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  • Originally published 08/05/2013

    Attack on Reza Aslan puts his Jesus book in the spotlight

    Not every scholarly study of early Christianity rockets to best-seller status thanks to an attack by a belligerent cable-network reporter.But that became the fate last week of Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, just out from Random House in the United States while, in Britain, the Westbourne Press is rushing the book forward from its original August 18 publication date.The fortunes of Zealot offer a cautionary tale for scholars who publish on touchy subjects—or perhaps a primer on how to provoke conservative-media hostility, and then to capitalize on it, even if you're no religious or intellectual radical....

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Shaped by history, Gettysburg celebrates milestone

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. –  Gettysburg changed the direction of American history 150 years ago, and the town hasn't been the same since.The couple of hundred thousand visitors expected at events to mark the anniversary of the 1863 clash won't have to look far to find remnants of the pivotal campaign of the Civil War, even outside the grounds of the meticulously maintained national park.Cannonballs and shrapnel remain embedded in a few of the roughly 200 buildings that remain from the period.Many of the businesses in the rural county seat cater to the throngs of tourists that stream into one of the country's most historic places, from General Pickett's Buffet to Abraham's Lady, a battle-era clothing shop....

  • Originally published 06/24/2013

    Obama leaves father's birthplace Kenya off itinerary for Africa trip

    When President Obama arrives in Africa this week, there will be one notable omission from his travel itinerary: Kenya, the birthplace of his father and home to many of his relatives. Concerns about Kenya's political situation have trumped Obama's family ties. Kenya's new president is facing charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court, accused of orchestrating the violence that marred the country's 2007 election. Ahead of Uhuru Kenyatta's victory earlier this year, a top Obama administration official warned Kenyans that their "choices have consequences" -- a remark that now appears prescient given the president's decision to skip a stop in his ancestral homeland....

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Connecticut Senate strips Wright brothers of first flight

    Are they righting a wrong or wronging the Wrights?The Connecticut Senate passed a bill just after midnight on Wednesday that would delete the Wright brothers from history, explicitly stripping recognition for the first powered flight from Orville and Wilbur and assigning it to someone else.“The Governor shall proclaim a date certain in each year as Powered Flight Day to honor the first powered flight by [the Wright brothers] Gustave Whitehead and to commemorate the Connecticut aviation and aerospace industry,” reads House Bill No. 6671, which now sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting passage into law....

  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    RAF Museum set to raise Nazi bomber from English Channel

    A British museum is about to haul 8 tons of history out of the English Channel -- the only remaining Nazi Dornier bomber from the World War II Blitz on London.The plane, one of a formation of German Dornier Do-17 that Hitler sent to the southeast coast of England in his efforts to blast the country out of World War II, has sat in a shallow grave 60 feet under water since 1940.It was lost for decades, buried beneath the time, the tides and the seafloor of Goodwin Sands, a large sandbank off the coast of Kent County, the last bit of rolling English countryside before Britain gives way to the straits of Dover, 20 or so miles of cold sea, and ultimately, France....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Man finds gold treasure in Everglades

    A Florida man who went hunting for pythons in Florida’s Everglades returned instead with a mysterious treasure: an antique, diamond-studded gold medallion that could date back to the 17th century.How the handmade, penny-sized amulet got there is a riddle. One theory is it could have been aboard a ValuJet plane that crashed nearby in May 1996 – or that perhaps it was part of the debris field from an Eastern Airlines crash in the same area in 1972. The fact that it is partially melted on one side could support that idea.But wherever it came from, Mark Rubinstein, the eagle-eyed snake hunter who found it, is determined to get it back home....

  • Originally published 04/07/2013

    Preservationists protesting Postal Service's efforts to sell old buildings, cut losses

    The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is running into opposition from historic preservationists as the agency tries to cut losses by selling off buildings.The postal service lost $15.9 billion last year, after losing $5.1 billion in 2011 -- as online services continue to replace money-making mail deliveries.Hundreds of post offices are on the National Register of Historic Places, which largely protects them from being demolished, or are protected under deals with new owners....

