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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: Irish Times
SOURCE: Irish Times (5-12-11)
BOG BUTTER found in a timber vessel in a bog at Shancloon near Caherlistrane, north Galway, could be 2,000 to 2,500 years old, according to a specialist from the National Museum of Ireland.
The butter, weighing almost two stone, was found in a timber keg which may have been hewn from a tree trunk and shaped into a barrel using early Iron Age implements.
The container of bog butter was found in a plot of bog where Ray Moylan from Liss, Headford, was having his annual supply of turf cut by local contractor Declan McDonagh.
Mr Moylan, a part-time bus driver, contacted the Office of Public Works, Headland Archaeology in Galway and the National Museum of Ireland regarding the discovery.
The keg of bog butter was found at a depth of 3-4ft. While the mechanical bucket of the turf cutting machine hit the vessel, it only caused damage to part of the barrel and the butter remained intact.
As he surveyed the find in the Galway bog this week, Padraig Clancy, an assistant keeper with the National Museum of Ireland, said it could be anything up to 2,500 years old. ....
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (5-12-11)
A row has broken out after an idea to re-enact the siege of Conwy Castle by English forces was rejected.
Cadw said no to the event despite an earlier re-enactment of Owain Glyndŵr's capture of the castle in 1404.
One councillor said there were fears people might be offended but insisted this was not the case and that the event would boost tourism.
A member of Conwy's Chamber of Trade disagreed, saying it would be too "negative".
Historic monuments body Cadw said it rejected the idea on the basis it was "out of line" with their historical interpretation of the castle. ...
SOURCE: BBC (5-11-11)
Argentine authorities have arrested three former policemen in connection with what became known as flights of death during military rule.
They are accused of being the crew when French nun Leonie Duquet and rights activist Azucena Villaflor were thrown from a plane in 1977.
Their bodies washed ashore and were buried in an unmarked grave until their remains were identified in 2005.
Hundreds of political prisoners are known to have died this way.
A judge on Tuesday ordered the arrest of former police officers Enrique Jose De Saint Georges, Mario Daniel Arru and Alejandro Domingo D'Agostino.....
SOURCE: BBC (5-11-11)
Seven pieces of art have been stolen from the Palace Museum inside Beijing's former imperial palace, the Forbidden City, in the first theft for 20 years.
The stolen items - which were on loan to the museum - include a purse and women's make-up cases.
Police are reported to be looking for a 27-year-old man in connection with the theft.
The valuable items were stolen from one of China's top historical sites in the heart of Beijing.
News reports say the thief got into the complex by knocking a hole in a wall.
The stolen items date from the beginning of the last century and are said to be worth millions of dollars. Some are encrusted with precious stones....
SOURCE: BBC (5-9-11)
Italy recently said it was ready to join in Nato's air attacks on targets in Libya - and with the announcement came a sense of history repeating itself.
It was in Libya, almost exactly a century ago, that a young Italian pilot carried out the first ever air raid.
During fighting in November 1911 between Italy and forces loyal to the Turkish, Ottoman Empire, Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti wrote in a letter to his father: "Today I have decided to try to throw bombs from the aeroplane.
And soon afterwards Lieutenant Gavotti did indeed hang out of his flimsy aircraft and fling a bomb at troops in a desert oasis below.
In that instant he introduced the world to the idea of war from the air. He had begun the age of the bomber, and opened the door to all the horrors it would bring.
The BBC World Service has obtained copies of the letters that the lieutenant wrote home from Libya. And they reveal his thoughts at the moment he carried out his historic, one-man raid....
SOURCE: BBC (5-9-11)
The 100th anniversary of a fire which killed 10 people including famous magician, The Great Lafayette, is being marked by an Edinburgh theatre.
The fire started after a gas lamp was knocked over, which set fire to the scenery, during the magician's act at the Edinburgh Empire on 9 May 1911.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, which now stands on the site, is to hold a seance on stage later.
It has hosted other events, including a show by Lafayette fan Paul Daniels.
Lafayette, a German magician, was the highest paid performer of his time and had been in Edinburgh performing for just over a week as part of a tour when tragedy struck....
SOURCE: BBC (5-8-11)
An archaeology group has called for the site of a 3,500-year-old settlement in the Vale of Glamorgan to be protected.
The remains of a Bronze Age village at Bendrick were first uncovered near the Atlantic Trading Estate near Barry in the 1980s.
Archaeology Cymru says the site is rapidly deteriorating due to off-road biking and other activities by people who may be unaware of what is there.
The county council, which owns the land, said it would investigate.
