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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: Groong/Armenian News Network
SOURCE: Groong/Armenian News Network (4-13-06)
Kanalturk decided to show "Ararat" by Canadian director Atom Egoyan, an ethnic Armenian, after a survey of viewers revealed that 72 percent of the participants wanted to see the film, the spokesman said.
"We will show the movie with no cuts or censoring," he added.
The film's showing, at prime time on Thursday, will be followed by a roundtable discussion by Turkish and Armenian intellectuals and historians on the killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey.
Even though the Turkish government gave the go-ahead for the showing of the film, which was released in 2002, an Istanbul company was forced in 2004 to drop plans to screen the movie because of potential protests that would have required police presence in theatres.
Turks have only recently begun to discuss the Armenian massacres between 1915 and 1917, one of the most controversial episodes in Turkish history.
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings.
Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide, arguing that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.
Egoyan's film deals with the estranged members of a contemporary Armenian family, who are faced with both Turkey's denial of genocide and their own individual plight.
Name of source: Haaretz
SOURCE: Haaretz (4-13-06)
The Church wants to hold a memorial service on June 8 for Hans Meiser, who historians have said made repeated anti-Semitic and racist remarks before and during the Nazi era. Meiser was leader of the Bavarian Protestant Church from 1933 until 1955.
The Jewish community has voiced concern over the event, scheduled for the 50th anniversary of Meiser's death and due to be held in the southern city of Nuremburg.
"I don't understand why they have opened the old wounds and revived this issue," Arno Hamburger, head of the Jewish community in Nuremberg, told Reuters on Thursday.
In a letter to the head of the Bavarian Protestants, Johannes Friedrich, Hamburger accused Meiser of anti-Semitism.
"He... bears a share of moral responsibility that my 29-year-old aunt was put on a train from Nuremberg to the
death camp of Izbica and murdered there," he wrote in the letter published in German newspapers this week.
Jewish leaders have criticised the fact that a number of German cities, including Nuremberg and Munich, still have streets named after Meiser.
A spokeswoman for the church said it would review the service for Meiser, saying it would also reflect the bishop's role in the Nazi era and not only his achievements.
The row comes one day after another Bavarian town postponed plans to honour aviation engineers Willy Messerschmitt and Claude Dornier, known for their warplanes made for the Luftwaffe, after protests by Jewish groups and local leaders.
The town of Garching, also in Bavaria, said it would review the plans to honour the men.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (4-13-06)
The southern city of Garching, a Munich suburb, planned to honor the two late engineers along with 24 scientists with plaques in a new underground station near Munich's Technical University.
But the Jewish community protested against the proposal, saying the firms of Messerschmitt and Dornier served the Nazi regime by developing planes for the Luftwaffe in World War Two and exploited thousands of forced laborers in their plants.
The Green party also opposed the tribute to the engineers. Dornier died in 1969; Messerschmitt in 1978.
Garching's deputy mayor Hannelore Gabor said the town council would now review the plans in two weeks. She said a historian would provide details about the men's wartime role.
"We will take another look at the matter," she told Reuters.
Historians say both aircraft engineers had close ties to the Nazi regime. The Luftwaffe used the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in the "Battle of Britain" while later models were used at the Eastern front against the Soviet Union.
Among others to be honored for their achievements at the underground station, which will open in October, are Albert Einstein and Max Planck.
SOURCE: Reuters (4-12-06)
Japanese Consul-General Takanori Kitamura also said China's economic might and fast-growing military expenditures posed big question for Beijing and others in the region.
"We need to handle the history issue carefully, but I find it inappropriate that the history issue is set as a precondition for addressing issues in other areas," he said in a speech at Hong Kong University.
Sino-Japanese relations are at their worst state in decades, chilled by a raft of disputes including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which Beijing sees as a symbol of Japan's past militarism because it honours convicted war criminals along with the country's war dead.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said earlier this month that if Japan's leader made a "clear-cut decision" to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine he would be willing to meet and improve ties.
Apart from Yasukuni, bilateral relations are frayed by disputes over ownership of energy resources and islands in the East China Sea. China and other Asian neighbours in the region are also upset over a history textbook that they say whitewashes Japan's wartime aggression.
Kitamura said people should read the Japanese texts and judge for themselves, noting that some translations into Chinese were available on the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Web site.
"Any textbook needs to provide a balanced picture, and I wish Chinese students will have a fair opportunity, through their textbooks, to come to know Japan's post-war achievements as it has build a peace-loving and democratic society," he added.
Kitamura also said that China's economic power, coupled with annual military expenditures that were growing faster than the economy, posed a "big question".
"How does China find its position in the existing political and economic order of this region? And conversely, how do the other countries in this region accommodate the rise of China?"
Name of source: Catholic World News
SOURCE: Catholic World News (4-13-06)
The authors of the new book, Werner Kaltefleiter and Hans Peter Oschwald, say that Pope Pius had signed the resignation letter, stipulating that he would revert to the status of a cardinal if he was taken hostage, the Italian ANSA news agency reports. Excerpts from their forthcoming book have appeared in the German daily Bild.
Father Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit historian who is working on the cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII, confirms that the Pontiff had tentative plans to resign in case he was captured. While skeptical about the existence of a signed resignation letter, Father Gumpel believes that a "verbal agreement" had been reached to allow for a change in leadership at the Vatican in his absence.
In their book, Spione im Vatikan, Kaltefleiter and Oschwald explore espionage efforts against the Vatican from the beginning of World War II to the present day. The book gives special attention to the efforts by Hitler's Nazis and by later Communist regimes to undermine the power of the Church. The authors say that Hitler enthusiastically authorized a raid on the Vatican, to take place in 1943, with the objective of kidnapping the Pope.
Hitler's implacable hostility toward the wartime Pontiff, and the determination of Pope Pius to thwart the kidnapping plans, contrast sharply with the charges made by critics who say that the Pope was too willing to tolerate the Nazi regime.
Name of source: movie website
SOURCE: movie website (4-12-06)
Jerry Lembcke writes:
This new documentary about the Vietnam-era GI anti-war movement deserves support. It's already gotten good reviews (e.g."Variety") and won prizes for"best" at the LA Film Festival, Hamptons, and others.
Last Sunday it got both thumbs up from Ebert and Roeper. It opens this coming Monday (April 17) in NYC with an appearance from Fonda who is in the film both as an historical figure and commentator on the importance of the GI movement, then and now.
It's a nifty film with some momentum but it will need all the help it can get to reach the heartland.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (4-13-06)
But there is even more to the story.
The art dealer was detained several years ago in an unrelated Italian antiquities smuggling investigation. And after she failed to profit from the sale of the gospel in the private market, she struck a deal with a foundation run by her lawyer that would let her make about as much as she would have made on that sale, or more.
Later, the National Geographic Society paid the foundation to restore the manuscript and bought the rights to the text and the story about the discovery. As part of her arrangement with the foundation, the dealer, Frieda Tchacos Nussberger, stands to gain $1 million to $2 million from those National Geographic projects, her lawyer said. There may even be more.
Details of how the manuscript was found are clouded. According to National Geographic, it was found by farmers in an Egyptian cave in the 1970's, sold to a dealer and passed through various hands in Europe and the United States. Legal issues in its transit are equally vague.
The gift, the largest corporate gift in Smithsonian history, will go to the planned expansion of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Virginia annex of the main museum on the National Mall. The center, which opened in December 2003, cost $311 million--including the cost of the expansion. With the Boeing money, the museum still has to raise about $14 million.
