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2004 4-September to December

Week of 12-27-04

French and Indian War: Welcome to 2005: the Year of the French and Indian War. Actually? Make that years, plural. The celebration is continuing through 2010. New York would like to be known as the French and Indian War State, since it will serve as host of a national, and international, five-year-long commemoration of the many battles that took place within its borders. None other than the inexperienced 22-year-old George Washington was a catalyst, triggering the war on May 28, 1754, when the contingent of Virginia soldiers and native warriors he was leading ambushed a French detachment and killed its commander, Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville. Though the French had many early victories, the tide ultimately turned in favor of the English, and they won control of Canada in 1760, a year after their victory on the Plains of Abraham at what is now Quebec City. The war continued in Europe, Africa and Asia until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris formally concluded hostilities. France lost all of its colonies in North America to the English, except for two coastal islands. Historians had long discounted the importance of Indians in the French and Indian War"because the attitude was that they chose the wrong side and they were doomed," said historian Fred Anderson. But, he said, research in recent years has shown"that Indians controlled every single historical outcome on the North American continent from the 1500's to the middle of the 18th century. They had always managed to play one side off against the other, but it didn't work in the Seven Years' War."

Medieval Witchcraft: A mural which has come to light in Tuscany has been identified by a British university lecturer as the earliest surviving representation of witchcraft in Christian Europe. A book published in Italy by George Ferzoco, director of the centre for Tuscan studies at the University of Leicester, argues that at least two of the women in the porno-erotic wall painting are sorceresses."I have no doubt that this is by far the earliest depiction in art of women acting as witches," he said. The 13th-century mural was discovered four years ago at Massa Marittima, a town south-west of Siena. Dr Ferzoco believes it was intended as a warning, by supporters of the papacy, of the anarchy and licentiousness that would supposedly engulf the town if it fell into the hands of their political rivals.

Teaching the Constitution: Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar and other educators are criticizing a provision in the recently approved appropriations bill that requires every educational institution in the country receiving federal funds to present an annual program on the Constitution on Sept. 17, the anniversary of its signing in 1787. The provision was inserted by Sen. Robert Byrd. The objection? Byrd may have set a precedent for the Congress to begin establishing national curriculum requirements."What might be next? The Ten Commandments? The U.N. Charter?"

Spain's Archives Opened: A TUG of war over secret police files from the Spanish civil war has re-ignited hostilities - barricades included - that split the nation nearly 70 years ago. Spain's Socialist government gave the green light this week to return to Catalonia files on Catalan anarchists, republicans, socialists and freemasons who opposed Franco's forces between 1936 and 1939. The conservative mayor of Salamanca, Julian Lanzarote, insists however that"not one document is leaving the city, whatever anyone says".

Veep Cheney's Civil War Hobby: An Atlanta-based Civil War re-enactors group has been invited to march in President Bush's inaugural parade next month because Vice President Dick Cheney's great-grandpappy was a Union soldier who fought in some of the bloodiest battles in Georgia. It turns outthat Cheney is a Civil War buff and was briefed by Quinlin, head of the re-enactors unit, on four or five occasions — two of them in long, private meetings in the White House. Quinlin told Cheney all about his ancestor and provided copies of rare letters discussing the soldier's exploits. Two months before the election, Cheney boasted in Toledo that his ancestor had fought in Georgia and was"in Sherman's march to the sea through Atlanta." He added:"I don't talk about that much in Georgia."

Bush Inauguration Protest: Not everyone gathering in the nation's capital and beyond next month will be celebrating President Bush's inauguration. Organizations from ReDefeatBush.org to the January 20 Coalition of New Orleans are planning alternate activities that day, ranging from a" counter-inaugural" ball to a jazz funeral.David Lytel, the organization's founder, said he also plans to walk the parade route in the character of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of"Democracy in America," while historian Clay Jenkinson will portray Thomas Jefferson in a re-enactment at the Jefferson Memorial.

