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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: Tehran Times
SOURCE: Tehran Times (1-28-09)
“Using teeth to assist in creating artwork was very common among the people of the Burnt City,” anthropologist of the team Farzad Foruzanfar told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
The people used their teeth in weaving wicker, nets and textiles, and in creating artwork with ornamental stones, he said, adding, “Teeth were the extra hand of people in these professions.”
SOURCE: Tehran Times (1-26-09)
The team led by Iranian archaeologist Mansur Sajjadi completed this season’s studies last week.
Twelve of the skeletons belong to children and a skeleton of a newborn is among the discoveries, anthropologist of the team Farzad Foruzanfar told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.
Name of source: History Today
SOURCE: History Today (1-27-09)
Andrey Lukoshkov, the consultant for the project 'Sunken Ships', explained:
‘It was the time when Sweden and Russia fought each other over supremacy in Europe’s North’.
The ship is remarkably well-preserved and personal possessions and tableware are still identifiable in the captain’s cabin. Scientists now hope to raise the necessary funds in order to bring the ship to the surface and to transport it to a naval museum in Kaliningrad before construction work on the pipeline begins.
Name of source: Deutsche Welle
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (1-28-09)
He told the court in Munich that in 1944, as a teenager, he had witnessed German Wehrmacht soldiers killing residents of his village, Falzano di Cortona. He said that eleven people, for example, were herded inside a farmhouse.
"The house was then blown up with dynamite," the witness told the court. "Only one person survived."
He also said the soldiers had killed three other villagers and had set numerous buildings, including his family's home, on fire.
"My father tried to save what he could," the witness testified. "There was smoke everywhere. That's the story."
Wehrmacht soldiers have been accused of committed a number of atrocities as the German army was forced to withdraw from their former ally Italy in the latter stages of World War II.
For many years, the Wehrmacht sought to portray itself as a normal army with no direct connection to Nazi crimes against humanity.
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (1-27-09)
"I would understand it if we were talking about representatives of the second or third generations," Council General Secretary Stephan J. Kramer told AP news agency. "But it cannot be that actual survivors are treated like mere onlookers."
German President Horst Koehler addressed the Bundestag in a speech marking the 64th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. January 27th has been the official day for Holocaust remembrance in Germany since 1996.
Name of source: TPM (Liberal blog)
SOURCE: TPM (Liberal blog) (1-27-09)
Yesterday, as we noted, House Judiciary chair John Conyers issued a subpoena to Karl Rove, ordering him to testify about the affair February 2nd and declaring ominously: "It's time for him to talk."
(Rove, making a claim to executive privilege backed by President Bush, had defied a subpoena issued by the last Congress. That Congress ended before the full House could vote on contempt charges against Rove.)
And just now, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told TPMmuckraker that he had already forwarded Conyers' subpoena to the Obama White House, asking them to give an opinion as to whether President Bush retains his ability to assert executive privilege.
In other words, the Obama White House will decide, essentially, whether to back Rove's claim of privilege, or to deny it. (And given that Rove is supposed to appear February 2, that decision from the White House should come soon.) In the latter case, said Luskin, a negotiation would ensue between the Obama White House, President Bush, and Rove. That would likely result in the matter going to court.
Name of source: Stone Pages
SOURCE: Stone Pages (1-25-09)
The question as to whether the hobbit was human or another species remains controversial. Some scientists claim the hobbit was a diminutive human that suffered from some type of disease that causes microcephaly, which results in abnormal growth of the brain and causes the cranium to be much smaller than the normal human cranium. But Dr. Baab and co-author Kieran McNulty, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, believe their findings counter the microcephaly theory. "The overall shape of the LB1 skull, particularly the part that surrounds the brain (neurocranium) looks similar to fossils more than 1.5 million years older from Africa and Eurasia, rather than modern humans, even though Homo floresiensis is documented from 17,000 to 95,000 years ago," explains Dr. Baab.
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (1-27-09)
The passing decades haven't diminished fascination with that night on Feb. 2, 1959, when 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens performed in Clear Lake and then boarded the plane for a planned 300-mile flight that lasted only minutes.
