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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: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (8-7-09)
Mr. Tandja, a 71-year-old former army colonel who had promised to step down after the second of his two terms expired in December, thanked voters even before the official results were announced Friday by the country’s electoral commission...
... Mr. Tandja's move to extend his tenure, condemned by the United States and the European Union, was seen as another setback for democracy in the region and the nation, which had taken halting steps toward political openness after a post-colonial history of military coups.
SOURCE: NYT (8-7-09)
broke a 50-year-old record high, set during the baby boom. But last year, births began to decline nationwide, by nearly 2 percent, according to provisional figures released last week. Those figures, from the National Center for Health Statistics, indicate that births declined in all but 10 states in 2008 (most of them in a Northern belt where the recession was generally less severe)compared with the year before. Over all, 4,247,000 births were recorded in 2008, 68,000 fewer than the year before.
Mrs. Clinton met with Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, elected Somalia’s president in January, for more than an hour. She promised more aid, training and equipment, in addition to the millions of dollars’ worth of weapons the United States has recently shipped to his government.
“We need to be there to help them deliver the results of stability to the people of Somalia, who have suffered for so long,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Sheik Sharif can use the help. His moderate Islamist government controls no more than a few city blocks in a country the size of Texas, with extremist Islamist groups, like the Shabab, in charge of much of the rest.
Mrs. Clinton said the battle for Somalia, which has been the lawless home to Islamist extremists, terrorists, gun runners, drug smugglers, teenage gunmen and even modern-day pirates for the past 18 years, is deeply connected to American interests.
After a monthlong journey by train and open-air truck, thousands arrived at this Gobi Desert army outpost to find that the factory jobs, hot baths and telephones in every house were nothing but empty promises to lure them to a faraway land.
“We lived in holes in the ground, and all we did night and day was hard labor,” recalled Han Zuxue, a sun-creased 72-year-old who was a teenager when he left his home in eastern Henan Province. “At first we cried every day but over time we forgot our sadness.”
More than five decades of toil later, men and women like Mr. Han have helped transform Shihezi into a tree-shaded, bustling oasis whose canned tomatoes, fiery grain alcohol and enormous cotton yields are famous throughout China.
This city of 650,000 is a showcase of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a uniquely Chinese conglomerate of farms and factories that were created by decommissioned Red Army soldiers at the end of the civil war.
“Put your weapons aside and pick up the tools of construction,” one popular slogan went. “Develop Xinjiang, defend the nation’s borders and protect social stability.”
With a total population of 2.6 million, 95 percent of it ethnic Han Chinese, Shihezi and a string of other settlements created by the military are stable strongholds in a region whose majority non-Han populace has often been unhappy under Beijing’s rule. Last month, that discontent showed itself during vicious ethnic rioting that claimed 197 lives in Urumqi, the regional capital, which is a two-hour drive away...
It was Kirill’s first trip to Ukraine since he was elected patriarch in January. The visit opened on July 27 with an affirmation of Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood in Kiev, regarded as the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy. Prince Vladimir adopted Orthodoxy from Byzantium for himself and his subjects, who were baptized en masse in the Dnieper River in 988.
“If you will, Kiev is our common Jerusalem, from which our Orthodox faith came,” Kirill said after a service dedicated to the prince, St. Vladimir. “Praying here, we, the heirs of Vladimir’s baptism, living in different states, inviolately preserve the spiritual unity bestowed by him upon us.”
But if the call to unity was a constant theme, and Kirill even offered to take out Ukrainian citizenship, it was clouded both by demonstrators hostile to a visit they saw as an attempt to assert Russian domination, and by political, religious and military tensions that have festered and in some ways grown since the Soviet collapse in 1991.
...The announcement was the latest in a government push to restore a sense of normalcy and shore up public confidence ahead of national elections scheduled for January.
The U.S. military, which erected most of the walls, said Wednesday it had not been informed of the decision -- an indication of the Iraqis' increasing confidence as the two sides redefine their relationship with the expected withdrawal of the Americans by the end of 2011.
First introduced by the Americans in 2003 to protect their Green Zone headquarters, walls became much more widespread in early 2007 with the launch of a major security campaign to tamp down rampant sectarian bloodshed...
