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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 News
SOURCE: BBC News (1-11-12)
A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany after being left in a will.
In the six-page document of Beethoven's scrawled corrections, he complains about his illness and a lack of money.
Experts were already aware of the 1823 letter's existence, but say it is of historic value.
Broadcaster John Suchet, who has written books on Beethoven, said finding the letter was "hugely significant"....
SOURCE: BBC News (1-10-12)
What has been hailed as one of the most significant recent UK Iron Age finds is going on display after a nine-year conservation project.
The decorated Roman cavalry helmet was discovered at a site in Leicestershire.
Experts said its date, close to the Roman invasion of 43 AD, meant it could be evidence of Celtic tribes serving with the Roman army.
The artefact, which was found in fragments, has been restored by a team at the British Museum.
Dr Jeremy Hill, from the museum, said: "You can't underestimate the shock and surprise this had when it was first found - Hallaton really transforms our understanding of the Roman conquest of Britain."...
SOURCE: BBC News (12-29-11)
Peter Robinson believed a war could break out after the IRA murdered a unionist politician, government archives from 1981 have revealed.
The comment came in an account of a late-night conversation between the present first minister and Stormont official (later Sir) Ewart Bell.
South Belfast MP Rev Robert Bradford was shot dead in November 1981.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Robinson told Ewart Bell there could be "war" before Christmas...
SOURCE: BBC News (1-2-12)
Another new year and another host of celebrity dieters, but it's not a modern phenomenon. Lord Byron was one of first diet icons and helped kick off the public's obsession with how celebrities lose weight, says historian Louise Foxcroft.
There has never been any shortage of celebrities who have followed diets, endorsed them or tried to sell us one of their own devising, even back as far as the 1800s.
The "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron was thought of as the embodiment of the ethereal poet, but he actually had a "morbid propensity to fatten". Like today's celebrities, he worked hard to maintain his figure.
At Cambridge University, his horror of being fat led to a shockingly strict diet, partly to get thin and partly to keep his mind sharp. Existing on biscuits and soda water or potatoes drenched in vinegar, he wore woolly layers to sweat off the pounds and measured himself obsessively. Then he binged on huge meals, finishing off with a necessarily large dose of magnesia....
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (1-5-12)
A bronze disk recently discovered in the mud near the Putney Bridge in London seemed innocent enough, but on close inspection it has turned out to be one of the oldest pieces of British pornographic art, according to the Guardian....
SOURCE: NYT (1-9-12)
California’s catalog of historic artifacts includes two pairs of boots, an American flag, empty food bags, a pair of tongs and more than a hundred other items left behind at a place called Tranquillity Base.
The history registry for New Mexico lists the same items.
That might be surprising, since Tranquillity Base is not in New Mexico or California but a quarter of a million miles away, in the spot where Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon in 1969.
But for archaeologists and historians worried that the next generation of people visiting the moon might carelessly obliterate the site of one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments, these designations were important first steps toward raising awareness of the need to protect off-world artifacts.
“I think it’s humanity’s heritage,” said Beth L. O’Leary, a professor of anthropology at New Mexico State University. “It’s just an incredible realm that archaeologists haven’t begun to look at until now.”
Dr. O’Leary herself had not given much thought to historic preservation on the Moon until a student asked her in 1999 whether federal preservation laws applied to the Apollo landing sites.
“That started the ball rolling,” she said....
SOURCE: NYT (1-6-12)
AT the turn of the last century, it was widely accepted that American stocks were virtually certain to be good long-term investments. Now, far fewer people are confident of that.
A major reason for the earlier confidence was that in the 15 years from the end of 1984 through the end of 1999, the total return of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was more than 740 percent, even after adjusting for inflation. That amounted to a compound annual real return of more than 15 percent.
At the end of 2011, by contrast, the 15-year return — from the end of 1996 — was just 3 percent. And most of those gains came in the first three years of the period. Since the end of 1999, the stock market has not come close to keeping up with inflation....
SOURCE: NYT (1-3-12)
ALBANY — No one would accuse Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of lacking attention to detail. But in recent months, his passion for the restoration of the Capitol has amazed even his closest aides, as the state’s chief executive has seemed at times more like its chief historian — or, at other moments, its chief architect, interior decorator and custodian.
At one point, arguing that the sheen of the salmon-colored walls was just not quite right, he insisted that the glossy paint be replaced with a matte finish, for greater historical accuracy.