"It was really like the first rock 'n' roll landmark; the first death," said rock historian Jim Dawson, who has written several books about music of that era. "They say these things come in threes. Well, all three happened at the same time."
Starting Wednesday, thousands of people are expected to gather in the small northern Iowa town where the rock pioneers gave their last performance. They'll come to the Surf Ballroom for symposiums with the three musicians' relatives, sold-out concerts and a ceremony as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designates the building as its ninth national landmark.
SOURCE: AP (1-27-09)
"The high level of finish on the figurine is extraordinary, while meticulously adhering to the tiniest of details," Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, directors of the excavation, said in a joint statement released Monday. Nothing similar has ever been uncovered in Israel, they said, calling it a "unique find."
SOURCE: AP (1-26-09)
In a front-page article, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reaffirmed that Pope Benedict XVI deplored all forms of anti-Semitism and that all Roman Catholics must do the same.
The article was issued amid an outcry from Jewish groups that Benedict last week lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop, Richard Williamson, who has denied that 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II.
The Vatican has stressed that removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared Williamson's views....
Blog Comment by historian Deborah Lipstadt
Bishop Williamson in his own Words: He's Not JUST a Denier:
Take a look at Bishop Williamson's website which, if I were a betting person, will soon disappear. [Cyber mavens might want to take a"picture" of it while it is still up.]
If you go to it to this particular link you will learn that this venerable prince of the church also :1. Well over a century ago Judeo-Masonry is known to have been envisaging three World Wars to achieve its unified global domination.In short Jews together with Freemasons planned WWI and WWII. They are planning for WWIII. And 9/11 was not committed by Arab terrorists [or are we supposed to call them militants?].
2. By lies, Judeo-Masonry brought about the first two World Wars.
3. By lies, Judeo-Masonry is preparing for the Third World War.
4. The supposed treachery of Arabs last year against the Twin Towers in New York already igniting American public opinion to go to war against Afghanistan and now Iraq.
5. We now in 2002 know with certainty that our governments and media told us far from the complete truth in 1941 as to who was truly responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, so we will eventually know that those truly responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers were certainly not those primarily held up as being responsible by our governments and media.
But that's not all he has to say.
1. Women should not wear trousers.
2. Women should not go to university: ever.
3. Modernism caused the genocide in Rwanda
4. Sound of Music is an evil film because it celebrates true love and depicts Nazis as villains.
SOURCE: AP (1-23-09)
"It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we'll prevail in this," he said in an interview today in Chicago, outside the office of one of his attorneys.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Blagojevich is accused of attempting to sell the Senate seat formerly held by President Obama. His impeachment trial begins Monday in the state Senate, but he says won't be there because the chamber's rules bar him from calling witnesses.
"I'm not going to be a party to that process," he said. "That would be a violation of my oath of office. That, to me, would be an impeachable offense."
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (1-24-09)
Much less known is Sir Walter Raleigh’s kinship with a young black boy from Guyana, whom he brought back with him from the Americas and who became ensconced in the explorer’s household, according to newly discovered records.
Centuries after his death, an intriguing new chapter in his life has emerged following the chance discovery of a baptism register in the London Metropolitan Archives.
The boy may have been one of the earliest – and certainly one of the youngest – “natives” brought to Britain to be marvelled at in the royal court.
Name of source: Open Democracy
SOURCE: Open Democracy (1-24-09)
Meanwhile ex-general Jaruzelski and the surviving members of his leadership are on trial in a Warsaw court. They are accused of organising an armed conspiracy against the Polish nation. The case has been brought by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a state organisation responsible for prosecuting Nazi and Soviet crimes.
