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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: People's Daily Online
SOURCE: People's Daily Online (1-31-07)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said Japan should take a correct and responsible attitude to history issues in order to win true trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community.
Jiang made the remarks when asked to comment on the plan to make the film about the Nanjing Massacre in December 1937, when Japanese troops killed 300,000 Chinese.
The film reportedly has the tentative title "The Truth About Nanking". The documentary aims to deny Japanese soldiers massacred Chinese civilians and prisoners of war in Nanjing.
ANOTHER SOURCE SAYS ... Source: Asia Media News Daily (linked on Ramzy piece) Date: January 25 JAPAN: Filmmaker to paint Nanjing slaughter as just myth Filmmakers depiction of Nanking massacre finds broad support from politicians, academics who hail the film as correction of distorted facts Japan Times Thursday, January 25, 2007 By Jun Hongo About 40 people, including Diet members, university professors and critics, rallied Wednesday behind a Japanese director's plan to shoot a film putting his spin on the Nanjing Massacre in which he claims the butchery of Chinese by the Japanese Imperial Army is nothing more than political propaganda. In a news conference held to"strike back against an erroneous understanding of history," people including Upper House members Hirofumi Ryu and Jin Matsubara gathered to support Satoru Mizushima, director and producer of"Nanking No Shinjitsu" ("The Truth About Nanjing"), which will depict the filmmaker's account of what took place in 1937. Though not present at the news conference held at a hotel in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, supporters of the film also include Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and well-known journalist Yoshiko Sakurai."Gov. Ishihara has shown his keen support and I am very thankful," said Mizushima, 57, who has taken part in the production of more than 300 films and documentaries, including the 1995 war epic"Minami No Shima Ni Yuki Ga Furu."
Name of source: DPA (German Press Agency)
SOURCE: DPA (German Press Agency) (2-11-07)
The United Evening News said the textbook from one publishing house has ommitted mention of the World War II atrocities committed by the Japanese in China, while the textbooks from four publishing houses only make a brief reference to it...
The 'Rape of Nanking' refers to the massacre which began after Nanking, then the Chinese capital, fell to the Japanese troops on December 13, 1937. Japanese soldiers carried out rape, execution, arson and looting in and around Nanking which lasted for six weeks.
China estimates the total death toll at about 300,000. Japan has denied the Nanking massacre took place and some Japanese rightists plan to make a documentary to deny it happened.
Name of source: Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star
SOURCE: Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star (2-11-07)
Paintings of Abraham Lincoln by Edward Dalton Marchant and Alban Conant were loaned to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency for temporary exhibits...
"We're very excited because the (Marchant) portrait hasn't been out on exhibit that much," said site manager Marcia Young, explaining the portrait was found in storage at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, then displayed for a short time at Morris Library...
Young said historians believe Marchant's portrait of Lincoln may have served as a model for his most famous portrait, the Union League of Philadelphia, which he painted in 1863 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.
The portrait shows a sitting Lincoln. The background shows a broken chain wrapped around a pillar, which symbolizes the end of slavery.
Name of source: Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger
SOURCE: Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger (2-11-07)
Bryant Grocery and Meat Market has been broken by years of neglect and battered by high winds from Hurricane Katrina, but few have forgotten the events during the summer of 1955 that started here with a wolf-whistle and ended with the slaying of a black teenager named Emmett Till.
"Like the Liberty Bell, it's the symbol of the movement," said state Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood. "That ought not to be lost."
Leflore County Tax Assessor Leroy Ware said the store isn't worth a penny on the county's books, but that didn't stop owners from initially asking local officials last year for $40 million for the crumbling store before reducing their price to $4 million.
Local officials say they balked at the price, countering with a $50,000 offer. Talks broke off, and the store has continued to rot, despite being placed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust's list of 10 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (2-12-07)
A controversial Italian senator and bibliophile, Marcello Dell'Utri, told the newspaper Corriere della Sera that the books were with a lawyer at Bellinzona, in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. He said he examined them last summer and found five day-to-a-page Red Cross diaries covering the years from 1935 to 1939...
Valerio Castronovo, a professor of contemporary history at the University of Turin, was cautious. "Lots of [Mussolini diaries] have surfaced in the past 20 years and none has been found to be genuine."
But the British historian Denis Mack Smith said yesterday he thought the diaries might be from the same collection as one he examined 20-30 years ago. "I had no reason to doubt their authenticity," he said. "But they were just boring ... the sort of things you or I might write."
SOURCE: Guardian (2-10-07)
Days after Hitler's rise to power, Leitz, who manufactured the Leica camera, began taking on a string of young Jewish apprentices from the town of Wetzlar where his optics factory began producing Leicas in 1925. He purposely trained them so that he could transfer them to New York to work in the Leica showroom on Fifth Avenue or at distributors across the US and thus rescue them from the fate that was to befall many other Jews.
Others were able to escape punishment for being related to Jews by marriage, thanks to Leitz's intervention. The numbers he saved, about 50 sent to the US plus 23 others, are much smaller than those rescued by Sudeten German industrialist Oskar Schindler, to whom he is being compared. But the risks he took were arguably just as high.
Only now have details of the Leica refugees come to light, thanks to the detective work of a London-based rabbi...
