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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: http://medievalnews.blogspot.com/2010/02/7th-century-village-discovered-near.html
Researchers say the village has been dated to the early Muslim era. “From the materials that we have discovered at the site, such as ceramic pottery and other artifacts, it is quite easy to ascertain the period to which they belong,” said Dr. Ali I. Al-Ghabban, deputy secretary-general for antiquities and museums.
He showed all the artifacts that have been recovered from the area so far. They include clay utensils, pottery with intricate inscriptions, a highly rusted and broken pair of scissors, seashells and iron bars.
The site is located behind the headquarters of the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry on a parcel being developed as a contractor training center by Saudi Aramco, which holds title to the land.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (2-9-10)
One of the vessels, a Royal Navy MGB81 motorboat, was used at the D-Day landings and is thought to be Britain's last surviving WWII gunboat.
The other one is an RAF rescue boat, high-speed launch 102.
Both have been restored by enthusiasts and bought with money from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and donors.
SOURCE: BBC (2-8-10)
He said that Mr Straw had been incorrect to suggest, in 2002, that UN weapons inspectors were not being allowed access to certain sites.
Mr Straw is due to be interviewed by the inquiry again later on Monday.
"I'm puzzled by some of the things Jack Straw said," Mr Blix told BBC World's Hardtalk programme.
SOURCE: BBC (2-8-10)
Rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, who gave himself up last year, had been accused of planning the killing of 12 African Union peacekeepers in 2007.
But International Criminal Court (ICC) judges ruled that there was not enough evidence to support a trial.
Last week, the ICC said charges of genocide against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir could be resubmitted.
SOURCE: BBC (2-6-10)
The George III Act of Parliament clock, decorated with hunting scenes, was made around 1797 and was once on the wall of a tavern.
It was discovered in a house in Aberdeenshire, where it had been in the possession of a family for decades.
It was sold at Shapes auction house in Edinburgh.
SOURCE: BBC (2-6-10)
The footprints - thought to belong to at least six dinosaur types - were found in eastern Shandong province, state news agency Xinhua reports.
Experts believe the prints are more than 100 million years old and say they could represent a migration or a panicked attempt to escape predators.
Dinosaur fossils have been found at about 30 sites in the Zhucheng area.
Few places have more of an ear for Burns than Northern Ireland, which has one of the largest collections of his works outside of Scotland in a Belfast library.
The Linenhall Library's Burns Collection was amassed by Andrew Gibson in the last decades of the 19th century. From Ayrshire himself, he was a governor of the library and it bought his collection in 1901 with £1,000 raised by public subscription.
Burns's great-granddaughter Mrs Eliza Everitt later donated a number of items to the library, which are on display at the library until March.
About 10 men set upon Victoire Ingabire and her driver as they waited for papers to register their party for next year's election.
She escaped unharmed but her driver was said to have serious injuries.
Ms Ingabire, a Hutu, was criticised last month for highlighting crimes against Hutus during the 1994 genocide.
Elfyn Llwyd told the BBC's Straight Talk he had written to Iraq Inquiry chair Sir John Chilcot to say he would be prepared to hand the document over.
He said the memo, which is marked "Top Secret and Confidential" contradicted statements made by Mr Blair.
Mr Blair previously told the inquiry he made no "covert" deal with Mr Bush.
Mr Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president, was freed from Robben Island jail on 11 February 1990 after a prison sentence of 27 years.
Mr Mandela has said he developed a friendship with warder Christo Brand that cemented his views of humanity.
Mr Mandela's daughter, Zindzi, and a number of anti-apartheid activists who were there when he walked free, also attended the small gathering on Thursday night.
Zindzi Mandela filmed the dinner for a documentary called Conversations About That Day, which will be shown on the anniversary next week.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-9-10)
Weston, who was left badly scarred by burns when the ship he was serving on was bombed by Argentine forces in 1982, said he and his comrades had at least faced a conventional enemy fighting the same way that they were.
By contrast, he said, those serving in Afghanistan deal with a war of attrition which sees an unseen enemy who is not afraid to die play a game of cat and mouse using deadly roadside bombs.
