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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: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (3-26-10)
Investigators reported seeing a wing, tail section, landing gear and other mangled debris spread out over 200 yards in a heavily wooded area in Tillamook County in northwestern Oregon.
Oregon State Police bomb technicians checked the site Wednesday afternoon and found no obvious signs of unexploded ordnance.
SOURCE: CNN (3-25-10)
The War Department, as the Defense Department used to be called, wanted it that way. On Thursday, a ceremony at the Pentagon will undo that.
When Walter Morris first joined the Army just before World War II, he wasn't a "black" or "Negro" or "African-American" soldier -- he was "colored." And he was treated like all the other "colored" men who wanted to fight for their country.
"We were servants, we were not soldiers," Morris said. "Most of us had an inferiority complex and it was a result of what they had assigned us to do."
In the Deep South in the 1940s, racism was out in the open, including in the Army.
"You could walk down the street in the main post exchange area and in the summer the door would be open and you could look in and see white soldiers and prisoners of war from Germany sitting at the same table drinking, smoking," Morris said. "That in itself gave you this inferiority complex. You are in uniform and you couldn't go in, but the prisoners could go in and have coffee and cigarettes."
But by the time he left the Army, Morris would become the first "colored" man ever to earn the U.S. Army Airborne Parachutist Badge. It's all because he wanted to overcome that "inferiority complex."
Morris was the sergeant for a unit of black soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia. That's where the Army was training white soldiers to be Airborne parachutists.
So after watching the white soldiers training, he would gather up black soldiers who had finished their jobs as cooks, guards or drivers, and they would duplicate the training the white trainees had just gone through.
"We went to the calisthenics field and we knew the routine because we had watched them. ... We started with the five-foot platform where they jumped into the pit," Morris said.
"The most interesting thing of that was the replica of a C47 plane -- the body of it -- and the students went in there and sat down and they pretended to be paratroopers," Morris said.
While Morris was trying to build his men's self-esteem, the War Department was quietly considering creating an all-black paratrooper unit. Morris soon found himself with a new job as the top noncommissioned officer for the new unit dedicated to training America's first "colored" parachutists, the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, or the Triple Nickle. They decided to spell it differently from "nickel" to make sure people knew they were unique. The unit had plenty of doubters.
"They didn't think colored soldiers had the intestinal fortitude to jump out of a plane in flight," Morris remembered.
But the men proved the doubters wrong. Twenty soldiers started the training and on February 18, 1944, 17 soldiers graduated and earned the Parachutist Badge. As the unit's first sergeant, Morris was the first man of the 555th to be pinned with the coveted "wings."
"That was the happiest day of my life, because now I was a combat paratrooper," Morris said.
But happiness was soon replaced by reality.
D-Day was approaching and the Triple Nickle wanted badly to jump into Europe to fight the Nazis. But the white officers who supported the Triple Nickle couldn't convince the generals in charge in the European theater to put the unit to use.
"The Army had no place for us," Morris recalls. "None of the commanding generals wanted the extra problem of integrating colored soldiers with the white soldiers, so they refused."
But soon the Japanese military created a need for the Triple Nickle's special skills -- and this is why Walter Morris is not as well known as Thurgood Marshall or Hattie McDaniel.
The only military attack to hit the U.S. mainland during World War II involved incendiary balloons. The Japanese released bomb-laden balloons into the winds that carried across the North Pacific towards the U.S. West Coast. The intent was to set fires in cities such as Seattle, Washington, or San Francisco, California.
More often than not the balloons simply started huge forest fires. But the Japanese didn't know what the balloons were accomplishing. The War Department wanted the fires put out and wanted to make sure the news didn't get out.
The U.S. Forest Service needed help putting the fires out. Morris and the members of the Triple Nickle packed up and flew west. Even they didn't know where they were going.
"It was a secret mission called Operation Firefly. We thought we were going overseas to [Gen. Douglas] MacArthur's theater," Morris said. It wasn't until they arrived in Oregon that they learned they'd be fighting the Japanese on the fire line in the Western United States.
With some quick training, the Triple Nickle became the "Smoke Jumpers" -- firefighters who parachuted into rugged mountain terrain with nothing but shovels, axes and basic supplies. Their mission meant they had to get the fire under control or out before they could return to base.
After 1,200 jumps, the fire season and the war were over.
But because Operation Firefly started out as a secret, the Triple Nickle's contribution to protecting the home front and to history was all but lost.
Now the Pentagon wants to change that, honoring the Triple Nickle. Of those first 17 graduates, three are still alive -- Walter Morris, Roger Walden and Clarence Beavers.
They will be the guests of honor at a ceremony Thursday at the Pentagon.
They may not be as well known as other trailblazers in African-American history, but they were every bit the pioneers they trained to be.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (3-26-10)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton surely will rank for placement there someday. For now, they are making history, and on Thursday, at a reception in that hall, the two took an hour to celebrate together.
Pelosi opened her arms wide to Clinton and they hugged tightly, cheek to cheek, two brilliant red-lipsticked smiles. It was an exuberant display of girliness from two formidable women nearing the end of an extraordinary week for both.
"Whoever thought that on this day of all days, I'd be standing on this podium to celebrate Women's History Month and sharing the stage with two of my role models and two of the greatest female pioneers and role models for all of us?" said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), to cheers, applause and whistles from a crowd of 300 women and men....
The reception was pulled together as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Women's History Month, before the month slipped away. In 1980, Woolsey said, there were seven women in Congress; now there are 90. Many of them were present Thursday, including at least one Republican, Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, said a spokesman for Pelosi. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis also attended, as did House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.).
SOURCE: WaPo (3-24-10)
It was March 27, 1912, the event that gave birth to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. But almost a century later, little is ever said of the other two VIPs there that day -- Japanese Viscountess Iwa Chinda, who planted the second tree, and her husband, Japan's newly appointed ambassador to the United States, Sutemi Chinda.
They were an accomplished, dignified and tragic couple, having lost one son four years before in an explosion aboard a Japanese warship.
They would depart four years later with Washington the place of another heart-breaking calamity: the death of a second son, by his own hand.
The first planting -- marked Saturday by this year's festival kickoff at the National Building Museum -- was but a moment in history. There is little record of what transpired at the Tidal basin. A weathered plaque offers a bare-bones summary, between two gnarled trees that are said to be the originals. The newspapers carried only a few paragraphs, and no photographs appear to survive.
Yet the planting sparked a tradition that would outlast some of the most cataclysmic events of the 20th century. And it brought to Washington the lore of the fleeting blossoms and the ancient emblems of beauty, life and death....
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (3-25-10)
At a rally to commemorate the Slovak wartime state (1939-1945), people demonstrated in support of the patriotism bill in Bratislava, with portraits of the codificator of the Slovak language, Ludovit Stur, left, and the president of the Nazi-backed wartime Slovak state, Josef Tiso.
As part of a patriotism bill that some school principals have derided as Pyongyang-on-the-Danube, state schools will also be required to hang the Slovak flag in every classroom, along with the text of that national anthem and the national symbols — three hills and a double cross signifying the Christian heritage....
Since the Berlin Wall fell and unfroze the Communist clamp on the multiple ethnicities and tangled histories of each country in Eastern Europe, history has been reborn.
Rarely is it as malleable as in a young nation like Slovakia, which is heavily Roman Catholic, was a Nazi puppet state in World War II and has been long in the shadow of a larger, neighboring Slavic rival — the Czechs.
Add to that a general tendency across a unifying Europe — the European Union now numbers 27 states, and just under 500 million people — to emphasize regional, religious, linguistic and other badges of identity, and the Slovak bill easily stirs tempers among citizens more accustomed to settling disputes in a bar....
