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.
DALLAS -- It seems almost quaint to mention today, in the era of the “birther’’ movement, but we used to debate where presidential candidates were during the Vietnam War, not where they were born.
Just eight years ago, this line of inquiry produced two spectacular efforts: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and "Rathergate.''
It’s hard to argue the significance of the Swift Boat movement. But former CBS newsman Dan Rather is still fighting history’s judgment on his botched investigation of former President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. A scathing independent report chronicled a long list of journalistic and ethical missteps.
But now Rather is pressing his case in a lengthy interview in the May issue of Texas Monthly magazine.
The thrust of Rather’s news report, for which he later issued an on-air apology, was that Bush got preferential treatment to get into the National Guard shortly before his college deferment for the draft was set to expire....
Faced with little public understanding of its modern mission, the U.S. Navy is reaching back 200 years to the War of 1812 in the hopes of bolstering its standing with the American people.
This week it launches an ambitious, three-year commemoration to mark the bicentennial of the often overlooked war. Beginning Tuesday in New Orleans, and continuing through the summer in New York, Norfolk, Baltimore and Boston, tall ships and warships from around the world will parade through American ports.
But unlike previous commemorations, the Navy wants to reap lasting benefits from the War of 1812 and plans to immerse the public in a flood of information and events, including educational outreach, Web sites, social media, online games, books and museum displays.
Polling for the Navy by Gallup has shown that less than 9 percent of Americans understand its mission. Equally worrisome, the public ranks the Navy ahead of only the Coast Guard in its importance to national defense, and well behind the Army, Marines and Air Force....
Clara Barton’s post-Civil War office, where the battlefield nurse had helped families find missing soldiers, may finally get the care and respect it deserves.
The top floor of an old brick commercial building in downtown Washington was Barton’s apartment and office where she collected donated medical supplies for the battlefield and later ran the Missing Soldiers Office. She closed the office in 1867, storing files and personal clothing in the crude attic above her rooms. She never came back for them, and they stayed in their hidden storage space until 1996, when a federal government carpenter discovered the cache while preparing the building for demolition.
The discovery saved the building but little else had happened until today when officials of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine of Frederick, Md. announced they had signed an agreement with the building’s owner, the General Services Administration, to open the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in that third floor space....
...President Obama cited two specific Reagan speeches — one (June 28, 1985) in which Reagan quoted from a letter he had received from a wealthy executive and another (June 6, 1985) in which he said it was “crazy” for some multimillionaires to pay zero in taxes.
Why did Reagan give those speeches? Contrary to Obama’s suggestion that he was specifically arguing for a new tax provision aimed at the superwealthy, Reagan was barnstorming the country in an effort to reduce taxes for all Americans, mainly by cutting rates, simplifying the tax system and eliminating tax shelters that allowed some people to avoid paying any taxes at all.
In other words, Reagan was pushing for a tax cut for everyone, not just an increase on a few. (The highest tax bracket at the time was 50 percent.) He even wanted to cut the tax rate on capital gains from 20 percent to 17.5 percent....
ROME — One of Italy’s top culture officials has pushed private investment in the country’s museums and galleries and the seemingly insatiable Chinese and Indian appetites for art and archaeology as the way to pull the country out of its recession.
Mario Resca, a former CEO of McDonald’s Italian operations who was appointed in 2008 by the government of Silvio Berlusconi to be director-general of the Culture Ministry, said that an increase in ticket sales to Italian museums has not been matched by an increase in state finding.
Chatting with a small group of foreign correspondents in Rome, Resca said the number of visitors to state museums and archaeological sites increased by some 15 percent from 2009 to 2010 and by about 7 percent from 2010 to 2011.
But budgets and investment have not risen with visitor numbers. Resca acknowledges that the budget shortfall isn’t about to be reversed, thanks to the latest round of austerity cuts ordered by Berlusconi’s successor, Premier Mario Monti....
