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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: AP
SOURCE: AP (1-6-09)
Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen has told The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press that the shirts the boys wore to Edsel Ford High School on Monday are "offensive" and in "poor taste."
The boys are Arab-American, as are about half the school's 1,700 students
Officials in Tennessee want a Hillsborough County judge to enforce a Tennessee order that 90-year-old Margaret V. Smith turn over Crockett's original marriage license application, which the Tampa woman says she inherited.
Lura Hinchey, archive director for Jefferson County, Tenn., said the county has repeatedly asked Smith for the license application of Crockett and Margaret Elder. Officials learned years ago that Smith had the document when she wrote the county clerk asking how to preserve it.
"I asked for it when she came to the courthouse" in about 1999, Hinchey said.
"She just said she had sent a copy and wondered why it wasn't in the museum," Hinchey said. "I told her the original belonged to our county because it was one of our permanent records. She said it belonged to her and she was going to keep it. ... She had already been asked by the county historian, and I believe the county clerk asked her for it."
Smith's son said his mother inherited the document from her father, who died in the 1950s.
"The state had never asked for it back until apparently my mother went on the TV program 'Antiques Roadshow,"' said Vance Smith, who is a lawyer. "They knew she had it because she had loaned them a copy of it. They found out it had some significant money value. ... She said it was hers and she wasn't giving it up."
Smith said he hadn't seen the legal action, which was filed last week in Hillsborough County.
When Margaret Smith took the document to 'Antiques Roadshow' in 2005, the appraiser valued the 1805 license application at $25,000 to $50,000, and commended her for how well it was preserved.
Crockett and Elder never married, although the legendary frontiersman from Tennessee later married someone else. Crockett died in 1836 while defending the Alamo against Mexican forces.
Smith told the appraiser her uncle rescued the document when someone was cleaning out the courthouse in Dandridge, Tenn.
"They were throwing away everything they thought was unimportant," Smith said, according to a transcript on the television show's Web site. "This document never happened — David Crockett didn't marry this woman. ... So they felt that it had no value whatsoever, and therefore it was going to be pitched out.
"And my uncle, my Dad's elder brother, saw it, and being a fan of Crockett, he grabbed it right quick," the transcript quotes Smith as saying. "And it's been in the family ever since."
But Jefferson County officials question that account.
"That dog just won't hunt," Tennessee Judge Allen Wallace said in issuing his November ruling.
"The circumstantial evidence is a member of Mrs. Smith's family took that document. It's Jefferson County's document," Wallace said. "The title is in Jefferson County, period. She's got to return it."
Iraq, home to relics of the world's most ancient urban civilizations, has had its priceless heritage plundered and sold to collectors abroad in the chaotic years since the U.S.-led invasion.
The 39 artifacts were discovered stashed in a hole near a shrine outside the southern city of Nasiriyah, said a police official. They included statues and shards with writing on them dating back to the ancient Sumerian civilization, which is more than 4,000 years old.
Click image to see caption
In a photo released by the Iraqi Police, showing some of the artifacts seized by the police which were discovered hidden near a shrine, in Nasiriyah, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. Iraqi police on Tuesday seized a small cache of ancient statues and other artifacts in the south of the country, officials said, as authorities investigate the possible smuggling of the statues and shards with writing on them dating back to the ancient Sumerian civilization, which is more than 4,000-years old.
He said a tip-off led police to believe the pieces were going to be smuggled to Iran.
Pictures of the pieces released by the Iraqi police showed images of animals, men and women carved into flat tablets, a necklace and a carving of a head and torso.
A government official who works with the archaeology department confirmed the seizure.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Iraqi law says all artifacts over 200 years have to be handed over to the Iraqi government for inspection. The country is dotted with ancient archaeological sites that have little or no protection.
The U.S. military was heavily criticized for not protecting the National Museum's treasure of relics and art following Baghdad's fall in 2003. Thieves ransacked the collection, stealing or destroying priceless artifacts that chronicled some 7,000 years of civilization in Mesopotamia, including the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians.
Iraqi and world culture officials have struggled to retrieve the treasures but met with little success. Up to 7,000 pieces were still believed missing when the museum reopened last year.
A U.S. military officer said the sale of stolen antiquities is believed to have helped finance Iraqi extremist groups.
Business Secretary Peter Mandelson says that Tuesday, June 5, has been picked to mark what is called the queen's Diamond Jubilee. Together with another holiday June 4, that will create a four-day weekend.
The queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee in 2002.
Christie's estimates the skull will sell for $10,000 to $20,000 when it is auctioned on Jan. 22. Fittingly, the auction house has agreed to keep the seller's name a secret. On Monday, it described the person only as a European art collector.
The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the famous society's meetings. The auction house said it also may have been displayed at the society's tomblike headquarters on Yale's campus in New Haven, Conn., during the late 1800s.
SOURCE: AP (1-3-10)
The war crimes prosecutor's office says Darko Jankovic was apprehended Sunday.
Spokesman Bruno Vekaric says Jankovic is "potentially linked to horrendous crimes," including the killing of Muslim civilians near the Bosnian town of Zvornik in 1992. He gave no other details.
SOURCE: AP (1-2-09)
Dolores Legge told the San Francisco Chronicle that her mother had been suffering from pneumonia and passed away at her home in El Dorado Hills on Monday.
Trapani had clear memories of the disaster, even though she was only four years old at the time, Legge said.
SOURCE: AP (1-3-10)
Her son, Helmuth von Moltke, told the Valley News that his German-born mother died Friday after suffering a viral infection earlier in the week.
Freya von Moltke and her husband were prominent members of the German resistance to the Nazis during World War II. Born into a banking family in 1911, Freya Deichmann met her future husband, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, at age 18 and married him in 1931.
SOURCE: AP (1-2-10)
The 28-year-old Somali man with ties to Al Qaeda broke into Kurt Westergaard's home in Aarhus on Friday night armed with an ax and a knife, said Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark's PET intelligence agency.
The 75-year-old artist, who has been targeted with several death threats since depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, pressed an alarm and fled with his 5-year-old granddaughter to a specially made safe room.
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (1-5-10)
But he did want to make it his own. So Obama asked California decorator Michael Smith to work with him to change the look of the Oval Office to better reflect his interests.
Now, the Associated Press has had a tour of the makeover. The changes are striking.
Obama opted to keep the Resolute desk that was a gift in 1880 from Queen Victoria, built from the timbers of the British ship Resolute and used by every president since Rutherford B. Hayes, except Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. And George Washington is still there, at least the likeness painted by Rembrandt Peale, as is the Frederic Remington sculpture "The Bronco Buster."
With history at his back, Obama has a framed program from the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. A bust of King replaced the one of Winston Churchill, returned to the British in what the White House insists, despite some offended sensibilities abroad, was a planned rotation.
Obama apparently has a passion for contemporary Native American art -- four pieces of pottery are now on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian. And it turns out he has a fascination with invention -- three mechanical devices are on the bookshelves, on loan from the National Museum of American History's patent collection: models for Samuel Morse's 1849 telegraph register, John Peer's 1874 gear-cutting machine and Henry Williams' 1877 feathering paddle wheel for steamboats.
In keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama's interest in healthy eating, a bowl of fresh apples sits on the coffee table, though the president apparently keeps a stash of M&Ms for visiting kids (of all ages?).
Gone are President Bush's Texas landscapes. In their place: more traditional Oval Office paintings including Frederick Childe Hassam's "The Avenue in the Rain," an Impressionist view of New York's flag-bedecked Fifth Avenue, and Norman Rockwell's colorful "Statue of Liberty."
Also gone: the decorative plates in Bush's Oval Office. Obama said plates just weren't his style.
SOURCE: LA Times (12-18-09)
After a four-year absence, Walt Disney Co. pulls the curtain back today on a new high-tech version of Lincoln for its "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show at the Opera House on Main Street in Disneyland...
While Although Disney imagineers spent the last year sweating such technological details as how to coax Lincoln's synthetic lips to purse as if he were saying "oooh," they nonetheless left the audio pastiche of Lincoln quotes that the figure speaks unchanged.
Instead, Disney dusted off and remastered the original 40-plus-year audio recordings made by character actor Royal Dano. And Dano's rendition, despite being identified in the public's mind as the voice of Lincoln, didn't sound much like that of the 16th president of the United States, prominent Lincoln historians say.
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (1-6-10)
The cause was stomach cancer, his daughter said on Wednesday. He was 93.
Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was on a business trip in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. He was getting off a streetcar when the “Little Boy” device detonated above Hiroshima.
Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than 2 miles away from ground zero. His eardrums were ruptured and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.
Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a Hiroshima bomb shelter and returned to his hometown of Nagasaki the following day, according to interviews he gave over the years. The second bomb, known as “Fat Man,” was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, killing 70,000 people there.
Mr. Yamaguchi was in his Nagasaki office, telling his boss about the Hiroshima blast, when “suddenly the same white light filled the room,” he said in an interview last March with The Independent newspaper.
“I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima,” he said.
“I could have died on either of those days,” Mr. Yamaguchi said in an August interview with the Mainichi Daily News. “Everything that follows is a bonus.”
Japan surrendered six days after the Nagasaki attack.
Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi Heavy. He was in good health for most of his life, said his daughter, Toshiko Yamasaki, which is why he avoided joining in anti-nuclear protests.