SOURCE: Guardian (2-9-07)
Washington's ambassador to Vietnam said that the US would contribute $400,000 (£210,000) to a $1m study to find ways to removed the highly toxic chemical, dioxin, from earth at the war-era air force base at Danang.
It is one of three hotspots at air bases identified by US scientists, though 70m litres of the chemicals were dropped on southern Vietnam between 1961 and 1975 to strip trees of foliage and expose enemy positions and supply routes.
The move, announced at a joint media conference in Hanoi, is symbolically significant as the US has always rejected Vietnam's claims that Agent Orange — so-called because it was stored in orange barrels — caused birth defects and diseases in four million people.
The US always refused to pay compensation to the millions of Vietnamese said to have suffered from Agent Orange's effects, maintaining there was no proven scientific link. A court action brought against 37 American chemical companies by a group of Vietnamese was dismissed by US courts in 2005, but an appeal has been launched.
SOURCE: Guardian (2-8-07)
The coins, urns, sculptures and mosaics from Iberian, Roman and Islamic settlements were stolen at night using metal detectors, historical maps of the digs and excavation manuals, police said. Sometimes watchmen collaborated with the thieves, letting them into sites and keeping a lookout.
Most of the 31 sites plundered were in the province of Seville, rich in ruins from Roman and Moorish times. Others were in the southern cities of Cadiz and Malaga...
Police learned about the antiquities ring during an investigation of illegal underwater looters who scavenged the Bay of Cadiz in search of shipwrecks and treasure from Spanish galleons. The underwater pirates used hi-tech equipment such as a submersible robot worth nearly £400,000 to identify, salvage and treat artifacts from the wrecks.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (2-11-07)
Out came the yellow legal pad, and in his distinctively neat, deliberate hand, Mr. Cheney laid out the “problem,” “goals” while addressing it, and “options.” These last included “Start FBI investigation — with or w/o public announcement. As targets include NYT, Sy Hersh, potential gov’t sources.”
Mr. Cheney’s notes, now in the Gerald R. Ford presidential library, collected and synthesized the views of lawyers, diplomats, spies and military officials, but his own views shine through. He is hostile to the press and to Congress, insistent on the prerogatives of the executive branch and adamant about the importance of national security secrets.
SOURCE: NYT (2-11-07)
The proposal by Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville, to commemorate Jan. 29 as ''Thomas Paine Day'' failed in the state House of Representatives after a legislator questioned Paine's writings criticizing the Bible and Christianity.
The vote Thursday was 46-20 in favor of the measure, but 51 votes were needed to pass.
Smith said before the vote that Arkansas would join nine other states that have established Thomas Paine Day. She said the day would not be considered a state holiday and would not require any additional costs.
''I think if Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were standing here today, they would give you the same presentation about Thomas Paine,'' Smith said. ''He needs to be remembered and he's not remembered.''
But Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, R-Little Rock, quizzed Smith about Paine and quoted passages from Paine's book, ''The Age of Reason,'' which Rosenbaum criticized as anti-religion.
''He did some good things for the nation, but the book that he wrote was anti-Christian and anti-Jewish,'' Rosenbaum said. ''I don't think we should be passing things out like this without at least debating it and letting people in the House know what we're voting on.''
Name of source: Independent
SOURCE: Independent (2-11-07)
The home is revered by millions of Sherlock Holmes devotees around the world. Campaigners are furious that their efforts to upgrade the listed status of the 36-room property in Surrey, designed partly by Conan Doyle himself, to preserve it for future generations, have been blocked by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The writer was judged not significant enough to merit such a move.
Leading writers -- including Julian Barnes and Ian Rankin -- have condemned the Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, for failing to recognise the author's place in the nation's cultural canon.
Barnes, whose own Booker-shortlisted novel Arthur & George features the home extensively, has criticised Ms Jowell for the "regrettable" failing.
SOURCE: Independent (2-9-07)
But now the area eulogised by Brooke for its "peace and Holy quiet" has been hit by a crime wave, with the Old Vicarage itself -- home of disgraced author and Conservative peer Jeffrey Archer -- the scene of the latest outbreak.
Two life-size sculptures, worth several thousand pounds each, were stolen on Tuesday evening from the garden of the Old Vicarage in the latest in a series of metal thefts in the region. Police believe the scrap is being stolen and shipped to the Far East for recasting...
The Old Vicarage was built around 1685, passing into private hands in 1820. From about 1910 onwards, Brooke rented a room and then a larger part of the house. He wrote the poem, "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester", in Berlin in 1912, as a lament for his much-missed English village home. After the poet's death in 1915, the house was bought by his mother.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (2-9-07)
It is a long, and satisfyingly complex, story. But it can be summed up with one question: What happened to “The Battle of Anghiari,” a grimacing crunch of men and horses considered by some experts to be Leonardo’s greatest painting?
Mr. Seracini thinks he knows, and he was recently given permission to restart his search, which involves using the most modern detecting equipment to peer through a 500-year-old wall in the Palazzo Vecchio here. On that wall, in 2002, he found a tantalizing crevice behind a Vasari fresco where the Leonardo may be.
If he succeeds, he could bring to light what one Leonardo scholar calls potentially “one of the great art finds of all time.” Or he could find nothing. Or he could find the painting wrecked by time and its own defects. In any case, after three obsessive decades Mr. Seracini is very much on the hook.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (2-9-07)
But some groups broke with the main umbrella organization and said the law need to be revoked, not amended...