SOURCE: NYT (4-11-06)
The scientific repercussions continue, as researchers still look to data from the 1906 earthquake — which released 30 times as much energy as the 1989 Loma Prieta quake — to prepare for the next great one.
Last month, results of two years of computer simulations recreating the ground shaking experienced in 1906 were presented by scientists from the United States Geological Survey; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the URS Corporation, an engineering company. That could help indicate areas where the reinforcement of buildings should be a priority.
Next week, at a scientific conference commemorating the anniversary, another study is to take the new shaking findings and estimate what the 1906 quake would wreak on the San Francisco Bay area in 2006. The toll, the researchers conclude, would include several thousand dead, several hundred thousand homeless and more than $100 billion in damage.
SOURCE: NYT (4-8-06)
Mr. Halmi, the executive producer, initially considered dropping the sea split altogether. He never cared for the tidy swath Cecil B. DeMille's Moses carved through the water, which he likened to a "paved major highway."
"I thought, 'What a horrible way to part the Red Sea,' " Mr. Halmi recalled. "I thought I could do things much more realistically."
So he proposed using a strain of biblical scholarship that theorizes that the ancient Hebrews waded through a salt marsh known as the Sea of Reeds just as the wind caused its water level to recede. But the network insisted on sticking with the parting sea.
Mr. Halmi, whose company, RHI Entertainment, is producing the series, agreed, but he did wrangle a concession: the smooth lane imagined by DeMille would be reconfigured as a rocky, muddy median.
The Dujail trial has been far too flawed to stand as Mr. Hussein's ultimate reckoning with the law. And the Kurds have had to wait far too long for the full measure of justice to which they are entitled, including a full detailing of all the relevant facts.
Now Mr. Zuma has begun to fight back. And it is his critics' turn to be shocked.
Taking the stand for the first time this week in the rape trial, Mr. Zuma cast himself as the embodiment of a traditional Zulu male, with all the privileges that patriarchal Zulu traditions bestow on men. Mr. Zuma, who turns 64 this week, said his accuser, a 31-year-old anti-AIDS advocate, had signaled a desire to have sex with him by wearing a knee-length skirt to his house and sitting with legs crossed, revealing her thigh.
Indeed, he said, he was actually obligated to have sex. His accuser was aroused, he said, and "in the Zulu culture, you cannot just leave a woman if she is ready." To deny her sex, he said, would have been tantamount to rape.
Such arguments have stirred a storm here, not because he insists that his accuser wanted sex — he-said, she-said arguments are not unheard of in rape trials worldwide — but because he has clothed them in what he depicts as African mores about sex and male primacy.
In South Africa, by far the most Western of African nations, the accord between centuries-old cultures and newer, more European notions of science and law has been both uneasy and unspoken. Mr. Zuma has laid it bare, effectively arguing that he is being persecuted for his cultural beliefs.
The rusted front gate, locked for many years, opens into a walled cemetery that amounts to a time capsule from an era the Communist Party wants to forget. Revolutionary slogans, long since discredited, are etched onto huge, ornate tombstones, including the large concrete marker that Mr. Xi built for his mother when he was a teenager.
"It is my obligation to speak about this history," said Mr. Xi, now 54. "It is the Communist Party's crime. Of course, they don't want to talk about it. No one wants to talk about shameful things."
This year is the 40th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, a milestone that has met with official silence and only glancing attention in the state news media. Here in Chongqing, the industrial hub of central China, the obscure graveyard is one of the few reminders of the bloody fighting that erupted across the city between rival factions of Red Guards.
Name of source: Wa Po
SOURCE: Wa Po (4-12-06)
The 42-year-old museum, the largest history museum in the country and the third most popular of the Smithsonian's museums, will close on Labor Day. Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2008.
The centerpiece of the new plan will be a dramatic enclosure for the banner, the flag that few over Fort McHenry during the British bombardment of 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that became the national anthem. The Smithsonian has had the flag since 1907. During the past eight years, the flag has undergone thorough restoration and the Smithsonian announced today that the work is complete.
Its new home will be a theatrical setting, with the lights dimmed to evoke the "dawn's early light," with Key's words floating behind it and the flag tilted 12 degrees upward. It will no longer be hung vertically because of the stress on the wool and cotton fibers. The flag's gallery will be behind a soaring 19 foot abstract flag and panels at the entrance and exit of the enclosure will tell the history of the flag and the restoration project.
Name of source: Christian Science Monitor
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor (4-13-06)
If they don't sound familiar, don't worry. You're not out of touch. The fact is that these singers haven't been big for about 100 years.
Mr. Levine and other music fans are listening to long-forgotten pop music - along with 1900-era performances and speeches - thanks to a landmark effort to preserve audio of the past.
With the help of donations from collectors, the University of California at Santa Barbara has digitized songs and spoken-word performances from more than 6,000 cylinders, the early precursors of vinyl records and compact discs.
Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can visit the university's website and listen to the audio for free; downloads are also available, allowing curious visitors like Levine to store the songs and listen to them as they jog, drive, or wait in line at the airport.
Name of source: scotsman.com
SOURCE: scotsman.com (4-11-06)
In February, local officials decided that, as of mid-April, seven of Glasgow's biggest museums and galleries would have to close on Monday, partly as a cost-saving measure and to fund a scheme to give all Glasgow school pupils at least one museum visit and theatre experience every year.
However, it was announced yesterday that Adrian Pocock, 47, the managing director of Scotia Land Ltd, a local property development company, will donate £270,000 to Friends of Glasgow Museums (FoGM), a voluntary body which supplements the museums services.
SOURCE: scotsman.com (4-10-06)
Until now, the leading theory of why the Neanderthals disappeared has been that a lack of intelligence meant they were less efficient hunters.
But a team of US archaeologists believe they met their evolutionary end because of a failure to maintain social links with other groups, unlike modern humans, who travelled widely, making the friends who would help them during hard times.
Working in the Caucasus region of modern-day Georgia, the scientists discovered evidence of highly skilled hunting behaviour by the Neanderthals that required an understanding of yearly animal migration patterns and the planning of traps to catch them.
But they also found there was a crucial difference between Neanderthals and homo sapiens. The Neanderthals tended to be anti-social, staying in small hunter-gatherer groups, while the sapiens were "routinely" travelling distances of 60 miles and meeting other groups.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (4-11-06)
A study by Sue Fox, from London's Queen Mary's College, found words such as "nang" - meaning good - were commonly used by youths in inner London.
Ms Fox said this "Multicultural London English" was influenced by a variety of languages such as Bengali.
SOURCE: BBC (4-10-06)
Its striking red, white and blue design harks back to a time when Britannia ruled the waves, but the history of the union jack is as tangled as all the mothballed bunting it decorates.
It is a story about custom over clarity, assumption over assertion, anomaly instead of consistency.
The union jack as we know it today dates back to 1801, when Ireland joined Great Britain in a single kingdom. But the original flag, which was set out by royal proclamation on 12 April 1606, was subtly different, lacking the diagonal red lines - the so-called St Patrick's cross.
The flag was the result of the union of the English and Scottish monarchies in 1603, under James I (as he was in England) or James VI (as he was in Scotland).
SOURCE: BBC (4-11-06)
Pearl Cornioley, formerly Witherington, became the leader of 1,500 French freedom fighters during World War II.
She was recommended for the Military Cross but, as a woman, was not allowed to receive it. She turned down an MBE, saying it was a "civil decoration".
SOURCE: BBC (4-10-06)
Archaeologists have so far uncovered 300 pieces of pottery shards which they believe date back nearly 2,000 years and could be a manufacturing site.
