Breaking NewsFollow Breaking News updates on RSS and Twitter
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: Medieval News
SOURCE: Medieval News (4-6-10)
"The Penmachno Letter Patent and the Welsh Uprising of 1294-95" by G. Rex Smith appeared in the most recent issue of Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies. The article details a letter patent signed by Madog ap Llywelyn, one of the main leaders of the revolt, in December 1294. Smith provides the text and translation of the document, in which Madog reasserts a land grant to a minor noble named Bleddyn Fychan of property in northern Wales.
Smith believes that while Fychan and his family had remained loyal to Edward I during the conflict, they also wanted to make sure their property was protected in case the Welsh proved victorious in the conflict.
The letter patent is also interesting in that Madog ap Llywelyn refers to himself as "prince of Wales, lord of Snowdonia", the latter of which refers to the Welsh tradition that Snowdonia was once the seat of power for previous Welsh princes. Smith writes that "Madog, willingly or unwillingly, had become the leader of the rebellion in the north and why not call himself prince of Wales and lord of Snowdonia to boost his position there, not to mention his morale."
The article also details the revolt, which Smith believes was a popular uprising caused by harsh treatment by Edward's officials in Wales. In September and October of 1294 Welsh forces overran several castles and took control of large parts of the territory - this forced Edward to abandon a planned campaign in Gascony and send his troops to Wales. In what Smith called "more of a show of strength, a flag-waving exercise, than a military campaign," Edward was able to regain most of his castles and territory, although at a cost of about £55 000. Madog ap Llywelyn either surrendered or was captured in the summer of 1295, and spent the rest of his life in the Tower of London.
"The Penmachno Letter Patent and the Welsh Uprising of 1294-95" by G. Rex Smith, can be found in Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, Vol.58 (Winter 2009).
Name of source: Fredericksburg.com
SOURCE: Fredericksburg.com (4-6-10)
But according to the Contraband Historical Society, the tombstone is part of a cemetery site for slaves that marks an important chapter in the history of Hampton and the United States.
The society is stepping up its efforts to secure a cemetery on the grounds of Sentara CarePlex hospital as a public memorial to the slaves who supported the Union Army's victory in the Civil War.
The society believes the graves of more than 50 slaves or freed slaves are on the site of the former Downey Farm that dates back to 1636.
Elois Morgan, the program director of the Contraband Historical Society, said the society is looking to renew efforts to secure the cemetery as a park this year as Hampton celebrates its 400th anniversary year....
Name of source: Steve Aftergood at Secrecy News
SOURCE: Steve Aftergood at Secrecy News (4-6-10)
The origins and development of North Korea’s military forces, from the vantage point of 1952, are described in a declassified U.S. Army intelligence report (large pdf).
“Although the North Korean Army was not officially activated until 8 February 1948, the backbone of the armed forces was forged in 1946 under the mask of Central Peace Preservation Units and Youth Training Organizations. Using battle-hardened Korean veterans of the Chinese Communist Forces as a core, the puppet government built a modern military force whose only glaring weakness was in a lack of air power. The striking comparison in organization, logistics and tactics of the North Korean Army with those of the Soviet ground forces is attributable to the influence of the Soviet occupation army and the multitude of advisors which were left behind upon the Red Army’s withdrawal.”
Name of source: The Root
SOURCE: The Root (3-31-10)
The United States is playing a leading role in the meeting at the United Nations this week, where countries will announce their commitment to help rebuild Haiti. The involvement of the United States with Haiti is not new, and it has not always been benign. The two countries have had consistent interactions since the mid-18th century. Take a look at The Root's timeline of important Haiti/U.S. relations.
--1492 Dec. 5, after "discovering" the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas and missing the North American continent completely, Christopher Columbus sets up the first European settlement in Hispaniola, the island now shared by Haiti and Santo Domingo.