“He was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick,” Ms. Yamasaki told The Independent.
“Afterwards he was fine,” she said. “We hardly noticed he was a survivor.”
It is believed there were about 165 twice-bombed persons in Japan, known as “nijyuu hibakusha,” although municipal officials in both cities have said Mr. Yamaguchi was the only person to be officially acknowledged as such.
Ms. Yamasaki, who was born in 1948, said her mother also had been “soaked in black rain and was poisoned” by the fallout from the Nagasaki blast. Her mother died in 2008 from kidney and liver cancers. She was 88.
“We think she passed the poison on to us,” Ms. Yamaski said, noting that her brother died of cancer at age 59 and her sister has been chronically ill throughout her life.
In his later years, Mr. Yamaguchi began to speak out about the scourge of atomic weapons. He rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary film about the double-bombing victims. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the film at the United Nations that year.
At a lecture he gave in Nagasaki last June, Mr. Yamaguchi said he had written to President Obama about banning nuclear arms. And Ms. Yamasaki said he had recently been visited by the American film director James Cameron to discuss a film project on atomic bombs.
Among his benefits as an atomic bomb victim, Mr. Yamaguchi’s funeral costs will be paid by the government.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-4-10)
Vasily Kononov is surrounded by his family in an apartment outside Riga. His daughter by his side, this 87-year-old WWII veteran maintains a sense of humour despite the many tragedies he has experienced. The European Court of Human Rights is to rule on an event that happened in 1944, with potential repercussions for all veterans across Europe.
In June 1943, a 21-year-old Vasily Kononov was parachuted into German-occupied territory in Latvia. As a member of the 1st Latvian Partisan Brigade, Kononov proved to be one of its best demolition men. By 1944 he was in charge of an entire unit, personally destroying 14 echelons carrying troops and equipment.
Kononov twice suffered shell-shock and was wounded several times, undergoing three operations after the war. He was highly decorated for his service, and later joined the Latvian police force, retiring at the rank of colonel.
Kononov lived quietly until 1998 when, following the fall of the Soviet Union, he was indicted by Latvian prosecutors for an episode that had taken place in 1944 in Nazi-occupied Latvia. Twelve scouts from a partisan unit had stopped to rest in the village of Malye Baty. The owner of the shed where they slept informed local authorities, and the following morning it was surrounded by Germans and burned to the ground. Everyone inside perished.
At the time, Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe were dealt with harshly. A partisan tribunal sentenced the perpetrators to death, and, on May 27, 1944 Kononov's unit seized Malye Baty in a surprise attack.
According to Latvian authorities, the partisans killed nine villagers. Latvian prosecutors deemed this operation a war crime because two women were among those killed. Five of the villagers had been shot and four had been burned alive.
Since 1998 Vasily Kononov has been tried six times and has spent nearly two years behind bars. The accusations range from genocide to thuggery. Kononov was eventually released and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that the criminal prosecution of the former partisan was unauthorised.
The Latvian government, however, appealed. The case is now being reviewed by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.
At least two aspects of international law weigh in favour of the veteran. First, only members of a regular army – not a partisan group – can be tried for war crimes. Second, war criminals can only be found among an occupying army, not a liberating one. According to the commonly held interpretation of WWII, Soviet units liberated Latvia from Nazi occupiers and their collaborators.
The Latvian government has maintained that the Soviets were occupiers on the same level as the Third Reich, a point of view that contradicts the results of the international military tribunal at Nuremberg, which decided who was a "war criminal" and "occupier" following the war.
The Moscow Mayor's office has thrown its weight – both financially and politically – behind Kononov. "We were not indifferent to Mr Kononov's fate from the beginning," Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told a Russian Nation Congress earlier this month. "This case carries a provocational and political character and is part of a dirty campaign to discredit a war veteran."
Kononov's conviction as a war criminal could provide and excellent opportunity to legitimise the USSR's status as an occupying force and allow Latvia to demand monetary compensation.
However, should this happen, the fate of some 300,000 Jews from all over Europe who were murdered on its territory will also arise. The murders were carried out mostly by Latvian subunits – for example, by the SS-Sonderkommando led by Victor Arajs. These victims are also sure to demand monetary compensation from Latvian authorities.
Should Europe's highest court set a precedent in favour of the Latvian government, almost any surviving resistance fighter in Europe unlucky enough to have killed a Hitlerite or his accomplice could be put on trial. It will also have repercussions for Latvia's Russian minority, which has accused the authorities of mistreatment in several previous cases that have reached the court.
Finally, such a ruling could contribute to the already deep divide in Europe over the Soviet Union's role in WWII, emphasised by the European Parliament recently equating Soviet Stalinism with German Nazism.
Fate would bring Vasily Kononov to fight his last battle not in 1945 on the Eastern Front of WWII, but more than 60 years later in Strasbourg. Just like in the past, all of Europe anticipates its conclusion.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-5-10)
In the White House's most famous room, metal gadgets and American Indian pottery have replaced the decorative china plates favoured by former President George W Bush.
A bust of Martin Luther King Jr and a framed programme from the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his "I have a dream" speech, adorn the walls.
On Mr Obama's desk is a wooden penholder presented to him by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, during a visit in March.
The penholder is made of wood from HMS Gannet, sister ship to British naval vessel the Resolute, from which the famous Presidential desk is made.
Changes to the Oval Office are always intensely scrutinised, with analysts reading symbolic meaning in even the slightest alterations.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-3-10)
To carry out the deception, a plan was concocted in which a body was dumped in the sea, to be discovered by Axis forces, carrying fake 'secret documents' suggesting the invasion would be staged in Greece, 500 miles away.
Incredibly, the trick worked and the diversion of German troops to Greece has been credited by historians with playing a major part in the success of the Sicily invasion. The episode was later immortalised in the 1956 film The Man Who Never Was.
Yet to this day, just whose body was used in "Operation Mincemeat" has remained a source of secrecy, confusion and conspiracy theory.
In a forthcoming book, a historian claims to have finally established beyond any reasonable doubt the identity of the person who 'played' the part of the dead man: a homeless Welshman called Glyndwr Michael.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-1-10)
The Twin Towers attack of 9/11 – and the backlash that followed – caused the Arab world and its money to turn away from the US. That much is well known.
Six days later, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concluded talks on China's accession, opening the floodgates of Chinese exports. The country's breakneck growth over the next seven years lifted the price of oil from $18 (£11) to a peak of $148 a barrel. In synergy, Beijing and the Gulf capitals amassed a vast share of global currency reserves. That too is well known.
It is the link between the two that is not immediately visible to the distracted Western eye. You have to know both regions intimately, and speak both Arabic and Mandarin. One of the few to combine these skills is Ben Simpfendorfer, China economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland and author of The New Silk Road.
Simpfendorfer says the New Silk Road is much like the old one, then a network of trade caravans moving dates, spices, medicines and cloth east in return for oranges, roses, jade, musk, satins and silks, along countless routes stretching across Central Asia. In the West we think of Marco Polo: the Arabs have their own Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan Berber who roamed much of the known world in the 14th century and reached imperial Fujian in a junk.
The trade dried up in the 1600s with the collapse of the Timurid Empire in Central Asia. China's Ming dynasty turned inwards, afraid of revolts. Portuguese, Dutch, and English sea captains captured the coastal trade.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-2-10)
UK Families Flight 103, the relatives' campaign group, will use human rights laws in a bid to uncover the truth about the terrorist attack, which claimed 270 lives in December 1988.
The group has hired Gareth Peirce, the prominent human rights solicitor better known for her work representing terror suspects, to devise a legal strategy to secure the inquiry for which families have long campaigned.
It is the first time the families have formally hired lawyers to pursue an inquiry.
The development comes after Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, rejected the group's latest demands for an independent review of the bombing. He informed them of his decision in a letter, dated Christmas Eve, which was received by the relatives last week.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-1-10)
Although scholars have had access to the secret archives since 1881, they remain closed to the general public
The Holy See’s archives contain scrolls, parchments and leather-bound volumes with correspondence dating back more than 1,000 years.
High-quality reproductions of 105 documents, 19 of which have never been seen before in public, have now been published in a book. The Vatican Secret Archives features a papal letter to Hitler, an entreaty to Rome written on birch bark by a tribe of North American Indians, and a plea from Mary Queen of Scots.
The book documents the Roman Catholic Church’s often hostile dealings with the world of science and the arts, including documents from the heresy trial against Galileo and correspondence exchanged with Erasmus, Voltaire and Mozart. It also reveals the Church’s relations with princes and potentates in countries far beyond its dominion.
In a letter dated 1246 from Grand Khan Guyuk to Pope Innocent IV, Genghis Khan’s grandson demands that the pontiff travel to central Asia in person – with all of his “kings” in tow – to “pay service and homage to us” as an act of “submission”, threatening that otherwise “you shall be our enemy”.
Another formal letter in the archive highlights the papacy’s political role. In 1863 Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, wrote to Pope Pius IX claiming that the civil war raging across America was entirely due to “Northern aggression”.
“We desire no evil to our enemies, nor do we covet any of their possessions; but are only struggling to the end that they shall cease to devastate our land and inflict useless and cruel slaughter upon our people.”
Other letters in the archive are more personal. In a 1550 note, Michelangelo demands payment from the papacy which was three months late, and complains that a papal conclave had interrupted his work on the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.