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Education
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (4-11-06)
Mr. Gaines, who had graduated from Lincoln University, in Missouri, was rejected from the University of Missouri’s law school but told that the state would pay for his legal education if he went to some other state—the technique some segregated states used to ship their black citizens elsewhere if they sought a higher education. The Supreme Court ruled that Missouri had to either admit Mr. Gaines or open a separate-but-equal law school for black students (The Chronicle, May 14, 2004).
Name of source: Seattle PI
SOURCE: Seattle PI (4-11-06)
Pyramid-mania has taken hold of this small Bosnian town as residents seek to cash in on claims by an archaeologist that it may host Europe's only ancient pyramid.
"Our expectation are high. This could be our oil well," Vehab Halilovic, who has started carving pyramids on wooden souvenirs like flutes and pipes.
No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.
However, Bosnian archaeologist Semir Osmanagic - who has spent the last 15 years studying the pyramids of Latin America - claimed last year that there is evidence of one here in his Balkan homeland and conducted some research on the site.
Name of source: Port Folio Weekly
SOURCE: Port Folio Weekly (4-11-06)
The catchy phrases are part of the museum’s new national marketing campaign for the USS Monitor Center, a $30 million project scheduled for opening March 9, 2007 — one hundred forty five years after the Civil War ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia battled each other in Hampton Roads.
The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News offered a preview of its promotional lineup at a March 28 news conference to launch the public campaign to raise the $30 million. A hard-hat tour of the 63,500-square foot USS Monitor Center followed.
Name of source: 24dash.com
SOURCE: 24dash.com (4-12-06)
Stuart Wilson had to dig deep and borrow most of the money to buy the four acres in Monmouthshire, south Wales.
So the 27-year-old archaeology graduate was delighted when his suspicions were confirmed with the discovery of four significant buildings and the promise of many more finds to come.
Now he and a team of local archaeology volunteers are looking forward to excavating the rest of the buried settlement.
He has pledged never to sell up and says the project could take his entire lifetime.
Name of source: The Washington Post
SOURCE: The Washington Post (4-12-06)
In a 2002 memorandum, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and released yesterday by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research library housed at George Washington University, Archives officials agreed to help pull the materials for possible reclassification and conceal the identities of anyone participating in the effort. The Associated Press reported yesterday that it had requested a copy of the memo three years ago.
"[I]t is in the interest of both [redacted agency name] and the National Archives and Records Administration to avoid the attention and researcher complaints that may arise from removing material that has already been available publicly from the open shelves for extended periods of time," the Archives memo read, in part.
Thomas S. Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, said the memo "shows that the National Archives basically aided and abetted a covert operation that whited out the nation's history by reclassifying previously released documents."
Independent historian Matthew M. Aid uncovered the reclassification program last summer when his requests for documents formerly available at the Archives were delayed or denied. In February, the Archives acknowledged that about 9,500 records totaling more than 55,000 pages had been withdrawn and reclassified since 1999. The memo released yesterday says some records "may have been improperly marked as declassified" and their release "would harm the national security interests of the United States by revealing sensitive sources and methods of intelligence collection."
But historians who previously obtained copies of records have said many date to the 1940s and 1950s and pose no conceivable security risk.
The program dates to the Clinton administration, when the CIA and other agencies began recalling documents they believed were improperly released under a 1995 executive order requiring declassification of many historical records 25 years old and older. The pace of the removal picked up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Although the Archives will not name the agencies involved, historians with the National Security Archive have said the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department and the Justice Department also have participated.
Allen Weinstein, the archivist of the United States, suspended the program last month pending an audit of the removed material by the Archives' Information Security Oversight Office. Results are expected this month.
J. William Leonard, director of oversight office, said that part of the Archives' mission is to ensure that information that may damage national security is properly protected. Still, "there is a need for increased transparency in this," he said.
Leonard said auditors will recommend that the Archives and federal agencies develop a protocol for informing the public of such reclassification efforts.
"The more transparent we can be," Leonard said, "we will not feed perceptions that somehow this is being done for some sort of nefarious reason such as trying to cover up agency embarrassments."
Name of source: The Daily Telegraph
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (4-12-06)
Heinz Fischer said that a "not inconsiderable portion of the population'' greeted the Anschluss or annexation in 1938 with "euphoria'', despite knowing that "Hitler meant war''. In addition many had celebrated Hitler's initial military successes, he said.
Surveys show that most Austrians continue to deny that 200,000 people welcomed Hitler's troops as they marched into Austria, despite the overwhelming evidence that ecstatic crowds gathered at Heldenplatz in Vienna's city centre to hear him deliver a rousing speech. The view most commonly held still is that the Anschluss was forced on a reluctant people.
Mr Fischer picked holes in the 1955 declaration of independence which he said had helped establish the false picture of the country's history which still endures.
"I find the version of history which it presents very problematic,'' he said. "It is full of cliches that for decades stood in the way of an honest appraisal of what happened in Austria and why it happened.''
The declaration re-established Austria's sovereignty, following almost two decades during which it was part of Nazi Germany and then controlled by the allied powers: Britain, France, the US and the Soviet Union.
It stated that Austria was the "first victim'' of Nazi oppression, an image which even the Allies helped to feed. The result was that Austria was slow to recognise its own complicity in the Holocaust.
"Austrians were victims during the Nazi period but they were also the guilty,'' Mr Fischer told the newspaper Der Standard. "Here is the complete truth.''
Historians described the interview as ground-breaking. In the early 1990s Chancellor Franz Vranitzky became the first Austrian leader to admit the guilt of Austrians during the war, in a historic speech to parliament. But he stopped short of saying that many had welcomed Hitler.
President Fischer's interview appeared designed to take the debate over Austria's Nazi past one step further. Mr Fischer said he also regretted that Aust
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (4-11-06)
The documents included intricate maps of continental railway networks, allowing PoWs to plan their escape. The prunes are part of a collection formerly belonging to Doreen Mulot, an SOE agent, whose great-nephew Richard Marshall, from Crook, Co Durham, is selling them.
"I remember her once telling me she and her colleague used to sit over the bathtub filled with dried prunes,'' Mr Marshall said.
"As the prunes swelled up they picked out the stones and filled the cavities with waxed paper.
"The prunes were then dried out and sent to prisoners in Red Cross parcels.
"The maps contained details of the railway lines so that if anybody was escaping they would know which lines to go for to get back to Britain.''
Mrs Mulot, who lived in France before the war having married a Frenchman, left in 1940 when he had an affair but she continued to work with Free French fighters in London and joined SOE. Her collection included sabotage booklets disguised as diaries, pocket dictionaries or recipes.
There were also accurate forgeries of official German rubber document stamps and elaborate plates used to forge "camp money'' used by PoW officers to buy a limited range of goods, but with no value at all outside the camp.
Only two prunes, unused, survived in the collection.
Caroline Weiner, an expert at Spink, the auctioneer, where the collection will be sold with an estimate of pounds 1,200 on April 27, said: "They are very, very dry, but they have survived. We were extremely surprised.''
Name of source: The Baltimore Sun
SOURCE: The Baltimore Sun (4-12-06)
Next month, the state Board of Public Works is expected to approve the purchase of nearly 9 acres of undeveloped land on North Point Road near Trappe Road, where British and American troops met in 1814 for the Battle of North Point.
The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit land preservation and conservation group, negotiated the deal to purchase the property from Mars Super Markets. In turn, the state will buy the land from the trust for $1.75 million, using funds from Program Open Space and the state's transportation budget.
The purchase, disclosed this week by state officials, delights local residents and historians.