--1760 Rosette Rochen is born in Alabama; she lives with a planter in Haiti until 1797, when she flees the Haitian Revolution to New Orleans; she becomes an important investor in the suburb of Marigny, later the home for many free blacks.
--1777 Some 861 "free colored" troops from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) under the command of French officers join U.S. rebel forces in fighting the British in Savannah, Ga. The battle claims 34 Haitian lives.
--1779 Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, son of a French pirate and a Haitian woman, settles on the Western shore of Lake Michigan and opens a trading post at what will become the city of Chicago.
--1785 John James Audubon is born in Saint-Domingue (Haiti), son of a French sea captain and his mistress. Raised in France, he becomes the leading wildlife painter in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.
--1787 Pierre Toussaint, a slave from Haiti, becomes hairdresser to the rich and powerful in New York City. A devout Catholic, a freed Toussaint ministers to the sick during a plague, becomes wealthy and raises funds for the first Saint Patrick's Cathedral, begun in 1809. He is now a candidate for canonization.
--1793 The Haitian revolution sends thousands of refugees to the United States on French naval ships. The refugees, whites, free blacks and their slaves, settle in New Orleans, Charlotte, New York and Philadelphia, altering the demographics, politics and cultures of those cities.
--1794 First newspaper is established in New Orleans by Louis Duclos, arefugee from Haiti.
--1795 Refugees from the French Revolution and the struggle in Haiti in Philadelphia create Courier de la France et des Colonies, a weekly newspaper in French, to track events....
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-5-10)
Stand quietly on the terrace at Senlac today and you can almost hear the anguished cries of infantry, the clatter of axes and the whoosh of arrows. Though the terrain is now more parkland than scrub, you can still see the marshy area that William's cavalry had to pass before mounting their uphill assault. It is a place that, as Julian Humphrys, development officer of the Battlefields Trust says, sends shivers down the spine.
Hastings is not the oldest known English battlefield, but it is remarkable for the full picture we have of how its events unfolded. "We know it happened here because William had vowed to build an abbey on the site if victorious," Humphrys says. The high altar of the church was said to have been on the spot where Harold was slain. "It was a most inconvenient location, right on the edge of the hill, but when the monks tried to build it elsewhere, William made them go back. Even then this place had resonance."
Senlac Hill was bought for the nation in 1976. Along with the abbey ruins, it is in the care of English Heritage, which stages meticulous re-enactments each year. It is one of the best-cared-for battlefields in Britain, with a state-of-the-art visitor centre and café. Humphrys says it is a model for what could be done elsewhere to preserve and celebrate these national historical assets.
Sadly, other battlefields are less fortunate. English Heritage, working closely with the Trust, maintains a Battlefields Register of 43 sites, but Humphrys says it lacks authority, conferring no legal protection and leaving them vulnerable to development, intensive farming and treasure hunting....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-4-10)
They found the "underdrawings", which had been erased by the artists, with new techniques developed for drug detection and forensics.
One of the images reveals that Michaelangelo based his Bruges Madonna sculpture on a male model. At the time women rarely sat as models for artists.
The sketch was found beneath a later drawing for the sculpture, but the earlier work was invisible to the naked eye.
Middle-class women of the era seemed quite willing to blame their husbands when their love lives failed to meet their own expectations, according to the candid accounts that lay unread for decades in a university archive.
While public morality frowned upon discussion of female sexuality, the records show that in private couples took a much more open approach.
The illuminating personal testimonies were obtained from what is believed to be the first ever sex survey, begun 50 years before the US biologist Alfred Kinsey conducted the interviews that led to his acclaimed reports on sexual behaviour.
The research was a personal project of Dr Clelia Duel Mosher, a hygiene academic and early feminist who persuaded 45 women to fill out intimate questionnaires on their experiences of sex, marriage and contraception.
Between 1892 and 1920 the survey was completed by 45 women – mostly middle-class college and university graduates – providing modern historians with a unique insight into the secret romantic appetites of a generation raised with Victorian values.