A team of archaeologists and volunteers is close to locating a 1662 chapel at Newtowne Neck in Compton.
Scott Lawrence of Grave Concerns and James Gibb of Gibb Archaeology Consulting were hired by St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus to look for the original chapel. The two have completed an archaeological survey of the church’s original cemetery. St. Francis Xavier is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the original church chapel this year....
A telltale sign that Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara no longer believed in the Vietnam War came not from anything he said publicly, but how he said it.
Harold Brown, who served under McNamara at the Pentagon as director of defense research and engineering and later as secretary of the Air Force, came to recognize the mannerisms McNamara would display when voicing public support for policies with which he privately disagreed.
McNamara would “lean forward and pull his socks up,” Brown said Tuesday.
“Bob became skeptical about the Vietnam War well before he stopped talking about how great it was going,” added Brown, who later served as secretary of defense under President Jimmy Carter....
SAN FRANCISCO — Shuttering dozens of California state parks to trim millions from the state budget will take more than simply hanging a “Closed” sign on trailheads and beach parking lots. Many on the closure list house thousands of historical treasures that must be packed up, catalogued and stored if deals are not reached to save them.
The tens of thousands of items on public display paint a rich portrait of California’s past. Among them are rare crystalline gold nuggets at the California Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa, painting masterworks showing early 20th century San Francisco street scenes and coastal landscapes at Shasta State Historical Park, and the writer Jack London’s home and writing memorabilia in Sonoma County.
California officials admit they have been overwhelmed by the unprecedented move to close the parks, and just months before the planned closures they are working to catalog these important pieces of state history so they can undertake a massive packing, moving and storage effort should a deal not be reached. And if the state does have to move thousands of delicate items, it does not currently know how much it will cost — or how much of its projected $22 million in savings it will lose to pay for packing and long-term storage....
“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress. And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”
...It’s clear that Obama’s “unprecedented” comment was dead wrong, because the Supreme Court’s very purpose is to review laws that are passed by the nation’s democratically elected Congress — regardless of how popular or well-intentioned those laws may be. This concept of judicial review was established in 1803 with Marbury v. Madison, a case that Obama should have been familiar with as a former law school lecturer and previous president of Harvard Law Review.
Still, we don’t know whether the president’s factual error was a mere slip-up or a purposeful attempt to mislead, and we generally don’t beat people over the head for off-the-cuff remarks. Let’s take a look at the president’s message in light of his clarifying remarks to see whether it holds up any better under scrutiny....
First, Congress didn’t pass the Affordable Care Act with a strong majority. The vote in the House of Representatives, for instance, was 219 to 212, with no Republicans supporting and 34 Democrats opposing the measure.
Second, Obama issued his first set of remarks during a news conference in which he wasn’t specifically asked for his thoughts on how the Supreme Court should rule. A reporter simply inquired about how the president would proceed if the health-care law is overturned. The question was: “How would you still guarantee health care to the uninsured and those Americans who’ve become insured as a result of the law?”
Instead of answering that hypothetical, Obama offered his version of legal history and explained why the statute should be upheld. Critics say he was essentially lecturing the justices.
That said, the Supreme Court hasn’t overturned a sweeping law in quite some time. By “sweeping,” we mean statutes that apply to virtually all citizens, as the Affordable Care Act does....
Spc. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., who died in 1970 while saving the lives of his fellow troops during the Vietnam War, has been cleared to receive a posthumous Medal of Honor after a decades-long wait by his family.
The White House announced Monday that President Obama would honor Sabo's heroic service with the military's highest honor at an upcoming ceremony.
Sabo died on May 10, 1970, while serving as a rifleman in Cambodia. That day, his platoon was ambushed by enemy forces and Sabo charged the enemy position, killing several enemy soldiers.
His actions drew fire away from his fellow soldiers and forced a retreat of enemy forces. A grenade later landed near where he was resupplying and he threw it away and shielded a wounded comrade with his body, saving his life....
Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla has admitted for the first time his regime stole babies, kidnapped thousands of opponents and murdered them.
Videla, 86, who was jailed for life in 2010 for murder, torture and kidnapping, has repeatedly justified the brutality of the military junta in the so-called Dirty War crackdown on left-wing opponents.
The country's brutal seven-year dictatorship has long been accused of 'disappearing' leftist opponents....
A bronze, Viking-era "piggy-bank" containing thousands silver coins dating from the 11th century has been unearthed on the Baltic island of Gotland in what Swedish archaeologists have described as a "fantastic" treasure find....
WASHINGTON—In a Pentagon hallway hung an austere portrait of a Navy man lost at sea in 1908, with his brass buttons, blue-knit uniform and what looks like meticulously blow-dried hair.
Wait. Blow-dried hair?
The portrait of "Ensign Chuck Hord," framed in the heavy gilt typical of government offices, may be the greatest—or perhaps only—prank in Pentagon art history. "Chuck Hord" can't be found in Navy records of the day. It isn't even a real painting. The textured, 30-year-old photo is actually of Capt. Eldridge Hord III, 53 years old, known to friends as "Tuck," a military retiree with a beer belly and graying hair who lives in Burke, Va.
Most military officers who climb the ranks or command daring battles only dream of having a portrait hang in a corridor of power at the Pentagon alongside the likes of Patton, Nimitz and Eisenhower. Capt. Hord's made its way to the Pentagon's C-ring hallway via several parties, an alliance of British and Canadian military officers and a clandestine, predawn operation later dubbed "THE PROJECT."...
The ancient Greeks depicted Aphrodite in elevator shoes. Centuries later, Venetian courtesans clopped around in towering chopines, while during the reign of Louis XIV, red heels were a mark of nobility. But it was after World War II that the stiletto took hold. Soldiers who spent years abroad dreaming of high-heeled pinups, one historian wrote, came home to wives whose wartime work required more sensible shoes. As women returned to domestic life, higher heels could, and did, become all the rage. From the 1950s’ froth of experimentation, the stiletto was born.
...In 1939, when John L. Goldwater, Louis H. Silberkleit and Maurice Coyne, Mr. Silberkleit’s accountant and partner in his pulp publishing business, Columbia Productions, decided to expand into comic books, their investment was $8,000 apiece. The company, called MLJ, was based in Lower Manhattan.
Mr. Goldwater was the visionary who dreamed up superheroes like The Shield and The Wizard and decided, after a few years, that their Pep Comics series could use a few characters who were not superpowered or monsters. In 1941, he sketched the face of a childhood friend: it was Archie, a girl-crazy, pratfall-prone, boy-next-door type.
The cartoonist Bob Montana inked the original likenesses of Archie and his pals and plopped them in an idyllic Midwestern community named Riverdale because Mr. Goldwater, a New Yorker, had fond memories of time spent in Hiawatha, Kan. The Archie love triangle was another novelty Mr. Goldwater borrowed from his own past. The brand took a few years to catch on, but by 1943 there was an Archie radio program and, by 1946, an Archie comic strip. That year, with Archie selling a million copies an issue, the partners changed the company’s name to Archie Comics in honor of their most popular creation, the gaptoothed teenager who made them all multimillionaires.
After Mr. Coyne retired in 1967, Archie was in its heyday with a television cartoon and a No. 1 pop hit, “Sugar, Sugar,” by the Archies (the record has sold 15 million copies since its release in 1969; alas, Mr. Goldwater notes, the copyright is Sony’s).
The elder Mr. Goldwater and Mr. Silberkleit led the company until 1983, when they were succeeded by their oldest sons, Richard and Michael, both from first marriages. The two heirs apparent had been friends since childhood, working their way up the ladder at Archie. One of their first decisions, besides moving the company, now known as Archie Comic Publications, to Westchester County, where both lived, was to regain control of its stock, made available to investors with an initial public offering in the 1970s. They bought it all back, each controlling 50 percent. Richard H. Goldwater was president, Michael I. Silberkleit was chairman, and they shared the title of publisher....