A yellowed parchment covered in neat black script reveals details of the 14th century trials of the Knights Templar on suspicion of heresy, after which members of the warrior-monk order were pardoned by Pope Clement V.
Some of the documents are already well-known, including a parchment letter written by English peers to Pope Clement VII in 1530, calling for Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon to be annulled.
An entreaty written to Rome by another British monarch, but in very different circumstances, is also reproduced in exquisite detail. In 1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, wrote from Fotheringay in Northants to Pope Sixtus V, a few months before she was beheaded for plotting against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, pledging her eternal allegiance to Rome.
The document includes letters written to Hitler by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and one received by his controversial successor, Pius XII, from Japan’s Emperor Hirohito.
“An aura of mystery has always surrounded this important cultural institution of the Holy See due to the allusions to inaccessible secrets thanks to its very name, as well as to the publicity it has always enjoyed in literature and in the media,” Cardinal Raffaele Farina, a Vatican archivist, writes in the preface to the book, which was produced by a Belgian publisher, VdH Books.
One of the most unusual documents is a letter written on birch bark in 1887 by the Ojibwe Indians of Ontario, Canada, to Pope Leo XIII. The letter, written in May but datelined “where there is much grass, in the month of the flowers”, addresses the pontiff as “the Great Master of Prayer” and offers thanks to the Vatican for having sent a “custodian of prayer” (a bishop) to preach to them.
Although scholars have had access to the secret archives since 1881, they remain closed to the general public.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (1-1-10)
Studying the DNA of long-dead humans can open up a window into the evolution of our species (Homo sapiens).
But previous studies of this kind have been hampered by scientists' inability to distinguish between the ancient human DNA and modern contamination.
In Current Biology journal, a German-Russian team details how it was possible to overcome this hurdle.
Svante Paabo, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues used the latest DNA sequencing techniques to study genetic information from human remains unearthed in 1954 at Kostenki, Russia.
Excavations at Kostenki, on the banks of the river Don in southern Russia, have yielded large concentrations of archaeological finds from the Palaeolithic (roughly 40,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago). Some of the finds date back as far as 45,000 years.
Witnesses said the effigy had President Obama's name on it.
Plains Mayor LE Godwin III said the fire department had been called to take it down.
SOURCE: BBC (1-3-10)
Until then the most prominent political movement for women had been the Suffragettes.
Julie Gottlieb described the Blackshirt uniform as "a great marketing tool, and an incredible draw particularly for the youth. Some historians call this period the battle of the shirts".
The only person charged in the US over the attacks, Moussaoui had originally pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
In 2005 he was sentenced to life in prison for his role in planning the attacks that killed nearly 3,000.
The appeals court in Virginia rejected his claim his conviction was invalid as the government had failed to provide evidence he could have used in defence.
The tomb dates back 2,500 years to the 26th Dynasty and contains important artefacts, including mummified eagles.
It is one of two newly discovered tombs found by an Egyptian team working close to the entrance of Sakkara, the burial ground for Egypt's ancient capital.
SOURCE: BBC (1-2-10)
Sir John said he had reluctantly backed the war because he believed what Mr Blair had said as prime minister.
But now, he said, big questions had been raised by the evidence given to the Chilcott Inquiry into the war.
Sir John said it now seemed there were doubts before the invasion about whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
SOURCE: BBC (1-2-10)
On 1 January 1915, the crew of the Brixham trawler Provident saved 71 sailors from HMS Formidable after she was torpedoed by a German U-boat.
Despite Provident's efforts, more than 500 of HMS Formidable's sailors lost their lives.
The English Heritage blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to serve as a historical marker and commemorate a link between the location and a famous person or event
SOURCE: BBC (12-31-09)
Marjory McQueen, 63, was a Conservative councillor for Lockerbie on Dumfries and Galloway Council for 12 years.
Mrs McQueen became a public face for the town during the trial of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of carrying out the atrocity.
She also co-ordinated the media during the 10th anniversary of the bombing.
Name of source: Global Times
SOURCE: Global Times (1-5-10)
The remains, excavated since 2008 in Anyang, Central China's Henan Province, are a source of intrigue.
A large tomb complex with 1800 years of history was dug up in 2008, and officials from the cultural relics administration of Henan Province said Sunday that the tomb most likely belonged to Cao Cao because the words "King Wu of Wei," which some believe to be Cao's title, were found among the markers. Some bones were also found in that tomb.
The position of the tomb is in line with historical recordings and ancient books from Cao Cao's time, the report said.
While the location of Cao's tomb is still a mystery, that of his son, Cao Zhi, triggers less controversy. There are four to five tombs believed to belong to Cao Zhi, and scholars believe in the authenticity of the one found in Yushan, Shandong Province in 1951.
Many archaeologists and Internet users expressed doubt at the announcement of Anyang tomb to be Cao Cao's.
Some of them suggested they compare the DNA with the bones found in Anyang, with that of his son.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (1-5-10)
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele offers a simple explanation for why the GOP may have lost touch with some Americans since the Ronald Reagan era: "We screwed up," he claims in a new book offering a blueprint for the party's resurgence.
That "we" includes the last two Republican presidents and the most recent Republican candidate for president.
In "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda," released Monday by Regnery Publishing, Steele says the GOP should acknowledge where "we most glaringly compromised our principles" in the past decade and hold its elected officials accountable.
More surprising, the GOP chairman directly or indirectly criticizes:
--President George H.W. Bush for raising taxes two years after President Ronald Reagan left office, though Steele ignores the fact that Reagan raised taxes too.
--President George W. Bush for not vetoing any spending bills during his first five years in office. He calls Bush and other Republicans "enablers for big government" and derides the Bush administration's Troubled Asset Relief Program as "a massive government slush fund."
--Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the party's 2008 presidential nominee, for backing censorship of political speech through the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Steele says the GOP erred in allowing itself to be associated with "a national political speech code."
SOURCE: Fox News (1-2-10)
With the congressional GOP poised for a comeback in the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats are dusting off an old playbook, using George W. Bush as their boogeyman and castigating Republicans as cozy with Wall Street.
But that was three years ago. Democrats have been in control since, and Bush is long gone. This is President Obama's country now. Democrats tried to use Bush against Republican Chris Christie in the New Jersey governor's race in November -- and Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine still lost.
Name of source: National Post (Canada)
SOURCE: National Post (Canada) (1-4-10)
Now, 80 years after Canadian forestry officials purchased the U.S.-made Hamilton Metalplane from a Boeing plant in Wisconsin, the meticulously refurbished and flyable aircraft -- the only one of its kind in the world -- is expected to sell for at least $1-million later this month at a major Arizona auction of vintage cars and planes.
Described by the Barrett-Jackson auction house as "one of the rarest and most beautifully restored classic aircraft in the world," the award-winning antique is the lone intact survivor from an original production run of just 29 planes.
Name of source: National Geographic
SOURCE: National Geographic (1-4-10)
Satellite images of the upper Amazon Basin taken since 1999 have revealed more than 200 geometric earthworks spanning a distance greater than 155 miles (250 kilometers).
(Related: "Huge Pre-Stonehenge Complex Found via 'Crop Circles.'")
Now researchers estimate that nearly ten times as many such structures—of unknown purpose—may exist undetected under the Amazon's forest cover.
At least one of the sites has been dated to around A.D. 1283, although others may date as far back as A.D. 200 to 300, said study co-author Denise Schaan, an anthropologist at the Federal University of Pará in Belém, Brazil.
The discovery adds to evidence that the hinterlands of the Amazon once teemed with complex societies, which were largely wiped out by diseases brought to South America by European colonists in the 15th and 16th centuries, Schaan said.
Since these vanished societies had gone unrecorded, previous research had suggested that soils in the upper Amazon were too poor to support the extensive agriculture needed for such large, permanent settlements.
"We found that this picture is wrong," Schaan said. "And there is a lot more to discover in these places."
The newfound shapes are created by a series of trenches about 36 feet (11 meters) wide and several feet deep, with adjacent banks up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall. Straight roads connect many of the earthworks.
Preliminary excavations at one of the sites in 2008 revealed that some of the earthworks were surrounded by low mounds containing domestic ceramics, charcoal, grinding-stone fragments, and other evidence of habitation.
But who built the structures and what functions they served remains a mystery. Ideas range from defensive buildings to ceremonial centers and homes, the study authors say.
It's also possible the structures served different purposes over time, noted William Woods, a geographer and anthropologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence who was not involved in the research.
"For example," he said, "in Lawrence there's a Masonic temple—it is now a bar. There was a bank—it is now a restaurant called Tellers. These things happen."
What most surprised the research team is that the earthworks appear in both the region's floodplains and the uplands.
In general, the Amazon's fertile floodplains have been popular sites for ancient civilizations, while the sparser uplands have been thought to be largely devoid of people, the researchers say.
What's more, the earthworks in both regions are of a similar style, suggesting they were built by the same society.
"In Amazonian archaeology you always have this idea that you find different peoples in different ecosystems," study co-author Schaan said.
"And so it was kind of odd to have a culture that would take advantage of different ecosystems and expand over such a large region."
The uplands sites appear to have been home to as many as 60,000 people, Schaan and her colleagues suggest in their paper, published this month in the journal Antiquity.
