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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: BBC
Enter philosopher Immanuel Kant and the deontological theory of ethics.
At least, that's how the discussion progresses in a growing number of philosophy classes in the US.
Cultural and media studies have paved the way for universities to incorporate pop culture into their curriculum. These days it is not uncommon to find a television studies class alongside 17th-Century literature in the course listings of an English department.
Now, philosophy professors are finding superheroes and comic books to be exceptionally useful tools in helping students think about the complex moral and ethical debates that have occupied philosophers for centuries....
SOURCE: BBC (8-11-10)
Sudanese-born Ibrahim al-Qosi, 50, had admitted conspiracy and providing support for terrorism.
However, he could serve far less time because of a plea deal which is likely to remain secret for several weeks.
Qosi, who was detained in Afghanistan in 2001, also admitted working as Bin Laden's bodyguard and helping him avoid capture by US forces....
'Joyance', an 1899 statue of a boy by Sir William Goscombe John, was cut from the water fountain in Thompson's Park, Canton, Cardiff.
Sir William was one of the most prominent 19th Century sculptors and the theft comes in the 150th anniversary year of his birth.
2010 marks the 150th anniversary of Sir William Goscombe John's birth in Canton and a local pub is named in his honour, near where his street used to stand.
His statues and monuments can be seen in many places in the UK and abroad, including Westminster Abbey, St Paul's and Llandaff cathedrals....
Work has begun to unearth remnants of buildings which became infamous for the murder of the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots, Lord Darnley.
The remains of the buildings have been buried beneath Old College for more than 200 years.
The dig is being carried out prior to a £1m landscaping project which is being funded by a private donor....
SOURCE: BBC (8-11-10)
But why did the German, who had seven children by his wife and died in north London, leave his meagre £250 (£23,000 today) to his youngest daughter Eleanor?
New online records are offering tantalising insights into the financial affairs of famous figures from the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Official summaries, or indexes, of more than six million wills from 1861 to 1941 have been put online for the first time.
Name of source: The Times of India
SOURCE: The Times of India (8-13-10)
Spread in an area of about 6-7 km, the megaliths can be of much historical importance and have potential of being converted into a heritage site. The megaliths were located using "quick bird" remote sensing satellite launched in 2007. MRSAC directorVinod Bothale tells that the satellite has a resolution of 60 cm and hence gives good imageries. The megaliths of Junapani like all burial sites in Nagpur and adjoining districts of Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Bhandara districts in Vidarbha are made of basalt rocks. Basalt being black the megaliths appears as small black rings on the satellite image. The Junapani burial site has about 100-125 megaliths. "This is one of the most unique uses of remote sensing imagery," Bothale said.
The other site located by her at Mahurjari has 7 burial sites with circular formations have earlier been excavated by Nagpur University's archaeology department. It found copper vessels, pottery and human skeleton....
Name of source: Live Science
SOURCE: Live Science (8-12-10)
Scholars know Auza existed from written records, but its exact location has never been proven. By studying ancient maps and records, emeritus classics professor Sir John Boardman of the Beazley Archive at Britain's University of Oxford was able to locate a more likely site for the ancient city, he said.
Where previous historians have thought this outpost was probably far to the west, beyond Carthage in Tunisia (the northernmost country in Africa), Boardman submits that Auza lies at a site known as Aziris nearer Egypt and Phoenicia, the home base of the Phoenicians centered on modern-day Israel and Lebanon....
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (8-12-10)
Archaeology students learning how to use mapping equipment have stumbled across the site of large Roman buildings on the banks of the river Usk in Wales, right by one of the best-known and most-studied Roman sites in Britain.
The structures have yet to be excavated, but one is enormous, possibly a granary or warehouse – or a palatial riverside villa.
The students located the previously unknown buildings as they were learning to use geophysical tools, which can reveal the outlines of buried structures, in fields by the Roman fortress at Caerleon – claimed by some romantics as King Arthur's Camelot. The area has been excavated and studied for two centuries.
The buildings lie outside the fortress walls, where archaeologists believed there was nothing except a few outbuildings and stores....
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (8-12-10)
The commission has also written to the 40-year-old British supermodel to suggest she make a personal donation to the country's War Victims' Fund.
Tests on the stones have established that they are diamonds but not their origin. Under South African law, stones which are unclaimed from police by a legitimate owner after 21 days can be sold and the revenues will be kept by the government....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (8-11-10)
The company has since found a spot in China that is geographically similar to the original location, which features gently sloping hills and a sheltered bay.
Building work is expected to start in September or October, a spokesman told the Guardian.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (8-12-10)
The mystery of the missing centenarians has captured the attention of this rapidly graying nation with reports of scamming relatives and overworked social workers and sad tales of old people, isolated and forgotten, simply slipping out of touch with society.
The woman listed as Tokyo's oldest, Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897, is also missing. Her last registered residence was long ago converted into a vacant lot. In the western city of Kobe alone, officials are trying to track down more than 100 unaccounted-for centenarians, including a woman who, if still alive, would be 125....
SOURCE: AP (8-10-10)
The murals, painted by artist Gino Conti of Providence, were found last month during a $1.5 million renovation of Edwards Hall funded by federal stimulus money. The school announced the find yesterday.
The colorful oil-on-canvas paintings were hung in the entryway of Edwards Hall, an auditorium. Ron Onorato, a URI art history professor, said it was not clear if the find includes all the work Conti did for the project....
