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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: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (1-15-10)
The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) now stands at six minutes to the hour.
The group said it made the decision to move the clock back because of a more "hopeful state of world affairs".
The clock was first featured by the magazine in 1947, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan.
The clock had been adjusted 18 times before today since its initial start at seven minutes to midnight.
Most recently, in January 2007, the clock moved to five minutes to midnight, when climate change was added to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.
The concerns then included Iran's nuclear ambitions and the inability to halt the international trafficking of nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
Two years later, however, the board of the BAS says that there is now a "growing political will" to tackle both the "terror of nuclear weapons" and "runaway climate change".
At a news conference in New York, the BAS board said: "By shifting the hand back from midnight by only one additional minute, we emphasize how much needs to be accomplished, while at the same time recognizing signs of collaboration among the United States, Russia, the European Union, India, China, Brazil, and others on nuclear security and on climate stabilization."
But Lawrence Krauss, co-chair of the BAS board of sponsors, warned scientists that there was still much to be done.
"We urge leaders to fulfill the promise of a nuclear weapon-free world and to act now to slow the pace of climate change," he said.
"We are mindful of the fact that the clock is ticking," he added.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, founded by former Manhattan Project physicists, has campaigned for nuclear disarmament since 1947.
Its board periodically reviews issues of global security and challenges to humanity, not solely those posed by nuclear technology, although most have had a technological component.
SOURCE: BBC News (1-14-10)
Health minister Mike O'Brien made the apology in a statement to MPs - it comes after he unveiled a compensation package for survivors in December.
Pregnant women were prescribed the drug in the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness or insomnia.
It was withdrawn from sale in 1961 after babies were born with limb deformities and other damage.
Mr O'Brien said: "The government wishes to express its sincere regret and deep sympathy for the injury and suffering endured by all those affected.
# Developed in Germany in the 1950s
# Prescribed as a 'wonder drug' for insomnia, coughs, colds, morning sickness and headaches
# Link with birth defects shown in 1961 leading to the drug being taken off the market
# Affected babies commonly suffered missing or deformed limbs and severe shortening of arms or legs
# The drug also caused malformations of the eyes and ears, heart, genitals, kidneys and digestive tract
# Scientists believe the drug harmed the growth of new blood vessels in the developing embryo
"We acknowledge both the physical hardship and the emotional difficulties that have faced both the children affected and their families as a result of this drug, and the challenges that many continue to endure often on a daily basis."
His public statement follows the decision by the government to make more money available to the 466 thalidomide survivors in the UK.
The drug's UK manufacturer, Distillers Biochemicals, paid around £28m compensation in the 1970s following a legal battle by the families of those affected.
This has been subsequently topped up over the years by successor companies, although the average payout to the 466 survivors in the UK remains below £20,000 a year.
The government's £20m funding package is on top of this and will be shared out over the next three years.
It reflects the fact that survivors are living longer than expected and as a result will have increasing health needs.
The UK was the second biggest user of the drug after Germany. About 2,000 babies were born with problems linked to the drug with half of them dying within months of birth.
Another 5,000 were born elsewhere in the world.
Guy Tweedy, of the Thalidomide Trust, which distributes aid to survivors, described the apology as "absolutely wonderful".
"I'm highly delighted and so glad that it actually came, 50 years too late but never mind.
"It's an apology not just to thalidomide victims but to the parents who lost their children in the early days."
Mr Tweedy added the apology "means as much in some ways as the money".
Stephen O'Brien, the Conservative health spokesman, said: "I welcome the minister's remarks. Many thalidomiders have indeed waited a long time for this."
SOURCE: BBC News (1-13-10)
A plinth was erected above the main entrance when the prominent building was constructed on Annan's High Street in the 19th Century.
However, because of financial problems, the statue was never commissioned.
A local committee started fundraising two years ago and a bronze image of Bruce, Lord of Annandale, has finally been put in place in the town.
A special dedication service will also be staged on Friday.
A total of £40,000 was raised to help complete the statue which weighs more than 250kg (39st 5lb) and stands about 2m (6ft 6in) high.
“ It looks absolutely stunning and captures just what we were looking for in terms of Robert the Bruce as a nation builder ”
Roderick McCallum Bruce committee secretary
Committee secretary Roderick McCallum said it was important to recognise the role the 14th Century king had played in local history.
"The Bruces became Lords of Annandale having been gifted this land by the king, basically, I think, to help to pacify the natives," he said.
Their first castle was also built in Annan near to where the town hall now stands.
Mr McCallum added: "The Bruces, as Lords of Annandale, were an important part of our history."
He said that finally putting the statue in place would "correct the deficit" from more than a century ago.
Artist Andrew Brown, originally from Port William, said the work presented a number of challenges.
"One of the difficulties was judging the finished height of the bronze because he was made on ground level and yet he's being displayed 30ft up," he said.
"It was an unknown quantity what he was actually going to look like in situ."
Another issue was deciding exactly how the statue should look.
Mr Brown said: "They have got his skull and there are some nasty, nasty marks on his skull which tell the tale of all the battles he fought in.
"But apart from that we don't have any images of Robert the Bruce.
"It was a case of deciding what age I wanted to sculpt him at - as a mature man - and then getting the details of the costume right."
Mr McCallum said that the artist had managed to meet the committee's requirements.
He said: "It looks absolutely stunning and captures just what we were looking for in terms of Robert the Bruce as a nation builder."
Name of source: AP
Peru rejects the argument, saying Yale never owned the artifacts and that its claim is not subject to a statute of limitations under Peruvian law. Peru also says Yale did not assert ownership of the artifacts until late 2008.
"The artifacts are of immense cultural and historical importance," Peru's attorneys wrote in recently filed court papers. "Yale's mere retention of the artifacts establishes nothing."
The South American nation filed the lawsuit in December 2008 demanding the Ivy League university return artifacts taken by famed scholar Hiram Bingham III between 1911 and 1915. The claim accuses Yale of fraudulently holding the relics for decades.
Yale filed court papers Friday arguing the lawsuit should be dismissed because of a three-year statue of limitations under Connecticut law. Yale says it returned dozens of boxes of artifacts in 1921 and that Peru knew it would retain some artifacts.
"In the twenty-first century, long after everyone with any personal memory of the expeditions had died, Peru claimed that Yale had not returned enough of the artifacts and demanded that it now return any artifacts that Bingham had exported from Peru," Yale's attorneys wrote.
Yale describes the artifacts as "primarily fragments of ceramic, metal and bone" and says it recreated some objects from fragments.