  • Originally published 03/29/2013

    Syria's cultural heritage under attack during bloody civil war

    Amid a two-year bloody civil war that has killed an estimated 70,000 civilians and left 2.5 million people homeless, a profound loss of another kind has unfolded inside Syria – an attack on the country's cultural heritage, as missiles demolish ancient sites and looters steal artifacts as old as civilization.  More than 12 of the country's 36 museums have been raided and at least six historical sites have been damaged – including the Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers – since the uprising began in March 2010, according to several international groups tracking the destruction.   Aleppo – one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East and a crossroads of Christian, Jewish and Arab cultures – is among the hardest hit by the fighting between regime forces and rebels....

  • Originally published 03/13/2013

    Were the Wright Brothers runners-up?

    Were we wrong about the Wright Brothers?That's the shocking claim by Australian aviation historian John Brown, who told FoxNews.com he has photographic proof that German immigrant Gustav Whitehead flew over Connecticut in 1901 -- Orville and Wilbur were second.“Two years, four months, and three days before the Wright brothers, somebody else flew first,” Brown said via phone from Germany. "It’s really a radical revision of the history of aviation."Even “Jane’s: All the World’s Aircraft” -- widely considered the essential bible of flight -- has acknowledged Whitehead's achievement and Brown's research. With the headline "justice delayed is justice denied," editor-in-chief Paul Jackson wrote about the early aviator's story for the overview to the newly released 100th edition of the reference guide, published online on Saturday....

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    90-year-old Russian WWII veteran tells of horrors and heroics during the Battle of Stalingrad

    MOSCOW –  The Soviet soldiers used their own bodies as shields, covering women and children escaping on ferry boats from a Nazi bombardment that killed 40,000 civilians in a single day. It was the height of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II."They were all hit in the back," said 90-year-old Alexei Stefanov. "But they did not flee."Stefanov is among the few surviving veterans of the battle, which claimed 2 million lives and raged for nearly 200 days before the Red Army turned back the Nazi forces, decisively changing the course of the war. Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of that victory on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin taking part in ceremonies in Volgograd, the current name of the city in southern Russia that stretches along the western bank of the Volga River....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Break in Black Dahlia case?

    A former LAPD detective who believes his father killed the "Black Dahlia" 66 years ago claims a cadaver dog's recent search of his old Hollywood home uncovered the scent of human decomposition.The severed body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short -- nicknamed the Black Dhalia in media reports at the time -- was found on Jan. 15, 1947, in a vacant lot near the intersection of 39th Street and Norton Avenue in South Los Angeles. Nearly seven decades later, the infamous case remains unsolved.Author Steve Hodel made the claim in his 2003 book, "Black Dahlia Avenger," that his father, Los Angeles doctor George Hill Hodel, committed the murder. Hodel has said he believes his father killed Short at the historic "Sowden House" in Hollywood where the family lived at the time....

  • Originally published 02/03/2013

    Lincoln museum exhibits iconic stovepipe hat amid unanswered questions of origin

    The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is re-displaying a stovepipe hat synonymous with the country’s 16th president, amid renewed speculation about its authenticity.The purported $6.5 million hat is being put on display to mark Lincoln’s 204th birthday.Questions about the origin of the iconic hat were raised last spring by the Chicago Sun-Times.The description next to the hat reads that only three of the stovepipe hats are known to exist "two silk ones from his last days of life, and this."...

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Body of Yugoslav king long buried in America heads home

    The remains of Yugoslavia's last king — Peter II Karadjordjevic, who died in the U.S. in 1970 — were flown back to Serbia in a solemn ceremony on Tuesday, despite protests by some Serb royalists in America.The former king fled the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia at the start of World War II and never returned because Communists took over at the end of the war. He died in exile at the age of 47 and was buried at a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery in Libertyville, Illinois — the only European monarch laid to rest on U.S. soil.His son — Crown Prince Alexander, who lives in Belgrade — wanted the remains returned to Serbia. That reportedly upset some Serbian-American groups, who claimed the remains were being secretly exhumed and that before the king had died he asked to remain buried in the United States....

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