SOURCE: AP (8-10-10)
The Majdanek museum said the fire in the barrack housing a camp kitchen was discovered shortly before midnight on Monday by a guard making his rounds. The cause of the fire is not yet known and authorities are investigating.
In Israel, the director of the Yad Vashem museum, Avner Shalev expressed sorrow that the historic site and valuable artifacts had been damaged or destroyed.
"The damage to these irreplaceable items is a loss to a site that has such historical value to Europe, Poland and the Jewish people," Shalev said.
Shalev offered assistance to the museum at the Majdanek camp, which is on the outskirts of Lublin in eastern Poland.
The museum said there were 10,000 shoes in the barrack, but that it was too soon to say how extensive the damage was.
Former death camps across an area once occupied by Nazi Germany are falling into a state of disrepair decades after the end of World War II. There have also been recent cases of vandalism at some of them.
The most brazen of those was the theft of the sign over the entrance gate at Auschwitz bearing the infamous slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" - or "Work Will Set You Free."...
Name of source: CNN
Fox travels the world digging for his version of treasure -- the remains of missing U.S. service personnel who died in battle.
Fox is part of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, a unique team of nearly 400 civilian and military personnel. The unit is two-thirds military and one-third civilian, with each branch of the military represented. While search teams comb the world for remains, specialists back at JPAC headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii, make matches between bones and soldiers listed as missing in action.
Tarawa, a South Pacific atoll, was the site of one the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history. Starting on the morning of November 20, 1943, more than 1,000 American men were killed in roughly 72 hours of fighting with the Japanese. Hundreds of Marines were gunned down in the water trying to make it to shore.
Tarawa was before Iwo Jima. For Marines, the battle is both a source of pride and a lesson learned. The high casualties were blamed in part to poor planning. The attack was launched during low tide, which left a lot of the landing craft stuck on coral....
The service members, most returning for a two-week break, arrived on a charter flight expecting to be met by the Dallas-based Welcome Home A Hero organization.
The Bushes joined with more than 30 youth football players through the Slant 45 organization to take part in the ceremony. The group is part of the Super Bowl community program in advance of the 2011 Super Bowl at Arlington, Texas....
Assange has previously said his Web site has an additional 15,000 documents that it wants to publish but that it is redacting information that could endanger people named.
Through The New York Times, the organization has asked the Obama administration for its guidance on what to redact. A recently published report suggested the site has asked the Pentagon directly as well. Morrell, however, denied that claim last week.
On Thursday, Assange continued to allege that the Pentagon had been unresponsive to his requests....
Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said the coin ranked in the top five of the rarest finds in that country's history.
"Intrinsically, for coin research, it's a very exciting find," Ariel told CNN. "This is an amazing numismatic find. The coin is beautiful and in excellent preservation. It is the heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel."
Ariel said the coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed about 4.5 grams. It was minted in Alexandria, Egypt, by Ptolemy V and dates to 191 BCE. It is only the second gold Ptolemaic coin ever found in Israel.
The obverse, or 'head' of the coin, portrays Queen Arsinoe II Philadelphus.
The reverse, or 'tail,' illustrates two "overlapping cornucopias decorated with fillets," according to the IAA.
In the parlance of antiquities experts, the coin's denomination is referred to as a "mnaieion," meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.
The meaning of the word Philadelphus is "brotherly love" and in this context relates to the fact that Queen Arsinoe II Philadelphus was married to her brother, Ptolemy II, who was her second husband. She was first married at age 15 to Lysimachus, king of Thrace, who was one of Alexander the Great's generals.
Name of source: AOL News
SOURCE: AOL News (8-12-10)
Thus the cover story in Esquire Magazine, September issue, written by John H. Richardson.
If anyone knows something about Newt Gingrich, it is his former wife, Marianne, and Richardson scored an interview with her. She is someone with a bone to pick, one that stems from the ending of their 18-year marriage with an affair. She knows a lot, and has never before spoken out. Richardson notes she is a "Tea Party" conservative. She believes in what she thought Newt Gingrich believed in, too.
Name of source: Lee White at the National Coalition for History
The National Archives recently announced the launch of its first public wiki called “Our Archives” on Wikispaces located at: http://www.ourarchives.wikispaces.net. “Our Archives” provides a collaborative space for members of the public, researchers, and staff to share knowledge about National Archives records, resources and research.
The wiki is an opportunity for researchers, historians, archivists, and citizen archivists to work together to create pages on specific records or topics as well as to share information and resources to connect with other researchers.
Users may participate in the wiki in the following ways:
- Create new pages and edit pre-existing pages about historical subjects and records held by the National Archives;
- Expand upon a description in the National Archives online catalog;
Publish a transcription of a document;
- Add information to build upon other resources;
- Collaborate with other users working on similar subjects or to work together on research projects;
- Join in the discussions for various pages.
Anyone is able to read the pages and join in the discussions. Contributors to the wiki will need a user login and password. To create an account, go to http://www.ourarchives.wikispaces.net and click “Join” in the top left corner, and follow the instructions. New accounts will be approved Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Questions about the Archives wiki may be sent to Rebecca Warlow at OurArchiveswiki@nara.gov
On July 28, the National Archives released a group of papers from the “Grace Tully Archive” that was recently donated to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. The Grace Tully Archive is a collection of documents and memorabilia pertaining to President Franklin Roosevelt that is comprised of items that were gathered by his personal secretary throughout FDR’s private and public career as Governor of New York and as President.