Holocaust: A Jewish family is fighting a legal battle with L'Oreal to receive compensation for property lost to Nazis. In the 1990s, Holocaust historians focused on Nazi looting of artwork and bank accounts from wealthy Jewish families. Today the focus of Holocaust indemnification has turned to what happened to the goods of average people. In November 2003, Paris was shocked by a book published by historian Jean-Marc Dreyfus and sociologist Sarah Gensburger that detailed the history of three Nazi labor camps in the heart of Paris itself. The camps were tasked with sorting and packing stolen goods from some 38,000 Parisian apartments once inhabited by Jews. In 1997, Prime Minister Alain Juppé commissioned a team to look into the compensation of Jews whose property was looted by Nazis and their sympathizers during the war.

Russian Spymaster Memoir: Former KGB Col. Victor Cherkashin, the spy who turned both Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, has told how he did it in a new book. Told from the KGB's vantage point, Mr. Cherkashin's story provides a gripping account of its successes in the spy war. He shows Mr. Hanssen to have been an easily managed and highly productive"penetration" who operated via the unusual tradecraft of dead drops, leaving material at designated locations where it could be transferred without spy and handler ever meeting. (Indeed, the KGB never knew Mr. Hanssen's identity.) Mr. Ames, for his part, was a more complex case, since he had come under suspicion and the KGB had to concern itself with throwing the CIA off his trail. That America's counterespionage apparatus allowed both men to operate as long as they did is a testament to its complacency as much as to the KGB's cleverness.

Columbia University Middle East Studies Department: Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff takes Columbia President Lee Bollinger to task for refusing to initiate a review of the Middle East Studies department curriculum. He approvingly cites the documentary the David Project, which publicized student complaints that professors are biased against Israel.

Fake TV Historian: The NYT rips the WB show,"Jack & Bobby," for the way history professor Grace McCallister is depicted. Professor McCallister - the mother of the 51st president of the United States, in the show's conceit - is meant to be a great contrarian, but she's incongruously reverential about canonical writers. A professor of history at the fictional Plains University in Missouri, Grace has two Ph.D.'s, both inexplicably in history; still, her addresses to the undergraduates of the plains recall Miss Jean Brodie's exhortations to Scottish schoolgirls. Only less intelligent.

1960s Race Riots: A new study by economist Professor Margo, of Vanderbilt University, says the riots depressed incomes and property values for years. The study helps explain why the gap in net wealth of blacks and whites remains large despite the fact that incomes of the two groups have converged. In 1940, black-owned homes were worth only 37 percent as much as white-owned homes, as against 62 percent in 1970 - still a significant gap, but a much smaller one. From then on, however, the gap barely budges, with the ratio reaching only 65 percent by 1990.

Armenian Genocide: At a time when Turkey exerts efforts to pose as model or example for the neighbouring countries, a Turkish professor tries to justify the Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks. Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.12.04) reported from Konya that Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of the Turkish History Society, has stated that foreign population statistics openly and clearly refute Armenian allegations that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman Turks.

Jaroslav Pelikan: Recently, the Library of Congress awarded its annual John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences to Yale University historian Jaroslav Pelikan. The $1 million award focuses on those academic disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes and have only been awarded since 2003. Christianity Today has rerun a brief profile of Pelikan written by Mark Noll of Wheaton College.

Jesus Brother Ossuary: Experts advised world museums to re-examine their Bible-era relics after Israel indicted four collectors and dealers on charges of forging items thought to be some of the most important artifacts discovered in recent decades. The indictments issued Wednesday labeled many such ``finds'' as fakes, including two that had been presented as the biggest biblical discoveries in the Holy Land -- the purported burial box of Jesus' brother James and a stone tablet with written instructions by King Yoash on maintenance work at the ancient Jewish Temple.

Cold War: In the jockeying for American control of Antarctica early in the cold war, the Navy dispatched the George 1, a patrol plane with a crew of nine to map the coast of the continent. Of all the places where the cold war was waged, this was surely the coldest. Even now, buried somewhere under 100 feet of snow and ice, still unrecovered after 58 years, lie the bodies of three American servicemen, casualties of the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union on the world's most frigid and remote continent. Now the United States Navy, piggybacking on scientific explorations of western Antarctica, has begun an effort to locate the plane and recover the remains of the crew members who died.

