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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: Truthout
SOURCE: Truthout (1-21-10)
The conservative wing of the court, with Anthony Kennedy joining, overruled two long-held precedents in reaching the decision, which said that corporations have the same right to use their own money to fund campaign ads as individuals do.
Kennedy, in his opinion for the majority, wrote that "the Government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether."...
The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, concerned the right of Citizen’s United, a conservative non-profit corporation, to broadcast “Hillary: The Movie”, a documentary which focused on various scandals that unfolded during President Bill Clinton’s tenure in office, as well as challenging Hillary Clinton's record in the Senate. Citizens United released the movie during the 2008 presidential primary, but was not allowed to air it on cable or on a video on-demand service.
Name of source: Haaretz.com
SOURCE: Haaretz.com (1-20-10)
Scott Brown defeated once-favored Martha Coakley for the Massachusetts seat even after U.S. President Barack Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save her candidacy.
Over the past nine months, Netanyahu has managed to curb pressure from Obama, who enjoys a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Now, however, Obama will be more dependent on the support of his Republican rivals, the supporters and friends of Netanyahu....
If Obama's popularity continues to dive and the Republicans recapture at least one of the houses of Congress in November, Netanyahu and his partners will be able to breathe deep and continue expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Name of source: AFP
SOURCE: AFP (1-21-10)
Jack Straw, the first serving Cabinet minister to give evidence to the public inquiry into the conflict, added that backing the war was "the most difficult decision I have ever faced in my life".
Straw, currently justice secretary in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government, took the stand a week before his former boss Tony Blair's hotly anticipated appearance....
However, Straw also accepted that, from early 2002, "there was no secret whatever" that US military action against Iraq backed by Britain "was a possibility".
Name of source: Secrecy News
SOURCE: Secrecy News (1-14-10)
“The Left died the day the Six-Day War ended,” wrote Shmuel Hasfari and Eldad Yaniv.
“Until 1967, the Left actually managed some impressive deeds — it took control of the land, ploughed, sowed, harvested, founded the state, built the army, built its industry from scratch, fought Arabs, settled the land, built the nuclear reactor, brought millions of Jews here and absorbed them, and set up kibbutzim, moshavim, and agriculture…. What happened? How come that all that remains of the Zionist Left today is an anarchistic group that harasses the Border Police every Friday near the separation fence or at checkpoints and Women in Black?”
“This is not an academic work,” wrote Hasfari and Yaniv. “There are no footnotes and there is no bibliography. It is not a complete work, either. We have written here about some of the things that bother us a lot, matters that give us no peace of mind. We ask you not to read this in one go since that is likely to be confusing. Taste it as you would a plate of appetizers, tapas. Take a little bit. Digest it and stop to think, argue, get angry, and if you want to, curse — feel free.”
“You can also put it in the bathroom. We will not be offended. On the contrary: There are no cell phones or text messages there, and you can think. Quietly. And read.”
The OSC translation has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News. Republication was permitted by the authors within the text. See “The National Left (First Draft)” by Shmuel Hasfari and Eldad Yaniv, Open Source Center, December 31, 2009.
Name of source: National Parks Traveler
SOURCE: National Parks Traveler (1-21-10)
Earlier this month some maintenance workers at the historic site were at work developing a new trail extension of the Paseo del Morro trail when their shovels uncovered three historical medals that had been stolen back in February 1992 from the park's Military Museum. Also taken was an 1898 Spanish carbine. A month after the museum break in, the carbine was recovered but the medals, in spite of all the investigative efforts, could not be located, according to a park release.
The medals in question had been awarded by the Spanish government to Colonel José Antonio de Iriarte y Travieso, commanding official of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, in recognition of merit and valor in combat during the 1898 Spanish-American War. Colonel Iriarte was also the last military governor of El Morro. The medals were donated by the descendants of Colonel Iriarte to the National Park Service in January 1963 to be exhibited in the Military Museum as a legacy to the future generations of Puerto Rico, according to the park.
The three medals represent the following distinctions for Colonel Iriarte: the Cross of María Cristina, for actions in combat given in lieu of a promotion for operations in Cuba in 1896; the Cross of María Cristina, for meritorious service during the bombardment of Puerto Rico in 1898; and the Cross of Military Merit, awarded for distinguished action in the war against Cuba.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-20-10)
The trackways, formed 165 million years ago by a herd of Jurassic dinosaurs moving along part of an ancient shoreline, is the first SSSI to be designated purely because of its geological interest.
The site, which includes footprints from large, vegetarian dinosaurs related to Brontosaurus and also from carnivorous dinosaurs similar to Tyrannosaurus, is just alongside the M40 motorway and requires protection from development.
The trackways, that are otherwise unknown in England and are very rare internationally, also need protection from the elements by building shelters and ensuring visitors do not disturb the site.
Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said scientists will be working with the owners of the site to ensure the geological remains are preserved.
“Geological sites of this quality and importance are few and far between and we are delighted to give this important window on our past the protection that it so clearly deserves," she said.
“As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, these unique dinosaur footprints now join the ranks of England’s most important wildlife and geological conservation sites. It is important that we continue to look after internationally valuable resources of this type and protect such fascinating insights into our ancient past”.