Federal officials, who have long struggled to assert protective authority over the resting place of the Titanic, say the site may harbor many undiscovered corpses and thus should be accorded the respect of a graveyard and shielded from looters and artifact hunters.
The blossoming cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, a gift of friendship from Japan in 1912, attract millions of ogling, photo-snapping visitors each spring. For their 100th anniversary, the fluffy pink blooms are receiving more attention than ever, featuring celebrations organized by the Japanese Embassy across this country and a special-issue 45-cent stamp.
Far less celebrated, and largely forgotten, are the cherry trees — 2,500 of them, nearly as many as were sent to Washington — that Japan gave New York City a century ago.
While Washington’s cherries were planted in one area, probably a wise marketing decision, New York spread its out across Upper Manhattan, in several areas of Central Park, Riverside Park and an annex to Riverside east of Riverside Drive and Grant’s Tomb that was renamed Sakura Park. Sakura is Japanese for cherry tree....
ISTANBUL — A former general and 30 other officers were detained Thursday for their roles in a 1997 coup, continuing the clash between the government and the nation’s once-indomitable military.
Long considered the untouchable guardian of a staunchly secular state, the Turkish military has lost its immunity since the pro-Islamic government took power and paved the way for a series of cases against current and retired officers.
Hundreds of people — from the former head of the army and other officers to academics and journalists — have been arrested and accused of plotting to overthrow the current government through an ultranationalist network known as Ergenekon.
Many critics of the arrests have called it a pretext for a clampdown against government opponents, pointing out that actual coups remained unpunished while a broad spectrum of suspects in an alleged plot were being rounded up....
The N.F.L.’s last bounty scandal of note did not provoke outrage or condemnation. It did not result in fines or suspensions. The accused perpetrators showed no remorse. The only person to receive any penalty was the victim.
Mostly, the incident was played for laughs.
There had been bad blood between Buddy Ryan’s Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys since 1987, when the Cowboys sent their stars onto the field against Philadelphia’s overmatched replacement players during the strike. The feud intensified in 1989 when Ryan released kicker Luis Zendejas after a string of poor games, and Zendejas criticized Ryan before signing with Dallas....
What doomed the Titanic is well known, at least in outline. On a moonless night in the North Atlantic, the liner hit an iceberg and disaster ensued, with 1,500 lives lost.
Hundreds of books, studies and official inquiries have addressed the deeper question of how a ship that was so costly and so well built — a ship declared to be unsinkable — could have ended so terribly. The theories vary widely, placing the blame on everything from inept sailors to flawed rivets.
Now, a century after the liner went down in the early hours of April 15, 1912, two new studies argue that rare states of nature played major roles in the catastrophe.
The first says Earth’s nearness to the Moon and the Sun — a proximity notmatched in more than 1,000 years — resulted in record tides that help explain why the Titanic encountered so much ice, including the fatal iceberg....
Jimmy Breslin assessed the Mets one recent afternoon, dressed in blue pajamas, red-and-green robe and black slippers.
“They got no one,” he said, slumped on a sofa in his Manhattan apartment.
To reach that conclusion, he first called Seymour Siwoff, who runs Elias Sports Bureau. Siwoff told him they were not very good.
He told Breslin to call Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ public-relations chief. “I call him on some bus down south,” Breslin said, “and I say, ‘Who do you got?’ He tells me about Wright, Murphy and Lucas Duda.” Breslin pronounced Duda DOO-doh.
Breslin jotted notes on a manila folder, homework for an interview with a reporter....
Breslin, now in his 80s, knows about bad Mets teams. “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” was his slim chronicle of the 1962 season, in which the expansion Mets lost 120 of their 160 games.
