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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: Times Colonist (Canada)
SOURCE: Times Colonist (Canada) (11-9-09)
The discovery began with a false alarm when on Nov. 3, a dog nosing around at the construction site pulled out a bone from loosened earth where excavators had been working. Construction was stopped at that point and is still on hold. Saanich police took the bone to the Royal B.C. Museum where it was determined to be a rib bone of a cow that had likely died in the early 1900s.
An archaeologist reviewed the site and the next day three more bones were unearthed. They were also examined.
The Provincial Archaeology Branch is working closely with police to confirm the bones’ heritge and whether more bones may be at the site.
Name of source: WHSV
SOURCE: WHSV (11-11-09)
A search for paw paws near Fort Boreman Historical Park has uncovered a rare artifact: a stone bearing the carved name of a Civil War soldier.
Civil War historians Brian Kesterson and Terry McVey found the stone October 26.
During the war, Fort Boreman was a Union encampment.
Kesterson says the inscription "A.P. Jones 1861" was carved into the stone, along with a soldier on a horse that indicated Jones was a member of a cavalry unit.
Name of source: The Boston Globe
SOURCE: The Boston Globe (11-15-09)
The only living veteran of the War of 1812” -- as USS Constitution Commander William Bullard described the old warship when he turned over his post this summer -- is having a makeover. Actually, “Old Ironsides” has gone through many looks since its launch 212 years ago. Some, such as the two-story barnlike structure built on its upper deck in 1882 and used for offices, were far removed from the iconic appearance attached to the ship today.
Restoration efforts beginning in the late 1920s have helped Constitution regain its look and dignity. In the mid-1990s, work restored the ship’s structural integrity, enabling it to sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years. The current three-year rehabilitation, which ends next year, will have similarly dramatic results. “When we’re done, Constitution will look as close to her 1812 configuration as it has since 1927,” says Richard Whelan, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, which oversees the ship’s maintenance.
Name of source: BBC
The 9ft (2.7m) bronze sculpture takes pride of place on the walkway leading into the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Lady Mair Griffith-Williams performed the ceremony in front of a distinguished audience.
Sir Tasker, whose wartime bravery earned him the Victoria Cross at the age of 25 in 1944, died two years ago.
The signed order for the Massacre of Glencoe will form the centrepiece of an exhibition to mark the end of the Year of Homecoming.
It will be among nine cultural treasures which will be displayed in the National Library of Scotland from this week.
Thirty eight members of the MacDonald clan were killed in the massacre.
The patriarch, 95, became leader of the Church in 1990. He was admitted to the city's military hospital two years ago.
Though he reportedly suffered from heart and lung conditions, the Church did not specify the cause of death.
After the fall of communism and rise of Serb nationalism, the Church regained a leading role during his rule.
At the beginning of the Balkan wars that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Pavle said - according to Serbian state television: "It is our oath not to make a single child cry or sadden a single old woman because they are of another religion or nation."
But critics accused him of failing to contain hardline bishops and priests who supported Serb paramilitaries against Catholic Croats and Bosnian Muslims.
After those wars, Pavle became more directly involved - openly criticising Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, after he lost Kosovo following Nato's intervention.
SOURCE: BBC (11-14-09)
The coin, from the reign of Henry IV, was unearthed by contractor Shaun Bufton on 28 April while he was working on a new water pipeline in Newtown.
But archaeologists failed to return it to him.
Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust said it had made a mistake in not returning the coin and it regretted not having told him what was happening.
When it was minted in about 1400, Henry IV had just become king and Owain Glyndwr's rebellion was under way in Wales.
SOURCE: BBC (11-12-09)
And extracts from modern classics such as Lord of the Flies by William Golding and a novel by Ernest Hemingway also failed to impress the computer.
All were marked down by a US program designed to assess students' essays.
UK exam boards and the qualifications development agency are experimenting with similar procedures.
At the moment, in the UK, computers are used only to mark some GCSE multiple-choice exam papers, in which there are right and wrong answers.
But exam boards are working on systems which would allow pupils to sit their exams online and for them to be marked by computer...
... As for William Golding, an extract from Lord of the Flies was criticised as having "inaccurate and erratic sentence structure".
Ernest Hemingway's The End of Something was also marked as not up to standard.
In this case, the writer was said to have "shown lack of care in style of writing and vocabulary"...
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-15-09)
Elliott first developed an interest in acting while an RAF prisoner of war when he read and re-read the book sent to the camp in Selesia by the Red Cross.
He staged amateur dramatics and on his release he pursued an acting career in London before making his film debut in 1949.