It is highly debatable whether the martial-law decision in 1981 is a matter for a criminal court at all. This is, in truth, a political trial. But the fact that it was brought at all reflects a shift in the debate on Poland's recent past brought about by the rightwing Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (Law & Justice / PiS) party, which came to power in September 2005 and was voted out in October 2007 in a wave of revulsion at its authoritarian and nationalistic policies. Before the PiS fell it managed to reverse the hitherto dominant view that the key event of the 1980s in Poland was the peaceful handover of power in 1989 by General Jaruzelski and his communists to Solidarity. The advent of PiS brought to the fore a set of historians too young to remember the communist times, who see the key date of this period in terms of Jaruzelski's 1981 clampdown.
Name of source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1-27-09)
Instead, the case of Robert Morris versus Robert Morris, a spat over identity that landed two campuses hundreds of miles apart in federal court, has been amicably resolved.
Under an agreement, the college named Robert Morris -- the one in Chicago -- can legally begin calling itself a university as long as it tacks the word "Illinois" onto the end of the title.
It's part of a settlement preserving the name belonging to Robert Morris University of Moon, Pa., which became a university in 2002 and holds federal trademarks asserting it alone can be called Robert Morris University.
The agreement addresses everything from campus signs and athletic uniforms to logos. It ends a lawsuit that showed how important campus identity is in a brand-conscious world, and what can happen when schools with similar or identical names try to coexist.
Name of source: http://www.stripes.com
SOURCE: http://www.stripes.com (1-25-09)
The ziggurat’s clay-brick walls have eroded into steep cliffs over the past 3,500 years, and the
shepherds go hand over hand on a well-known path to the peak. There are no guards blocking the
climb, no visitors to watch the spectacle.
On the desert below, the shepherds’ flock grazes among the gutted remains of a museum and restaurant.
The Aqar Quf ziggurat is among the 10 oldest structures in Iraq and once drew hundreds of visitors
each week from nearby Baghdad. But the ancient site was abandoned and stripped by looters during the
As violence subsides, the government in this rural corner of the Abu Ghraib district is struggling
to get national funding to reopen the Aqar Quf historic site and bolster the local economy....
Name of source: LA Watts Times
SOURCE: LA Watts Times (1-27-09)
But for retired psychology professor Dr. Terrence Roberts, 67, one of nine black teenagers who integrated Arkansas’ Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the ceremony was another cleared hurdle in the continuing battle for equal rights.
Obama’s election validates what the “Little Rock Nine” tried to accomplish, said Roberts, a former co-chair of the Master’s in Psychology program at Antioch University in Los Angeles who has been invited to attend the inaugural ceremony for the first black president in U.S. history.
“It adds substance to what we tried to do,” Roberts said. “When you look at this country’s history, and you look at the opposition to integration, and then you look at what has happened with Obama’s election, it is quite apparent that the old system is crumbling.
Name of source: NYT
“Roosevelt had some successes, but we hope that Obama is going to do better,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard. “Otherwise, we’re in trouble.”
Roosevelt’s New Deal is often portrayed as an embrace of Keynesian economics, which advocates increased government spending to combat economic downturns and generate jobs.
Yet despite New Deal programs and some aid to the states, total government spending — federal, state and local — as a share of the economy throughout the 1930s remained at just under 20 percent. (Today, total government spending is more than 35 percent, a larger buffer against weakness in the private sector.)
During the 1930s, the unemployment rate fell somewhat under Roosevelt, but remained stubbornly high, averaging more than 17 percent for the decade.
SOURCE: NYT (1-25-09)
Drawing on 18th-century British military maps, the ecologist, Eric W. Sanderson, has painstakingly recreated Manhattan’s rolling landscape — Mannahatta in an American Indian dialect meant “island of many hills,” many of which were all but leveled when the street grid was imposed in the 19th century — that Hudson encountered.
In his coming book, “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City,” Mr. Sanderson evocatively describes “the old-growth forests, stately wetlands, glittering streams, teeming waters, rolling hills, abundant wildlife and mysterious people.” All in all, a scene hard to reconcile with the contemporary landscape dominated by glass, concrete and asphalt.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is to join Mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam and other Dutch officials this week in heralding the quadricentennial of Hudson’s voyage of discovery up his eponymous river.
On Tuesday a group of researchers at the University of Washington are releasing the initial component of a public system to provide authentication for an archive of video interviews with the prosecutors and other members of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. The group will also release the first portion of the Rwandan archive.
