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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: Telegraph (UK)
Mr Boehner, the House Minority Leader, was outraged after Sir Paul made clear his admiration for president Barack Obama when receiving the third Gershwin Prize for song-writing.
He then concluded by saying: "After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is."
Despite his occasional habit of mangling words, Mr Bush was reportedly a voracious reader in the White House, particularly of biography and history.
The document with the Greek inscription, "make it happen," refers to a tax break for a friend of her husband Mark Antony. It is one of 150 artifacts in an exhibition featuring the latest discoveries in an intensifying search for her long-lost tomb.
Some of the items in "Cleopatra - the Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" which runs until January, have never been on public display.
The artifacts have been unearthed from the Egyptian town of Taposiris Magna. More recent recoveries are from deep in the Mediterranean Sea from the ancient cities of Heracleion and Canopus, where Cleopatra's palace was destroyed by earthquakes and tidal waves some 2,000 years ago.
The unlikely spectacular will cover moments in his life, including his early years under Nazi occupation in his native Poland, his struggle against Communism and his election as pontiff in 1978.
It will also depict the attempt on his life in 1981, when a Turkish gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca, shot him in the stomach, hand and arm as the pontiff rode in his open-topped Popemobile through St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
The two-hour show is called “Non Abbiate Paura” — Italian for Don’t Be Scared
The National Democratic Party (NPD) and the German People's Union (DVU), who have face flagging membership and money problems, are reportedly asking members their thoughts, according to sources at the NPD's party conference in Bamberg.
According to the newspaper Tagespiegel, the DVU in particular needs to merge in order to avoid being wiped out. The DVU has around 4,500 members, according to the German intelligence service, while the NPD has closer to 7,000.
The painting - dating back a century and from his most famous series of works - will be part of the most valuable art auction yet to take place in the city later this month.
The impressionist and modern art at Christie's sale also features a ''blue period'' Picasso, also tipped to go for up to £40 million, after being withdrawn from sale four years ago.
The art market has seen prices soar in recent months. An equivalent sale at Christie's in New York last month saw the highest price ever paid at auction for an artwork when a Picasso masterpiece went for £70 million.
Princess Lilian, 94, will miss Crown Princess Victoria's wedding to Daniel Westlin in two weeks due to her deteriorating health.
The Welsh-born princess, the widow of Prince Bertil, an uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf, has cut down on her royal duties in recent years for health reasons.
The princess married Prince Bertil in 1976 after initially meeting her in 1943. He died in 1997.
The chemist Robert Boyle made the "wish list" as he helped found the Royal Society, the world's first scientific body in 1660s London.
The predictions, which also include submarines, genetically modified crops and psychedelic drugs, were unveiled as the centre piece of an exhibition celebrating the society's 350th anniversary.
They are extraordinary because all but a few of the 24 have come true, an amazing achievement when they were written at a time dominated by magic and religious superstitions and before the word science was even coined.
Professor Jonathan Ashmore, Fellow of the Royal Society, said: “Boyle’s predictions on the future of science are quite remarkable.
"His hopes for the cure of diseases by transplantation and drugs to appease pain and aid sleep have both become inherent features of contemporary medicine and yet these were predictions he was making over 300 years ago.
"This document provides us with an amazing window into one of the most extraordinary minds of the 17th Century and is one of the many fascinating artefacts on display at the exhibition.”
Boyle, who is best known for his Boyle's Law on the behaviour of gases, was among a number of famous "natural philosophers" of the time including Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, who set about uncovering the secrets of the world through experimentation.
They first founded the "Invisible College" at Oxford University and then the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge in 1660.
The society, which had the motto Nullus In Verba – Take Nobody's Word For It, had a remarkable penchant for lists often dreamt up over long discussions in the coffee shops of 17th century London.
Boyle's own handwritten "wish list" was found in his personal papers which had been donated at his death in 1691 to the Royal Society.
They range from the more obvious and sensible such as "The Prolongation of Life", the "Art of Flying" and "perpetual light" to the more bizarre – "Varnishes perfumable by Rubbing" – scratch and sniff – and "attaining gigantick dimensions" – supersizing.
Boyle also predicted Kevlar body armour with "making armor light and extremely hard" and unsinkable motor boats – "A ship to saile with All Winds, and a Ship not to be sunk".
Navigation at sea was predicted with the "practicable and certain way of finding Longitudes" as well as sleeping tablets, artificial stimulants and antidepressants with the "potent druggs (sic) to alter or Exalt Imagination, Waking, Memory and other functions and appease pain, procure innocent sleep, harmless dreams etc".
Keith Moore, librarian at the Royal Society, said: "Nowadays we take these ideas entirely for granted but in the 17th century this was prophetic.
"This was an age that still believed in magic, which had just come out of the bloodiest civil war imaginable and was divided by religion.
"It is remarkable that this wish list is still relevant today."
The exhibition is part of the Society's 350th anniversary year celebrations and displays material from the Society's foundation in 1660 to the present day.
In an interview with Fox News, he described the operation, in which nine people died, as "perfectly legal, perfectly humane – and very responsible".
His comments came as Israel began deporting hundreds of activists seized from the flotilla, including more than 120 activists from Muslim countries who were taken to the border with Jordan early this morning.
The diamond has been in British possession since East India Company forces in India defeated the Maharaja of Punjab in 1849 and forced him to hand it over to Queen Victoria as a tribute following the Treaty of Lahore.
It was last worn in public by the late Queen Mother and last seen set inside the Maltese Cross on the crown placed on top of the coffin at her funeral.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-28-10)
Crosses were broken and tombstones overturned in the Guebwiller Franco-German cemetery in the Alsace region. The vandalism affected 95 tombs.
An offensive message was written on at least one of the tombs, the Haut-Rhin departmental police authority said, without giving further details....
For £720 per person, art lovers could stay in the room from which the artist famously spent six months painting his landscapes of the River Thames in London.
However, a new study has now shown that those prepared to pay for the Monet Suite are not actually experiencing the painter's time at the hotel, but that of his next door neighbour.
Scientists have analysed the French Impressionist's paintings and discovered that he actually stayed in the rooms adjacent to the Monet Suite at the Savoy.
Professor John Thornes, the lead author at the University of Birmingham, said: "It is amazing that over 100 years later with all the analysis of Monet that no one has ever done this before.
"It shows he certainly didn't stay in the Monet suite they were pushing."
He said that they calculated the position from the scale of Cleopatra's Needle, the Ancient Egyptian obelisk erected on Victoria Embankment, against Charing Cross Bridge, now known as Hungerford Bridge.
Art historians have long known that Monet, not one to suffer for his art, spent six months in a total of three visits to the Savoy Hotel to paint his views of the Thames.
The vantage point had been recommended to him by the British-based American artist James Whistler.
In 1899 he stayed on the sixth floor but when he returned in 1900 and 1901 that floor was used for recovering soldiers from the Second Boer War.
Instead he moved one floor down. From here he followed a strict routine.
Fortified by two English breakfasts, he would spend the morning painting the sun rising over Waterloo and Charing Cross Bridges. He would then cross the river and from St Thomas' Hospital paint the House of Parliament.
He had about 100 canvases on the go at the same time and would wait for the correct time of day and weather conditions to work on each.
The result is remarkable snap shot of London that is so accurate that now scientists have not only been able to calculate the exact rooms he stayed in but also when he first started the paintings.
For his paintings of Waterloo Bridge the scientists have discovered that during Monet’s stays at the Savoy during 1900 and 1901 the artist used a balcony on the fifth floor of the hotel as his vantage point.
They have been able to calculate this by comparing his work with that of his friend Whistler who had painted Waterloo Bridge from the sixth floor.
Whistler’s work clearly shows a large triangular stretch of the Thames beyond the bridge in front of the South Bank.