Peru says the artifacts are composed of centuries-old Incan materials, including bronze, gold and other metal objects, mummies, skulls, bones and other human remains, pottery, utensils, ceramics and objects of art. Peru says the most important artifacts were never returned.
Peru has been pressing its claim to the relics for years, saying it never relinquished ownership of the artifacts.
In 2007, the two sides agreed to give Peru legal title to the pieces, which were to travel in a joint exhibit and then return to a museum and research center in the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco. Yale would have funded the traveling exhibit and partially funded the museum.
But Peru backed out of the deal because of a dispute over how many artifacts were to be returned.
Yale has said it was disappointed that Peru decided not to honor the 2007 agreement. The university said then that under the deal, it had promised to return all "museum quality objects" along with a "significant portion of the research materials."
"Other research materials — bits and pieces of pots, bones, and other small fragments that are similar or identical to countless objects already in Peru — would remain at Yale for a defined period, and would be one focus of Yale-sponsored collaborative research and scholarly exchanges," Yale said at the time.
The lawsuit seeks damages on several counts including breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud. It says the monetary damages will be proven at trial and that each count "far exceeds $75,000."
The claim cites century-old government documents granting Bingham permission to excavate and remove the artifacts, but retaining ownership and reserving the right to request their return.
Peru says the documents show Yale was aware that Peru owned the pieces and knowingly violated U.N. cultural property agreements by refusing to return them.
Bingham is commonly credited with rediscovering Machu Picchu centuries after the Incas abandoned the site during the Spanish conquest. But in recent years, versions suggesting that other foreign and local explorers beat him to the site have gained currency among Peruvian historians.
SOURCE: AP (1-10-10)
Preservation work on deteriorating banners carried in some of the war's bloodiest battles has been eliminated, scaled back, or ignored by state budget planners focused on finding money for basics such as education, health care, and transportation.
In New York, home to the nation's largest state-owned collection of Civil War battle flags, money for a preservation project is being cut from Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget. Indiana's funding for flag conservation has been returned to the state's general fund. Ohio hasn't provided government funding for its 400-plus Civil War battle flags in nearly a decade....
Arizona Bureau of Land Management rangers discovered the vandalism late last year at the large rock art site located on BLM-administered lands. They say the damage includes rolled boulders and fractured petroglyphs.
Archaeology located on public lands is protected by federal law. Authorities say defacement is punishable by up to a $100,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to five years for each offense.
Sears Point Archaeological District is located about 75 miles east of Yuma. The site consists of petroglyphs, trails, rock alignments and other features which extend for miles along the southern bank of the Gila River.
The State Board of Education began taking testimony ahead of a tentative vote later this week on new social studies curriculum standards that will serve as the framework in Texas classrooms. But, as usual in votes before the conservative-led board, the wide-reaching guidelines are full of potential ideological flashpoints.
Early quibbles over how much prominence to give civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall, and the inclusion of Christmas seem to have been smoothed over. Board Chairman Gail Lowe said at the start of the hearing that Christmas and activist Cesar Chavez will not be removed from the standards.
But board members are still crafting dozens of amendments to be raised for consideration before the tentative vote, expected Thursday. The 15-member board won't adopt final standards until March....
More than 130 people had signed up to testify Wednesday.
"This is the first time the State Board of Education is going to get to vote on this, so you can't take anything for granted," said Jonathan Saenz, a lobbyist for the conservative Free Market Foundation. "I think it would be a tragedy if students talk about Martin Luther King Jr., while not being able to talk about the fact that he had a strong Christian faith. I'm hoping that's not the direction we're headed."
He'll also ask the board to reconsider mentioning makeup entrepreneur Mary Kay Ash of Addison, Texas, more often than Christopher Columbus in the curriculum standard. At present Ash is mentioned twice; Columbus once.
The way the 54-year-old automobile salesman sees it, the "empire" is about to implode and tiny Vermont can lead the way by becoming its own independent republic. So he's running for lieutenant governor, topping a slate of secession-minded candidates seeking statewide offices this year.
Their name: Vermont Independence Day.
"The only hope is to just say, 'Look, this isn't working for us. We want to start fresh again, with a real democracy,'" Garritano said. "I think that's the answer. Hopefully, it won't take another horrible economic breakdown to realize that the people running things don't look out for the little guy, or us, or the soldiers. It's all about profit and getting the last drops of oil on Earth and trampling people's rights."
Garritano, gubernatorial candidate Dennis P. Steele and seven candidates for state Senate seats plan to declare their candidacies Friday.
Their cause isn't new: It's the latest incarnation of a movement that's bubbled in Vermont and elsewhere for years. Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Texas all have made noise about seceding, to no avail.
Their method is: Organizers say it's the first time since the Civil War that a secession movement has fielded a slate of candidates for statewide office, although individual pro-secession candidates have run before....
Little is known about what led Mehmet Ali Agca to shoot at the pope while he was greeting the faithful in St. Peter's Square, but that he has said that foreign powers had conspired to have the Polish-born pontiff killed.
"I will answer to all of these questions in the next weeks," Agca said in a letter written in English and released by his lawyers.
Historians, law enforcement officials and John Paul's followers have long sought answers about the attack, including whether it was a plot to assassinate the pope whose championing of Poland's Solidarity labor movement figured in the demise of communism in the Soviet bloc.
When Agca was arrested minutes after the attack, he declared he had acted alone. Later, he suggested Bulgaria and the Soviet Union's KGB were behind the attack, but then backed off that line. His contradictory statements, including claims to be a Messiah, have frustrated prosecutors over the decades and raised questions about his mental health.
Israel Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor and now chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, said Benedict's synagogue visit Sunday would be "appreciated and blessed." But in an interview with Italy's Sky TG24 television, he said he was "surprised" by Benedict's decision last month to move the controversial World War II-era pope closer to sainthood.
Benedict sparked outrage among some Jewish groups by signing a decree on Pius' heroic virtues, paving the way for him to be beatified once a miracle attributed to his intercession is confirmed.
Some Jews and historians have argued that Pius, pope from 1939-1958, was largely silent on the Holocaust and should have done more to prevent the deaths of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators....
Name of source: National Geographic magazine
SOURCE: National Geographic magazine (1-13-09)
With the help of enhanced imagery and an expert in Elizabethan script, archaeologists are beginning to unravel the meaning of mysterious text and images etched into a rare 400-year-old slate tablet discovered this past summer at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America.
Both sides of the scratched and worn 5-by-8 inch (13-by-20 centimeter) tablet are covered with words, symbols, numbers, and drawings of people, plants, and birds that its owner or other users likely encountered in the New World.