Asked last year about the differences between flying in Afghanistan and the Falklands, he said the intensity was more than he remembered from the conflict with Argentina.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-9-10)
Charles Farr, the head of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, said that while the names of terror groups threatening the UK were likely to change, the threat itself would continue for decades.
Within ten years al-Qaeda could have been replaced by a different group with a similar ideology, he said.
His comments came in private evidence sessions with the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, extracts of which have been published
Although the Romans are known to have traded for silk and exotic spices with China, it was thought that most of the commerce was conducted through intermediaries along the Silk Route and that no Chinese or other Asians entered the empire itself.
But that orthodoxy will now have to be re-examined after a team of Canadian archaeologists conducted DNA analysis on the man's bones and found that he came from East Asia.
The skeleton was excavated from a cemetery which formed part of an imperial Roman estate at Vagnari, in the province Puglia, which forms the heel of the Italian boot.
Of the original population of around 1,000, fewer than a dozen people remain, refusing to obey government orders to leave their homes.
Fading signs still mark Plum Street, or Apple, or Grape. There are telephone poles, street lamps, and graveyards - four of them.
But there are almost no homes. Bare grass lines the crumbling sidewalks. Sometimes a few steps ending in thin air betray where a house stood before being torn down.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-21-10)
"Over there is the Roman temple and just beyond those trees is the villa," he says. "No one knew about this site before I came up here – it's all new discoveries."
As we walk he sweeps the detector back and forth in front of him as it chatters away in a series of clicks, whoops and whistles.
"It's a bit like being out with the Clangers," he adds, smiling. "You have to have the ear to know what it all means."
Twinn bought a second-hand metal detector when he was in his teens and says he's "never looked back". He is now one of thousands involved in the hobby nationwide – a number expected to grow sharply following the announcement last autumn that "detectorist" Terry Herbert had found a huge hoard of Anglo Saxon gold in Staffordshire valued at £3.285 million. Last week, the historian David Starkey launched a campaign to keep the "Staffordshire hoard" in Britain, further adding to the excitement.
All around us chunks of Roman masonry dot the field. Twinn believes that hidden in the soil below is an extensive Roman ritual and domestic site, still largely unknown and undug, which is why the precise location of our walk must remain top secret....
Pilot Kevin Donaldson, who had serious leg wounds, crash-landed the plane on the Amazon River. A cockpit video tape obtained by ABC News shows how a CIA spotter plane sneaked up behind the Cessna and wrongly identified it as a drug plane. CIA operatives then called in the Peruvian Air Force....
The CIA said that after a nine year investigation, it had concluded that 16 of its employees should be disciplined.
Although the plans, by Australian architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall, have been approved by Wiltshire county council planners and are backed by local architects on the Wiltshire Design Forum, CABE said the "architectural approach" was wrong.
"We question whether, in this landscape of scale and huge horizons and with a very robust end point that has stood for centuries and centuries, this is the right design approach?" Diane Haigh, the watchdog's director of design review, told The Guardian.
"You need to feel you are approaching Stonehenge. You want the sense you are walking over Salisbury Plain towards the stones."
She said the intended location of the centre, at Airman's Corner, is appropriate and that CABE was pleased that "something was happening at last" to enhance the appeal of the 5,000-year-old World Heritage site.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-6-10)
"Would you accept the Republican nomination for President in 1980?" Margaret Thatcher was asked at a Foreign Policy Association lunch in New York on December 18, 1979.
The scribbled note, from an anonymous doting American, is just one of many documents released last week at the Churchill Archive Centre in Cambridge. It indicates how, even within the first few months of her election, Thatcher had established a reputation in the United States as a staunch Right-winger.
The note is part of the first annual tranche of documents that will form the most accessible and complete record of any Prime Minister in British history, penetrating as never before the personal, party and press domains of No 10.
The documents are all being digitised, and many thousands from Cambridge, and the National Archives in Kew, are going online at the Thatcher Foundation's website. They contain many juicy titbits that delighted the media last weekend, notably her diet in the run-up to the 1979 general election, consisting of up to 28 eggs a week. But does this new online cornucopia offer us genuine meat?
The year 1979 was pivotal in post-war British history. It saw a tired and defeated Labour government swept from power, to be replaced by a Conservative administration led by the country's first female Prime Minister, who despite having led the Conservative Party for four years, was still largely unknown. Do the documents so far released allow us to form a rounder picture of the most formidable peacetime Prime Minister Britain has seen in the past hundred years?