However none of Monet’s representations of the same bridge shows this large stretch of water, which, due to a restricted view, suggests that all of Monet’s paintings of Waterloo Bridge were painted from the fifth floor.
Monet included Cleopatra’s Needle, in the foreground of two of his representations of Charing Cross Bridge, and the geometry of the needle’s alignment with the bridge piers implies that he occupied the suites comprising rooms 610 and 611 in 1899 and the suite directly below, 510 and 511, in 1900 and 1901.
In order to cash in on this notoriety of their guest, the hotel opened the Monet Suite in rooms 512 and 513 of the hotel and charged £720 a night. A full Monet Suite Experience including meals and tour pushed the price up to £2,600.
The hotel, which has been closed for a £100 million refit since 2007 and is due to open in September, admitted that the actual rooms that Monet stayed in could not be converted into suites so the nearest room that could be was used instead.
Susan Scott, archivist at the Savoy, said: "Monet actually shared a bathroom with three other rooms and his rooms were only made ensuite in a refit in 1910 when the balconies were removed to make space.
"When we created a Monet suite the only way to do a suite was to move along one. In the new refit it will actually be in the exact rooms."
The paper was published in the journal of the Royal Geographical Society.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (6-4-10)
Gena Berglund says she spoke Friday with U.S. embassy officials in Kigali, Rwanda who attended the hearing for professor Peter Erlinder. Berglund has worked with Erlinder in Minnesota on humanitarian issues.
Berglund says a judge in Rwanda is expected to issue a decision in Erlinder's case Monday.
SOURCE: AP (6-5-10)
There's a rough outline, but little definition. And as with many faded or blurry pictures, there's just enough material for people to see what they want in the woman President Barack Obama has tapped for the Supreme Court.
Discussing the effects of the 1996 welfare reform that Clinton signed into law, Kagan took an unsentimental approach in backing the filing of a legal brief saying that illegal immigrants aren't entitled to routine prenatal care.
SOURCE: AP (6-2-10)
Discontent with incumbents and anti-Washington anger are boosting the numbers. More than 2,300 people are running for the House and Senate in the midterms, the highest number in at least 35 years. That's according to data provided to The Associated Press from the Federal Election Commission, which began tracking candidates in 1975.
SOURCE: AP (6-2-10)
But Duan Hongbing wouldn't live to see that day.
"I held his hand and told him that I won't give up," the woman, Zhang Xianling, said she told Duan on a visit to his Beijing hospital bed. She said he squeezed her hand and closed his eyes in response, no longer able to speak. He died last year, a few days after that promise was made.
As the Tiananmen anniversary approaches Friday, the aging parents of victims fear their cause will die with them. The oldest of the Tiananmen Mothers, as the group is called, is 94 years old. The group's leader, retired professor Ding Zilin, says more and more members die each year.
"Can it be that you really want to wear us all down or wait for our deaths so that the problem will naturally disappear?" the group wrote in an essay addressed to the Chinese government and made public this week through the New York-based group Human Rights in China.
At the end, the 128 families who signed it attached the names of 22 former signers who have died....
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (6-4-10)
Just ask Robert Judson Bell. The 88-year-old World War II Navy veteran was reunited this week with the wallet he lost way back in 1941 while undergoing naval training in Chicago. It may not have contained any money, but its value to Bell and his family can't be understated. Inside were two photographs of his first wife, who had died in a 1948 car crash.
And so it remained lost, for nearly 45 years. Enter electrician Bob Jordan. He was doing some work in the Academy basement around 1985 when he stumbled upon the wallet.
The wallet's other contents included Bell's Social Security card, a Masonic Lodge card and even a little comic strip. Bell says he recalls he had money in the wallet, but that was long gone.
SOURCE: CNN (6-3-10)
"He was taken to Lukiskis Prison -- to this day the main jail in the city -- and was murdered shortly thereafter," says Zuroff. So were his wife and two boys.
Born seven years later in Brooklyn, New York, Zuroff was named for his great-uncle and grew up questioning his American-born parents about the Holocaust.
What were they doing? What could they have done?
"And my parents -- they said, 'Listen ... we went to demonstrations, we tried to do what we could. But we didn't really know what was going on, and it wasn't clear what we could do. "
That answer did not satisfy Zuroff.
"I wanted to know what the average Jew sitting in his living room in Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Miami, could have known by reading the newspapers.
"I wanted to try and understand how something like the Holocaust could have happened."
Zuroff would go on to spend his life hunting Nazis and ensuring their punishment. Now the Israel director of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, he has also worked for the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which is in charge of Nazi war crimes prosecutions. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, more names of alleged Holocaust criminals have turned up from Lithuania than from anywhere else in Eastern Europe, says Zuroff.
But prosecuting those criminals for war crimes has been a disappointment, says Zuroff, because since its independence in 1991, Lithuania has failed to punish a single one of its own Holocaust war criminals.
Now, says Zuroff, Lithuania is trying to rewrite Holocaust history. "Nowhere in the world," he says, "has a government gone to such lengths to obscure their role in the Holocaust. ... Their mission is to change the history of the Holocaust to make themselves blameless."
Lithuania and the Nazis
Within five months of Nazi Germany's invasion in the summer of 1941, most of Lithuania's 200,000 to 220,000 Jews were dead -- shot and left in massive sand pits and mass graves along with thousands of ethnic Poles, the mentally ill and others. By the end of the war, the percentage of Jews killed in Lithuania -- 90 to 96 percent -- was as high or higher than anywhere else in Europe.
"And the question is, 'Why were the numbers so high?' And here we come to a subject that is very, very delicate and difficult," says Zuroff. "One of the main reasons so many Jews were killed here is because of the help of the local population -- of the Lithuanians."
The pace of the mass murder of Lithuania's Jews -- and the active participation of the local population -- are meticulously recorded in two of the most infamous documents of Holocaust history.
The Jaeger Report, written by Karl Jaeger, the SS commander of a Nazi killing unit that operated around Vilnius, Lithuania, is a matter-of-fact account of those killed each day under his command.
September 1, 1941, a typical entry, lists those killed for the day as: "1,404 Jewish children, 1,763 Jews, 1,812 Jewesses, 109 mentally sick people, one German woman who was married to a Jew, and one Russian woman."
In the report, Jaeger notes the "essential" help of local Lithuanians and says 4,000 Jews were "liquidated by pogroms and executions," exclusively by Lithuanian partisans. The final count of those murdered starting in the summer of 1941 and ending in November of that year is 133,346 -- the vast majority of them Jews.
Read Jaeger Report
"Ponary Diary, 1941-1943: A Bystander's Account of a Mass Murder," was written by Polish-Lithuanian journalist Kazimierz Sakowicz, who was living within earshot of the biggest killing field in Lithuania, the sand pits of the Ponary Forest.
It is a litany of unending cruelty -- mostly of Lithuanians killing Lithuanian Jews. Entries from April 5, 1943, describe the murder of about 2,500 Jews who arrive in 48 train freight cars:
"A woman with a child in her arms and with two small girls clinging to her dress: A Lithuanian begins to beat them mercilessly with a club. A Jew without a jacket throws himself on the Lithuanian to defend the woman being beaten. A shot is fired -- he falls, practically at the feet of his Jewess. A second Lithuanian seizes the woman's child and throws him into the pit; the Jewish woman, like a madwoman, runs to the pit, followed by her two little children. Three shots are fired."
The Nazis arrived after a year of occupation by the Soviet Union that was so brutal that many Lithuanians welcomed the Nazis when they arrived in June 1941.
Nazi propaganda painted local Jews as communists in league with the Soviets, stoking existing local anti-Semitism, and prompting the provisional government in Lithuania, and thousands of Lithuanians, to help facilitate the Nazi policy of liquidating the local Jewish population, according to Yale Historian Timothy Snyder, who has written extensively about the region.