Nazi Suspect: An 86-year-old New Jersey man served in a Nazi-sponsored Ukrainian police force during World War II, federal authorities alleged yesterday in a complaint aimed at revoking his citizenship. Michael Bojcun served in the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police during the three years that the Nazi occupiers of the city of Lviv repressed, confined and murdered Jews, according to U.S. Justice Department prosecutors. The city was in Poland then but is now in Ukraine. The Justice Department is asking the U.S. District Court in Trenton to revoke Bojcun's citizenship.

Ancient Chinese Wharf: After three years of excavation, archeologists have unearthed China's oldest wharf -- at least 2,000 years old --in the village of Guchengtou close to the county seat of Hepu, said Xiong Zhaoming, head of the archeological team. The discovery has reaffirmed the widespread belief that the ancient trade route started in today's Hepu county in the city of Beihai, said local archeologists at Wednesday's symposium on China's marine silk road.

Monitor Crewmen: Historians at the federal government's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary - based in Newport News, Virginia, and established to protect the wreckage of the Monitor from treasure hunters and other underwater intruders - are hopeful that a report might be released next year concerning the bodies of two 19th century U.S. sailors. The remains have since reposed at the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, where forensics experts have been painstakingly assessing DNA samples and other evidence in hopes of determining the men's identities.

Ancient Peruvian Civilization: An ancient civilisation was flourishing in Peru over 5,000 years ago, making it the oldest known complex society in the Americas, Nature magazine has reported. Archaeologists used radiocarbon dating to chart the rise and fall of the little known culture, which reigned over three valleys north of Lima. The society, whose heyday ran from 3000 to 1800BC, built ceremonial pyramids and complex irrigation systems.

Prehistoric Granaries Found: An American excavation mission has unearthed eight granaries that are relics from agricultural life in the Neolithic era, the Egyptian culture minister said in a statement Tuesday. The granaries were discovered last week in Fayoum, an oasis some 50 miles southwest of Cairo, Farouk Hosni said in the statement. The statement said the granaries date back to the Neolithic era that began around 9,000 B.C., known as a transition point from roaming and hunting societies to an agricultural one. Top antiquities official Zahi Hawass also described the"unique" granaries as"our witness of the oldest agriculture communities of Egypt."

Film Preservation: Two historical epics recalling humanity's dark past, 1993's Schindler's List and 1959's Ben-Hur, are themselves being preserved in perpetuity--along with the King of Rock 'n' Roll, a spinach-happy sailor and one nutty professor. The Library of Congress is out with its annual list of 25 cinematic classics selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said the works slated for preservation were chosen from nearly 1,000 titles nominated by the public. The final selection was done by the library's staff and advisers from the National Film Preservation Board.

Grammy Nomination: Princeton University history professor Sean Wilentz has been nominated for a Grammy Award for his album notes accompanying a live Bob Dylan two-compact disc set that was released last spring. Professor Wilentz, who is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History and director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton, wrote a historical and critical essay that appears in the 52-page booklet accompanying"The Bootleg Series Volume 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964 — Concert at Philharmonic Hall."

Nazi Hunters: The Justice Department's Nazi hunters, still busy as ever, are about to get a new class of bad guys to chase. The intelligence overhaul law signed Dec. 17 by President Bush includes a provision that directs the department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to root out all manner of war criminals and human rights abusers who try to settle in the USA. Whether they're linked to state-sponsored killings in Chile or Cambodia, or to war crimes in Rwanda or Bosnia, they'll be targets of an operation that has deported scores of people charged with Holocaust crimes.

Afghanistan: The newly repaired National Museum of Afghanistan opened its first exhibition in 13 years this month, a display of life-size pre-Islamic idols smashed by the Taliban three years ago and now painstakingly restored by museum and international experts. The wooden statues from Nuristan, one of Afghanistan's mountainous northeastern provinces, are an apt subject for an inaugural exhibition. Museum staff had worked hard to hide the collection from looters and Islamic fundamentalists intent on destroying all idols and artistic depictions of the human form.

Teaching History in Britain: New guidelines to be issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the Government's exams watchdog, will stress the importance of pupils learning chronological dates in history lessons.The move represents an about-turn in history teaching after years in which prominent historians have claimed the subject had become"a farce."