Rafael Rafaj, the author of the bill and a member of the Slovak National Party, which is a junior partner in the government coalition, argued that the legislation was a legitimate attempt to assert self-esteem in a tiny country that spent most of its history subsumed by larger states. For centuries, Hungary ruled, and crowned its kings in Bratislava, more commonly known then as Poszony, or by its Austrian name, Pressburg. From 1918, Slovakia was the poorer segment of the former Czechoslovakia....
Martin Simecka, a leading intellectual, expressed cohttp://hnn.us/blog_entry.php?blog_id=41ncern that national myth-makers were glossing over uncomfortable truths. In particular, he said he feared that some nationalists were seeking to let off the hook the Nazi-backed Slovak puppet state of 1939-1945, which abetted the deportation of 50,000 Jews and which a small minority of Slovaks view as a time of vaunted independence. The education minister, a member of the Slovak National Party, has been promoting a new history text book that some critics complain glorifies the past.
“We had fascism in this country in World War II, and no one should play with that,” Mr. Simecka said. “My fear is that the patriotism bill is targeted at ethnic minorities.”...
SOURCE: NYT (3-22-10)
Four years ago, the Pentagon was ready to start retiring the plane, which took its first test flight in 1955. But Congress blocked that, saying the plane was still useful.
And so it is. Because of updates in the use of its powerful sensors, it has become the most sought-after spy craft in a very different war in Afghanistan.
As it shifts from hunting for nuclear missiles to detecting roadside bombs, it is outshining even the unmanned drones in gathering a rich array of intelligence used to fight the Taliban.
All this is a remarkable change from the U-2’s early days as a player in United States-Soviet espionage. Built to find Soviet missiles, it became famous when Francis Gary Powers was shot down in one while streaking across the Soviet Union in 1960, and again when another U-2 took the photographs that set off the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Newer versions of the plane have gathered intelligence in every war since then and still monitor countries like North Korea.
Now the U-2 and its pilots, once isolated in their spacesuits at 70,000 feet, are in direct radio contact with the troops in Afghanistan. And instead of following a rote path, they are now shifted frequently in midflight to scout roads for convoys and aid soldiers in firefights....
SOURCE: NYT (3-23-10)
“I tell my children to tell people that it’s a Japanese name and be proud of it,” Mr. Mangjul, 67, said in an interview at his home.
How Mr. Mangjul ended up with his unusual name is a story of how he made peace with both Japan, his father’s country, and South Korea, his mother’s. It tells one man’s struggle to salvage an identity amid the turmoil that engulfed the two nations for much of the last century.
In South Korea, just 20 surnames — including Kim, Lee and Park — account for 65 percent of the population. An unconventional name, particularly one that reflects Japanese roots, invites scrutiny, not always friendly.
“Mangjul Ilrang” sounds neither Korean to Koreans nor Japanese to Japanese. It is written in the Chinese characters sometimes used for names in both countries. They are pronounced Ichiro Amigiri in Japanese, which was his original name, but Mangjul Ilrang in Korean, which is how he says it now....
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (3-25-10)
Built in Connecticut, the black-hulled, two-masted re-creation of the schooner, whose name means "Friendship," flew the flags of the United States, Cuba and United Nations. It was one of the few times a ship under Cuba's flag and the Stars and Stripes has called on the island in 51 years of estrangement since Fidel Castro took power.
As the Amistad neared shore, the crew of 19 mostly students — all Americans except for one from the African nation of Sierra Leone — lowered the sails, taking the U.S. flag down with them. Once the ship docked, however, the flags of both nations again flew high.
"Sorry, I don't speak much Spanish," a grinning Capt. William Pinkney said in grammatically correct, if halting, Spanish, as he stepped ashore. Pinkney, Amistad's captain emeritus, led the journey into Havana.
A group of Cuban dignitaries headed by parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon greeted the vessel, along with Cuban preteens in red-and-white school uniforms, leaders of Cuba's Santeria religion, which mixes Catholicism with the traditional African Yoruba faith, and a band pounding conga drums....
Name of source: Medieval News
SOURCE: Medieval News (3-22-10)
From today to March 25th, visitors to the National Trusts' Petworth House, Sussex, will be able to watch the team of four as they work with cutting edge equipment to record the early 15th century Chaucer manuscript in close detail.
It is part of a 18-month project - funded by JISC - which showcases The University of Manchester as one of the country's leading centres for digitisation of rare books, manuscripts and archives.
The Petworth edition of the famous stories was hand written between 1420 and 1450, just a few years after they were first conceived by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Tales relate a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims to create an ironic picture of 14th century English life. It is thought the manuscript has been at Petworth for at least four hundred years.
The Centre of Digital Excellence will support universities, colleges, libraries and museums which lack the resources to carry out the specialised work. Using images taken by a £22,000 camera, scholars will be able to study rare books, archival documents, artworks and museum artefacts in huge detail.
Mark Purcell, Libraries Curator for the National Trust said: "The Petworth Chaucer manuscript is one of the most important books in the possession of the Trust.
“It is believed to have been written in England ca.1420-1430, perhaps for the 3rd Earl of Northumberland (1421-1461) or for the 2nd Earl (1394-1455), who was married to Eleanor Neville, Chaucer’s grand-niece.
“Another possibility is that the manuscript was bequeathed in 1451 by Sir Thomas Cumberworth to his grand-niece, whose husband acted as agent for the 4th Earl of Northumberland.
"The text includes many forms of words peculiar to the West and North Midlands. It was written by a single hand, and there are many decorated initials."
Assistant Librarian Carol Burrows, from The University of Manchester, manages the project. She said: "We're very excited to be working with the National Trust to launch this project.
"No other organisation in the north of England specialises in the object-centred digitisation of heritage materials.
"As the set-up costs of such facilities are prohibitive for most institutions, many can't afford to carry out this sort of work.
"Over the eighteen months, we will be investigating whether a Centre for Heritage Digitisation, based within The University of Manchester, will work as a commercial concern.
"By locating the Centre within the University we will be able to draw on our exceptional body of skills and expertise."
Ben Showers, programme manager at JISC, said: " What makes this project so exciting is that not only will the John Rylands Library be working with other organisations to make available online some rare and important scholarly works.
“But they will also be exploring business models for the long term viability of digitisation.
“JISC's funding of this centre of excellence will help support smaller cultural organisations such as university or college archives and libraries
“It will make available precious resources that the organisations themselves may not have the skills, resources or simply the time, to put online."
The images will be made available on-line as part of the John Ryland’s Library’s Medieval Collection: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/library/eresources/imagecollections/university/medieval/
SOURCE: Medieval News (3-25-10)
"The late Middle Ages were unique from the point of view of climate," explains Dr Ulf Büntgen of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Birmensdorf, Switzerland. "Significantly, there were distinct phases in which summers were wetter than they are today."
What exactly took place at the time can be reconstructed today by studying the annual growth rings of old oak trees. "Annual growth rings provide us with an accurate indication of summer droughts for each individual year, dating back to late medieval times," adds Professor Dr Jan Esper of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Together with colleagues at the universities of Bonn, Gießen, and Göttingen, Büntgen and Esser managed, with the aid of the information provided by tree growth rings, to identify for the first time the summer drought periods over extensive areas of Germany in the last 1000 years. Their results have been published in the leading specialist journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
Using dendrochronology, the researchers have been able to demonstrate, for example, that a ridge beam in an old timber-framed house in the city of Kassel must have come from a tree felled in 1439. In this technique, the pattern of annual growth rings is compared with those in already dated wood samples. "We can thus determine the exact age of every beam," says Büntgen, describing the process.