In reality, Jews -- making up much of the "bourgeois" merchants and intellectuals that the Soviets sought to "re-educate" -- bore as much or more Soviet brutality as any, says Snyder.
And yet, even today, says Leonidas Donskis, a Lithuanian MP in the European Parliament, "quite a large segment of Lithuanian society is still inclined to consider Jews as collectively responsible for the mass killings and deportations of civilians, as well as for other atrocities committed during the Soviet occupation."
This myth is "just the adoption of the disgraceful Nazi rhetoric concerning the Jew and communism ... which is one of the cornerstones of [Nazi propaganda chief Joseph] Goebels propaganda," says Donskis.
In the 1990s, soon after Lithuania regained its independence, the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, consulting with Zuroff, discovered dozens of Lithuanians with suspicious wartime backgrounds living in the United States.
Nineteen were successfully prosecuted for concealing their wartime collaboration with the Nazis during the American immigration and naturalization process. Since the United States had no jurisdiction to prosecute them for war crimes, it took the maximum legal action it could -- stripping them of their citizenship. Twelve ended up in back in Lithuania, each with an extensive case file detailing the evidence gathered by OSI.
But the Lithuanian prosecutor's office showed no inclination to pursue the cases and Lithuania, for the most part, says Zuroff, "welcomed them back with open arms."
Only after several years of delays and significant international pressure, says Zuroff, were three of the cases prosecuted. In the end, no one was ever punished.
"The trials were a farce," says Zuroff. "The defendants were never even forced to appear at the trials." The prosecutor "turned an incredibly important and highly significant process into a joke."
Audrius Bruzga, Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, says Lithuania facilitated the trials to the extent that it could. The problem was not a lack of political will, he says, but a lack of time, because of the age of the defendants.
"People simply died during the process," he says, "and the others perhaps were not found fit to stand trial. ... It takes a lot of time to put a case on."
But others say the delays were purposeful. The prosecutor's office was afraid of being called unpatriotic, says Donskis, so it dragged out the process in the hopes that the suspects would die or become old and sick enough to be declared unfit to stand trial or serve time.
"Basically the country failed because not a single [war] criminal was brought to justice. It's as simple as that," says Donskis.
Contrast Lithuania's record with that of Croatia, which, as a newly minted nation, brought Dinko Sakic to trial in 1998 for crimes committed during World War II while commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp.
After Zuroff tracked him down, Sakic was extradited from Argentina and convicted by a Croatian court for taking part in the murder and torture of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croats. The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison, the harshest penalty under Croatian law at the time.
"The Sakic case was really a watershed event in the history of Croatia and something that really changed the tenor of the public discussion about the Holocaust and was a wake-up call for Croatian society," says Zuroff.
"In a Croatian courtroom, with a Croatian flag, with a Croatian judge in Croatian languages, and many witnesses -- Croatians told the truth" about Holocaust crimes by Croatians.
"And it was broadcast all over the country in radio, TV, print, day in and day out."
For Zuroff, the Sakic case is a success not because it put an old war criminal in jail -- though that was necessary -- but because it helped ensure an honest reckoning of Croatia's past.
Germany has also gone to great lengths to face its ugly past.
"They, more than any country," Zuroff says, "have tried to make atonement for the Holocaust and have paid billions of dollars in reparations -- although it's not only the issue of money but it's also the issue of education against extremism, xenophobia, the banning of Nazi symbols. ... You can't say Germany is not making an honest effort to face its past."
But you can say it, says Zuroff, about Lithuania.
The Museum of Genocide Victims
The state-funded Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania, is an impressive structure. In a country of relatively humble means, it stands out for its size. Its stated objective is to "collect, keep and present historic documents about forms of physical and spiritual genocide against the Lithuanian people."
But the story of the more than 200,000 Jews killed in Lithuania by the Nazis and their local collaborators is not part of the museum.
Instead, the museum memorializes Lithuanian victims of Soviet occupation during World War II.
As one Lithuanian put it, "We have to learn our own history, before we learn their [the Jews] history," implying the murdered Jews were not Lithuanians -- but they were.
Jews have been a constant and integral part of Lithuania for hundreds of years. Before the war, the city of Vilnius was known as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania." Jews made up more than a third of the city and contributed to its intellectual and creative elite and to its complex, vibrant, social fabric.
The question of excluding Jews then becomes "a question of whether you're embracing your own citizens or not," says Snyder.
Donskis agrees. "Instead of accepting the Holocaust as the tragedy of Lithuania, many people are still inclined to regard the Holocaust to have been something external." Instead, the nation focuses on the the horror of the Soviet occupations of Lithuania.
The crimes of the Soviets in Eastern Europe and in Lithuania in particular are not as well known in the West as they should be, says Snyder.
In the first occupation, from the summer of 1940 to the summer of 1941, the Soviets deported, jailed and murdered anyone deemed a threat -- ethnic Lithuanians as well as Poles and Jews.
Soviet brutality continued when the Red Army re-conquered Lithuania in 1944 and the almost 50 years of Soviet rule that followed were brutal by any standard.
But did Soviet crimes amount to genocide, as the name of the museum suggests?
Donskis calls the idea "profoundly embarrassing."
"Historical and political evidence doesn't support the theory that the Soviet Union exterminated Lithuanians on national or ethnic grounds."
Lithuanians who chose the Soviet regime "were welcome in the Red Army. They were welcome among Soviet bureaucrats. They had splendid careers. And we know that the Lithuanian Communist Party was led by [non-Jewish] Lithuanians. That's why the concept of genocide is simply not applicable here."
Ambassador Bruzga is more circumspect. "We do not equate one pain to another pain, one loss to another loss. But we would like to take a broader, a holistic view on what happened at that time in Lithuania -- and how it could happen that those crimes were committed and people suffered ... no matter who they were -- what nationality, what religion."
Asked whether Jewish Lithuanians, who so obviously suffered a genocide, should be included in Lithuania's Museum of Genocide Victims, Bruzga says, "It should be perhaps looked into ... I don't see why not," but then adds, "It could be one museum, it could be two or three museums." The Holocaust in Lithuania, says Bruzga, has to be considered in the context of "other developments and crimes that surround it."
Still, Bruzga says huge questions about the Holocaust in Lithuania remain:
"Why were there a number of Lithuanians who took part, some of them willingly, in the murder of Jews who were citizens of their own country -- the same people living in the same land and actually in the same neighborhood? ... What unleashed that kind of monstrosity?"
"Before we take many skeletons out of the closet, we will not get a catharsis. And perhaps we will not be a peace with our past and ourselves," says Bruzga.
Donskis is more specific:
"It will be impossible for Lithuania to come to terms with its history ... until the country's elite admits that the provisional government of Lithuania in 1941 collaborated with the Nazis and acted against Lithuanian citizens. Unfortunately, the provisional government ... is praised up to the skies in Lithuania."
"It is a disgrace."
For Zuroff, Lithuania missed its best opportunity for catharsis by failing to punish even one of its own citizens for Holocaust crimes.
"The Lithuanians squandered the best chance they had to get that burden of guilt off of them. And now it's going to take them 100 years to get rid of it. The only way they will succeed is through education, documentation, research -- and a lot of pain."
In August, the Wiesenthal Center will release its 2010 Annual Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals.
Lithuania, Zuroff says, will receive an F.
SOURCE: CNN (6-2-10)
The office of the 43rd President recently established an official presence on the popular social networking site, CNN has confirmed.
The former president has nearly 30,000 Facebook fans connected to his Facebook page which is located at www.facebook.com/georgewbush.
SOURCE: CNN (6-2-10)
Mayor Rudy Clay has said the project has the potential to bring 500,000 to 750,000 visitors to Gary and an annual income of $100 million to $150 million dollars to the community.