Archaeology Cymru director Karl-James Langford said he first became aware of the significance of the site when working as a volunteer excavating the land 25 years ago.
He said the remains of a Bronze Age roundhouse were still visible today. ...
SOURCE: BBC (5-8-11)
The mummified, tattooed head of an ancient Maori warrior is to be returned to New Zealand after spending decades in a French museum.
Monday's handover of the "toi moko" follows years of campaigning by New Zealand officials and Maori elders.
It has been held at the Museum of Rouen in northern France since 1875.
More than 300 such heads have been returned from several countries since New Zealand began requesting their return.
French museum officials say they have no idea how the "toi moko" - which is intricately tattooed and has one damaged eye socket - came to be in their possession. ...
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-12-11)
Vladimir Putin has become the object of veneration for a bizarre Russian all-female sect whose followers believe that the tough-talking prime minister is a reincarnation of the early Christian missionary Paul the Apostle.
Members of the sect that has sprung up in a Russian village some 250 miles southeast of Moscow believe that the 58-year-old macho Russian politician is on a special mission from God.
Reports from the sect's headquarters close to the town of Nizhny Novgorod say that its members are all women who dress like nuns and pray for Mr Putin's success in front of traditional Russian Orthodox Church icons that have been placed alongside a portrait of the Russian prime minister himself.
Followers are reportedly encouraged to sing upbeat patriotic Soviet songs at 'services' rather than hymns.....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/8510134/Iraq-inquiry-Alastair-Campbell-misrepresented-purpose-of-WMD-dossier-former-military-intelligence-chief-says.html)
Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications director, has been accused by a former military intelligence chief of “misrepresenting” the purpose of the so-called dodgy dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in his evidence to the Iraq inquiry.
Last year Mr Campbell refuted suggestions that he had been asked to “beef up” the dossier, saying its purpose had not been “to make a case for war” in Iraq.
But Major General Michael Laurie, who was the Ministry of Defence’s director general, intelligence collection, from 2002 to 2003, told the inquiry that making a case for war was “exactly its purpose”.
Maj Gen Laurie added that he and his colleagues were told that a previous intelligence dossier “did not make a strong enough case” and for months he was “under pressure to find intelligence that could reinforce the case” for war.
His evidence, which is the first time such a senior intelligence officer has directly contradicted the Blair government’s official line on the dossier, will restart the row over whether Downing Street “sexed up” the September 2002 document to persuade the public and MPs that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was necessary....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-10-11)
Italians will on Wednesday evacuate Rome over fears a giant earthquake is coming following a seismologist's 1915 prediction that "the big one" would hit the capital on May 11, 2011.
Businesses have reported requests from one in five people to have time off work and many are also keeping children away from school and heading to the beach or country for the day.
Romans are taking it so seriously that local newspapers have even been publishing survival guides with tips of what to do – if – the ground starts to tremble.
The panic has been fanned by Facebook, Twitter and text messages around a prediction by Raffaele Bendani, a seismologist who forecast in 1915 that a "big one" would hit Rome on Wednesday.
He is also said to have predicted other earthquakes which hit Italy during the last hundred years before his death in 1979....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-9-11)
France has agreed to return more than one dozen Maori heads taken from new Zealand more than a century ago. Here are some other ongoing disputes between nations over prized ancient artefacts:
Probably the most famous, and one of the longest running, disputes over ownership of ancient artefacts is the battle between Britain and Greece over the Elgin Marbles.
The collection of classical Greek marble sculptures - also known as the Parthenon Marbles - were originally part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. But in the late 18th century Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, obtained a controversial permission from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Acropolis.
From 1801 to 1812, Elgin's agents removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon. The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain where they eventually came to be exhibited in the British Museum.
The Greeks want them back, claiming that the marbles should be returned to Athens on moral and artistic grounds. They argue that presenting all the existing Parthenon Marbles in their original historical and cultural environment would permit their "fuller understanding and interpretation" and also that the marbles may have been obtained illegally and hence should be returned to their rightful owner.....
Name of source: 5-12-11
SOURCE: 5-12-11 (Fox News)
Mike Huckabee continues to spark speculation about whether he will get into the 2012 presidential race, but for now, the former Arkansas governor is getting into the educational cartoon field.
Huckabee has launched a new educational company called Learn Our History that aims to get kids excited about studying the nation's past.
The company's first product is an animated film series – available LearnOurHistory.com – that follows the adventures of the Time Travel Academy, a group of young friends who use a homemade time machine to travel back in time to relive America's history.
"America's youth aren't excited about our past because they're being taught history in a way that minimizes what has made America a beacon of hope around the world for over 200 years," Huckabee, a Fox News host, said in a statement.