This system is intended to be available for future use in digitally preserving and authenticating first-hand accounts of war crimes, atrocities and genocide.
Such tools are of vital importance because it has become possible to alter digital text, video and audio in ways that are virtually undetectable to the unaided human eye and ear.
The researchers said history was filled with incidents of doctoring, deleting or denying written records. Now, they say, the authenticity of digital documents like videos, transcripts of personal accounts and court records can be indisputably proved for the first time.
SOURCE: NYT (1-24-09)
By contrast, the Kennedys’ hold on high elective office has been relatively modest — the 1,000 days of John F. Kennedy’s presidency, the Senate terms of his two younger brothers, Robert and Edward, along with the careers of other family members that stalled or peaked at lower levels.
And yet the Kennedys, and they alone, personify a uniquely American form of dynasty. The Clintons and Bushes may have secured the gaudiest political prizes, but even in better economic times it would be hard to imagine either family’s artifacts fetching the exorbitant sums — $574,500 for a humidor, $48,875 for a tape measure, $33,350 for a footstool — that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s White House memorabilia did when they were auctioned at Sotheby’s in 1996.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (1-26-09)
Historian Robert Jan Van Pelt says that once the last survivor has died it should be left for nature to reclaim, and eventually forgotten.
But former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, once an inmate, says Auschwitz must be preserved to bear witness to the fate of its victims.
SOURCE: BBC (1-27-09)
She claimed the prosecution's use of anonymous witnesses and secrecy clauses for the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial would hamper the defence.
Mr Lubanga, 48, denies using hundreds of child soldiers in DR Congo's five-year conflict, which ended in 2003.
SOURCE: BBC (1-26-09)
Historian Robert Jan Van Pelt says that once the last survivor has died it should be left for nature to reclaim, and eventually forgotten.
But former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, once an inmate, says Auschwitz must be preserved to bear witness to the fate of its victims.
Name of source: http://www.stonepages.com
SOURCE: http://www.stonepages.com (1-22-09)
The rock shelter painting came as a complete surprise. "I knew that Native American rock art had been found in the area, but I didn't realize this was so significant," Holliday said. "My first impression was that someone had drawn it with charcoal." In fact, the artist most likely lived during the Mississippian Period between 1000 and 1600 CE and used a paint based on a prehistoric recipe whose main ingredient was pulverized clay. That's according to Jan Simek, a University of Tennessee anthropology professor who specializes in cave archaeology.
Last spring, Simek, the acting UT chancellor, visited the rock shelter site. Using a scalpel, he chipped off a tiny sample of the pigment and brought it back to UT for a high-level chemical analysis. The tests revealed no modern paint trace elements such as lead or zinc. What's more, Simek discovered that the reason the pictograph looks so fresh is because it's protected by a veneer of calcium carbonate leaching out of the sandstone.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-25-09)
In a project shrouded in secrecy, work is due to start on recovering the cargo, which was being transported to the United States to help pay for the Allied effort in the Second World War.
The scale of the treasure trove is likely to unleash a series of competing claims from interested parties. Salvage laws are notoriously complex and experts say there could be many years of legal wrangling ahead.
In order to protect its find until the cargo is brought to the surface, the company that located the wreck has not released the name of the vessel or its exact location, but has given the ship the code name "Blue Baron".
It says the merchant ship, which had a predominantly British crew, had left a European port, laden with goods for the US Treasury under the Lend-Lease scheme, whereby the American government gave material support to the Allied war effort in exchange for payments.
A retired senior detective has claimed that unidentified conspirators put a wooden log on a railway track to try to derail the official train transporting the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh from Sydney across Australia's Great Dividing Range of mountains.
The so-called Republican plot came to light when retired Detective Superintendent Cliff McHardy, 81, decided to break his silence in an interview in his local newspaper to try to clear-up one of the great unsolved mysteries of his long police career.