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-5-10)
"Romeo wherefore art thou" sees web users take on the role of one of Shakespeare's most famous characters, as he collects flowers for Juliet.
Initially commissioned by Shakespeare Country tourist site, the game has become a surprise hit with a third of the amount of the UK's population said to have played it.
The aim is to collect enough roses for your sweetheart Juliet, and with Valentines Day drawing closer, is proving a fitting game for wannabe Romeo's.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (2-9-10)
Leeland Eisenberg cut off his monitor just after 10 a.m., one day after being given a "last chance" at freedom by a judge who released him despite multiple probation violations, Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi said.
Velardi cautioned the public not to approach or attempt to apprehend Eisenberg if he is spotted.
SOURCE: AP (2-8-10)
Compelling story lines involving the city of New Orleans and its ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the attempt at a second Super Bowl ring for Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning propelled the viewership. Football ratings have been strong all season....
Nielsen estimated Monday that 106.5 million people watched Sunday's Super Bowl. The "M-A-S-H" record was 105.97 million.
SOURCE: AP (2-5-10)
The town formerly known as Skrunda-1 housed about 5,000 people during the Cold War but was abandoned over a decade ago after the Russian military withdrew from Latvia following the Soviet collapse.
A representative of a Russian investor won the bidding contest in Latvia's capital, Riga, with an offer of $3.1 million, said Anete Fridensteina-Bridina, a spokeswoman for the Baltic country's privatization agency. She said the buyer was Aleksejevskoje-Serviss, a Russia-based firm, though she could not provide details.
SOURCE: AP (1-31-10)
The festival, known as Sadeh, celebrates the discovery of fire and its ability to banish the cold and dark, and it is held in the frigid depths of winter.
Sadeh was the national festival of ancient Persia when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion, before the conquest of Islam in the 7th century. Now it is mostly celebrated just in the homes and temples of Iran's 60,000 remaining Zoroastrians.
Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of interest among Iranian Muslims — more than 90 percent of the population — in their ancient heritage, when vast Persian empires held sway over much of central Asia and fought Greek warriors and Roman legions....
SOURCE: AP (2-4-10)
Thomas Walther, who led the investigation that prompted Germany to prosecute Demjanjuk, said if survivor Alexej Weizen did remember Demjanjuk, it almost certainly would have come up before in the roughly 30 years the retired U.S. autoworker has faced investigations of his past.
Weizen had given statements previously to Soviet investigators and Demjanjuk had a high-profile trial in Israel in the 1980s.
"When now there is a trial and he suddenly says 'I know him' I'm very skeptical," Walther told The Associated Press. "Why did he not remember him when there was the trial in Israel, or when it was all over the press in the U.S.?"...
SOURCE: AP (2-3-10)
A concise version of the Britannica first published seven years ago and used initially on hand-held devices has falsely described Ireland's 1922-23 civil war as a fight between the Catholic south and Protestant north.
In reality, the civil war took place entirely south of the border, between two groups of Irish Catholic nationalists. The opposing sides were the fledgling army of the newly formed Irish Free State, which supported the Anglo-Irish treaty that created the state, and rebels who rejected it for failing to deliver full-fledged independence. The Irish Free State evolved over decades into today's Republic of Ireland.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (2-9-10)
A billboard popped up north of Minneapolis on I-35 featuring former President George W. Bush's image next to the words "Miss Me Yet?" last December. But until Tuesday it wasn't known who paid for it.
While the identities of the sign owners are still unclear, the general manager of the advertising company who owns the billboard space told Minnesota Public Radio it was financed by "a group of small business owners who feel like Washington is against them."
SOURCE: CNN (2-5-10)
Web sites like livinghistoryworldwide.com (with a membership of more than 5,700) and groups on Facebook allow people who enjoy past eras to connect with each other. But it goes beyond that: Some of them dress and live like they would decades, if not centuries, ago.
Step into Estelle Barada's living room in Providence, Rhode Island, and you might feel like you've traveled back to the 1890s.
SOURCE: CNN (2-8-10)
The death blow came last May when President Obama called the system obsolete, saying it is no longer needed in an age in which Global Positioning System devices are nearly ubiquitous in cars, planes and boats.