Many in Turkey consider the law, known as Article 301, to be at the root of the murder of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink last month. According to this argument, his conviction under the article, for comments he made about the mass killings of Armenians by Turkish forces in the early 20th century, branded him a traitor in the eyes of many Turks and put his life in jeopardy.
For Turkey, the Armenian question is among the thorniest issues of free speech, since a characterization of the killings as genocide is often interpreted by the courts as an "insult against the Turkish state" under Article 301.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (2-7-07)
It moved quickly to waging an armed struggle against the capitalist system. This involved bank robberies, bomb attacks on government buildings and U.S. military sites, kidnappings and assassinations.
Rohwedder has returned to the news over the past few days because of the intense and emotional debate surrounding the fate of two leading Red Army Faction terrorists, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar. Each has spent 24 years behind bars. Both are hoping to be freed this year.
Mohnhaupt, 57, is serving five life sentences plus 15 years for her involvement in the murders of a banker, a prosecutor and the president of the employer's federation. Unlike other Red Army Faction prisoners, she has never spoken to journalists, has never applied for clemency and has never expressed regret for her crimes.
In most countries, a terrorist with such a record would never stand a chance for parole. But in Germany, life sentences rarely mean life in prison.
Name of source: Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press
SOURCE: Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press (2-9-07)
Made up of prominent figures based in the Williamsburg area, the group believes that the documentary evidence on which the identification is partly based actually refers to a Richmond-area settlement known as Henricus.
They also have questions about the date of a group of artifacts originally recovered at the Lynnhaven River site in the 1950s.
"I'd never heard of any settlement in that area dating to 1610 and - just in case I missed it - I began asking around. No one else had heard of it, either," said archaeologist Nicholas Luccketti, head of the James River Institute for Archaeology and a co-discoverer of Jamestown.
"Everyone agrees that the reference we've seen is to Henricus. So unless he's got something that none of us has ever seen, his documents do not refer to someplace that is now in Virginia Beach."
Name of source: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com
SOURCE: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com (2-9-07)
Are those godless secularists trying to take on the trappings of religion? Not at all, says Robert Stephens, one of the organizers behind Darwin Day. "We're not trying to make a saint out of Darwin," he said. "We're just using him as a symbol." Stephens and his colleagues say this long holiday weekend is as good a time as any to turn science into a cause for celebration.
Name of source: http://cbs2chicago.com
SOURCE: http://cbs2chicago.com (2-8-07)
But it does have the Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest the southern part of the state.
That is just one in a list of sites and attractions that have been nominated in a contest to choose the Seven Wonders of Illinois.
Anything from historic sites to cheesy tourist attractions can be nominated. ...
Name of source: http://www.middle-east-online.com
SOURCE: http://www.middle-east-online.com (2-8-07)
"We have made some fantastic discoveries not only for the history of Rabat but of the kingdom," said archaeologist and historian Mohammed Essemmar.
Essemmar, 43, heads the heritage department of the agency in charge of redeveloping the Bouregreg valley, a watercourse linking the twin cities of Rabat and Sale.
Roman columns and capitals, 12th-century enclosing walls, Islamic ceramics and coins have emerged from the sands.
The prize discovery in the 2,500 square-metre (27,000 square feet) site is the enclosing wall of the Tachfin "ribat,"or military camp, attached to the Oudayas casbah, dating from the 12th century and completed during the brief reign of Almoravid dynasty King Tachfin ben Ali (1143-1145).
Name of source: Breitbart
SOURCE: Breitbart (2-10-07)
Harry Stein sits nose-to-screen, squinting at the fuzzy digits in column after column on faded microfilm, searching for clues to a mystery: Who was Auschwitz inmate 185403?
The number was tattooed on the left forearm of one of the thousands who were processed through Auschwitz, shipped off to Buchenwald concentration camp, and never seen again.
Male? Female? Old? Young? Jewish? Christian? Reason for arrest? The list Stein is scrutinizing says nothing. There's only that number.
More than six decades after the Nazi Holocaust ended, historians such as Stein are still struggling with a gargantuan task _ to make a semblance of order among hundreds of thousands of dead by finding, at least, their names.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (2-10-07)
While there were more than 60,000 Mandaeans in Iraq in the early 1990s, only about 5,000 to 7,000 remain. Many have fled amid targeted killings, rapes, forced conversions and property confiscation by Islamic extremists, according to a report released last week by the New Jersey-based Mandaean Society of America...
Mandaean leaders say tens of thousands of their brethren are scattered around the world, including a U.S. community centered around New York and Detroit.
With the dispersion comes concern that the faith is withering, especially as more Mandaeans marry non-Mandaeans, with no mechanism to bring their children into the fold.
"There's not much hope for us to survive to two or three generations," Nashi said.
Scholars who study the Mandaean religion and culture say its extinction would be a great loss, the end of an ancient religious movement. Dating to the time of the Roman Empire, it survived primarily in what is today Iraq and Iran, a branch of the Gnostic movement that borrowed elements of Christianity.