There are differences in the style of handwriting, which may mean that more than one person used the tablet as a sketch pad and possibly for writing rough drafts of documents, Kelso noted.
Name of source: CBS News
SOURCE: CBS News (1-14-09)
Previous tests led to speculation that the packet was a bird mummy something researchers said would be an unusual and exciting find but high-resolution tests Thursday at Quinnipiac University showed no remnants of a bird.
Instead, researchers said the packet and a few others in the mummy likely contained organs, which were sometimes preserved and placed back in mummies for use in the afterlife.
The mummy, known as Pa-Ib and believed to be about 4,000 years old, has been in the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport since the 1890s and was a prized exhibit of the flamboyant showman P.T. Barnum.
Name of source: China Daily
SOURCE: China Daily (1-15-09)
Archaeological officials believe the tomb belongs to Cao Cao (AD 155 to 220), a legendary ruler during China's most dramatic historical period, the Three Kingdoms (AD 220 to 280). But skepticism spread like wildfire soon after the discovery was revealed to the public on Dec 7.
Gao Xing, director of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said as an archaeologist he trusted his peer's expertise to arrive at a valid conclusion.
Name of source: The Wall Street Journal
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (1-14-09)
First there was 1810, when an insurgent priest named Miguel Hidalgo gave a nighttime battle cry that sent thousands of Mexicans into the streets to oust the Spaniards. Then came 1910, the year that was supposed to be the government's crowning centennial. Parades were held, banquets given—and within a month, the Mexican Revolution began.
The numerology isn't fringe thinking in Mexico. It's regularly discussed in the nation's biggest newspapers and by politicians. On a recent morning, leading newspaper El Universal awoke its readers with three foreboding opinion columns on the matter: "The Fear of 2010," "The Impending Revolution" and "2010: Third Revolution?"
This kind of talk has become so common that the imagined revolution even has a name already: the estallido social, or the "social explosion." Nearly every day, Mexican politicians can be heard warning darkly of its coming.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (1-14-09)
They said organisers for London's 2012 Games will be breaking a law from 1866 if they seal off parts of south east London's Blackheath.
Residents group No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (Nogoe) has raised fears the venue will cause permanent damage to the Blackheath.
But the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games said trees would not be cut down for the arena.
SOURCE: BBC (1-13-09)
The Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust sold them to raise money to safeguard other items in its library.
One rare book of maps from 1815 by explorer Nicolas Baudin fetched £32,000 at the sale in Edinburgh.
An early 19th Century atlas of Australia by voyager Matthew Flinders sold for £14,000.
Other books which were auctioned included records of great journeys such as James Bruce's exploration of the River Nile and Captain Cook's voyages in the Pacific.
SOURCE: BBC (1-12-09)
The Dutch Committee of Inquiry on Iraq said UN Security Council resolutions did not "constitute a mandate for... intervention in 2003".
The inquiry was launched after foreign ministry memos were leaked that cast doubt on the legal basis for the war.
The Netherlands gave political support to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but had no military role.
SOURCE: BBC (1-12-09)
He told the UK's Iraq war inquiry that parts could have been "clearer" but it did not "misrepresent" Iraq's threat.
The UK should be "proud" of its role "in changing Iraq from what it was to what it is now becoming", he argued.
But he said Mr Blair told President Bush privately in 2002 the UK would back military action if necessary.
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-14-10)
Only God can judge whether war time Pope Pius XII did enough to save Jews and whether he should have spoken out more forcefully against the Holocaust, according to the rabbi who will host Pope Benedict first visit to Rome's synagogue.
Rabbi Riccardo di Segni also said he hoped the event would help combat hostility towards the Jewish world and intolerance of any religion.
Benedict's visit to the synagogue has been overshadowed by his decision last month to move Pius closer towards sainthood.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-13-09)
The country, which is mired in recession, has a public spending deficit of 12.7 per cent of GDP and has embarked on a series of measures to rein in spending.
One was to cancel a recruitment drive for 2,584 full-time employees by the ministries of tourism and culture.
The Socialist government released a list of 22 archeological sites and 23 museums that have been totally or partially closed for lack of staff. The National Archeological Museum of Athens, as well as those of Delphi and Sparta, face evening and weekend closures due to lack of security personnel.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-13-10)
Or so everyone thought.
It turns out that a previously unidentified body that was found two years ago in a wooden coffin in a basement room at Berlin's Charite hospital, could be Luxemburg, according to the head of the institution's forensic medicine department.
Michael Tsokos says that the body, which is without arms, legs and head, bears "astonishing similarities" to Luxemburg, indicating that her last resting place was not, in fact, in a grave at a cemetery in the German capital that was later vandalised by the Nazis.
But his claims are fiercely disputed, and have generated an intense debate in Germany around the fate of a woman still widely respected across the political spectrum.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-13-10)
The find has raised hopes in Italy that there might finally be some justice for the 6,000 Italian officers and men who were slaughtered by German forces in a savage reprisal for a revolt on the idyllic Greek island of Cephalonia in Sept 1943.
Italian investigators are said to have stumbled across a dispatch allegedly written by a military chaplain, Father Luigi Ghilardini, soon after the massacre, in which he claimed that two German soldiers who had been taken prisoner bragged of their involvement in the mass killing.
“The soldiers ... who had previously been prisoners of ours ... boasted that they shot 170 unarmed soldiers who had surrendered”, the chaplain allegedly wrote.
His account was said to have been found in the Italian army’s archives in Rome by prosecutors who were investigating the alleged involvement in the slaughter of a German officer, Lt Otmar Muelhauser.
The case against him had to be dropped last year when he died at his home in Munich in July, just short of his 89th birthday.
Italian military investigators contacted police in Germany, who discovered that the soldiers, now 86, are still alive.
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (1-14-09)
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama, who spoke with Bush Wednesday evening, is looking to replicate the relief effort that Clinton and George H.W. Bush led after the 2004 tsunami that struck Asia.
Obama's Republican predecessor may seem an unlikely candidate for the job considering how Obama and other candidates, even Republican John McCain, wailed on him in 2008 for what was widely seen as a bungled response to Katrina in 2005.
Obama accused the administration of "half-hearted leadership" and "half-measures" during one visit to New Orleans in early 2008. After taking office, Obama continued to criticize his predecessor over the response to the devastating 2005 hurricane blamed for more than 1,600 deaths.