If the Vatican ultimately approves a miracle the way will be clear for the beatification of Pius, after which he will be declared "Blessed".
A further miracle will be needed to canonise the Pope as a saint....
Thomas Blatt, 82, whose parents and brother were among the 250,000 people estimated to have perished there during the Second World War, said: "I go there in my dreams. They are so real. In them I am still there. I can't get it out of my head. This is the price I paid for getting out."
He told the court in Munich, southern Germany that he was unable to place Demjanjuk, 89, at the camp in occupied Poland, but that "only Ukrainians like Mr Demjanjuk guarded us".
There are no living witnesses able to positively identify Demjanjuk, but the prosecution says it has an SS identity card proving he was at the Trawniki training camp for guards and that he was transferred to Sobibor.
Prosecution lawyers are using testimony from survivors to prove that if Demjanjuk was a guard at the camp, then he would have played an active role in the mass killing that took place.
Troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing weapons with coded inscriptions including 2COR4:6 and JN8:12, which relate to verses in the books of Second Corinthians and John respectively.
The secret markings do not sit comfortably US government rules forbidding its forces from spreading any religious faith during deployments to the two Islamic-majority countries.
The branded equipment was produced by the Michigan-based manufacturer Trijicon, which has a contract to supply more than 800,000 sights to the US marines and other branches of the military.
The firm confirmed to ABC News that the small inscriptions – which are about the same size as the product code on the sights – relate to New Testament passages.
The company was founded by devout Christian Glyn Bindon, and its website carries pledges to live up to the "Biblical standards" that it says made America great.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-18-10)
The study asked 100 pupils, aged between eight and 10, some basic questions about children's literature, as well as asking 2,000 parents what stories they had read their children....
It found that 17 per cent of children thought Fagin was a member of the Manchester United squad, with 69 per cent answering correctly.
The survey was conducted by the supermarket chain Asda, which this week has started selling a collection of 20 children's classics, from Jane Eyre and Black Beauty to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Gruffalo at £3.
Name of source: Bloomberg News
SOURCE: Bloomberg News (1-21-10)
Journalist and Van Gogh scholar Martin Bailey has published an intriguing new clue.
The traditional explanation is that Van Gogh's fraught relationship with Gauguin, who had been sharing his small house in Arles, France, for the previous two months, was the trigger; in particular, Gauguin announced he was leaving.
But Bailey, writing in the Art Newspaper, has found evidence pointing in a different direction. It's contained in the Van Gogh painting "Still Life With a Plate of Onions."
Shortly before Christmas, Vincent's brother, Theo, asked a Dutch woman, Jo Bonger, to marry him. In surviving letters, Theo first mentions talking about his engagement with his brother after the ear incident, when Vincent was recovering in the hospital. It now seems that Vincent might have been informed by mail a few days earlier and that Theo's happy news helped, at least, to push him over the edge....
Name of source: History Today (UK)
SOURCE: History Today (UK) (1-20-10)
Eadgyth of Wessex was born in 910. She was the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of Wessex from 900 to 924, and his second wife Aelfflaed and was the granddaughter of Alfred the Great. She was given in marriage to Otto I by her step-brother Athelstan, who was king of Wessex from 929 to 939. Following his victory at the Battle of Brunanburgh in 937, Athelstan later became one of the first kings of a unified England comprising various Saxon and Celtic kingdoms. Otto I, also known as Otto the Great, succeeded his father Henry I as King of Germany in 936. He founded the Ottonian dynasty in Germany and, in 962, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor....
Eadgyth is believed to be the oldest member of the English royal family whose remains have survived. The tomb of her brother Athelstan still exists in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, but is believed to be empty. Her sister Adiva was married to an unknown European ruler; the location of her tomb remains a mystery. However, with the recent discovery of Eadgyth's remains, 500 years after they were transferred to Magdeburg Cathedral, who knows what lies beneath Athelstan's tomb in Malmesbury Abbey?
Name of source: Artdaily.org
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (1-21-10)
These are the leading highlights from the forthcoming series of auctions of Impressionist and Modern Art and Post-War and Contemporary Art which will take place at Christie’s in London from 2 February, and which is expected to realise in the region of £120 million.
Jussi Pylkkanen, President of Christie’s Europe and Middle East: “Christie’s modern exhibition space in London allows us to present to the public works of art that have often been hidden in private collections for decades, and which may be sold to private collectors and be unseen for years to come. From 20 January we look forward to hosting a special exhibition that will show exceptional works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries, including important works by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Goncharova that haven’t been seen in public for over 40 years, alongside one of the most important works by Yves Klein ever offered at auction, and masterpieces by Peter Doig, Natalia Gonchorova, Frank Auerbach and Kees van Dongen.”
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (1-19-10)
In the bas-relief sculpture the Mayan ruler rises above an individual who lies at his feet, "a scene representing the seizing of power by one Maya group from another," INAH said, adding that the archaeological area of Lagartero will be open to the public this year.
INAH experts found the stone monument in late 2009 at the 10th section of Pyramid 4 in Lagartero, the source said.