The Williamsburg-area group thinks the documentary evidence on which the identification is partly based actually refers to a Richmond-area settlement known as Henricus. They also have questions about the date of a group of artifacts originally recovered at the Virginia Beach site in the 1950s.
'I'd never heard of any settlement in that area dating to 1610 and _ just in case I missed it _ I began asking around. No one else had heard of it, either,' said archaeologist Nicholas Luccketti, head of the James River Institute for Archaeology and a discoverer of Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement.
'Everyone agrees that the reference we've seen is to Henricus,' Luccketti said. 'So unless he's got something that none of us has ever seen, his documents do not refer to someplace that is now in Virginia Beach.'
Archaeologist Randy Amici, who is based at Fort Eustis in Newport News, began to suspect the existence of the previously unrecognized settlement while he studied archaeological resources at and in the vicinity of Fort Story in Virginia Beach.
His primary evidence includes a 1613 letter in which Lt. Gov. Samuel Argall discusses sending a ship to fish off Cape Charles, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, then transporting the catch 'to Henries Towne for the reliefe of such men as were there.'
He also relies upon a new interpretation of 17th-century artifacts recovered from a site near the west bank of the Lynnhaven River in 1955.
Amici agreed to meet with the group, which includes historians Martha McCartney and James Horn and archaeologists Ivor Noel Hume and William Kelso, after they contacted him with questions.
He said that he has found additional supporting evidence.
'We've found five primary documents that indicate our argument is correct _ and this evidence is unmistakable,' he said. 'So we're sticking to our story.'
The incandescent light bulb, perfected for mass use by Thomas A. Edison in the late 19th century, is being supplanted by fluorescent lighting that is more efficient and longer lasting.
Last month, California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine announced he would propose a bill to ban the use of incandescent bulbs in his state.
And Thursday, New Jersey Assemblyman Larry Chatzidakis introduced a bill that calls for the state to switch to fluorescent lighting in government buildings over the next three years.
"The light bulb was invented a long time ago and a lot of things have changed since then," said Chatzidakis, a Republican from Burlington. "I obviously respect the memory of Thomas Edison, but what we're looking at here is using less energy."
In another sign of the new interest, a rabbi ministering to the city's Jewish community said Thursday he believes officials will eventually turn over the other synagogue for regular worship services.
The restoration of the Ohel Moishe synagogue, now a Jewish history museum, is due to take five months. The budget hasn't been revealed, although reports said the government has already spent $1.3 million on fixing up the surrounding area and promoting it as a tourist site.
It was at that fort, just two miles west of the state Capitol, that Swiss explorer Johann Sutter set it all in motion when he built his adobe trading post in 1839 on land that was then Mexican territory.
What remains of the fort is now a state historical site that encompasses just one square city block. It is perched one block from a freeway and is surrounded on all sides by modern city life, including a hospital, restaurants and homes.
Underneath an intersection next to the fort, however, archaeologists said Thursday that they found another piece of the city's, and California's, history: human remains they believe date to the Gold Rush era.
A skeleton, with shreds of "Western-style clothing" still identifiable, was found inside a deteriorating wooden coffin by construction workers who are plowing underground to build a new medical facility.
Speaking at a conference marking 125 years since Roosevelt's birth, Vladislav Surkov, the deputy chief of staff seen as the Kremlin's main ideologue, drew a parallel between one of America's most famous Democrats and a Russian leader who has been accused by Washington of backtracking on democracy...
"Like Roosevelt in his time, today Putin must and should strengthen administrative control and use the potential of presidential power to the maximum degree for the sake of overcoming the crisis," RIA-Novosti quoted him as saying.
"In the 20th century, Roosevelt was our military ally, and in the 21st century he is our ideological ally," the agency quoted him as saying.
The Akron, Ohio-based hall of fame was founded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations. It has inducted members since 1973 and will have honored 331 inventors with the new class.
The hall once was at the Patent Office in Washington, but has been in Akron since 1995.
The new inductees include seven living and 11 deceased inventors. Two induction ceremonies will take place in May in Akron.
Muslim leaders ridiculed the idea, and Israeli police were on heightened alert before Friday Muslim prayers at the site, imposing travel restrictions and planning for a helicopter to hover overhead.
Israel says it needs to replace a centuries-old earthen ramp leading to the hilltop compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, which was damaged heavily in a 2004 snowstorm. It has promised the work would not harm Islamic shrines at the site, some 60 yards away, but those assurances have not calmed Muslim outrage over the project.
Lawmaker Israel Hasson said he proposed installing cameras so "all the Arab world would be able to see everything that goes on there."
SOURCE: AP (2-7-07)
The recordings are to be placed at the Library of Congress and in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution's future National Museum of African American History and Culture...
The CPB is funding the $1.4 million StoryCorps Griot project. Part of the project's name, "griot," is derived from the West African tradition of storytelling where a respected tribe member, a "griot," is a living repository of the community's history.
The first recording sessions are planned for Feb. 15 in Atlanta through a mobile recording studio that will stop in nine cities over the next year. The mobile recording units also will travel to Chicago; Clarksdale, Miss.; Detroit; Memphis, Tenn.; Montgomery, Ala.; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; and Selma, Ala.