That figure is based on estimates of the social organization and labor that would have been required to build the structures hinted at by the remaining earthworks.
According to the University of Kansas' Woods, the population estimate is reasonable, albeit rough, since so little is known about these complexes.
Answers may emerge as researchers continue to excavate the newfound shapes in the coming years.
But Woods is impressed by the possibility that so many people might have once lived in a region long thought uninhabited.
"Traditionally, if you would have asked an anthropologist or archaeologist how many people lived [in these Amazon uplands], they'd say almost zero," he said.
"And so this is astounding that there is 60,000 people making a go of it where there aren't supposed to be any."
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (1-5-10)
The tomb dates back 2,500 years to the 26th Dynasty and contains important artefacts, including mummified eagles.
It is one of two newly discovered tombs found by an Egyptian team working close to the entrance of Sakkara, the burial ground for Egypt's ancient capital.
The tomb consists of a big hall hewn out of the limestone rock.
There are a number of small rooms and passageways where ancient coffins, skeletons and well-preserved clay pots were discovered, as well as the mummies of eagles.
Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, who announced the discovery, said that early investigations showed that although the tomb dated back to the 26th Dynasty, it had been used several times.
He said it was most likely to have been robbed at the end of the Roman period.
Other excavations at Sakkara are continuing and Dr Hawass said the latest finds confirm that the site still contains undiscovered secrets.
SOURCE: BBC News (1-3-10)
When I was 11, I was taken by my mother to visit her birthplace in Kennington, London.
As we walked around my mother showed me where the air-raid shelters were during the war, but then she began telling me about the Blackshirt meetings.
At 11 it did not mean much to me but it has played on my mind ever since.
I decided to reopen the case of how the Blackshirts attempted to recruit my mother.
It led me to question how many British women supported Hitler during the war, and what was their fate?
"I could have ended up in prison," my mother said.
And many of these women did.
Now aged 88, my mother told me about the ink factory she worked in as a young girl.
"At first I was packing ink, it was horrible.
"There I met Primrose, nobody liked her, but she invited me home.
"I met her family and I fell for it - they were trying to get me to be a Blackshirt."
In documentaries about the Blackshirts, the pictures I have seen are only of men, marching in the streets in their paramilitary uniforms.
I knew about the daughters of the aristocracy, like Diana Mitford who married Oswald Mosley, but I had not realised that young girls, like my own mother, could have been sucked in too.
But speaking to the historian Julie Gottlieb (author of Feminine Fascism) I was surprised to learn that the first fascist political organisation in Britain was actually founded by a woman.
"It was called the fascisti, then changed its name to the British Fascists and it was founded... in 1923, by a Miss Rotha Lintorn-Orman," she told me.
Until then the most prominent political movement for women had been the Suffragettes.
One of the most influential Suffragettes was Norah Elam, who was in charge of propaganda and imprisoned for making inflammatory speeches on women's suffrage.
Sent to Holloway prison in 1914, she shared a cell with Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British Suffragettes.
But Norah Elam was imprisoned again during World War II, this time with Diana Mosley, wife of the fascist leader.
Like me, Norah's granddaughter and great-granddaughter Angela and Susan McPherson have been on a quest to find out more about their family's history.
They knew little about the colourful past of their granny Norah.
"It was a bit of a shock," they told me. A bit of a shock indeed.
'Battle of the shirts'
But women like my mother were not interested in politics, as Norah Elam was, so was it the comradeship or merely the appeal of the smart uniform that was the attraction?
Julie Gottlieb described the Blackshirt uniform as "a great marketing tool, and an incredible draw particularly for the youth. Some historians call this period the battle of the shirts".
“ I felt utterly responsible for what happened in those camps, because I did write 'Perish the Jews' on walls - it is something I will never get over ”
The party grew and even children were recruited to support Hitler's ideology.
Diana Bailey, as a young girl in Bognor Regis, remembers her mother and father in their Blackshirt uniforms.
"We were told to paint slogans on the walls with 'Britain Awake' and 'Perish the Jews'. I was nine years old," she said.
Francis Beckett's mother Anne was also a young working woman, like my mother.
Anne was sent along to Mosley's headquarters by the Pitman's Shorthand temp agency to work as a secretary.
"She wanted to be an actress but she made what she said was a dreadful mistake, she learnt shorthand.
"Pitman's sent her to Black House, HQ for the Blackshirts. She found it exciting.
"She was never a racist but worked amongst racists," Francis Beckett said.
It was at fascist headquarters that Anne joined the Blackshirts and met and later married one of the Blackshirt elite, John Beckett, Francis's father.
John was sent to prison with Oswald Mosley during the war - and his family spent the rest of their lives living hand to mouth.
A former Labour MP, John Beckett should have taken his place in the post-war Attlee government. Instead, he worked as a night watchman for Securicor.
Seeing how easily Francis's mother had become a Blackshirt, I asked my mother if something similar had happened to her, with her factory workmate Primrose and her fascist family.
"They were talking about these meetings - I thought they had got me there for a reason.
"They were talking about Mosley, so after this I left, and later gave in my notice at the ink factory," she said.
So after all these years I can stop imagining my mother sitting in the rows of a mass meeting, 'sieg heiling' their leader and being hauled off to Holloway Prison.
But in talking to these families I can see how life could so easily have been very different for my family.
Diana Bailey continues to live with the consequences of her parents' actions - and says she will never lose her feelings of guilt.
"When Richard Dimbleby went into Belsen I felt the guilt of the whole of the world, I felt utterly responsible for what happened in those camps, because I did write 'Perish the Jews' on walls, it is something I will never get over."
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (1-1-10)
But all the memories are tinged with loss. In 1967, when Mr. Choi was just 15, his father’s boat failed to return from sea. The family went into mourning, assuming the boat had sunk. But three months later they were shocked to learn that Mr. Choi’s father, Choi Won-mo, was alive, but lost to them. His vessel, it turned out, had been captured by North Korea, and when the North Koreans released the crew, they kept Mr. Choi’s father.
In the more than four decades since, Mr. Choi, 57, has devoted himself to trying to find his father and the hundreds of other missing South Koreans believed to have been snatched by North Korean agents.
Name of source: Scarborough Evening News (UK)
SOURCE: Scarborough Evening News (UK) (12-31-09)
Aerial surveyors from English Heritage recently flew two sorties over moorland near Goathland after a wildfire swept across 62 acres revealing the full extent of a prehistoric stone enclosure and multiple stone cairns.
The blaze struck in early October, but caused no lasting damage to the environment.
However, it gave experts their first view of the scheduled monument which measures about 485ft by 246ft.
Name of source: Live Science
SOURCE: Live Science (1-1-10)
One full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind.
The early years of the century saw the general public finally able to enjoy the fruits of what was achieved in electrical engineering during the previous century. By 1910, many suburban homes had been wired up with power and new electric gadgets were being patented with fervor. Vacuum cleaners and washing machines had just become commercially available, though were still too expensive for many middle-class families.
The telephone was another hot new commodity in 1910, with millions of American homes already connected by manual switchboard. Those who did not have a phone to call their neighbor still had to rely on the paper for their news, however; though radio technology was in its infancy, regular broadcasts were still several years away.
Name of source: Chicago Tribune
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (1-3-10)
November's discovery left the team of researchers excited, said Cheryl Munson, an Indiana University archaeologist overseeing the high-tech imaging and excavations in a 280-acre historic district along Clarksville's riverfront.
She said the team picked up reflections from ground-penetrating radar that indicated a manmade foundation composed of stone or brick lies beneath the site.
The find was made along Mill Creek not far from the Ohio River in an area "that looks most promising" as the likely location of the mill that was a cornerstone of Clark's original settlement just across the river from Louisville, Ky.
The radar imagery supports earlier findings of two sprawling American Indian villages -- one dating to around 1200 A.D. and another to about 300 A.D. Excavations earlier in 2009 found Indian artifacts in that site.
Research at the site will resume when the ground warms up enough, perhaps in March, to take samples of the soil in the area and do small core drills, Munson said.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (1-4-10)
It was DeLaughter's dogged 1994 prosecution and the subsequent conviction of Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith that helped trigger the reopening of dozens of civil rights cold cases.
DeLaughter became an instant hero of the civil rights movement. Alec Baldwin portrayed him in the 1996 movie, "Ghosts of Mississippi," and his closing statement was once dubbed one of the greatest closing arguments in modern law.
Name of source: AHA
SOURCE: AHA (1-4-10)
In the 2008–09 academic year job advertisements fell by 23.8 percent—from a record high of 1,053 openings in 2007–08 to 806 openings in the past year. This was the smallest number of positions advertised with the AHA in a decade. To make matters worse, a subsequent survey of advertisers indicates that about 15 percent of the openings were cancelled after the positions were advertised. And while we have not finished taking advertisements this year, it will come as no surprise to anyone following the ads that job openings continue to decline.
Even as the number of openings fell sharply, the number of new PhDs reported to the annual Directory of History Departments, Historical Organizations, and Historians increased by more than 17 percent, from 741 in the 2007–08 academic year to 869. This was the largest year-to-year increase since we began tabulating this information in the Directory in 1975. Given that it takes an average of eight years to earn a history PhD, and the number of doctoral students already toiling away in history PhD programs remains steady (with a small increase in new admissions), there are no easy short-term solutions.