No team since 1900 has been worse. But to Breslin, the Mets were wonderful comic relief for a sport grown stagnant and a city that had lost the Dodgers and the Giants....
The two young men had woefully little in common: one was a wealthy Mormon from Michigan, the other a middle-class Jew from Israel.
But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.
That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.
The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East....
New York, the city, knew all about the Titanic before the problem with New York, the ship.
The Titanic — the largest passenger ship the world had seen, and the most unbelievably and unapologetically opulent — was an event before it was an event, and New York had read all about it in progress reports on the positioning of the stern frame, in accounts of its launching and in short paragraphs about brief test runs. And then, as it left Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage, it yanked the New York, which was alongside it at the pier, from its moorings.
This was four days before the problem with the iceberg....
FREDERICK, Md. -- Long after the guns fell silent at Antietam, the earth yielded up gruesome reminders of the bloodiest day of the American Civil War: bodies, bones, buttons and entire severed limbs – one of which is now the focus of intense study at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.
A Sharpsburg-area farmer is said to have found the human forearm while plowing a field two weeks after the 1862 battle.
Officials at the museum in Frederick, Md., are trying to learn more about the limb in hopes of verifying that it's a relic of the Battle of Antietam and exhibiting the well-preserved specimen during the battle's 150th anniversary in September....
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) ' A rare engraved print created by Paul Revere has been found in a 19th century book at Brown University.
A university preservationist discovered the print while studying the 1811 book once owned by a 1773 graduate of Brown. The graduate's descendants donated the book to the Rhode Island school.
The print shows Jesus and John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Revere's name is featured on the bottom. Only five copies of the print are known to exist. Richard Noble, who catalogues rare items at Brown, says he has some unanswered questions, including Revere's reasons for making the print....
It's a game that every Ukrainian knows about: The "Death Match" of 1942, when top Kiev soccer players trounced a team of Nazi occupiers and reportedly paid for it with their lives.
But Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday froze the release of a movie depicting that Soviet defiance of Nazi Germany because of concerns it could ignite explosive emotions just weeks before Ukraine co-hosts the 2012 European Championship.
Officials fear that "The Match," which extolls the heroism of Ukrainian soccer players but portrays many Kiev residents as Nazi collaborators would teach Ukrainian audiences the wrong image of their country and history.
Some experts also fear that it may stoke hostility toward German players fans as Ukraine hosts several games played by Germany's national team....
(Reuters) - Watched by residents of the old quarter of Tunis, a court official stepped forward and unlocked the huge wooden doors. From the gloom within, volunteers began to bring out stools and chairs that had gathered dust and cobwebs for half a century.
The school at Tunisia's 8th-century Zaitouna Mosque, one of the world's leading centers of Islamic learning, was closed by independence leader and secularist strongman Habib Bourguiba in 1964 as part of an effort to curb the influence of religion. Its ancient university was merged with the state's Tunis University.
The college reopened its ancient doors to students on Monday, part of a drive by religious scholars and activists to revive Zaitouna's moderate brand of Islam, which once dominated North Africa, and counter the spread of more radical views....
PARKERS CROSSROADS, Tenn. — The last major purchase of ground at Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield has been completed. In another development, unmarked graves may have been discovered on park land.
According to park historian Steve McDaniel, one of the driving forces in creating the park, a half acre and two buildings formerly housing a car repair and tire sales lot, and located next to the exit ramp of Interstate 40, were acquired in December. One of the buildings will be torn down and the other may possibly be used as a storage and meeting facility, said McDaniel. They have long been considered somewhat of an eyesore given the rest of the pristine park view south.
“We have talked with the owner for years and fortunately one day he offered it to us at a price we couldn’t pass up,” McDaniel said. Most of the critical ground for interpretation has now been purchased and anything else acquired “would likely be through conservation easements,” he said....