Four Plays Of Shakespeare is among the memorabilia from his family expected to fetch more than £15,000 at auction in London. The book still carries the distinctive prison camp stamp, Stalag VIII B.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-14-09)
On Monday, the Australian government will say sorry to the thousands of children deported there during the twentieth century.
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, will this week say he is to look into what can be done to make amends to all the children who were shipped to Australia, Canada and other former colonies, in schemes undertaken by successive governments up until 1967.
The children were separated from their families and told they were orphans, while the parents were told that they had gone to a better life. But most were brought up in institutions, or by farmers, and many were treated as child slave labour.
A Hollywood film, starring the Oscar-nominated actress Emily Watson, telling the story of the "orphans", is now in production. Although ministers said they were rescuing children from deprivation, victims' groups say the reality is that thousands of infants were sent to help populate Australia and other countries with, what was called at the time, "good white stock".
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-11-09)
The 17-minute footage, thought to be the first in the world to be filmed in colour 3D, was discovered in a tin labelled “Royal Review 1953” in the British Film Institute (BFI).
It had been passed in the 1960s to BFI by Dixons, the electrical retailers, with a letter which said: “We give you this film for your safe keeping in the national archives.”
It was found by the son of Arthur Wooster who was one of the two cameramen behind the pioneering film who went on to work on nine James Bond films.
Mr Wooster, 80, and his colleague Bob Angell, 87, filmed the Queen using two cameras simultaneously at different angles before blending the footage together into a single picture.
The actor and comedian has, however, upset friends of the late Princess Margaret by accusing her of anti-Semitism.
At the HarperCollins History Lecture at the Royal Institute of British Architects, Fry claimed that the Queen's sister had been shocked when he told her at a dinner party that he had Jewish ancestors. Fry, who is a great chum of the Prince of Wales, alleged that she expressed her horror by shouting to everybody else at her table: "He's a Jew. He's a Jew."
Kelly's skull has been missing ever since it was stolen from a display cabinet at the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1978, just yards from where Kelly was hanged in 1880 for killing a policeman. The crime went unsolved and the whereabouts of the skull became one of Australia's greatest mysteries.
Then, earlier this week on the 129th anniversary of Kelly's hanging, Tom Baxter, a farmer from Western Australia, delivered a skull to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, claiming it was the same one that was stolen from the jail more than 30 years ago.
Mr Baxter returned the skull after years of negotiations with Heritage Victoria. He has refused to say if he was involved in the original theft and how he came across the skull, which has been in his possession for decades.
Rob Hulls, Victoria's attorney general, said exhaustive tests would be conducted on the skull to determine if it was authentic.
Stephen Harper, Canada's conservative prime minister, was quickly informed that Baroness Thatcher, the 84-year-old former British Prime Minister, had passed away.
Upon learning the "news" via mobile or Blackberry at a soiree honouring Canadian military families on Tuesday, some 2,000 shocked Conservatives and their advisors reportedly huddled to discuss a reaction.
It turned out the message was sent by John Baird, the transport minister, from his home in Toronto to a person at the gala dinner to say that his beloved 16-year-old gray tabby cat, named for Lady Thatcher, had died.
Ilarion spoke of a rapprochement under Pope Benedict XVI that would allow for a meeting with the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kiril, who took up his office in February after the death of the previous patriarch.
“There have been visits at a high level,” said Illarion. “We are moving towards the moment when it will become possible to prepare a meeting between the Pope and the Moscow patriarch.”
He added that in recent years there had been “noticeable improvements” in relations between the two churches.
“The progress in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church began after Benedict XVI became pope. He is…a person who does not aim to grow the Catholic Church in traditional Orthodox regions.”
Some observers had hinted a meeting between the two Church leaders was forthcoming, but many issues still stand in the way of bridging the split, which dates from 1054 when Patriarch of Constantinople was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The breach heralded the Great Schism that finally divided the Christian churches of East and West – which had long had political and theological differences, including the wording of the Nicene Creed – and led to the creation of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (11-15-09)
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accused the Obama administration of "repeating the mistake of history" by bringing the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and his accomplices to New York for a civilian trial, saying the administration has definitively reverted to a "pre-9/11 approach."
Giuliani said the biggest problem is that the United States is treating terrorists as it did after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which was followed by a string of other terrorist attacks on Americans overseas and finally by the Sept. 11 massacre.
SOURCE: Fox News (11-15-09)
The federal agency will inspect part of the Odyssey Middle School campus where 15 portable classrooms are being removed because of declining enrollment. Corps officials hadn't been able to search that area with metal detectors and other bomb finding technology before.