For five days after Mrs. Aquino, 76, died of cancer early Saturday, crowds of mourners converged on her coffin as it passed through the streets and lay in state at Manila Cathedral.
The two men, Pearse McCauley and Kevin Walsh, walked free from Ireland's Castlerea prison more than 10 years after they were convicted in the killing by the Irish Republican Army of an Irish policeman guarding a cash delivery van.
Mr. McCauley and Mr. Walsh were the last imprisoned members of the Provisionals, the dominant faction of the I.R.A., which killed nearly 1,800 people during a failed 30-year campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. Britain and Ireland continue to incarcerate more than three dozen members of dissident I.R.A. groups opposed to the Provisionals' 2005 decisions to renounce violence and disarm.
The June 1996 killing of the policeman inflamed opinion in the Republic of Ireland, which the outlawed I.R.A. used as a haven while mounting attacks on the neighboring British territory of Northern Ireland...
Name of source: CNN Money
SOURCE: CNN Money (8-7-09)
As the area's economy worsens --unemployment was over 16% in July -- food stamp applications and pantry visits have surged.
Detroiters have responded to this crisis. Huge amounts of vacant land has led to a resurgence in urban farming. Volunteers at local food pantries have also increased.
But the food crunch is intensifying, and spreading to people not used to dealing with hunger. As middle class workers lose their jobs, the same folks that used to donate to soup kitchens and pantries have become their fastest growing set of recipients.
Name of source: Telegraph.co.uk
SOURCE: Telegraph.co.uk (8-8-09)
after the band created one of the most iconic album covers of all
The Beatles walked across a zebra crossing on the road in St John's
Wood, north London, at 11.35am on August 8 1969, for an image caught
on the cover of their classic album Abbey Road.
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (8-7-09)
So, when asked about her loss, Ms. Cafritz hesitates. Her $5.2 million mansion here in the Kent neighborhood of northwest Washington held one of the largest private collections of African-American and African art in the country, more than 300 sculptures, paintings, photographs and other pieces that she painstakingly accumulated over the past two decades, often from artists whose careers she had personally nurtured.
The works of 19th- and 20th-century painters like Edward Mitchell Bannister, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden hung amid contemporary work by artists like Hank Willis Thomas, Nick Cave, Kara Walker and Kerry James Marshall. Virtually everything was destroyed in the blaze that gutted the house on July 29, while she and her son were on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.
The destruction of the collection is being mourned in museums and galleries too, particularly among connoisseurs of contemporary African-American and African art. Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, praising Ms. Cafritz’s “unique eye and incredibly refined aesthetic,” called it “a great loss.” Jack Shainman, the New York gallery owner, lamented the destruction of “a singular vision.”
SOURCE: New York Times (8-8-09)
When Sony announced its Mavica electronic camera in 1981, headlines trumpeted that “Film Is Dead.” But it took 28 more years for Kodachrome, the film immortalized by Paul Simon, to finally die this past June.
E-book software by companies like Electronic Book Technologies was released in the early 1990s. Yet despite the recent buzz over the Kindle and other electronic reading devices, e-books are still less than 5 percent of overall book sales.
The reality is that most technologies eventually die. But unlike the ancient Greeks, who believed their destiny was controlled by the Fates, today’s managers need not assume that an old technology’s fate is predetermined. Companies can proactively manage the innovation endgame. Continuing improvements to extend the life of technology, particularly given the attractive margins on the old, can be a wise business decision — and not necessarily a reflection of narrow-mindedness.
SOURCE: New York Times (8-6-09)
On Thursday, Parks Canada, a government agency, said an underwater archaeology team had discovered the apparently intact wreck of what it believed to be that American aircraft.
Officials said that human remains could still be on the plane. If that is confirmed, the Canadian government said, it will work with the Pentagon’s Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command to recover and identify the remains.