Rudolf Hess: A brief entry in the diary of the wife of a British spy has led to the discovery of the true story behind one of the greatest mysteries of the Second World War - the bizarre 1941 flight to Britain of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. The diary has revealed that MI6 was not only heavily involved in the run-up to Hess's flight but even planned"a sting operation" aimed at luring Hess or another prominent German into bogus peace talks with Britain.

Tsunamis: Deadly waves have killed thousands over the years tsunami waves, often set off by undersea earthquakes, have caused several major disasters in coastal communities over the years. References to these waves date back as far as ancient Greece and Rome, including a wave that shook the Eastern Mediterranean on July 21, 365, killing thousands of residents of Alexandria, Egypt.

Teaching History in Britain: British students will be required to learn old-fashioned British history dating back to 1066 instead of Tudor Kings and World War II, The Independent said. The new guidelines were set by the government's exams watchdog agency, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and emphasize 11-to-14-year-olds must develop a chronological understanding of history. Teaching styles began to change in the 1970s it was thought pupils would benefit from choosing an era from history that most appealed to them. As a result, most schools opted for Nazi Germany or the Tudor period, the newspaper said.

Natural Disasters: For some, the televised images of destruction in Asia yesterday no doubt brought back memories of the 1969 film"Krakatoa, East of Java," in which Maximilian Schell and Diane Baker found themselves face to face with massive tsunami waves, similarly triggered by an Indonesian natural disaster. But no movie could capture the magnitude of what really happened on the island of Krakatau in 1883, when one of the largest volcanic eruptions recorded in history launched 120-foot high tsunami waves that caused a death toll three times as large as that reported yesterday.

Iraq: Mark Alan Stamaty, creator of the Boox comic strip in the New York Times Book Review, has written a childen's book celebrating the story of a librarian in Basra who was afraid that the city's library, which contained many texts chronicling the history and culture of her people, would be lost if the library were bombed. After appealing to the authorities and getting nowhere, she takes matters -- and books -- into her own hands, spiriting out armfuls and carloads, day by day, and storing them at home and in a restaurant next to the library.

Iraq: The head of Iraq's tourism board, Ahmed al-Jabouri says he has a"happy heart" when he thinks about the tourism potential of a country that, while one of the most dangerous places in world, prides itself on being the cradle of civilisation. No matter that he is not aware of a single foreign tourist visiting Iraq in 2004. He himself advises them to stay away right now."It's very important for me, for their own safety that they don't come," he says. Still, his 2,474 staff are keeping themselves busy. The tourism board says it has 14 centres open around the country from Basra in the south, to Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, to Mosul - where insurgents recently took over the city's police stations. There's even an office in Ramadi, despite regular fighting between American troops and rebels."My staff check on hotels and restaurants and award licenses," says Mr Jabouri.

Oliver Stone's Alexander: Stone's movie died a quick death in American theaters, earning just $35 million (it cost $150 million). But it opened number 1 at theaters in some 20 countries. Why did Americans shy away from the film? Stone says:"He's called Alexander the Great for 2,300 years, but because we're living in a different time, perhaps more cynical and dark, he's Alexander the monster. I defend him passionately. But if that's the general cynicism about him, it was an uphill battle to begin with, and it didn't matter if I had cut 15, 20 more minutes. I don't think it would have been recognizable as a movie to Americans because of the Greeks, their amoral behavior by American standards. We're going through a raging conservatism. We had more people run to the movie in the opening weekend in Croatia than in the entire South."

Fake Relic: A famous artifact on display in the Israel Museum, which is billed as the only relic of the First Temple ever discovered, is actually a forgery, a committee of experts has determined. The panel, which has been secretly working for the past several months, found that the"ivory pomegranate" comes from a much earlier period, while the inscription on it is a fake that was added recently, Haaretz has learned. The committee recently presented its findings, based on the latest diagnostic methods, to the museum, which last night confirmed the information received by Haaretz.

Week of 12-20-04

Confederacy: From renaming Confederate Boulevard in Arkansas to shrinking"Heart of Dixie" on Alabama's license plates, the South is slowly erasing reminders of its Civil War past for fear of offending tourists and scaring off business."Business people and tourists don't know what to think about slavery, elitism, the Civil War," said Ted Ownby of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi."So one way is to give them an easy out. We'll change the name of this building, this street, change this display." Among the streets renamed? In Litle Rock Confederate Boulevard was renamed Springer Boulevard on the eve of the inauguration of the Clinton library.