Bothered by chemical stains that he noticed had accumulated along the base of the building’s walls from decades of floor wax, Mr. Cuomo tracked down the worker who oversees the buffing of the floors in the Capitol....
SOURCE: NYT (1-2-12)
In the old photograph, a lonely farmhouse sits on a rocky hill, shaded by tall trees. The scene looks like rural Maine. On the modern street, apartment buildings tower above trucks and cars passing a busy corner where an AMC Loews multiplex faces an overpriced hamburger joint and a Coach store.
They are both the same spot. Not so long ago, all things considered, the intersection of Broadway and 84th Street didn’t exist; the area was farmland. “The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011,” now at the Museum of the City of New York, unearths that 1879 picture of the Brennan Farm among other historic gems. The show celebrates the anniversary of what remains not just a landmark in urban history but in many ways the defining feature of the city.
After all, before it could rise into the sky, Manhattan had to create the streets, avenues and blocks that support the skyscrapers. The grid was big government in action, a commercially minded boon to private development and, almost despite itself, a creative template. With 21st-century problems — environmental, technological, economic and social — now demanding aggressive and socially responsible leadership, the exhibition is a kind of object lesson.
Simeon De Witt, Gouverneur Morris and John Rutherfurd were entrusted with planning the city back in 1811. New York huddled mostly south of Canal Street, but it was booming, its population having tripled to 96,373 since 1790 thanks to the growing port. Civic boosters predicted that 400,000 people would live in the city by 1860. They turned out to be half-right. New York topped 800,000 before the Civil War....
SOURCE: NYT (1-2-11)
Researchers scanning the genomes of African-Americans say they see evidence of natural selection as their ancestors adapted to the harsh conditions of their new environment in America.
The scientists, led by Li Jin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, report in the journal Genome Research that certain disease-causing variant genes became more common in African-Americans after their ancestors reached American shores — perhaps because they conferred greater, offsetting benefits. Other gene variants have become less common, the researchers say, like the gene for sickle cell hemoglobin, which in its more common single-dose form protects against malaria. The Shanghai team suggests the gene has become less common in African-Americans because malaria is much less of a threat.
The purpose of studying African-American genomes is largely medical. Most searches for variant genes that cause disease take place in people of European ancestry, and physicians want to make sure they have not missed variants that may be more common in African-Americans and helpful for developing treatments or diagnosis....
SOURCE: NYT (1-2-12)
A vegetable seller named Babylas was the target of an alarming curse nearly 2,000 years ago. Written on a lead tablet found in Antioch, one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, the curse calls on the gods to tie up the hapless greengrocer, then “drown and chill” his soul.
The curse is described in the German journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik by Alexander Hollmann, a classicist at the University of Washington who studies Greek and Roman magic.
The curse was written on both sides of the tablet. One side calls upon the god Iao to bind Babylas; the other side addresses multiple gods and calls for the tablet to be thrown down and “killed” in a well — followed, in the same way, by Babylas....
He was buried after the Sept. 11 attacks with full honors from the New York Police Department, and proclaimed a hero by the city’s police commissioner. He is cited by name in the Patriot Act as an example of Muslim-American valor.
And Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, one of two Muslim members of Congress, was brought to tears during a Congressional hearing in March while describing how the man, a Pakistani-American from Queens, had wrongly been suspected of involvement in the attacks, before he was lionized as a young police cadet who had died trying to save lives.
Despite this history, Mohammad Salman Hamdani is nowhere to be found in the long list of fallen first responders at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan.
Nor can his name be found among those of victims whose bodies were found in the wreckage of the north tower, where his body was finally discovered in 34 parts....
JERUSALEM — With public fury over some ultra-Orthodox groups mounting, Israeli leaders on Sunday denounced ultra-Orthodox protesters who took to the streets of Jerusalem on Saturday night and put young boys on display wearing yellow stars and striped prison camp uniforms reminiscent of the Holocaust.
Organizers of the demonstration said they had been protesting what they called growing incitement against their community, with Israeli and foreign news media now focusing on ultra-Orthodox zealots who have been increasingly encroaching on the public sphere, enforcing gender segregation and the exclusion of women and girls in accordance with their strict interpretation of religious modesty rules.
One Israeli television program recently reported how an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of American immigrants who are observant modern Orthodox Jews, had become terrified of walking to school in the city of Beit Shemesh after ultra-Orthodox men spit on her, insulted her and called her a prostitute because her modest dress did not conform exactly to their more rigorous dress code....