Name of source: Los Angeles Times
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (2-9-07)
The clash outside the Al Aqsa mosque set off protests across the Muslim world and scattered violence in the West Bank. It came a day after the rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah agreed to end months of factional fighting, a step that some Israeli leaders believe could lead to stepped up attacks against the Jewish state.
Friday's 90-minute battle erupted at the end of noon prayers and forced about 150 protesters to retreat into the mosque and set up barricades. The standoff ended when an Arab member of the Israeli parliament persuaded the protesters and the 200 police officers to leave the compound peacefully.
Name of source: UPI
SOURCE: UPI (2-9-07)
Wiesel was accosted in the elevator at the Argent Hotel, where he was attending a conference on "Facing Violence: Justice, Religion and Conflict Resolution," police said. A man insisted on interviewing Wiesel, who agreed but said they would talk in the hotel lobby.
Police Sgt. Neville Gittens told the San Francisco Chronicle the man stopped the elevator and tried to force Wiesel into a room on the sixth floor. Wiesel, yelling, was able to break free and get to the lobby, where he called police.
A man using the name Eric Hunt posted an account of the attack on an anti-Semitic Web site and claimed to be the person who approached Wiesel, the Chronicle said.
"I had planned to bring Wiesel to my hotel room, where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, 'Night,' is almost entirely fictitious," Hunt wrote.
SOURCE: UPI (2-8-07)
Koichiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, said Thursday he has written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking for the construction plans for the sites. He also asked the prime minister to refrain from action that could increase tension in the area, which could endanger the historic sites.
The Old City of Jerusalem is protected by a U.N. convention on the preservation of world heritage sites and is on the U.N. World Heritage List, according to a press release from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Name of source: NPR All Things Considered (includes audio link)
SOURCE: NPR All Things Considered (includes audio link) (2-9-07)
The missile was never launched. And the site is now a National Historic Landmark that hosts a museum dedicated to the Titan 2 Missile.
Yvonne Morris led a crew in the 1980s that was trained to respond to launch orders that they hoped would never come...Morris is now the director of the museum where the Titan 2 still rests in its silo. It's the last of 54 such missiles that were clustered in Arizona, Arkansas and Kansas. The rest have been destroyed. The Command Post deep inside the ground is like something from a sci-fi movie. Mint green metal panels are full of blinking lights, large switches, dials, and meters...
Name of source: Chicago Tribune
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (2-9-07)
The crimson-domed Old State Capitol, just east of the present Illinois capitol, is where Lincoln served his fourth and final term as a state representative in 1840-41. And it's where, in 1858, in a debate with Stephen Douglas during their campaign battle for the U.S. Senate, Lincoln gave his "House Divided" speech...
Such Lincoln associations are golden in American politics.
But the Old State Capitol has other, less attractive associations as well.
A plaque, on a kiosk in the plaza just south of the building, commemorates the spot as "the departure point of the Donner Party on April 15, 1846, for their ill-fated trip to California."...
Name of source: Lee White in the newsletter of the National Coalition for History
SOURCE: Lee White in the newsletter of the National Coalition for History (2-9-07)
The Academies for American History and Civics, which supports workshops for teachers and students in those subjects, would be see their $2 million budget zeroed out.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION: The Bush administration’s proposed fiscal year 2008 budget calls for $379.5 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This is an increase of $39.5 million over the FY 2007 appropriations of $340 million which is expected to be enacted as a year-long continuing resolution by the Congress.
Under the President’s FY 2008 request, NARA would receive $312.8 million for operating expenses; an increase of $34.6 million over the FY 2007 expected appropriation of $278.2 million. This includes funds to prepare for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, provide oversight by the agency’s Inspector General of the work to develop ways to preserve electronic records, and to continue work on reducing the backlog of unprocessed text records.
The operating expenses also include funds for the operation of the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, which will become part of the NARA system of presidential libraries this year after being a privately-run institution since 1990.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) once again had its budget zeroed out in the Bush administration’s FY ‘08 budget request, and our annual battle to restore funding for this vital program begins anew.
The Electronic Records Archives (ERA) program, a key NARA strategic goal aimed at providing a means to preserve electronic records and make them more accessible in the future, is funded in the FY 2008 request at $58 million which is $13 million over the expected FY 2007 appropriation. This higher funding level for ERA will allow NARA to maintain progress on increment 1 of the system, which is scheduled to begin this fall.
For repairs and restoration to facilities owned by NARA, such as the National Archives at College Park, the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, and the presidential libraries, the President's FY
2008 budget requests $8.6 million.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE–HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROGRAMS: Overall, the National Park Service would receive the largest budget increase in its history, an additional $258 million over the amount it received in fiscal year 2006. The centerpiece of the budget is the "National Parks Centennial Initiative," a ten-year effort to improve the nation’s parks prior to the NPS centennial in 2016. In releasing the budget, President Bush announced the “National Parks Centennial Challenge,” which has the potential of providing $3 billion in new funds over the next ten years. It includes a federal commitment of $100 million annually in discretionary funds, and a challenge to the private sector and the public to contribute $100 million, with a match of another $100 million in mandatory federal funding.