Name of source: Medieval News
SOURCE: Medieval News (1-14-10)
The Bull of Foundation is one of a series of six letters from the Pope, sent in 1413, which together brought the University fully and formally into existence.
This document embodies the 1412 charter, issued by Bishop Henry Wardlaw, which granted the masters and students of St Andrews recognition as a properly constituted corporation. It marks the culmination of three years of academic development and the birth of the third oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Having been stored for years in a portfolio folder, this surviving piece of the history of Scottish education was showing its age, as it approached its 600th anniversary.
A team of experts at the University of Dundee Book and Paper Conservation Studio spent three weeks giving the Bull its 600 year service, at a total cost of £600 - just £1 for every year of its life.
Work included surface cleaning, the repair of vulnerable edge tears, the realignment of the document's silk tag, and the provision of a cutting-edge storage box and mount to allow safe storage and display.
With the Papal Bull preserved and protected, plans are now being developed for a `tour of goodwill' to allow people the opportunity to connect with Scottish history and the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews.
University of St Andrews Muniments Archivist Rachel Hart said: "We are the custodians of a vital piece of evidence not only of the University's history but also of its place as an international seat of learning within the history of Scotland. The Bull of Foundation is an amazing document to see and I hope that with the 600th anniversary approaching, many may have the opportunity."
In May 1410 a group of masters, mainly graduates of Paris, initiated a school of higher studies in St Andrews, the seat of the greatest bishopric in Scotland and location of a monastery noted as a centre for learning. By February 1412 the society had established itself sufficiently to obtain a charter of incorporation and privileges from the Bishop, Henry Wardlaw. This granted the masters and students recognition as a properly constituted corporation, duly privileged and safeguarded for the pursuit of learning. However, recognised university status and the authority to grant degrees could only be conferred by the Pope or the Emperor as heads of Christendom.
At time there was a schism in the Church and two rival papacies. Scotland believed that the Avignon Pope, now exiled in Peñiscola, was the lawful Pope. Accordingly, confirmation was sought from Pope Benedict XIII and in August 1413 a series of Papal Bulls were issued. With their promulgation in St Andrews Priory on 4 February 1414, the University of St Andrews may be said to have come fully and formally into existence.
The University of St Andrews will be marking its 600th anniversary in 2013.
Name of source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Telegraph (UK) (1-14-10)
Stone, who has previously been accused of promoting conspiracy theories and glorifying violence in his films, has made a new documentary series which he says will place historical figures including Hitler and Stalin "in context".
In the trailer for "The Secret History of America" the director says: "You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate."...
Stone said he did not want to make an "easy" history programme and talked about trying to understand people he despises. His series will aim to uncover little reported facts that shaped the modern United States.
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (1-14-10)
At 246 colleges for which data were collected in both 2005-6 and 2008-9, the number of courses focused on Israel increased by 69 percent, to 548. The colleges studied included a wide range of research universities and liberal arts colleges, and a mix of institutions with larger and smaller Jewish student populations. Of the top 20 national universities in U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2008-9, all but one offered Israel-focused courses and 12 offered four or more. Three years earlier, five offered no such courses and only three offered four or more....
The relationship between courses about Israel and Israel studies programs and Middle Eastern studies has been controversial at times. Many advocates for Israel accuse Middle Eastern studies scholars of being hostile to Israel or of ignoring Israel, while many of those scholars say that some pro-Israel groups get upset about any criticism of Israel and don't respect academic freedom....
Name of source: Valley News Dispatch
SOURCE: Valley News Dispatch (1-11-10)
John and Kathy Allen discovered their property, Armstrong Farms, holds the remains of a Grand Army of the Republic building, where Civil War veterans met starting in 1886.
All that's left of the G.A.R. — an organization similar to a VFW or American Legion, but whose members fought for the Union in the Civil War — is the building's foundation, but the historical significance is still there, John Allen said.
Allen also found two Civil War uniforms, complete with velvet collars, in the corner of his barn and is researching how to preserve the artifacts. Considering the uniforms sat in a barn for at least 40 years, they're in surprisingly good shape.
Name of source: Haaretz (Israel)
SOURCE: Haaretz (Israel) (1-14-10)
Munich University historian Dieter Pohl was giving evidence for a second day at the trial where Demjanjuk, 89, is accused of being an accessory to 27,900 murders at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.
Pohl detailed how Nazi Germany recruited Soviet prisoners of war to wear the SS uniform and carry out killings during the Holocaust.
Asked what happened if they tried to stop the work and flee after seeing the death camps, Pohl said they could expect to be executed as an example.
Yet a significant number did run away, Pohl said, and not all were executed after being caught. Some were given given military prison terms or incarcerated in concentration camps instead, he explained.
Pohl described how an SS base at Trawniki in occupied Poland trained 4,000 to 5,000 ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and POWs to do SS work. They were dubbed the Trawniki men.
In one case, two Trawniki men and five inmates joined together to escape from Sobibor. The Nazis caught both Trawniki men and one inmate and executed them.
'I'm not Hitler'
As Pohl spoke, Demjanjuk lay on a stretcher with his mouth open and a trademark blue cap over his face.
Throughout the trial so far, the normally chatty former Ohio factory worker has not spoken, though he was animated on Tuesday outside the courtroom, quipping to a German television team, "What's up? I'm not Hitler!"
Pohl said the Trawniki men also helped in mass shootings of Jewish prisoners judged to be too sick to work or be transported by rail.
Prosecutors at the Demjanjuk trial have produced what they say is Demjanjuk's SS personnel record, but have no witnesses who remember seeing the Ukraine-born man at Sobibor.
Trawniki men volunteered to collaborate with the enemy, according to Pohl, after seeing their fellow Soviets die in the atrocious conditions and starvation of German-run POW camps.
"Not much is known about the behavior of individual Trawniki men," said Pohl, while adding that there were differences between those who identified entirely with the Nazis and others who quietly passed news or warnings to inmates.
Name of source: Science Daily
SOURCE: Science Daily (1-14-10)
In an article in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, architecture professor Kim Sexton accounts for the time between the 7th and 12th centuries when there are no surviving porticos. In European history, loggias represented more than just interesting architectural features. They also served important cultural functions.
"It's important because we had porticos in Roman times, and then they come back in the Renaissance," she said. "It's unaccounted time -- what happened in between?"
Sexton argues that they returned to prominence because different ethnic groups used them "to display their judicial systems." As court proceedings were held outdoors, "they used different styles to frame that." At times there was German law and at other times, Roman law, and certain loggia announced each style.
"In this competitive kind of culture, they start to use the portico again," Sexton said. "From there it comes back into prominence in the Renaissance and late medieval Italy."