The results show that most women knew little about sex before marriage, with some admitting that they only picked up the facts of life by observing the habits of farm animals.
As the youthful leader of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party arrived for an election rally, his followers gave him a welcome that had disturbing echoes of Europe in the 1940s.
Two ranks of Hungarian Guards, in paramilitary-style uniforms, snapped to attention as Gabor Vona marched past them. Party leaders saluted, and a red and white banner was raised - one that looked suspiciously similar to Hungary's old fascist emblem.
The enthusiasm showed that Mr Vona has come a long way since Jobbik launched seven years ago. Its fierce nationalistic agenda and far-right rhetoric were soundly rejected by the electorate then. In national elections in 2006 it polled a miserable 2.2 per cent, failing to get a single member of parliament elected.
But now as Hungary prepares for crucial new elections the tide has turned, and it is flowing strongly Jobbik's way. To the horror of democrats who thought Hungary had shaken itself free of political extremism in 1989 with the fall of communism, Jobbik is on course to become the second biggest party in parliament.
The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week.
Scientists believe the almost-complete fossilised skeleton belonged to a previously-unknown type of early human ancestor that may have been a intermediate stage as ape-men evolved into the first species of advanced humans, Homo habilis.
Experts who have seen the skeleton say it shares characteristics with Homo habilis, whose emergence 2.5 million years ago is seen as a key stage in the evolution of our species.
The new discovery could help to rewrite the history of human evolution by filling in crucial gaps in the scientific knowledge.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-2-10)
The book- The Jesus Discovery- claims that Jesus rose to become the most senior Rabbi of his time, thus explaining how he was able to exert such influence and why his teachings became such a concern to the authorities.
Author Dr Adam Bradford, who works as a GP, drew his conclusions after studying and comparing the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures, as well as using human psychology to analyse the behaviour towards Jesus as depicted in the Bible.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-2-10)
Fred Walker's extraordinary life story would have gone unremembered if not for a military historian who came into possession of his First World War medals.
Fred's old school – Canon Slade school in Bolton, Greater Manchester – is now planning a permanent memorial to its illustrious former pupil, commissioning a special oak cabinet to house his war medals.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-1-10)
The controversy surrounding plans to drill for oil in the waters surrounding the islands has stoked hostility in recent weeks.
Demonstrators will march on the British Embassy in the capital to mark the April 2 anniversary of the Argentina's brief occupation of the Falkland Islands during the 1982.
This year's memorial has been given extra impetus due to recent oil exploration off the islands' coastline undertaken by British companies, reigniting Argentina's historic claim to the 'Malvinas'.
The march has been organised by the Asociación Civil Combatientes en Malvinas and has the backing of several trade unions.
Marches in previous years have rallied only a few hundred people but organisers are predicting many thousands will take to the streets today to show their anger over the British exploration....
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (4-5-10)
The North's military said it informed the U.S. twice this year of "a number of" remains of U.S. troops found during land realignment and farming preparations in 10 different locations. But the U.S. Defense Department has not offered a concrete response and asked the North to wait, it said.
"Though lots of U.S. remains are being dug out and scattered here and there in our country, our side will no longer be concerned about it," said a military statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The Korean War ended in a 1953 cease-fire that has never been replaced by a peace treaty — leaving the Korean peninsula technically still at war. About 8,000 U.S. servicemen are listed as missing from the conflict....
SOURCE: AP (3-5-10)
Big breweries once dominated the state and ties to the beer industry remain stout, giving way to a belief that hard drinking is as much a part of the Wisconsin culture as the Green Bay Packers and cheese. That's created a blind spot of sorts for the socially conscious state: drunken driving....
Much of Wisconsin's love of beer is based in its roots.
Its taste for barley and hops can be traced to German settlers who opened the first breweries and saw their numbers grow to roughly 400 by the late 1800s. And some of America's largest brewers - Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz - once called Milwaukee home....