The first volume in the series highlights the Reagan era, where the characters experience the 1980 presidential election and President Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech in Berlin.
The cartoon features some amusing and sometimes alarming retrospective of how things went down. In a clip, the teenagers encounter on the streets of Washington a dark-skinned mugger clad in a "Disco" muscle shirt and armed with a knife, demanding money. Other scenes of violence unfold before Reagan appears like a white knight with a message of hope and optimism..... ...
Name of source: Secrecy News
SOURCE: Secrecy News (5-11-11)
Forty years after they were famously leaked by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, the Pentagon Papers will be officially released next month at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.
The National Archives announced this week that it "has identified, inventoried, and prepared for public access the Vietnam Task Force study, United States-Vietnam Relations 1945-1967, informally known as 'the Pentagon Papers'." As a result, 3.7 cubic feet of previously restricted textual materials will be made officially available at the Nixon Library on June 13, the Archives said in a May 10 Federal Register notice.
While any release of historical records is welcome, the official "disclosure" of the Pentagon Papers is in fact a sign of disarray in the government secrecy system. The fact that portions of the half-century old Papers remained classified until this year is a reminder that classification today is often completely untethered from genuine national security concerns.
On March 28, 2011 the National Declassification Center announced "the great news that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has declassified the information of interest to them" in the Papers, clearing the way for next month's public release.
Name of source: ANI
SOURCE: ANI (5-12-11)
Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old wine pot in Henan province.
A Western Han dynasty ancient tomb group was accidentally found at a construction site in Puyang city, China's Henan province, on April 10.
During the excavation, archaeologists discovered an airtight copper pot covered in rust. They found the pot had a liquid weighing about half a kilogram in it, reports People Daily Online.
They are now sampling the liquid....
Name of source: Wales Online
SOURCE: Wales Online (5-11-11)
Bloodstained mattresses were left strewn around, while a rotten stench hung heavily in the air.
This was Hitler’s Berlin bunker as victorious Allied troops descended on the German capital through the eyes of a young South Wales soldier.
Stephen Moore-Haines, now a 90-year-old World War II veteran, still has the Nazi iron cross he picked up from the famous site of the Fuhrer’s death.
The medal, with the inscription “sur treue dienfte” (for true service) on the back, was in the blood-soaked passageway leading to the room where Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945.
Father-of-three Mr Moore-Haines, who lives in Barry, served was with the 11th Hussars and entered the Fuhrerbunker shortly after Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun had committed suicide.
It was an incredible wartime journey. In 1939 he was a probationer constable with Cardiff police, a ‘reserved occupation’ which meant he was exempt form conscription. However, as the war worsened he was called up and saw active service, ending in Hitler’s bunker....
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (5-12-11)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which investigates Nazi war criminals, has published its latest list of its most wanted surviving suspects.
Those on the list are "wanted" because they have not been punished, even if they have extradition orders against them or have been tried and convicted. In some cases it is unclear whether they are still alive. They remain on the list until it is proven that they are dead....
Andy Warhol's Sixteen Jackies has just exceeded its $20m (£12.2m) target pricetag at an auction of contemporary art at Sotheby's in New York.
The 1964 print of former US first lady Jackie Kennedy sold for $20.24m (£12.4m), while Jeff Koons' sculpture of a pink panther hugging a topless woman went for $16.8m (£10.3m).
Total sales reached $128m (£78m) just above the $121m (£73.8m) low estimate.
The auction house admits the estimates were "possibly aggressive".
"We did listen to the market, so works sold, if not always at levels originally anticipated," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art....
The London footprint left by reggae legend Bob Marley, who died exactly 30 years ago, includes a Bayswater B&B, a Chelsea townhouse and the unlikely setting of a school gym in Peckham.
Guide books tend to point visitors to an apartment block in Camden, where a heritage plaque unveiled in 2006 honours the Jamaican musician at his former north London home.
Robert Nesta Marley lived at 34 Ridgmount Gardens in 1972 when he first came to England, just as his group the Wailers were making a name for themselves.
But this tells only part of the story.
The reggae artist is associated with at least three other addresses in the capital, living and working in them aside from the many places he visited, played or hung out in....
SOURCE: BBC News (5-10-11)
Margaret Thatcher's resignation, Geoffrey Howe's demotion and the Brighton IRA bomb - ministerial drivers were the silent witnesses at all these major events.
For many years, one group of people has had access to the most intimate secrets in government.
They have been invited into ministers' families and private offices, uniquely seeing both their public and private faces.
In the process, they have literally found themselves sitting in the front seat while history is made.