For a wider perspective on the current situation, please note the recent studies on the long term changes in the academic job market and the job crisis of the 1970s.
Alongside the general report on academic employment, we also report on a new release of information about history PhDs from the federal government. In a better year, we might celebrate the growing diversity of the discipline. But at a time when jobs seem to be diminishing, it is difficult to focus on much beyond the continued growth in the total number of new PhDs.
We hope members attending the meeting will take the opportunity to discuss these trends, and the underlying problems for the discipline. This is sure to be a topic of conversation at the session on the future of history at the meeting (“Whither History PhD Programs? The Education of Historians Report after Five Years”), which will review the work of the AHA’s Committee on Graduate Education. We hope you will come and take a part in the discussion, or offer your thoughts and suggestions here.
Name of source: Boston.com
SOURCE: Boston.com (1-2-10)
Now, history buffs and Kennedy fans will be able to relive some of that historic campaign through a Twitter feed, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum says.
The feed, JFK__1960 (that's a double underscore, the library notes), will use campaign documents to follow the trail. Daily updates will tell followers exactly what occurred on the corresponding day in 1960.
With the recent loss of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the long-time Massachuetts lawmaker who was the president's younger brother, library spokeswoman Rachel Day said, the anniversary today is an even more poignant reminder "of public service and what it meant to the Kennedy family."
"The Presidency is the most powerful office in the Free World. Through its leadership can come a more vital life for all of our people. In it are centered the hopes of the globe around us for freedom and a more secure life," Kennedy said in a statement to the press on Jan. 2, 1960 as he began the journey that would take him to the White House.
Name of source: The Seattle Times
SOURCE: The Seattle Times (1-2-10)
The $19 million museum that opens in downtown Santiago on Jan. 11 is dedicated to the 31,000 murder, torture and kidnapping victims during the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of Gen. Pinochet. Museum directors are keeping a tight lid on the specific exhibits, hoping for maximum effect.
Designed by Brazilian architect Mario Figueroa, the block-like, three-story construction is sheathed in a striking green metallic screen of oxidized copper.
The opening ceremony is bound to be an emotional event for a country still in recovery from national trauma. Chileans are divided over the atrocities of the past and how to deal with them. The inauguration is sure to push those divisions to the fore.
The project was spearheaded by President Michelle Bachelet, a torture victim herself whose father, an air-force general who opposed Pinochet, died of heart failure under torture.
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (1-3-09)
Now, consider the year 1959. Could that really be a year that changed everything?
The last year of the fifties, a decade whose image is all but etched in stone: men in grey flannel suits, Stepford wives in suburban complacency, a veritable white bread sandwich of a time?
Journalist Fred Kaplan thinks 1959 is exactly that kind of landmark year.
Kaplan's argument ranges far and wide. From science and technology come the birth of the microchip, without which "We couldn't have digital telephones," Kaplan said. "We couldn't have satellites. I mean, there's almost nothing that we have in everyday life that doesn't have microchips in it."
1959 also brought the first steps toward the birth control pill.
In the arts, says Kaplan, 1959 brought upheaval upon upheaval: The opening of the Guggenheim Museum in New York (left), whose very architecture challenged its neighbors . . . and whose collection was the first wholly devoted to abstract art.
In music, Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, were breaking the chord structure of older jazz.
And censorship was dealt a fatal blow when a court permitted the distribution of the openly sexual "Lady Chatterly's Lover."
Name of source: New York Post
SOURCE: New York Post (1-3-10)
It has long been known that President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the last year of his life, was gravely ill with serious cardiac problems: He'd been diagnosed with acute heart failure in March 1944 and suffered from astronomically high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis.
But what the public did not know was that four years earlier, while still in the second of his four terms as president, FDR had been diagnosed with a deadly skin cancer, melanoma, in a lesion over his left eyebrow.
This disease would metastasize to Roosevelt's abdomen and his brain, causing a tumor that eventually killed him on April 12, 1945.
Which means the cerebral hemorrhage that struck him down shortly before V-E Day was not "a bolt out of the blue," as his doctors contended -- and as historians have long believed -- but the inevitable result of a catastrophic illness, compounded by heart problems.
Dr. Steven Lomazow, a veteran neurologist, and I reached this conclusion -- and others about Roosevelt's health -- after a five-year investigation, the findings of which are in our new book, "FDR's Deadly Secret." How can we be certain? After all, Roosevelt's doctors always denied he had cancer, no autopsy was performed and, save for a few lab slips, FDR's medical file disappeared after his death.
But a careful inspection of hundreds of photos of the lesion indicates a melanoma, according to the late Dr. Bernard Ackerman, the world's foremost dermatopathologist, who worked with us.
Moreover, evidence from Roosevelt’s shockingly inept delivery of his final public speech strongly suggests that he suffered from hemianopia -- the inability to see the text in the left side of his field of vision.
Our book paints a portrait of a president who knew full well that he faced a likely death sentence, yet ignored the odds to run for a third and then fourth term in the White House. Why? Because he believed he could stay alive long enough to see America into and through the coming global conflict, and then to establish the UN.
In fact, in the summer of 1944, Roosevelt was informed in no uncertain terms by Dr. Frank Lahey, one of America's most eminent surgeons, that he would not survive a fourth term. Just 24 hours later, he told Democratic leaders he would run for re-election.
In a sense, FDR rolled the dice with history -- and won.
All the while, despite growing rumors to the contrary, his doctors lied to the American people, insisting that the president was in fine health.
Yet, as we found, there were other serious challenges to Roosevelt's health. In the spring of 1941, for example -- at the time of the Atlantic Charter and of Japan's pre-Pearl Harbor expansion in the Pacific -- FDR spent two months recovering from a life-threatening profound anemia which required as many as nine emergency blood transfusions.
Historians have known of this profound blood loss but never understood its significance -- or realized that FDR had undergone transfusions, which we uncovered in letters between his wife and daughter, as well as evidence on the lab slips. America came within a pint of blood of having Vice President Henry A. Wallace -- who would later run for president in a campaign controlled by the US Communist Party -- in the White House.
And for over a year prior to his death, FDR suffered repeated and dramatic seizures that made him appear almost catatonic and left the many eyewitnesses to such events believing he'd suffered a stroke.
Just how frequently this happened can be seen in the response by Roosevelt’s top aide, Gen. Edwin "Pa" Watson, to a frightened senator who'd witnessed one such attack: "He'll snap out of it -- he always does." Why does all this matter?
Because it raises new questions, long debated by historians, as to whether Roosevelt was fully capable of functioning as chief executive and commander-in-chief during World War II.
Some will see confirmation that FDR was indeed "the sick man of Yalta," incapable of negotiating skillfully with the determined Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, on the future of postwar Europe -- a failure, critics have charged, that resulted in a generation of iron-curtain rule over half the continent.
Others will see a determined champion, tirelessly and selflessly guiding America through the worldwide conflagration of WWII while contending with the ravages of the diseases that were taking his own life.
In fact, even as soldiers were fighting the enemy on the battlefields, a parallel struggle was under way in the White House to preserve the president against he considerable medical challenges that surrounded him.
Roosevelt was at the center of this battle -- not as a disengaged and uninterested spectator, as historians have long believed, but as a chief executive who took an active and decisive role in determining the course of his own medical struggle, just as he did in the fight against the Axis powers.
That his risky gamble succeeded for as long as it did hardly excuses the overwhelming danger of the choice he made.
Name of source: Smithsonian Magazine
SOURCE: Smithsonian Magazine (1-1-10)
Yet much of what we know is not entirely true. Perhaps more than any defining moment in American history, the War of Independence is swathed in beliefs not borne out by the facts. Here, in order to form a more perfect understanding, the most significant myths of the Revolutionary War are reassessed.
I. Great Britain Did Not Know What It Was Getting Into
In the course of England’s long and unsuccessful attempt to crush the American Revolution, the myth arose that its government, under Prime Minister Frederick, Lord North, had acted in haste. Accusations circulating at the time—later to become conventional wisdom—held that the nation’s political leaders had failed to comprehend the gravity of the challenge.
Actually, the British cabinet, made up of nearly a score of ministers, first considered resorting to military might as early as January 1774, when word of the Boston Tea Party reached London. (Recall that on December 16, 1773, protesters had boarded British vessels in Boston Harbor and destroyed cargoes of tea, rather than pay a tax imposed by Parliament.) Contrary to popular belief both then and now, Lord North’s government did not respond impulsively to the news. Throughout early 1774, the prime minister and his cabinet engaged in lengthy debate on whether coercive actions would lead to war. A second question was considered as well: Could Britain win such a war?
By March 1774, North’s government had opted for punitive measures that fell short of declaring war. Parliament enacted the Coercive Acts—or Intolerable Acts, as Americans called them—and applied the legislation to Massachusetts alone, to punish the colony for its provocative act. Britain’s principal action was to close Boston Harbor until the tea had been paid for. England also installed Gen. Thomas Gage, commander of the British Army in America, as governor of the colony. Politicians in London chose to heed the counsel of Gage, who opined that the colonists would “be lyons whilst we are lambs but if we take the resolute part they will be very meek.”
Britain, of course, miscalculated hugely. In September 1774, colonists convened the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia; the members voted to embargo British commerce until all British taxes and the Coercive Acts were repealed. News of that vote reached London in December. A second round of deliberations within North’s ministry ensued for nearly six weeks.