"It's a miracle that this property has survived all this time," said Robert Reyes, president of the Friends of the North Point Battlefield Inc., a group that has worked to commemorate the battle.
Much of the battlefield where the two forces met is now covered by homes, businesses and roads, including Interstate 695, Reyes said. But the center of the clash, where American Gen. John Stricker stood and directed his troops, remains open. It marks the site of a Methodist meeting house used as a field hospital and headquarters.
The tract to be bought is near Battle Acre Monument, which now marks the one-day fight that, with the British navy's failed assault on Fort McHenry, spared Baltimore from capture.
Though outnumbered at North Point, American forces were able to kill the British general, Robert Ross, which historians say demoralized his soldiers and eventually caused them to give up their advance on Baltimore and return to their ships.
The clashes in Baltimore -- at Fort McHenry and at North Point -- "were pivotal in driving the British to the Treaty of Ghent" that ended the war, Reyes said.
Battle Acre is part of a proposed "Star-Spangled Banner Trail" that, if approved by Congress, would connect War of 1812 sites in Virginia, Washington and Maryland. In December, senators passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes to create the trail, which would be managed by the National Park Service. The bill is pending in the House.
The Mars property would be preserved as a park and added to the trail. It would be managed by staff at nearby North Point State Park, said Department of Natural Resources spokesman Charles Gates. A concept plan is being developed, he said, but the state probably will install interpretive signs and build a walking trail.
"The preservation of this site will not only protect a part of Maryland's history, but it will preserve it for the historical education of our children," said Shareese N. DeLeaver, a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
The Friends group contacted the trust about four or five years ago about the site and other properties that might be worth protecting, said Denise Schlener, director of the trust's Chesapeake office. The trust began negotiating in earnest about three years ago, when signs noting the possible lease of the property went up.
"Sometimes we're asked to come in when unfortunately it's the last place that can be protected," Schlener said.
Representatives from Mars did not return calls yesterday for comment.
Battle Acre Monument, across the street and farther east on North Point Road, commemorates the battle, Reyes said. But it was built in 1839 in the middle of a cornfield. Now it's dwarfed by surrounding houses.
So is the Mars property, Schlener said.
"When you go by it, you have to do a double take," she said. "It really is a remarkable place, to say that almost 200 years ago, a major battle occurred there that was kind of a rehash of the War of Independence."
Name of source: Netscape News
SOURCE: Netscape News (4-12-06)
They fanned out across the country during the past few years to take testimony, visit mass graves and pore over long-secret papers. Their report will be Mexico's first public document of its kind.
Dirty war prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo says it will detail systematic killing of hundreds of people, abductions and intimidation under the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years until President Vicente Fox's 2000 election.
But even before its formal release, the report has been discredited by some as overblown, while survivors fear it will be watered down to protect former leaders from punishment.
"Every Mexican should be assured that the past will be made known, that it will never be repeated," Ramirez said. "This should go into the history books, even for school children."
Ramirez, 28, wanted to help rewrite history when she joined the special prosecutor's team in Guerrero state, once a rebel hotbed and major dirty war battleground.
She found a shadowy world of blood vendettas and entrenched power brokers. The peasants of the rough-and-tumble countryside stayed mum, afraid of reprisals.
Slowly, survivors started approaching, often under cover of darkness. "People began to trust, to say, 'yes, I want this resolved, it's an open wound,"' Jose Martinez, another member of the investigative team, said.
"We saw where the guerrilla movement and the repression took place, where the bodies turned up. In Guerrero entire communities disappeared. We went to places that no longer exist, just trees," he added.
On a threadbare budget the investigators went months without pay and dipped into their pockets for everything from photocopies to hammer and nails to fix office furniture.
Then in 2003 a key government witness was murdered. Ramirez had helped convince Zacarias Barrientos to testify and was with him earlier on the day he was shot.
Prosecutors concluded he was killed by his wife and accomplices in a crime of passion. Ramirez and others fear he was silenced by a network of former officials.
"He had 19 bullet wounds, they tortured him before killing him," she said.
As his six-year term ends, Fox has failed in his pledge to win justice for dirty war victims. Special prosecutor Carrillo has won no convictions. Ex-President Luis Echeverria, 84, who ruled at the height of the violence in the 1970s, has twice evaded indictment for genocide.
In February, a draft report was leaked to the press. Some, including Carrillo, questioned its findings, leading activists to fear the final version to be presented this month will be watered down.
The investigators call it a work in progress. While they negotiate with the attorney general for back pay, Ramirez and Martinez and others keep talking to survivors.
Asked why, they remember Elba Fuentes. After decades of silence she traveled four hours on foot and by truck from her mountaintop hamlet to tell her tale of abduction and rape.
As the teenage daughter of a leftist rebel, she was taken by soldiers and police in the 1970s. An officer rescued her from her secret jail -- on condition she become his concubine.
Fuentes eventually escaped to the mountains to start a new life. She kept her past secret for 30 years until, encouraged by Martinez and Ramirez, she testified to prosecutors.
"She told us, 'I need to tell my story after so many years, things I have not even told my husband and children. It left me with such pain,"' Martinez said.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (4-11-06)
Never displayed before, the two-page letter in Anne's careful script is part of an exhibition of letters, postcards and family notes -- with ink stains, water spots and ragged edges -- which opens Wednesday at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.
In the diary she wrote in hiding -- which her father recovered after the war -- Anne quotes from the angry letter she wrote in May 1944 and says her father told her he would burn it. He never did, and it went to the National Institute for War Documentation after he died in 1980.
"If only you knew how much I used to cry at night, how despondent and unhappy I was, how lonely I felt, you'd understand my wanting to go upstairs," she wrote after Otto forbade her to spend time alone in the attic with the young boy with whom the Franks shared the hiding place.
"I want to go my own way, to follow the path that seems right to me. Don't think of me as a 14-year-old, since all these troubles have made me older. I won't regret my actions. I'll behave the way I think I should."
"That letter hit me the most," said curator Wouter van der Sluis."It's not just a letter. It's a declaration of independence toward her father."
Name of source: The Guardian
SOURCE: The Guardian (4-11-06)
Ninetieth anniversaries are rarely celebrated with such official enthusiasm and the decision to revive the parade is stirring up a national debate about the country's ambivalent relationship to the violent events that led to the foundation of the Irish state. Critics, north and south of the border, fear the march past will rekindle respect for paramilitary violence, and they accuse the governing Fianna Fail party of harnessing history to its political campaign to outflank Sinn Fein's recent electoral advances.
At one level, according to the republic's defence minister, Willie O'Dea, the ceremony marks a recognition that Northern Ireland's sectarian bloodletting is over. In his office behind Ireland's parliament, the Dail, he defends the revival. "It's the end of the Troubles," he told The Guardian.
"For years troops were not readily available because they were on border duties, patrolling. There was an annual commemoration up until 1971 but then it stopped. Soldiers would have had to be withdrawn from the border (at the height of the violence).
"We will now have one annually. This year's parade will be a trial run for the 100th anniversary. There will be a minute's silence in memory of everyone - volunteers, British soldiers and the civilians - who died. Other countries commemorate their national independence days - Spain, France, Italy, for ex ample - with ceremonies that have a military centrepiece."
Reverence for the martyrs of the uprising permeates the Irish state. A gilt-framed copy of the proclamation hangs in the Dail's entrance lobby. A tricolour which supposedly flew over the bombarded GPO is being auctioned this month: keen bidding is anticipated.