More than 400 pounds of World War II-era bombs and munitions were unearthed from the grounds around the middle school over the winter holidays last year. Part of the school grounds had been used by the Army in the 1940s to train bombardiers for combat.
The symbolic ceremony — attended by guests from Hawaii and the Nordic countries' own indigenous Sami population — was part of Sweden's increased efforts to return indigenous remains collected by scientists across the world in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Swedish government in 2005 ordered its museums to search through their collections, and has since returned more than 20 human remains, mainly to Australia.
The Hawaiian skulls had been returned privately earlier Saturday so that the Hawaiian delegates could perform a ritual according to traditional customs.
Museum director Lars Amreus said he hoped the return would help "fulfill the spiritual circle" of those whose graves had been violated by the Swedish scientists.
"We know that they were collected, although by today's standards: they were looted," Amreus said.
All that has changed since the old regime was overthrown in 2003, and now, U.S. soldiers are some of the site's most receptive visitors.
The temple-pyramid is part of the ruins of an ancient Sumerian city.
Dhair Muhsen, an Iraqi tour guide, said Hussein made it difficult for tourists to visit the sites, setting up strict checkpoints with Iraqi soldiers and telling people they couldn't take pictures.
The majority of people who visit the site now are U.S. soldiers, who are bussed over to the site from nearby Camp Adder.
Holder said he decided to seek justice against the suspects in federal court rather than a military tribunal because the attacks targeted civilians on U.S. soil. But Mukasey and other critics say the attack was an act of war that should be prosecuted in a military tribunal.
Mukasey said it's unlikely that Mohammed will be acquitted because of his confession and other evidence linking him to the attack. But he added that same evidence could present problems in federal court.
One of those five defendants, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been at the center of the debate over those Bush-era polices, in particular the harsh interrogation techniques used on Mohammed and others in an effort to obtain information on Al Qaeda and any additional attacks.
Supporters of trying the detainees in military tribunals note that the tribunals have relaxed standards for presenting evidence and offer minimized risk of disclosing government anti-terror secrets.
Name of source: Kansas City
SOURCE: Kansas City (11-13-09)
“Bob said people had given him advice, saying sell the doll,” Corbett said. “He asked me what I thought and I told him not to listen to anyone; it was something special, something culturally significant.” ...
... The next day, he received a reply from Ellen Schattschneider, who teaches anthropology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. She has done extensive research on the dolls, which are called mascot dolls—masukotto ningyo in Japanese—and has written a book, “Facing the Dead: Japan and its Dolls in the Mirror of War.”
Schattschneider’s interest in the dolls developed while researching special ceremonies in northeastern Japan, in which the soul of an unmarried person who has died is married, in effect, to a beautiful bride doll.
On her Web site, www.pacificwrecks.com/history/doll/, she wrote that mascot dolls mayhave developed from amulets carried by samurai.
“This appears to be an example of the widespread belief in Japan that dolls have a kind of soul (tamashi) and can carry the identity or essence of a person who has made or owned them,” she said.
By World War II, Japanese women and girls made small dolls for soldiers out of scraps of kimono or other cloth. The dolls were thought to bring soldiers good luck.
The doll in Corbett’s possession was given to a kamikaze or tokkotai soldier who flew planes into U.S. Navy ships.
Schattschneider said the dolls “were given to keep the kamikaze company during their terribly lonely final journeys.”
The dolls are rare because many were destroyed in the suicide missions. There is one other known doll in the United States and a handful in Japan.
Name of source: NYT
Part photo opportunity, part political theater, the spectacle was the centerpiece of a fake funeral for the city of Venice. A group of prankster-provocateurs organized it to protest the fact that the number of residents in Venice’s historic center has dropped below 60,000, down from 74,000 in 1993, as rising rents and hordes of tourists have pushed thousands to the mainland.
As a result, locals feel like an endangered species. “We’re going to turn into a city of ghosts if something isn’t done soon,” said Matteo Secchi, a local hotelier and a spokesman for Venessia, the group that organized the funeral. “In 30 years there might be zero Venetians left.”
Dressed in black the day before the funeral, Mr. Secchi, 40, was standing near a pharmacy with an electronic population ticker in the window. It read 59,992.
The city, however, places the number at 60,025 for Venice proper, plus another 30,000 in the surrounding islands. In a statement, Venice’s housing commissioner, Mara Rumiz, compared the stunt to “a funeral for a father who is still alive, which in general brings a bit of bad luck.” Still, it is a long way down from 108,300 residents in 1971. And it pales in comparison with the 18 million tourists who visit Venice each year.