Berlin Wall: Fifteen years after the fall of the wall, Berlin finally has a memorial to the many people shot and killed while trying to escape from the East to the West. But rather than a source of pride and satisfaction, the memorial is proving to be the cause of contention and conflict. The memorial itself consists mainly of an array of large wooden crosses, a bit over 1,000 in all, each commemorating a would-be escapee shot or otherwise killed in the vicinity of the wall that, from 1961 to 1989, divided this city into two halves. In all, 1,067 people are said to have died trying to flee East Germany's Communist dictatorship.

Army Historian Cites Lack of Postwar Plan: The U.S. military invaded Iraq without a formal plan for occupying and stabilizing the country and this high-level failure continues to undercut what has been a"mediocre" Army effort there, an Army historian and strategist has concluded."There was no Phase IV plan" for occupying Iraq after the combat phase, writes Maj. Isaiah Wilson III, who served as an official historian of the campaign and later as a war planner in Iraq. While a variety of government offices had considered the possible situations that would follow a U.S. victory, Wilson writes, no one produced an actual document laying out a strategy to consolidate the victory after major combat operations ended. Looking at the chaos that followed the defeat of the Saddam Hussein regime, a military officer's study says,"The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since.""While there may have been 'plans' at the national level, and even within various agencies within the war zone, none of these 'plans' operationalized the problem beyond regime collapse" -- that is, laid out how U.S. forces would be moved and structured, Wilson writes in an essay that has been delivered at several academic conferences but not published."There was no adequate operational plan for stability operations and support operations."

Women Warriors in the Roman Army: THE remains of two Amazon warriors serving with the Roman army in Britain have been discovered in a cemetery that has astonished archaeologists. Women soldiers were previously unknown in the Roman army in Britain and the find at Brougham in Cumbria will force a reappraisal of their role in 3rd-century society. The women are thought to have come from the Danube region of Eastern Europe, which was where the Ancient Greeks said the fearsome Amazon warriors could be found.

Race Movies: They are big-screen films that only some of America -- its segregated citizens -- saw in the 1930s, '40s and early '50s. Once thought lost, the"race movies," as they were known, which were shown mostly in the segregated movie houses of the old South, have been reproduced as a three-DVD box set and in recent months distributed to 1,000 poor school districts and African American museums in Texas. There are tales about entrepreneurs, lawyers, novelists, preachers, musicians, cabdrivers and farmers. And, yes, the movies include gangsters, swindlers, bumblers, compulsive gamblers and plain mean folks. In plot, they're not much different from other Hollywood films of the pre- and post-World War II eras, but white society was never meant to see them.

Saddam: America's senior diplomat in London, David T Johnson, denies that the US"armed and groomed" Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."We did support Afghans who fought Soviet occupation, but we did not arm Bin Laden. You don't have to take my word for it. In his memoirs, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, rejects the claim that the US financed or trained the Arab mujahideen (not even"one penny", he says). Nor did the US arm Saddam Hussein."

Shredding of Documents in Britain: Hundreds of thousands of secret Whitehall files are being shredded before the public gains the right to see them under the Freedom of Information Act on 1 January. Figures obtained by the London Independent show a dramatic escalation in the destruction of confidential papers before the new rights of access come into force. Whitehall departments, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), have almost doubled the number of files they have destroyed since the Freedom of Information Act became law.

Elie Wiesel: In a letter sent December 15th to Romanian President Iliescu, Mr. Wiesel said he was returning the"National Order the Star of Romania, rank of grand officer," a title he received from Iliescu in 2002 because he cannot accept being put on the same level as the extreme nationalist and anti-Semitic political leaders Corneliu Vadim Tudor and Gheorghe Buzatu. Elie Wiesel recently led an international committee of historians from Israel and the US to Romania to uncover the truth about Romania's role in the Holocaust. At the time, Iliescu's decision to invite such a committee into Romania was a complete reversal of his earlier position, which leaned towards minimizing Holocaust crimes in Romania.