Nearly one in four Wisconsin residents age 18 to 44 had four or more drinks in one sitting at least once within a month's time in 2008 - the latest year available - topping all other states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And a 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report showed 15.1 percent of the country's drivers age 18 and older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. Wisconsin drivers led the nation at 26.4 percent. Utah was the lowest at 9.5 percent....
SOURCE: AP (4-2-10)
Allen died of renal failure Wednesday at a hospital in Takoma Park, Md., The Washington Post reported Friday.
Allen, who was black, started at the White House in 1952, when racial segregation prohibited him from using public restrooms in his native state of Virginia. When he left the White House in 1986 after 34 years, he had witnessed not only defining moments in the country's history, but also in America's civil rights movement.
SOURCE: AP (4-2-10)
The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily with the pope listening in St. Peter's Basilica that a Jewish friend wrote to him to say the accusations remind him of the “more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
The 82-year-old pontiff looked weary as he sat near the central altar during the early evening prayer service a few before he was scheduled to take part in a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum which commemorates Christ's suffering before his crucifixion.
Thousands of Holy Week pilgrims were in St. Peter's Square as the church defends itself against accusations that Benedict had a role in covering up sex abuses cases.
The “coincidence” that Passover falls in the same week as Easter celebrations, said Rev. Cantalamessa, a Franciscan who offers reflections at Vatican Easter and Advent services, prompted him to think about Jews.
“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” the preacher said....
Name of source: CNN.com
SOURCE: CNN.com (4-3-10)
The 164-foot structure -- about a foot taller than the Statue of Liberty -- shows the figures of a man, a woman and a child, arms outstretched, facing the Atlantic Ocean.
President Abdoulaye Wade says the statue, which he designed, is a monument to Africa's renaissance. Critics say the opulent copper structure is merely the product of the president's own self-indulgent vision and poor governance.
And though it dominates the skyline of Senegal's capital, Dakar, the monument falls far short of the president's claim that it is the world's largest. Several other statues are listed by multiple sources to be taller, including China's Spring Temple Buddha, which stands just under 420 feet.
Opposition group Benno Siggil Senegal called on the Senegalese people to "refuse to associate themselves with a fraudulent scheme designed to satisfy the fantasies of Abdoulaye Wade and to lay the foundations of dynastic reign of Wade on our country," according to the African Press Agency.
A spokeswoman for the president sought to downplay criticism Saturday, saying the statue -- valued at roughly $20 million -- was made possible by a land deal between Wade and North Korea, and that proceeds from the monument will benefit Senegalese children.
The statue is "an affirmation to be proud of Africa -- to be proud to be black," said spokeswoman Gia Abrassart....
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (3-26-10)
The scholar, Cui Weiping, 54, a poet and professor at the Beijing Film Academy, said that she had planned to lecture at Harvard and attend a conference sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies in Philadelphia, but that the director of her school called this week to say she had been forbidden to travel.
“I was told I had classes to teach and that the lecture I was giving was not my specialty, but those were just excuses,” said Ms. Cui, who was to have left on Wednesday. “The real reason is that they want to put pressure on me, and they want to punish me.”
Communicating through her superiors at the film academy, she said “they” — an unseen entity she described as “the authorities” — had repeatedly rebuked her for perceived sins: posting social criticism on her blog; sponsoring a seminar on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests; and sending out Twitter messages about the jailing of Liu Xiaobo, a writer who was convicted of subversion last year for demanding increased liberties.
“These things made them unhappy,” she said, “and now they are going to make me unhappy.”...
SOURCE: NYT (4-4-10)
That is the year when an angry Whig sympathizer decapitated a figurehead of Andrew Jackson that had just been affixed to the bow of the U.S.S. Constitution in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston.
The mouth and the rest of the head eventually went their separate ways.
But now, 176 years later, they have been reunited in New York, thanks to research by a team from the public-television series “History Detectives.”