MOSCOW — Three weeks ago, when this city was bracing for the first in a series of large antigovernment protests, some commentators seemed to dip into the well of Russian history, when czars and crowds collided in a blur of sabers, poleaxes, cavalry charges and masses of commoners holding icons over their heads.
In the old stories, crowds are a brutal, elemental force, and it is no wonder that Russian rulers sought to suppress them. They are part of the Kremlin’s collective memory, and they hang over the protests today.
Peter the Great, at 10, newly declared the czar, cowered with his mother while rioting guardsmen impaled his relatives on spears. Czar Alexis came out to address petitioners and found himself engulfed, seized by the buttons of his caftan.
But the most instructive tale is probably that of Czar Nicholas II, whose troops fired on 8,000 workers who came to the Winter Palace in 1905 to ask for better working conditions....
Name of source: Hispanically Speaking News
SOURCE: Hispanically Speaking News (1-8-12)
Mexican archaeologists found some 3,000 cave paintings, some almost 2,000 years old, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
Sources at the institute told Efe that the discoveries were made between August and October 2011, but were not announced until specialists confirmed their antiquity and completed their analyses.
The relics came to light through the Rupestral Art Project of the Victoria River Basin - which includes semi-desert regions in the states of Queretaro and Guanajuato - developed by INAH experts and directed by archaeologist Carlos Viramontes.
INAH said in a communique Friday that the pictographs were found at 40 rock sites in an arid northeastern area of Guanajuato....
Name of source: LiveScience
SOURCE: LiveScience (1-10-12)
A tiny stamp bearing an image of the Temple Menorah and likely placed on baked goods some 1,500 years ago has turned up during excavations near the Israeli city of Akko, researchers announced.
The Israel Antiquities Authority discovered the ceramic stamp while excavating at Horbat Uza, a small rural settlement east of the city Akko, before construction of a railroad track connecting Akko and Karmiel in northern Israel.
From the Byzantine period, the stamp is called a "bread stamp," as it was used to identify baked goods; this one, in particular, probably belonged to a bakery supplying kosher bread to the Jews of Akko, the researchers say....
SOURCE: LiveScience (1-10-12)
Traces of nicotine discovered in a Mayan flask dating back more than 1,000 years represent the first physical evidence of tobacco use by the Mayans, researchers say.
The flask was decorated with text that seemed to read "Yo-'OTOT-ti 'u-MAY," which translates to "the home of his tobacco" (or "her tobacco" or "its tobacco"), the archaeologists said, but that by itself wasn't enough to convince them.
"Textual evidence written on pottery is often an indicator of contents or of an intended purpose – however, actual usage of a container could be altered or falsely represented," said study researcher Jennifer Loughmiller-Newman of the University at Albany....
SOURCE: LiveScience (1-2-12)
The ancient city of Angkor — the most famous monument of which is the breathtaking ruined temple of Angkor Wat — might have collapsed due to valiant but ultimately failed efforts to battle drought, scientists find.
The great city of Angkor in Cambodia, first established in the ninth century, was the capital of the Khmer Empire, the major player in southeast Asia for nearly five centuries. It stretched over more than 385 square miles (1,000 square kilometers), making it the most extensive urban complex of the preindustrial world. In comparison, Philadelphia covers 135 square miles (350 sq. km), while Phoenix sprawls across more than 500 square miles (1,300 sq. km), not including the huge suburbs.
Suggested causes for the fall of the Khmer Empire in the late 14th to early 15th centuries have included war and land overexploitation. However, recent evidence suggests that prolonged droughts might have been linked to the decline of Angkor — for instance, tree rings from Vietnam suggest the region experienced long spans of drought interspersed with unusually heavy rainfall....
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-10-12)
Humanity will soon be getting an update on how close we are to catastrophic destruction, as scientists and security experts decide whether to nudge the hands of the famous "Doomsday Clock" forward toward midnight -- and doom -- or back toward security and safety.
The clock, in use as a symbol of imminent apocalypse since 1947, now stands at six minutes to midnight.
On Tuesday (Jan. 10), the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will announce whether they will nudge the minute hand forward or backward to reflect current trends in world security. The last time the clock hand moved was in 2010, when the group moved the hand from five minutes to midnight back to six....