RICHMOND, Va. – The U.S. National Slavery Museum former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder hoped to open in Fredericksburg, Va., filed a reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court on Feb. 17. The plan proposes a way for the museum to resume operations and pay off its debts of over $7 million.
The museum filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors last September following 10 years of controversy, strained relations with the city, shaky finances and a penchant for secrecy (see November 2011 CWN).
A hearing on the disclosure statement about the museum’s assets and debts has been set for April 11. At a subsequent hearing the reorganization plan will be discussed and at that or a follow-up hearing, the creditors will vote whether to accept the museum’s proposed reorganization plan....
Why is the battle of Vimy Ridge marked when other battles during the First World War that may be of greater significance to the victory in Europe are rarely mentioned or even commemorated?
Many military historians agree that Vimy Ridge, fought 95 years ago this week in 1917, didn't contribute to the victory that ended the war. Those battles took place between August and November 1918, 18 months later.
Jonathan Vance, a professor of history at the University of Western Ontario, says there are many reasons why Canadians mark the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“The importance is in the symbolism,” said Vance, who has a master's degree in history from Queen's University....
A handful of mud and wood has given new insight into an ancient 4,150-foot canoe canal that once connected the Gulf of Mexico to Naples Bay.
Now, archaeologists want to excavate part of the canal, which has been filled in since the 1920s, on property owned by the city of Naples, Bob Carr, executive director of the Archaeological & Historical Conservancy in Davie, said Wednesday.
“We hope to look carefully at the canal,” Carr said. “We have big ideas, possibly opening an area where tourists can see the excavation and having a marked Naples Canal trail. This would be good for tourism and science.”...
On April 12, 1961, the world met Yuri Gagarin, a former Soviet Air Force pilot who shot from obscurity to international fame after making one full orbit around the Earth in his Vostok 1 spacecraft.
But the mission records the Soviet Union submitted to international authorities to secure Gagarin's place as the first man in space present a very different mission. Specifically, his landing was deliberately falsified. During the year, lies about the Vostok landing system called into question whether or not Vostok 1 deserved its place as history's first spaceflight at all....
The Soviet Union statement presented to the FAI stated that the cosmonaut had landed inside Vostok 1 as per the organization's guidelines on spaceflight. Signed by the sports commissar of the USSR, the document asserts that "at 10:55 a.m. Moscow time on the 12th of April 1961 ... the pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyvich Gagarin landed with the 'Vostok' spaceship."
He hadn't. He couldn't have even if he'd wanted to....
"Come at once. We have struck a berg." The Titanic's radio engineers sent this emergency message and many like it in Morse code wirelessly to anyone listening.
Two employees of Marconi, the company that made the system, operated the radio. It was the most powerful system of its kind, and the clear night helped the signal go far.
Many ships did receive the call. So did land-based stations in the United States and Greenland. Radio operators at the time were also skilled at transmitting messages quickly in code -- 80 to 100 words per minute. With such capabilities, what went wrong?
For starters, Titanic's communications system had its limits....
Farming without fire in tropical regions, like indigenous populations did in Pre-Columbian times, may be the key to both feeding people and managing land more sustainably.
For hundreds of years before Columbus arrived in Central America, indigenous people converted vast swaths of tropical savannas into agricultural fields with raised beds for growing crops -- all without the use of slash-and-burn or other fire-intensive techniques, which are common today and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
But soon after 1492, there came a sharp surge in uncontrolled burns throughout the Amazon’s coastal landscapes, found a new study that dug into more than 2,000 years worth of soil. Those carbon-emitting burning practices, which continue today, contribute significantly to global warming....
A century ago on Sunday, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank to a watery grave, killing 1,514 passengers. The disaster conjures images of luxury and hubris, cowardice and heroism, as well as one haunting question: Could it happen again?