Throughout its deliberations, North’s government agreed on one point: the Americans would pose little challenge in the event of war. The Americans had neither a standing army nor a navy; few among them were experienced officers. Britain possessed a professional army and the world’s greatest navy. Furthermore, the colonists had virtually no history of cooperating with one another, even in the face of danger. In addition, many in the cabinet were swayed by disparaging assessments of American soldiers leveled by British officers in earlier wars. For instance, during the French and Indian War (1754-63), Brig. Gen. James Wolfe had described America’s soldiers as “cowardly dogs.” Henry Ellis, the royal governor of Georgia, nearly simultaneously asserted that the colonists were a “poor species of fighting men” given to “a want of bravery.”
Still, as debate continued, skeptics—especially within Britain’s army and navy—raised troubling questions. Could the Royal Navy blockade the 1,000-mile-long American coast? Couldn’t two million free colonists muster a force of 100,000 or so citizen-soldiers, nearly four times the size of Britain’s army in 1775? Might not an American army of this size replace its losses more easily than Britain? Was it possible to supply an army operating 3,000 miles from home? Could Britain subdue a rebellion across 13 colonies in an area some six times the size of England? Could the British Army operate deep in America’s interior, far from coastal supply bases? Would a protracted war bankrupt Britain? Would France and Spain, England’s age-old enemies, aid American rebels? Was Britain risking starting a broader war?
After the Continental Congress convened, King George III told his ministers that “blows must decide” whether the Americans “submit or triumph.”
North’s government agreed. To back down, the ministers believed, would be to lose the colonies. Confident of Britain’s overwhelming military superiority and hopeful that colonial resistance would collapse after one or two humiliating defeats, they chose war. The Earl of Dartmouth, who was the American Secretary, ordered General Gage to use “a vigorous Exertion of...Force” to crush the rebellion in Massachusetts. Resistance from the Bay Colony, Dartmouth added, “cannot be very formidable.”
II. Americans Of All Stripes Took Up Arms Out Of Patriotism
The term “spirit of ‘76” refers to the colonists’ patriotic zeal and has always seemed synonymous with the idea that every able-bodied male colonist resolutely served, and suffered, throughout the eight-year war.
To be sure, the initial rally to arms was impressive. When the British Army marched out of Boston on April 19, 1775, messengers on horseback, including Boston silversmith Paul Revere, fanned out across New England to raise the alarm. Summoned by the feverish pealing of church bells, militiamen from countless hamlets hurried toward Concord, Massachusetts, where the British regulars planned to destroy a rebel arsenal. Thousands of militiamen arrived in time to fight; 89 men from 23 towns in Massachusetts were killed or wounded on that first day of war, April 19, 1775. By the next morning, Massachusetts had 12 regiments in the field. Connecticut soon mobilized a force of 6,000, one-quarter of its military-age men. Within a week, 16,000 men from the four New England colonies formed a siege army outside British-occupied Boston. In June, the Continental Congress took over the New England army, creating a national force, the Continental Army. Thereafter, men throughout America took up arms. It seemed to the British regulars that every able-bodied American male had become a soldier.
But as the colonists discovered how difficult and dangerous military service could be, enthusiasm waned. Many men preferred to remain home, in the safety of what Gen. George Washington described as their “Chimney Corner.” Early in the war, Washington wrote that he despaired of “compleating the army by Voluntary Inlistments.” Mindful that volunteers had rushed to enlist when hostilities began, Washington predicted that “after the first emotions are over,” those who were willing to serve from a belief in the “goodness of the cause” would amount to little more than “a drop in the Ocean.” He was correct. As 1776 progressed, many colonies were compelled to entice soldiers with offers of cash bounties, clothing, blankets and extended furloughs or enlistments shorter than the one-year term of service established by Congress.
The following year, when Congress mandated that men who enlisted must sign on for three years or the duration of the conflict, whichever came first, offers of cash and land bounties became an absolute necessity. The states and the army also turned to slick-tongued recruiters to round up volunteers. General Washington had urged conscription, stating that “the Government must have recourse to coercive measures.” In April 1777, Congress recommended a draft to the states. By the end of 1778, most states were conscripting men when Congress’ voluntary enlistment quotas were not met.
Moreover, beginning in 1778, the New England states, and eventually all Northern states, enlisted African-Americans, a practice that Congress had initially forbidden. Ultimately, some 5,000 blacks bore arms for the United States, approximately 5 percent of the total number of men who served in the Continental Army. The African-American soldiers made an important contribution to America’s ultimate victory. In 1781, Baron Ludwig von Closen, a veteran officer in the French Army, remarked that the “best [regiment] under arms” in the Continental Army was one in which 75 percent of the soldiers were African-Americans.
Longer enlistments radically changed the composition of the Army. Washington’s troops in 1775-76 had represented a cross section of the free male population. But few who owned farms were willing to serve for the duration, fearing loss of their property if years passed without producing revenue from which to pay taxes. After 1777, the average Continental soldier was young, single, propertyless, poor and in many cases an outright pauper. In some states, such as Pennsylvania, up to one in four soldiers was an impoverished recent immigrant. Patriotism aside, cash and land bounties offered an unprecedented chance for economic mobility for these men. Joseph Plumb Martin of Milford, Connecticut, acknowledged that he had enlisted for the money. Later, he would recollect the calculation he had made at the time: “As I must go, I might as well endeavor to get as much for my skin as I could.” For three-quarters of the war, few middle-class Americans bore arms in the Continental Army, although thousands did serve in militias.
III. Continental Soldiers Were Always Ragged And Hungry
Accounts of shoeless continental army soldiers leaving bloody footprints in the snow or going hungry in a land of abundance are all too accurate. Take, for example, the experience of Connecticut’s Private Martin. While serving with the Eighth Connecticut Continental Regiment in the autumn of 1776, Martin went for days with little more to eat than a handful of chestnuts and, at one point, a portion of roast sheep’s head, remnants of a meal prepared for those he sarcastically referred to as his “gentleman officers.” Ebenezer Wild, a Massachusetts soldier who served at Valley Forge in the terrible winter of 1777-78, would recall that he subsisted for days on “a leg of nothing.” One of his comrades, Dr. Albigence Waldo, a Continental Army surgeon, later reported that many men survived largely on what were known as fire cakes (flour and water baked over coals). One soldier, Waldo wrote, complained that his “glutted Gutts are turned to Pasteboard.” The Army’s supply system, imperfect at best, at times broke down altogether; the result was misery and want.
But that was not always the case. So much heavy clothing arrived from France at the beginning of the winter in 1779 that Washington was compelled to locate storage facilities for his surplus.
In a long war during which American soldiers were posted from upper New York to lower Georgia, conditions faced by the troops varied widely. For instance, at the same time that Washington’s siege army at Boston in 1776 was well supplied, many American soldiers, engaged in the failed invasion of Quebec staged from Fort Ticonderoga in New York, endured near starvation. While one soldier in seven was dying from hunger and disease at Valley Forge, young Private Martin, stationed only a few miles away in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, was assigned to patrols that foraged daily for army provisions. “We had very good provisions all winter,” he would write, adding that he had lived in “a snug room.” In the spring after Valley Forge, he encountered one of his former officers. “Where have you been this winter?” inquired the officer. “Why you are as fat as a pig.”
IV. The Militia Was Useless
The nation’s first settlers adopted the British militia system, which required all able-bodied men between 16 and 60 to bear arms. Some 100,000 men served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Probably twice that number soldiered as militiamen, for the most part defending the home front, functioning as a police force and occasionally engaging in enemy surveillance. If a militia company was summoned to active duty and sent to the front lines to augment the Continentals, it usually remained mobilized for no more than 90 days.
Some Americans emerged from the war convinced that the militia had been largely ineffective. No one did more to sully its reputation than General Washington, who insisted that a decision to “place any dependence on Militia is assuredly resting on a broken staff.”
Militiamen were older, on average, than the Continental soldiers and received only perfunctory training; few had experienced combat. Washington complained that militiamen had failed to exhibit “a brave & manly opposition” in the battles of 1776 on Long Island and in Manhattan. At Camden, South Carolina, in August 1780, militiamen panicked in the face of advancing redcoats. Throwing down their weapons and running for safety, they were responsible for one of the worst defeats of the war.
Yet in 1775, militiamen had fought with surpassing bravery along the Concord Road and at Bunker Hill. Nearly 40 percent of soldiers serving under Washington in his crucial Christmas night victory at Trenton in 1776 were militiamen. In New York state, half the American force in the vital Saratoga campaign of 1777 consisted of militiamen. They also contributed substantially to American victories at Kings Mountain, North Carolina, in 1780 and Cowpens, South Carolina, the following year. In March 1781, Gen. Nathanael Greene adroitly deployed his militiamen in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (fought near present-day Greensboro, North Carolina). In that engagement, he inflicted such devastating losses on the British that they gave up the fight for North Carolina.
The militia had its shortcomings, to be sure, but America could not have won the war without it. As a British general, Earl Cornwallis, wryly put it in a letter in 1781, “I will not say much in praise of the militia, but the list of British officers and soldiers killed and wounded by them...proves but too fatally they are not wholly contemptible.”