In addition, the Jackson Family Museum and a Michael Jackson Performing Arts Center will generate hundreds of construction jobs and thousands of full-time jobs for the community when the project is completed, the mayor said in a press release.
Joe and Katherine Jackson started their large family in a two-bedroom house in a working-class neighborhood in Gary. All 10 Jackson children were born in Gary between 1950 and 1966, including one who was stillborn.
The Jacksons moved from Gary to Los Angeles, California, in 1971 amid the success of the Jackson 5 group, which featured Michael Jackson and four older brothers.
Their home at 2300 Jackson Street is still a shrine for the occasional tourist.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009.
Name of source: Jakarta Post
SOURCE: Jakarta Post (6-3-10)
“Indonesia still needs to carefully weigh up the benefits and consequences of ratifying [the convention],” Hari Untoro Drajat, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s director general for history and archaeology said.
He said ratifying the UNESCO convention on protection of the underwater cultural heritage needed careful preparation, including adequate legislation, human resources, infrastructure and funding.
The convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2001, and has been ratified by 31 countries as of May this year. Cambodia is the only signatory in Asia.
According to Masanori Nagaoka, the head of culture unit of UNESCO office in Jakarta, the convention carries four main principles: The obligation to preserve underwater cultural heritage, in situ preservation preferred, no commercial exploitation, and training and information sharing.
Arief Rachman from the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO said the third principle has been the most challenging for Indonesia.
Last month, the government, through the National Committee of Excavation and Utilization of Precious Artifacts from Sunken Ships, conducted an auction of around 271,000 artifacts, including ceramics from China’s Zheijang province and a gold sword from the Middle East, collected from a ship presumed to have sunk around 900 years ago in waters off Cirebon, West Java.
The auction was a flop with no bidders registering, but the government said it would maintain its effort to sell the artifacts, which had been excavated by a private company five years ago.
Many, ranging from royalty to academics and history enthusiasts, opposed to the auction, but the committee defended it, saying a number of unique items had been conserved.
Supratikno Rahardjo from the University of Indonesia said there were risks that the government should take if it chooses to ratify the convention.
The consequences of what he called “option two” — ratifying the convention as soon as possible as opposed to the first option of delaying it up to a certain period — include the government paying back investors the costs of obtaining permits for recovering sunken treasures.
“If it were up to us, we would like the government to take option two,” he said.
Chairijah, the director for international law at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said Indonesia could ratify the convention with a law or a Presidential Regulation.
Regardless of whether Indonesia chooses to ratify the convention or not, the country should stop referring to the heritage as “treasures” to be hunted and traded in, the workshop concluded.
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (6-3-10)
Three pieces of a pocket knife and fragments of what might be a broken cosmetic glass jar are adding new evidence that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed and eventually died as castaways on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited tropical island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati. The island was some 300 miles southeast of their target destination, Howland Island.
"These objects have the potential to yield DNA, specifically what is known as 'touch DNA,'" Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), told Discovery News in an email interview from Nikumaroro.
Gillespie and his team will be searching the tiny island until June 14 for evidence that Earhart's twin-engine plane, the Electra, did not crash in the ocean and sink, as it was assumed after the futile massive search that followed the aviatrix's disappearance on July 2, 1937.
Tall, slender, blonde and brave, Earhart was flying over the Pacific Ocean in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator. In her final radio transmission Earhart reported that her aircraft was running low on fuel.
According to Gillespie, recent advances in the ability to extract DNA from touched objects might help solve the enduring aviation mystery.
"If DNA from the recovered objects matches the Earhart reference sample now held by the DNA lab we've been working with, we'll have what most people would consider to be conclusive evidence that Amelia Earhart spent her last days on Nikumaroro," Gillespie said.
The expedition marks TIGHAR's tenth visit to Nikumaroro since 1989. During the previous campaigns, the group uncovered a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, provide strong circumstantial evidence for a castaway presence.
The ongoing excavation is now focusing on the island's remote southeast end, in an area called the Seven Site. Densely vegetated in shrubs known as Scaevola frutescens, the site appears to be where the partial skeleton of a castaway was found in 1940.
Recovered by British Colonial Service Officer Gerald Gallagher, the human remains were described in a forensic report and attributed to a white female of northern European extraction, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, a stature consistent with that of Amelia Earhart. Unfortunately the bones have been lost.
Gillespie believes that many of the bones might have been carried off by giant coconut crabs, suggesting an unmerciful end for Earhart. However, parts of the skeleton not found in 1940 (the spine, ribs, half of the pelvis, hands and feet, one arm, and one lower leg) may still remain at the site, scattered in the bush.
Test conducted with pig carcass
The researchers have just carried out an experiment to test the hypothesis.
"In 2007 we conducted a taphonomy experiment with a small pig carcass to see how quickly the crabs would eat the remains, and how far, if at all, the crabs dragged the bones. The primary answers were 'pretty quickly' and 'all over the place,'" Patricia Thrasher, TIGHAR's president, told Discovery News.
"This trip, they went back to the site to look at the bones that were left. It's now been three years that these mammal bones have been out in the weather on Nikumaroro. If Gallagher found Amelia Earhart's bones, that's how long they would have been lying out," Thrasher said.
Indeed, the bones looked much older than three years, in accordance with Gallagher's report of gray, pitted, dry remains.
Gillespie dropped the pig bones on the coral rubble, and they virtually disappeared, to the point that it took some searching to find them again some 10 minutes later.
A ring of fire?
Apart from searching the coral rubble for bones not seen by Gallangher, the team is investigating an area around a big Ren tree. There, they spotted a rough ring of fire remains which prompted several questions.
Did the castaway construct a ring of fire to keep the crabs away at night? Was it an attempt to signal search aircraft?
Other questions come from the pocket knife and the glass jar fragments. Perhaps a cosmetic jar, the small container features some sort of embossing on the base, either letters or numbers now unreadable because of the dirt.
"The finds are indeed important. In the case of the knife, we found part of it in 2007 and have now found more. The artifacts tell a story of an ordinary pocket knife that was beaten apart to detach the blades for some reason," Thrasher said.
Was the castaway trying to make a fishing spear? Were the blades used for prying clams?
More questions are likely to come up in the next days. The researchers have just found another fire feature and are about to excavate the area, while other members of the team are exploring the Western Reef Slope, a strip of coral reef at the island's western end.
Using a remotely operated vehicle, they plan to carry out an underwater search for the wreckage of Earhart's Electra.
According to the researchers, the steep nature of the reef slope makes it likely that any wreckage lies perhaps as far as 1,000 feet down.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (4-6-10)
The award-winning performer played feisty Southern belle Blanche in the popular series.
McClanahan, who underwent heart bypass surgery last year, is the third of the main cast members to pass away.
Only Betty White remains, following the deaths of Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur, who died in 2008 and 2009.
White, 88, recently hosted Saturday Night Live, and fans are lobbying for her to present next year's Academy Awards.
"I treasured our relationship," she said. "It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible."
McClanahan had a varied stage career before landing the role of Blanche Devereaux in 1985 when The Golden Girls hit the small screen.
The actress said of her seductive character: "She is in love with life and loves men.
"I think she has an attitude towards women that's competitive. I think basically she's insecure."
Blanche always referred to her father as "Big Daddy" and was the perpetual target of her housemates.
McClanahan won an Emmy for her role in 1987.
Five years later, after The Golden Girls ended, she co-starred alongside White and Getty in a short-lived spin-off called Golden Palace.
Earlier in her career, she had appeared with Arthur in the 1970s sitcom Maude as her best friend and sidekick.
In later years, she continued to appear on TV and on stage, playing the elderly mother of a drag queen in 2008 serial Sordid Lives, which included the filming of a sex scene.