Archaeologist Sonia Rivero Torres, who heads the Lagartero archaeological project, said that the stele or commemorative monument - the first to be found complete on the site - measures 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) long, 55 centimeters (22 inches) wide and 6 centimeters (2 1/3 inches) thick.
The stele was sculpted in metamorphic rock, known locally as "heart of stone."
"In the pre-Colombian monument the profile image of a Mayan ruler is seen standing over a bench carrying a bag of incense in one hand and dressed in a loincloth bound with a sash and wearing sandals and a feather headdress.
"At his feet, lying on his back on the bench, lies another, smaller person with his torso opened as a sign of sacrifice or of being overthrown," the archaeologist said.
The expert added that the stele was discovered while exploring a rectangular stone casket, which had possibly been plundered in pre-Columbian times since no bones were found inside.
The archaeologists also found, when they went down to a lower level of the pyramid, a pair of large earthenware pots, broken but complete, one of which contained an smaller, unbroken pot.
Together with these ceramics was a polychrome plate and a black vase with a zoopmorphic lid that contained a rich offering of jade objects, notable among which were two earflaps, a jointed turtle and a beaded necklace.
Another box was found in the fifth section of Pyramid 4, from which 40 vessels of different shapes, zoomorphic vases and a few human bones were recovered, INAH said.
Lagartero's pre-Columbian ceremonial center extends the length and breadth of the 8 hectares (2 1/2 acres) that make up the islet of El Limonar, the biggest of the 11 dotting the lakes of Lagos de Colon, in the community of Cristobal Colon in the municipality of La Trinitaria, Chiapas.
Lagartero is known to have been occupied from the Classical Period to the Early Post-Classical Period, which is to say from 300 A.D. to 1200 A.D.
Given its strategic wetlands location, the habitat of fresh-water species like the alligator, the Maya settlement controlled the area's natural resources and could also restrict access by water.
Lagartero was a key point for trading goods and products between the highlands of Guatemala and Mexico's central plateau.
Archaeologists working at the site have uncovered an enclosed ball-playing court together with its five altars, along with a series of architectural structures, INAH said.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (1-21-10)
The final selling price was considerably higher than expected. The ticket sold for £9,280.
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (1-21-10)
They include Bettina Goering, great niece of Adolf Hitler's second in command Hermann Goering, who says she has had herself sterilised so she would 'not pass on the blood of a monster'.
Adolf Eichmann's son Ricardo says he simply cannot find a way to explain why his father became the chief architect of the Holocaust.
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (1-21-10)
In a damning assessment of the way the evidence was spun into a case for war, former Cabinet Office Intelligence and Security Co-ordinator Sir David Omand denounced Mr Blair's Downing Street dossier as a 'big mistake'.
He said the claim that Iraq could fire weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes was 'asking for trouble'.
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (1-19-10)
Ancient farmers left their genetic mark on modern males by breeding more successfully than indigenous hunter-gatherer men as they made their way west, a study has found.
As a result, more than 60% of British men, and nearly all of those in Ireland, can trace their Y chromosome back to the agricultural revolution, or more precisely the sexual success of the men behind it.
The farmers' Y chromosome becomes more common in the west of England and reaches a national peak of 78% in Cornwall, scientists found.
Name of source: UKPA
SOURCE: UKPA (1-18-10)
Police said some of the artefacts were suspected of being stolen by "nighthawking" from an undisclosed site in the Chichester area and elsewhere recently.
The items found so far include medieval and Roman coins, ivory and silver, and one gold Iron Age coin, brooches, buttons and horse equipment of similar ages.
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (1-19-10)
Shipworms, which can obliterate a wreck in ten years, have already attacked about a hundred sunken vessels dating back to the 13th century in Baltic waters off Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, reported study co-author Christin Appelqvist.
Why shipworms are suddenly able to spread there remains a mystery, but studies suggest rising sea temperatures have something to do with it. In warmer water the animals, Appelqvist said, appear to be somehow "less stressed" by low salinity.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (1-20-10)
A report by the National Institute of Anthropology and History says Indians at the Conchalito site apparently did that to release the dead from what they considered a state of suffering.
The report says many of the 157 graves studied since 1991 show evidence of the practice. The graves date from about A.D. 300 to the 1500s.
SOURCE: AP (1-18-10)
Benjamin Jealous wouldn't go into details, but said by the summer the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would bring more publicity to its economic boycott of South Carolina. The campaign calls for blacks to not vacation in the state and spend as little money as they can within its borders.
Jealous was in South Carolina to speak at a rally by the state's NAACP chapter honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
SOURCE: AP (1-19-10)
A mysterious visitor who left roses and cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe each year on the writer's birthday failed to show early Tuesday, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.
"I'm confused, befuddled," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "I don't know what's going on."
The tradition dates back to at least 1949, according to newspaper accounts from the era, Jerome said. Since then, an unidentified person has come every Jan. 19 to leave three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave in a church cemetery in downtown Baltimore....
SOURCE: AP (1-19-10)
The tradition dates back to at least 1949, according to newspaper accounts from the era, Jerome said. Since then, an unidentified person has come every Jan. 19 to leave three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave in a church cemetery in downtown Baltimore.