The ridge beam can also provide information on whether past summers in Kassel were wet or dry. "If a summer tended to be wet, the trees generally grew faster, thus resulting in wider growth rings," Esper explains. However, the information available from one beam is not enough to allow reliable conclusions about the climate in Kassel in 1439 to be reached. A large number of wood samples are required.
For their survey the researchers analyzed 953 different pieces of oak. To obtain information on the more recent past, they took wood from living trees. They also took samples from wooden construction elements of old timber-framed houses, castles, and churches, thus roughly covering the period of the last 1000 years. All construction wood samples were obtained in the north of the German state of Hesse and the south of Lower Saxony, while the living wood came from the region of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park.
"Oak trees in this area are particularly sensitive to climate change," states Büntgen, explaining why these sites were selected. The oldest wood sample used in this survey dates back to the year 996 A.D., a time when the Holy Roman Empire was just coming into being. A total of 135,000 individual growth rings were measured to obtain a detailed overview of the history of rainfall in Germany, covering major eras ranging from the optimal Medieval climate (warm and humid) through the Little Ice Age (dry and cold) to that of the Industrial Climate Change (dry and warm).
The late Middle Ages were characterized by two distinct wet periods in Central Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries, separated by dry summer weather between 1300 and 1340. "The increase in summer rainfall between 1350 and 1370 is remarkable and occurred exactly at the time when the plague broke out and spread across the entire European continent," Büntgen specifies. This was followed by a generally drier phase from the late 15th century to the early 18th century. More wet summers occured at the beginning and at the end of the 18th century, while a trend towards a drier climate has developed over the last 200 years.
"We think that our results will also be useful for historians, as it may possible to associate droughts with famines and perhaps even large-scale migration events," is the view shared by the climate researchers Büntgen and Esper. The researchers hope that collaboration between the natural and social sciences in interdisciplinary research projects will, in future, provide more information on the links between climatic and social processes of change. They themselves will be continuing their research into the Medieval plague epidemic, the Black Death.
SOURCE: Medieval News (3-25-10)
Repairs to painstakingly rebuild and underpin the precinct north wall have been going on for seven weeks largely behind the popular aviary in the Gardens and away from public gaze.
It has involved carefully dismantling the top section of the flintwork above and adjacent to the aviary as well as structural repairs to the wall within the aviary itself, all of which is believed to have originated in the 12th century with subsequent phases of repair and alteration, marking the position of the flints and then replacing them after strengthening work has been carried out.
An archaeological dig and recording exercise was undertaken by Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. This was to inform the conservation repair programme, provide a record of the existing fabric before repair, identifying phasing in the development of the north precinct wall, and undertake the trial dig to determine below ground archaeology that allowed the wall to be successfully underpinned without disturbance to the original medieval fabric.
English Heritage Project Manager David Brown said: “Bury’s Abbey Gardens are of true historical importance to the nation and a real jewel in the crown in the modern context of a thriving Suffolk town. This work is all about maintaining the fabric of this piece of history for generations to come.”
David Gill Suffolk County Council archaeologist, said: “The project afforded an exciting opportunity to re-examine one of the best preserved and earliest of the abbey's buildings, and has greatly increased our understanding of how it once looked and functioned”
Bob Carr, consultant and ex-Suffolk County Council archaeologist, said: “The wall face behind the aviary is by far the best preserved example of early medieval fabric from such buildings; the architectural detailing of both windows and probable doorways survive and date the mass fabric. This is the best survival of Early English style surviving in the Abbey. Overall this area of fabric is assessed as being of the highest importance.”
The formal flower Gardens – seen by many as an oasis of calm in the bustling West Suffolk market town – were established in the 1830s and taken over by the borough council shortly before the First World War.
But the site’s history goes back to early medieval times with the foundation of a religious community in 633 AD. It was renamed after St Edmund, the Martyr King of East Anglia, whose remains were transferred there during the 10th century and was for centuries a place of pilgrimage. In 1214 AD the barons of England gathered at the site to swear an oath to force King John to establish a charter of liberties, which months later resulted in the Magna Carta.
The Gardens are now a major tourist attraction in Bury. As well as the formally laid-out gardens, the site includes an open play area, a sensory garden for the blind, a rose garden dedicated to the USAF airmen stationed in the area during WWII and recreational facilities.
Name of source: Ria Novosti
SOURCE: Ria Novosti (3-25-10)
"This never happened, not even in the Soviet era," a committee source said. This year, the organizers have also asked the regional authorities to refrain from carrying Stalin's portraits. This primarily concerns Moscow, where his portraits would have been posted along with other Victory emblems and symbols.
"I welcome the decision to drop this crazy idea. But what provoked this decision is also important," said Arseny Roginsky, head of the international human rights group, Memorial. According to Roginsky, it is highly improbable that Moscow's authorities have simply heeded public opinion. It is more likely that some important federal official or a senior United Russia party member played the decisive role. "Their statements have been made for a reason and in particular [Duma speaker Boris] Gryzlov's statement that Stalin was to blame for millions of deaths, must have been sanctioned by Russia's top officials," he added.
However, the human rights activist continued, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov continued to insist on what he called "restoration of historic justice" with regard to Stalin even after Gryzlov asked for Stalin's portraits not to be hung all over Moscow. "So if in the end they don't go ahead with it, that means that the decision was made at the top," he added....
Name of source: Style Weekly
SOURCE: Style Weekly (3-16-10)
Ralph R. White, manager of the James River Park System, doesn’t know how many directional, historical, interpretive, public safety and regulatory signs he’s put up around town in the 30 years he’s worked for the department. He knows there are a lot. He’s also the first to tell you that he dodges official city procedures to get some of his signs approved.
Richmond has struggled for years to secure the money and coordination needed to implement the Downtown Signage Program, a capital-improvement project with an estimated cost of almost $3.3 million. It would update fully the city’s signs for tourists on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Recently, with yet another request for proposals for markers in the works, it appears as though the city is starting from scratch.
Ralph White, meanwhile, is putting up signs all over.
His efforts can be seen on Riverside Drive, Bank Street and East Main Street, among other spots.
“There’s no excuse for not getting work done,” White says. “If it’s done at very low levels, my level … then it can happen.” But White doesn’t apply for sign permits or ask for permission in advance.
“Nothing has been done without telling people,” White insists. “Now the issue is whether every sign was then debated in a committee and given a purchase order number and a review and all of that, and the answer to that is no.”
Nor does he use public money, he says. Instead, he relies on the James River Park Fund, a coffer combining donations, honoraria received from White’s public speaking and money from recycling aluminum cans to pay for the signs he writes himself. White solicits volunteers and park staff to assemble the signs, which are made at Budget Signs on North Boulevard....
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (3-24-10)
In time for the centenary of Bram Stoker's death, which will be in 2012, Dacre Stoker has begun work to raise money to erect a memorial to his ancestor to join the statues and plaques commemorating Dublin's many other writers, such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.
"It's an oversight. There is no permanent memorial in his home city to this guy," Dacre Stoker, who lives in South Carolina, United States, told Reuters by phone.
Bram Stoker was born in 1847 in Dublin, where he lived until he moved to London when he was 31.
He attended Trinity College before working as a civil servant in Dublin Castle and as an unpaid theater critic for Dublin newspapers....
SOURCE: Reuters (3-23-10)
A region dubbed "Doggerland" connected Britain to mainland Europe across what is now the southern North Sea until about 8,000 years ago, when seas rose after the last Ice Age.
It is now the site of a planned vast expansion of offshore wind power by 2020 to help combat climate change.
Name of source: BBC News
"I wouldn't say I think about Burma every day or wake up dreaming about it every night - it was an awfully long time ago now.