In many ways, it already has, according to maritime experts. The Northern Maritime Research shipwreck database, for example, lists more than 470,000 shipwrecks in North America in the 20th century alone. Extremely deadly shipwrecks are much more rare, of course, but even the infamous Titanic disaster was only the sixth-deadliest shipwreck in history. The deadliest, the sinking of the German hospital ship the MV Wilhelm Gustloff by Soviet torpedoes, killed more than 9,000 people. That disaster occurred in 1945 — long after the Titanic's wreck in 1912....
Dramatic warming at the end of the last ice age produced an intense rise in sea level and a massive ice sheet collapse in the Antarctic.
The sea level rise is known as Melt-Water Pulse 1A, and new research indicates it increased sea level by about 45 feet (14 meters) sometime between 14,650 and 14,310 years ago, during the same time as a period of rapid climate change known as the Bølling warming.
Understanding the impacts of earlier warming and sea-level rise is important for predicting the effects of future warming....
Two thousand years ago, an Egyptian purchased a mummified kitten from a breeder, to offer as a sacrifice to the goddess Bastet, new research suggests.
Between about 332 B.C. and 30 B.C. in Egypt, cats were bred near temples specifically to be mummified and used as offerings.
The cat mummy came from the Egyptian Collection of the National Archeological Museum in Parma, Italy. It was bought by the museum in the 18th century from a collector. Because of how the museum acquired it, there's no documentation about where the mummy came from....
In rejecting freedom for Charles Manson, a California parole board Wednesday said they were swayed in part by comments he made to prison psychologists.
John Peck, a member of the parole panel, quoted from the statements.
"'I'm special. I'm not like the average inmate,'" Peck said, according to the Associated Press. "'I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.'"
Before the hearing, his attorney, DeJon R. Lewis, said he would like to see Manson transferred to Atascadero State Hospital from the state prison near Corcoran. "Charles Manson does not need incarceration at this point in his life," Lewis told CNN. "He needs hospitalization."...
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a Neolithic portal dolmen, one of Western Europe's oldest ritual burial chambered monuments, in an isolated field in Wales.
It is thought the tomb was built from giant boulders about 5,500 years ago. Its capstone bears a seemingly random pattern of dozens of circular holes gouged into its surface – symbols of Neolithic or Bronze Age ritual burial activity.
What makes it particularly interesting is that the site has rare remains of human bones and shards of decorated pottery. An official burial licence must now be sought before the bones can be removed, but eventually radiocarbon-dating and other tests planned for the remains may give new insight into our early farming ancestors....
History books are inching back on the shelves - but with a dash of drama and peppy language to hook the average reader.
"I think there are two major attractions that a historical narrative holds for us. First, history is all about stories...stories about people and places with the benefit of hindsight. And who doesn't like a good story?" asked Udayan Mitra, publisher of Allen Lane and Portfolio imprints at Penguin Books India, said.
"And the second: historical epics are full of heroism, grandeur and romance - something that entertains everyone," Mitra said.
People read historical fiction because they give readers a window into a time they have no idea of, says Priya Kapoor, editor and director of Roli Books.
"Historical fiction brings alive history in a more entertaining way. We would certainly like to know how people of that time lived, what they ate and what did they do. Such books take history to another level," Kapoor said....
In Moscow, adults are snapping up school notebooks for children.
Why? The cover has a heroic image of Stalin.
The Stalin notebook is part of a “Great Russians” series.
On one level, it is depressing that the art director of the Alt publishing house does not seem to know that “Stalin,” was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian.
But far more importantly, Russia’s amnesia towards its Stalinist past is dangerous.
Winston Churchill, no friend of his wartime ally, once noted that Stalin dragged Russia from the wooden plow to the H-bomb. Similarly, many Russians prefer to focus on this “positive” of Stalin’s three decades of rule.
As to the sinister side, Stalin’s close collaborators called him: “Genghis Khan with a telephone.”...
Interest in the newly released 1940 US census was so great that the government website was nearly paralysed shortly after the records became available to the public.