After Tully’s death in 1981, her collection of personal papers passed on through her niece into the hands of private collectors, and finally, to the current owner, Sun Times Media, which bought the collection for $8 million in 2001. Subsequently, Sun Times Media decided to donate the entire collection to the FDR Presidential Library.
In 2004, the National Archives asserted a claim of ownership to certain documents in the collection, arguing that those documents were Presidential records and should have originally been provided to NARA instead of staying with Grace Tully’s collection. Specific statues governing the maintenance and ownership of such records were not enacted until after the death of President Roosevelt.
The donation to the Roosevelt Library is the result of more than five years of negotiation between the government and the private parties involved. Due to the Archives’ formal claim, Sun Times Media had been prevented from receiving any type of tax deduction for the donation. In February 2010 Congress enacted Public Law 111-138, which removed the legal tax barriers preventing the donation of the papers.
The National Archives National Declassification Center (NDC) recently issued its first status report, covering the reporting period of January 1- June 30, 2010. During this time, nearly 8 million pages of material were processed and made available to the public.
The creation of the NDC is specified in the Executive Order 13526 on Classified National Security Information signed by President Obama on December 29, 2009. The NDC is charged with streamlining declassification processes, facilitating quality assurance measures, and implementing standard training for declassification reviewers.
NDC status reports will be issued biannually in July and January, and will cover the preceding six-months, focusing on events and activities, interagency cooperation, and a NDC’s progress on the records processing backlog.
Of course, the major benchmark by which the NDC will be measure is the progress it makes in reducing the 400 million + pages of materials awaiting declassification. EO 13526 requires the NDC eliminate the backlog by December 31, 2013.
To date, the NDC has made little progress in reducing the backlog. However, human and IT infrastructure, prioritization policies, business processes and personnel training procedures are still being developed and implemented. As a result, the NDC expects greater progress will be made over the next six months as these continue to come on line.
Total backlog pages as of January 1, 2010: 417,916,550 pp
Total pages released to the open shelves: 7,830,322 pp
Total backlog pages as of June 30, 2010: 410, 086, 228 pp
In its first six months, the NDC:
- Created a web site to provide timely information and a blog to encourage and facilitate public comment. Both are available at: http://www.archives.gov/declassification.
- Held an Open Forum June 23 at the National Archives Washington, DC, hosted by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, to discuss the NDC’s draft prioritization plan;
- Held a three-day equity recognition training program May 25 – 27 to instruct reviewers on equities in the NARA backlog. Over 240 review personnel from 26 agencies attended, and 15 agencies presented equity briefings;
- Completed preservation actions on all Federal classified special media records with a review deadline of 2011. These records are now in a format that can be reviewed by the equity-holding agencies;
- Established a classified special media lab to support Agency reviews of their classified equities in multiple special media formats;
- Prioritized certain records collections within the Presidential Libraries for review. Another example of records that have been “fast tracked” are China-related materials within the Kissinger Personal Paper Collection;
- Improved the system so that all declassification processing occurs prior to archival processing to avoid delays in making declassified records available to researchers.
NDC goals for the coming months include:
- Finding a new IT system design to support improved NDC processes, improved data collection, and integration. This system would also track records from accessioning to their final availability to the public, in order to facilitate referral review for declassification and release;
- Developing new and more efficient processes for interagency declassification review and processing of special media and electronic records; and
- Crafting better work processes for Freedom of Information Act/Mandatory Declassification Reviews for classified Federal records to provide for more timely responses to public requests.
On July 30, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s scheduled mark up of legislation (H.R. 5616), to reauthorize the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) at a $20 million level from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2015, was postponed indefinitely.
Although no official reason was given as to why the bill was pulled from the agenda at the last minute, apparently the Republican members of the committee had planned to offer a number of crippling amendments. These included cutting the authorization level for the NHPRC in the bill to $10 million and limiting eligibility and the scope of projects the NHPRC could fund.
For example, days before the hearing Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced H.R. 5865, the “Stop Wasting Archive Grants Act of 2010.” The bill would prohibit the Archivist of the United States from making “grants to preserve or publish non-Federal records.”
On July 1, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and the National Archives had cleared the bill by a vote of 6–1.
Before Congress left for its annual August recess, action on the long-stalled fiscal year 2011 budget bills began apace. A number of bills of interest to the historical and archival communities saw action in the final week before the recess.
On July 29, the Senate Appropriations Committee cleared the FY 2011 Financial Service and General Government (FS&GG) Appropriations bill that includes funding for the National Archives (NARA) and National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
On the same day, the House Financial Service and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee cleared its version of the bill.
Senate FS&GG FY 11Appropriations Bill
National Archives and Records Adminsitration
NARA would receive $432.8 million in FY 2011, $24.1 million less than the FY 2010 appropriation of $456.9 million, and $13.5 million less than the President’s request for FY 11. This is approximately a 5.4% cut.
The NHPRC funding level is $10 million. That is $3 million less than last year, but the same as the Administration requested for the program. Last year’s budget included a one-time directed spending allocation of $4.5 million for a project to put the papers of the Founding Fathers on-line. So the actual amount that was available for the NHPRC’s core programs was $9.25 million. As with last year, the administrative costs for NHPRC are now factored into NARA’s operating expenses budget so the full $10 million goes to grants.