Killing Loran-C will save the government $190 million over five years, Obama said. But supporters of Loran -- including the man known as "the father of GPS" -- say the nation's increasing reliance on GPS paradoxically has increased the importance of maintaining Loran as a backup.
SOURCE: CNN (2-8-10)
Some experts say the revolution was also a catalyst for the spread of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East and South Asia.
This key date in Iran's history comes amid protests by the opposition after last year's disputed presidential election won by incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The so-called Green Movement has been protesting for social justice, freedom and democracy in demonstrations throughout the country since the June polls -- using slogans that are often identical to those heard during the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Two leading Iranian opposition leaders have called on supporters to protest on Thursday, the day of the anniversary.
The march towards revolution
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 signified the end of Iran's western-backed monarchy under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and the beginning of an Islamic republic.
The dramatic change in power was the culmination of more than a year of demonstrations against what was seen as the Shah's oppressive regime.
Despite soaring oil profits during the 1970s, Iran was plagued by crippling inflation. The Shah, who liked to show off his lavish lifestyle, was criticized for ignoring the poor and middle class. Iranians also condemned the Shah for spurning Islamic traditions in favor of modernization and stronger ties to the West.
Full Iran coverage
The opposition movement was led by the Shah's nemesis, Ayatollah Khomeini. The steely-eyed religious leader, who was rarely seen smiling, was exiled from Iran in 1964 but continued to relentlessly denounce the Shah as a corrupt dictator and Washington's puppet. Audiotapes of Khomeini's fiery speeches circulated throughout Iran.
On February 1, 1979, Khomeini made his triumphant return to Iran and was greeted by crowds estimated to be in the millions. Two weeks earlier, a defeated Shah had hurriedly left the country. The military declared itself neutral and on February 11, the Islamic Revolution was official.
What made the revolution unstoppable was the assortment of groups and social classes that opposed the Shah. The revolutionary groups included communists, socialists and secularists. Not everyone wanted a theocracy, but Khomeini and his followers managed to eliminate rival factions and establish an Islamic republic.
iReport: Share your photos, video, and stories related to the unrest in Iran
After the revolution
It was Khomeini's version of a democracy, one that was designed to be led by representatives of the people, but all decisions and laws were to be first approved by Khomeini himself, the supreme leader, and clerics who ruled in the name of God.
Khomeini had made the controversial decision to inject religion into politics. Critics pointed to the regime's apparent contradiction. The Islamic Republic can either be a democracy or a theocracy but not both, critics said.
When Imam Khomeini blessed the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, anti-Americanism became a pillar of the regime. Chants of death to America were a response to what revolutionaries called U.S. meddling in Iran's affairs -- most notably the 1953 coup that toppled Iran's democratically elected prime minister and Washington's support for the unpopular Shah.
Crushing dissent became another trademark of Iran's hardline rulers. According to Amnesty International, the regime secretly executed up to 5,000 political prisoners in 1988. Morality police even patrolled the streets in a campaign against western-styled clothing.
The first significant calls for reform came in 1997 with the election of President Mohammad Khatami. The moderate cleric won 70 percent of the vote and served two terms, but his push for a freer, more open society and better relations with the West were largely blocked by Iran's conservative hardliners.
The first major public protests against the regime came in 1999, when students at Tehran University demonstrated against the closing down of several reformist papers. The government answered with a brutal crackdown and a wave of arrests.
In 2005, newly elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated tensions with the West. In fiery speeches, the hard-line conservative raged against the U.S. and what he called western Imperialism. He also drew the ire of Israeli leaders when he questioned the scale of the Holocaust.
During his first term, Iran reaped record oil profits and defiantly pressed on with what it called a peaceful nuclear program despite international concern that Tehran was keen to develop a bomb.
But Ahmadinejad's opponents criticized him for mismanaging the economy, failing to curb the high cost of living, and isolating Iran from the international community.
One of Ahmadinejad's political opponents was Mir Hussein Mousavi, a former prime minister who served under the late Imam Khomeini. The two faced off in presidential elections last June. Ahmadinejad's landslide victory sparked widespread protests by the opposition Green Movement that still claims the election was rigged.