Miriam Kleiman, spokeswoman for the US national archives, said the site registered more than 22m hits in just four hours on Monday, from almost 2 million users. After eight hours there had been 37m hits.
The government released the records for the first time after the 72-year confidentiality rule expired.
It is the largest collection of digital information ever released by the National Archives. The records allow individuals and families to learn details about their past....
A Mormon missionary in the South in 1879 wrote that, "A person traveling among the Southern people realizes that though they have been whipped by the North, yet there is a feeling of enmity existing in their bosoms, which only needs a little breeze to inflame their passions to deeds of carnage and strife."
In "Last Letter Home From Elder Joseph Standing" printed in the Deseret News, that same missionary said that "The 4th [of July] is not much cared for in the South."
Three days after noting this lack of patriotic fervor, Standing would be shot and killed.
Utahns sat out the Civil War and have a hard time understanding why broad swaths of the South refused to celebrate the Fourth of July even decades after the event. Many communities didn’t do so until World War II. The reason: Southerners have long memories and know how to carry a grudge.
Utahns’ memories are shorter. We forget that it was dangerous to be a Mormon in the South. Along with blacks, Jews and Catholics, Mormons were a particular target of the white, Protestant establishment, which was intent on re-establishing its prewar privileges....
SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - The year before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by becoming the first African American to play major league baseball, he fled the racist threats of townspeople in Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was shot 66 years later.
It was 1946 and Robinson arrived in this picturesque town in central Florida for spring training with a Brooklyn Dodgers farm team. He didn't stay long.
Robinson was forced to leave Sanford twice, according to Chris Lamb, a professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, who wrote a graphic account of Robinson's brush with 100 angry locals in a 2004 book....
A magical dwarf from sixth century Garvagh who could only be killed by a stake through the heart has been singled out as the possible source of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Tracing nearly 120 years of the Transylvanian count’s enduring appeal, suggestions have been made that it might have been “the little known sixth century legend of Abhartach who could well be Ireland’s own Dracula.”
“Abhartach was a tribal ruler in an area near the Derry town of Garvagh, a misshapen and tyrannical dwarf possessed of magical powers whose brutal reign eventually forced his terrified subjects to hire a mercenary called Cathain to assassinate him. Cathain accomplished his task only for the fearsome dwarf to emerge from his grave the next day demanding a bowl of blood from the wrists of his subjects to ‘sustain his vile corpse’,” according to the Irish Daily Mail....
Britain wants Argentina to pay back £45 million in loans that the country's former military junta used to fund equipment that was later used in the invasion of the Falkland Islands.
The demand comes amid continued tensions between London and Buenos Aires around the 30th anniversary of the war over the South Atlantic territory.
Details of the loans, uncovered by a campaign group, showed how Argentina's government borrowed the money in 1979. It was partly spent on equipment used to seize the islands three years later, before they were recaptured by Britain....
Video emerged yesterday which appears to show that the town surrounding Crac des Chevaliers in Syria under artillery fire from Syrian forces. The two-minute video was posted on Youtube by Souria2011archives, an anti-government source that has uploaded over two thousand videos related to the uprising against the Assad regime....
The wall of silence in Indonesia surrounding one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century is beginning to fall apart. A forthcoming report by Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights estimates that a purge of suspected communists during the mid-1960s killed between 600,000 and 1 million people.
The violence reshaped Indonesia's political landscape and affected the course of the Cold War, just as the U.S. was escalating its fight against communism in Southeast Asia.
"We conclude that there have been gross human rights violations, which can be classified as crimes against humanity," says Yosep Adi Prasetyo, the commission's deputy chairman.
He says the report places the blame squarely on Indonesia's military dictator Suharto, who died four years ago....
A major general in the Indonesian army at the time, Suharto ousted Sukarno, the revered Indonesian independence leader and the country's first president, in the wake of the kidnapping and killing of senior Indonesian generals on Sept. 30, 1965....