Immediately after the fighting, which claimed the lives of 64 rebels, 200 civilians and 132 police officers or British soldiers, those who directed the insurrection were dismissed as revolutionary extremists. They were jeered at and pelted with rotten fruit in Dublin.
It was the decision by the British commander, General Maxwell, to execute the captured leaders which transformed military defeat into political success. In the 1918 election, Sinn Fein won a landslide victory across Ireland and launched the campaign that eventually led to independence.
The last major commemoration was held in 1966 - the 50th anniversary - and since it preceded the Troubles has been viewed in retrospect as having contributed to the resurgence of the IRA.
Ireland's main parties all trace their origins back to the smouldering ruins of the GPO. Sinn Fein (which translates as "Ourselves Alone") claims true ideological continuity of the uprising's ideals. Fine Gael (approximately "The family of the Irish") was formed from the faction of Sinn Fein which signed the treaty partitioning Ireland with Britain in 1921. Fianna Fail (or "The Soldiers of Destiny") derive from the anti-treaty forces in the subsequent civil war.
"There's been an attempt by Fianna Fail to hijack the event. It was announced at a party conference," said Ciaran Conlon, Fine Gael's director of communications.
"We would like to see more stress on the aspirations behind the rising - universal suffrage and social justice - rather than on militaristic violence.
"It's more Fianna Fail positioning itself, in relation to Sinn Fein, because it is in danger of losing votes on its republican fringe. We're broadly supportive: the main parties trace their roots back to the GPO. But the current generation have moved so far past this we don't think about it anymore. Being Irish is about being successful in music, business and sport. We have so many other role models now."
Liz McManus, the Labour party Dail member on the cross-party committee organising the ceremony, insisted that all participants should be remembered. "I put forward the view that we should commemorate the civilians who died and people who were doing their duty in the police and the British army as well," she said.
"Ninety years on, we should be able to reconcile and forgive."
Sinn Fein believes the ceremony was "dropped like a hot potato" during the Troubles to extract the Irish government from an impossible position.
"They would have to explain why they supported Padraig Pearse (president of the self-declared, provisional government in 1916) and not the (provisional IRA's) physical force republican ism," Shane Macthomais, a party spokesman, pointed out.
The columns of the Irish Times have resounded to complaints. The parade was revived, suggested historian Dennis Kennedy, "to fight off the barbarian invasion of revisionists who would sully the glorious memory of the heroic founders of the republic by suggesting they had no right to do what they did . . . and (secondly) to keep the grubby hands of Sinn Fein off the holy grail of 1916."
MPs and assembly members from Northern Ireland have been invited to attend the ceremony on April 16. "I don't think we've had a definite response from the unionists," Mr O'Dea said. "I'm hopeful the Ulster Unionist party will see their way to attend."
The party's former deputy leader, Lord Kilclooney, has, however, already signalled his disgust. "Our ambassador is to join with Gerry Adams (the Sinn Fein leader) and Bertie Ahern (the Irish prime minister) in marking the rebellion against British rule," he has complained.
In a sign of political reconciliation and revisionism, the Irish government is planning a second state ceremony in July to remember those who perished on the Somme in 1916, fighting alongside the British. Commemorative stamps will also be issued for that event.
"There should be symmetry in recognising the sacrifice made by 50,000 Irishmen who died in the first world war," commented Fine Gael's Ciaran Conlon. "We are just reaching a point of maturity as a nation that the history books (can recognise both sides). I'm in my 30s and was taught nothing about Irish participation in the war at school."
Inside the GPO on O'Connell Street there is a framed copy of the proclamation and a bronze statue of the mythical Irish warrior Cuchulainn, "a memorial to the participants of the 1916 Rising". A woman behind the commemorative stamp counter apologised that the designs of the stamps were not yet available."This is the greatest secrecy I have ever come across," she remarked.
Name of source: The Gazette
SOURCE: The Gazette (4-11-06)
You might expect these trends to auger more openness and democracy. But after turning the corner on a conflict between government forces and Islamist rebels that since 1992 claimed more than 100,000 lives, mostly civilian, Algeria is moving toward less freedom.
The new "Law Implementing the Charter on Peace and National Reconciliation" makes this clear. Never before has a government, in the guise of healing a nation after a fratricidal war, threatened to impose such heavy punishments on those who pose critical questions about the past.
The law provides up to five years in prison for any statement or activity concerning "the National Tragedy" that "harms" state institutions, "the good reputation of its agents," or "the image of Algeria internationally."
Over the years, families of the more than 6,000 Algerians who "disappeared" during the conflict overcame their fear and began holding weekly sit-ins to demand answers about the fate of their loved ones. They managed to win a measure of public sympathy, media attention, and, finally, an official acknowledgment that state agents had carried out "disappearances."
Under the new law, wives and mothers who brandish the same photos and who ask the same, still-unanswered questions could be bundled off to prison.
The new law ratifies the impunity that allowed abuses to become systematic in the first place. It grants a sweeping amnesty to security-force members for the torture and summary executions they carried out." It also grants an amnesty to Islamist militants for all but a few of the unspeakable atrocities that they committed.
Nine years ago, a series of large-scale massacres near the capital, Algiers, focused world attention on this conflict's civilian toll. Yet the government never properly investigated these crimes against humanity, attributed to Islamist armed groups but carried out within a few kilometres of military bases. The same goes for most of the scores of assassinations of leading cultural figures, intellectuals and journalists. Mass gravesites have been reported by the private press, but the bodies they hold have never been properly exhumed and forensically analyzed.
The new law contains some positive features, including financial compensation to families of the "disappeared." But it denies them their right to the truth about the fate of their relatives. It is also refuses them justice: The new law shields the still-unidentified state agents responsible for "disappearances" from prosecution, civil suits, and perhaps even any basic public inquiry.
Many countries in transition from civil war to peace have established truth commissions to investigate and learn from the past. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has said that Algeria's wounds are still too raw for a truth commission and that Algerians yearn to look toward the future.
What Algerians really think is not so clear. They voted "Yes" last September in a referendum on the amnesty, but only after the state hammered home the message that those who opposed it were the enemies of peace and reconciliation.
Algerians reasonably disagree about the right mix of punishment and forgiveness, but it is hard to believe that many support a decree that criminalizes critical discussion of the "National Tragedy." Such a measure is less about healing wounds than about muzzling criticism.
In 1962, when Algeria won independence from France, the two countries agreed to an amnesty covering the war of liberation. Algeria's new leaders implemented the amnesty and imposed a single narrative glorifying the heroism, sacrifice and unity of the mujahedeen. In so doing, they prevented discussion of the many massacres and liquidations that the mujahedeen perpetrated against their countrymen. Algerian historians have broken this taboo only recently, linking the autocratic tendencies of the liberation movement to its imposition of one-party rule after independence.
The conflict of the 1990s was also marked by events that authorities never properly investigated and now want to sweep under the carpet. But if Algeria is to emerge from the "National Tragedy" as a nation both more democratic and better protected against future atrocities, it will be by trying to understand and achieve accountability for the abuses committed in the 1990s, not by decreeing amnesty and amnesia.
Name of source: The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph (Australia) (4-11-06)
British historian Tom Asbridge yesterday hailed the find as the first provable example of actual Knights Templar.
The remains were found beneath the ruined walls of Jacob's Ford, an overthrown castle dating back to the Crusades, which had been lost for centuries.
They can be dated to the exact day -- August 29, 1179 -- that they were killed by Saladin, the feared Muslim leader who captured the fortress.
''Never before has it been possible to trace their remains to such an exact time in history,' Mr Asbridge said. ''This discovery is the equivalent of the Holy Grail to archaeologists and historians. It is unparalleled.''