In the government crackdown that followed, dozens were killed and thousands were arrested. But almost eight months after the disputed vote, the opposition has refused to back down.
SOURCE: CNN (2-5-10)
The answer may be seen by looking at Obama's first year in office, several scholars, and a relative of Niebuhr's, suggest.
At first, there seems to be little resemblance between the cool, cerebral Obama and the pugnacious Niebuhr.
Niebuhr was a blunt critic of morally complacent Christians. He thought the church was full of idealists who believed that progress was inevitable and that love alone would ultimately conquer injustice, some Niebuhr scholars say.
The president's political rhetoric reflects some of Niebuhr's world view, says great-nephew Gustav Niebuhr. He says Obama, like his great-uncle, avoids moral absolutes in his speeches: The U.S. is not always right, and its enemies are not always evil.
Niebuhr says he saw this attitude embedded in Obama's speech to the Arab world in Cairo, Egypt, last year. Obama acknowledged U.S. involvement in helping overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran during the 1950s and avoided "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that implied that the U.S. is free of moral taint.
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (2-8-10)
At the centre of the diplomatic row is a 2,500-year-old cuneiform tablet, known as the Cyrus Cylinder, which most historians regard as the world’s first declaration of human rights.
Curators had been due to lend the artefact to Tehran last month, but announced that the handover would be delayed after the discovery of new tablets that they believe could help its research. The delay has provoked the anger of Iranian officials, who announced an end to dialogue yesterday in protest at a decision that they believe is politically motivated.
Hamid Baghaei, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation, said that the move to keep the cylinder was unacceptable. “The Cultural Heritage Organisation has cut all its relations and co-operation with the British Museum,” he said.
Name of source: China Daily
SOURCE: China Daily (2-9-10)
"We found 15 sections with a total length of 26 km of ancient wall and three beacons built in Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 24) in our county recently during the nationwide survey," said Liang Shilin, deputy director of the culture bureau and director of the Museum in Jinta county,Gansu province.
The ancient wall was built in the north part in the county and the newly discovery made the archaeologists clear the exact location and distribution of the ancient wall in the north part of the county, Liang said.
The wall was built since Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC) as a defensive way to prevent the invasion from the other states in Chinese history.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (2-8-10)
For decades, Japanese leaders have gone to great lengths to deny the pacts’ existence, despite mounting proof to the contrary from the testimony of former diplomats and declassified documents in the United States. The most sensational instance came in 1972, when a reporter who unearthed evidence of one of the treaties was arrested on charges of obtaining state secrets, reportedly by means of an adulterous affair.
Now, the so-called secret treaties are causing problems again, this time in how Japan is handling its suddenly rocky relationship with the United States.
The new administration in Tokyo, whose election last summer ended a half-century of nearly unbroken control by the Liberal Democrats, wants to expose the treaties as a showcase of its determination to sweep aside the nation’s secretive, bureaucrat-dominated postwar order. Last fall, the foreign minister appointed a team of scholars to scour Japanese diplomatic archives for evidence of the treaties. Its findings are due this month....
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (2-4-10)
The car, a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere, was buried in Tulsa as a vehicular time capsule to commemorate Oklahoma’s 50th birthday. The car was put into the earth with much fanfare. The city fathers, in news reports at the time, said they were proud of the care with which they buried the car, confident that it would be in good condition when disinterred 50 years later.
The Plymouth was the prize in a contest whose winner most closely guessed Tulsa’s population 50 years in the future.
The winner was Raymond Humbertson, who died in 1979, so the car was awarded to his sisters: Levada Carney, now 86, and Catherine Johnson, 95.
But water had seeped into the concrete crypt housing the car. So when the Belvedere was dug up in June 2007, there was a bit of the same letdown as when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault in 1986. That vault was empty, and the one in Tulsa contained a rusted shell of a once-gorgeous car.
SOURCE: New York Times (2-6-10)
Her death was confirmed by Larry Goedde, chairman of the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she taught for two decades.
Fluent in several languages and equipped with a formidable memory, Dr. Gasman redefined Picasso studies. Most scholars had either analyzed Picasso’s art purely in terms of formal innovations and aesthetic progress or offered one-dimensional readings of his work in relation to his life story. Dr. Gasman found a middle way.