"But a smell, a sound or something on telly can take you back there in a flash," said Mr Davies who lives in Cardiff.
"I'm probably more afraid of it looking back now, than I was at the time.
"I lost a lot of good friends, and saw some horrible sights which haunt me as an old man, but as a 22-year-old I don't think anything frightened me."
His trip has been made possible by the National Lottery's Heroes Return programme, which awards grants of between £150 and £5,500 for World War II veterans and their families or carers to visit the places in which they fought and is open to new applications until January.
To date in Wales it has provided more than £150,000 allowing 90 servicemen to travel to battlefields across Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle and Far East.
Mr Davies volunteered for the RAF in 1940, as an 18-year-old banking clerk in Cardiff.
But it was two years before he received his call-up for service, 6,500 miles (10,458 km) away in Burma.
He originally hoped to be a pilot, until that is, he was allowed behind the controls of a plane for the first time.
"All of us who fancied ourselves as pilots were given our turn in a Tiger Moth trainer, and within minutes I knew I wasn't going to make the grade.
"There was just too much to do at once, keep the nose up, the wings straight… I was a liability."
"After that the instructor told me the Japanese are doing for enough of our boys without you helping them. So I was trained as a navigator."
In 1944, Japan, under General Renya Mutaguchi, launched a failed invasion attempt on southern India.
In December that year, allied forces, commanded by Lord Mountbatten, took advantage of the dry season and over-stretched Japanese supply lines to launch a counter offensive to retake Burma.
It was during this six-month campaign that Mr Davies saw his first action.
As the navigator on an RAF Dakota, he ferried troops and parachuted in supplies, in support of the 14th Army's advance to Rangoon and on to Mandalay.
"We secured the port at Rangoon with just hours to spare before the monsoon broke in May," said Mr Davies.
"That was the tipping point for the campaign really, but for the air crews it was just the start."
As the advance penetrated deeper into the jungle, Mr Davies explained that landing strips became more rudimentary, and even harder to find.
"With the monsoons battering the planes it was neigh-on impossible to keep to a given air speed and altitude.
"We had an instrument called a drift indicator, which was supposed to help us measure how far off course the winds were blowing us.
"But it relied on being able to work out angles from a fixed point on the ground - and all we could see on the ground was jungle.
"I can tell you, in the middle of a monsoon one tree looks pretty much the same as another.
"At the start of the advance the engineers would clear us landing strips, and cover them with bitumen, but after Rangoon the Japanese were falling back so quickly that there wasn't the time to prepare hard strips.
"By the end we were landing on metal, gravel, wood, and over shorter and shorter distances, all under Japanese fire - we began to feel grateful when we couldn't find them."
Yet for Mr Davies, his most harrowing memories came after VJ Day in August 1945, when the full extent of the Pacific War's horror began to reveal itself.
"As soon as we had news of the surrender we began badgering our officers for permission to rescue our POWs from Bangkok, where they were being held, but there was always some terribly important officials who needed ferrying, and the rescue kept being put off until tomorrow.
"After two or three weeks of this, a few crews took it upon ourselves to fly in without orders. I don't know if I should be saying this - but I suppose it's a bit late for them to court martial me now.
"We'd filled our packs with chocolate and cigarettes - we knew that things would have been tough for the POWs - but nothing could prepare us for the walking skeletons we found sitting on the tarmac at Bangkok airport, just waiting for someone to come and find them."
However the immediate aftermath of the war also re-affirmed Mr Davies's faith in human nature, bringing him back down to earth, in more ways than one.
"It's ironic, and lucky for me I suppose, that the only time I crashed during my whole time in the RAF was a week or so after the end of the war.
"We had some sort of engine trouble, and crash-landed in a field in Phnom Penh.
"As we clambered out of the wreckage, the first thing which greeted us was an open-top Mercedes full of Japanese officers.
"I thought, 'hey up! I hope they've heard the war's over!', but the first thing they did was offer us their swords.
"They gave us dinner, and we began to realise, despite all the horrible things that happened, the individual Japanese weren't all that different to us.
"I think that helped me come to terms with things after the war, in a world full of Japanese cars and electronics."
Mr Davies and his son fly out to Rangoon in November, from where they'll sail aboard the Orient Express cruise liner to Mandalay.
After two days stay at the former Burma Governor's residence, they plan to tour the jungle sites where Mr Davies flew over 65 years ago.
"I'm glad that I'm travelling with my son, and not as part of an organised tour - you see everyone had their own war over there, and the places which hold memories for me probably aren't the same as those which other people want to remember.
"Thank God, I had quite a good war, but so many others, particularly on the ground, weren't as lucky as me.
"While I'm remembering my friends… and my adventures I suppose. I'll also make sure I take a private moment to remember the poor blokes who fought for every inch on the jungle floor."
Huw Vaughan Thomas, Wales chair of the Big Lottery Fund said "The generation of men and women who served this country during the Second World War gave so much to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.
"As they get older, pilgrimages to the areas where they saw service become ever more poignant and precious to our veterans.
"By funding these trips for those veterans who would like to attend anniversary events across the world, we hope to do our bit on behalf of the whole nation to honour the service and sacrifice so many of our veterans made."
SOURCE: BBC News (3-25-10)
The move - which will close government and public offices - means most Venezuelans will have a seven-day break starting on 1 April.
Mr Chavez said the aim of the measure was not to encourage "laziness, but to save energy".
Caracas says a drought has dropped water reserves at Venezuela's main hydroelectric dam to critical levels.
The opposition says lack of investment and inefficiency in the energy sector have contributed to the crisis.
Many business leaders have warned that industrial production could be disrupted.
Mr Chavez rejects these claims, accusing his critics of exaggerating the crisis - or even planning to sabotage the power grid ahead of parliamentary elections planned in September.
The president last month signed a decree declaring an "electricity emergency" to tackle power shortages.
Under the decree, energy users who consume more than 500 kilowatt-hours per month must reduce their consumption by at least 10% or face a 75% price rise.
Industrial users were also ordered to cut their usage by 20% or face sanctions.
Although Venezuela has big oil reserves, it is dependent on hydro-electricity for some 70% of its power.
SOURCE: BBC News (3-25-10)
Documents seen by the New York Times newspaper suggest that in the 1990s, long before he became Pope, he failed to respond to letters about a US case.
Fr Lawrence Murphy, of Wisconsin, was accused of abusing up to 200 deaf boys.
Defending itself, the Vatican said US civil authorities had investigated and dropped the case.
For more than 20 years before he was made Pope, Joseph Ratzinger led the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - the Vatican office with responsibility, among other issues, for the Church's response to child abuse cases.
Allegations that the Church sought to cover up child abuse by Catholic priests in Europe have haunted the Vatican for months.
The documents seen by the New York Times suggest that in 1996, the then Cardinal Ratzinger twice failed to respond to letters sent to him personally.
They concerned the Rev Lawrence Murphy, who worked at a Wisconsin school for deaf children from the 1950s.
Two archbishops wrote letters to the Vatican office led by Cardinal Ratzinger calling for disciplinary proceedings against Fr Murphy, but the Vatican halted the process, according to the documents.
On Thursday, a group of clerical abuse victims handed out copies of the documentation during a news conference outside the Vatican.
Peter Isely, the Milwaukee-based director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told reporters: "This is the most incontrovertible case of paedophilia you could get," according to AP news agency.
"We need to know why he [the Pope] did not let us know about him [Murphy], and why he didn't let the police know about him, and why he did not condemn him, and why he did not take his collar away from him."
Two lawyers have filed lawsuits on behalf of five men alleging the Archdiocese of Milwaukee did not take sufficient action against the priest.