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-9-12)
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was an artist, inventor, scientist, architect, engineer, writer and even a musician. Now we know that he was also a fashion designer.
After several months of meticulous research, scholars have reconstructed some fragmented drawings of a unique bag designed by the Renaissance genius around 1497.
The sketch was first published in 1978 by Carlo Pedretti, a leading Da Vinci scholar, who identified it among the Atlantic Code's tens of thousands of drawings.
Overlooked for more than three decades, it has been reconstructed and reassembled by Agnese Sabato and Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale in the Tuscan town of Vinci, where da Vinci was born in 1452....
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-6-12)
Fame did not come easily for Jim Lovell and his two crewmates on NASA's aborted Apollo 13 moon mission. The astronauts nearly died after an explosion tore apart part of their spaceship on April 13, 1970, but ingenuity, endurance and sheer luck prevailed and the trio made it home safely.
Now apparently fortune is taking a likewise star-crossed path. Lovell sold a notebook that was used during the mission at auction in November for $388,375. The check, however, is not in the mail.
Heritage Auctions on Thursday said the sale of the 70-page binder, which includes handwritten calculations by Lovell, is being suspended after NASA launched an investigation into whether it was the astronaut’s property to sell.
"In an email to Heritage, NASA Deputy Chief Counsel Donna M. Shafer said there appeared to be 'nothing to indicate' that the agency had ever transferred ownership of the checklist to Lovell," The Associated Press reports....
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-6-12)
Celebrations abounded in France today to mark the 600th birthday of Joan of Arc, the fifteenth-century peasant girl who led the French army to victory against the English, was burned at the stake for heresy and witchcraft, and five centuries later was declared a saint.
Looking for a patriotic boost in the presidential election campaign, French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivered a 19 minute praise of the medieval heroine as he visited her native village of Domremy-La-Pucelle.
Although it might prove effective from a political perspective, Sarkozy's commemoration was likely made on the wrong day.
"January 6 was almost certainly not the day of Joan's birth," Nancy Goldstone, the author of the forthcoming book The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc, told Discovery News.
Indeed, there is no record of Joan's date of birth nor her baptism -- after all, individual birthdays were not celebrated in the 15th century....
SOURCE: Discovery News (12-30-11)
A centuries-old mouthpiece of a pipe, which might have been used to smoke hashish, has been unearthed in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Bearing the Arabic inscription "love is language for the lovers," (literally translated, it reads "heart is language for the lover") the clay pipe was likely intended as a gift between lovers.
According to Shahar Puni, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the object dates from the 16th to the 19th century, when Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire, a Turkish state that stretched from southeastern Europe, across northern Africa and through most of the Middle East....
Name of source: The Post Game
SOURCE: The Post Game (1-5-12)
A gym advertisement with a explicit Holocaust connection? What could possibly go wrong?
We thought Newt Gingrich's comparison of failing to be on the Virginia Republican primary ballot to Pearl Harbor was bad. Now a gym owner in Dubai thought a picture of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp would be a great advertisement poster for his gym.
He thought wrong.
Phil Parkinson, 32, posted a picture to the Circuit Factory's Facebook page of the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz with the caption "Where your calories go to die." Great slogan by itself? Sure. But not when attached to an image like that. The Nazis slaughtered 1.3 million people at Auschwitz....
Name of source: The Economist
SOURCE: The Economist (1-7-12)
CANADA and the United States started the new year by firing cannons at each other across the Niagara river, which separates the province of Ontario from the state of New York, leaving a whiff of gunpowder and politicking in the air. The guns at Fort George on the Canadian side and Old Fort Niagara on the American shore were replicas of those from the 1812 war between the two countries, and were loaded with blanks.
They fired the first salvo in what Canada’s government plans as a noisy 200th anniversary celebration of a largely forgotten war in which British redcoats, colonial militia and Indian allies stopped an American invasion (which Thomas Jefferson mistakenly predicted was “a mere matter of marching”) of what was then a sparsely populated string of colonies. “The heroic efforts of those who fought for our country in the War of 1812 tell the story of the Canada we know today: an independent and free country with a constitutional monarchy and its own distinct parliamentary system,” says James Moore, the minister of Canadian Heritage....
Name of source: Hartford Courant
SOURCE: Hartford Courant (1-2-12)
The Republic of Suriname, a former Dutch sugar colony on the northern coast of South America, is not often a topic of conversation around here. But a team of researchers may make the tiny state of interest to Connecticut residents, thanks to their discovery of the graves of two 18th-century sea captains.