Loggias were "used to display activities that were kind of new, and maybe people felt unsure about their value. So that they wanted to display there was something good about the justice system." She compares it to television today, as a powerful medium that can influence behavior.
Loggias and porticos have long interested Sexton. "They seem at once so transparent in their function because they seem like simple shelters," she said. "But then, why did they come to be built with such magnificent architecture by some of the best architects of the Renaissance?"
Sexton discovered images in several medieval sources -- the center of a gem, illustrations of the book of Psalms, illuminations from law codes and encyclopedias. The article's most important image, which is in color on the journal's cover, shows the only known instance of a king in a loggia where a trial is actually in progress.
"If you see them empty, you're not getting what it's about," she said of loggias. "You have to see it when they're full of activity."
Sexton is associate professor of architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture, University of Arkansas.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (1-13-10)
Among the noteworthy recipients of Mr. Moynihan’s correspondence that the e-mail message mentioned were Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; Indira Gandhi; Chaim Herzog; William F. Buckley Jr. and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
SOURCE: NYT (1-11-10)
On Monday morning, Mr. Rollino went for a walk in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a daily routine. It was part of the Great Joe Rollino’s greatest feat, a display of physical dexterity and stamina so subtle that it revealed itself only if you happened to ask him his date of birth: March 19, 1905. He was 104 years old and counting.
A few minutes before 7 a.m., as Mr. Rollino was crossing Bay Ridge Parkway at 13th Avenue, a 1999 Ford Windstar minivan struck him. The police said he suffered fractures to his pelvis, chest, ribs and face, as well as head trauma. Unconscious, he was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he later died....
Charles Denson, a historian and the author of “Coney Island: Lost and Found,” first met Mr. Rollino at his 103rd birthday party at a neighborhood restaurant. “He was one of the last links to the old strongman days of Coney Island,” he said. “Coney Island was the training ground for strongmen. He was one of the best.”
Mr. Rollino wowed the crowd at the party, Mr. Denson recalled. He told stories about the old days, of course, but he was more than just talk, even at 103. Mr. Rollino put a quarter in his teeth. Then he bent it.
Name of source: Journalism Journeyman
SOURCE: Journalism Journeyman (12-22-09)
Even though newspapers are in decline, print journalists have had an important place in history. Many print publications are moving to the Internet, and many print journalists today augment their columns by writing blogs. Here are some of the most influential print journalists in history:
1. John Peter Zenger: This man published the New York Weekly Journal in the 1700s. He wrote unflattering things about the British government, and in 1735 he was arrested and tried for libel. He was found not guilty, since what he wrote was based on fact. His case not only helped influence the American Revolution, but established one of the litmus tests for libel.
2. Benjamin Franklin: We know that Benjamin Franklin had a lot of interests. But many people don’t realize that the inventor and founding father was also a journalist. His The Pennsylvania Gazette began in the 1730s, and Franklin used it to help get his ideas out there and influence the populace leading up to the American Revolution.
3. William Randolph Hearst: Hearst was well known as one of the biggest publishers and journalists of his time. He started with The San Francisco Examiner, and went from there. Hearst was one of the instigators of “yellow journalism” which started a whole branch of journalism that involved sensationalism.
4. Joseph Pulitzer: This man is so famous that his name is on the prize given for the best journalism contributions. Joseph Pulitzer wrote for newspapers and later purchased and ran the New York World. After it became obvious that his circulation war with Hearst was becoming problematic for the sensationalized stories, he gravitated toward truth in journalism. He was indicted for libel when he exposed an illegal payment to the French Panama Canal Company, but since the story was based on fact, the indictment was dismissed.
5. Tom Wolfe: In the 1960s and 1970s, news writing and journalism underwent a bit of a transformation, and was called “new journalism“. One of those at the forefront was Tom Wolfe. This was magazine journalism, and Wolfe helped established a style that was carried on in long-form narrative, using scenes rather than straight-out facts.
6. Hunter S. Thompson: Like Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson was heavily involved in the new journalism movement. He was a proponent of “Gonzo journalism“, in which reporters actually become involved in action of the story, participating in the events, rather than just watching and reporting. He recently committed suicide (in 2005), but his influence on journalism and literary tradition remains strong.
7. Woodward and Bernstein: Admittedly, these are two separate people. But they are forever linked by their stories that brought then-president Richard Nixon down over the Watergate scandal. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are well-known for their investigative journalism and for proving that it was still possible for the press to effectively hold the government accountable.
8. Helen Thomas: This woman is the first lady of print journalism. Helen Thomas is a veteran journalist in the finest tradition, and has been a White House reporter since 1961. She is known for her relentless questions, and for her ability to get to the heart of the matter. Thomas gained new influence and prominence during the administration of George W. Bush for her sharp questions and criticisms.
9. Robert Novak: A moderate/liberal turned conservative, Robert Novak was known for his columns and stories in a variety of newspapers. He was a reporter and later became a Washington insider. He helped play a role in CNN when it was founded, bringing the credibility of print journalism to broadcast journalism. He died in 2009 after a battle with a brain tumor.
10. Judith Miller: One of the most famous journalists of our time is Judith Miller. She was known for her exclusive stories with Ahmad Chalabi in the run-up to the Iraq War, and for her breaking news stories. She is a Washington insider with contacts in high places. Miller gained increased, er, press when she went to jail over the Valerie Plame scandal when she refused to reveal her sources.
11. Seymour Hersh: Recognized as one of the best investigative journalists of the current era, Seymour Hersh is known for his exclusive military contacts, and for his hard-hitting pieces. He is meticulous, and writes for The New Yorker, and his influence helped reshape the debate over the Iraq War.
12. Maureen Dowd: As the only female op-ed writer for The New York Times, Maureen Dowd has significant influence. Her ideas are polarizing, though, and that makes for interesting debate. Dowd is known for her beginning as a gritty reporter, and is now known for her Washington contacts and her ability to influence debate.
Television and radio changed the look of journalism. There are many broadcast journalists who have influenced journalism, and even the world.
13. Edward R. Murrow: The most distinguished figure in broadcast journalism in the U.S. is Edward R. Murrow. He developed many of the techniques associated with newsgathering for broadcast. His integrity, and his willingness to go up against the “powers that be” was a mark of his career. He influenced public opinion and even policy by exposing the abuses of power in the government.
14. Walter Cronkite: Another icon of American broadcast journalism, Walter Cronkite was known for his investigative journalism, fulfilling his watchdog role, and for his matter-of-fact way of delivering the news as a CBS anchor. He died in 2009.