One of her more sensational achievements was to track down Marie-Thérèse Walter, the great love of Picasso’s life, in the south of France in 1972 and, over a period of several days, to conduct the frankest, most detailed interview about their life together.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (2-8-10)
Nicholas Kafouris, 40, who taught at East London's Bigland Green Primary School for 12 years, is suing the school for racial discrimination after he was allegedly forced from his post because he would not tolerate the remarks of his students.
Kafouris claims members of his class, some as young as eight years old, openly praised Islamic extremists in his classroom, hailing the terrorists behind the attacks of Sept. 11 as "martyrs," the Daily Mail reported.
SOURCE: Fox News (2-8-10)
The country's top cleric was marking the occasion when Iran's air force gave its support to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a key event which led to the toppling of the U.S.-backed shah on February 11, 1979.
This year's anniversary is expected to become a flashpoint between security forces and supporters of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who charge that the June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was rigged.
SOURCE: Fox News (2-6-10)
President Obama echoed the iconic Republican, who wold have been 99 Saturday, in his State of the Union address last week.
Many tea party activists say Reagan and his mantra of cutting taxes are part of the inspiration behind the rallies that have gripped the country in the past year.
And many Republican candidates in this year's midterm elections are expected to rely on Reagan's name and image to help them win back seats this fall.
In one case, Danny Tarkanian, one of three potential GOP challengers to an increasingly vulnerable Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is using footage of the Gipper in one of his campaign videos.
SOURCE: Fox News (2-5-10)
Attorney General Eric Holder's decision not to use a military commission to bring them to justice has driven a wedge between him and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, whose opposition is grounded in politics, according to the New Yorker.
Emanuel feared that a fight over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could alienate key Republicans whom he argued the administration needed to help close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
The internal battle comes as the Obama administration is seeking a $200 million fund to help pay for security costs in the city, yet to be determined, that will host the trials. Last week, Graham introduced a bill in the Senate to block the funding.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (2-8-10)
Elected to Congress in 1974 from a southwestern Pennsylvania district that has been economically devastated by the decline of America's coal-mining and steel industries, the gruff and jowly Murtha was beloved by his constituents for tapping billions of dollars in federal funds to seed new industries there.
He was revered among Democrats -- and even some Republicans -- for his skill over 19 terms in using the power of the federal purse to make kings and deals. A right-hand man of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he was considered one of the most influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill and credited with her ascension.
Critics dubbed Murtha, the chairman of the powerful subcommittee that controls Pentagon spending, the "King of Pork" for the volume of taxpayer money he could direct to the area around his home town of Johnstown. Most of the largesse came in defense and military research contracts he steered to companies based in his district or with small offices there....
Name of source: Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News
SOURCE: Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News (2-8-10)
Shelby's action is "outlandish," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the Senate floor last Thursday. But that was as far as he was prepared to go, or perhaps farther than he intended to go. Striking a tactical retreat, he immediately added: "I can't imagine this is the right thing to do."
The new obstructionism has the potential to cripple the U.S. government, warned Paul Krugman today in the New York Times, and to do so in a particularly pointless and humiliating way: "Instead of re-enacting the decline and fall of Rome, we’re re-enacting the dissolution of 18th-century Poland," he wrote.
Confronted with rampant irresponsibility and procedural abuse, the White House and the Majority party are not -- or should not be -- helpless to respond. In theory, their options include recess appointments to circumvent the Senate confirmation process, and the so-called "nuclear" option to alter existing Senate procedures. These alternatives, along with related background, have been usefully described in a series of reports from the Congressional Research Service
Name of source: JournalNews (Hamilton, OH)
SOURCE: JournalNews (Hamilton, OH) (2-7-10)
The high school social service organization will present “History through Music: African American Creativity from Gospel to Hip-Hop” later in February, which is also Black History Month. Social studies teacher and organization adviser Damien Strecker said part of the group’s responsibility is to educate the community.
“Some students, at least in the classes I teach, question the purpose of Black History Month. But for me, personally, I always say 11 months out of the year you don’t always hear these stories that are part of the American experience,” Strecker said. “There’s absolutely no way to truly understand the American experience unless you do get these other narratives.”