One headstone, bearing the date of 1758, is that of Capt. Michael Burnham of Middletown, a swashbuckling adventurer who made a fortune as a privateer and most likely trafficked in slaves. Another, made of Portland brownstone, marks the grave of New London Capt. William Barbut. Nearby are the graves of Rhode Island merchants Capt. Nathaniel Angel and Capt. William Gardner Wanton.
The graves of the New England seafarers were uncovered on Oct. 29 in the Dutch colonial cemetery of Nieuw Oranjetuin in Paramaribo, Suriname's capital city, by researchers who used machetes to hack away the vines covering the old headstones. One of those researchers, a former Connecticut resident, Tom Hart, immediately communicated the find to the Middlesex County Historical Society. The expedition was led by Paramaribo historian Bas Spek....
Name of source: CNN.com
SOURCE: CNN.com (1-6-12)
London (CNN) -- It sits in the ancient heart of Rome and is an emblem of the city's imperial history as well as an icon of Italy.
But plans to restore Rome's nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum are causing rumblings among heritage workers and restorers, compounded by reports in December that small amounts of powdery rock had fallen off the monument.
The current $33 million (25 million euro) restoration plans to restore the Flavian amphitheater, which once hosted spectacular shows and gruesome gladiatorial battles, are being sponsored by Diego della Valle, of luxury Italian brand Tod's, in exchange for advertising rights.
Restoration of the monument, which attracts up to two million visitors a year, is due to go ahead in March and will involve cleaning of the travertine exterior, the restoration of underground chambers, new gating, the moving of visitor service stations to an area outside of the building itself and increased video security.
But members of the Restorers Association of Italy are unhappy about the plans, which they believe has sidelined them in favor of non-specialist restorers and which "run the risk of causing irreparable damage to the monument," according to the group's President, Carla Tomasi.....
SOURCE: CNN.com (1-9-12)
(CNN) -- DNA may help Seattle-area sheriff's deputies find a suspect in a 20-year-old killing after a comparison with genealogy records connected a crime-scene sample to a 17th-century Massachusetts family.
The DNA sample was taken in the death of 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough, who was killed on her high school campus in Federal Way, Washington, in December 1991. The King County Sheriff's Office has circulated two composite sketches of a possible suspect -- a man in his 20s at the time with shoulder-length blonde or light brown hair -- but had been unable to put a name to the sketch....
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (1-6-12)
President Obama, in outlining proposed defense cuts at the Pentagon on Thursday, urged officials to remember the "lessons of history" and to make sure the country does not repeat the mistakes of the past by leaving the military "ill-prepared" for the future.
"As Commander in Chief, I will not let that happen again," he said.
But some officials are worried that the planned cuts could do just that, as few programs are expected to be left unscathed by the defense cuts and new military strategy outlined this week.
Hardest hit will be the Army and Marines, which are slated to lose about 100,000 troops. After every war since World War II, military historians explain, presidents have cut the Army hoping for quick savings and the ability to rely on superior air power, which often leads to the next ground war....
SOURCE: Fox News (1-4-12)
The move is likely to re-ignite debate about Dutch attitudes to the wartime persecution of the country's Jewish population.
Of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands before the war, more than 100,000 were deported and murdered. About 30,000 Jews live here now, out of a total population of nearly 17 million.
SOURCE: Fox News (1-2-12)
HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnam War-era artillery shell has exploded in central Vietnam, killing two people and wounding two others.
Police officer Nguyen Thanh Hoai says a man who was collecting the shell for scrap metal on the side of a highway in Binh Thuan province died at the scene following Monday's explosion....
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-5-12)
Chile's centre right government has been accused of airbrushing history after it emerged that school textbooks will now refer to the brutal rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet as a "regime" instead of a dictatorship.
Left wing opposition have accused the government of President Sebastián Piñera, elected in 2010 as Chile's first conservative leader since the dictatorship, of attempting to "whitewash history".
The political row erupted when it emerged this week that the National Education Council had formally taken a decision to change the terminology taught to children about the darkest period of Chile's recent history.
More than 3,000 people were murdered or disappeared for political reasons under Pinochet during his rule between 1973-1990, according to figures recently reviewed by an official commission, and the legacy of the period is still bitterly disputed.