Name of source: Yahoo News
SOURCE: Yahoo News (4-11-06)
The 2002 agreement, requested three years ago by The Associated Press and released this week, shows archivists were concerned about reclassifying previously available documents — many of them more than 50 years old — but nonetheless agreed to keep mum.
"It is in the interest of both (unnamed agency) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to avoid the attention and researcher complaints that may arise from removing material that has already been available publicly from the open shelves for extended periods of time," the agreement said.
The agreement was originally stamped "secret." The National Archives and Records Administration provided a redacted copy of the agreement to AP under
FOIA this week and then posted the document on its Web site.
The agreement said the archives "will not acknowledge the role of (redacted) AFDO in the review of these documents or the withholding of any documents determined to need continued protection from unauthorized disclosure." AFDO stands for Air Force Declassification Office.
"NARA will not disclose the true reason for the presence of AFDO (redacted) personnel at the Archives, to include disclosure to persons within NARA who do not have a validated need-to-know," the agreement added.
National Archivist Allen Weinstein applauded the release of the agreement and said an internal agency review on how best to handle reclassification requests should be completed by the end of this month.
"It is an important first step in finding the balance between continuing to protect national security and protecting the right to know by the American public," Weinstein said.
Intelligence officials began reviewing documents for reclassification in 1999, The New York Times reported earlier this year.
The number of documents that have been removed from public view, however, has soared since
President Bush took office in 2001 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred.
An estimated 55,000 pages within 10,000 documents have been removed from public view, ranging from information about 1948 anti-American riots in Colombia to a 1962 telegram containing a translation of a Belgrade news article about China's nuclear capabilities.
Weinstein announced a moratorium on the reclassification last month so his information security oversight office can audit the process.
Historians expressed concern about the secrecy in the reclassification agreement.
"This whole activity was effectively concealed," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' government secrecy project. "It's baffling. It's basically a covert action taking place at the National Archives."
Aftergood also said he found it odd that the agreement named two of the agencies involved in the reclassification program — the U.S. Air Force and
Central Intelligence Agency — but redacted the name of a third, arguing it would compromise national security, reveal internal government deliberations and violate statutes against disclosure of specific information.
In congressional testimony last month, a historian said the third agency was the Defense Intelligence Agency, but archivists refused to address his assertions.
Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archive, a private governmental research group in Washington, said it was unusual that archivists would be involved in hiding valuable history.
"It seems odd that they would be so willing to accept this," she said. "But NARA was completely complicit in trying to cover it up."
William Leonard, head of the archive's information security oversight office, told lawmakers last month that protecting agency secrets while providing information to the public requires delicate balancing.
"When information is improperly declassified, or is not classified in the first place although clearly warranted, our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations can be subject to potential harm," Leonard said.
"Conversely, too much classification ... or inappropriate reclassification, unnecessarily obstructs effective information sharing and impedes an informed citizenry, the hallmark of our democratic form of government."
Name of source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur
SOURCE: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (4-11-06)
The most notorious of Nazi death camps which claimed the lives of as many as 1.5 million people, most of them European Jews, is currently officially called the "Auschwitz Concentration Camp."
The Polish government's request to UNESCO for the name of the World Heritage Site to be changed to the "Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau" has met with sharp criticism from both the international Jewish community and Germany's Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
Poland's request comes after a string of incidents over the last decade in which international media have mistakenly referred to the camp as "Polish" due to it's location in Poland.
Poland's Foreign Ministry has made numerous calls for corrections to be issued by both broadcast and print media. Many of them have, however, met with resistance from senior editors.
Poland's request also comes ahead of a visit to the Auschwitz site on May 28 by German-born Pope Benedict XVI. The unprecedented event is sure to draw the undivided attention of the world media.
Maram Stern, a senior official with the World Jewish Congress (WJC), has accused Poland of wanting "to redefine history by changing the name."
A WJC statement further contends that "although the camp had been built and run by Nazi Germany, everybody in the area had known about its existence and workers were recruited from the Polish population in the neighbouring village."
But head of the International Auschwitz Council, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, himself a former prisoner and Polish Foreign Minister disagrees with the WJC argument. He insists that "none of the local residents worked at Auschwitz - It's a fact."
Jaroslaw Mensfelt, the official spokesperson for the Auschwitz State Museum, has also pointed out Allied intelligence knew about the camp, but declined to bomb either it or the railway lines which transported more than a million people to their death there.
"Not only the local residents knew about Auschwitz during the war, but the entire free world, which had been informed by those local residents about what was going on in Auschwitz," Mensfelt was quoted as saying. "Many local residents sacrificed their lives to help camp prisoners," he added.
Synonymous with the death of more than 6 million European Jews in the Holocaust, Auschwitz was established in the Nazi-German occupied southern Polish town of Oswiecim in June 1940 by the Nazis.
It grew rapidly to become the largest Nazi German death camp, a key element in fascist German Dictator Adolf Hitlers Final Solution plan to kill Europe's estimated 11 million ethnic Jews.
According to Franciszek Piper, chief historian at the Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum, between 1.1-1.5 million people perished at the camp, either asphyxiated with Zyklon B gas in its notorious gas chambers or from starvation, disease or exhaustion.
Ninety per cent of the victims were European Jews - men, women and children - most of whom perished in the gas chambers. Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war were among its other prisoners and victims.
Historians point out Auschwitz-Birkenau was one of 6 Nazi German death camps expressly set up to murder European Jews. Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek and Belzec were also key elements in the Nazi Third Reich's architecture of death.
However, all told, historical record shows that between 1933-1945, Adolf Hitlers regime set up some 1,634 concentration camps and 900 labour camps, where prisoners were held and, more often than not, exploited until death.
Name of source: Press Release -- Archivist of the United States Statement on Declassification of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between the National Archives and Records Administration and the United States Air Force
SOURCE: Press Release -- Archivist of the United States Statement on Declassification of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between the National Archives and Records Administration and the United States Air Force (4-10-06)
The MOU is posted on the National Archives web site at: www.archives.gov/declassification/mou-nara-usaf.pdf
For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.
Name of source: The Advertiser (Australia)
SOURCE: The Advertiser (Australia) (4-11-06)
Alfred Clive Hulme was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British and New Zealand bravery award, for his actions in the 1941 Battle of Crete, where he killed 33 German snipers and other soldiers while dressed in a German paratrooper's smock, historian Glyn Harper writes in his book, In the Face of the Enemy.
The Sunday Star-Times quoted Peter Wills, Auckland University's Centre for Peace Studies deputy director, saying Hulme's actions were ''unsanctioned murder'' and New Zealand should track down the families of his German victims and apologise. Auckland University associate professor of law Bill Hodge said killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform was ''prima facie a war crime''. Harper, who co-wrote the book with Colin Richardson, said Hulme deserved his VC for his outstanding bravery ''but he shouldn't have done what he did (in disguising himself).''
Hulme died in 1982, and his daughter Anita said accusing her father of war crimes was ''a terrible thing to bring up''.
Name of source:
Name of source: LAT
SOURCE: LAT (4-11-06)
Timothy Naftali will oversee the controversial library's metamorphosis into a federal institution, which is expected to house a vast archive of material from the Nixon White House that the federal government has for years refused to turn over to the privately run Yorba Linda facility.
The new director said he would come to his new job neither as a Nixon partisan nor detractor. "I'm too young to have fought in any of the Nixon wars," said Naftali, 44. "My passion is history. I do have a point of view, but I do like to let the chips fall where they may."