V. Saratoga Was The War’s Turning Point
On October 17, 1777, British Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered 5,895 men to American forces outside Saratoga, New York. Those losses, combined with the 1,300 men killed, wounded and captured during the preceding five months of Burgoyne’s campaign to reach Albany in upstate New York, amounted to nearly one-quarter of those serving under the British flag in America in 1777.
The defeat persuaded France to form a military alliance with the United States. Previously, the French, even though they believed that London would be fatally weakened by the loss of its American colonies, had not wished to take a chance on backing the new American nation. General Washington, who rarely made optimistic pronouncements, exulted that France’s entry into the war in February 1778 had introduced “a most happy tone to all our affairs,” as it “must put the Independency of America out of all manner of dispute.”
But Saratoga was not the turning point of the war. Protracted conflicts—the Revolutionary War was America’s longest military engagement until Vietnam nearly 200 years later—are seldom defined by a single decisive event. In addition to Saratoga, four other key moments can be identified. The first was the combined effect of victories in the fighting along the Concord Road on April 19, 1775, and at Bunker Hill near Boston two months later, on June 17. Many colonists had shared Lord North’s belief that American citizen-soldiers could not stand up to British regulars. But in those two engagements, fought in the first 60 days of the war, American soldiers—all militiamen—inflicted huge casualties. The British lost nearly 1,500 men in those encounters, three times the American toll. Without the psychological benefits of those battles, it is debatable whether a viable Continental Army could have been raised in that first year of war or whether public morale would have withstood the terrible defeats of 1776.
Between August and November of 1776, Washington’s army was driven from Long Island, New York City proper and the rest of Manhattan Island, with some 5,000 men killed, wounded and captured. But at Trenton in late December 1776, Washington achieved a great victory, destroying a Hessian force of nearly 1,000 men; a week later, on January 3, he defeated a British force at Princeton, New Jersey. Washington’s stunning triumphs, which revived hopes of victory and permitted recruitment in 1777, were a second turning point.
A third turning point occurred when Congress abandoned one-year enlistments and transformed the Continental Army into a standing army, made up of regulars who volunteered—or were conscripted—for long-term service. A standing army was contrary to American tradition and was viewed as unacceptable by citizens who understood that history was filled with instances of generals who had used their armies to gain dictatorial powers. Among the critics was Massachusetts’ John Adams, then a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. In 1775, he wrote that he feared a standing army would become an “armed monster” composed of the “meanest, idlest, most intemperate and worthless” men. By autumn, 1776, Adams had changed his view, remarking that unless the length of enlistment was extended, “our inevitable destruction will be the Consequence.” At last, Washington would get the army he had wanted from the outset; its soldiers would be better trained, better disciplined and more experienced than the men who had served in 1775-76.
The campaign that unfolded in the South during 1780 and 1781 was the final turning point of the conflict. After failing to crush the rebellion in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, the British turned their attention in 1778 to the South, hoping to retake Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. At first the Southern Strategy, as the British termed the initiative, achieved spectacular results. Within 20 months, the redcoats had wiped out three American armies, retaken Savannah and Charleston, occupied a substantial portion of the South Carolina backcountry, and killed, wounded or captured 7,000 American soldiers, nearly equaling the British losses at Saratoga. Lord George Germain, Britain’s American Secretary after 1775, declared that the Southern victories augured a “speedy and happy termination of the American war.”
But the colonists were not broken. In mid-1780, organized partisan bands, composed largely of guerrilla fighters, struck from within South Carolina’s swamps and tangled forests to ambush redcoat supply trains and patrols. By summer’s end, the British high command acknowledged that South Carolina, a colony they had recently declared pacified, was “in an absolute state of rebellion.” Worse was yet to come. In October 1780, rebel militia and backcountry volunteers destroyed an army of more than 1,000 Loyalists at Kings Mountain in North Carolina. After that rout, Cornwallis found it nearly impossible to persuade Loyalists to join the cause.
In January 1781, Cornwallis marched an army of more than 4,000 men to North Carolina, hoping to cut supply routes that sustained partisans farther south. In battles at Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse and in an exhausting pursuit of the Army under Gen. Nathanael Greene, Cornwallis lost some 1,700 men, nearly 40 percent of the troops under his command at the outset of the North Carolina campaign. In April 1781, despairing of crushing the insurgency in the Carolinas, he took his army into Virginia, where he hoped to sever supply routes linking the upper and lower South. It was a fateful decision, as it put Cornwallis on a course that would lead that autumn to disaster at Yorktown, where he was trapped and compelled to surrender more than 8,000 men on October 19, 1781. The next day, General Washington informed the Continental Army that “the glorious event” would send “general Joy [to] every breast” in America. Across the sea, Lord North reacted to the news as if he had “taken a ball in the breast,” reported the messenger who delivered the bad tidings. “O God,” the prime minister exclaimed, “it is all over.”
VI. General Washington Was A Brilliant Tactician And Strategist
Among the hundreds of eulogies delivered after the death of George Washington in 1799, Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College, averred that the general’s military greatness consisted principally in his “formation of extensive and masterly plans” and a “watchful seizure of every advantage.” It was the prevailing view and one that has been embraced by many historians.
In fact, Washington’s missteps revealed failings as a strategist. No one understood his limitations better than Washington himself who, on the eve of the New York campaign in 1776, confessed to Congress his “want of experience to move on a large scale” and his “limited and contracted knowledge . . . in Military Matters.”
In August 1776, the Continental Army was routed in its first test on Long Island in part because Washington failed to properly reconnoiter and he attempted to defend too large an area for the size of his army. To some extent, Washington’s nearly fatal inability to make rapid decisions resulted in the November losses of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island and Fort Lee in New Jersey, defeats that cost the colonists more than one-quarter of the army’s soldiers and precious weaponry and military stores. Washington did not take the blame for what had gone wrong. Instead, he advised Congress of his “want of confidence in the Generality of the Troops.”
In the fall of 1777, when Gen. William Howe invaded Pennsylvania, Washington committed his entire army in an attempt to prevent the loss of Philadelphia. During the Battle of Brandywine, in September, he once again froze with indecision. For nearly two hours information poured into headquarters that the British were attempting a flanking maneuver—a move that would, if successful, entrap much of the Continental Army—and Washington failed to respond. At day’s end, a British sergeant accurately perceived that Washington had “escaped a total overthrow, that must have been the consequence of an hours more daylight.”
Later, Washington was painfully slow to grasp the significance of the war in the Southern states. For the most part, he committed troops to that theater only when Congress ordered him to do so. By then, it was too late to prevent the surrender of Charleston in May 1780 and the subsequent losses among American troops in the South. Washington also failed to see the potential of a campaign against the British in Virginia in 1780 and 1781, prompting Comte de Rochambeau, commander of the French Army in America, to write despairingly that the American general “did not conceive the affair of the south to be such urgency.” Indeed, Rochambeau, who took action without Washington’s knowledge, conceived the Virginia campaign that resulted in the war’s decisive encounter, the siege of Yorktown in the autumn of 1781.
Much of the war’s decision-making was hidden from the public. Not even Congress was aware that the French, not Washington, had formulated the strategy that led to America’s triumph. During Washington’s presidency, the American pamphleteer Thomas Paine, then living in France, revealed much of what had occurred. In 1796 Paine published a “Letter to George Washington,” in which he claimed that most of General Washington’s supposed achievements were “fraudulent.” “You slept away your time in the field” after 1778, Paine charged, arguing that Gens. Horatio Gates and Greene were more responsible for America’s victory than Washington.
There was some truth to Paine’s acid comments, but his indictment failed to recognize that one can be a great military leader without being a gifted tactician or strategist. Washington’s character, judgment, industry and meticulous habits, as well as his political and diplomatic skills, set him apart from others. In the final analysis, he was the proper choice to serve as commander of the Continental Army.
VII. Great Britain Could Never Have Won The War
Once the revolutionary war was lost, some in Britain argued that it had been unwinnable. For generals and admirals who were defending their reputations, and for patriots who found it painful to acknowledge defeat, the concept of foreordained failure was alluring. Nothing could have been done, or so the argument went, to have altered the outcome. Lord North was condemned, not for having lost the war, but for having led his country into a conflict in which victory was impossible.
In reality, Britain might well have won the war. The battle for New York in 1776 gave England an excellent opportunity for a decisive victory. France had not yet allied with the Americans. Washington and most of his lieutenants were rank amateurs. Continental Army soldiers could not have been more untried. On Long Island, in New York City and in upper Manhattan, on Harlem Heights, Gen. William Howe trapped much of the American Army and might have administered a fatal blow. Cornered in the hills of Harlem, even Washington admitted that if Howe attacked, the Continental Army would be “cut off” and faced with the choice of fighting its way out “under every disadvantage” or being starved into submission. But the excessively cautious Howe was slow to act, ultimately allowing Washington to slip away.
Britain still might have prevailed in 1777. London had formulated a sound strategy that called for Howe, with his large force, which included a naval arm, to advance up the Hudson River and rendezvous at Albany with General Burgoyne, who was to invade New York from Canada. Britain’s objective was to cut New England off from the other nine states by taking the Hudson. When the rebels did engage—the thinking went—they would face a giant British pincer maneuver that would doom them to catastrophic losses. Though the operation offered the prospect of decisive victory, Howe scuttled it. Believing that Burgoyne needed no assistance and obsessed by a desire to capture Philadelphia—home of the Continental Congress—Howe opted to move against Pennsylvania instead. He took Philadelphia, but he accomplished little by his action. Meanwhile, Burgoyne suffered total defeat at Saratoga.