The decision to refer to the period as a "regime" rather than a "dictatorship" was qualified by the government as simply the use of "a more general term" and the new education minister denied that it was politically motivated....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-10-12)
Gerry Adams may be implicated in an IRA unit responsible for the killing of suspected informant Jean McConville on tapes that could be released by a US judge, it was reported.
The leader of Sinn Fein has been accused of setting up the unit that abducted Mrs McConville before she was shot in the back of the head in 1972.
Allegations against Mr Adams, who has repeatedly denied involvement with the IRA, were made by two people interviewed by researchers for an oral history project on the condition the tapes were not released before their deaths. The claims were not independently verified.
Collected by Dr Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA prisoner, the interviews were intended to be held securely in America after the project, which was sponsored by Boston College....
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (1-9-12)
He was so tall that he could light his pipe from a street lamp. He was said to be more than 8ft 4in (although his skeleton suggests he was actually nearer 8ft). His voice sounded ‘like thunder’, his hands and feet were immense and he had a gentle manner — when he was sober.
Charles Byrne, known as the Irish Giant, was the toast of Georgian London after arriving to seek his fortune at the age of 21 and being put on show as a freak.
People flocked to see him. Newspapers printed breathless reports of his astonishing size. The King and Queen received him, and the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire — the leading lights of fashionable society — took their friends to see Byrne.
But after a brief period of fame, the Irish Giant died.
A devout Catholic, mindful of the after-life, he left strict instructions that his body should be buried at sea in a lead-lined coffin: he was desperate that his remains escape the attentions of surgeons and scientists who were eager to dissect it and place it on public display....
Now two academics have mounted a campaign to fulfil his dying wishes and give the Irish Giant the burial he wanted. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Thomas Muinzer, a legal researcher at Queen’s University Belfast, and Len Doyal, professor of edical ethics at the University of London, argue there is no scientific benefit from continuing to display his remains....
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (1-10-12)
Historians have pieced together a 2,000-year-old Roman cavalry helmet 10 years after its discovery in an Iron Age shrine and say it sheds new light on the conquering of Britain.
The helmet and its cheek pieces have been painstakingly restored from 1,000 small fragments over three years by experts at the British Museum.
Constructed of sheet iron, the helmet, once decorated with gold leaf, is the only one to have been found in Britain with its silver gilt plating intact and is also one of the earliest ever found in Britain.
Metals conservation expert Marilyn Hockey began unearthing the fragments out of a 'big lump of soil' at the British Museum three years ago....
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (1-8-12)
Iraq's police, completely reformed after the 2003 US-led invasion, on Sunday apologised for acts committed during the rule of the dictator Saddam Hussein, on the eve of the force's 90th anniversary.
The statement came as Iraq grapples with a festering political row that has pitted the Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed bloc, raising sectarian tensions as minority groups have warned of the politicisation of the security forces.
"Security forces in the interior ministry apologise for the practices that took place during the former regime," the ministry said in a statement.
"They were forced to carry out practices that were not their duties."...
Name of source: Navy Times
SOURCE: Navy Times (1-8-12)
The Navy’s historical command, a chronically underfunded institution tasked with the safekeeping of the Navy’s innumerable treasures, is beset with preservation problems and internal strife, a recent report by the naval inspector general has found.
The problems are impairing the Navy’s efforts to record and share its history with the fleet and the public, the report found; it calls for a “blue ribbon panel of eminent historians” to address the issues.
One of the most pressing findings is that historic collections of photographs, paintings and artifacts are endangered because of poor facilities, namely broken or nonexistent temperature and humidity controls in the three sprawling repositories controlled by Naval History and Heritage Command, based at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.
Nearly all of the history command’s 230,000 square feet of storage area is unsuitable for these artifacts, the IG report found. This has prompted the command to relocate its sensitive items, such as parts of its photo collection, although it isn’t clear where they will be moved.
The command’s “storage and preservation activities require temperature and humidity controls that are uniquely demanding and almost entirely unmet,” according to the report. “Consequently, the history and heritage of the United States Navy is in jeopardy.”...
Name of source: Army Times
SOURCE: Army Times (1-3-12)
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Calif. — A historic World War II-era gun battery that once guarded San Francisco Bay has been restored as an exhibit that showcases the region's military past as the country's first line of defense against a West Coast invasion.