- Operating Expenses
Operating Expenses funding increased by $8.9 million, the same as the President’s request. The increase goes to fund and equip the new National Declassification Center, the Holdings Protection program, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) and to “expand the archival staff to build a cadre of new technology savvy archivists.” OGIS is the new FOIA ombudsman office and the committee directed that it receive $3 million of the increase.
- Electronic Records Archive (ERA)
The Electronic Records Archive was cut $13.5 million from last year’s budget—and the President’s request—of $85.5 million. While the Appropriations Committee clearly stated its support for ERA, it felt that “that NARA’s expenditure plan submissions have not clearly identified the specific functions to be delivered through specific spending. This has hampered the Committee’s ability to assess the extent of progress on ERA that should be expected as a result of the spending. In its review of NARA’s fiscal year 2010 expenditure plan for ERA, GAO noted that NARA had not detailed what capabilities will be delivered by the final two ERA phases, or increments.”
- Repairs and Restoration
This account sustained a $15.6 million cut, from $27.5 million last year down to a level of $11.8 million. However, this reduction reflects the completion of a major repair project at the FDR Presidential Library that was funded during fiscal year 2010. The $11.8 million includes $6.8 million for base requirements and $5 million for the top priority project in the Capitol Improvements Plan, the National Archives Experience Phase II.
House FS&GG FY 2011 Appropriations Bill
NARA’s funding bill in the House has only cleared the subcommittee level in the Appropriations Committee. The program funding levels within agencies are embargoed until after the FS&GG FY 11 bill is passed by the full House Appropriations Committee. So no breakdown is available to the level detailed in the Senate Appropriations FS&GG bill. Markup of the bill by the House Appropriations will not occur until after the August congressional recess.
NARA’s FY 11 budget would be cut by $30.6 million from the FY 10 level of $456.9 million, down to $426.3 million. That amount is $20 million less than the President’s FY 11 budget request and is approximately a 6.7% cut.
2. Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies FY 2011 Appropriations Bill
On July 22, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the FY 2011 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies spending bill. As noted above with NARA, line-item detail for the agencies covered by this bill will not be available until the full House Appropriations Committee meets to review the measure. No date has yet been set for a Full House Committee markup. In the Senate, the Interior bill has not yet cleared the subcommittee level in the Appropriations Committee.
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The Subcommittee approved funding of $170 million for both the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an increase of $2.5 million over the current year (FY 2010), and $9 million above the level requested by the Obama Administration for FY 2011. The National Endowment for the Arts received the same amount.
- Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution would receive a $37 million increase over FY 10–the same as the President’s request–up to a level of $798 million.
- National Park Service
The Park Service’s FY 11 budget would increase by only $21 million, up to a level of $2.7 billion.
- Teaching American History Grants
The Teaching American History grants program at the Department of Education would be level funded at $119 million. This is $119 million above the President’s request, which had zeroed out the program pending its inclusion in the “Well Rounded Education” initiative.
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS):
The IMLS would receive $271 million in FY 11. This is a cut of $11 million from the FY 10 level of $282 million. However, it is $5million more than Obama FY budget request. Programs funded under the Museum Service Act would receive $33.6 million, the same as last year. Programs funded under the Library Services Technology Act would receive $213.6 million, the same as last year.
4. House Labor, HHS and Education FY 2011 Appropriations bill
In the House, FY 11 funding bill has only cleared the Labor, HHS & Education appropriations subcommittee. At that level, the macro number for each agency is released and it is not broken down to the programmatic level. As a result, the funding level for the Teaching American History Grants program is not yet known.
The IMLS would receive $266 million, a $16 million reduction from FY10 and the same as the Administration’s FY 11 budget request.
One final note, Congress is not expected to complete action on the budget before FY 11 begins on October 1. As usually happens, Congress will pass a series of continuing resolutions that will fund federal agencies at the FY 10 level. And, it is anticipated that few of the actual appropriations bills will be passed separately, but will be rolled into a huge omnibus spending bill at some point.
The wild card in the appropriations process this year is the elections in November. Should the Republicans take control of either body any efforts by the Democrats to pass an omnibus spending bill during a post-election lame duck session would be stymied. So there is no way to predict at this point what FY 11 agency funding levels will be.
SOURCE: Lee White at the National Coalition for History (8-7-10)
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $115.3 million to 124 school districts to improve the quality of teaching American history in our nation’s schools. For a list of grantees, click here.
The Teaching American History grant program aims to enhance teachers’ understanding of American history through intensive professional development, including study trips to historic sites and mentoring with professional historians and other experts. Projects are required to partner with organizations that have broad knowledge of American history, such as libraries, museums, nonprofit historical or humanities organizations, and higher education institutions.
History is one of the core academic subjects under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Teaching American History grants are funded for a three-year period. They will be awarded to school districts in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and American Samoa.
Name of source: Lee White at the National Coaliton for History
SOURCE: Lee White at the National Coaliton for History (8-6-10)
The National Park Service recently awarded $1.2 million for 25 grants that will be used to help preserve and protect America’s significant battlefield lands. The funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) will support projects at more than 100 battlefields nationwide. A list of the projects is available online at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp.