Alleged victims quoted by the New York Times gave accounts of the priest pulling down their trousers and touching them in his office, his car, his mother's country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips, and in their dormitory beds at night.
According to the New York Times, Fr Murphy was quietly moved to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes and schools.
Fr Murphy died in 1998, with - in the Church's view - no official blemish on his priestly record.
The Pope's official spokesman, Federico Lombardi, called it a "tragic case" but pointed out that the Vatican had become involved only in 1996, after US civil authorities had dropped the case.
"During the mid-1970s, some of Fr Murphy's victims reported his abuse to civil authorities," the Rev Lombardi said in a statement.
"The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was not informed of the matter until some 20 years later."
The Milwaukee diocese was asked to take action by "restricting Father Murphy's public ministry and requiring that Father Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts", the Rev Lombardi added.
He also said that Fr Murphy's poor health and a lack of more recent allegations had been factors in the decision not to defrock him.
But the Vatican's decision not to carry out its own investigation is the question that brings the now Pope's own involvement centre stage, says BBC religious affairs correspondent Christopher Landau.
Victims of sexual abuse by priests have long argued that the Church has been more interested in protecting its reputation and helping its priests than seeking justice for victims, our correspondent adds.
Last week the Pope issued an unprecedented letter to Ireland addressing the 16 years of clerical cover-up scandals.
But he has yet to comment on his handling of a child sex abuse case involving a German priest, which developed while Benedict was overseeing the Munich archdiocese.
The Rev Peter Hullermann had been accused of abusing boys in the 1970s when the now Pope approved his 1980 transfer to Munich to receive psychological treatment for paedophilia.
Hullermann was convicted in 1986 of abusing a youth, but stayed within the Church, serving as a village priest until 2008.
SOURCE: BBC News (3-23-10)
Today, the medieval castle ruins are a focal point of a hilly walk from the community of Caergwrle, off the A541 Wrexham-Mold road, and it's managed by Caergwrle Community Council.
From the ruins there are far-reaching views over Cheshire and, therefore, England, as it was a border fortification built by Welsh noble Dafydd ap Gruffydd in the 1200s.
It's hard to believe it today, but when English king Edward I took over its control in 1282, there had been big plans for the castle.
Indeed, if, as was planned by the king, a town was built around the castle then Wrexham may well have been a different place today....
The flag was up for sale at Bloomsbury Auctions, New York. It was expected to fetch up to $700,000, but did not make the reserve price of $500,000.
A spokeswoman for the auctions said there had been no bids in the room.
She could not confirm if there had been any telephone bids for the flag.
It was part of an auction of Irish items including pictures, manuscripts, silver and books.
"When he finished his sermon, he walked to the middle of the altar; at that moment, the shot rang out," says Sister Luz Isabel, who was among the congregation at a private chapel in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador.
"It sounded like a bomb explosion. Monsignor Romero held on to the cloth on the altar for a moment and pulled it off. Then he fell backwards and lay bleeding at the feet of Christ," she says, standing a few metres from the exact spot where the Archbishop lay fatally wounded.
Archbishop Romero's assassination marked a turning point in the country's history.
His death and the violent clashes during his funeral in San Salvador's main square, in which dozens died, sparked international condemnation.
His murder was an embarrassment for the US administration, which counted El Salvador's right-wing regime as one of its allies in the region.
It also confirmed what many, including Archbishop Romero himself, feared: that this small Central American country was set on a path of violence that would, in the ensuing decade, kill some 70,000 Salvadoreans in a bloody civil war.
During his three years as Archbishop, Oscar Romero urged an end to the brewing violence and defended the right of the poor to demand political change, a stance which made him a troublesome adversary for the country's oligarchy.
His views also antagonised some within the Roman Catholic Church.
"Archbishop Romero was the most loved person and the most hated person in this country," Ricardo Urioste, his personal aide, explains. "And as Jesus, he was crucified."
Executions, kidnappings and torture of the rural poor and activists who opposed El Salvador's right-wing government had become commonplace in the late 1970s.
The slogan "Be a Patriot - Kill a Priest" was written on many walls, indicating that the Catholic priests who had sided with the country's poor were also a target for the death squads that terrorised the country.
Archbishop Romero's murder has never been properly investigated by the Salvadorean courts.
But a United Nations-backed truth commission, set up under the peace agreement that ended the civil war in 1992, concluded that the plot to kill Archbishop Romero was led by the former army major, Roberto d'Aubuisson. He died in 1992.
In his Sunday sermons, broadcast by radio around the country, Archbishop Romero listed the abuses and demanded an end to the repression.
"In every house they were listening to his homily. Ordinary people like workers, but also the authorities - the military, the president and members of parliament," says Carlos Ayala, a journalist who at the time was studying to become a priest.
In a country with almost no free press, Mr Ayala says, the broadcasts were "like a place to find out what was really going on."
Through those broadcasts and his pastoral visits, Archbishop Romero reached people in the most remote corners of El Salvador; many of whom remember him vividly.
Irma Gutierrez is a single mother of three who now lives in the poor outskirts of San Salvador but she grew up in Los Sitios Arriba, a small village in the north, one of El Salvador's poorest areas.
She was there when, at the age of six and during a visit by Archbishop Romero to the village, she and her cousin were photographed in his arms in an image that became one of the most famous images of his ministry.
Sitting outside the church where the picture was taken, she remembers the episode with pride, and her adoration for Archbishop Romero has not abated.
"For me that was a very special moment, a blessing from God and from Monsignor Romero. He filled our hearts with faith, and strength to believe in God more strongly."
The chapel where Archbishop Romero was killed remains almost intact today; it still serves terminal cancer patients at the adjacent hospital.
El Salvador has seen economic development and democratic advances in the 30 years since the archbishop's murder, but violence remains common.
The brutality of the civil war and the death squads lives on, often in the form of the "maras" - the criminal street gangs that have a strong presence in some areas.
The religious composition of El Salvador has also changed; as in some other Latin American countries, there has been a rise in numbers who belong to various Protestant denominations.
According to a study by the Central American University in San Salvador, more than 38% of Salvadoreans now belong to one of these Churches, a doubling of the figure in 11 years.
What Archbishop Romero would make of this change is impossible to know, but his memory today goes beyond religion and into pop culture.
Omnionn belongs to a popular local hip hop group, Pescozada, that has dedicated a song to the murdered archbishop.
He believes that Oscar Romero's widespread presence in El Salvador, on T-shirts, murals and hip hop songs, means the attempt to silence him failed.
"What his killer did was to keep three generations thinking about him", the artist says.
It echoes Archishop Romero's own prediction about his future a few days before his death.
"If I'm killed," he said, "I will rise again in the Salvadorean people".
Name of source: AINA
SOURCE: AINA (3-24-10)
Pastor Mahrous Karam of the Anglican Church in Luxor, 721 km from Cairo, said that the Church was still in negotiations with the Luxor authorities the day before regarding a replacement for the community center building which lies within the Church's compound, and was told the authorities were still considering their options. Early next morning, a 500-man force of Central Security and State Security blocked all roads leading to the Church compound, forced their way in and broke into the pastor's residence, dragging the family out by force.
In an effort to save the buildings from demolition, the Pastor sat on the fence of the Church compound, to prevent the demolition work, but was beaten and dragged away, reported Katiba Tibia News.
The Pastor's wife, Sabah, said that two men went into her flat and evacuated her by force, by slapping her face, pulling her by her clothes and dragging her by her hair. "They threatened that if I do not leave the place they would take my 3-year-old boy and throw him under the bulldozers which came for the demolition work," she told Sherif Ramzy of Freecopts. "Twenty traumatized children were dragged out of the attached nursery and thrown into the church hall," Sabah said.