SOURCE: NYT (4-4-10)
Now, a century after Japan’s 1910 annexation of Korea, this same post office stands at the center of a not-so-lovely affair mirroring a larger debate over history, the responsibilities of intellectuals and the accommodations many Koreans made during the nearly four decades of Japanese colonial rule.
The local dispute began in 2004, when some townspeople proposed commemorating Mr. Yu, who is one of South Korea’s most widely read poets, by renaming it the Cheongma Post Office, after his pen name. Other residents were outraged, condemning Mr. Yu as a collaborator with the Japanese.
“What could be more preposterous than memorializing someone who sold out the nation to Japan in its time of peril?” said Choi Jeong-gyu, 58, himself a poet and a leader of a campaign to block the renaming of the post office.
This anniversary year has become an occasion for much soul-searching as Koreans review the colonial experience and consider highly divisive questions: To what extent should South Korea revisit that period, 65 years after it ended with Japan’s defeat in World War II, and expose pro-Japanese collaborators, most of them already dead?
And what does “collaboration” mean when speaking of an occupation that lasted more than a generation, during which Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names, bow in the direction of the emperor in Tokyo and fight for Japan?
These questions touch raw nerves in a society inculcated with anti-Japanese sentiments so deep that songs and some other forms of mass culture from Japan are still banned on South Korea’s main television networks. The label of chinilpa, or a member of a pro-Japanese clique, can ruin the reputation not only of the accused but also of his or her descendants....
SOURCE: NYT (4-1-10)
Mr. Fesselmann, who had long remained silent about the abuse he suffered in 1979, said the pictures stunned him and spurred him to contact his abuser. Thus began the convoluted process, which included an extortion investigation against Mr. Fesselmann for the emotionally raw e-mail messages he sent the church in 2008 demanding compensation, that ultimately put Pope Benedict XVI in an uncomfortable spotlight.
After the police investigated him for blackmail, Mr. Fesselmann did not discuss his charges publicly until last month. By that time, molesting of children by other priests had exploded into public view in Germany, with scores of investigations into old and new cases capturing headlines nationwide.
The fact that it took so long before the Roman Catholic Church took action against the abusive priest, and that the victim initially had to defend himself, is an indication that the German church — as well as Germany’s police, courts and society at large — are still in the early stages of reckoning on a psychologically fraught issue that many Germans once dismissed as an American problem....
Name of source: The Washington Post
SOURCE: The Washington Post (4-5-10)
Folks in other states are worried that the changes will wind up appearing in schools outside Texas. The state, with almost 5 million students in kindergarten through high school, dictates what is in the textbooks it purchases from publishers, and other states often buy the same materials.
Texas textbooks will, for example, play down the role of Thomas Jefferson among the Founding Fathers (which actually can't be overstated) and question the separation of church and state as a fundamental principle in the country's creation.
There will be a new emphasis on conservative figures, including columnist Phyllis Schlafly. And students will study Abraham Lincoln's and Jefferson Davis's inaugural addresses as if they had equal historical weight.
Name of source: VOV News
SOURCE: VOV News (4-5-10)
This was part of a project carried out by the Hanoi Public Medicine University in coordination with the Quang Ngai provincial Department for Health to provide assistance to victims of toxic chemicals sprayed by US troops during the war in Vietnam.
In his report, Professor-Doctor Le Ngoc Trong, an adviser in the project, described the US’s chemical warfare in Vietnam was the cruelest in human history.
He said that during the war, the US forces sprayed 72 million litres of toxic chemicals over 2,600 million hectares of land and forest, accounting for more than 10 percent of southern Vietnam.
Participants at the seminar also discussed measures for rehabilitation of Agent Orange victims.
Doctor Tran Trong Hai from the Hanoi Public Medicine University raised a project on functional rehabilitation for Agent Orange victims from 2008 to 2010 in Thai Binh, Quang Ngai and Dong Nai provinces, at a total cost of VND25 billion....
Name of source: CNN
SOURCE: CNN (4-5-10)
But do you really know who Emmitt is?