Ministerial car driver Denis Oliver had just started driving Margaret Thatcher when the IRA bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984....
A Lithuanian court has jailed a former Soviet commando for life for his part in the killing of seven border guards just after independence in 1991.
Konstantin Mikhailov, an ex-member of the Omon paramilitary police, was arrested in neighbouring Latvia, where he had obtained citizenship.
He denied any part in the killings, known as the Medininkai massacre.
Three other Omon members wanted by Lithuania over the killings are believed to be living in Russia....
Documents revealing the torture of Mau Mau Kenyans directed by the British authorities were a "sort of guilty secret," a report says.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the papers should now be made public.
The internal review found some Foreign Office officials had chosen to ignore the documents' existence.
It comes as the High Court is due to rule on a compensation case brought by four Kenyans over alleged human rights abuses in the 1950s and 1960s.
The documents give further details of what ministers in London knew about how the colony was attempting to crush the rebellion that paved the way to independence.
Many of them, which were released by the High Court last month, were only recently found in the Foreign Office's own archives after years of investigations by academics....
John Walker, one of the founders of 1960s group The Walker Brothers, has died at the age of 67.
His spokeswoman said Mr Walker died on Saturday at his Los Angeles home after a six-month battle with liver cancer.
The band was formed when three unrelated US musicians - Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds - adopted the Walker Brothers name in 1964.
Their biggest hits included the songs Make It Easy On Yourself and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Any More).
The group's fame flourished after travelling to the UK in the 1960s and they continued to score huge commercial success in the 1970s.
The official John Walker website said it was with "deepest sadness" that it had to report John Walker passed away in his LA home on 7 May 2011.
"He was a beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather, friend, and artiste," it said....
London's National Gallery is to limit visitor numbers to a major exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci works in an attempt to prevent large crowds detracting from the viewing experience.
Admissions will be fixed at 180 every half hour - 50 fewer people than the gallery is legally allowed to let in.
"We've looked hard at the problems caused by very popular exhibitions... and decided to take action," gallery director Nicholas Penny told The Times.
Advance booking opens on Tuesday.
In a statement, the gallery said it expected there to be "unprecedented demand" for tickets and advised patrons to book in advance.
Its decision to reduce the number of admissions, it added, had been "in response to visitors' comments regarding overcrowding in exhibitions".
Longer opening hours and the decision to open the exhibition on 1 January 2012 will add 20% to normal capacity, it said....
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (5-12-11)
Forty years after they ended, the 1960s remain the most controversial decade of the 20th century. Either you believe that they destroyed America, or they cured it.
Put me down as a fervent believer in their success as a cure.
Before 1960, only undivorced white Protestant men had ever served in the White House. Almost 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African-Americans lived in segregated communities and attended segregated schools on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, and none attended the all-white state universities of the South.
Gay people were completely invisible, except when they were fired from the federal government (or any company doing business with the federal government, where they were also banned from employment.)...
SOURCE: CNN (5-10-11)
When Sada Mire fled war-torn Somalia as a frightened teenager, the nation was descending into darkness, mired in the grip of a long civil conflict.
But several years later, when she returned to the Horn of Africa as an ambitious archaeologist, her fierce determination and meticulous fieldwork brought to light the region's rich cultural heritage.
In 2007, her archaeological pursuits resulted in the discovery of 5,000-year-old rock art in Somaliland, a breakaway state in the northwest corner of Somalia.
The prehistoric findings, which include renderings of animals as well as human figures, are significant in enhancing understanding about the prehistoric way of life across the region, says Mire.
Somaliland's first archaeologist, Mire is now on a mission to preserve and protect what she says is a heritage at risk of disappearing.....
SOURCE: CNN (5-7-11)
Three German torpedoes ripped through the icy waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Greenland. On February 2, 1943, the USS Dorchester was transporting 902 U.S. servicemen to war. Only one torpedo hit, but it struck a deathblow - killing scores instantly and resetting the ship's course to the bottom of the ocean.
Amid the chaos, survivors later recalled, four U.S. Army chaplains fought to bring calm and comfort, praying for the dead and encouraging the living to fight for survival. They helped frightened servicemen find life jackets and head to rescue craft. Each of the four chaplains gave up his life jacket to save the life of another.
All four stayed on the ship's new course to the bottom of the ocean and gave their lives so others might live. The last thing survivors saw of the four chaplains, they were huddled together praying.
Lt. George Fox, a Methodist chaplain; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic chaplain; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed chaplain, are each memorialized on Chaplains Hill at Arlington National Cemetery on monuments honoring the service of Protestant and Catholic chaplains killed in the line of duty.....