The Harvard-trained historian has written at length on counterterrorism and the Cold War, but said he had written about Nixon only tangentially, in his book "Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism." In it, he describes how Nixon responded to a spate of hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s by advocating anti-terrorism measures, including the federal air marshal program.
Naftali is a professor at the University of Virginia and director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the school's Miller Center. He currently oversees the transcription of hundreds of secretly recorded telephone conversations made by presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Nixon.
"Nixon has left perhaps the best-documented presidency because of the tapes, and because he wrote a lot," Naftali said. "Nixon had a layered personality. I don't pretend to be a Nixon expert. I'm going to enjoy seeing what historians make of the material. My goal is to get it out and to create a place where people can come and learn."
John H. Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation, called Naftali "an independent-minded straight shooter" and "an ideal choice" for the job.
Taylor said Naftali's work with presidential recordings was particularly relevant, because the National Archives plans to transfer nearly 4,000 hours of Nixon's presidential tapes to the library, many of which are difficult to hear.
Taylor also pointed to Naftali's expertise on Cold War diplomacy and espionage.
"With a president who was the quintessential Cold War president, who came into national prominence as a result of the Alger Hiss case, you have someone perfectly positioned to help deepen the public understanding of Richard Nixon," Taylor said.
Naftali said he planned to update the library's museum and launch a Nixon oral history project, conferences on Vietnam and Sino-American relations, and a fellowship program for visiting scholars.
Since the Nixon foundation opened the library with private funds in 1990, it has been the only presidential library not part of the National Archives system.
In 1974, amid fears that Nixon would destroy Watergate-related documents, Congress mandated that his White House materials be kept in the Washington area, though lawmakers dropped the requirement two years ago.
Over the next few years, along with the trove of presidential tapes and 46 million pages of presidential materials, the National Archives plans to send the library 350,000 photographs, 4,000 videotapes, and 30,000 artifacts and presidential gifts.
Naftali, who begins work at the library in October, will oversee its metamorphosis into a federal facility, with National Archives staff assuming operational duties.
Critics have long maintained that the library whitewashes the Nixon presidency, particularly his role in the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War.
Last year, the library drew criticism for canceling a symposium on the Vietnam War, and a group of scholars urged Congress to halt the planned transfer of materials from the National Archives to the library, fearing what might happen to them.
Seeking the legitimacy of a place among the 11 other presidential libraries operated by the National Archives, the library has pledged to offer "more strictly factual" exhibits.
Naftali said he would divide his time between the Yorba Linda library and the National Archives in College Park, Md. As the library director, part of his job is to oversee the declassification of more than 1,000 remaining hours of Nixon tapes, he said.
"My bias is for release, and so I will be working closely with the archivist of the United States to make as much of the Nixon record available to the public as possible," Naftali said.
Name of source: Slate & frontpagemag.com
SOURCE: Slate & frontpagemag.com (4-11-06)
At a later 1995 UN special session on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Zahawie was the Iraqi delegate and spoke heatedly about the urgent need to counterbalance Israel's nuclear capacity. At the time, most democratic countries did not have full diplomatic relations with Saddam's regime, and there were few fully accredited Iraqi ambassadors overseas, Iraq's interests often being represented by the genocidal Islamist government of Sudan (incidentally, yet another example of collusion between "secular" Baathists and the fundamentalists who were sheltering Osama Bin Laden). There was one exception—an Iraqi "window" into the world of open diplomacy—namely the mutual recognition between the Baathist regime and the Vatican. To this very important and sensitive post in Rome, Zahawie was appointed in 1997, holding the job of Saddam's ambassador to the Holy See until 2000. Those who knew him at that time remember a man much given to anti-Jewish tirades, with a standing ticket for Wagner performances at Bayreuth. (Actually, as a fan of Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung in particular, I find I can live with this. Hitler secretly preferred sickly kitsch like Franz Lehar.)
In February 1999, Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003.
If the above was all that was known, it would surely be universally agreed that no responsible American administration could have overlooked such an amazingly sinister pattern. Given the past Iraqi record of surreptitious dealing, cheating of inspectors, concealment of sites and caches, and declared ambition to equip the technicians referred to openly in the Baathist press as "nuclear mujahideen," one could scarcely operate on the presumption of innocence....
Name of source: Science Now
SOURCE: Science Now (4-10-06)
No archaeologist has been given permission to do excavations since the U.S. invasion in March 2003 toppled Saddam Hussein. But last month, Italy's National Research Council announced that it had discovered some 500 rare tablets on the surface of Eridu, a desert site in southern Iraq. The team was reconnoitering artifacts and architecture for an online virtual museum project.
According to team member Giovanni Pettinato, an assyriologist at Rome's La Sapienza University, the tablets date from 2600 to 2100 B.C.E. and hold inscriptions featuring an unusually wide variety of literary, lexical, and historical content. He thinks they may have been part of a library.
But the find, which was widely publicized in recent weeks, has puzzled and outraged archaeologists in Iraq and abroad. Eridu was largely abandoned during the period in question, and Elizabeth Stone, an anthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York, says most real libraries were created much later than the dates the Italian team suggests. Stone was part of a U.S. team that inspected the site a month after the war began. The group did spot ancient bricks stamped with kings' names, she says, but such bricks are common and offer little historical information.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (4-11-06)
“When you put cement on its body, it stops the breathing of the limestone” said Council head, Zahi Hawas. At 57 metres long and over 20 metres tall, the Sphinx is one of the largest single stone statues in the world. Its name comes from the Greek word for ‘strangler’ though the monument itself almost certainly predates the Greek legends of Sphinx. It is thought to have been built during the reign of the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Khafre (2558 – 2532 BC) however, due to patterns of what appears to be water erosion, some experts support a theory that it up to 6000 years older. For most of its life it remained buried under sand, thwarting attempts by various teams throughout history to uncover it. Between 1925 and 1936 the French engineer Emile Baraize excavated the body of the Sphinx and exposed the entirety of the statue, apparently for the first time since antiquity. Despite millennia of sandblasting traces of the original paint can still be seen near one ear, suggesting that the great statue was once highly decorated. The last work on the colossal artefact was carried out in 1996.
Name of source: Cultural Heritage News Agency
SOURCE: Cultural Heritage News Agency (4-10-06)
“Prior to this discovery, the remains of an Achaemenid architectural style was found by Iranian-Italian joint team in area no. 73 of Bolaghi Gorge, but the discovery of the remains of clay ovens belonging to the fourth millennium BC headed us to this historical site to find more evidence. Geophysical studies in this area resulted in unearthing a huge building. Three big trenches have been dug for identifying this building. Archeological excavations indicate that this building with stone walls dates back to the Achaemenid era,” said Mojgan Seyedein, Iranian head of Iranian-German joint excavation team.
Name of source: Albuquerque Journal,
SOURCE: Albuquerque Journal, (4-9-06)
Cheney was unhurt but miffed after the peppering, Forrest said. "It did pelt him pretty good," recalled Forrest, now 70. "He said, 'You guys watch where you're shooting!' He was very offended ...
[Click here to read the account in the Wa Po.]
Name of source: outlookindia.com
SOURCE: outlookindia.com (4-17-06)
Located 40 kilometres northwest of Calcutta and spread over about four square miles, Chandraketugarh is a treasure trove of antiques, some dating back to 650 BC. These are being dug up by avaricious locals who form the first link in international gangs of smugglers. There has been little effort to prevent the looting of this rich archaeological site, which has been going on for at least two decades now.
What makes the looting particularly tragic is that these relics could have unveiled little-known aspects of ancient civilisation in Gangetic Bengal.