Name of source: Taranga.com
SOURCE: Taranga.com (8-2-09)
The skeleton was discovered inside a Neolithic-age tomb unearthed in Yumuktepe Hoyuk of the southern Mersin province by archeologists from the Italian Lecce University and Turkish Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
Name of source: MTI Daily Bulletin
SOURCE: MTI Daily Bulletin (8-4-09)
A team of 35-40 archaeologists are working in an area of two hectares, and have now identified the traces of three phases of the settlement: one in the early Bronze Age between 2700-2500 BC, the Sarmatian period around the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD as well as the youngest phase in the 8th and 9th centuries, Szilagyi said.
The settlement is believed to have been the largest of its kind in eastern Hungary, the archaeologist added.
Name of source: University of Toronto
SOURCE: University of Toronto (8-7-09)
"The assemblage appears to represent a Neo-Assyrian renovation of an older Neo-Hittite temple complex, providing a rare glimpse into the religious dimension of Assyrian imperial ideology," said Timothy Harrison, professor of near eastern archeology in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and director of U of T's Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP). "The tablets, and the information they contain, may possibly highlight the imperial ambitions of one of the great powers of the ancient world, and its lasting influence on the political culture of the Middle East."
Partially uncovered in 2008 at Tell Tayinat, capital of the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Palastin, the structure of the building where the tablets were found preserves the classic plan of a Neo-Hittite temple. It formed part of a sacred precinct that once included monumental stelae carved in Luwian (an extinct Anatolian language once spoken in Turkey) hieroglyphic script, but which were found by the expedition smashed into tiny shard-like fragments.
"Tayinat was destroyed by the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III in 738 BCE, and then transformed into an Assyrian provincial capital, equipped with its own governor and imperial administration," said Harrison. "Scholars have long speculated that the reference to Calneh in Isaiah's oracle against Assyria alludes to Tiglath-pileser's devastation of Kunulua - i.e., Tayinat. The destruction of the Luwian monuments and conversion of the sacred precinct into an Assyrian religious complex may represent the physical manifestation of this historic event."
The temple was later burned in an intense fire and found filled with heavily charred brick and wood which, ironically, contributed to the preservation of the finds recovered from its inner chambers. "While those responsible for this later destruction are not yet known, the remarkable discoveries preserved in the Tayinat temple clearly record a pivotal moment in its history," said Harrison. "They promise a richly textured view of the cultural and ethnic contest that has long characterized the turbulent history of this region."...
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten were all sentenced to death for their roles in the carnage that claimed the lives of actress Sharon Tate, the heavily pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, and six others in Los Angeles on the nights of August 8 and 9, 1969. The penalties were commuted to life and they are preparing fresh requests for parole.
The former world heavyweight champion has accepted an invitation to see the birthplace of his great-grandfather in Ennis, Co Clare, on September 1.
He is due to visit Dublin for a charity event the previous day.
Ali's great-grandfather Abe Grady emigrated from his home on the Turnpike Road in Ennis to the United States in the 1860s.
Grady sailed from Cappa Harbour in Kilrush, Co Clare, eventually settling in Kentucky, where he married an African-American woman.
Alexandre Dumas rewrote the Counter-Reformation in France; Schiller created folk heroes from scratch (a revisionism abetted and amplified by the Italian librettists employed by Donizetti, Bellini or Verdi).
Dickens's image of the French Revolution was 100 times more powerful than Carlyle's, imprinting the English mind with a deep distrust of liberté, egalité et fraternité. And the best historians were unable to salvage the Emperor Nero's reputation after the hatchet-job in Henryk Sienkiewicz's best-seller, Quo Vadis.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (8-7-09)
Metro TV in Indonesia reported that police arrested two suspected militants in a nearby town earlier on Friday who gave them information that led them to the house.
A source at Indonesia's anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 told Reuters the raid on the remote house in rice fields had started at about 5 pm local time with sporadic exchanges of automatic weapons continuing for several hours.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (8-7-09)
Mr Bush's policies, he said in a speech in Washington, had run counter to American values, undermined the security and resulted in a "global war" mindset that served to "validate al-Qaida's twisted world-view".
All this, he insisted, would change under Mr Obama. "Rather than looking at allies and other nations through the narrow prism of terrorism – whether they are with us or against us – the administration is now engaging other countries and peoples across a broader range of areas."