The 2008 budget includes $63.7 million for historic preservation programs. The budget allocates $10 million for the "Save America’s Treasures" program, $10 million for "Preserve America," and $43.7 million for historic preservation grants-in-aid to states, territories and Indian tribes. It would also establish a National Inventory of Historic Properties grant program. Matching grants of $4 million would be available to states, tribes, local governments, and federal land management agencies to make inventories more accessible. The budget also provides $10 million for heritage areas. The Heritage Partnership Program provides seed money for congressionally designated, but locally managed, national heritage areas.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES: The National Endowment for the Humanities would see a small increase of $400,000 over the amount the administration requested last year for total funding of $141 million. The “We the People” initiative that focuses on the teaching and learning of American history and culture would receive $15.2 million. Two new “We the People” programs would be initiated. The “We The People Videoshelf” would distribute American films that focus on historical events and themes to libraries nationwide. The second program would be run in conjunction with the State Department and bring foreign school teachers and humanities practitioners to the U.S. to participate in Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops.
The NEH’s new Digital Humanities Initiative would receive funding of $1.4 million, which will support projects that use, or study the impact of, digital technology on research, education, preservation, and public programming in the humanities.
Funding for NEH’s Federal and State Partnership programs would increase by $133,000, but Education, Preservation and Access, Public Programs, Research, and Challenge Grants would all be cut.
The National Endowment for the Arts would receive $128.4 million or a $4 million increase.
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION: The budget request for the Smithsonian is $678.4 million. Of that amount, $571.3 million is for salaries and expenses and the facilities capital budget is $107.1 million. Included in the request is nearly $10 million for planning and staffing of the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which will eventually be built on the National Mall. The capital budget will help fund the continuing renovation of the National Museum of American History-Behring Center, which is scheduled to reopen in 2008.
INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES: The President’s budget request for the Institute of Museum and Library Services is $271 million, which is
$24 million or almost 10 percent more than it received in 2006. Library grants would be funded at $214 million and museum grants at almost $40 million. These amounts reflect nearly $8 million in new funding for each grant program.
Both the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation would be flat-funded at $9 million and $6 million respectively.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (2-9-07)
Jerusalem 'tense' after clashes
SOURCE: BBC News (2-9-07)
History teacher training places have been cut by 40% since 2004, according to data obtained by Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Sarah Teather...Ms Teather said many schools were struggling to fill history posts and that a third of teachers were over 50.
The figures emerged shortly after Education Secretary Alan Johnson said he wanted to use teaching about slavery and the legacy of the British Empire as part of citizenship lessons...
"It's so short-sighted to write off history as a low priority subject. In the next decade we are going to see the majority of history teachers hit retirement age," Ms Teather said. "Without a real effort to get young, dynamic graduates into the classroom there's a risk of a whole generation of pupils missing out on a core plank of their education."...
The concerns were reflected by the Historical Association, which represents history teachers.
Name of source: German Press Agency
SOURCE: German Press Agency (2-9-07)
Basilica of St Peter's during the last 17 years of his life, according to a report Friday in daily La Repubblica. The report cites a recently discovered receipt dating back to March 1557, in which an engraver was paid "10 scudi" for making a key
for a chest "in the room in St Peter's where Master Michelangelo retires to."
Historians had always suspected that the great Renaissance artist spent his last years inside the Vatican. But this is the first time that evidence has been found to corroborate their theory and pinpoint its exact location.
"Michelangelo lived inside the basilica. No one before had been able to verify it. This document casts new light on a theory that until yesterday we could only imagine," art historian Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella told La Repubblica.
Michelangelo's alleged room is now a library inside the basilica's Historic Archive, which is positioned behind the church's dome. Researchers use it to study its documents and commonly refer to it as "Michelangelo's room."
Michelangelo is thought to have lived there from January 1547 until his death, which took place on February 18, 1564. The basilica was still under construction at the time.
The artist had previously worked on his famous Last Judgment fresco in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, between 1534 and 1541.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (2-8-07)
The dig, outside a compound housing the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque, has exposed the depth of Arab suspicions over Israeli activities in Arab East Jerusalem and the simmering tensions between Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
Arab states have asked Israel to halt the work at Islam's third holiest shrine, charging it could damage the mosque's foundations. Palestinian militants have threatened to end a three-month old Gaza truce with Israel.
Israel said the holy places would not be harmed by what it called an attempt, mandated by law, to salvage artifacts before construction of a pedestrian bridge leading to the complex known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount.
SOURCE: Reuters (2-8-07)
Rep. Mike Honda, a California Democrat who introduced the nonbinding measure on February 1, told reporters he was confident the resolution would pass by the end of March...
Honda's resolution calls on the government of Japan to "formally and unambiguously apologize for and acknowledge the tragedy that comfort women endured at the hands of its Imperial Army during World War Two."
"Comfort women" is a Japanese euphemism for the estimated 200,000 women forced to provide sex for Japan's soldiers at battle-zone brothels during World War Two.
Name of source: Press Association
SOURCE: Press Association (2-9-07)
The news will raise questions over the memoirs Mr Blair is expected to write after he leaves 10 Downing Street later this year.
Publishers are believed to be queuing up to get their hands on what will be one of the biggest political books of the decade, potentially earning millions of pounds for Mr Blair.
But they now know that he will not have the benefit of a detailed record of his private thoughts, discussions and feelings to draw on when recreating the story of his 10 years in office.