Chandraketugarh first came to light in the first decade of the last century when some antiques were dug up while laying a road.
Name of source: Sun-Sentinel (Fl)
SOURCE: Sun-Sentinel (Fl) (4-10-06)
"You've got a whole cross-section of Florida maritime history out there off the beach," said state underwater archaeologist Roger Smith. "There's anything from colonial shipwrecks all the way to modern vessels."
Water-logged calling cards from the past, Broward's shipwrecks include a pre-Civil War slave trader and, reportedly, a World War II Nazi submarine sunk in combat.
Name of source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
SOURCE: Richmond Times-Dispatch (4-10-06)
The London Virginia Company in 1606 sent out settlers who landed the following year along the James River on the coast of Virginia. The settlement barely survived Indian raids, disease and severe food shortages, but managed to endure. In 1619, the first representative government of the New World met there.
At Monday's event at Clothworkers Hall in London, British and American descendants of the original pioneers signed commemorative charters that had casts of the seal of King James I, who created the document.
The charter began the "first joint stock company in which people risked capital as well as their lives to travel around the world," said Lord Mayor of London David Brewer.
The Adventurers for Virginia group, based in southwest England, displayed pieces of its New World Tapestry, which depicts the lineage of the families who traveled to settle the colony, as well as other well-known aspects of history.
The tapestry, which took volunteers more than 20 years to complete, consists of 24 panels, totaling 267 feet in length.
Tom Mor, the tapestry's designer, worked with historians to ensure all the depictions were accurate, particularly the family crests.
Mor said his motivation for undertaking the project was his frustration with what he said was a "piece of (British) history that had been forgotten or ignored" in Britain.
Mor said he believes most people assume the Pilgrims, who landed in Massachusetts in 1620, were the first to establish a colony in the U.S. and that the tapestry will set the record straight.
An event Monday night was to include historical readings and musical performances and a look at the relationship between the U.S. and British legal systems, as well as the role of the London Livery Companies in founding the Virginia Company.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (4-10-06)
Jacques Franck - a controversial figure but an acknowledged authority on Leonardo da Vinci - believes he has solved a conundrum which has defeated art experts for almost 500 years. In The Da Vinci Code, the best-selling thriller by Dan Brown, the Mona Lisa is said to contain clues to a 2,000-year-old conspiracy to deny the real character of Jesus Christ.
In real life, M. Franck believes that the painting does contain a code of a different kind - the five-centuries old secrets of a genius whose work has never been surpassed. "From the technical viewpoint, the Mona Lisa has always defeated all understanding," M. Franck said. "How did Leonardo da Vinci do it? I believe that I have the answer."
The Mona Lisa was painted in the early 16th century on a panel of poplar wood. Much of the brushwork on her face and hands is so small that it cannot be picked out by X-ray or microscope: a near-magical method of painting that Leonardo called "sfumato" or "smoky finish". The colour and shading melt into one another without visible joins or boundaries. After years of study and personal experimentation, M. Franck believes he has approximated Leonardo's method, if not the final result. His claims have been rubbished in the past by other Leonardo scholars. They say that he can produce no technical evidence to substantiate his claims.
From this month, however, M. Franck's approach has been given the official backing - or at least an official showing - by one of the leading art museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. As part of an exhibition on Leonardo which lasts until next January, the Uffizi is displaying eight of M. Franck's works. They include six tableaux which demonstrate his theories on the different stages in the creation of one of the Mona Lisa's eyes. The Uffizi is also displaying his re-creations of two other Da Vinci paintings, including Portrait of Saint Anne from the National Gallery in London.
M. Franck, consultant scholar at the Armand Hammer Centre for Leonardo Studies in Los Angeles, believes that the Mona Lisa was painted in hundreds of sessions with a technique of ultra-fine hatching - or criss-crossing of brush strokes - some as tiny as one-fortieth of a millimetre long. He says layers of extremely diluted oil paint were piled up on one another over many years - using perhaps 30 "coats" of paint in all. For his finer work, Leonardo probably painted with a brush in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other. It was through this method, M. Franck says, that Da Vinci achieved the sublime effects which astonished and irritated fellow Italian painters at the time and have puzzled art historians ever since.
Name of source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
SOURCE: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (4-10-06)
Starting in 2008, the Idaho Legislature plans to meet in the courthouse as its century-old Statehouse undergoes a $115 million revamp.
Historic preservationists say they'll fight attempts to remove the murals, products of the Works Progress Administration Artists Project, a federal program that employed jobless artists during the Depression. The 1940 works are part of the building, some historians say.
Still, Indian leaders and many lawmakers say turning the old Ada County Courthouse into Idaho's most public building, even temporarily, will force to state to confront the future of the murals, which one local judge in the 1990s found so offensive he draped an American flag over them. Race relations in Idaho, once home to the white supremacist Aryan Nations group, are a sore spot.
"It's a perfect opportunity to educate the state of Idaho and its citizens on the kind of biases that native people endured," said Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe in northern Idaho. "If we could sit down with the historical society, and have a sit-down with them, we could help make sure this won't happen again in the future."
Some Shoshone-Bannock tribe members, whose traditional territory included Ada County, say the murals make many Indians uncomfortable.
"As an individual member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, those murals do impact people and their feelings," said Claudeo Broncho, of Fort Hall. "They should be painted over."
A week ago, the Legislature approved $5.9 million to begin moving its offices to the Ada County Courthouse, which the state bought five years ago after a new courthouse was built several blocks to the southeast. The 2008 and 2009 sessions will be conducted there while an additional 100,000 square feet of space is added to the existing Capitol. It will be completed by 2010.
Arthur Hart, director emeritus of the Idaho State Historical Society and author of a 2005 book on the courthouse, says removing the murals would detract from their historical significance. They're among 26 separate paintings that were painted in southern California, then shipped to Boise to be mounted in the courthouse in 1940.
While the lynching murals don't represent a known event in Ada County, they're representative of what might have occurred in Idaho and the rest of the West as settlers descended on the region, Hart said.
For instance, Qualchan, a Palouse Indian, was hanged by Col. George Wright near the Idaho-Washington border along a tributary of the Spokane River at the conclusion of the Coeur d'Alene War of 1858. And as many as 400 Shoshone Indians were killed by the U.S. Army Cavalry along the Bear River near present-day Preston in 1863.
"I can understand it's not politically correct anymore," Hart said of the paintings, which for eight years were covered by an American flag at the order of District Judge Gerald Schroeder, now the Idaho Supreme Court chief justice. "But the murals are an integral part of the building."
Tim Mason, who oversees the Ada County Courthouse as administrator of Idaho's public works, says pulling them from the staircase wall - they're attached with a six-decade-old adhesive - would be costly and time-consuming.
Nonetheless, some lawmakers say removal to a local museum might be best, since everybody entering the courthouse would be forced to walk past the murals as they climb steps to where the House and Senate will meet. This year, leaders from Idaho's five American Indian tribes spent much of February inside the Capitol, campaigning on sovereignty issues including gas taxes and tribal gaming rights.
"All of the murals need to be evaluated, both for their appropriateness and their artistic value. I find those offensive," said Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, whose district includes the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.
Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee chairman, said Idaho should be bold in addressing concerns of minorities. The late Richard Butler operated his Aryan Nations headquarters near Hayden Lake for three decades until his death in 2004. Jorgenson said his constituents know well the power of racist symbols or representations - be they swastikas or pictures of Indians being hanged by armed whites.
"We have rapidly improving relations with the tribes," he said. "It's important that this be dealt with."