McHardy said that on April 29, 1970, the Queen and Duke were travelling by train to the farming town of Orange. When the train entered a winding cutting near the Blue Mountains town of Lithgow, two hours to the west of Sydney, it struck a large log wedged across the rails. Mr McHardy insists that it was an act of deliberate sabotage to force the train off the tracks.
The rest of the trip unfolded without incident and hundreds of well-wishers turned out in Orange to greet the young Queen and Duke. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment but said he the archives for the trip showed no records of the train hitting a log.
General Charles George Gordon was part-way through the 10-month siege that led to his death when he sent the note, dated June 1884, back to friendly forces outside the city.
It was hidden in the hair of runner Mahamed Ahmed who smuggled it past the surrounding enemy.
General Gordon asked for news of his rescue and detailed the number of people who needed saving from the Sudanese Mahdists.
The recordings explore the lives of 66 Jewish people before, during and after the Second World War.
Subjects covered include anti-Semitism in the build-up to the war, the ghettos and concentration camps of the war period itself, survival in hiding, and making a new life in Britain.
They were sent to Edith Dunn, then aged 22, from the love of her life, a soldier called Will who she met when he served in the same regiment as her brother, Tom.
The war started seven months after he sent the card in 1914 and Tom was killed. To this day no-one knows where his body lies.
The images from 1930s Germany portray the Nazi leader in both a powerful and caring light and were all part of Joseph Goebbels' propagandist policy.
The complete album is made up of 138 pictures in total which would have gradually been collected by Hitler fans over a period of time and stuck into the book.
It was brought back after the Second World War by a British soldier.
The album has remained in his family ever since but has now come to light after being made available for sale at auction.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-24-09)
Private notes and letters uncovered by the pair reveal that Darwin's opinions on slavery were far stronger than had previously been believed.
Notebooks from his five year voyage on HMS Beagle, during which Darwin first began to form his famous theories on natural selection, detail his revulsion at the slavery he witnessed in South America.
The historians have also discovered letters written by Darwin's sisters, cousins and aunts that reveal the family as highly active abolitionists. Darwin's grandfather and uncles were also key members of the anti-slavery movement.
The pair claim in a new book that Darwin partly chose to highlight the common descent of man from apes to show that all races were equal, as a rebuttal to those who insisted black people were a different, and inferior, species from those with white skin.
Name of source: Foxnews
SOURCE: Foxnews (1-27-09)
The 82-foot high purple beech, one of the last trees in a hamlet dedicated to the former queen in the vast palace park, was felled Friday by an unusually fierce winter gust, the park's head gardener said.
The 223-year-old tree's collapse, which also exhumed a jumble of roots, earth and grass, was the latest blow to the ex-queen's Versailles vegetation after her most cherished oak tree died in a 2003 heat wave.
The beech, a facus sylvatica purpura, featured its own plaque showing that it was planted in 1786. A decade ago, it had been damaged but survived an even more destructive storm that knocked down thousands of trees at Versailles.
SOURCE: Foxnews (1-27-09)
The yearly commemoration honors the day the advancing Soviet army liberated the camp in 1945. The anniversary has been established as an annual Holocaust remembrance day by the United Nations.
More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died in the camp's gas chambers or through forced labor, disease or starvation.
Tuesday's commemorations at Auschwitz include a wreath-laying ceremony and prayers at the foot of the former camp's main memorial, which stands between the twisted ruins of two crematoria.
In Germany, President Horst Koehler praised young people's efforts to learn about their nation's history and honor the victims of the Holocaust.
SOURCE: Foxnews (1-26-09)
Printing and disseminating Nazi symbols, such as the swastika, is a criminal offense in Germany.
The publishing company's CEO said the reprints were for education purposes and were not to promote Nazism, the Mail reported. He also denied copyright rules were violated
SOURCE: Foxnews (1-24-09)
His supporters hail him as a hero and his critics deride him as self-righteous and egotistical. But in recent years, Carter has lost support even among his defenders for comparing Israeli treatment of Palestinians to South African apartheid in a book he wrote -- and for meeting with Hamas leaders to discuss a peace deal.