The event has become a pilgrimage for die-hard Poe fans, some of whom travel hundreds of miles. About three dozen stood huddled in blankets during the overnight cold Tuesday, peering through the churchyard's iron gates hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure known only as the "Poe toaster."
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (12-31-69)
During the 100-day genocide, Hutu militias systematically killed about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
But opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, who has returned to Rwanda for the first time since the genocide, says Hutus were also killed by Tutsis.
SOURCE: BBC (1-19-10)
The skeleton was found in a shallow grave as work was carried out on the museum's drains.
The remains have been removed by archaeologists. They will be examined by experts to try to work out how long the skeleton had been there for.
The museum was built on the site of the medieval St Mary's Abbey. A 4m (13ft) deep well was also discovered.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (1-20-10)
Starting in early 2011, visitors to NYTimes.com will get a certain number of articles free every month before being asked to pay a flat fee for unlimited access. Subscribers to the newspaper’s print edition will receive full access to the site without extra charge.
SOURCE: NYT (1-17-10)
At least one prominent Italian rabbi boycotted Benedict’s visit after a move by the pope last month to advance Pope Pius XII, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958, one step closer to sainthood. Many Jews, especially in Rome, say Pius did not do all he could have to stop the deportation of Jews. His defenders say his silence was diplomacy aimed at saving more lives....
In provocative remarks minutes earlier, the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, criticized “the silence of Pius XII,” even as he became emotional while praising Catholic religious orders for saving thousands of Jews, including some of his relatives, by hiding them during World War II. The pope and the audience rose as Mr. Pacifici greeted a group of survivors in attendance.
The chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, who presided over the event, said that while “the silence of God” is inscrutable, “the silence of man is on a different level” and “neither does it escape justice.”...
Although most said Sunday’s event helped clear the air, controversies remained. In a news conference afterward, Silvan Shalom, a deputy prime minister of Israel, said that in the private meeting he had asked the pope to facilitate opening the archives from Pius XII’s papacy. Rabbi Di Segni said he had asked Benedict to urge dioceses in Europe to make available records about Jewish children who had been baptized by the religious orders that saved them during World War II, and who often did not know their true family histories.
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (1-14-10)
That will be the central question before an Italian judge after Friday's closing arguments in a long-running legal battle in Pesaro, Italy.
At stake is a much-coveted work believed by some to have been created by Alexander the Great's personal sculptor and plundered by Roman soldiers around the time of Christ before being lost at sea. A regional public prosecutor alleges that the Italian fishermen who discovered the Greek statue in 1964 failed to declare it to Italian customs officials and sold it to middlemen, who smuggled it out of the country....
The case is probably the final chapter in the Getty's long dispute with Italy over looted antiquities, which largely ended in 2007 when the museum agreed to return 40 of its most prized antiquities after concluding they had been looted and illegally exported.
The criminal allegations in the case were filed amid those heated negotiations, and are largely moot: The fishermen are all dead, and the alleged smugglers have never been identified.
The judge is nevertheless weighing whether to order the seizure of the statue, which was bought by the Getty in 1977 and today is an icon of the museum's collection, displayed in its own climate-controlled room at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades....
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-20-10)
Rather, the artifacts consist of a mummified cat leg bone and human rib, both dating to the 6th-3rd century B.C., according to a new study.
The "relics," which have fooled onlookers for decades, did resemble burnt bones, in keeping with historical accounts of the death of Joan of Arc (ca. 1412-1431), who was convicted of heresy and executed by burning.
Medical examiners, pathologists, geneticists, biochemists, a radiologist, zoologist and archaeologist all participated in the extensive study, which was accepted for publication in the journal Forensic Science International.
The bottle containing the bones first surfaced at a pharmacy in 1867. Its label read: "Remains found under the pyre of Joan of Arc, maiden of Orleans."
Different techniques, including DNA analysis, several forms of microscopy, chemical analysis and carbon dating, were used to examine the bottle's contents.
A few years ago, Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at Raymond Poincare Hospital in Garches, France, and his team first determined that the bottle contained an approximately 4-inch-long human rib covered with a black coating. It also housed part of a cat femur covered with the same coating, three fragments of "charcoal" and "a brownish textile scrap" about the same length as the rib.
Charlier said some historians then speculated that a cat, perhaps symbolizing the devil, was thrown onto Joan of Arc's funeral pyre.
Carbon dating, however, found that the objects predate the French heroine's lifetime by many centuries.
The "textile scrap" is likely a mummy wrapping, since "the chemical composition of the coatings was comparable with that of embalming products, such as those used by the old Egyptians," the researchers concluded.
The dark coating contained a mix of bitumen, wood resins, gypsum and other chemicals. Pine pollen was also identified, probably from pine resin, commonly used during Egyptian embalming.
The researchers believe the remains were first stored as "mummia," which were parts of Egyptian mummies used in medieval pharmaceuticals. Medieval medicine, for example, may call for a compress made of a mummy bit and the juice of an herb (Bursa pastoris) to stop nosebleeds.
"The question remains of why there was an interest in manufacturing a historical forgery during the 19th century, especially one concerning Joan of Arc," the researchers wrote, wondering if the forgery surfaced for political reasons in order to tap into her legacy.