Until he traced his genealogy for the NBC reality series "Who Do You Think You Are?", Emmitt says he didn't even know the answer to that question.
Emmitt soon learned that his great-great-grandmother, Victoria, had an unusual maiden name -- Puryear.
Genealogist Marjorie Sholes told Emmitt that "Puryear" was probably the name of a slave owner. "African-Americans, at the end of the Civil War, sometimes picked the names of their last slave owner," she says.
SOURCE: CNN (4-5-10)
Interpol posted a picture on of Raghad Hussein, 41, on its Web site Monday, noting that she is being pursued for "crimes against life and health incitement [and] terrorism."
Iraqi authorities say that Hussein has provided financial backing for a terrorist cell network tied to a series of attacks on coalition forces in Iraq. The attacks by the insurgents, according to the Iraqi military, included the use of rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs.
SOURCE: CNN (4-4-10)
Sunday also marks the anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. Forty-two years ago, an assassin's bullet took his life as he struggled to secure the promises of American democracy for the children of slaves. His sacrifice, along with countless others, helped usher in a new chapter in American life -- one that prepared the way for the election of our nation's first African-American president.
Every now and again, the convergence of significant historical moments occasions a time for serious reflection. How might we think about the significance of the resurrection of Jesus and the martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the lives we currently live as Americans? What lessons does Easter hold for us? And what does remembering King's death teach us?
SOURCE: CNN (4-2-10)
The announcement comes nearly a month after Ankara recalled its diplomat to protest the passage of a non-binding resolution in the House Foreign Relations Committee, which calls the 1915 massacre of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey "genocide."
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ambassador Namik Tan would return to Washington, ahead of his own trip to attend a nuclear non-proliferation summit in the United States in mid-April.
SOURCE: CNN (4-2-10)
The 12 charcoal and crayon sketches cover "typical student subjects" and don't display a great deal of promise, Mullock's Auctioneers said. They include two drawings of an elderly woman thought to be Hitler's mother, as well as studies of objects, landscapes, models, and even a Roman senator.
All are signed and some even have Hitler's Vienna address, Mullock's said.
The sale also includes the original portfolio in which Hitler kept the sketches, which is signed and has his address, Mullock's said.
Name of source: The Guardian
SOURCE: The Guardian (4-5-10)
A study of the remains of almost 20,000 people dating from the 8th century BC to the 18th century AD has found that the Roman empire reduced our level of nutrition, which increased again in the "dark ages".
That is because the key factor in determining average height over the centuries – an indicator of nutritional status and wellbeing – has been an increase in milk consumption due to improved farming. Higher population densities and the need to feed the army during Roman times may have worked against this.
SOURCE: The Guardian (4-5-10)
Scraps of pottery, broken clay pipe and a 19th century penny have emerged from a muddy hole in what was a garden until a week ago. But this is the most extensive hunt for Shakespeare in his own backyard in 150 years, and every scrap is precious.
In 1597 the playwright returned from London a rich and famous man and bought New Place, the second best house in his home town. He had a fair copy made of his title deeds, now in the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, owner of the site and a string of other properties linked with the most famous playwright in the world. The house vanished centuries ago but Birmingham Archaeology and volunteers are joining forces to recover any evidence left in the ground.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (4-5-10)
Archaeological excavation began on the site in March 2009 and soon uncovered the remains of what appeared to be a cremation pit.
By March 2010 this picture of a settlement had developed further.
The dig itself was affected by the water table in the area which Phillip explained gets too wet in winter as from November the water rises to less than two feet below the surface which is actually higher than the items being searched for.
SOURCE: BBC (4-3-10)
More than 50 firefighters and about 12 fire engines were sent to Debach Airfield near Woodbridge on Friday night.
Industrial units, vehicles and a pile of tyres were all well-alight when crews arrived.
SOURCE: BBC (4-3-10)
The 49m (160ft) Monument of African Renaissance has been unveiled in Dakar as the highlight of the nation's 50th anniversary of independence.