Some local residents think the funeral is overdue. “They came too late,” said Massimo Zane, 52, as he stood at his fish stand in the Rialto market. “We’re already dead.”
When his father opened the stand 40 years ago, “we had rows of people lined up two deep,” he said. Not so today. “There are just a few retired people here. I’m sorry for them. Life is expensive.”
Since time immemorial, the Ogiek have been Kenya’s traditional forest dwellers. They have stalked antelope with homemade bows, made medicine from leaves and trapped bees to produce honey, the golden elixir of the woods. They have struggled to survive the press of modernity, and many times they have been persecuted, driven from their forests and belittled as “dorobo,” a word meaning roughly people with no cattle. Somehow, they have always managed to survive.
Now, though, the little-known Ogiek, among East Africa’s last bona fide hunters and gatherers, face their gravest test yet. The Kenyan government is gearing up to evict tens of thousands of settlers, illegal or not, from the Mau Forest, the Ogiek’s ancestral home and a critical water source for this entire country. The question is: Will the few thousand remaining Ogiek be given a reprieve or given the boot?
“Tell Obama and his men to help us,” pleaded Daniel M. Kobei, an Ogiek leader, who still seems almost stunned that the Ogiek may have to leave a forest they have battled for decades to conserve. “It’s not that we’re special, but this forest is our home.”...
... To the Ogiek, all this is sadly familiar. Though they are among the oldest communities in East Africa, many were marched off their land by British colonists in the 1930s and herded into “native reserves” where countless Ogiek died from diseases they had no natural resistance to, like malaria. The British felled their forests and planted pine trees, good for commercial logging, though in the Ogiek’s eyes, for little else.
The persecution continued after Kenya’s independence in 1963, with the Kenyan police burning down Ogiek huts to drive the people out of the woods. In the 1990s, the government began handing out thousands of acres in the Mau Forest to political friends, which squeezed the Ogiek even further. The Ogiek sued in Kenyan courts, and the Ford Foundation helped pay their legal bills, but their forest continued to melt away...
The mere mention of the place stirs passions and memories of centuries of bloodshed. Its alternative names evoke the depth of religious devotion and the competing claims.
Many of those contradictions are encapsulated in a new book, “Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade,” to be published here on Monday. The book is a collection of essays by renowned scholars on the history, archaeology, aesthetics and politics of the place that Jews revere as the location of their two ancient temples, and that now houses the Al Aksa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
The illustrated 400-page book, in English, appears at a time of heightened tensions over the coveted site. Most extraordinarily, its authors and co-sponsors include Israeli and Palestinian experts and institutions, giving an unfettered platform to Muslims, Christians and Jews...
... Yet the board of Al-Quds University recently decided to boycott Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel’s policies and because peace talks have stalled.
Mr. Abu Sway said that projects already under way were allowed to be completed, and that the Palestinian chapters of the book were submitted long before the boycott took hold.
The book was years in the making and required exceptional tact on the part of the co-editors, Oleg Grabar of Princeton University, and Benjamin Kedar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mr. Kedar came up with the neutral term “sacred esplanade” in the title. “It was the compromise,” he said. “It should be acceptable to all.”
Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, formerly controlled by Jordan, in the 1967 war. Since then, a fragile status quo has been preserved at the compound. The civil administration remains in the hands of the Waqf, the Muslim religious endowment, while overall security is the responsibility of the Israeli police. Israel claims sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, while the Palestinians demand that the eastern part be recognized as the capital of a future independent state. ..
After a nearly seven-year odyssey that took him to secret Central Intelligence Agency jails in Europe and an American military prison in Cuba, Mr. Mohammed is finally likely to get his wish.
He will be the most senior leader of Al Qaeda to date held to account for the mass murder of nearly 3,000 Americans, facing trial in Manhattan while his boss, Osama bin Laden, continues to elude a worldwide dragnet.
Yet the boastful, calculating and fiercely independent Mr. Mohammed has never neatly fit the mold of Qaeda chieftain. He has little use for the high-minded moralizing of some of his associates, and for years before the Sept. 11 attacks, he refused to swear an oath of loyalty to Mr. bin Laden — figuring that if the Qaeda leader canceled the Sept. 11 plot, he would not have to obey the order.