She added that all their belongings were left in the street, and they have nowhere to live. "I believe they wanted to give us an Easter present, the way they gave the Copts of Nag Hammadi the Christmas Eve Massacre," she added bitterly.
Pastor Karam said that the community center lies within the archaeological excavation for the "Rams Road" project. "We are not against giving the community center up, we just want a replacement building," he told Luxor-based Coptic activist Samir Rafaat. "We want equal treatment in our own country. The city council replaced the Islamic Association with a building of 20 flats, before demolishing their building. We want the same treatment."
Dr. Samir Farag, Governor of Luxor, told the media that his forces seized only "one room" from the Anglican Church, and denied any bodily assault on the pastor's family. According to the Anglican Church approximately 2600 sq. meters were seized including the pastors 2-story high residence, and the community center, which included a nursery, guests quarters and club The Anglican Church School, which was also demolished, was not included in the negotiations between the Anglican Church and the Governorate as it does not lie within the Ram Road excavation project.
An Anglican witness said: "The Governor is lying, that is why the forces blocked the road leading to the Church before their attack, so that nobody would witness their doings. But he forgot there is the Internet and cell phone videos to show the whole world the uncivilized way Egypt deals with Christians and their places of worship."
The Anglican Church in Egypt, which has a congregation of nearly 750,000 issued a statement on March 19, condemning the behavior of the Luxor authorities for demolishing Church property without adequate negotiations. It also condemned the assault on the pastor, his wife and the threats made to harm their child, which it characterized as a flagrant violation of human rights and the sanctity of churches as places of worship.
Pastor Karam told Samir Raafat "We want a replacement plot of land for the one seized, as previously promised by the Governor, to build a community center on. Secondly, I was beaten and dragged on the ground in front of everyone, so I need my honor to be restored, because I represent the Anglican Church." He said he would stage a sit-in in front of the church until matters have been rectified. "Meanwhile I will not carry out any Church services."
The governor of Luxor has been criticized on several occasions for his execution of projects in Luxor. According to writer Safwat Samaan Yassa, UNESCO recommended that the excavation work for the Ram Road should be executed in stages in the next 20 years, but the Governor of Luxor shortened it to three years, demolishing in the process hundred of houses, hotels, restaurants, bazaars, and ancient palaces and thereby destroying Luxor's economy. Furthermore, according to Yassa, historical sites were demolished to make way for a hotel complex financed by Arab investors.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
And a distinguished emeritus dean of art has studied them and said that today they would be considered only up to "moderate GCSE standard."
Some have speculated that Hitler's rejection from art college helped shape his character in later years.
He believed that it was a Jewish professor who had rejected his application to study at the academy.
The works consist of nudes, human figures, various objects and landscapes including buildings.
Most are dated 1908 - the year he was rejected by the academy for the second time and was not even permitted to sit the exam - and some are dated a year later that were added to his portfolio.
Hitler moved to Vienna as a young man in 1905 and lived a bohemian life, making small amounts of money by selling pictures he copied from postcards.
At one point he ended up in a hostel for the homeless and later he claimed it was in Vienna where the fires of his anti-Semitism were ignited....
The private collection, which Christie's described as the most valuable of its kind ever to be offered at auction, includes the personal prayerbooks of King Francois I of France and Elizabeth de Bohun, great-grandmother of King Henry V of England.
The Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts And Incunabula, which has a total estimate of between £11 million and £16 million, will go on sale in July.
Buried by a collapsing sand dune an estimated 185 million years ago, the new dinosaur was probably a plant eater and an early relative of the giant animals later known as sauropods.
Named Seitaad ruessi, the species was 10-to-15 feet long and 3-to-4 feet high. Its bones were found protruding from sandstone at the base of a cliff, directly below an ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling. News of the find was reported by researchers report in the journal PLoS One.
No humans were around at the time of the dinosaurs, but researchers said the bones could well have been visible when the early Indians lived there.
The researchers said the new method was so safe it could allow scientific analysis of hundreds of artefacts that until now were off limits because museums and private collectors did not want the objects damaged.
"This technique stands to revolutionise radiocarbon dating," said Dr Marvin Rowe, who led the research team at the Texas A&M University.
"It expands the possibility for analysing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.
"In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin."
Traditional carbon dating involves removing and burning small samples of the object.
Scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment.
Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyse its C-14 content.
Although it sometimes requires taking minute samples of an object, even that damage may be unacceptable for some artefacts.
The new method does not involve removing a sample of the object.
Scientists place an entire artefact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in big-screen plasma television displays.
The gas slowly and gently oxidises the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said.
Dr Rowe and his colleagues used the technique to analyse the ages of about 20 different organic substances, including wood, charcoal, leather, rabbit hair, a bone with mummified flesh attached, and a 1,350-year-old Egyptian weaving.
The results match those of conventional carbon dating techniques, they say.
The chamber could be sized to accommodate large objects, such as works of art and even the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Dr Rowe said.
The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers.
Some contend that the shroud is the cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus.
Others contend that the artefact postdates the Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-23-10)
David Cronin, a reporter for the Inter Press Service news agency and a regular commentator for The Guardian, placed his hand on Mr Blair's arm and said: "This is a citizens' arrest. You are guilty of war crimes."
Mr Blair, speaking to MEPs about his role as EU and US envoy to the Middle East, momentarily flinched at the contact but was saved by a bodyguard who intervened to push the Irish journalist away.
Mr Cronin said that his intention had been to invite Mr Blair to accompany him to the nearest Belgian police station to be charged for breaches of international law over his part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
It is the second attempted arrest of Mr Blair. Grace McCann, an anti-war protester, was arrested in January after trying to collar the former Prime Minister following his testimony before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (3-24-10)
The price tag of 12,000 francs (8,365 euros, $11,265) for the watch, which looks rather rugged and comes with toad skin straps, is reasonable, according to Arpa, who noted that each is a "unique" work which contains a piece of history.
He said tests have shown that the excrement originated from a herbivore, and further investigations are ongoing for the exact dinosaur species.
Arpa, whose label Artya is based in the Geneva region of Vesenaz, explains his approach to watchmaking as one that is "very close to contemporary art."
Name of source: BBC
Kanu Sanyal, 81, was found hanging in his bedroom in Naxalbari village in the state of West Bengal.
He led a peasant uprising in 1967 in Naxalbari, in which 11 farmers were killed in police firing .
The rebellion took its name from the village as Mr Sanyal and his close friend Charu Majumder broke away from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to form a new party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
SOURCE: BBC (3-24-10)
President Evo Morales introduced the slogan, which was popularised by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara - the leaders of the Cuban communist revolution.
It is seen as part of Mr Morales' effort to turn the army into guarantors of his socialist revolution.
Bolivian troops executed Che Guevara, who led rebels there in 1967.
SOURCE: BBC (3-24-10)
The extinct "hominin" (human like creature) lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago.
An international team has sequenced genetic material from the fossil showing that it is distinct from that of Neanderthals and modern humans.
Details of the find, dubbed "X-woman", have been published in Nature journal.
It is one of a series showing the seven Stewart kings and queens who ruled Scotland from 1406 until the Union of the Crowns with England in 1603.
TV historian Neil Oliver launched the stamp series at Stirling Castle, the historical home of the Stewarts.
The discovery was made by Archive Manager Rachel Hosker and her staff at the Heart of Hawick cultural centre.
It was contained in papers relating to the Rutherford family of Knowesouth, near Jedburgh.
The document will now go on public display and some excerpts from the manuscript will be performed for the first time since its discovery.
The Staffordshire Hoard is to remain in the West Midlands after the £3.3m purchase price was met.