"Or is it only an act of hoax," the researchers asked, "a joke of a medical student who would have been taken much too seriously?"
Archaeologist Anastasia Tsaliki of the University of Durham called it a "fascinating project," demonstrating how "palaeopathology" can be used to inform history.
The objects are now at Chinon's Museum of Art and History, located in central France.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (1-20-10)
They believe a near-complete female skeleton, aged 30 to 40, found wrapped in silk in a lead coffin in Magdeburg Cathedral is that of Queen Eadgyth.
The granddaughter of Alfred the Great, she married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 929. She died 17 years later, at 36.
The team aims to prove her identity by tracing isotopes in her bones.
Professor Mark Horton, of Bristol's department of archaeology and anthropology, said: "We know that Saxon royalty moved around quite a lot, and we hope to match the isotope results with known locations around Wessex and Mercia, where she could have spent her childhood.
"If we can prove this truly is Eadgyth, this will be one of the most exciting historical discoveries in recent years."
Their preliminary findings are to be announced later at a conference at the university.
“ In the Middle Ages bones were often moved around, and this makes definitive identification difficult ”
Professor Harald Meller
The discovery of the tomb was made during a wider research project into the cathedral in 2008 by a German team.
It was thought the tomb was a cenotaph, but when the lid was removed, the coffin was discovered, bearing Queen Eadgyth's name and accurately recording the date - 1510 - when her remains were transferred.
The queen was known to have been buried initially in the Monastery of Mauritius in Magdeburg, and if bones were to be found, they would have been moved later to the tomb.
Professor Harald Meller, who led the 2008 project, said: "We still are not completely certain that this is Eadgyth although all the scientific evidence points to this interpretation.
"In the Middle Ages bones were often moved around, and this makes definitive identification difficult."
Queen Eadgyth's brother, King Athelstan, is considered to have been the first king of England after he unified various Saxon and Celtic kingdoms after the battle of Brunanburh in 937, Bristol University said.
After marriage, Queen Eadgyth lived in Saxony and had two children with Otto.
Their direct descendents ruled Germany until 1254 and formed many of the royal families of Europe that followed.
Name of source: Medieval News
SOURCE: Medieval News (1-20-10)
The skull was stolen from the Museum for Hamburg History on January 9, but the museum didn't immediately announce the theft so as not to hamper the investigation. It wasn't clear how the exhibit was stolen, or why.
"We are all very upset about the theft," museum director Lisa Kosok said in the press release. "We very much hope that it will either be returned or found."
The museum said it was offering a reward of several thousand euros for information leading to the recovery of the skull, but didn't give an exact amount
The skull, impaled on a large rusty nail, was discovered in 1878 during construction for a warehouse district in an area where pirates had earlier been beheaded and their heads displayed on spikes as a warning against other pirates.
The museum displayed the skull since 1922, which is missing its jawbone. The museum also did a reconstruction of the face based on information from the skull.
Later forensic analysis determined that the skull may well belong to a man beheaded around 1400, although not necessarily Stoertebeker.
The museum tried to use DNA analysis of the skull to compare it with possible descendants, but they failed to find a definite match.
Klaus Störtebeker (c. 1360 – 20 October 1401), was a leader and the best known representative of a companionship of privateers known as the Victual Brothers. The Victual Brothers were originally hired during a war between Denmark and Sweden to fight the Danish and supply the besieged Swedish capital Stockholm with provisions. After the end of the war, the Victual Brothers continued to capture merchant vessels.
A large number of myths and legends surround the few facts known about Klaus Störtebeker's life. Störtebeker is only a nickname, meaning "empty the mug with one gulp" in Old German. The moniker refers to the pirate's supposed ability to empty a four-litre mug of beer in one gulp.
His ship was captured in 1401 and Störtebeker and his crew were taken to Hamburg, where they were executed outside the walls of the Hanseatic League city. When authorities took apart his ship they discovered that the masts contained cores of gold, silver and copper.
Name of source: St. Petersburg Times
SOURCE: St. Petersburg Times (1-20-10)
So how can it justify its signature event and primary fundraiser, the annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment?...
Without context, the museum association's event, with its flags, gunfire and uniforms, is romanticism pure and simple — glossing over history, stirring people up about it, not teaching it. And this starts with the portrayal of the raid itself.
The re-enactors wear uniforms and advance in orderly lines like the troops at Gettysburg. There were about 1,500 of them this year, and, after a few hundred Confederate re-enactors agreed to switch sides, they were evenly divided between North and South....
...In fairness only one person I interviewed went so far as to say the United States would have been better off if the South had won the war. This was Chuck Allen, who like [Doug] Davis is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group that recently erected that infamous slap in the face of racial harmony, the massive Confederate battle flag at the junction of Interstates 4 and 75....
First off, just discussing the possible upside of the South's victory ignores its rather dramatic downside: the continuation of slavery. Secondly, none of the historians I talked to had heard the life expectancy statistic Allen cited. And even if some owners did treat slaves well — the slaves were their property, after all — praising this ignores the system of terror that kept slavery in place.