The group — which normally presents a play for Black History Month — decided to tell black history with the music closely associated with the culture....
Name of source: Record Net
SOURCE: Record Net (2-6-10)
In the past two years, thefts of iron objects have been reported at four historic mine sites in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, as well as from two historic buildings in downtown San Andreas.
In the most recent incident, an employee at the Calaveras Arts Council arrived at work Jan. 4 to discover two 10-foot-tall fire doors, each weighing about 300 pounds, were gone.
The Arts Council was lucky. Less than a week later, Calaveras County Sheriff's Department investigators found the doors at a home in San Andreas. Douglas Alameda of San Andreas was arrested on a charge of possessing stolen property, and the doors were returned.
But historians, historic property owners and public officials say the problem is much larger than Alameda.
"One person couldn't have ever handled that, and they've only arrested one," Penny West, executive director of the Arts Council, said of the door theft.
In Tuolumne County, authorities are prosecuting three men charged with using trucks, cutting torches and other heavy equipment to take metal from mine sites and sell for scrap in Stockton and Modesto.
Remote locations and a lack of witnesses initially hampered the Tuolumne County investigation. After hearing a report that the historic Buchanan Mine site was being looted in August 2008, for example, a Stanislaus National Forest patrol captain went to the site only to find that "a historic processing plant had been completely stripped of its contents and portions of the metal building had been removed."
A rancher and other witnesses who obtained license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles eventually enabled Tuolumne County Sheriff's detectives to crack the case and document repeated sales of the stolen metal in Stockton.
The Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office is now prosecuting Guy Graham, Michael Streib and William Horton, all of Modesto, on theft charges. Graham also faces a charge of transporting the stolen metal. That trial is set to begin Wednesday.
Whether anyone will be prosecuted for the disappearance of a historic stamp mill from the Etna Mine near Glencoe is unclear. Locals say the stamp mill disappeared sometime since summer 2008.
An archeologist for the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the site, said he was not allowed to talk about the Etna Mine theft and referred questions to a BLM law enforcement agent. Neither that agent nor BLM Field Office Manager Bill Haigh responded to messages asking for comment.
Calaveras County Supervisor Steve Wilensky, who lives only miles from the Etna Mine site, said he knows of the Etna Mine theft and that the case is only the most recent example of a larger problem.
"With the price of metals having gone up, this has led to an increase in people simply carrying artifacts away," Wilensky said. "We are an area that values its history and yet tolerates its plundering with little organized response."
Calaveras County District Attorney Jeffrey Tuttle said he was not aware of the Etna Mine stamp mill theft or of any effort to prosecute those responsible.
Tuttle and other officials said one way to combat the disappearance of historic iron objects is to report thefts promptly. Thanks to pressure from farmers, who are also frequent victims of scrap metal bandits, California's legislature in recent years has passed laws to crack down on the illicit scrap metal trade.
Scrap metal dealers, for example, now must pay for scrap with checks and take other measures to document transactions.
Those in the business say it is possible that some artifacts, such as the fire doors taken in San Andreas, might fetch a better price if purchased as antiques by someone seeking the doors for their home.
Yet salvage dealers say they are also cautious about such transactions.
"We require a valid ID, and we try to record as much as possible," said Sean Oconnell, an employee at Ohmega Salvage in Oakland.
Because there are only a limited number of salvage and scrap dealers in the region, investigators and those in the business say it is often possible to find distinctive historic metal items if the theft is reported promptly.
Chris Airola, owner of a historic building just up Main Street from the Calaveras Arts Council, says he now wishes he'd made a prompt report after learning from a tenant that a set of his building's iron fire doors were taken last summer.
"I just figured by the time I found out about it, it would be melted down," Airola said. "I would love it if they were able to get them back."
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (2-8-10)
Five years later, residents have less than a month to save the site. The racetrack is still hidden beneath local roads, gardens and old army buildings, but campaigners are hoping to buy a large Victorian garden which covers the key part of the circuit.
Buried beneath are eight stone enclosures, originally having been fitted with wooden double doors, like giant greyhound racing traps. The land is the garden of a listed but derelict sergeants' mess, which will become an exhibition if the campaign succeeds. If it fails, however, the building will become apartments, and the garden will be the apartment block's private land again.