The Anglo Saxon treasure was found in a field in Staffordshire by a metal-detecting enthusiast last July.
A National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) grant of £1.285m has been added to money raised by a campaign involving Stoke and Birmingham councils.
The Memorial Fund grant stops the collection from being divided up and sold to private collectors.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (3-22-10)
Californian historical preservationists have registered to protect the remains of the Apollo 11 landing site -- on the moon's famous Sea of Tranquility -- as an official historical resource, giving it protected status.
Beyond the well-known footprints and lunar lander tracks, the site also includes used urine containers, airsickness bags, and more than 100 other items. And space archaeologists applaud the move, calling the site "sacred" to world history, reports Der Spiegel.
Name of source: ABC News
SOURCE: ABC News (3-24-10)
But critics say some of "finds" are really just bending science to prove a "Biblical heritage" that is open to dispute.
With generous funding, including from religious groups intent on expanding Jewish settlement, archaeologists are digging up possible Biblical sites in occupied East Jerusalem and its surrounding West Bank suburbs at record pace.
Archaeology in Jerusalem dates back well over a century -- British enthusiasts began digging below the Old City 150 years ago, revealing remains that many say are those of a walled settlement ruled by the biblical Jewish king David.
Name of source: NPR
SOURCE: NPR (3-24-10)
A panel of experts from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., has given its blessing to the plan. They say it could unveil a whole new side of human history.
Anthropologist Rick Potts, who heads the human origins department at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, has been pushing the idea that "climate made us" for years.
Lately, he's been putting together an exhibit called "What Does It Mean to Be Human?" Among cabinets displaying dozens of skulls of human ancestors, and bronze statues of Neanderthals and other evolutionary experiments, there are displays suggesting the novel idea that climate change influenced how we evolved.
Name of source: The Economic Times
SOURCE: The Economic Times (3-24-10)
The site, located near Fujiacun village in Fengcheng city in Jiangxi province, covers about 18,000 square metres and is surrounded by a moat, Xinhua news agency reported.
About 30 metres of the wall surrounding the ancient city was still standing on its west and pieces of broken tiles were found scattered on the ground, it said.
Villagers said they had seen stone implements at the site in the past, but none was found during a field trip by archaeologists. The researchers said the implements might have been collected by some private collector.
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Education
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (3-24-10)
In an interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Habib, who is in the United States on a 19-day tour that will take him to several college campuses, expressed gratitude for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent reversal of the Bush administration's decision to block him from entering the country. But, Mr. Habib argued, the Obama administration needs to do more than simply grant visas, on a case-by-case basis, to scholars who previously were barred because of their political views or associations. The Obama administration, he said, should put an end to the Bush-administration policy, which kept such scholars out in the first place, known as ideological exclusion....
Mr. Habib, a vocal critic of the Iraq war and some U.S. antiterrorism policies, had been told that the Bush administration's decision to bar him had been based on his role in "terrorist activities." He never learned the charges against him or the evidence behind them, however. Secretary Clinton's order did little to clear up the mystery surrounding his exclusion; it said only that he would no longer be excluded for "any or all acts supporting the denial of his 2007 visa application," without stating what those alleged acts were.
The American Association of University Professors, the American Sociological Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union had banded together with other groups in 2007 to file a lawsuit challenging Mr. Habib's exclusion. The publicity surrounding his case appears to have helped him continue to travel around the world, he said on Tuesday, rattling off a long list of nations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America that he visited despite being labeled a terrorist by the United States. Among other scholars who were similarly barred, "I know other people who were not as lucky, who were severely impacted by these labels" and hindered in their travel plans, Mr. Habib said....
Name of source: AHA Blog
SOURCE: AHA Blog (3-23-10)
“The story of Lincoln’s assassination fascinated an American public steeped in the sensationalism and sentimentalism of the Civil War era,” and that fascination continues today. One of the Chicago Historical Society’s prize artifacts is Mary Todd Lincoln’s alleged cloak from the night of her husband’s death. Is it really her cloak and is it really covered in Abraham Lincoln’s blood? Together with Academic Technologies at Northwestern University the Chicago Historical Society has created Wet with Blood, an interactive website that explores the mysteries of Mary Todd Lincoln’s cloak.
This interactive website reads much the way a physical book would, complete with a table of contents to guide the user through the night of the murder, the artifacts, and the investigation into their authenticity. The Chicago Historical Society obtained most of these artifacts from Charles Gunther’s 19th-century Libby Prison Civil War Museum, which housed relics from not only Lincoln’s assassination, but also artifacts and archival records that capture stories from America and Chicago during the 1890s.
Name of source: FOX News
SOURCE: FOX News (3-23-10)
On Saturday Mr. Obama made an eleventh-hour plea to House Democrats ahead of their landmark vote. As he has often done through his young presidency and as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama turned to Abraham Lincoln for motivation. "I am not bound to win, but I'm bound to be true. I'm not bound to succeed, but I'm bound to live up to what light I have," Mr. Obama told lawmakers, quoting the nation's sixteenth president. He acknowledged that the debate on health care had been a difficult one but urged undecided democrats to do what he said was right. "We've got middle class Americans, don't have Medicare, don't have Medicaid, watching the employer-based system fray along the edges or being caught in terrible situations. And the question is, are we going to be true to them?"
It's not the first time Mr. Obama has been inspired by Lincoln. In February 2007, he announced his candidacy at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where Lincoln spent much of his time. "It is because men and women of every race, from every walk of life, continued to march for freedom long after Lincoln was laid to rest, that today we have the chance to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people - as Americans," Mr. Obama said in his remarks to supporters....
Since taking office the President has mentioned Lincoln often, even praising his efforts to promote transportation initiatives like high-speed rail. "President Lincoln was committed to a nation connected east to west even at the same time he was trying to hold North and South together, he was in the middle of a civil war," Mr. Obama said in April, referring to Lincoln's historical achievement of creating the first transcontinental railroad.
The President has said one of his favorite places to go when things get tough is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, calling the historic landmark a reminder of what the nation has been able to accomplish and overcome. These days the President has little time to leave the White House for local field trips, but as he told lawmakers Saturday, as commander-in-chief, he has access to a host of books on Lincoln that he can turn to for guidance.F
Name of source: Deutsche Welle (Germany)
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (Germany) (3-23-10)
More than 200,000 children fathered by German soldiers were raised by their French mothers after the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, according to Paris historian Fabrice Vergili. The author of the book "Naitre ennemi" (Born an Enemy) also estimates that 20,000 French women were hounded through streets and brutally given short haircuts by their French compatriots, who accused them of "horizontal collaboration" with the Nazis.
Many of these "war children" grew up not knowing their full identities and ashamed of their German roots, until recently. Since 2009 dozens have sought and obtained German nationality without having to relinquish their French citizenship, as is generally required of resident foreigners under German law.
Mijo Panier, fathered by a Wehrmacht soldier and born in 1943, recently applied for German citizenship. "I am proud to be German and French, proud of my dual nationality. I will use one and then the other," she said.
The liaison that started with a sneeze powder prank
Not until she turned 16 did Panier learn that her father had been German. Her French step-father, who accepted her as his own child, forbade her to talk about her origins. Her biological parents met in a Paris cafe during the four-year occupation.
"My mother went into a cafe where young French and Germans met one another, but as groups kept apart," Panier said. "My mother and her friend scattered sneeze powder under the chairs of the German soldiers." Her father was amused and moved over to sit with the girls at their table. That was the start of a forbidden liaison.
After a search that lasted for decades, she found her father, Willi Welsch, five years ago with the assistance of a Berlin-based organization. Welsch and his daughter Mijo exchanged letters before finally meeting near Frankfurt.