The actress was recovering from knee surgery at the time, but still hung onto a window sill when the bed she was using broke.
McClanahan, who was born in Oklahoma, married six times and wrote a memoir in 2007 entitled My First Five Husbands... And The Ones Who Got Away.
SOURCE: BBC News (6-3-10)
Mr Blagojevich has denied all 24 charges which include racketeering, wire fraud, attempted extortion and bribery.
He was arrested 18 months ago along with his brother and co-defendant, Robert Blagojevich.
The trial begins with jury selection.
Mr Blagojevich, who intends to take the witness stand, wants the court to hear 500 hours of taped phone conversations to prove his innocence.
Predecessor in prison
Prosecutors say that in the conversations, recorded by the FBI, he attempted to sell or trade Mr Obama's seat.
Other corruption charges relate to demanding donations from potential campaign contributors in exchange for favours.
Mr Blagojevich, a Democrat who was twice elected as governor, was impeached last year. He has vehemently protested his innocence.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to 415 years in prison and ordered to pay fines of $6m (£4.1m).
His predecessor as Illinois governor, Republican George Ryan, was convicted of racketeering and wire fraud and is now serving a six-and-a-half year sentence.
SOURCE: BBC News (5-31-10)
The door-handles of my old Berlin apartment are beautiful. Brass, art nouveau and engraved with flowers worn smooth by more than 100 years of hands - the hands of those who lived here before....
In the pavements of Berlin, there's brass. Here and there, small cobbles of it. They're a little worn - like the lovely door-handles in our home - but by wind and weather, rather than hands.
And instead of flowers, each is engraved with a person's name, date of birth and their death.
The word, "ermordet" - murdered - is almost always there. Or sometimes, "Flucht in den Tod" - "killed whilst trying to escape". Or "Freitod" - "Suicide".
These brass cobbles are "Stolpersteine" - "stumbling blocks" - hand-made by sculptor Gunter Demnig who, for the past 14 years, has worked with his hammer, chisel and drill to set his commissioned blocks outside front doors throughout continental Europe....
SOURCE: BBC News (6-3-10)
The law, submitted by President Viktor Yanukovych, cements Ukraine's status as a military non-aligned country - though it will co-operate with Nato.
President Yanukovych was elected earlier this year, vowing to end Ukraine's Nato membership ambitions and mend relations with Russia.
His predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, had pursued a pro-Western foreign policy.
Under him, relations with Moscow had declined dramatically, with the Kremlin refusing to talk to him.
Since his February inauguration, Mr Yanukovych has wasted no time in re-shaping Ukraine's foreign policy in a more Moscow-friendly way, the BBC's David Stern in Kiev says.
In April, he agreed to extend the lease allowing Russia's Black Sea fleet to be stationed in the southern port of Sevastopol by 25 years in return for cheaper gas.
An extension of the lease, due to expire in 2017, had been opposed by Mr Yushchenko.
The main element of predictability and consistency in Ukraine's foreign policy is its non-aligned status.
Moscow had made known its opposition to Ukraine's plans to join Nato, and opinion polls indicate the majority of Ukrainians opposed Nato membership too, our correspondent reports.
The new bill bars Ukraine's membership in any military bloc, but allows for co-operation with alliances such as Nato.
"The main element of predictability and consistency in Ukraine's foreign policy is its non-aligned status," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said as he submitted the bill.
However, the new law will not affect Ukraine's political and economic integration with Europe.
Joining the European Union remains a priority, Mr Azarov said.
SOURCE: BBC News (6-2-10)
They lie on their backs in oil, get pulled from side to side by their brakes and greet steep hills with a nervous sigh but when you are truly in love nothing really matters.
The owners of vintage VW camper vans are a dedicated bunch, lavishing care, attention and money on their beloved wheels.
They are the first to admit their "Combis" stop badly, weigh a ton, are underpowered and prone to electrical failure - but despite the faults, they remain a magnetic pull.
Campers have been the vehicle of choice for globe trotters, festival-goers, surfers and rock stars for six decades.
So what is the appeal, and why, like the Routemaster bus or Mini, is the humble van so revered?
Long-term owner Adrian Ward, 45, has more than 25 years experience restoring them and runs a dedicated Camper van garage in Bournemouth.
"They force you to take it easy, force you to slow down, if you're in a hurry then forget it," he explains.
"There's a driving position you develop - this slouch with your elbows resting on the wheel and you lent over it. All of a sudden you can take it easy and watch everyone fly past you.
"There's a well known phrase, 'it's not about the destination, it's about the journey' - that's very apt when you're in a camper."
Mr Ward owns one of the rarest of all models - a 23-window Samba from 1962, originally built for touring in the Alps and worth about £30,000.
He has bought more than 40 Combis over the years, which he says are fun, yet versatile enough to "run to the shops or take the family away on holiday".
But it is not just those "in the scene" who have fallen for the dual charms of form and function.
In 2007, when the Globe theatre sent a company out on tour for the first time in 400 years, they wheeled in a camper.
Just like the Elizabethan horse and cart it replaced, the van was packed with costumes and props then incorporated into the production - in this case Romeo and Juliet.
In rural Herefordshire, a vicar of five Wye Dore parishes still uses his 1973 model to reach out to his flock and spread his message.
Rev Simon Lockett, or the Rolling Rev to locals, says he spends a week at a time in the summer camping out in three parish villages to made himself more accessible and visible.
The 43-year-old said: "I guess it's the iconic status that appeals. The youngsters love it but it also acts as a mobile office and I can sit and use the laptop."
Campers, particularly the rarer split-screen models, have become increasingly collectable. Good examples fetch about £13,000 and the best upwards of £25,000.
The rarest of all - an early Barndoor Samba, of which there are just a handful worldwide - would set you back at least £60,000.
One producer in Germany will even ship one containing a six cylinder Porsche 911 engine for 150,000 euros (£127,000) - but the waiting list is five years.
The camper van began life as a wagon to carry panels around VW's car plant in Wolfsburg, until it was spotted in the late 1940s by Dutch importer Ben Pon.
He made sketches based on the vehicle then struck a deal with engineers to develop them - spawning the first model complete with cylindrical headlights, split windscreen and famous circular logo.
Synonymous with 1960s counter culture, the vehicles have never lost their popularity.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver travelled around Italy in one for his Great Escape TV show and they continue to feature in countless TV adverts - Dorset Cereals and the Halifax to name two recent examples.
Mike Johnson, 36, from Southampton edits the newsletter of the Split Screen Van Club (SSVC) and has owned his 1959 model for six years.
"Even though they are iconic and cool vehicles, it's function not form that really sets them apart from other classics," he says.
"We use it as a family camper, a run around, a parts hauler and for VW shows... and I love every minute."
SSVC president Neil Smart, 48, says the media has driven much of the interest, along with renewed interest in 60s and 70s music, and surf wear.
He says more than anything else, he values the friendships and camaraderie he has developed with fellow enthusiasts.
VW drivers famously acknowledge each other on the road with a special wave or sign - an open hand with the three middle fingers folded to the palm.
There are upwards of 65 Volkswagen shows and rallies in England every year, plus a handful in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Tales of marathon journeys are not uncommon. In 2000 a US couple gave up their corporate jobs and clocked up 60,000 miles over three years touring Mexico, Central America, South America and Africa in their 1978 van.
Two years ago Mr Smart made his favourite of all road trips in Europe along with five other split-screen van owners.
"We took six splitties down to Austria, driving 2,500 miles in 13 days, and it [his van] never missed a beat," he said.
"Everyone was waving and taking pictures, we were treated like kings and queens because we'd made such an effort to go."
SOURCE: BBC News (6-2-10)
The items are being sold by US publishing magnate, Steve Forbes, who amassed them over three decades.