Yet Carter's foreign diplomacy has been effective. Last year, his talks with Hamas leaders helped engineer a six-month cease-fire until rocket attacks resumed last month.
It's unclear if Obama will reach out to Carter on foreign affairs. They met this month before Obama's inauguration to talk about the Middle East. Neither disclosed what was said. As president-elect, Obama deferred to Bush on foreign policy, insisting there can only be one president at a time.
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (1-27-09)
Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton appeared together at a question-and-answer forum before the National Automobile Dealers Association in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Asked his biggest regret after leaving office, Bush said he now wonders whether he should have tried to get Saddam Hussein to leave office at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991.
On a day that President Barack Obama dispatched George Mitchell to the Middle East as the latest U.S. envoy, Clinton discussed the failure to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
"My No. 1 regret is that I was not able to persuade Yasser Arafat to accept the peace plan I offered at the end of my presidency that the Israelis accepted.
"If he had done that ... we had had seven years of progress toward peace. We had one year in 1998, the only year in the history of Israel where not a single soul was killed in a terrorist act. The Palestinians had more control over West Bank then than they do today," Clinton said. "And if he had taken that deal, we would have a Palestinian state and we would have had, I think now, normal peaceful relations with Israel and all of its Arab neighbors."
Clinton also said he regretted not doing more to "stop the Rwandan genocide," and succeeding on a new health care plan.
SOURCE: CNN (1-26-09)
the bust of a Roman boxer from the second or third century.
The figurine, made of marble, comes from a time when “the art of Roman
sculpture reached its zenith,” Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets said.
The archaeologists believe a merchant family from the eastern part of the
Roman empire most likely passed down the “precious object” through the
generations until the fourth or fifth century, when an unfortunate family
member had it with him at a public building, perhaps a hostel — and an
Name of source: IHT
SOURCE: IHT (1-27-09)
The Cambodian government, critics say, is attempting to limit the scope of the trials for its own political reasons, a limit that the critics say would compromise justice and could discredit the entire process.
The first defendant is the man with perhaps the most horrifying record: Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, the commander of the Tuol Sleng torture house in Phnom Penh, where at least 14,000 people were sent to their deaths. His trial is to open with a procedural hearing, set for Feb. 17, at which more substantive sessions, involving witnesses and evidence, are expected to be scheduled.
Four other defendants, all of whom were members of the Khmer Rouge Central Committee, are also in custody, waiting their turns to face charges in crimes that occurred while they were at the top of the chain of command from 1975 to 1979. As much as one-fourth of the population died from disease, hunger, overwork or execution under the Khmer Rouge's brutal Communist rule.
Those five defendants are enough, Cambodian officials say.
But foreign legal experts counter that within reasonable limits, the judicial process should not be arbitrarily limited.
After a decade of difficult and not always friendly negotiations between the United Nations and the Cambodians, a hybrid tribunal is in place, with Cambodian and foreign co-prosecutors and panels of co-judges in an awkward political and legal balancing act. Now, even before Duch's trial gets under way, that balance is being tested.
Last month the foreign co-prosecutor, a Canadian named Robert Petit, submitted six more names to the court for investigation, saying that he had gathered enough evidence to support possible charges. Petit's Cambodian counterpart, Chea Leang, objected - not on legal grounds, but for reasons that appear to reflect the government's position on the trials.
Additional indictments, the Cambodian prosecutor said, could be destabilizing and would cost too much and take too long and would violate the spirit of the tribunal, which she said envisioned "only a small number of trials."
SOURCE: IHT (1-25-09)
About 4,000 spectators, including survivors of the 900-day Nazi blockade, gathered near the village of Nikolskoye to watch the re-enactment.
The siege began Sept. 9, 1941. German troops surrounded the city, then known as Leningrad, choking off supply routes. An estimated 1.5 million people perished — most through starvation.
The re-enactment replicated Marshal Georgy Zhukov's offensive of Jan. 27, 1944, part of the operation that created a supply channel to the besieged city, ending the siege.