The term "global war on terror", which became so prevalent under Mr Bush that it earned its own acronym – GWOT – would be a thing of the past.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (8-6-09)
The first ever first person material on the private thoughts of Queen Elizabeth will be included in the long awaited official biography by William Shawcross which is being published next month.
Transcripts of the hours of conversation, which were taped by Sir Eric Anderson, her friend and confidante, who is the former Provost of Eton College, were lodged in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.
Queen Elizabeth, who gave only one interview in her life when she was 22 and engaged to the Duke of York who was to to become George VI. But she talked privately for hours to Sir Eric, who taught the Prince of Wales at Gordonstoun, so that there was first person material – the late Queen Mother in her own words – for the biography. Their conversations covered the abdication and her attitude to fellow members of the Royal family and senior politicians.
Name of source: BBC
The ruins were found in the Roman city of Falacrine, about 80 miles (130km) north-east of Rome.
The villa's location and luxury suggest it was probably Vespasian's birthplace, an archaeologist said.
Vespasian lived from AD9-79. He was emperor from AD69-79, restoring peace after a period of civil war.
The world's longest river, which runs through this desert country, produced its ancient civilisation and remains its main source of water.
But now Egypt is defending its historic rights to extract more from the Nile than any other country against calls for change to long-existing agreements.
Mrs Clinton hailed Mr Mandela for the personal discipline he showed when he fought South Africa's apartheid system.
She was shown handwritten copies of Mr Mandela's letters from his time as a political prisoner.
Mrs Clinton was also shown his membership card of the Methodist Church, a denomination to which she also belongs.
Referring to these documents, she said: "It of course inspires in me an even greater admiration for his public work but an even greater affection for the man.
"The discipline that he brought to a life filled with so many great achievements, not only for him personally but for South Africa and the world."
The bone's marks are thought to have been made by stone tools and could indicate a ritual - or that the victim was devoured by other people.
The caves are the oldest Scheduled Ancient Monument in Britain.
The bone was first unearthed in 1866 by archaeologist William Pengelly, who spent 15 years excavating the cavern.
It was put into storage in the museum and "rediscovered" in December 2008.
A march and candlelight ceremony in South Ossetia are also planned.
Russia's president said the decision to go to war "was probably the hardest thing, but eventually we did it right".
Some 30,000 people remain displaced because of the conflict, according to Amnesty International.
Documents prepared for Gordon Brown in the run-up to the 2003 Budget - and obtained by the BBC through freedom of information - say that the "best estimate" of the combat cost of the war is £3.1bn.
But that same document goes on to state clearly that the total "potential military costs" might be much more, some £5bn, since "the emerging politics of post-conflict Iraq are already pointing to a much more substantial commitment both in terms of size and length of stay".
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (8-8-09)
Dust from the grave in the courtyard of the church in the village of Arodes in Paphos district has been used for centuries by the lovelorn, who are supposed to slip it into the drink of their objet d'amour.
But, in recent years, so many have been filching shards of stone that a quarter of the tomb has disappeared.
Name of source: Live Science
SOURCE: Live Science (8-8-09)
Instead of picking on dinosaurs its own size, researchers now suggest T. rex was a baby killer that liked to swallow defenseless prey whole.
Name of source: Wall Street Journal
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (8-7-09)
Power theft by rich and poor customers as well as businesses has plagued India for decades, hindering foreign and domestic investment that could spark the increase in generating capacity the nation desperately needs.
The experience of North Delhi Power, a joint venture between the Delhi government and Mumbai-based Tata Power Co. Ltd., shows that a broad and sustained effort can make a difference.
A key challenge for power companies is reducing theft by India's poor. Many have come to view free electricity as a right, something that politicians have done little to counter in a bid to win votes.
Name of source: The American Task Force on Palestine
SOURCE: The American Task Force on Palestine (8-7-09)
In a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas marking Fateh’s first congress in 20 years, the Saudi king stressed that all Palestinian factions need to come together to make an independent Palestinian state possible.
The Saudi monarch went on to say that Israel was not able, during years of continued aggression, to damage the Palestinian cause as much as the Palestinians did themselves in the past few months. The Saudi king concluded that if the international community agrees to establish an independent Palestinian state, this will not happen as long as the Palestinian house is deeply divided.