The collection also features the wartime leader's official engagements diary and candid letters to colleagues.
Auctioneer Christie's says the items, being sold in three parts, provide an exceptional insight into the man.
Continue reading the main story
I'm ashamed of you for writing such a letter. I return it to you to burn and forget
The first sale, of about 150 lots, will be followed by a second in New York in December and a third in London next summer.
Christie's director of books and manuscripts, Thomas Venning, says one letter from June 1940 dealing with the darkest days of the war gives an unmistakable insight into his character.
He says: "One of his [Churchill's] private, former private, secretaries has just written to him a letter of pure defeatism, saying, 'We've done our best. Now is the moment to make peace terms'...
"It's just a purely craven letter. Churchill's response is magnificent and simple. He just says, 'I'm ashamed of you for writing such a letter. I return it to you to burn and forget.'"
The former prime minister's engagement diary on 30 cards, giving details of his daily activities from September 1939 to June 1945, is expected to fetch up to £120,000.
It was kept by his private secretaries and includes recorded summits with leaders Roosevelt and Stalin as well as leisure pursuits such as football matches and theatre trips.
Malcolm S Forbes Jr, who gathered the collection, is chief executive of Forbes Inc and the grandson of Forbes magazine founder BC Forbes.
Name of source: WSJ
SOURCE: WSJ (6-4-10)
Given this amazing diversity united under one language, the author of America's first dictionary and the originator of uniform spelling in America (which makes the Bee possible!) would be proud. That's Noah Webster, to whom the Bee owes its official dictionary, "Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary."
Webster was a champion of American independence who wanted to do away with the elitism of England's dictionaries, which ignored the speech of common folk. He had a loftier goal as well: "A national language is a band of national union," he wrote, "…for if we do not respect ourselves…other nations will not respect us."...
As one of America's Founding Fathers, Webster accomplished many firsts in U.S. history. Not only was he the new country's first best-selling author, for the "Blue-backed Speller." As Pegi Deitz Shea notes in her 2009 book, "Noah Webster: Weaver of Words," he also "penned pamphlets against slavery…wrote about politics, agriculture, and disease…created the laws for the country's free public education system…and helped form and pass the U.S. Constitution."...
Name of source: digital emunction
SOURCE: digital emunction (5-30-10)
Banzer was a dictator of Bolivia from 1971-8 and a democratically elected president from 1997-2001. His three-day coup in August 1971 was significant not only for the fighting that accompanied it, which left 110 dead and 600 wounded, but for the seven-year regime that followed, one of the most repressive in Bolivia’s history. Under Banzer’s rule, more than 14,000 Bolivians were arrested without a judicial order, more than 8,000 were tortured—with electricity, water, beatings—and more than 200 were executed or disappeared. (I’m writing a long article about the legacy of the regime for Narrative Magazine. It will hopefully be out by the end of the year.)
American support for Banzer before and after the coup was never in doubt. He had trained at the School of the Americas in Panama and the Armored Cavalry School in Texas, and in the late 60s served as military attaché in Washington. In the five months after he ousted left-wing dictator General Juan José Torres, Banzer was rewarded with $50 million in grants and aid from the Nixon Administration.
But while U.S. support for Banzer during the coup has been widely assumed among Bolivians and historians of Latin America, the only proof (until now) was a Washington Post report published a week after the event, which said that U.S. Air Force Major Robert J. Lundin had advised the plotters and lent them a long-range radio. The report was never substantiated, however, and the State Department denied it immediately, asserting unequivocally that the U.S. played no part in the overthrow of Torres....
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (6-3-10)
A once-thriving 58,000-year-old ochre powder production site has just been discovered in South Africa. The discovery offers a glimpse of what early humans valued and used in their everyday lives.
The finding, which will be described in the Journal of Archaeological Science, also marks the first time that any Stone Age site has yielded evidence for ochre powder processing on cemented hearths — an innovation for the period. A clever caveman must have figured out that white ash from hearths can cement and become rock hard, providing a sturdy work surface.
Wadley, who authored the study, is a professor in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies and in the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand. She said ochre has been found on bone awl tools probably used for working leather, so it is possible that the ancients sported colorful leather clothing and other leather goods.
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (6-3-10)
The Western Prelacy claims that the seven pages, which date back to 1256, were ripped from the Armenian Orthodox Church's Zeyt'un Gospels during the Armenian Genocide, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Americas is requesting that the pages be returned.
The museum acquired the pages from a private U.S. collection in 1994 after reviewing the origin of the pieces, she said.
The previous owner of the collection has asked the museum not to disclose his or her identity, Jaskol said.
Name of source: BBC
Melanie Phillips has been campaigning for the monument at Pembroke Castle where she once worked.
The king, who founded the Tudor dynasty, was born in the castle in 1457 and lived there until he was 11.
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart said he would help to find funding for the statue.
A spokesman for Bosleys auctioneers in central England told the BBC that the medals fetched $6,443 (£4,400).
The medals belonged to Capt Thomas Waterman, who was reputedly the last British officer to escape from the city of Lucknow as it was sacked.
The siege of Lucknow began in 1857 after an uprising by Indian soldiers.
The wreck is just 1.5km (0.9 miles) from the shore, near the town of Baltiysk, and about 20m (66ft) down.
More than 10,000 shells containing explosives are on board, but without detonators, a Russian government official told the BBC.
The removal work could take two years, Maxim Vladimirov said.
Peter Erlinder arrived in Rwanda last week to help defend opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who has been charged with promoting genocide ideology last month.
Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga said Mr Erlinder has "admitted" that he tried to kill himself.
His daughter told the BBC shes does not believe he would try to take his life.
The image appeared on the front page of LHR News and was meant to promote the benefits of online check-in.
It showed a passenger holding up an iPhone displaying a boarding pass in the name Bin Laden/Osama, seat 07-C.
SOURCE: BBC (6-1-10)
Arthur Pritchard, who was 86, from Felinheli, Gwynedd, spent most of his life driving JCBs and digging holes or demolishing things.
But he was one of only two survivors when his Lancaster bomber crashed in flames in northern France in 1944.
His funeral will take place at St Mary's Church, Felinheli, on Thursday.
SOURCE: BBC (6-2-10)
MSPs will debate a motion by Labour MSP Bill Butler calling for Owen to feature on Scottish notes in time for the United Nations Year of Co-operatives in 2012.
Owen pioneered co-operative values during his time as mill manager at New Lanark from the late 18thCentury. Child labour was abolished and the workers were provided with homes, education and health care.
Name of source: Civil War Interactive
SOURCE: Civil War Interactive (6-2-10)
“Today we celebrate a great step forward for one of Kentucky’s outstanding historic sites,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow, who accepted the donation on behalf of the Commonwealth. “The gift of this land will provide an enriched experience for visitors for generations to come.”
James Lighthizer, president of CWPT, remarked that the transfer’s timing as the opening event of the organization’s Annual Conference held this week in nearby Lexington was especially meaningful. “As illustrated by the presence of our conference in Kentucky this week, protected battlefields draw tourists who want to explore them in great depth,” said Lighthizer. “On the eve of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, it is particularly important that we set aside such irreplaceable sites for the curious generations of the future.”...
Name of source: Ridgefield Press (CT)
SOURCE: Ridgefield Press (CT) (6-3-10)
Ms. Wisner was 22 years old when she signed up to become a Navy flight nurse in World War II.
At 89, she remembers treating patients while flying high over the South Pacific as clearly as ever.
“World War II is pretty much history — there aren’t many of us left,” Ms. Wisner said to fellow World War II veterans at a meeting of the Ridgefield VFW post recently.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars invited Ms. Wisner to speak at a recent meeting, arranged by Eloise Barron, coordinator of the Ridgefield VNA Quality Living at Home program, who knew the veteran nurse. Ms. Wisner, who has lived in town for 20 years, agreed to share her story with the “boys.”