The Army built Battery Townsley into a Marin County hillside more than 70 years ago to house weapons that could lob 2-ton shells 25 miles. The series of underground tunnels and concrete gun emplacements became an underground party spot for teenagers and fell into disrepair after the Army left Marin in the 1980s.
Mia Monroe, a National Park Service ranger with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the crumbling structure had become infested with rodents and covered with graffiti....
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (1-3-12)
NEW YORK (AP) — After its successful series on the history of America in 2010, television's History channel is setting its sights even higher.
The network said Tuesday that a 12-hour miniseries, "Mankind the Story of All of Us," will debut late this year. History, seen in more than 300 million homes worldwide, will offer different versions of the series in different parts of the world, the first time it has ever done that.
"America the Story of Us" hadn't even concluded when History executives, impressed by its ratings, began talking about what to do next, said Nancy Dubuc, the network's president and general manager.
"Rather than take a slice of the America story and do something more in depth on that, we decided to go bigger and broader," she said....
SOURCE: AP (1-2-12)
FONDA, N.Y. (AP) — No one making a religious pilgrimage to Catholic shrines in this scenic yet hardscrabble stretch of New York's Mohawk Valley is going to mistake it for Italy. Yet starting next year, the region can boast of being the home of two of the Roman Catholic Church's newest saints.
The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian, spent most of her life here during the 17th century. About 200 years later and 40 miles to the west, the Blessed Mother Marianne Cope began a religious life that focused on providing medical care in central New York and the Hawaiian islands.
On Dec. 20, Pope Benedict XVI certified miracles attributed to the two women, the final step toward sainthood. The women's canonization is expected to happen this year.
When they are elevated to sainthood, they'll be among just 12 of the Catholic Church's thousands of saints who either were born in America or ministered in what is now the United States....
Name of source: Huffington Post
SOURCE: Huffington Post (1-3-12)
In the wake of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve took drastic measures to shore up the U.S. financial system. Now as Europe enters its worst economic debacle since World War II, economists and politicians are calling on the European Central Bank to pull off a similar rescue.
So far, it has not.
The reasons for the Frankfurt-based central bank's reluctance can be traced back to Germany's troubled past, which includes both world wars and the enduring legacy of Adolf Hitler.
History is proving an inescapable weight on the continent's ability to save itself from economic peril. "German memory of the hyperinflation in the early 1920s and then the absolute destruction of the economy and money by 1945 -- those are things that people haven't forgotten," said University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ellen Kennedy, author of "The Bundesbank: Germany's Central Bank in the International Monetary System." "Those are well within living memory."...
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (1-2-12)
China's extraordinary historical treasures are under threat from increasingly aggressive and sophisticated tomb raiders, who destroy precious archaeological evidence as they swipe irreplaceable relics.
The thieves use dynamite and even bulldozers to break into the deepest chambers – and night vision goggles and oxygen canisters to search them. The artefacts they take are often sold on within days to international dealers.
Police have already stepped up their campaign against the criminals and the government is devoting extra resources to protecting sites and tracing offenders. This year it set up a national information centre to tackle such crimes.
Tomb theft is a global problem that has gone on for centuries. But the sheer scope of China's heritage – with thousands of sites, many of them in remote locations – poses a particular challenge....
Name of source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
SOURCE: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (12-29-11)
A Civil War-era ship that participated in one of the nation's most famous naval battles before sinking in the mouth of Tampa Bay is set to become Florida's 12th underwater archaeological preserve.
The wreck of the USS Narcissus tugboat off Egmont Key just north of Anna Maria Island "provides not only a fascinating underwater preserve to explore, it also offers a unique and adventurous look into our nation's naval history," Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning said this week in announcing the nomination.
Built in East Albany, N.Y., in 1863, the Narcissus steamed south in January 1864 to support the Union Navy's blockade of Confederate shipping routes, according to a report complied by state researchers....
Name of source:
A blackened, curled, oversized finger, long claimed to belong to a yeti, has been identified as human after all.
Featuring a long nail, the mummified relic -- 3.5 inches long and almost an inch thick at its widest part -- has languished for decades in the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum in London.
The specimen caught the interest of scientists in 2008, when curators cataloged a collection bequeathed to the museum by primatologist William Charles Osman Hill. Among Hill's assemblage of items relating to his interest in cryptozoology (the study of animals not proved to exist), there was a box labeled simply the "Yeti's finger."...