The grants fund projects at endangered battlefields from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War, World War II, and Indian Wars. Grants were made to projects in 17 states and territories to support archeology, mapping, cultural resource survey work, documentation, planning, education, and interpretation.
Projects include underwater archeology at the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII in North Carolina; documentation of the Second Seminole War Fort Defiance and Fort Micanopy in Florida; a statewide comprehensive GIS database of Civil War sites that will include 38 battlefields in Tennessee; a preservation plan for the U.S. Dakota War of 1862 Woodlake Battlefield in Minnesota; and development of a new battlefield preservation, and planning website in Virginia for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
Priority was given to the preservation of nationally significant battlefields. The majority of grants were given to battlefields listed as Priority I or II sites in the National Park Service’s Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields and the Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.
Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for the battlefield grants which are awarded annually. Since 1996 more than $12 million has been awarded by ABPP to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil.
Name of source: Global Post
SOURCE: Global Post (8-11-10)
Such an overt negative assessment of the uprising against the German occupiers that ultimately failed after 63 bloody days, leaving the capital a sea of ruins and more than 200,000 dead, was once unthinkable.
Sixty-six years later, closer scrutiny of events surrounding the uprising has emboldened critics.
Controversy has surrounded the uprising from the beginning: Tadeusz “Bor” Komorowski, the commander of the Home Army, the largest resistance force in occupied Europe, launched it with 50,000 poorly armed fighters on the mistaken belief that the Soviets were about to attack the German forces controlling the Polish capital. The Poles wanted to seize back control of Warsaw so that they would be masters of the capital before the Soviets came in, part of their doomed hope of retaining some measure of independence after the war.
But the Soviets paused on the other side of the Vistula River while the Germans threw heavy armor at the partisans and proceeded to execute tens of thousands of civilians.
The Americans and British were unwilling to exert pressure on the Soviets to help, and in the end the Polish capital fell. The Germans then evacuated the half-million surviving people and proceeded to methodically blow up almost every building in the capital. Poland was liberated by the Red Army, and spent the next 45 years as a Soviet satellite.
As a mark of the scale of the mismatch between the Poles and the Germans, the Germans only suffered about 9,000 dead and missing, while the Poles lost about 16,000 fighters and almost 200,000 civilians.
During the years of communist rule, the uprising was portrayed in the official media as an anti-Soviet action by the underground Home Army, which was true, and condemned the rebellion as an irresponsible act. No official commemorations of the uprising were held, and many of the leaders were imprisoned by the communists and some were executed.
“I walked through the ruins of Warsaw in 1945 and I saw that it had been a disaster,” said Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the last leader of communist Poland....
Name of source: Boston Globe
SOURCE: Boston Globe (8-11-10)
Matthias Meissner of Germany's Federal Archive showed the Munich state court original documents from Flossenbuerg listing a man called "Demianiuk" and "Demenjuk" as a guard there in October 1943.
The ID number on the card was the same as on the key piece of evidence in the trial -- a Nazi-issued identity card that the prosecution says carried Demjanjuk's photo and indicates he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.
Although Demjanjuk isn't charged with any crimes at Flossenbuerg, which was a forced labor camp rather than a death camp, the documents presented by Meissner could back up the prosecution's allegation that Demjanjuk was indeed a camp guard and might later have been transferred to Sobibor....
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (8-11-10)
They will be easy to spot in Boston this month, especially if you are willing to do a little time travel.
Travel back to the 18th century and you can even ask a British Regular, famous for their red coats, what it was like to serve so far from home where everyone seemed to hate them. (Not so much different from today, is it?) Watch the Regulars' Changing of the Guard at the site of their original garrison at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The British garrison was in use almost continuously until the Boston Massacre in 1770, which began as a confrontation between Boston citizens and garrison guards.
We toured Boston's famous Freedom Trail with a "British Regular" (actually a history professor at Quincy College named Michael Szkolka) who, despite the summer heat, was decked out in a red wool jacket, long-sleeved white shirt and white britches. Szkolka says he wants give us an "objective assessment of history," as we make our way nearly three miles past some of the 15 historical sites on the Freedom Trail. We walk past America's oldest public park, Boston Common, the golden dome of the State House to the Granary Burying Ground where Paul Revere (did you know he had 16 kids?) and John Hancock, among others, are buried and then onto the Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall. (For more on the tours, visit www.thefreedomtrail.org. You can also download an audio guide to the trail and get a copy of "A Kid's Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail," which is packed with trivia and activities. (How many of Ben Franklin's inventions can you find in the picture of the schoolroom?)...
Name of source: Haaretz (Israel)
SOURCE: Haaretz (Israel) (8-12-10)
They came in their thousands from Holland to Eastern Europe to be good Nazis and help the Germans colonize more land during World War II. But according to the first major research into the Dutch settler movement, their German brethren despised them, dubbing them "white Jews."
Approximately 5,000 farmers trekked from Holland to the Ukraine and Lithuania from 1942 to 1945. Their unique and little-researched story remained largely unknown even to Holocaust scholars until last month, when it was presented before dozens of Shoah researchers at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.
The experience of these Dutch farmers has made them the only readily identifiable group of foreign witnesses to the pre-Auschwitz mass execution of East European Jewry - and it sheds new light on the nuances of the ethnic hierarchy among Aryans in the Third Reich.