In 1944, a registered nurse needed to know how to swim and be in top physical shape to be considered for a position as a Navy flight nurse. Ms. Wisner was the one RN chosen from a group of 200.
Evelyn Wisner speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars recently about her time as a Navy flight nurse. —Kate Czaplinski
Once Navy flight nurse training was complete, she made regular trips from Guam to combat zones in the Pacific, to collect patients. The C-47 planes she flew in weren’t much more than old cargo planes, she said, but were transformed into hospitals to treat the patients.
“We were on our own over all that water,” Ms. Wisner said. “Me, the pilots and a medical corpsman,” Ms. Wisner said.
They’d pick up 18 to 30 patients, mostly Marines from Iwo Jima, Japan, and treat them in the air before transporting them to hospitals in Guam, Hawaii or back in the States. They spent only enough time on the ground to screen the patients.
They would leave Guam at midnight and arrive in Iwo Jima around dawn, she said.
“Those young Marines were so glad to get on that plane, all they wanted was a drink of water...” Ms. Wisner said.
The flights also carried food and supplies to the combat zones.
“We had our hands full,” she said.
She still remembers the dining experience in the Navy quite clearly.
“Dehydrated scrambled eggs and coffee blacker than black...but they always had the best baked bread.”
During her service, close to the war’s end, she said that many of the soldiers looked so young she wanted to hold them on her lap like children.
“They were beat up kids — they were young,” she said.
Once, she was asked to take a soldier home on the plane even though he seemed uninjured.
“I looked at him and said ‘well, what’s wrong,’” Ms. Wisner said. “I was told, ‘Nothing, he’s 16, take him home.’
“A lot of young men lied then but it was rare for them to make it that far,” she said. “Usually they got caught in boot camp.”
Treating patients at 7,000 feet could be dangerous business.
“On my first trip a young man with a hole in his back started hemorrhaging at 7,000 feet,” Ms. Wisner said. “I had the pilot go to 3,000 — we gave him some sedative and he turned out all right.”
She recalled the plane her roommate was in that crash landed on a runway in Guam and miraculously, no one got a scratch.
She discussed the fear of Kamikaze pilots and one that hit a hospital ship her friend was serving on.
“The fact that they hit hospital ships — I couldn’t forgive them for that,” she said.
The war ended when she was still on the job.
“When the war ended, I didn’t know, I was up in the air,” she said.
She went back to the U.S. and continued treating soldiers including former prisoners of war.
She also met her future husband.
“I got married to a Navy dentist — I didn’t even marry a Marine — most of my patients were Marines,” she said laughing.
After her story, there was an exchange of war stories. Among those who participated were Wally Goodman of the VFW, a veteran of World War II who served in the Pacific Theater, and fellow VFW members, including three others who served in World War II. They asked Ms. Wisner to join them in this year’s parade and she has agreed. It was her first time in the town parade.
“We sometimes sit and trade stories a bit,” Mr. Goodman said. “She brought a whole new perspective.”
Ms. Wisner said that years ago when she would talk to school groups about her experiences, the most commonly asked question was her feelings on the U.S. dropping the Atomic Bomb.
“It was a tragedy and Pearl Harbor was a tragedy but the war had to end,” she said.
Ms. Wisner who grew up in North Dakota and Michigan, had three brothers who also served in World War II. Each of them came home safely after the war ended.
“No one goes through a war without feeling it somehow,” she said. “I tell my daughter that I wouldn’t look so old if I hadn’t been in a war.”
Ms. Wisner said that many people call World War II a “good war,” but to her, there is no such thing.
“Wars are pretty nasty stuff,” she said. “I always said if a woman ran the country there wouldn’t be as many wars because women have children and women have sons.”
Name of source: Der Spiegel (Germany)
SOURCE: Der Spiegel (Germany) (6-2-10)
For decades, the images lay forgotten in an aluminum canister -- almost seven minutes of original black and white film, shot with an 8 mm camera on May 10, 1945, in the Prague district of Borislavka during the confusing days of the German surrender.
The man who shot the film was Jirí Chmelnicek, a civil engineer and amateur filmmaker who lived in the Borislavka district and wanted to document the city's liberation from the brutal Nazi occupation. Chmelnicek filmed tanks rolling through the streets, soldiers and refugees. Then, at some point, his camera also caught groups of Germans, who had been driven out of their houses and into Kladenska Street by Red Army soldiers and Czech militiamen.
Chmelnicek's film shows how the Germans were rounded up in a nearby movie theater, also called the Borislavka. The camera then pans to the side of the street, where 40 men and at least one woman stand with their backs to the lens. A meadow can be seen in the background. Shots ring out and, one after another, each person in the line slumps and falls forward over a low embankment. The injured lying on the ground beg for mercy. Then a Red Army truck rolls up, its tires crushing dead and wounded alike. Later other Germans can be seen, forced to dig a mass grave in the meadow.
A Shock to Czechs
The shaky images show an event that has been described again and again by eyewitnesses and historians: the systematic killing of German civilians. Yet the film comes as a shock to Czechs. "Until now, there was no footage whatsoever of such executions," says Czech documentary filmmaker David Vondracek, who showed the historical images on television. "When I watched this for the first time, it was like seeing a live broadcast from the past."
The only such images known before were taken by a US Air Force camera team. That footage showed injured Germans lying on the ground in Plzen, in what was then Czechoslovakia, in early May 1945. The images included some dead bodies, but they didn't show a liquidation, from beginning to end, like this one.
Vondracek's documentary about Czech atrocities, called "Killings, Czech Style," aired during primetime on Czech state television just two days before May 8, the anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender. The broadcast marks yet another milestone on the Czech road toward confronting a not-always-comfortable World War II past -- a path the country has been working its way down for years.
Even organizations representing "Sudeten Germans" -- ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovak territory after the war -- took notice. Horst Seehofer, governor of Bavaria, plans to pay an official visit to Prague soon, making him the first holder of his office to do so since World War II. "A great deal has come into the open where the Sudeten Germans are concerned," Seehofer commented recently.
Victim to Acts of Revenge
Following Nazi Germany's defeat, the Czechs and the Red Army expelled around 3 million ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia. In the process, up to 30,000 civilians fell victim to acts of revenge. Only a small minority of them had been Nazi perpetrators. Germans and Czechs had lived side by side for decades before Hitler's 1938 annexation of Bohemia and Moravia, the two regions that make up the majority of the Czech Republic today.
No one knows who singled out the Germans in Borislavka, nor what crimes they were accused of committing. They were most likely killed by Red Army soldiers, perhaps also by "Revolutionary Guards" -- members of Czech militias. Those firing the shots may also have included former Czech collaborators, who had previously worked with the Germans and who wanted to clear their names with a show of anti-German brutality.
Helena Dvoracková, amateur filmmaker Jirí Chmelnicek's daughter, was one of the first to see the images of these executions. She doesn't remember how old she was when her father set up his projection screen and ran the film. "I don't remember either whether he said anything about it -- and really, there wasn't much to be said," she says.
'Under the Meadow'
Her father kept the film hidden at home for decades. Communist police even came calling -- someone had figured out that the footage existed. The police asked about the film and threatened Chmelnicek. But the filmmaker didn't turn over his reel. He wanted the world eventually to learn what had been done to defenseless people that day in May in Borislavka.
Ten years ago, long after her father's death, Helena Dvoracková offered the historical footage to a well-known Czech television historian, but the historian kept the film under wraps. "People will stone me to death if I show this," he supposedly said, and placed the reel in the state television station's archives. Documentary maker Vondracek found it there, after a cameraman who knew the amateur filmmaker's family told him about it.