Vietnam: University of California, Davis professor Larry Berman today filed suit against the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, seeking release of historic President's Daily Briefs given to President Johnson during the Vietnam War. Represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and by the National Security Archive of George Washington University, Vietnam expert Berman is challenging the CIA's"blanket policy" of refusing to release any PDBs, even historic or innocuous ones that risk no damage to national security.

U.K. Government Accused of Destroying Files: Whitehall officials have stepped up the shredding of documents before January when a law giving Britons access to more information takes effect, the opposition Conservative Party said. The Government denied any link between the deletion of records and the Freedom of Information Act which comes into force on January 1. Parliamentarian Julian Lewis, who has called for an investigation into the shredding, said answers to his written questions showed the Department of Trade and Industry had destroyed 97,000 documents in 2003-2004, almost double the number in 1999-2000.

Obituary: Professor Charles Feinstein died, November 27, 2004, aged 72. He was a scholar whose work traced the form of the British economy from the 20th back to the 18th century Charles Feinstein's achievement was to work out the structure and size of the British economy from the present all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. His work makes it possible to evaluate how well the economy has performed at any period in the past two centuries, and to compare it with other periods and other countries.

Israeli History: The Jewish nation needs to better learn and understand its own history, President Moshe Katsav said Thursday to the Jerusalem Post Executive Editor Amotz Asa-El. The president invited Asa-El due to the publication in America of his new book, The Diaspora and the Lost Tribes of Israel. Katsav said he intends to convene in the spring a gathering of Jewish leaders in order to explore with them his idea of establishing a pan-Jewish forum for airing ideas.

AHA Meeting/Student Unions: An organizer for the Graduate Students Employee Union is circulating a resolution the union plans to present at the American Historical Association's annual meeting in January. The resolution calls on the AHA to condemn a recent anti-union vote of the National Labor Relations Board.

Republicans Attempting To Alter U.S. House Rules: Thomas Jefferson was looking for a way to promote civility between the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate while maintaining each chamber's independence. So he figured each body should all but ignore the other. Now, more than 200 years after Jefferson crafted a parliamentary rule barring legislators from disparaging their esteemed colleagues in the"other chamber," House conservatives are seeking to overturn it. The rule change, proposed by Florida Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, is one of 10 sought by a growing cadre of House conservatives, called the Republican Study Committee, that's pressing for more clout in the upcoming session of Congress. Most of the proposed changes would make it more difficult, procedurally, to increase spending. None would alter history like Feeney's proposal.

Armenian Genocide: In an exclusive interview on Wednesday with the French TF 1 television, French President Jacques Chirac reaffirmed his country's position that Turkey should review its history and acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Chirac deliberately used the word"genocide" and when the reporter asked to clarify"genocide or tragedy," Chirac said"genocide," adding that the fact is a law in France, adopted by the parliament.

Paul Revere Engravings: Priceless engravings crafted by Paul Revere are being jeopardized by Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, according to experts, all for the sake of a $200,000 fund-raiser for a state agency."There's no question about the fact that the surface will be altered by this" reprinting process, said MIT professor of archaeology Heather Lechtman, regarding three irreplaceable works created by the Revolutionary War hero. Despite some experts' reservations, Galvin authorized the use of the engravings as a fund-raising bid for the state archives. State officials estimate the operation will bring in $200,000 to $300,000.

Iran and the Persian Gulf: Iran unveiled a collection of historical maps on Sunday in a bid to prove the legitimacy of calling its neighboring sea the Persian Gulf instead of the"Arabian Gulf" as it also is listed in the new world atlas by National Geographic. Last month, Iran banned the sale of National Geographic Society publications to protest the"Arabian Gulf" inclusion. The issue also has caused widespread protests by intellectuals, historians and students across Iran, formerly Persia.

Banishing a Nude: In a repeat of history, the Republican governor of Vermont, James Douglas, wants to banish from his statehouse desk a lamp that replicates"The Greek Slave," a famed statue depicting a chained, naked young woman. Art lovers are crying censorship -- among them, officials at Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art, where one of the originals of the statue by Hiram Powers is displayed. In the 19th century the statue shocked Americans and led to calls for its bani