Some scholars have labelled its scantily clad figures un-Islamic, while others said it was a waste of money.
SOURCE: BBC (4-2-10)
Peter Egner, 88, is suspected of war crimes against Jews and other citizens during the Nazi occupation of Serbia, court officials said.
Mr Egner is an ethnic German who was born in the former Yugoslavia.
He has denied the accusations and has been opposing US attempts to strip him of his citizenship.
Mr Egner became an American citizen after moving to the US in the 1960s.
During the war, he is accused of serving in an Einsatzgruppe, a Serbian police unit run by the Nazis - though he has said he knows nothing about the unit, the Associated Press news agency reports.
US and Serbian authorities have been co-operating on the case.
SOURCE: BBC (4-2-10)
Dr Henry Edward Roberts was the inventor of the Altair 8800, a machine that sparked the home computer era.
Gates and Allen contacted Dr Roberts after seeing the machine on the front cover of a magazine and offered to write software for it.
The program was known as Altair-Basic, the foundation of Microsoft's business.
Name of source: Time
SOURCE: Time (4-2-10)
There are certainly parallels. In 1994, Bill Clinton's favorability poll numbers were at 51%, about where Obama's are now. And the Dems were polarized by a series of tough (and strikingly familiar) issues: a carbon tax, gays in the military and health care. But will history repeat itself, with the party in power bearing the brunt of a wave of discontent? Here are five reasons the 2010 midterm scenario is different, and perhaps less dire for the Democrats, than 1994's.
1. Michael Steele
3. Tea Parties
While a lot of money is going directly to Republican candidates, they're not always the candidates the GOP would prefer to field. In Kentucky, for example, insurgent Tea Party darling Rand Paul has raked in nearly $2 million, outraising the establishment candidate, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, by more than $100,000. In Florida, conservative insurgent Marco Rubio has raised more than $3.4 million and is leading Governor Charlie Crist, the presumptive Republican candidate, in the polls. To see the potential dangers of the Tea Party groundswell, the GOP leadership need look no further than the debacle in New York's 23rd district — where Democrats won a Republican safe seat after conservative activists put up a third candidate against Dede Scozzafava, a GOP candidate deemed too moderate by Tea Party types.
Name of source: WSJ
SOURCE: WSJ (4-4-10)
All the more noteworthy, then, is Mr. Immelt latest move, which is likely to improve his P.R. image with conservatives. Last month, he announced GE would give $15 million to mark the 100th anniversary of one of its former employees: Ronald Reagan, who spent eight years hosting "General Electric Theater" on CBS and visiting the company's plants as a corporate ambassador.
The money will go to support a new scholars program as well as the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, which among other things will update the museum at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Included with the overhauled museum will be a General Electric theater that will focus on Reagan's career in radio, television and film.
That career reached an important turning point when Reagan began hosting the top-rated show for GE in 1954. In addition to his hosting duties, Reagan would tour GE's 139 plants around the country, eventually spending 4,000 hours before a GE microphone giving talks that started out with the standard Hollywood patter but ended with the former liberal actor giving full-throated warnings about Big Government. "GE tours became almost a post-graduate course in political science for me . . . ," Reagan later wrote. "By 1960 I had completed the process of self-conversion [to conservatism]."...
Name of source: FoxNews
SOURCE: FoxNews (4-4-10)
A fossil skeleton of a child discovered in a cave system known as the Cradle of Humankind may represent a previously unknown stage in the evolution of man, The (London) Sunday Times reported.
The skeleton, which is almost complete despite being two million years old, is believed to belong to one of the hominid groups that includes humans.
Hominid fossil finds are usually little more than small bone fragments. Scientists hope such a complete find will help them to work out what our ancestors looked like and to determine key dates in their evolution from ape-man to man-ape. Experts who have seen the skeleton says it resembles Homo habilis, the first species of advanced human.