"There's the threat of violence, the reality of violence and the huge threat of families being broken up,'' said Matt Gallman, a history professor at the University of Florida....
There's the timing — celebrating the Confederacy at about the same time each year as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is when we honor a man who died fighting the worst of the Confederacy's lingering injustices.
Name of source: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (1-16-10)
“We are currently talking to them about the issue and if the discussions produce the outcome that Britain doesn’t want to fulfill the previous agreement, undoubtedly, we will cut cultural ties with Britain due to our previous ultimatum,” Hamid Baqaii told the Persian service of IRNA.
Iran has been waiting to receive the Cyrus Cylinder on loan from the British Museum since 2005 after the National Museum of Iran loaned the British Museum a number of artifacts for the “Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia” show in London.
SOURCE: Tehran Times (1-20-10)
“Some actions are carried out to deny history and the United Nations’ ratifications about the Persian Gulf,” he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
He also criticized the attempts to steal the credit for Iranian historical and literary figures’ achievements by deliberately misidentifying these figures’ nationality....
Name of source: St. Augustine Record
SOURCE: St. Augustine Record (1-19-10)
Mendana's 1568 voyage found nothing, so he returned to Peru.
But a relentless lust for gold pushed the Spanish to dispatch more colonizing fleets. And one founded a colony somewhere in the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia.
No one knows its exact location or why the colony disappeared, but Martin Gibbs of the University of Sydney's Department of Archaeology has done extensive research and thinks he has a few clues. He came to St. Augustine last week to look for some clues in possible similar objects....
Gibbs said, "The (Melanesians) were initially welcoming, but constant and increasingly aggressive Spanish demands for food, women and (religious) converts wore this out, while the Spanish tired of thefts in the camp."...
Even more brutally, Mendana began to execute dissenters, fearing revolt.
Then 47 colonists died of malaria and typhus in two months, Mendana included, with many others falling ill.
The weakened colonists finally left, but the remaining accounts by survivors don't tell its exact location.
Initial archeological work in the Solomons was started in the 1970s by professors Roger Green and Jim Allen, who suggested possible colony sites, but none were excavated.
Gibbs came to St. Augustine last week to compare pottery fragments found at one possible site with pottery made in St. Augustine during the 1500s.
Name of source: Times Online (UK)
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (1-18-10)
“The early inhabitants of Crete reached the island using sea craft capable of open-sea navigation and multiple journeys — a finding that pushes the history of seafaring in the Mediterranean back by more than 100,000 years and has implications for the dispersal of early humans,” Professor Curtis Runnels said. The oldest uncontested marine crossing until recently was from Indonesia to Australia, dating to perhaps 60,000 years ago and made by anatomically modern humans of our own species, Homo sapiens, although we now know that earlier settlement on the island of Flores in Indonesia also necessitated a sea-crossing.
Name of source: Science News
SOURCE: Science News (1-30-10)
“We may have the first documented mountaintop shrine from the ancient Greek world,” says project director David Romano of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-19-10)
The focus, though, was not on threats gone by but on one that may loom in the future — the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.
After the joint session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Iran will face new sanctions if it doesn't change course on its nuclear program.
Netanyahu used the occasion to highlight the gravity of the Iranian threat.
"We know from recent history that a regime that tyrannizes its own people will tyrannize the world," he said.
Name of source: Times (UK)
It would be hard to imagine two more contrasting characters. The American general: likeable, diplomatic, balanced and gregarious. The British general: egotistical, prickly, brilliant and caustic.
Yet despite their very different personalities, and frequent disagreements, they managed to work together, and won a war together.
His hand shaking, Thomas Blatt, 82, traced a pen along a map of the camp projected on to the wall of the court. In a corner, almost forgotten, was the figure of Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk, 89, accused of being a Sobibor guard and complicit in 27,900 murders.
A baseball cap hid Mr Demjanjuk’s eyes; his mouth lolled open as he lay on his mobile sick bed, but he said nothing. His defence is that he never served in Sobibor but even if he had, he could not be proven to have been part of the Nazi killing machine.
All of which makes this newly rediscovered Self-Portrait with a Black Eye something of an emblematic work: a breathtaking painting, made straight after a fight with a London taxi driver and then kept secret from the world for 30 years.
With an estimated value of £3million to £4million it is the most intriguing of a group of five works by the artist from a private European collection offered for sale at Sotheby’s evening sale of contemporary art on February 10.
Within hours of touching down, he was asked by Aboriginal elders to take up the cause of two separate symbols of their people’s struggle for recognition and equal rights that have gone missing. One was a petition that went astray more than 70 years ago: the other was the head of an indigenous warrior who was decapitated by British soldiers more than 200 years ago.
The head belonged to the warrior Pemulwuy, who was shot dead in 1802, 14 years after the arrival of the First Fleet. His head was sent to England in a jar and was thought to have been kept at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, before being moved to the Natural History Museum. The museum has no record of it. For indigenous Australians the return of forebears arouses strong feelings, as it would allow them a proper burial. Some believe that Pemulwuy’s skull was bottled, returned to Australia in 1950 and lost.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (1-19-10)
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Brown held a 53 percent to 46 percent lead over Coakley. Coakley called Brown to concede the race moments ago, according to a Democratic aide.