A detailed portrait of the life and worldview of Mr. Mohammed, 44, has emerged in the years since his capture, filled in by declassified C.I.A. documents, interrogation transcripts, the report of the Sept. 11 commission and his own testimony at a military tribunal. And the most significant terrorism trial in American history will be a grand stage for a man who describes himself as a “jackal,” consumed with a zeal for perpetual battle against the United States...
... It was not until the mid-1990s that American counterterrorism experts began to understand Mr. Mohammed’s significance to the cause of global jihad, after a thwarted plot to blow up 12 American commercial aircraft in midair. The so-called Bojinka plot, hatched in a Manila apartment with his nephew, the World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, was Mr. Mohammed’s first inspiration for using airliners as ballistic missiles against civilian targets, according to the 9/11 commission report and recently declassified C.I.A. documents.
In 1996, Mr. Mohammed traveled to Afghanistan to sell Mr. bin Laden on an idea: simultaneously hijacking 10 aircraft and flying them into different prominent civilian targets in the United States. He would be on the one plane not to crash, and after the plane landed would emerge and deliver a speech condemning American policy on Israel...
At the heart of the argument lies a vexing question: When should a person be treated as an adult?
The answer, generally, is 18 — the age when the United States, and the rest of the world, considers young people capable of accepting responsibility for their actions. But there are countless deviations from this benchmark, both around the world (the bar mitzvah, for instance), and within the United States...
... And if you think separating the men from the boys (or the women from the girls) is difficult today, tracing the history of America’s conception of childhood just complicates things further.
In the 19th century, teenagers were expected to raise their own children and work in the fields. This was true even though 19th-century teenagers were physically and intellectually less advanced than teenagers today. Thanks to better nutrition and more formal schooling, today’s children generally reach puberty earlier and are, at least in theory, more informed about the world around them.
In other words, the only thing that is consistent about our notions of when a child becomes an adult is our inconsistency, says Steven Mintz, a historian at Columbia University...
... In Florida, for instance, the state got tough on teenage criminals when juvenile crime rates jumped during the 1990s, threatening not only residents and visitors, but Florida’s bedrock tourism industry itself. Two such juvenile offenders, one who raped a woman when he was 13, and another who committed armed robbery at 16, brought the appeals heard by the Supreme Court last week...
... Over the years attempts have been made to align these various ages of majority. The voting age was lowered during the Vietnam War, for example, largely because Americans were uncomfortable with a democracy that forced 18-year-olds to die for their country but denied them suffrage...
One step, legal analysts say, may be to ask for a change of venue.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s lawyers, whoever they are, will no doubt question whether he can get a fair trial from a jury sitting, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. noted, in a Manhattan courthouse “just blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood.”
Then will come the inevitable challenges to interrogation methods used on Mr. Mohammed during more than six years in detention. The government has acknowledged waterboarding him 183 times to extract information about the Sept. 11 attacks, which he eventually admitted planning.
Finally, if Mr. Mohammed is convicted, defense lawyers will most likely plead for jurors in New York, historically more cautious about capital punishment than much of the rest of country, to spare the sentence of execution and send him to prison for the rest of his life instead...
... Mr. Mohammed and his four co-defendants in military custody have admitted their active involvement in plotting the Sept. 11 attacks and have boasted of their success in killing 3,000 people.
Once the Justice Department brings formal terrorism charges against him, Mr. Mohammed could seek to enter a guilty plea, just as he has tried to do in military custody.
But legal analysts were not convinced that he would go that route and said that he might instead seek to martyr himself in the eyes of Muslim extremists through a grand and lengthy trial...
He was a small man, with a very neatly trimmed black mustache, seated in a corner, leaning forward on his walking stick, smiling, sipping Scotch from a glass that seemed too large for his frail hands. His face brightened with a smile as he reminisced about the dictator’s wife who once locked herself in the bathroom of his private jet and the star-studded, five-day extravaganza he threw for his 50th birthday.
Oh, the memories of a fallen billionaire arms trader.
“My personal philosophy is I don’t regret matters that happen, good or bad,” said the man, Adnan M. Khashoggi, who is 74 years old and these days prefers to be remembered as “Mr. Fix It,” rather than the arms dealer involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. “I just accept this as my destiny. It’s a personal attitude.”
Mr. Khashoggi has been linked to — but never convicted in — almost every major scandal of the late 20th century: Wedtech, B.C.C.I., the indictment of the Marcoses in the Philippines, as well as Iran-Contra. He is a favorite of conspiracy buffs, who have connected him to such things as the death of Princess Diana (her boyfriend at the time, Dodi al-Fayed, was his nephew) and to voting irregularities in Florida in the 2000 presidential election (a former employee was a local election official).