Dr. Geraldine von Frijtag Drabbe Kunzel of Utrecht University in the Netherlands is among a handful of people familiar with the story. Speaking at a Yad Vashem conference for Holocaust scholars last month, she defined the newcomers as "ordinary Dutch" farmer families who largely failed to take root in Ukraine despite the strong Nazi ideology that brought them there.
The conference brought together 35 scholars from 13 countries, who discussed little-explored topics such as collaborators in Greece and Yugoslav partisans' approach to Jewish parachutists from the Yishuv in 1943-1945.
The Dutch settlers were volunteers sent by the NOC, a state body set up by the Dutch NSB party, which took power after the German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands in 1940....
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (8-12-10)
The submarine, one of the Russian navy's most advanced vessels, sank in the Barents Sea on 12 August, 2000 with the loss of all 118 people on board.
An explosion of fuel from an old torpedo caused the disaster.
Moscow's response to one of the greatest disasters in Russian naval history was widely criticised.
Relatives and members of Russia's northern fleet are due to cast wreaths into the sea on Thursday in memory of the crew.
Flags are being flown at half-mast at the headquarters of all Russia's naval fleets, and a ceremony and minute's silence was being held at Moscow's Central Army Museum.
The initial response to the disaster in 2000 was shambolic, says the BBC's Richard Galpin.
After radio contact was lost there was a still unexplained delay before a search and rescue mission was launched.
Although the submarine was lying just 100m below the surface of the sea, attempts to locate it and reach it repeatedly failed....
SOURCE: BBC News (8-12-10)
Over billions of years, much of the material that made up the early Earth was modified by processes such as melting and mixing.
But the Arctic rocks seem to contain chemical signatures that date from just after the Earth's violent origin.
If confirmed, the discovery challenges established theories about the formation of our planet.
The results of the study are published today in the leading journal, Nature.
The signatures found in Arctic lavas are more than 4.45 billion years old. By comparison, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, only slightly older.
The oldest surviving remnants of our planet's turbulent beginnings were unearthed by Dr Matthew Jackson of Boston University, US, and his international team.
They collected the lava samples from Greenland and Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Although they erupted only 60 million years ago, the lavas contain a chemical signature of a far more ancient source.
They show that beneath the Arctic today are small pieces of mantle - the toffee-like layer below the crust - that have survived unchanged since shortly after the formation of the Earth....
The Harry Ransom Center in Texas has launched an appeal to raise $30,000 (£19,000) to exhibit the gowns to mark the movie's 75th anniversary in 2014.
"The costumes are in fragile condition and cannot currently be exhibited," the centre said in a statement.
It also hopes to loan the dresses to other museums around the world.
"There are areas where the fabric has been worn through, fragile seams and other problems," Jill Morena, the centre's collection assistant for costumes and personal effects said.
The Ransom Center acquired the costumes in the mid-1980s as part of the collection of Gone With The Wind producer David Selznick.
By then, they had already been through decades of travelling displays in theatres and had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
"These dresses have been under a lot of stress. Film costumes weren't meant to last, they are only meant to last through the duration of filming," Morena said.
The costumes are among the most famous in Hollywood history and played a key role in one of the most classic films....
The stones are believed to have been carved by members of an ancient people known as the Picts, who thrived in what is now Scotland from the 4th to the 9th Centuries.
These symbols, researchers say, are probably "words" rather than images.
But their conclusions have raised criticism from some linguists.
The research team, led by Professor Rob Lee from Exeter University in the UK, examined symbols on more than 200 carved stones.
They used a mathematical method to quantify patterns contained within the symbols, in an effort to find out if they conveyed meaning.
Professor Lee described the basis of this method.
"If I told you the first letter of a word in English was 'Q' and asked you to predict the next letter, you would probably say 'U' and you would probably be right," he explained.
"But if I told you the first letter was 'T' you would probably take many more guesses to get it right - that's a measure of uncertainty."
Using the symbols, or characters, from the stones, Prof Lee and his colleagues measured this feature of so-called "character to character uncertainty"....
The discovery was made on the shores of Lake Perucac on the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
It is part of an ongoing investigation by Bosnia's International Commission for Missing Persons.
Most of the bodies are believed to date from a massacre of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in the town of Visegrad.
More than 1,000 people were killed by Serb forces in the town during an act of so-called "ethnic cleansing" in the spring of 1992.
Judges at the Hague tribunal investigating acts of genocide in the Bosnian war described the Visegrad massacre as "one of the most comprehensive campaigns of ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian conflict".
Two Bosnian Serb commanders, Milan and Sredoje Lukic, were found guilty in 2009 of war crimes.
They were accused of persecution, extermination and other inhumane acts - including burning women, children and elderly men alive - in the Visegrad region between 1992 and 1994.
Visegrad and Lake Perucac lie in what is now the largely self-governing Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska....
Crews put out several fires in Bryansk, the emergencies ministry said, amid concern that wind or fire could whip up radioactive particles in the soil.
Officials say they are assessing the danger and there is no cause for panic.
Fires have swept western Russia for a week, though officials say many are now under control.
The area engulfed by fires has halved, they say. An area of 92,000 hectares (350 sq miles) is now on fire, compared to Tuesday's figure of 174,000 hectares, the emergencies ministry said in a statement.
Moscow enjoyed clear skies on Wednesday after rains helped cleanse the air after a week of heavy smog.