The re-enactment was organized by St. Petersburg's Epoch, an association that unites hundreds of people fond of re-staging famous battles and other events. In Russia, and particularly in St. Petersburg, the date of the end of the siege is widely celebrated
Name of source: Spiegel Online
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (1-26-09)
It evidently hasn't been touched since early 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the place is filled with East German furniture, fittings and grocery brands that give a glimpse of everyday life in the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) 20 years ago.
Mark Aretz, an architect who renovates buildings in eastern Germany, inadvertently walked into history while he was refurbishing a building in the Leipzig district of Reudnitz last week. When he unlocked an apartment on the third floor it was as if he had stepped out of a time machine into the humdrum surroundings of the kind of apartment millions of East Germans once lived in.
Name of source: Secrecy News, written by Steven Aftergood, is published by the Federation of American Scientists
“Some of it, I think, is done for the wrong reasons, to try to hide things from the light of day. Some of it is because in our system, there is no incentive not to do that, and there are penalties to do the reverse, in case you get something wrong and don’t classify it.”
“So I think we need to do fundamental work on the system,” he said in response to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden at the January 22 hearing.
“I’ll be working to see if we can come up with a different approach that incentivizes it at the right level and that informs not only those of you who have security clearances on this committee but the wider interested public whose support we need,” Adm. Blair said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse pursued the same question. “My experience,” the Senator said, “is that, over and over and over again, we have seen official secrecy used not for national security purposes, but to mislead the public and to frame — or more particularly, mis-frame — an outside, political debate. Will you pledge to us that you will take this trust of secrecy that you are given as Director of National Intelligence and use it only to protect national security and not to manipulate public opinion or frame or mis-frame political debates?”
“Absolutely, Senator,” Adm. Blair replied.
The DNI-nominee also told Sen. Kit Bond and Sen. Whitehouse that he favored prosecution of leakers of classified information. “If I could ever catch one of those it would be very good to prosecute them.”
He suggested that there might be new technical steps that could be taken to identify leakers.
“If confirmed,” he added, “I would like to come to talk to you about some ideas where we can build in some technical, some procedural safeguards into agencies so that it’s not a case of going back afterwards and trying to get records and question people but we have some tools that will let everybody who works for the government know that if you are going to pass classified information to a reporter or to someone, there will be a trace of it which will make it relatively quick to identify you as the one who did it,” Adm. Blair told Sen. Whitehouse.
Presumably this refers to improved tracking of classified intelligence “records,” not of “information.”
In answers to pre-hearing questions (pdf), Adm. Blair said that he favored continued publication of the annual intelligence budget total. “It has not, to my knowledge, caused harm to the national security, and provides important information to the American public,” Blair said.
He also endorsed declassification review of 25 year old classified intelligence records.
“While much intelligence information remains sensitive even at 25 years, that which can be released to the public should be. Intelligence — especially the intelligence that informed key policy decisions — can and should ultimately become part of the country’s historical record.” [at p. 55]
The profound confusion that prevails in intelligence classification policy was recognized last year in an internal report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Secrecy News, April 10, 2008). Even the most basic concepts of classification policy, it said, are open to question and interpretation.
“The definitions of ‘national security’ and what constitutes ‘intelligence’ — and thus what must be classified — are unclear,” the ODNI report stated (pdf).
A new directive signed by outgoing DNI Mike McConnell on January 21 is intended to “foster an enduring culture of responsible sharing and collaboration within an integrated [intelligence community]” and to breakdown traditional “stove pipes” that inhibit communication within the government. See “Discovery and Dissemination or Retrieval of Information Within the Intelligence Community,” Intelligence Community Directive 501 (pdf), January 21, 2009.
The continuing classification of obsolete Cold War intelligence satellite imagery, to the disappointment of space historians and others, was examined in “A ray of sunshine into a dark world: the future declassification of satellite reconnaissance information” by Dwayne Day in The Space Review, January 26.
Name of source: McClatchy
SOURCE: McClatchy (1-26-09)
Was Darwin right? Should schoolchildren be exposed to contrary views in science class? These two controversies continue to rage, partly because both sides are evenly matched.