Brown's victory is the first for Republicans at the Senate level for Republican in Massachusetts since 1972 and he becomes the lone GOPer in the 12-person federal delegation from the Bay State.
While it is a historic win within Massachusetts, the implications of Brown's victory for the national political scene are even more critical....
Name of source: Times of India
SOURCE: Times of India (1-18-10)
Historians who remained deeply divided over the subject were seen involved in a heated argument. Things cooled down only when the president of the final session on the final day of the conference and former vice-chancellor of Calicut University K K N Kurup intervened and asked the arguing historians to agree to each other to disagree, and not to make any caustic remarks against each other....
Presenting his paper, S K Joshi from Dharwad said Indian history could be divided into Hindu India , Muslim India and British India. He said the Hindu period saw the rise and fall of four great empires Mouryas, Rastrakutas, Palas in the east and Prathiharas in the West and Northwest. Muslim India started from 1000 AD and continued till British came on the scene in the 18th century, he added....
SOURCE: Times of India (1-19-10)
Now comes another attempt from the ASI. The agency has ambitious plans up its sleeves — to cover with glass casing the famous intricate lapidary inlay work of the inner chamber, housing false sarcophagi of the emperor Shah Jehan and his consort Mumtaz Mahal, to ensure its beauty and longevity.
Superintending archeologist ASI AR Siddiqui told TOI on Monday the ‘‘operation initially will be limited to a small scale and would be expanded if successful’’. The plan has already been approved by director general ASI K N Shrivastava during a visit in October, he said.
Significantly, sullying of the marble surface by constant human touch and even attempts to deface the exquisite inlay work of precious and semi-precious stones — jade, jasper, turquoise, lapis lazuli, sapphires — have been a source of concern. Though with CSIF men on guard there has been a perceptible drop in numbers, imposing a constant ‘hands off’ on thousand of tourists daily is a near impossibility, officials frankly admit.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (1-19-10)
Despite the enthusiastic involvement of black conservatives in the tea party rallies and trips, Obama still enjoys seemingly unshakable support from the majority of black Americans. A recent poll from Gallup put Obama's approval rating among blacks at 91 percent. Among whites, that number was 42 percent.
Tea party groups also might not be doing themselves any favors when some of their supporters are photographed holding somewhat shocking signs at rallies -- such as one last year that said, "The White House has a lyin' African."
Name of source: Talking Points Memo
SOURCE: Talking Points Memo (1-18-10)
Outspoken conservative board member Don McLeroy, who reportedly spent over three hours personally proposing changes to the textbook standards, even wanted to cut "hip-hop" in favor of "country" in a section about the impact of cultural movements. That amendment failed....
McLeroy proposed a clause in the civil rights section that read (emphasis ours): "Evaluate changes and events in the United States that have resulted from the civil rights movement, including increased participation of minorities in the political process and unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes." McLeroy plans to ask for a vote on this measure at a later meeting....
Republican board member Cynthia Dunbar unsuccessfully tried to strike the names of Scopes monkey trial attorney Clarence Darrow and Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey from the standards. Asked by another member about her opposition to Garvey, Dunbar explained, according to the Texas Tribune: "My concern is that he was born in Jamaica and was deported."
Name of source: Der Spiegel (Germany)
SOURCE: Der Spiegel (Germany) (1-18-10)
Germany may stage a further spectacular Holocaust trial in addition to the one currently taking place in Munich against alleged SS helper John Demjanjuk.
The Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes based in Ludwigsburg has completed its preliminary investigation into Samuel K. and produced an 80-page report. It will transfer the case to the public prosecutor's office in the city of Dortmund which may soon file charges against the 88-year-old ethnic German, who is accused of having been involved in the murder of at least 430,000 Jews in the Belzec death camp in occupied Poland between end-November 1941 and spring 1943. He is alleged to have been a guard at the camp.
K., a retired civil servant who now lives near the former West German capital Bonn, is accused of having shot dead Jewish prisoners himself on two occasions, according to the testimony of a former fellow guard who has since died. A survivor of Belzec described him as "one of the biggest murderers," according to the Ludwigsburg report.
K., a former member of staff in the West German Ministry for Regional and City Planning, was born in 1921 in the Soviet Union, and entered German service in the summer of 1941 when he was a Soviet prisoner of war. He received German citizenship three years later.
K. has appeared as a witness in several other cases but has until now never become the focus of an investigation himself. His name resurfaced during preparations for the Demjanjuk trial and he was questioned last year by officers from the Bavarian police.
An investigator from the Ludwigsburg office then collected incriminating information on him, including documents collated by the US Department of Justice in Eastern European archives.
Name of source: The Capital (Annapolis, MD)
SOURCE: The Capital (Annapolis, MD) (1-18-10)
The scientists have merely moved indoors to their lab at the University of Maryland, where they continue to make sense of the pieces of bone, shards of china, bits of spice bottles and slivers of metal that have been unearthed in Annapolis.
Right now, the scholars in the Anthropology Department are looking at artifacts found on Cornhill and Fleet streets downtown. With few exceptions, working-class whites lived on Cornhill Street 100 years ago, while African Americans lived on adjoining Fleet Street.