SOURCE: CNN (5-11-11)
Romans let out a sigh of relief Wednesday morning.
Everything was still in place: buildings, famous ancient ruins, schools and homes.
In recent months, concerns of a possible earthquake that was going to destroy the "Eternal City" spread on the Web. It all started with the misinterpretation of the theory of Raffaele Bendandi, a seismologist who died in 1979 who claimed a major quake would take place on May 11, 2011. After the Japanese earthquake, concern turned to anxiety.
And with the best view of the planets clustering before sunrise Wednesday, it caused further panic.
In some areas of the city, nearly 50% of the shops where closed. On doors are quick handwritten notes: ‘Closed for inventory."
While several minor quakes rattled the country prone to temblors, none came like the one in the purported claim. Still, some residents fled, just in case....
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (5-12-11)
MUNICH — Retired U.S. autoworker John Demjanjuk was convicted of thousands of counts of acting as an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp and sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison, a groundbreaking verdict that closed one chapter in a decades-long legal battle.
Judges ordered him released pending appeal, on the ground that he did not pose a flight risk.
Demjanjuk was found guilty of 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder, one for each person who died during the time he was ruled to have been a guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland....
Name of source: History.com
SOURCE: History.com (5-11-11)
Name of source: Science
SOURCE: Science (5-9-11)
Researchers have long debated how long Neandertals stuck around after modern humans invaded their home territories in Europe and Asia around 40,000 years ago. Some say as long as 10,000 years; others think Neandertals went extinct almost immediately. A new radiocarbon dating study of a Neandertal site in Russia concludes that the latter scenario is most likely, and that Neandertals and modern humans were probably like ships in the night. But don’t expect this to be the last word on this contentious subject.
Neandertals and modern humans likely encountered one another at least twice during prehistory. The first time was at least 80,000 years ago in the Near East, as evidenced by findings of both Neandertal and modern human bones in caves in Israel. But the moderns, who came up from Africa, apparently did not venture any farther than the Near East at that time, possibly due to competition from the Neandertals who were then occupying much of Europe and Asia.
Then, shortly before 40,000 years ago, Homo sapiens—possibly now armed with more sophisticated technology and adaptive skills—began the massive migration that would take our species to pretty much everywhere on the globe, including the territories in Europe and Asia that were already occupied by Neandertals.
Recent genetic studies suggest that Neandertals and moderns interbred the first time but not the second. That has led some researchers to suspect that they were not neighbors for very long during the more recent overlap, especially in Europe. Some scientists, however, say that Neandertals hung on in “refugia” like southern Spain and Gibraltar until as late as 32,000 years ago. (All dates in this story are in calibrated radiocarbon years.)....
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (5-11-11)
On April 15, 1994, just days into a bloodletting that would leave nearly a tenth of Rwanda's population dead, a mob of ethnic Hutus gathered in the village marketplace in Birambo. Incited and possibly organized by local Hutu leaders, the mob ransacked homes and businesses owned by ethnic Tutsis. In the days that followed, hundreds of Tutsis who fled into the nearby mountains were hunted down and killed. Seemingly anomic yet carefully organized, episodes like that in Birambo would be repeated thousands of times over the coming months, as militants, politicians, and prominent local Hutus stoked and even stage-managed a gruesome war of all against all.
Wichita, Kansas is eight time zones away from Birambo. It's a strange place for a high-stakes legal and political showdown over how to punish or even identify the local-scale leaders of the Rwandan genocide, a matter that's morphed into a debate over the legacy of the genocide itself. Yet the freedom of Lazare Kobagaya, an 84-year-old Rwandan immigrant and Kansas resident, depends on how these two interrelated debates play out in a federal courtroom.
Kobagaya is currently on trial in Wichita for allegedly lying about his involvement in the events in and around Birambo while he was in the process of applying for U.S. citizenship. The government, which began presenting its case last week, believes that Kobagaya helped lead and organize the Hutu mob in Birambo, and violated federal U.S. law by claiming on his N-400 naturalization form that he had never "persecuted (either directly or indirectly) any person because of race, religion, national origin, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." If convicted, Kobagaya faces jail time, the revocation of his U.S. citizenship, and deportation to Rwanda, where he would likely face another trial -- this time for genocide.
SOURCE: AP (5-10-11)
RICHMOND, Va. – It's an enduring myth of the Civil War: Robert E. Lee surrendered his sword to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, and his Union counterpart refused the traditional gesture of surrender. "Lee never offered it, and Grant never asked for it," said Patrick Schroeder, historian at Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park.
In an historical twist, though, Lee's French-made ceremonial sword is returning to Appomattox 146 years later, leaving the Richmond museum where it has been displayed for nearly a century.