But more than 600 fires are still burning in different parts of the country, including around the capital, and weather forecasters are warning the smoke could soon return.
The chief of the forest protection service said his agency had increased patrols around the forests in Bryansk, the part of Russia that suffered the most from the Chernobyl disaster in what was then Soviet Ukraine....
Human rights groups say government troops as well as the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels may have committed war crimes before the war ended last year.
But they believe the panel, appointed by the Sri Lankan government, will fail to fully investigate their accusations.
Sri Lankan officials have dismissed calls for an international inquiry.
The UN's secretary-general has appointed a special panel to advise on the need for a separate UN inquiry.
Earlier, 57 members of the US Congress wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to push for an independent enquiry.
They say the Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation will not be independent enough to properly examine the allegations of war crimes, and has been given too limited a remit....
SOURCE: BBC News (7-29-10)
Ernest Cox masterminded the recovery of 34 ships of the German fleet sunk by their crews in the waters of Scapa Flow at the end of WWI.
Lauded by the media of the day, his work is now all but forgotten.
Relatives unveiled a special plaque at Lyness, where the salvage operations were based, as a reminder....
Name of source: The Province
SOURCE: The Province (8-11-10)
To right historic wrongs done to the Chinese community, the federal government has given the University of B.C. $900,000 to help run a Chinese-Canadian history website.
Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, made the announcement Monday at the University's library.
Wong said the government has apologized on behalf of all Canadians for the so-called "head tax" the country charged Chinese immigrants to enter Canada between 1885 and 1923 -- and the near-total ban on Chinese immigration between 1923 and 1947.
"This was a dark chapter in Canada's history," said Wong, the Conservative MP for Richmond....
Name of source: San Antonio Current
SOURCE: San Antonio Current (8-11-10)
In late 1944, Three Rivers’ resident Felix Longoria was drafted into the U.S. Army....Private Longoria, killed by an enemy sniper, was posthumously awarded a Bronze Service Star, a Purple Heart, a Good Conduct Medal, and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge....
In late 1948, Longoria’s remains were returned to the U.S., and his wife, Beatrice Moreno de Longoria, called the Manon Rice Funeral Home in Three Rivers to arrange a funeral service. According to interviews and notarized statements, undertaker Tom Kennedy told her the wake could not be held there because “the whites would not like it.” At the urging of her sister, Sara, Moreno de Longoria discussed the incident with American G.I. Forum founder Dr. Héctor P. García. García’s efforts to resolve the matter drew national attention to what became known as the Felix Longoria Affair, and made the young G.I. Forum a major civil-rights player.
Then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson offered his assistance and support, and on February 16, 1949, Longoria was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C....
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (8-11-10)
The letters weren't official Army correspondence. Instead, they were a labor of love. Each bore the same message: Our World War II veterans are dying. It would be a sign of respect to display a plaque in your town in memory of the sacrifices they made. If you provide a plaque, we will guarantee that U.S. soldiers will be there for the dedication.
The Stoys made three requests: That the towns fly the U.S. flag at the dedication. That they play the U.S. national anthem. That there be children, who could keep the memory alive....
Name of source: NYT
And yet, with his swift arrest at home later Monday, the whole caper has nothing on the infamous take-this-job-and-shove-it run of one William Cimillo. A Bronx bus driver fed up with the daily annoyances and nonsense of it all, Mr. Cimillo, 38, climbed behind the wheel of his bus one morning in 1947 and took a 1,300-mile detour.
“He disappeared for two weeks,” recalled his son Richard Cimillo, a retired firefighter who is now 75. “They picked him up in Hollywood, Fla.”
Mr. Cimillo was married with three sons. He had been working for 16 years at the Surface Transportation Corporation....
The plane carrying Sergeant Bonnassiolle, age 20, and nine other crewmen in April 1944 never returned, but on Tuesday his remains were buried in the family’s cemetery plot.
“We have closure,” said Andrew Kelley, 88, who, like his younger brother John, flew bombers in the war.
The remains of more than 72,000 Americans are still unaccounted for after World War II. Getting Sergeant Bonnassiolle’s name off that list required a combination of luck, dogged sleuthing and DNA....
SOURCE: NYT (8-11-10)
Several fires have been documented in the contaminated areas of western Russia, including three heavily irradiated sites in the Bryansk region, the environmental group Greenpeace Russia said in a statement released Tuesday. Bryansk borders Belarus and Ukraine.
“Fires on these territories will without a doubt lead to an increase in radiation,” said Vladimir Chuprov, head of the energy program at Greenpeace Russia. “The smoke will spread and the radioactive traces will spread. The amount depends upon the force of the wind.”...
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Everett Kennedy Brown/European Pressphoto Agency
Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan gave a policy speech in Tokyo after releasing a statement apologizing to South Korea for the damage caused by Japan’s colonial rule.
“For the enormous damage and suffering caused during this colonial rule, I would like to express once again our deep remorse and heartfelt apology,” Mr. Kan said in a statement, issued ahead of the Aug. 29 centenary of Japan’s annexation of Korea. The text largely repeated language Japan has used since the early 1990s in apologies to South Korea and other Asian victims of its military expansion in the early 20th century.
While the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it accepted Mr. Kan’s apology, anger at Japan still runs deep across the region....