One member of the Archaeology in Annapolis program, doctoral student Jocelyn Knauf, pointed to a little bottle that spoke volumes about life in a bygone era. The bottle, excavated in June 2008 at 40 Fleet St., was for Prof. Low's Worm Syrup, a concoction used to rid the intestines of parasites.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, Southerners, both whites and blacks, were so anemic because of hookworms, Northerners called the parasite "the germ of laziness."
Knauf said the commonplace items the archaeological team found in an old privy are proving to be priceless.
"It tells what a typical African-American family that was living at 40 Fleet St. was eating and using," Knauf said of the findings.
Among the items she was working with this week were a J.B. Coolahan mineral water bottle and a jar that once contained Chesebrough Vaseline. There also was an intact McCormick bottle that likely held vanilla extract or some other flavoring, and fragments of canning jars.
One small, square bottle that remains a mystery dates to the early 1900s, and contained some kind of highly aromatic turpentine extract. The corked brown bottle, found with the liquid still in it, emits a strong odor, but whatever label the bottle ever bore disappeared long ago.
The Annapolis artifacts in these particular trays go back to the early 1800s, and sometimes the tiniest little item can tell a big story.
In June, for example, students uncovered a lot of bone fragments at 30 Cornhill St., a collection that told of the foods working-class white people were eating from about 1820 onward.
"The thing that shows up suddenly is lots of types of birds," said doctoral student Amanda Tang, whose speciality is using bones to document history.
It turns out, Tang said, that John Brady, a baker, moved into 30 Cornhill St. in 1850, and local residents appear to have taken fowl to him to be baked or roasted, a service for which they paid some small fee.
In the early and mid-1800s, the whites at 30 Cornhill St. ate beef, mutton, venison and "lots of seafood," Tang said, but by the late 1800s they were eating more pork and rabbit, and deer was disappearing from their diet.
Anthropologist Matthew Palus, a Columbia University doctoral candidate who works with Archaeology in Annapolis, did his dissertation on Eastport. More specifically, Palus studied the installation of sewer lines.
Decades before Eastport became part of Annapolis in 1951, Annapolis was running sewer lines into the blue-collar neighborhood where whites and African Americans lived side by side.
"A lot of people talk about sewers as public health, but what I wanted to see was the growth of government," Palus said.
"I started looking at how the infrastructure of the city started (growing) after the Civil War," Palus said. "The vehicle for government (growth) was these utilities."
As his investigation continued, Palus found that African Americans in Eastport were not hooking up to sewers as quickly as whites were. He said he doesn't know if the difference was a matter of household finances, or whether it was because of discrimination against African Americans, or if African Americans might have had "a different set of priorities."
Regardless of the reason, Palus said, the African-American community appears to have been less attached to the city's government and its utilities than whites were, and an independent African-American subculture appears to have developed.
The Archaeology in Annapolis program has made some startling discoveries in recent years, even though it would seem that anything of value would have been unearthed long ago.
In 2008, the project uncovered near Fleet Street what is believed to be the oldest African artifact ever found in the United States. It is a religious bundle about the size of a football, and contains lead shot, nails and pins, and a stone ax that points skyward from the top of the bundle.
That same year, the team unearthed a log road near the convergence of Cornhill and Fleet streets. The road dates back to the 1680s, before there was a formal city, and historians say it shows that a group of residents, or possibly the Colonial government, was willing to invest in infrastructure.
Archaeology in Annapolis started in 1981, when Historic Annapolis Foundation founder St. Claire Wright brought in University of Maryland anthropology professor Mark Leone to do some excavations around the circa 1715 Shiplap House on Pinkney Street.
Leone's students have been busy finding and studying artifacts ever since.
The archaeologists typically are invited to conduct digs in people's yards, or are brought in by the city to excavate when a major demolition or construction project is under way. They typically have some hint of a site's historic nature by checking property records and other documents.
"St. Claire Wright and I decided to focus (on) Annapolis," Leone said. "She wanted the city saved, and I wanted (to start) an archaeological project that was always opened to the public and that was (the basis for) scholarly work."
Today, the program attracts top students and scholars from as far away as Europe, and Leone said this week that it has trained about 50 graduate students, 17 of them at the Ph.D. level.
"We now have about 750,000 artifacts from our work," Leone said.
Leone said the archaeology program is not weakening in any way, and he is excited about this year's excavation. The dig will be at 99 East St., a piece of property that belonged to free African Americans before emancipation and remains in the family's hands.
The city's mayors have supported the program over the years, and property owners have invited the scholars to dig in their yards. The house at 30 Cornhill St., for example, belongs to Karen Engelke, who was an assistant to former mayor Ellen O. Moyer.
Leone said the program costs about $150,000 a year to operate, nearly all of which comes from various grants. The city puts up a relatively small amount, about $25,000 a year.
Phill McGowan, a spokesman for Mayor Josh Cohen, said funding may be difficult to find this year.
"It is an outstanding program; Mark Leone and his team have done some outstanding work," he said. "But it is going to be a challenge to maintain grant spending at the same level - it is not just this particular grant, it is all grants."