Name of source: Philadelphia Inquirer
SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer (1-26-07)
"In the 18th century, if it took two years to get something, it was still worthwhile doing," says Marcus Linell, Sotheby's Export-porcelain expert in London. "There was this incredible passion in Europe, and America as well, for tea and for coffee -- stimulating drinks that were not alcoholic. And if you want to drink a hot drink, unless you have porcelain to drink out of, it's something of a problem."...
The cargo [being] sold at Sotheby's...includes thousands of tea bowls, teapots, jugs, mantel vases and figural pieces, such as a rare ewer in the form of a monkey. Though many pieces were recoverable in good condition, the sale also includes lots of fascinating "sea sculptures" - nested porcelain pieces welded together by encrustations.
The sale is being held in Amsterdam because the wreck took place on the trading route of the Dutch East India Company, as the loaded junk made its way from Canton to the trading center at Batavia (modern-day Jakarta)...
"The cargo was an accidental find by Vietnamese fishermen. They pulled up their nets, and there was porcelain in them. They quickly discovered that the porcelain was valuable, and they went out day after day trawling for porcelain. In fact, they brought up 35,000 pieces."
When news of the find reached the Vietnamese press in 1998, Linell says: "The government jumped in, mounted an official salvage operation, and forced the fishermen to return what they had found." Eventually, 130,000 pieces were recovered from one ship, an indication of the huge amounts that were exported each year.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (2-8-07)
Up to 50,000 young men became Bevin Boys, named after wartime minister Ernest Bevin, who devised the scheme to maintain the mining industry's output.
The Bevin Boys Association has long campaigned for its members' efforts to be recognition as war service.
Veterans Minister Derek Twigg agreed to badges being struck for the survivors.
It was in 1942 that, due to a serious shortage of coal, Ernest Bevin introduced various schemes to get extra men to go into the coal mines.
Name of source: MSNBC
SOURCE: MSNBC (2-8-07)
A new study shows that Darwin was composing the introductory chapter to his book as early as 1856, even though that preface remained unpublished for six years until Origin's second edition. The findings suggest Darwin also wrote the chapter on his own accord and not in reaction to people who had read the book.
The original edition of the landmark book was published in 1859, without any introductory material. Still a public flash point today, "Origin" drew initial outcries, in part for the missing preface in which an author of the time typically would have credited and thanked his intellectual predecessors. One scientist accused Darwin of plagiarism for failing to acknowledge the giants whose work allowed him to see farther.
A year later, a new edition of the classic was published with a preface describing and crediting the intellectual work upon which natural selection rests.
Darwin historians have assumed the chapter "Historical Sketch" was penned as an afterthought, in response to his critics and accusations that his ideas were not original. However, Darwin's personal correspondence shows that the sketch was actually written prior to the first printing of the book, said political historian Curtis Johnson of Lewis and Clark College, whose detailed study of the preface is published in the January issue of the Journal of the History of Biology.
Name of source: Catholic News Service
SOURCE: Catholic News Service (2-8-07)
Nuns who researched Interior Ministry files found that no more than 30 people associated with women religious had been recruited by secret police during the 1980s, when collaborators were most active, said Mother Jolanta Olech, a member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of the Agonized Jesus and president of Poland's Conference of Superiors of Female Religious Orders.
"Even the 30 informers we know about could include laypeople who worked in convents, as well as priests who came as chaplains and are noted as agents," Mother Jolanta said.
The communist secret police "tried to catch anyone of importance: superiors, catechists, sisters working for church institutions, even nuns from closed orders who seldom left their convents," Mother Jolanta said. "But they didn't succeed.
"Overall, nuns probably weren't as interesting ... as priests – we don't hold high positions in the church or have the same possibilities," she said. "But the documentation shows nuns were much tougher to recruit than priests. We can certainly say that, in this very difficult situation, the sisters passed the test."
At least 10 percent of priests are estimated to have acted as informers under communist rule, which lasted in Poland from 1947 to 1989, according to the official National Remembrance Institute.
Most of the country's 44 dioceses and at least 30 religious orders have set up commissions to investigate possible collaboration following the early January resignation of Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw after he admitted to working with communist secret police. Some Catholics have criticized the commissions because they are staffed by clergy and have not said when they would publish their findings.
Mother Jolanta said the secret police showed most interest in larger orders.
Police "were interested in absolutely everything, from the color of someone's stockings and what they ate for breakfast, to really important things such as attitudes to the Second Vatican Council," she said. "Their aim was to collect lots of little stones and form a mosaic."
A Polish church historian, Jan Zaryn, told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily Feb. 7 religious sisters were harder to blackmail than male clergy because of their stronger rules and traditions of obedience.
He added that unsuccessful efforts were made to force nuns to place bugs in local rectories or to accuse priests of sexual harassment.
Name of source: Rediff (India)
SOURCE: Rediff (India) (2-8-07)
On September 12, 1745, the Swedish ship East Indiaman Gotheborg almost reached the Gothenburg dock on Sweden's west coast after completing 30 months of her third voyage to China.
The ship -- belonging to the Swedish East India Company, which was established in 1731 to trade in southeast Asia -- was on a trade voyage, with goods like tea, porcelain, silk and spices worth millions on board. But she sank at the entrance of the dock.