Now, he is trying to make a comeback. After a lifetime spent using his connections to make deals for himself, he is working as a consultant, selling his connections.
Instead of commissions he gets “incentive pay.” He flies commercial now (at his clients’ expense), which is a big change for a man who once had his own DC-8, and he lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the only property he still owned after the collapse of his empire. But he is far from broke, or at least manages to appear far from broke, which has always been the magic of Mr. Khashoggi.
“It is all part of the mechanism for impressing people, with your talk, with your views and with your appearance,” he said of his once-profligate ways...
In a wide-ranging speech on his first trip to Asia as president, Mr. Obama drew on his own background to reassure the people of the fast-growing continent that even as the United States seemed preoccupied with conflicts in the Middle East and other regions, it was increasingly “a nation of the Pacific.”...
... “My own life is part of that story,” he said. “I am an American president who was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia as a boy. My sister Maya was born in Jakarta and later married a Chinese-Canadian. My mother spent nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia, helping women buy a sewing machine or an education that might give them a foothold in the world economy.”
“So,” he added, “the Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world.” He even spoke of his first trip to Japan as a boy—“As a child, I was more focused on the matcha ice cream,” he said.
That drew laughs from the audience, which gave him a standing ovation both before and after his speech.
“He is a black president, and he understands the slavery abolition movement and Lincoln’s major significance for that movement,” Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a news conference.
Mr. Qin added: “Thus, on this issue we hope that President Obama, more than any other foreign leader, can better, more deeply grasp China’s stance on protecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
For many Americans, Mr. Qin’s analogy might sound like a stretch, but it revealed which issues Chinese leaders see as among their top priorities, ones that Mr. Obama will no doubt have to grapple with after he arrives in China on Sunday for his first trip here.
While much attention will be focused on broad international issues like trade and currency values, climate change and the ailing world economy, questions of sovereignty and territory remain an obsession of Chinese foreign policy. Some scholars and analysts see this as an expression of an aggressive expansionism that will only deepen as China moves toward superpower status. Others argue that China is driven more by the need to recover territory wrested from it during the decades it was known as the Sick Man of Asia, when pieces of it were humiliatingly annexed by European powers and Japan...
Name of source: DVIDS
SOURCE: DVIDS (11-14-09)
November marks Native American History Month and is intended to celebrate and commemorate the rich culture of the various Indian nations, said Sgt. 1st Class Tamatha Denton, from New York.
"The theme for this year is 'Understanding American Indian Heritage Now and Then,'" she said. "We're touching on military service all the way back from the Revolutionary War to the global war on terrorism."
This year observance for Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldiers, here, will have storytellers relating the history of Native American military service as well as traditional foods. Stories will include the famous code talkers of World War II, whose secret code, transmitted in the Navajo language, confounded the Japanese and was never decoded. Also touched upon will be more modern heroes such as Spc. Lori Piestewa, who was the first Native American woman to die in combat when her convoy came under attack outside Nasiriyah during the opening month of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
The participation of Native Americans in the U.S. military is long and storied, with 25 Medal of Honor winners, Denton explained.
"Their involvement in U.S. military service is higher per capita than any other ethnic group in the United States," she said. "That speaks volumes."
Name of source: The Daily Beast
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (11-15-09)
Name of source: The Border Mail (AU)
SOURCE: The Border Mail (AU) (11-14-09)
Mr Jones said the skull was likely Ernest Knox’s, who was executed at Old Melbourne Gaol 14 years after Kelly.
“His initials are EK (the same as Edward Kelly) and it appears the grave that was dug up in 1929 as Ned Kelly’s grave was Ernest Knox’s,” Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones first saw the skull in 1972.
He said the facial features seemed too long and that a cast of the skull taken for reconstruction was very similar to the face of Knox.
And Mr Jones said Kelly’s true skull would have to be in two pieces.
That was unlike the one West Australian man Tom Baxter has presented to authorities.
“Ned’s skull has to be in two pieces because they, doctors and students, removed his head, and took his body apart and his organs out after the execution,” Mr Jones said.
“It was reported at the time that they were going to be able to tell us all about the intelligence of this famous bushranger.
“The only reason a group like that would remove the head is to examine the brain and unless you saw the skull in half the only way you can get the brain out is a teaspoon, which is not going to be much good for research.”
Mr Jones said he still held out hope Kelly’s skull would one day be found.