SOURCE: The American Task Force on Palestine (8-6-09)
Mr. Obama plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to Mrs. Robinson and 15 others at a ceremony next week at the White House.
In recent days, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York, Representative Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada, and other lawmakers have criticized Mr. Obama’s choice. They say that in her role as the United Nations human rights commissioner, Mrs. Robinson was one-sided in her criticism of Israel and allowed hostility toward it to infect the global debate on human rights.
Much of the criticism centers on Mrs. Robinson’s leadership of an antiracism conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. The delegations from the United States and Israel walked out in the middle to protest a torrent of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements, which critics say Mrs. Robinson did little to stop.
The White House has defended the decision to grant her the honor, saying it also recognizes her role as a crusader for women’s rights. Mrs. Robinson, a lawyer, was elected in 1990 as Ireland’s first female president.
Name of source: Time
SOURCE: Time (8-7-09)
...If confirmed, Mehsud's death would bring to a dramatic end a short but terrifying career. Over the past two years, Mehsud, who is believed to be about 35, emerged from near obscurity to claim a place in a hall of infamy along with the Saudi Osama bin Laden, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri of al-Qaeda (who are still at large) and the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed while leading the radical insurgency in Iraq. Cagey, dogged and charismatic, Mehsud had a knack for uniting disparate factions around a common cause; he transformed the badlands of South Waziristan into the most important redoubt for the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. He denied involvement in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, but he was not unhappy about it: the Pakistani government produced an alleged message from him congratulating the perpetrators: "Fantastic job. Very brave boys, the ones who killed her."
With a reported 20,000 militants at his command, Mehsud was believed to have been the architect of the 2008 bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel, the mastermind behind a terrorist cell uncovered in Barcelona that same year and the dispatcher of numerous suicide bombers in South Asia. Earlier this year, he threatened a massive terrorist attack on Washington that would "amaze everyone in the world."
SOURCE: Time (8-3-09)
Just a few years ago, five young men in a room in Sierra Leone would have meant trouble. It was men in their teens and their 20s — but also, tragically, children even younger — who made up the Revolutionary United Front, a ragtag armed militia supported by Liberia's President Charles Taylor (now on trial for war crimes at the Hague) that devastated the country during an 11-year civil war that ended in 2002. Everywhere they went they left a calling card of chopped-off limbs, raped women and senseless bloodshed. Tens of thousands were killed and a third of Sierra Leone's 6 million people were displaced...
...Now a handful of artists are utilizing music's important social role to sing about postwar reconciliation. Songs of peace regularly drift out of Body Guard Studio and are sometimes heard on the radio. Musicians often also spread their message to the countryside through a United Nations development program called Peace Tours, which takes groups of artists and singers to rural areas to talk about peacemaking...
Name of source: Newsay
SOURCE: Newsay (8-7-09)
All three properties are in or adjacent to Fort Edward, a history-rich Washington County village 40 miles north of Albany. The fort the English built here was Britain's largest military outpost in North America during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), with more than 15,000 troops.
A national archaeology preservation group has an agreement to purchase the former site of the Royal Blockhouse, a British army outpost built in 1758 across the Hudson River from the fort, and an archaeologist who has led excavations here since the early 1990s is buying a riverside parcel where a merchant's home and store were located the mid-1700s.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is eyeing an undeveloped section of Rogers Island from the downstate businessman who also owns the blockhouse property. The island is of particular interest to military historians because it was the base of operations for Rogers' Rangers, the American frontiersmen who served as scouts for the regular British army.
Over the decades, the three sites have been looted by treasure hunters, archaeology experts said.
Name of source: The Columbus Dispatch
SOURCE: The Columbus Dispatch (8-7-09)
The committee is looking for a historic figure to replace William Allen, one of two Ohioans representing the state in the National Statuary Hall at the Capitol building in Washington. Allen was a 19th century congressman and Ohio governor who portrayed blacks as savages and supported the rights of Southern slave owners.