Today Borislavka is one of Prague's nicer districts, and tall grass has grown over the meadow where the executions took place. Vondracek now wants to start a search for the Germans' mass grave. "It must be somewhere under the meadow," he says.
Likely not all that far away from a memorial plaque for two Czechs who fell in the battle against the Nazis on May 6, 1945.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (6-2-10)
But now an Italian investigation of a second American museum curator, in a case involving similar allegations of criminal conspiracy, seems likely to upend assumptions about any rapprochement. According to a 14-page legal notice from the public prosecutor’s office in Rome, J. Michael Padgett, 56, antiquities curator at the Princeton University Museum of Art, is a focus of a criminal investigation of “the illegal export and laundering” of Italian archaeological objects.
Once again an American may be facing a drawn-out legal ordeal, and at least the hypothetical threat of incarceration in a foreign country, for acquiring art for a museum — something that was unheard of before the Getty case, and that many museum professionals believed was not going to happen again....
Name of source: AFP
SOURCE: AFP (6-2-10)
Supervised by the creme-de-la-creme of French archaeology, a bunch of dusty diggers are unearthing the leftovers from a work now known as "Lunch Under The Grass" -- a meal for 80 in sumptuous gardens south of Paris where the star course was offal.
On April 23, 1983, Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri, one of the central figures of post-war European art, invited dozens of artists, gallery-owners, critics and friends for a lunch held by a 40-metre (-yard) long trench.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (6-2-10)
Christian and Muslim attempts to draw parallels between the tensions of today and the crusades of almost 1,000 years ago are a distortion and manipulation of history, according to historian Tom Asbridge.
Speaking at the Guardian Hay festival today, Asbridge, author of two books on the crusades, argued that the modern belief that the Christian and Muslim worlds have been "inevitably predicated towards conflict" since the crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099 is not based on historical realities.
Name of source: CHE
SOURCE: CHE (6-2-10)
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers collaborated with educators, researchers, and other experts to write the Common Core State Standards, which outline specific expectations for what students should learn across all subjects in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The groups also specified what students in sixth through 12th grade should learn in mathematics and English, as well as levels of literacy in history, science, and technical subjects.
The standards call for increasingly complex and diverse readings and a focus on logic, research, and narrative writing. They also call for a mix of skills learning and conceptual understanding in math....
Name of source: Boston Herald
SOURCE: Boston Herald (6-1-10)
“I hope they replace it soon,” said Lt. Benny White, a re-enactor with the 54th Regiment, who added that it has gone missing several times before, but seeing the scar on the statue where the sword should be is no less painful.
“They steal it all the time,” said 1st Sgt. Gerard Grimes, another re-enactor, who said it happens so often that the city made a rubber sword to replace it. “It’s a tradition. Every time a Boston sports team wins, the sword goes missing.”
Name of source: David Firestone in the NYT
SOURCE: David Firestone in the NYT (5-31-10)
Few members of the Tea Party have endorsed Rand Paul’s misgivings about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but a surprising number are calling for the repeal of an older piece of transformative legislation: the 17th Amendment. If you don’t have the Constitution on your smartphone, that’s the one adopted in 1913 that provides for direct popular election of United States senators.
Allowing Americans to choose their own senators seems so obvious that it is hard to remember that the nation’s founders didn’t really trust voters with the job. The people were given the right to elect House members. But senators were supposed to be a check on popular rowdiness and factionalism. They were appointed by state legislatures, filled with men of property and stature.
A modern appreciation of democracy — not to mention a clear-eyed appraisal of today’s dysfunctional state legislatures — should make the idea unthinkable. But many Tea Party members and their political candidates are thinking it anyway, convinced that returning to the pre-17th Amendment system would reduce the power of the federal government and enhance state rights.
Senate candidates have to raise so much money to run that they become beholden to special interests, party members say. They argue that state legislators would not be as compromised and would choose senators who truly put their state’s needs first....
To Madison, Hamilton and most of the other authors of the Constitution, allowing states to appoint the Senate was the linchpin of the entire federalist system and the real reason there are two houses of Congress. It may be true that appointed senators, accountable only to state legislators, would never approve of many useful federal mandates designed to put the national interest above local parochialism — including everything from the minimum wage to the new health care reform law.
Not enough Americans vote. But, fortunately, almost all like the idea that they can, a thoroughly modern sentiment that will confine this elitist notion to the fringes. That means Tea Partiers who are infuriated by the health care law and everything else now going on in Washington can no longer look to James Madison for a bailout. Their best remedy is the one they seem to spurn: a vote at the ballot box.
Name of source: Essence
SOURCE: Essence (6-1-10)
Name of source: The Root
SOURCE: The Root (5-28-10)
The Gibbs-Hunts, as they were called, have come to light because of a wave of new research in black history that is focused less on the grand figures of history and more on individuals who made their mark despite the huge obstacles they faced. This new focus reflects a broader trend toward a history of ordinary people and the insights they provide into daily life.
William Hunt's mother was probably sired by a vice president of the United States who traced his own roots to the Jamestown colony--and fathered a number of children with his slave women. Ida's father was the second son of a black Presbyterian minister. The life of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs could nourish a dozen film plots. M.W. Gibbs was born in Philadelphia in 1823, joined the California gold rush in 1850, and started a newspaper to challenge racial injustice in 1856.
He led a migration of some 900 blacks from California to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1858 when California seriously considered banning all blacks from living there. Once settled in British Columbia, he was elected to a council seat in Vancouver. He became wealthy through real-estate investments, returned to the United States in 1869, and in 1873 won election in Arkansas as the first black judge elected anywhere in the United States. Decades later, in 1897, President William McKinley rewarded this loyal Republican with a consular post in Madagascar. Ida, raised in comfort and privilege, graduated from Oberlin College in 1884 and earned a master's degree at a time when very few white women went to college.
Her future husband's early years were a lot more difficult. William Henry Hunt was born into slavery in 1863, and his early life after Emancipation was marked by hardship and labor. His desire for an education was initially thwarted at age 10 by the need to help his illiterate mother support their family. Yet he later managed to find a sponsor to a New England prep school, then went on to Williams College, although he dropped out after a year. He met Ida in 1889, possibly at a concert given by her sister, a graduate of Oberlin's music conservatory. In 1897, with the support of Ida, he was able to snag a job as deputy to M.W. Gibbs at his Madagascar posting and later succeeded him as consul. When he married Ida in 1904, even Washington, D.C.'s white newspapers reported on the wedding....
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (6-2-10)
Coleman died in 2008, but his efforts drew the attention of the state's Commission on Human Rights, which opened a decade-long inquiry into Kentucky's country clubs and men-only dining societies.
A 2004 state Supreme Court ruling pushed Kentucky's remaining segregated clubs to stop the discrimination or risk losing tax deductions. Still, at least one club held out until late last year.
But the idea that the government has no right to interfere with membership practices of private businesses and clubs is still prevalent enough here that it has become a point of controversy in this year's U.S. Senate race in the state. Republican Party nominee Rand Paul caused a stir last month when he said he believed private businesses should not be forced to abide by civil rights laws.
Republican Party leaders wanted nothing to do with his comments, and Paul soon backed down, saying he supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would not want it to be repealed. But some in Kentucky welcomed his remarks. For many years, Kentuckians who belong to the state's most exclusive clubs have made the same argument that got Paul into trouble. Two decades after prominent country clubs in many other states began to accept their first black members, some here remained segregated, said Gerald Smith, director of African American studies at the University of Kentucky.
It is that social atmosphere that allowed Paul to question an area of civil rights law that most politicians consider beyond debate, Smith said. "The things that we are highlighting as though they are newsworthy are no longer news in a whole lot of places. We are still dealing with 'first' stuff."...