Name of source: Salon
SOURCE: Salon (11-13-09)
Army Secretary John McHugh ordered the inquiry after a series of articles in Salon showed the cemetery found an unknown casket in a grave in 2003, covered it up with dirt and quietly walked away, and also buried another service member in the wrong plot in 2008 on top of a soldier already in that grave. In that second case, the cemetery also failed to alert family members when they dug up and moved remains to fix the problem. The Salon reports suggested these kinds of errors could be widespread, since the cemetery has failed to implement a computer system to track burials as other cemeteries have, despite nearly a decade of work and nearly $6 million spent on the effort.
“As the final resting place of our nation’s heroes, any questions about the integrity or accountability of (Arlington’s) operations should be examined in a manner befitting their service and sacrifice,” McHugh said in a statement. He directed the Army inspector general to spearhead this new inquiry.
The Army on Friday also released the results of a previous inquiry sparked by Salon’s first report on the unknown casket quietly covered up in 2003. The Army says “non-invasive geophysical analysis … strongly suggest[s]” that the unknown casket is either a husband or a wife who died years apart that should have been buried together in a nearby grave. (Spouses are stacked together in one grave at Arlington.)...
Name of source: WSJ
SOURCE: WSJ (11-14-09)
The revised settlement will only cover books that were either registered with the U.S. Copyright Office or published in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.
The new agreement also addresses concerns about orphan works, or books whose right holders are unknown, while keeping them in the settlement. The fixes include limiting what is done with the revenue generated from those works and appointing an independent fiduciary to look out for the interests of those rights holders.
SOURCE: WSJ (11-14-09)
The heated debate was symbolic of the sensitivities of the Kurdish issue in Turkey, which has only recently begun to be debated openly and impartially.
Opponents accused the government of pandering to terrorists. Many also fear that its "democratic initiative" is part of a wider plan by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which has Islamist roots, to dismantle a secular, centralized state model in which the military for decades played a controlling role. Opponents see acknowledgement of Turkish military abuses against Kurds as an attempt to undermine the military.
Under the plan outlined Friday, Turkey would get a new constitution to replace the current one, which was drafted by a military junta in the early 1980s. Private broadcasting in the Kurdish language would be made legal, adding to the public Kurdish-language channel launched in January. The government would also establish an independent body to deal with complaints against the security forces. Villages given Turkish language names since the 1950s would get their former Kurdish names back.
Name of source: Newsweek
SOURCE: Newsweek (11-16-09)
Words of wisdom, but not all that useful to General McChrystal. Like it or not, he is already in Afghanistan, along with roughly 68,000 American and 35,000 European troops. McChrystal has been charged by President Obama with presenting a strategy for victory, generally defined as standing up the Afghan Army to beat back the Taliban and deny sanctuary to Al Qaeda. An avid reader of history, McChrystal has read Karnow's book, but he has also read many others. One that he has read—and reread—is a 1999 book called A Better War, written by Lewis Sorley, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. Sorley argues that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the United States could have won in Vietnam—if only the U.S. Congress hadn't cut off military aid to South Vietnam.
Not surprisingly, the Sorley book is getting a lot of attention at the upper levels of the Pentagon and at McChrystal's headquarters in Kabul. Told that NEWSWEEK was looking into the parallels between the Sorley book and General McChrystal's situation in Afghanistan, a senior Marine general exclaimed, "You're on to something there!" (Like other senior military officials contacted by NEWSWEEK, the general declined to be quoted praising a book that argues, though not in so many words, that the military was stabbed in the back by its civilian leaders.)
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (11-14-09)
Kennedy reportedly signed the front page of the Dallas Morning News, which contained a photo of him and the first lady and a preview of their arrival that day in Dallas.
A Dallas woman handed the president the newspaper and he signed it for her, according to Heritage Auctions, the company that sold the item. The date of his assassination, which came about two hours later, was on the front page of that paper near his signature.
The newspaper was purchased by Joe Maddalena, president and owner of Profiles in History in Calabassas, California for $39,000.
SOURCE: CNN (11-13-09)
But others -- including members of the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, some of whom spoke to reporters by phone on Friday -- said a civilian trial allows for transparency, noting that families of the victims could attend. Their access to a military trial would be more limited, they said.
Dozens of family members of 9/11 victims have signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced the trial decision; President Obama; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates opposing a civilian trial for the alleged plotters
SOURCE: CNN (11-14-09)
But Kevin Roberts' decision is not fueled by remorse. Nor is it about healing a life defined by 13 stinging months in Vietnam. Rather, late-in-life altruism has led him to volunteer to build houses for poor families residing along Vietnam's Mekong River.