15. Ted Koppel: Many of the most influential journalists have been TV newsmen, and Ted Koppel is no exception. His newscasts and his newsgathering was a standard of journalism for years. Koppel hob-nobbed with decision makers and interviewed the powerful. Now retired, he hosts a show on Discovery.
16. Dan Rather: Early in his career, Dan Rather was known for his investigations, and for his meticulous newsgathering. He was influential, interviewing the politically powerful, and for exposing government cover-ups. However, a snafu over false documents related to George W. Bush tarnishes his career.
17. Barbara Walters: As one of the most influential broadcasters is Barbara Walters. She was one of the first women to become a successful broadcast journalist. She started as a research and writer, and soon worked up to become an interviewer and one of the faces of television.
18. Tim Russert: Well known for his ability to get the powerful decision makers to explain themselves, Tim Russert is considered one of the most influential broadcast journalists. In order for aspiring Washington insiders to get anywhere, they first have to appear on Russert’s “Meet the Press” and answer questions.
19. Wolf Blizter: One of today’s most influential broadcast journalists is Wolf Blitzer. He is seen everywhere, and is one of the most well-known insiders in Washington. Indeed, his shows and his ability to be heard makes him a force to be reckoned with.
20. Gloria Borger: As one of the broadcasters known for exposing the machinations of Washington, Gloria Borger is quietly influential. Her stories are aimed at helping people understand what is going on, and she is a CBS correspondent and PBS commentator.
21. Katie Couric: Katie Couric is the first female anchor of a major network’s evening news. She has appeared on 60 Minutes and done a great deal in terms of journalism. Now, she anchors the CBS Evening News. She interviews the powerful, and reaches hundreds of thousands in their homes.
22. Cokie Roberts: As someone raised in Washington, and well-acquainted with life on Capitol Hill, Cokie Roberts is an adept at exposing the excesses in government, and offering reason and moderation. Her broadcast career encompasses ABC and NPR, and she also writes a syndicated column.
23. Brit Hume: Fox News isn’t exactly known as a bastion of actual journalism, but Brit Hume, the anchor of Special Report is known for his hard work and integrity. He is recognized as influential, as his weeknight show was the #1 political program in its time slot. He stepped down, though, after saying that he lost his enthusiasm for the job.
24. Jim Lehrer: The venerable Jim Lehrer is know as the most thoughtful broadcast journalist right now. His PBS newscast is known for its insight, and he is respected by his peers and by decision makers as someone with integrity, savvy and good sense.
25. Anderson Cooper: First rising to prominence as a reporter for CNN during Hurricane Katrina, Anderson Cooper is known one of the most influential broadcast journalists around. While he hosts his even show from New York City, he often still travels to report on breaking news. He interviews the rich and powerful, and many enjoy watching his newscast. His “everyman” persona, combined with his classic attractiveness, is one of his most powerful assets as a journalist.
Name of source: CBC News
SOURCE: CBC News (1-12-10)
The current issue of the 90-year-old Winnipeg-based bi-monthly, The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine, is the final one to have that name on the cover.
Effective with the April issue, the magazine will be known as Canada's History.
"Use of the word 'beaver' on the internet has taken on an identity that nobody could have perceived in 1920," said Deborah Morrison, president of Canada's National Historical Society. "And increasingly, if we put 'The Beaver' in a heading, we would be spam-filtered out."...
"Canadians were twice as likely not to subscribe because of the title of the magazine, even if they showed an interest in Canadian history," Morrison said, adding there were also a lot of people who thought the magazine was a nature publication....
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (1-13-09)
James "Frank" Hurley, who died in 1962, was the official photographer of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) led by the country's most famous polar explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. He was also the official photographer of the Australian armed forces during both World Wars.
Members of the current expedition, which is dedicated to restoring Mawson's original wooden huts at Cape Denison, said they had retrieved a plate-changing box from a Newman and Guardia camera dating back to between the late 19th to early 20th centuries, inside Hurley's dark room.
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (1-12-09)
University of Bristol archaeologist Joao Zilhao, who led the project, told me about some other interesting discoveries he and his team made about Neanderthals. One concerns how they harvested shellfish for consumption.
By packaging the harvested shellfish in water-soaked algae, the Neanderthals helped to preserve the shellfish from the point of collection to the place where they ate them, such as Aviones Cave in Spain. This cave is right near the entrance of Cartagena harbor, so it provided "rooms" with a view as well as water resources. Algae remains were found among the shells within the cave.
We always hear about the big game hunting talents of Neanderthals, but this new research suggests that at least some groups enjoyed surf and turf meals. Or surf one night and maybe turf the next.
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (1-12-09)
But a new study suggests modern living may have originated roughly 500,000 years earlier—courtesy of one of our hairy, heavy-browed ancestor species.
At the prehistoric Gesher Benot Ya'aqov site in northern Israel, researchers have found the earliest known evidence of social organization, communication, and divided living and working spaces—all considered hallmarks of modern human behavior.
The former hunter-gatherer encampment dates back as far as 750,000 years ago, and must have been built by Homo erectus or another ancestral human species, archaeologists say. Homo sapiens—our own species—emerged only about a couple hundred thousand years ago, fossil record suggest.
At the site, researchers found artifacts including hand axes, chopping tools, scrapers, hammers and awls, animal bones, and botanical remains buried in distinct areas.
Name of source: The Cleveland Daily Banner
SOURCE: The Cleveland Daily Banner (1-13-09)
The slide lecture, entitled “Biblical Archaeology on the Karak Plateau, Jordan” will be given on Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the museum center.
Jones’ talk will be on the biblical archaeology uncovered during his work through Lee University on The Karak Resources Project which is a multidisciplinary research project that examines the Karak Plateau in central Jordan.
Researchers look at how people from this region used the natural resources in the Biblical past and also how the inhabitants use them today. The team includes researches in anthropology, archaeology, religion, history, geology, and soil science.
Name of source: China View
SOURCE: China View (1-13-09)
The ruins, spanning from Song Dynasty (960-1279) to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), were located in the city of Gao'an in eastern Jiangxi Province
Other discoveries are the Lower Xiajiadian site of an ancient civilization between 2200 to 1100 B.C in Chifeng city in Inner Mongolia; the Neolithic ruins at Dongshan Village in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province; the ruins of a city in Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 B.C.) in Chenzhuang Village in Gaoqing County, Shandong Province; the Lu-Clan burial grounds of Northern Song Dynasty at Wulitou in Lantian County, Shaanxi Province.