For almost 2,000 years, the 350-metre outline of the track has remained intact. The site lay undiscovered until the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) began excavating after the Ministry of Defence sold the barracks for housing in 2005. Archaeological digs suggest the racetrack was built in the early 2nd century, and lasted about 150 years before falling out of use, perhaps because a day at the races became prohibitively expensive for the local gentry – crowds received free admission and also expected to receive gifts.
Name of source: AFP
SOURCE: AFP (2-8-10)
The skeletal remains are of a youth who died 8,000 to 11,000 years ago, the Sunday Star quoted Nik Hasan Shuhaimi, deputy director of the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation of the National University of Malaysia, as saying.
The bones were found in the Bewah Cave near Kenyir Lake in the northeastern state of Terengganu in November.
SOURCE: AFP (2-5-10)
Darwin, who hypothesised that all humans evolved from common ancestors in his seminal 1859 work "On the Origin of Species", came from Haplogroup R1b, one of the most common European male lineages, said genealogist Spencer Wells.
Director of the Genographic Project, an international study mapping the migratory history of the human species, Wells said they took a DNA sample from Darwin's great-great grandson Chris Darwin, 48, who lives on the outskirts of Sydney.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-6-10)
Based on long-dormant medical archives and formerly classified military documents, it claimed the dictator was so afraid of pills that most of his medication was injected.
The authors of the book, titled Was Hitler Ill?, claimed he took 82 different sorts of medication during his rule of Nazi Germany including the primitive “Viagra”, which was a testosterone extract.
The book is largely based on papers from Dr. Theodor Morrell, regarded as a quack among many in the upper echelons of Nazism, who Hitler came to rely on with increasing urgency during the war.
The less-than-flattering nickname “Reich syringe master” was given to him by Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering, himself a morphine addict by war's end.
According to the book, in 1944, Morrell began giving Hitler injections of the testosterone and a cocktail made from the semen and prostate glands of young bulls into his bloodstream.
Hitler, then 55, believed this would give him the necessary energy for his encounters with his young lover, then 32, who would die with him a year later in the Berlin bunker as his new bride.
Name of source: ArtDaily.org
SOURCE: ArtDaily.org (2-5-10)
Nine dwelling sites, 2 ceremonial and 2 of funerary character were found in Ohuivo, Chorogue, Zapuri and Güerachi localities of Guachochi municipality in Chihuahua.
Archaeologist Enrique Chacon, from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), declared that according to first explorations, 3 types of sites were identified, which, according to architecture, burial system and regional research references, are dated in 16th-17th centuries, while others could go back to 11th century of the Common Era.
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Education
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (2-5-10)
"The Shaping of the American Mind," the fourth report from the institute on civic literacy, will be formally released on Wednesday.
Richard A. Brake, a co-author of the report, said he and his colleagues had sought to see what civic or social lessons students were learning in college....
The institute found that people who had attained at least a bachelor's degree were more likely than Americans whose formal education ended with a high-school diploma to take a liberal stance on certain controversial social issues. For example, 39 percent of people whose highest level of education was a bachelor's degree supported same-sex marriage, compared with 25 percent with a high-school diploma. The trend continued with advanced degrees: About 46 percent of people with master's degrees supported same-sex marriage, as did 43 percent of people with Ph.D.'s....
"College graduates, whether it be current or graduated in the past, seem to have difficulty knowing basic things about our government and our history," Mr. Brake said. "Does college share all the blame? Of course not — this is a systemic problem, from K through 12 and all the way up. But universities train our teachers and train our leaders, so they play a role."
Name of source: ProPublica.org
SOURCE: ProPublica.org (2-5-10)
According to this long-buried CBO document (PDF) , in March 1983, total outstanding state loans were 13.7 billion, a figure that includes borrowing during 1981 and 1982 and the first quarter of 1983 plus carried-over borrowing from 1975 to 1980.
In 2009 dollars, that’s $29.5 billion. Current state borrowing is now just over $30 billion....
In 1983, states’ borrowing was equal to about 3 percent of total taxable wages. Today, that borrowing is equal to about 2.4 percent. But never fear – states only have to borrow $6.5 billion more to make up the difference, and California alone is projected to borrow $11 billion more before the recession is over.