Next week, he'll pick up a hammer and saw for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2009, an annual weeklong affordable housing project led by the former president. Roberts will join a team of about 20 volunteers who will construct houses in Ke Sat village, just outside Hanoi, November 15-21.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (11-14-09)
Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.
Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.
Name of source: Politico
SOURCE: Politico (11-13-09)
The Obama administration has decided that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terrorism suspects now detained at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay will be charged in civilian court.
Two Obama administration officials confirmed plans to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men to New York City from the prison at Guantanamo Bay to face charges in a civilian federal court. The five are currently charged before a military commission proceeding at Guantanamo Bay prison that was suspended as the Obama administration considered where to try them.
Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to announce the decision at 11 am.
SOURCE: Politico (11-13-09)
"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (11-11-09)
About 70 coins were found in an excavation at the foot of a key Jerusalem holy site. They give a rare glimpse into the period of the Jewish revolt that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in A.D. 70, said Hava Katz, curator of the exhibition.
The Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire and took over Jerusalem in A.D. 66. After laying siege to Jerusalem, the Romans breached the city walls and wiped out the rebellion, demolishing the Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.
The coins sit inside a glass case, some melted down to unrecognizable chunks of pockmarked and carbonized bronze from the flames that destroyed the Temple.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (11-14-09)
Besir Atalay, the Interior Minister, told parliament that he intended to end permanently the conflict with separatists, who are thought to have about 6,000 fighters. “Our slogan is more freedom for everybody,” Mr Atalay said yesterday, outlining what he described as “an open-ended process” to “end terrorism and raise the level of democracy”.
One of the first steps would be to lift a ban on private television channels broadcasting in Kurdish. The Government would then end a ban on political campaigning in the language, and permit the restoration of Kurdish names to towns and villages given Turkish names since the 1950s. A committee will be established to address Kurdish concerns that they suffer discrimination.
Name of source: The National Security Archive
SOURCE: The National Security Archive (11-13-09)
The new documents provide other revealing insights into the inner workings of the notoriously opaque Taliban which underscore the challenges and potential opportunities that continue to confront U.S. policy-makers today. For example, while the organization in the late 1990s showed a troubling inclination toward radical Islamic thinking on issues beyond its usually more parochial concerns, it also displayed a pragmatic and even opportunistic side, recruiting troops from a variety of political perspectives including local communists. And although the documents describe Mullah Omar as highly authoritarian and adept at keeping his political rivals off-balance, the organization had evidenced a surprising diversity of viewpoints within its upper ranks, which suggested possible weak spots in the organization's control.
Name of source: Truthout
SOURCE: Truthout (11-13-09)
That is, most people except for Valerie Plame Wilson.
On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled that the CIA did not violate Wilson’s First Amendment rights when it refused to allow the former covert CIA operative to reveal that she worked for the agency prior to 2002 in her memoir, “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.”
The ruling means that a chunk of Wilson's memoir will remain classified and she is still barred from acknowledging that she was employed by the agency prior to January 2002.
Name of source: Spiegel Online
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (11-13-09)
But then something strange happened. Breuer, who was now being helped in her quest by her daughter Judith, came across more and more objects that didn't fit with the usual peaceful image of Christmas, lsuch as World War I-era miniature soldiers, bombs and hand grenades designed to hang on the tree. The Breuers started to get interested in how Christmas had been abused for propaganda purposes over the years, most blatantly by the Nazis. Their hobby turned into a full-fledged amateur research project.
Now, more than 30 years after Rita Breuer first began collecting Christmas knickknacks, selected objects from the family collection have gone on show at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne. The exhibition, which looks at the history of Christmas and propaganda from the 19th century until the present day, focuses on how the Nazis misused Christmas for their own foul purposes and tried to turn it into a "Germanic" winter solstice festival.
Name of source: Deutsche Welle
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (11-11-09)
While USA and, surprisingly, the Soviet Union, largely welcomed the moment of redemption and euphoria that ushered in the end of a black century, Germany's non-superpower neighbors were prey to old fears.
"It is still an uncomfortable thought," Professor Paul Nolte, who teaches history at the Free University in Berlin, told Deutsche Welle, "That something that Germans were so happy about, and that unified Europe, could have been rejected by our closest partners. We ask ourselves, 'How could anyone have been against it?' "
At the end of October this year, France followed Britain in releasing its foreign policy archives from 1989 and 1990 in the run-up to the reunification of Germany. Although the files will not precipitate a major reassessment of history, they illustrate the depth of fear among western leaders who were publicly celebrating the victory of democratic freedom over communism.