The world forgot about her, till December 1984 when amateur divers working for the Marine Museum of Sweden found a part of the shipwreck -- a small piece of wood -- beside the submerged rock, Hunnebadan, 900 metres from the New Elfsborg Fortress.
That was when the idea to make a replica of the Gotheborg originated. In June 1995, the keel of the new Gotheborg was laid at Gothenburg's Terra Nova shipyard. On October 2, 2005, the new Gotheborg left on its first two-year-long sailing expedition on the historical route to China.
En route to China, the Gotheborg called on several ports, including Cadiz in Spain, Cape Town in South Africa, Fremantle in Australia, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Singapore, before arriving in Chennai, India.
Name of source: Newsweek
SOURCE: Newsweek (2-12-07)
He compared his situation to the crisis Harry Truman faced in the early days of the cold war. Then, as now, Bush said, the United States confronted a dangerous ideological foe. Truman had answered with the Truman Doctrine, a vow to protect free peoples wherever they were threatened with communist domination. Truman's policies had been unpopular in their time, but "history showed he was right," said Bush, according to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.
The Truman comparison didn't seem quite right to Durbin. When the president went to him for comment, Durbin voiced his doubts. "Harry Truman had allies," Durbin pointed out. The Truman administration had helped create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to contain communism. After Britain withdraws its troops later this year, Durbin says he told Bush, "we will be virtually alone in what we are trying to accomplish there." Durbin says that Bush did not become angry, but he did seem irritated and "insisted that this was an ideological struggle, which wasn't my point at all," says Durbin. "He was very defensive." (White House spokesman Tony Snow confirmed the exchange between Bush and Durbin but said "the president was not really trying to compare himself to Harry Truman so much as to talk about the duration and nature of the struggle.")
Bush's grasp of history may have been a little shaky, but there is no doubting the force of his conviction. Bush wants his legacy to be the long-term defeat of Islamic extremism. Indeed, senior officials close to Bush who did not wish to be identified discussing private conversations with the president tell NEWSWEEK that Bush's plan after he leaves the White House is to continue to promote the spread of democracy in the Middle East by inviting world leaders to his own policy institute, to be built alongside his presidential library.
Many presidents find solace in comparing themselves to their predecessors, the only people who could truly understand the job at hand. Truman is a favorite, particularly for presidents with low poll numbers. By 1952, the last year of his presidency, Truman's approval rating sank as low as 22 percent, about 10 points lower than Bush's. David McCullough, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "Truman," tells NEWSWEEK that, faced with an uphill re-election fight in 1992, George H.W. Bush invited McCullough to the White House to talk about how Truman had beaten the odds in the 1948 campaign (unlike Truman, Bush lost his re-election bid). The two Roosevelts and Lincoln, of course, are popular role models. Bill Clinton, who spent many hours in office fretting over his legacy, lamented that he might not rank highly because he lacked the opportunity to be a "war president"—perhaps overlooking in his meditations the impact of the Lewinsky scandal.
SOURCE: Newsweek (2-12-07)
Washington's new book, "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present," reveals that the 40-year Tuskegee study—which allowed black men with syphilis to die untreated so their cadavers could be used for research—was neither the first nor the last time that unwitting black subjects were exploited by medical researchers in the United States. "Tuskegee is just the most well-known example," says Washington, currently a visiting scholar at DePaul Law School.
"Medical Apartheid" starts with the chilling story of John (Fed) Brown, an escaped slave in 1855 who recalled his owner, a doctor, causing blisters on his arms and legs to see "how deep his black skin went." The study, if that's the word for it, had no therapeutic value. It reflected a distorted fascination with the outward appearance of African-Americans at a time when racial differences were thought to be much more than skin deep.
"One thing that surprised me," Washington told NEWSWEEK, "was the brutal honesty of the doctors' notes. There was no hiding their racist views. They made it clear how they felt about African-Americans and saw no problem with what they were doing. They were proud to write it down."
Name of source: Footnote.com press release
SOURCE: Footnote.com press release (2-6-07)
[Searching and index browsing is free online outside the NARA centers at Footnote.com but external access to most content is by subscription. See http://www.footnote.com/freedocuments.php]
According to Professor Weinstein, "It [the new service] will immediately allow much greater access to approximately 4.5 million pages of important documents that are currently available only in their original format or on microfilm." Professor Weinstein, along with Mr. Wilding, will be at Archives I in Washington DC to commemorate this important occasion.
NARA and Footnote, Inc. previously announced an agreement to digitize selected records from the vast holdings of the National Archives. This non-exclusive agreement, beginning with the sizeable collection of materials currently on microfilm, enables researchers and the general public to access millions of newly-digitized images of NARA historical records, which now can be accessed for free at the NARA research centers.
Name of source: Telegraph
SOURCE: Telegraph (2-8-07)
The details were revealed in yesterday's Corriere Della Sera newspaper which published extracts of the book by Professor Ariel Toaff, "Easter of Blood: European Jews and Ritual Homicides".
Last night his claims were denied by leading Jewish figures including his father Elio, once chief rabbi of Rome.
In the book, Prof Toaff describes the mutilation and crucification of a two-year-old boy to recreate Christ's execution at Pesach, the Jewish Easter. The festival marks the fleeing of the Jews from Egypt and Prof Toaff says Christian blood was used for "magic and therapeutic practices."