Most historians have maintained that Britain had no hope of victory after 1777, but that assumption constitutes another myth of this war. Twenty-four months into its Southern Strategy, Britain was close to reclaiming substantial territory within its once-vast American empire. Royal authority had been restored in Georgia, and much of South Carolina was occupied by the British.
As 1781 dawned, Washington warned that his army was “exhausted” and the citizenry “discontented.” John Adams believed that France, faced with mounting debts and having failed to win a single victory in the American theater, would not remain in the war beyond 1781. “We are in the Moment of Crisis,” he wrote. Rochambeau feared that 1781 would see the “last struggle of an expiring patriotism.” Both Washington and Adams assumed that unless the United States and France scored a decisive victory in 1781, the outcome of the war would be determined at a conference of Europe’s great powers.
Stalemated wars often conclude with belligerents retaining what they possessed at the moment an armistice is reached. Had the outcome been determined by a European peace conference, Britain would likely have retained Canada, the trans-Appalachian West, part of present-day Maine, New York City and Long Island, Georgia and much of South Carolina, Florida (acquired from Spain in a previous war) and several Caribbean islands. To keep this great empire, which would have encircled the tiny United States, Britain had only to avoid decisive losses in 1781.Yet Cornwallis’ stunning defeat at Yorktown in October cost Britain everything but Canada.
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ratified the American victory and recognized the existence of the new United States. General Washington, addressing a gathering of soldiers at West Point, told the men that they had secured America’s “independence and sovereignty.” The new nation, he said, faced “enlarged prospects of happiness,” adding that all free Americans could enjoy “personal independence.” The passage of time would demonstrate that Washington, far from creating yet another myth surrounding the outcome of the war, had voiced the real promise of the new nation.
Historian John Ferling’s most recent book is The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon. Illustrator Joe Ciardiello lives in Milford, New Jersey.
Name of source: http://www.dailynews.com
SOURCE: http://www.dailynews.com (12-14-09)
Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas are drafting emergency plans while federal agencies study how to prepare the public for what county public health Director Jonathan Fielding describes as a "low-likelihood, huge-consequences event."
His department hosted a workshop last week for the emergency operations staff of the county's 88 cities in preparation for "Golden Phoenix," an exercise scheduled for June 2010 that simulates the scenario of a 10-kiloton nuclear device detonated in Los Angeles.
A seminar is planned for the medical community on Jan. 21 to provide information on what to expect and what actions they should take after a nuclear incident.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (1-1-10)
Australia has searched for many years for the old single-propeller Vickers plane at Cape Denison, where the nation's most famous polar explorer, Douglas Mawson, abandoned it after it proved to be a failure during his 1911-14 expedition.
The Mawson's Huts Foundation, an officially backed charity that funds the conservation work on site, believes the plane became entombed in ice after it was abandoned and then inched its way toward the sea with the glacial ice over the last 100 years.
Name of source: Deseret News (Utah)
SOURCE: Deseret News (Utah) (1-2-10)
That actually is happening to untold artifacts and documents, because the Department of Interior largely doesn't know what is in its collections, often doesn't know if items were obtained legally and doesn't properly care for many of them, according to the department's inspector general.
"Elements of the nation's heritage are being neglected and forgotten in thousands of boxes that contain millions of objects neither identified nor accounted for," says an inspector general's report released Wednesday.
"The Department of Interior is failing to fulfill its stewardship responsibilities over museum collections second in size only to the Smithsonian Institution."
The inspector general evaluated how well collections are being managed by visiting 28 department facilities — from national park museums to artifact storage facilities — and three nondepartmental museums with artifacts and documents on loan from the department.
None of the facilities visited were in Utah. However, Utah was the site of a large federal raid last year on private sellers of Indian artifacts found on public land. Officials then said that such people were robbing the nation of its heritage. The new report says poor management of federal museums may be doing the same.
The report said widespread problems were found with accessioning — the process of ensuring that items were obtained legally — as well as cataloging and performing regular inventories. It said many of the problems had been earlier noted in other reports since 1990.
The report says the department has an estimated 146 million items in its museum collections, but 78 million of them have not been catalogued — just over half of them.
All Interior agencies have huge cataloging backlogs, but the National Park Service stood out with an estimated backlog of 60 million items, according to the report.
"The backlog at Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, Calif., was over 3 million objects, while the backlogs at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, and the Alaska Region Curatorial Center in Anchorage, Alaska, were around 1 million objects each," the report said. "In some cases, objects remained uncataloged for decades."
As a result, "millions of objects remain boxed — unknown and unaccounted for," the report said. "These objects are, for the most part, unavailable for research, education or display and are susceptible to theft, deterioration and damage."
Of the 28 sites the inspector general visited, "nine were not accessioning (making sure items were received legally) upon receipt," the report said. "In fact, three of these sites were not accessioning at all."
The Bureau of Reclamation's New Melones Artifact Storage Facility in Jamestown, Calif, for example, had accessioned only about 24,000 of the estimated 418,000 objects stored there.
The report said the department also is not conducting required annual inventories to verify that items in collections have not disappeared or been stolen.
For example, five of the seven Bureau of Indian Affairs facilities visited not only had failed to conduct such inventories but also "were unable to provide a current inventory listing of the objects in their collections," the report said.
Besides the Interior Department's own facilities, the report said, the inspector general found that Interior is not tracking well what items the department has loaned to colleges and outside museums and "had little idea of what objects those facilities held."
On top of all that, the report said: "We found that the department needs to take additional steps to improve preservation practices over its museum collections. Because the preservation of the collections at many DOI sites has been neglected, countless (items of) artwork, artifacts and other museum objects are in jeopardy."
The report said the problems were caused by poor management and by failure of the government to allocate enough manpower and money to care for and track collections.
The document made numerous recommendations to resolve problems, including doing annual inventories, pursuing partnerships with colleges and foundations that could help catalog and care for items and identifying all items the department has and what facilities have them.
The report said the department agrees with the need for improvements, but "it took exception to how we described the current state of the museum program" and said it actually had made many improvements in the past two decades.
The inspector general acknowledged that some improvements had been made, but said, "We stand by our conclusions on DOI's museum program."
Name of source: Guardain (UK)
SOURCE: Guardain (UK) (12-31-69)
The now battered tablet, aged about 3,700 years, was found somewhere in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, a largely self-educated Londoner who indulged his passion for history while serving in the RAF from 1945 to 1948.
The relic was passed to his son Douglas, who took it to one of the few people in the world who could read it as easily as the back of a cornflakes box; he gave it to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, who translated its 60 lines of neat cuneiform script.
There are dozens of ancient tablets that have been found which describe the flood story but Finkel says this one is the first to describe the vessel's shape.
Fortunes were spent in the 19th century by biblical archaeology enthusiasts in hunts for evidence of Noah's flood. The Mesopotamian flood myth was incorporated into the great poetic epic Gilgamesh, and Finkel, curator of the recent British Museum exhibition on ancient Babylon, believes that it was during the Babylonian captivity that the exiled Jews learned the story, brought it home with them, and incorporated it into the Old Testament.
Despite its unique status, Simmons' tablet – which has been dated to around 1,700 BC and is only a few centuries younger than the oldest known account – was very nearly overlooked.
SOURCE: Guardain (UK) (12-29-09)
The National Trust is appealing for information about a human tooth that has turned up alongside Jacobean furniture and old masters during the annual winter cleaning of a stately pile.
The badly decayed molar, still with small scraps of flesh attached, was found in an attic cabinet at Blickling Hall, former home of the Boleyn family whose most famous member, Anne, lost her head in 1536 on the orders of King Henry VIII.
The tooth is thought to be much more recent than Anne's Tudor days, prompting the trust's hopes that its former owner, or a relative, may have information about home dentistry or possibly a fight at the mansion in Norfolk. The trust's regional archaeologist, Angus Wainwright, said today: "Perhaps there was a servants' brawl or maybe an airman lost a tooth when the RAF took the hall over during the second world war."
Scientific dating tests are likely to be applied to the tooth, although removal from a burial has already been ruled out. Wainwright said: "It has never been buried in the ground because you can see some of the red mush still present, so I'd say it was probably lost right here in the attics."
The tooth will go on display when Blickling reopens at the end of February.
Name of source: Washington Post
SOURCE: Washington Post (1-1-10)
Dr. deVries was among the first employees hired by the IMF, joining it as an economist in 1946. She represented the agency on missions to Mexico, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Turkey, Israel, Yugoslavia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
She was appointed assistant chief of the multiple exchange rate division in 1953 and chief of the Far East division in 1957. She resigned in 1959 to care for her two young children, but she rejoined the IMF in 1963 to help write the history of the agency's first 20 years. In 1973, she was appointed the IMF's official historian, a post she held until retiring in 1987.
She wrote a number of books, including "International Monetary Fund, 1966-71" (two volumes), "International Monetary Fund, 1972-1978" (three volumes), "Balance of Payments Adjustment, 1945 to 1986: The IMF Experience" and "The IMF in a Changing World, 1945-85." She also co-wrote "The International Monetary Fund, 1945-1965" (three volumes) and "Foreign Economic Problems of the United States."