Name of source: Politics Daily
SOURCE: Politics Daily (8-6-09)
Video of Obama before his Illinois State Senate days is rare, but those dozen minutes weren't enough to carry a stand-alone film. Los Angeles-based executive producer Stuart A. Goldman added newly shot interviews with people from Obama's days in Chicago as a community organizer and lawyer, an interview with his half sister shot during Obama's 2006 visit to Kenya and other material to create the DVD. It will be released on Aug. 11.
Name of source: Foxnews
SOURCE: Foxnews (8-7-09)
As of December 31, 2008, over 45,000 troops have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of operations there. Many of them return with life-altering wounds, lost limbs, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
Stovroff says his guide and service dogs help the injured soldiers, not just in a functional way, but therapeutically. "They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well," he told FOX News.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (8-7-09)
But the public's interest in first daughters is nothing new. Fanny Hayes, for example, who was about the same age as Malia when she moved into the White House in 1877, was followed by the media until the day she died. "She was an American celebrity," said presidential historian Doug Wead.
While the interest in first daughters has stayed steady, the pressure on the children has intensified, said Wead, author of "All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families."
When Chelsea Clinton was just 13 years old, for example, she was ridiculed in a 1993 "Saturday Night Live" sketch that declared her "not a babe." Actor Mike Myers later apologized, and the skit was cut from replays of the show.
Amy Carter, who was 9 when she moved into the White House, was also mocked for her appearance and for her poor manners, after she pulled out a book during a state dinner. Her parents enrolled her in public school, illuminating the already bright spotlight on her. An infamous photograph of her first day at school shows the young girl with her head hanging low, carrying a Snoopy book bag and surrounded by a swarm of paparazzi.
But other presidential children have taken on power roles in their fathers' administrations. Anna Roosevelt, for example, was a "super aide" to Franklin D. Roosevelt during his last year in office, Wead said, describing her as a combination of a personal secretary and chief of staff, not to mention popular in the public eye.
Name of source: Salon.com
SOURCE: Salon.com (8-7-09)
As archaeologist Timothy Pauketat's cautious but mesmerizing new book, "Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi," makes clear, Cahokia -- the greatest Native American city north of Mexico -- definitely belongs to human history. (It is not "historical," in the strict sense, because the Cahokians left no written records.) At its peak in the 12th century, this settlement along the Mississippi River bottomland of western Illinois, a few miles east of modern-day St. Louis, was probably larger than London, and held economic, cultural and religious sway over a vast swath of the American heartland. Featuring a man-made central plaza covering 50 acres and the third-largest pyramid in the New World (the 100-foot-tall "Monks Mound"), Cahokia was home to at least 20,000 people. If that doesn't sound impressive from a 21st-century perspective, consider that the next city on United States territory to attain that size would be Philadelphia, some 600 years later. [Full article, with links, is 2200 words.]
Name of source: The Huffington Post
SOURCE: The Huffington Post (8-6-09)
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (8-6-09)
Britain's Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he decided to release Ronnie Biggs on compassionate grounds, after he fell seriously ill this week in his cell at Norwich Prison, 118 miles northeast of London.
The prison officers watching him at the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital will remain overnight, and leave tomorrow, once the paperwork for his release is complete, Straw said. Biggs turns 80 on Saturday.
Biggs was part of a gang that robbed a Glasgow-to-London mail train in August 1963, in what was called the "heist of the century." The robbery netted 2.6 million pounds — worth more than $50 million today.
Most of the gang was soon rounded up. Biggs was sentenced to 30 years in jail but escaped from prison in 1965 by climbing over a wall. He fled to Brazil, where he made a living from his notoriety, regaling journalists and tourists with stories of his exploits and even recording with punk band The Sex Pistols.
In 2001, he voluntarily returned to Britain, surrendered to police and was sent back to jail. He was locked up in Belmarsh high-security prison in London on his return before being moved to a specialist medical unit at Norwich prison...
Name of source: The New Republic
SOURCE: The New Republic (8-5-09)
As the streets of Tehran demand freedom, a different group of Iranians gathered in Cairo last week to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the death of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian monarch deposed by the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Shah was granted refuge in Egypt by President Anwar Sadat and died in Cairo soon after.