Tender encounter near Frankfurt
Welsch was seriously ill and had been in hospital. "To me he was unbelievably nice. He had blue eyes and despite his illness he drew me into the train. I sat down next to him and there we remained silent for a long time. Then we exchanged a few words in English, German and French." With tears in her eyes, Panier adds, "It was as though I had found my second half."
Welsch died a few months later, but since then Panier has fostered intense contacts with her recently-discovered family in Germany. There is a photo of her paternal sister in her French living room.
Months ago she sent a letter to the German embassy - in German. "I was a child of shame. In the end, however, I am a child of love," she wrote. Although Panier now speaks openly about her father's origins her mother still does not want to talk about it.
Shrugging off shame prompts search for family roots
The urge to free themselves from shame motivates many of France's "war children" to apply officially for their German nationality.
The surge began after a broadcast on French television in 2003. Many former war children then contacted the Paris historian Virgili and went on to set up groups such as the National Friendship Association for War Children to help each other to trace their roots. Their wartime experiences soon became a talking point in France.
Hewige Roberval sent her application to the German embassy shortly before her marriage. "Not long before my wedding I told my fiance about my father. I was really scared that he might no longer want to marry me. Fortunately, he only laughed about it."
Panier says that if her application for German citzenship is granted, she plans to officially adopt her deceased father's family name. It is already on her letter box.
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-16-10)
When France put an end to capital punishment in 1981, it also bid a not-so-fond farewell to the instrument of death that had taken the lives of thousands. But today, at the request of the crusading abolitionist who consigned it to history, one of the last guillotines in France was put on display for all the world to see.
For Robert Badinter, the former justice minister who succeeded in outlawing the death penalty during the first year of François Mitterrand's presidency, its appearance at a new exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris is a reason to celebrate....
Name of source: CNN.com
SOURCE: CNN.com (3-22-10)
The blue-gray vein of granite that courses through northeastern Georgia spawned jobs in the quarries and finishing sheds of Elberton, where generations of stonecutters have turned slabs of rock the size of refrigerators into statues, tombstones and tile.
And one day, it brought a visitor who gifted the town with a landmark that leaves visitors scratching their heads decades later.
The nearly 20-foot high series of granite slabs known as the Georgia Guidestones are inscribed with a series of admonitions for a future "Age of Reason." Billed as "America's Stonehenge," it's an astronomically complex, 120-ton relic of Cold War fears, built to instruct survivors of an Armageddon that the mystery man feared was all too near.
The identity of the man who called himself "R.C. Christian" is a secret that Wyatt Martin, the banker who acted as his agent in Elberton, vows to take to his grave.
"He told me, 'If you were to tell who put the money up for this, it wouldn't be a mystery any more, and no one would come and read it.' That had to be part of the attraction, to get people to come and read his 10 rules that he came up with," Martin said.
People in Elberton, about 100 miles east of Atlanta, are proud of their eccentric landmark. But 30 years after its dedication, it has drawn the attention of a new generation of conspiracy theorists with very different fears....
Name of source: Live Science
SOURCE: Live Science (2-22-10)
According to the study, dancing was a way for our prehistoric ancestors to bond and communicate, particularly during tough times. As a result, scientists believe that early humans who were coordinated and rhythmic could have had an evolutionary advantage.
The researchers examined the DNA of a group of dancers and non-dancers and found that the dancers shared two genes associated with a predisposition for being good social communicators. In addition, the dancers were found to have higher levels of serotonin, known to boost moods in humans and mice.
Early humans might have danced to attract a mate, as far back as 1.5 million years ago, according to Steven J. Mithen, an archaeologist at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
Name of source: Press Republican
SOURCE: Press Republican (2-23-10)
The foundation is about a foot and a half from the side of a pillar on the Vermont shore, but archeologists don’t know if it’s from the fort or an early house.
The Champlain Bridge closed Oct. 16, 2009, and was destroyed by controlled explosives Dec. 28. A new bridge is scheduled to be constructed nearby starting this spring.
Vermont Agency of Transportation Director of Planning, Outreach and Community Affairs John Zicconi said details aren’t known yet, but some exploration will be done at the foundation site to understand it better.
The foundation is about a foot below the surface of the ground and was discovered during an archeological site review before construction of temporary ferry docks for the new Crown Point Ferry.
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (2-22-10)
It is also one of the oldest threats. The king himself faced water problems 2,600 years ago. Neglect, reckless reconstruction and wartime looting have also taken their toll in recent times, but archaeologists and experts in the preservation of cultural relics say nothing substantial should be done to correct that until the water problem is brought under control.
A current study, known as the Future of Babylon project, documents the damage from water mainly associated with the Euphrates River and irrigation systems nearby. The ground is saturated just below the surface at sites of the Ishtar Gate and the long-gone Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders. Bricks are crumbling, temples collapsing. The Tower of Babel, long since reduced to rubble, is surrounded by standing water.
Leaders of the international project, describing their findings in interviews and at a meeting this month in New York, said that any plan for reclaiming Babylon as a tourist attraction and a place for archaeological research must include water control as “the highest priority.”
The study, aimed at developing a master plan for the ancient city, was begun last year by the World Monuments Fund in collaboration with Iraq’s State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. A $700,000 grant from the United States Department of State is financing the initial two-year study and preliminary management plan. An official of the monuments fund said the entire effort could last five or six years.
Name of source: Thanhnien News
SOURCE: Thanhnien News (3-23-10)
The body of Pham Thi Dang, second wife of Dang Dinh Tuong – a high-ranking official under the Le Dynasty (1428-1788) was found 42 years ago in Van Cat Hamlet, in the northern province of Nam Ha (now Nam Dinh).
Decades after studying mummies discovered across the country – from the bodies of royalty and senior officials to the common man, archeologists Do Van Ninh and Truat are still amazed by the ancient Vietnamese technique of preserving bodies.
Despite not having their internal organs and brains, as in Egyptian mummies, their bodies were usually found in good condition - soft with joints still supple after being buried for hundreds of years, they said.
Some still retained the facial features they had when they were alive, Truat said.
Name of source: The Japan Times
SOURCE: The Japan Times (3-23-10)
The two countries' second joint history study group issued a 2,200-page report Tuesday nearly three years after discussions got under way in June 2007. A report by the first study group was released in June 2005.
The joint team, comprising 17 scholars each from Japan and South Korea, conducted discussions in four subcommittees covering ancient, history, modern and contemporary history, and history textbooks. The history textbook panel was set up for the second round of discussions.
In talks by the textbook subcommittee, a Japanese historian argued that South Korea made efforts to keep Japanese imperialist thinking out of the country after the occupation ended and that this eventually became anti-Japan education.
A South Korean scholar expressed understanding of that argument, saying the Japanese historian's view was an honest effort by the Japanese side to deepen understanding of South Korea. But the Korean scholar nevertheless rejected the argument that South Korea's curriculum was anti-Japanese.
Also in the latest report, a Japanese historian argued that Japanese emperors and prime ministers expressed a sense of remorse or offered apologies Japan's past misdeeds, but no South Korean history textbooks touch on this.
Name of source: Los Angeles Times
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (3-23-10)
Robert M. White was a 38-year-old U.S. Air Force major and record-setting test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in 1962 when he joined the elite ranks of America's four astronauts.
But Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, John Glenn and Scott Carpenter went into space seated atop ballistic missiles and returned in capsules that parachuted onto the ocean.
White did it as the pilot of a rocket-powered X-15 research airplane, flying nearly 60 miles above the Earth's surface and completing a conventional landing on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base.
His out-of-this-world adventure earned him the distinction of being the first pilot to earn a winged astronaut rating by piloting an airplane in space.