The top discoveries in 2009 were announced at the CASS Archaeology Forum, an annual academic forum on modern Chinese archaeology since 2002. The forum was jointly organized by the CASS, the Institute of Archaeology CASS and the Archaeology Press.
Name of source: Americas Program
SOURCE: Americas Program (1-4-10)
For more than three decades, survivors and their families awaited the trial that finally began on Dec. 11, 2009. During Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship, the ESMA Navy Mechanics School served as a clandestine detention center, used to torture and disappear thousands of people. Now 17 former ESMA officers face charges of human rights abuses, torture, and murder.
The ESMA trial was scheduled to begin in November but was postponed at the request of the defense. Those on trial include Alfredo Astiz, Jorge Acosta, Ricardo Cavallo, and Adolfo Donda—cited by human rights groups as among the most brutal and sinister repressors in the Argentine security forces. In total, 13 marines, two police, one coast guard, and one army official are on trial.
More than 200 witnesses will testify in the historic trial. Groups have stressed the need for witness protection following a wave of threats and the disappearance of a key witness, Jorge Julio Lopez, three years ago. Even President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who has supported the human rights trial, has received threats. While traveling in her presidential helicopter, the helicopter's transit radio signal was intercepted at almost exactly the same moment as the ESMA trial opened. Anonymous voices were broadcast saying the words "kill her," followed by the military hymn that was played when Jorge Rafael Videla took power in the March 24, 1976 military coup. Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez says the threats could be "closely linked" to the ESMA trial....
Name of source: The Hedgehog Blog
SOURCE: The Hedgehog Blog (1-11-10)
Another chapter now opens in a sometimes bitterly contested scholarly debate, which has raged at least since the birth of biblical criticism in the 19th century. As played out in the field of archaeology, the generation of traditional Biblical archaeologists, exemplified by Kathleen Kenyon and Yigdal Yadin, contended that their discoveries bolstered the historical accuracy of the Biblical narrative. Kenyon believed that she had discovered the ruins of the City of David in her Jerusalem dig. Yadin argued that his discovery of nearly identical six-chambered gates in the excavations of Gezer, Megiddo and Hazor authenticated the description of King Solomon's city building in First Kings 9:15:
“And this is the account of the forced labor which King Solomon levied to build the house of the Lord and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.”
However, a later generation of Israeli archaeologists challenged the interpretations of Kenyon and Yadin, arguing that their predecessors were influenced by a pro-Bible and Zionist bias. These revisionists argued that the archaeological record actually proved the opposite of what the traditionalists had held. The discoveries at Jerusalem, Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer, according to the revisionists, belonged to a much later era, the 7th century BCE, long after the supposed time of Kings David and Solomon. In their book "The Bible Unearthed," Professors Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, insisted that if Kings David and Solomon existed at all in the 10th century BCE, they were "little more than hill country chieftains." There was no golden age of a united kingdom under Kings David and Solomon, no magnificent capital of Jerusalem or Temple of Solomon, and no extensive empire that split into two rival kingdoms, Judah and Israel, after the death of King Solomon. The Biblical narrative, from Genesis through the Books of Kings, according to "The Bible Unearthed," was a myth, the product of a propaganda campaign launched by King Josiah of Judah in the 7th century BCE to further his geopolitical goal of absorbing the rival northern Semitic Kingdom of Israel.
Readers who want to delve more into this debate, as it stood prior to the discovery of the Elah shard inscription, can read "God's Ghostwriters," a New York Times review of "The Bible Unearthed" by Phyllis Trible, Professor of Biblical Studies at the Wake Forest University Divinity School; and "Did David and Solomon Exist?", by Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University.
The Elah shard strikes a blow for the traditionalists. The revisionist school, exemplified by Professor Finkelstein, contended that the hill-country village tribes of David and Solomon would not have boasted literate scribes who could have written the biblical accounts of Kings David and Solomon and their successors found in the Books of Samuel and Kings. Also, as noted above, they challenged the very existence of a Davidic kingdom that had controlled extensive territories in the land of Israel beyond poor villages in the Judaen hills.
As noted in an editorial in the Jerusalem Post, the Elah shard would appear to prove that, contrary to the revisionist thesis:
• There was an expansive Kingdom of David which extended well beyond the hill country, out to the Valley of Elah.
• The Hebrew language was sufficiently developed in the 10th century. It reinforces what many scholars have long appreciated - that parts of the Bible are very, very old.
• During the reign of King David there were scribes who were able to compose complex literary texts such as the books of Judges and Samuel.
• The find establishes that scholarship was taking place away from kingdom's hub, implying that even greater learning was going on at its heart.
Why, the reader may ask, does an archaeological discovery become the subject of a newspaper editorial. Well, the Jerusalem Post is an Israeli newspaper and many Israelis, both religious and secular, Zionist and anti-Zionist, take biblical archaeology very seriously. But beyond that, the archaeological debate between the traditionalists and the revisionists has serious political implications. Past Israeli leaders such as Professor Yadin, David Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan, although arch-secularists, believed that biblical archaeology testified that the Zionist enterprise and the establishment of the State of Israel represented the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland. Conversely, the writings of the latter day revisionists, such as Professor Finkelstein, have provided scholarly ammunition for the anti-Zionist viewpoint that seeks to portray Zionism as an European colonial venture foisted on the indigenous Palestinian Arabs.
Most striking to me, however, is not the political significance of the Elah shard, but rather the moral message of its text. The translation of the text of the shard echoes the ethical message of Moses, Samuel and the other prophets of Israel:
"You shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
[and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger."
Already in the 10th century BCE, the people of Israel were busy publishing their moral message to the world.
Name of source: Time.com
SOURCE: Time.com (1-13-10)
But much more is at stake over the next six weeks than one man's political career. The scandal broke at a critical time for the province's shaky power-sharing agreement. For months, the two biggest parties in government, the DUP and the Catholic-backed Sinn Fein, have been at loggerheads over the devolution of policing and justice powers from London to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which was reconvened two years ago following its suspension in 2002. Sinn Fein wants control over the province's police force to be transferred to Belfast to end what it perceives to be a longtime pro-Protestant bias. But many Protestants, including Peter Robinson, are reluctant to change the status quo. Even before Iris Robinson's affair came to light, Sinn Fein had signaled that it could walk away from the power-sharing deal — painfully negotiated throughout the 1990s — if the DUP fails to compromise. Now, the Robinsons' personal crisis threatens to turn an impasse into a political vacuum — with potentially deadly results.