The Museum of the Confederacy in downtown Richmond is delivering one of its most-treasured pieces to Appomattox for a new museum that it's building less than a mile from where Lee met with Grant to sign the document of surrender on April 9, 1865. The Army of Northern Virginia's formal surrender followed three days later, effectively drawing to a close the Civil War that left about 630,000 dead....
SOURCE: AP (5-10-11)
Musharraf's spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said Tuesday that news reports claiming Musharraf and the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush had such an understanding are baseless.
Chaudhry says no such agreement was signed during Musharraf's tenure and there wasn't a verbal understanding either. ...
SOURCE: AP (5-9-11)
At Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Israel's national cemetery, Israelis kindled 12 huge torches to signify the start of the holiday marking Israel's 63rd birthday. Soldiers marched in formation, and fireworks lit up skies across the nation on a mild spring evening.
Speaking at the ceremony, Israeli Parliament Speaker Reuven Rivlin noted that deep divisions exist within Israeli society over political and social issues. He complained that over the past year, there have been many attempts by groups to silence their opponents. "Neither side, right or left, is deserving of boycott," he said. "No ethnic group is deserving of shunning." ..........
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (5-9-11)
Egyptian authorities put another archaeological site on the country’s tourist map yesterday by opening a visitor center at Madinet Madi in the Fayoum region south of Cairo.
Founded during the reigns of Amenemhat III (about 1859-1813 B.C.) and Amenemhat IV (about 1814-1805 B.C.) of the 12th Dynasty, Madinet Madi contains the ruins of the only Middle Kingdom temple in Egypt.
Approached by a paved processional way lined by lions and sphinxes, the temple was dedicated to the cobra-headed goddess Renenutet, and the crocodile-headed god, Sobek of Scedet, patron god of the region.
Now almost forgotten by tourists, the site was swarming with pilgrims in ancient times.
Indeed, 10 Coptic churches dating from the 5th to 7th centuries and the remains of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the crocodile god were unearthed in the past decades by renowned Egyptologist Edda Bresciani of Pisa University, who has been excavating the area since 1978.
Discovered more than 10 years ago, the temple featured a unique barrel-vaulted structure which was used for the incubation of crocodile eggs. According to Bresciani, the structure was basically a nursery for sacred crocodiles. Her team found dozens of eggs in different stages of maturation in a hole covered with a layer of sand. In the adjacent room, the archaeologist found a perfectly preserved pool....
Name of source: AKI
SOURCE: AKI (5-10-11)
Switzerland's Museum of Basel will this week return to Egypt a limestone stele dating from over four thousand years ago - the first ancient treasure to be given back by another country since the revolt that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak in February.
The 51-centimetre stele depicts its owner hunting and is from Egypt's Old Kingdom period (c. 2649-2134 BC), Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.
Steles are upright stone slabs or column typically bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design, often serving as a gravestone.
The Museum of Basel is returing the artefact to Egypt amid a repatriation campaign spearheaded by Egypt's antiquities minister Zahi Hawass.
One of Egypt's most renowned archaeologists, Hawass became a minister earlier this this year. As long ago as in 2002 when headed the Supreme Council of Antiquities, he threatened to cut scientific and research ties with any museums, universities or other institutions that held stolen Egyptian antiquities....
Name of source: Toronto Star (Canada)
SOURCE: Toronto Star (Canada) (5-11-11)
Archeologists and several B.C. First Nations are keeping a close eye on a remarkable discovery in the North Okanagan near Vernon, B.C.
Workers expanding an orchard discovered a skull last month and further investigation turned up three more sets of human remains.
Provincial archeology branch official Eric Forgeng says the bones have not been dated but there’s no question they are from a First Nations burial site.
He says wear on the teeth is consistent with ancient diets that included a lot of gritty food, causing a distinctive pattern....
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (5-9-11)
Historian Douglas Brinkley discusses the collection of never before seen handwritten note cards recently discovered by the Ronald Reagan Presidential library.
[The cards include hundreds of his jokes. Click on the Source link to see the cards and Brinkley talking about them.]
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-11)
WICHITA, Kan. — The faces in the jury box are a cross-section of southern Kansas. The judge has a white beard, wears a bow tie and speaks in the straightforward language of the Great Plains. One defense lawyer favors cowboy boots and sometimes dons bolo ties.
But they are listening to testimony about a place and time in a village half a world away. On the stand, a diminutive Rwandan man with gold-rimmed glasses talks in his native language about how he participated in the murder of his neighbors during the ethnic massacres in Rwanda 17 years ago.
