek (6-13-09)
The privately run Nixon Foundation, whose board members include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Nixon's daughters, Julie Eisenhower and Tricia Cox, is spearheading the anti-Dean campaign. In recent weeks it has sent letters to all the living presidents urging them to join its protest, warning that such "irrational and unbalanced" programming could dry up donors to their libraries. (None of the ex-presidents has weighed in, according to archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper.) The foundation also rescinded $150,000 in pledged funds for two library exhibits, including one commemorating the Apollo lunar missions during Nixon's presidency, though Cooper said the archives has approved extra funds so they can proceed. Foundation spokesman Richard Quinn described Dean in an e-mail as a "disbarred lawyer and convicted felon" and said the group wants more "non-partisan balance" at such events....
New Nixon Blog Commentary on Dean's Appearance
Name of source: National Geographic
SOURCE: National Geographic (6-15-09)
A thousand years older than nearby Stonehenge, the site includes the remains of wooden temples and two massive, 6,000-year-old tombs that are among "Britain's first architecture," according to archaeologist Helen Wickstead, leader of the Damerham Archaeology Project.
For such a site to have lain hidden for so long is "completely amazing," said Wickstead, of Kingston University in London.
Name of source: Daily Mirror
SOURCE: Daily Mirror (6-16-09)
The BDPU fined the Swedish national Robert Ulvenkrantz Rs.50,000 after the inquiry and released him. He was taken into custody on May 2 for attempting to leave the country with two priceless antique Buddha statues.
According to Customs Superintendent in charge of BDPU Samantha Gunasekara the case was exposed in early January when an American national was taken into custody for attempting to smuggle out 74 priceless artefacts via a private courier service in Ja-Ela.
Name of source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com
SOURCE: http://www.phnompenhpost.com (6-15-09)
FIVE foreign donors handed over five Khmer artefacts at a ceremony Friday to celebrate a new electrical and lighting system at the National Museum.
"Cambodia has lost a lot in the last 20 to 30 years. Anything that is given back to them of any value is of great importance," Douglas Latchford, a collector of Khmer antiquities, told the Post shortly before giving his speech in Khmer.
Son Soubert, a former lecturer at the faculty of archaeology at Royal University of Fine Arts, pointed to a pendant donated by Latchford as a particularly important antiquity.
Name of source: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com
SOURCE: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com (6-15-09)
Using archaeological evidence, prehistoric climate data and recent reports of ciguatera poisoning from the consumption of contaminated reef fish, researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology theorize that climate conditions conducive to ciguatera outbreaks may have occurred in French Polynesia between A.D. 1000 and 1450 — an active period of Polynesian voyaging and colonization.
"Notwithstanding the adventurous spirit of people of the distant past, we suggest that when ciguatera fish poisoning became chronic, people migrated out of necessity," said a study by Teina Rongo, a doctorate student at the university's Department of Biological Sciences, and his faculty advisers, professors Robert van Woesik and Mark Bush.