Approximately 65 members of the Iranian diaspora, dressed in various shades of designer-label black, have been coming to Cairo from all over the world, some for as many as 29 consecutive years, to pay their respects. They visit Sadat's tomb, the final resting place of the Shah in the Al-Rifai Mosque, and then hold a reception in his memory, led by Empress Farah Pahlavi, the late shah's third wife.
Name of source: NPR
SOURCE: NPR (8-4-09)
Has any former president taken on such a job, presumably with the blessing of the current administration?
I called presidential historian Stephen Hess at the Brookings Institution to talk about the historical precedent. Hess basically said nothing quite like this has happened before.
We began with a conversation about the unique position Clinton is in as a former president and the husband of the secretary of State, and the big difference between his current mission -- which would seem to be in line with the Obama administration's wishes -- and the very independent type of diplomacy that former president Jimmy Carter has practiced over the years.
Then we discussed whether it's reasonable to believe that Clinton went to North Korea on a completely "private mission," as the White House has said. "Absolutely impossible," Hess says with a laugh...
Name of source: The Washington Times
SOURCE: The Washington Times (8-6-09)
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that nearly eight years after the war began, the U.S. military is still digging its way "out of a hole" and has not reached "year zero" in the campaign to turn back Taliban advances and gain the trust of the Afghan people.
Name of source: The Washington Post
SOURCE: The Washington Post (8-6-09)
In the latest sign of tension, Sheik al-Tahir, a leader at Kalma, one of Darfur's largest camps for displaced people, said Tuesday that homeless civilians would protest retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration's strategy for resolving the conflict and his assertion in June that genocide in Darfur has ended. Tahir and other camp leaders have accused Gration of taking the side of the Sudanese government, which has been seeking to dismantle the camps.
The latest round of violence in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel movements took up arms against the Islamic government in Khartoum. In response, the government, backed by local Arab militiamen known as Janjaweed, launched a bloody counterinsurgency operation that the Bush and Obama administrations have termed genocidal.
Name of source: CNS News
SOURCE: CNS News (8-6-09)
"It is the first time … in roughly a decade that we’ve seen this kind of behavior," Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.
The New York Times reported that a pair of nuclear-powered submarines – an Akula-class attack boat and a newer Akula-II variant – had been patrolling off the eastern seaboard in recent days.
Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement the submarines were being monitored during transit.
Morrell made it clear the Defense Department was not worried by the incident.
Name of source: The American Task force on Palestine
SOURCE: The American Task force on Palestine (8-5-09)
The study was released last week at a special conference on the topic at Tel Aviv University, following a meeting between Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom and Palestinian National Economy Minister Bassim Khoury...
...Ashkenazi, who prior to joining the Peres center was the head of the IDF's West Bank and Gaza Strip Civil Administration Economic Branch, challenged the assumption that merely pumping money into the Palestinian economy would increase willingness for peace.
He recalled that back in 1999, the term "the cost of loss" was thrown around liberally.
"The reasoning was that by developing the Palestinian economy, increasing wages, starting businesses and improving their quality of life, the Palestinians would have something to lose and the cost of walking away from negotiations would be very high, so that on the day when the people want to rise up, the business leaders and the politicians would step up to calm things down," explained Ashkenazi.
What followed was a period of rapid economic expansion that saw a multitude of joint projects, increased tourism, skyrocketing GDP, five consecutive years of nine percent growth and improved bilateral relationships.
"And then came the surprise that caught both us and the Palestinians off-guard. Someone, most likely Arafat, lit a spark... the spark lit a flame, which in the midst of [an] unprecedented economic flourishing, set the Palestinian economy back 50 years, pushing the economy down by 40%. The 'cost of loss' proved an ineffective deterrent."...
Name of source: The Telegraph (India)
SOURCE: The Telegraph (India) (8-2-09)
Archaeological excavations at Pattanam, about 25km north of Kochi, have yielded an abundance of artefacts — a 2,000-year-old brick-layered wharf, a wooden canoe and hundreds of fragments of Roman and West Asian pottery, including wine jars.
The findings of three years of excavations suggest that the Pattanam site may have been part of Muziris, a port city mentioned in an ancient Tamil text, Akanunuru, as well as in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a navigational guide from ancient Greece describing ports along the Red Sea and in India. Historians have dated both texts to the first century AD.