The witness, Valens Murindangabo, is asked about a moment on April 17, 1994, when two Tutsi teenagers were captured by Hutu men in some woods. He glances at the defendant, Lazare Kobagaya, an octogenarian with a cane, whose gray head can barely be seen above the back of his chair.
SOURCE: NYT (5-9-11)
...This is a film set, at the 179-year-old Evergreen Plantation here, and the cast and crew of the movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” are scrambling to deliver a summer blockbuster. It is set for release, in 3-D, by 20th Century Fox in June of next year.
The filmmakers are also creating one of the more startling historical revisions in movie memory. Their Lincoln, you see, is a devoted slayer of the undead.
Hollywood is certainly in need of an attention getter. And in building one around Abraham Lincoln, it might be poised to expand the presidential aura far more dramatically than did films like “The American President,” which turned a fictional chief executive into a romantic lead (with a hint of Bill Clinton), or “Air Force One,” in which a president became an action hero (foretelling a flight-suited George W. Bush?).
Seth Grahame-Smith, who wrote the pop-novel mash-up on which the movie is based, said he was beginning to suspect that his “Vampire Hunter” conceit tapped something deeper than originally planned. Speaking by telephone last week, he said he couldn’t help thinking of Lincoln and vampires on seeing President Obama with “his chest pumped up” after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The idea of Lincoln as supernatural savior was born in 2008, when Mr. Grahame-Smith, who is based in Los Angeles, had just finished the manuscript for his successful Jane Austen sendup, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” He found himself in bookstores between tables full of “Twilight” novels and those piled high with Lincolniana. “Sort of shrewdly, from a cynical standpoint, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine these two things,’ ” Mr. Grahame-Smith said. That was the impulse behind his “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” novel, which was published last year by Grand Central Publishing....
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-11)
The 50th anniversary of Eichmann’s trial this spring has cast the early days of the postwar Federal Republic in a fresh historical light. Those were the years when the new West Germany held itself up as the cure for what ailed a humiliated and broken nation, and as an alternative to the Communist East.
That era was also the populist heyday of the organization man. And the classic portrait of Eichmann as a soulless cog in the machinery of totalitarianism, a petty bureaucrat acting out of “blind obedience,” in the incredulous description by Moshe Landau, the presiding judge at the trial — who, as it happens, died just the other day, at 99 — has also come to seem a sacred but dubious shibboleth of the time.
A different picture of the man, and the period, has begun to circulate. Bild, the German tabloid, having recently forced the BND through the courts to release a few files, uncovered an index card from 1952 that made clear that West German intelligence officials already knew Eichmann was living in Argentina. The card listed his alias there, or something close to it, and a contact who edited a well-known Nazi magazine in Buenos Aires, Der Weg.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-8-11)
Unidentified ship that sank off the Dorset coast around 1600 is most important discovery since the 'Mary Rose'
The remains of the ship, known simply as the Swash Channel Wreck, were preserved for centuries under the seabed in six metres of water off the Dorset coast. But now its ornately carved timbers, the earliest still in existence in Britain, are literally being eaten away.
The sand that protected it has been shifted by changing currents and tides, leaving the 40m vessel's timbers exposed to bacteria and the tunnelling of aquatic shipworms. Tests on the timbers and artefacts trace the ship's history back to Europe in the early 1600s, where it was probably engaged in the beginnings of international trade with the Far East.
A Bournemouth University marine archaeology team has been studying the wreck since 2006. But they are now so concerned at its deterioration that they have decided to raise and preserve part of the hull next month ....
Name of source: LA Times
SOURCE: LA Times (4-8-11)
The artifacts — terra cotta floor tiles, an irrigation channel, bowls, beads and other evidence of 18th century mission life and the Chumash tribe that preceded it — may impede efforts to develop the parcel.
When archeologist John Foster started peeling the asphalt from a parking lot in downtown Ventura, he knew he wouldn't have to dig deep to find a cache of long-buried relics.
He just didn't realize how many he'd find and from how many different eras.
Digging down 5 feet, Foster and his crew have found shell beads, a stone bowl used for mixing pigment and lots of cattle bones — leftovers from the tanning and tallow-rendering that brought cash into Mission San Buenaventura. They've also plucked out empty champagne and wine bottles, shards of porcelain dishes and gas lamps from the elegant hotel that occupied the site after Ventura became a bustling commercial center in the 1880s.
The corner lot, bounded by a thrift store and a French restaurant, is in a neighborhood rich with history. It's just a block from the mission church founded by Junipero Serra in 1782. Nearby excavations have uncovered a museum's worth of artifacts, from a centuries-old lavanderia — laundry — to remains of the Chumash tribe, which was nearly wiped out by European diseases.