Most scientists and courts that have ruled on the matter say that overwhelming evidence backs Darwin's explanation of the origin and evolution of species, including humans, by natural selection.
Many people, especially religious and social conservatives, strongly disagree.
Name of source: Popular Science
SOURCE: Popular Science (1-26-09)
No experiment can ethically test how humans behave in life-or-death situations. But two UCLA economists dug up the records of 41,000 Union soldiers from the American Civil War to see how men of shared or different backgrounds fared in the worst conditions.
They found that sharing common characteristics with fellow soldiers made all the difference in lowering desertion rates, not to mention surviving the horrors of prison camps. The least diverse companies still had one-third fewer desertions than even more diverse companies with higher morale or stronger commitment to the cause.
Name of source: Thaindian News
SOURCE: Thaindian News (1-26-09)
The Changle inscriptions were found in Weifang city of Shandong Province in China.
According to Professor Liu Fengjun, doctoral supervisor in art and archaeology at Shandong University, the markings on Changle bones represent some kind of original characters of Chinese language approximately 1000 years older than those found in Yinxu.
Hence, the discovery of Changle bone inscriptions may have far-reaching implications.
Name of source: New York Times
SOURCE: New York Times (1-24-09)
The change means 26 surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard — most in their 80s and long retired — will lose up to $557 in monthly retirement pay, a state veterans officer said this week. The payments end Feb. 1.
The state is pursuing a remedy for “these brave Alaskans, who did so much for the cause of freedom during a time of great national peril,” said Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate.
The action comes nearly a decade after Congress passed a law qualifying time served in the unpaid guard as active federal service. The Army agreed in 2004 to grant official military discharge certificates to members or their survivors.
An Army official said the law was misinterpreted. The law applies to military benefits, including medical benefits, but not to retirement pay, said Lt. Col. Richard McNorton, with the Army’s human resources command in Alexandria, Va.
Name of source: Knox News
SOURCE: Knox News (1-25-09)
Dan Feller and his staff solved the mystery of the July 4, 1835, letter to Jackson. The story of their investigation will be featured this summer on PBS' "History Detectives."
The letter, which addressed Old Hickory as "You damn'd old Scoundrel," demanded that Jackson pardon two prisoners named De Ruiz and De Soto who had been sentenced to death for piracy in a high-profile trial of the day.
"The trial of them and the other pirates had been a national news story. It was heavily covered," Feller said.
Pardon the pirates, the letter writer demanded, or "I will cut your throat whilst you are sleeping."
Name of source: Fox 13 (Tampa)
SOURCE: Fox 13 (Tampa) (1-23-09)
The Sons of Confederate Veterans took it down to fix wind damage.
They say they hope to have it lit up during Super Bowl week, but they say the lights are not installed yet.
The NFL said whether the flag is up during Super Bowl week or not is a private matter.
"The NFL does not have jurisdiction on what private groups or citizens say on private property," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
Name of source: Time
SOURCE: Time (1-21-09)
Thus began a pattern of alternating conservatism and risk-taking, success and near failure, that has marked the banking enterprise now known as Citigroup--and the American financial system--ever since. James Stillman, who became City's president in 1891, combined prudence with great ambition. City Bank cruised through the Panic of 1893, thanks in part to the huge stash of gold that Stillman had acquired--gold being the backing for credit then--because he sensed trouble. City joined J.P. Morgan in bailing out the nearly bankrupt Federal Government in 1895 and soon grew to be the country's biggest bank. Its growth went international in 1914, after City lobbied Congress to tweak the Federal Reserve Act and allow branches abroad. (See the best business deals of 2008.)
Name of source: Telegraph(UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph(UK) (1-25-09)
The window, which cost £50,000, depicts a Battle of Britain pilot scrambling to get airborne and looking up to a sky filled with aircraft and events from every decade of the RAF's existence.
The window was funded with a donation from ex-City businessman and Lloyds "name" Ivan Heath, 93, who served with the RAF during WW2 and has been a club member of more than 50 years.