Northern Ireland's watchdog body on paramilitary activity, the Independent Monitoring Commission, said two months ago that dissident republicans opposed to power sharing now pose a greater security threat than at any time in the past six years. On Jan. 8, a Catholic police officer was critically injured when a bomb exploded under his car in County Antrim. And in November, another police officer survived a gun attack by suspected dissidents in County Fermanagh. Many fear that a political collapse could play into the dissidents' hands — and bring more violence. "A lot depends on the next few days in relation to progress on policing and justice," says Michael Graham, a political-history professor at Queen's University in Belfast. "If Sinn Fein don't feel they're getting very far, I think they're likely to pull the plug."...
Name of source: ScienceDaily
SOURCE: ScienceDaily (1-13-10)
The shipworm is capable of completely destroying large maritime archaeological finds in only 10 years, and while it has avoided the Baltic Sea in the past, since it does not do well in low salinity water, it can now be spotted along both the Danish and German Baltic Sea coasts....
'Around 100 wrecks are already infested in the Southern Baltic, but yet it hasn't even spread past Falsterbo. We know it can survive the salinity of the Stockholm archipelago, although it needs water with higher salinity than that to be able to reproduce,' says [Christin Appelqvist, doctoral student at the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg].
Name of source: Polskie Radio (Poland)
SOURCE: Polskie Radio (Poland) (1-13-10)
The painting has been found in Olkusz, southern Poland - 41-year-old Robert Z., suspected of the theft, has been detained.
Beach at Pourville was stolen on 19 September 2000 from the National Museum in the western city of Poznan. The painting, worth from 3 to 7 million dollars, located in the Monet exhibition room, was not properly protected – there were no CCTV cameras in the room and the paintings were not in glass cases. The thief cut the painting out of the frame and replaced it with a forgery.
Beach at Pourville is the only painting by Claude Monet in a Polish art collections. It was painted in 1882 and is one of a series of canvases that depict a seascape of Pourville. The museum in Poznan, then in Germany, bought the painting in 1906.
Name of source: Times of Malta
SOURCE: Times of Malta (1-12-10)
Winemakers would fill shallow basins with grapes and, once pressed, the juice would flow through holes and channels into a deeper collecting holder, all carved into the rock.
These wine presses, said to date back to 500 BC, can still be seen embedded in the Gozitan valley and are being studied and documented in a project carried out by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Sannat and Xewkija local councils with the support of Camilleri Wines.
Apart from safeguarding heritage, the project offers an interesting insight into Malta and Gozo's past.
"What is not seen today is that Mġarr ix-Xini valley was functioning as a main artery, as a seaport... It functioned as a huge agro-industrial area," explained Superintendent of Cultural Heritage Anthony Pace, who leads the project together with archaeologist George Azzopardi.
He explained how the presses, dug into the ground, were made of a shallow basin upon which an additional structure was mounted to press the grapes.
Name of source: AFP
SOURCE: AFP (1-11-10)
"The most important of the findings are 1,300 antique silver coins, both large and small," said Mohammed al-Agha, tourism and antiquities minister in the Islamist-run government.
He said archaeologists had also uncovered a black basalt grinder, a coin with a cross etched on it, and the remains of walls and arches believed to have been built in 320 BC.
They also discovered a "mysterious" underground compartment with a blocked entrance that appeared to be a tomb, Agha said.
The Palestinian Authority has been carrying out archaeological excavations since the 1990s, but this was the first major find to be announced by the Hamas-run government.
The Islamist movement seized control of the impoverished coastal territory in June 2007 when it drove out forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas.
The archaeological dig, still under way, is close to where a vast network of smuggling tunnels provides a vital economic lifeline amid strict Israeli and Egyptian closures imposed after the takeover.
Name of source: Artdaily.org
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (1-13-10)
According to archaeologist Ayelet Dayan, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This discovery is both important and surprising to researchers of the period. For the first time we have encountered evidence of a permanent habitation that existed in the Tel Aviv region c. 8,000 years ago. The site is located on the northern bank of the Yarkon River, not far from the confluence with Nahal Ayalon. We can assume that this fact influenced the ancient settlers in choosing a place to live. The fertile alluvium soil along the fringes of the streams was considerate a preferred location for a settlement in ancient periods”.
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (1-13-10)
The Art Fund’s new Director, Dr Stephen Deuchar, kick-started the public appeal by announcing an initial Art Fund grant of £300,000 and by unveiling the official donation website www.artfund.org/hoard. Birmingham City Council which runs Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery , announced that it is giving an initial £100,000 towards the campaign, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council which runs the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery will also give £100,000 bringing the sum already raised already to £500,000.
Dr David Starkey said: "Archaeological finds don't come any bigger than this. The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever; it's the most important find for over half a century, and, in terms of the history of Middle England, the most important ever. But break it up or move it and its meaning is lost. It must stay here, together and intact, to be studied and displayed here in the West Midlands , the foundation of whose history it will now become."
Name of source: Times (UK)
In a complaint made to the United Nations Jordan said that the ancient texts were seized from the Palestinian Museum when Israel captured east Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
“The Government has legal documents that prove Jordan owns the scrolls,” Rafea Harahsheh, of the country’s antiquities department, said.
He did, however, acknowledge that more could have been done to instil public trust in the process that led to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
As the first political witness before Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the Iraq war, Mr Blair’s former communications and strategy director was questioned on his role in preparing the government dossier of intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in September 2002.
Mr Campbell said that he had provided only “presentational advice” at the request of Sir John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. “At no time did I ask him to beef up, to override, any of the judgments that he had,” Mr Campbell said. “The whole way through it could not have been made clearer to everybody that nothing would override the intelligence judgments and that John Scarlett was the person who, if you like, had the single pen.”
The theft last month of its distinctive, sinister sign, Arbeit macht frei (work sets you free) has underlined the vulnerability of the Nazi death camp, stretching over 20 hectares (50 acres) of southern Poland.
“Nobody could have imagined such a horrific act of vandalism,” Jacek Kastelaniec, director-general of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, said. “Now try to imagine the public outcry if one of the barracks started to fall down, impossible to restore.”
Auschwitz was built on boggy ground between two rivers; as a result the high groundwater and bad drainage has rotted the foundations. Walls are blistering and starting to lean, roof frames are buckling, plasterwork and wall-paintings are flaking.
Mr Kastelaniec will go to the Cabinet Office tomorrow to press the Government on Gordon Brown’s promise to contribute to a €120million (£110million) endowment fund that will guarantee the preservation of one of the main sites of the Holocaust.