SOURCE: NYT (8-11-10)
The building, known as Tacheles, is now protected as a historic site. The artists, meanwhile, without a lease for nearly two years, face eviction to make way for a lavish new development.
For Berlin, more is at stake than the age-old gentrification dilemma. The threatened closure of Tacheles, the name of which derives from Yiddish for “straight talk,” has sharpened the debate over Berlin’s identity.
No longer divided by the wall, it is now split between its unique past as a volatile blend of dark history and bright creativity and its status as the capital of a stable, reunified country. While the cash-strapped city has sought to capitalize on its reputation as a free-wheeling, chaotic nest of painters, musicians and anarchists, it is also home to a buttoned-down government and growing bureaucracy....
Name of source: CNet News
SOURCE: CNet News (8-11-10)
There's no doubt that the star of the museum is the Enigma, the German device used by the Nazis in World War II to encrypt their messages and which the Allies finally broke.
A Dutchman, Hugo A. Koch, conceived the idea of the Enigma in 1919. The first commercial model was produced in 1923.
"Impressed by Enigma's security, based on careful statistical analysis, the German Government moved to acquire all rights to the machine. After Hitler's takeover in 1933, Enigma was no longer commercially available. The use of the machine spread to all branches of the German Government. As German military might began to grow, a new version of the machine, which featured an added plugboard or 'steckler', was adopted for general use by all services," the museum said.
Though Enigma gets all the glory, the German military worked on other cryptographic typewriters as well. They offered encryption and decryption, meaning that an operator could type in plain text and get encoded text out. They were built to handle large amounts of text at high speeds. An early version of these machines was called "Swordfish", and learning that, the Americans and the British began to give fish nicknames to various versions of the machine....
Name of source: Bloomberg
SOURCE: Bloomberg (8-10-10)
World Holdings LLC, based in Tampa, Florida, claimed it owns a “significant number” of $208 million in bonds sold to U.S. purchasers following World War I and has been rebuffed when it sought repayment by the German government. The firm is seeking “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the suit, said Michael Elsner, an attorney for the investors.
Germany sold the bonds to finance rebuilding following the conclusion of the war, according to court papers. By the mid- 1930s, after Hitler became chancellor, Germany had stopped making payments on the bonds in the run up to World War II, according to the ruling issued yesterday by the federal appeals court in Atlanta.
“They decided from the ‘30s on that they were not going to pay this debt,” Elsner said in an interview.
Gerald Houlihan, an attorney for the German government, declined to immediately comment on the decision.
Under a 1953 treaty, the bondholder must show the bonds were held outside Germany as of Jan. 1, 1945, to ensure repayment. World Holdings claims the validation is unnecessary for those who didn’t originally accept the terms of the London Debt Agreement, also completed in 1953, which aimed to settle most of Germany’s pre-World War II debt....
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (8-11-10)
At last, a 1933 penny bearing the head of King George V has surfaced - on the eBay internet auction site.
Experts have always worked on the assumption that only seven such coins were minted and, if genuine, this one would be worth at least £80,000.
By yesterday, bidding had reached a little over £1,100 (plus £4.95 postage) while the owner, listed as Suzanne X, failed to respond to email requests for more information.
The seller, based in Isleworth, West London, has an impeccable trading record with 100 per cent positive feedback. The 1933 coin was one of 16 pennies being sold as a job lot.
Name of source: The Atlantic
SOURCE: The Atlantic (8-10-10)
The answer lies in the laws governing broadband internet and what they do and don't have the power to do. Originally, the same law that created the Federal Communications Commission--the Communications Act of 1934--classified "wire and radio" communications into several types, the most relevant of which are commonly referred to as "Title I" and "Title II" classification. Title II services are known as "common carriers": a company who wants to offer a Title II service has to connect its networks with other companies' networks and, with a few exceptions, allow anyone who wants to make a connection to that service to do so. Landline phone service is regulated under common carriage provisions: if you make a call on a landline with one service provider and call a landline served by a different provider, you aren't charged an extra fee to connect that one call. You also have the right to plug anything you want into your landline--a phone, a modem, a fax machine--as long as it won't do harm to the network....
Name of source: Tablet
SOURCE: Tablet (8-10-10)
For centuries, the Christian clerics and scholars who read Herman’s book took it at face value, as the confession of a Jew who learned to cast off the darkness and ignorance of Judaism and embrace the truth of Christianity. The Opusculum functioned, in other words, as a textual weapon in the fight against Judaism. Schmitt points out that the first printed edition of the work, in 1687, is included in an anthology of anti-Jewish polemics, whose frontispiece shows a dagger that “reaches out from a celestial cloud and threatens a terrified old rabbi.”
But in the last few decades, Schmitt shows, the Opusculum has become the subject of a new and intense debate. It began in 1988, when Avrom Saltman of Bar Ilan University published an article arguing that no such person as Herman the Jew ever existed. The text was, rather, a “work of fiction, an edifying autobiographical novel,” written by Christians for Christian audiences, in which a genuinely Jewish voice is never heard. This “radical position,” Schmitt sums up, “completely changed the terms of the historiographical debate,” and in the last 20 years medieval historians have argued over whether the Opusculum is fraudulent. If this debate is unusually heated, it is because, as Schmitt puts it, any opinion about the truth or falsehood of Herman’s account rests on “a critical question: could Jews in the past have abandoned the faith of their ancestors consciously and without the usual physical threat?”...