But it's been years since the last big discovery — and even in a downtown that likes to call itself "historic," there's no consensus about what to do with the history that's underfoot.
Name of source: Escience
SOURCE: Escience (5-9-11)
As the world's leading authority on beads manufactured from shells by California's Chumash Indians, UCLA archaeologist Jeanne Arnold was stumped by a series of anomalous artifacts excavated at former settlements on the Channel Islands. Pierced with more than one hole, often at unconventional angles or too close to the edges, the oddly configured multi-hole beads differ considerably from the smooth, round, precisely drilled beauties that served as currency among the Chumash prior to the arrival of Europeans in Southern California.
After closer analysis, however, she now believes the shell artifacts, which are nearly 250 years old, provide a rare window into a little-known world: the efforts of young apprentices, possibly children, among traditional peoples.
The rugged Channel Islands, located 60 miles west of Malibu, were home to more than 3,000 Chumash people who operated North America's largest and most spectacular shell-working enterprise. Santa Cruz Island, which has an abundant outcropping of flint suitable for drilling tools, served as the center of these activities, which date back more than 1,000 years.
Islanders made shell ornaments, decorative beads and pendants, and most extensively of all, shell beads that served as currency. The group's monopoly on currency-making made the islands the "mint" for Chumash transactions in Central and Southern California, Arnold said. Chumash-made beads have been found as far away as northern Nevada and the Four Corners area of the Southwest.
In the past 15 years, archaeology crews working under Arnold's supervision have unearthed roughly 320 unconventional shell beads amid thousands of standard beads at the sites of two former villages on Santa Cruz's coast. Previously dismissed either as mistakes or attempts at innovations by journeyman bead-makers, these tiny white beads actually reflect a range of production errors at the hands of novices, Arnold argues.
Name of source: Daily Caller
SOURCE: Daily Caller (5-9-11)
Shortly after the White House announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a raid conducted by the U.S. military inside of Pakistan, conspiracy theories trickled their way through online communities, forums and blogs. They eventually found their way into the mainstream and were debated on the pages of publications like Slate, the Washington Post and ABC News.
Was Osama really killed? If so, where are the pictures? And why the hasty burial at sea? The Obama administration’s refusal to release photographic evidence of bin Laden’s demise and the changing narrative of how the raid played out only fueled the conspiracy theorists, eventually dubbed “Deathers”.
But no matter how crazy they may seem, conspiracy theories will always be around. Why? Because once in a blue moon, they actually turn out to be true.
Below are five times in history where the “alternate storylines,” so to speak, turned out to be correct.
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (5-9-11)
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (5-4-11)
Paintings depicting horses and human hands made by prehistoric humans around 25,000 years ago have been discovered in a cave in northern Spain, regional officials said on Wednesday.
The red paintings, found by chance by archaeologists looking for signs of ancient settlements, were made around the same time as the Altamira Cave paintings -- some of the world's best prehistoric paintings discovered in northern Spain in 1879.
"It was a chance finding," archaeologist Diego Garate told Reuters.
"Although they were difficult to spot because they are badly deteriorated, our experienced eye helped us to identify them."
Experts will further explore the caves for evidence of prehistoric utensils or tools, officials said.
The first homo sapiens arrived in small groups in northern Spain around 35,000 years ago.
They cohabited for a time with the last of the Neanderthals and then developed a significant culture known as the Upper Palaeolithic, producing stone blade tools and decorating cave walls....
Name of source: Deutsche Welle (Germany)
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (Germany) (5-9-11)
Germans across the country commemorated the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe on Sunday, with a pan-European performance of a choral symphony in Berlin.
A 1,250-strong choir of singers from across Europe performed "War Requiem" by British composer Benjamin Britten. First performed in May 1962, the masterpiece blends traditional Latin music with the war poetry of Wilfred Owen, a British soldier who died toward the end of World War I.
The War Requiem features three solos, symbolically written for a Russian soprano, and English tenor and a German baritone.
Meanwhile in the northern city of Bremen, officials opened Germany's largest bomb-proof World War II submarine yard as a historic site.
Work on the Valentin Yard, the centerpiece of a 4-square-kilometer (1.5-square-mile) base, began in 1943. British forces heavily bombed it in March 1945 and the Nazis abandoned the project before completion....
Name of source: NBC
SOURCE: NBC (5-6-11)
[Tom Brokaw tells the story of Gerald Ford's friendship for a black football player in the thirties when both played for Michigan and how this friendship led to Ford's getting a statue in the Capitol.]