Name of source: National Geographic
SOURCE: National Geographic (12-28-11)
An apparent ritual mass sacrifice—including decapitations and a royal beer bash—is coming to light near a pre-Inca pyramid in northern Peru, archaeologists say.
Excavations next to the ancient Huaca Las Ventanas pyramid first uncovered bodies in August, and more have been emerging since then from a 50-by-50-foot (15-by-15-meter) pit.
The pyramid is part of the Sicán site, the capital of the Lambayeque people—also known as the Sicán—who ruled Peru's northern coast from about A.D. 900 to 1100.
Perhaps more than a hundred bodies—buried nude and some of them headless—lie in the newfound pit, according to Haagen Klaus, a bioarchaeologist at Utah Valley University in Orem who is studying the finds....
SOURCE: National Geographic (12-23-11)
'Tis the season for winged humanoids to alight everywhere from store windows to Christmas tree tops to lingerie runways. But it wasn't always so.
Angels, at least the Christian variety, haven't always been flying people in diaphanous gowns. And their various forms—from disembodied minds to feathered guardians—reflect twists and turns of thousands of years of religious thought, according to an upcoming book.
"There is lots of interesting theology about angels, and in some ways we've kind of lost the knack for that," said John Cavadini, chair of theology at the University of Notre Dame.
"We tend to think of angels as things that we'd find in a Hallmark card," Cavadini added. "But many people, especially in antiquity, were very interested in them"—in what they might look like, how they might organize themselves, how they behave....
Name of source: National Journal
SOURCE: National Journal (1-3-12)
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa –- The Republican candidates for president frequently tell voters that this is the most important election of their lifetimes. For some of them, the contest is so important that it’s worth comparing to one of America’s most decisive moments: World War II.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday became the second candidate to compare his presidential bid to the great battles of the 1940s. He invoked the 1944 Allied invasion of German-occupied Normandy.
“It is a powerful moment in America’s history,” he told a group of about 200 volunteers assembled at the campaign’s informal headquarters in the West Des Moines Sheraton for a last-minute training session. “And you are on the front lines. This is Concord, this is Omaha Beach. This is going up the hill, realizing the battle is worth winning. This is about sacrifice.”...
Name of source: Windsor Star
SOURCE: Windsor Star (1-3-12)
PUCE The discovery of a tombstone that supports a local family's lore about its relation to an American historical figure has stirred up a lot more than just dirt.
A marker bearing the name Ludwell Lee found at the Puce Memorial Cemetery in October seems to support a local family's story that revolutionary war hero Light Horse Harry Lee fathered its ancestor Ludwell Lee's mother, a slave named Kizzie, making Ludwell the half-brother of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Officials at Stratford Hall, the Lee ancestral home in Virginia, say there's still no proof of Ludwell's relation to the Lee family, but Elise Harding-Davis, a retired curator of the North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg and a member of that local family, sees things differently....
Name of source: AL.com
SOURCE: AL.com (12-29-11)
BRISTOW, Va. -- About an hour west of Washington, D.C., on a scrubby plot of land overrun by pricker bushes and in the shadow of dense modern townhouse developments, an Alabama cemetery was born.
Civil War preservationists with no personal links to Alabama admit to muttering a "Roll Tide" or two as they walked across the newly cleared land, the final resting place of between 75 and 90 soldiers with the Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment.
Historical documents and archeological study pinpointed the burial grounds, a desperate place in the late summer of 1861, when rampant disease claimed up to five or six Confederate soldiers a day at what was known as Camp Jones....
Name of source: Progress-Index.com
SOURCE: Progress-Index.com (12-29-11)
PETERSBURG - Leading Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is behind an effort to have African-American Union soldiers recognized for their role in the Civil War Battle of the Crater.
Gingrich, along with co-author William R. Forstchen, wrote "The Battle of the Crater: A Novel" that was released in November and recounts the role that United States Colored Troops played during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864.
In the acknowledgments and afterward of the book, the authors call for a monument to be placed in Petersburg National Battlefield at the site of the Battle of the Crater in recognition of "forgotten" African-American soldiers "who, on a terrible day in July 1864, did indeed offer up the 'last full measure of devotion.'"
The idea of a monument for United States Colored Troops has the initial support of National Park Service officials who oversee the battlefield. "We are definitely open to putting something near the Crater to let people know about the role of United States Colored Troops," said Petersburg National Battlefield Superintendent Lewis Rogers....