The skeleton was found by Professor Lee Berger, reader in human evolution and the public understanding of science at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, as he explored cave systems in Sterkfontein, a Unesco world heritage site.
The caves are the site of one of the world’s longest-running archeological excavations and are regarded as paleontological treasure troves. Jacob Zuma, the South African president, visited the university to view the find, which is to be announced this week.
The new fossil skeleton was found with a number of other partially complete fossils, encased within breccia sedimentary rock inside a limestone cave known as Malapa cave.
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (4-5-10)
It is hard to believe that the best part of a decade on from the 11 September attacks, the debris from the World Trade Center site is still being examined.
That is partly a reflection of the enormity of the task, the huge amount of debris involved.
It is also, the relatives of some of those killed that day in 2001 contend, the result of years of delays that should have been avoided.
Among those relatives are Diane and Kurt Horning.
In their living room last week, Diane took out a plastic bag, and gently placed its contents on the table in front of her.
She picked up three keys, and turned them over in her hands. "World Trade Center" was engraved on one of them.
She pointed out a watch, battered, not an expensive one, missing its strap.
And then a credit card, bleached by age and the damage it suffered in the 9/11 attacks.
These and more, Diane says, are evidence that the city of New York has failed to adequately sift through the rubble of the World Trade Center.
"We've been told that anything larger than a quarter-inch has been removed from that site," she says, referring to the place where much of the rubble recovered from Ground Zero has been placed.
"Yet when we go there we find personal items that are certainly larger than a quarter of an inch and which may have meant the world to people. Consequently we worry that there may have been remains of the same size or bigger that were ignored."
It is a dreadful thought that eight-and-a-half years on from the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, the partial remains of some of those killed may be lying unceremoniously in a landfill site.
That site is at the rather unfortunately named Fresh Kills area of Staten Island, just across the harbour from Manhattan. The word "kill" comes from an old Dutch word for a riverbed and is used in much of this part of the US.
After the 9/11 attacks, much of the debris was taken to Fresh Kills - the former rubbish dump for the city. It was - at the time - sifted through.
Now some 844 cubic yards of debris more recently discovered in the past few years at Ground Zero are going to be searched.
Scientists led by New York's chief medical examiner will spend three months sifting through the new material.
New York authorities turned down several requests for an interview, but said in a statement that the city "continues to work to identify as many victims of the 9/11 attacks as possible".
"New methodologies are being utilized for unidentified remains from the original recovery, and for remains recovered during the renewed search," it said.
'A garbage tip'
The remains of more than 1,000 people killed in the 11 September attacks in New York have still not been found.
Some were incinerated in the firestorm that swept through the upper floors of the Twin Towers. Others were pulverised as the buildings collapsed.
But families like the Hornings fear that the remains of others have simply been overlooked.
As the new search begins, they are wondering why part of the debris is only now being uncovered and looked at. How much more lies at the site of the attacks, they ask? How much has simply not been sifted out?
"It is a good step," Mrs Horning says, referring to the new search, "but it comes a day late and a dollar short.
"They are not re-sifting. They are taking material that they are just now taking from the World Trade Center site that we asked them to explore years ago."
Moreover, she says, people like her are still fighting to have the debris that they believe contains the unrecognisable remains of their loved ones relocated, away from the landfill, and to a more fitting place of burial and mourning.
"I certainly hope with the new materials that they will do a very careful search, in case there's something," she says.
With the other material that was excavated earlier, she adds, they want a mass burial.
"It's a garbage tip. It was on top of that... where they dumped my son and the people with whom he died. And we don't do that with animals."
SOURCE: BBC News (4-5-10)
Pompeii and the nearby settlement of Herculaneum were consumed by a mixture of heat, falling pumice stone and ash.
Mount Vesuvius, about 9km (5.5 miles) away, had exploded, sending a mass of volcanic debris high into the air, which then landed like a military bombardment on the citizens of the two cities below.
Estimates of deaths in both places range from between 10,000 and 25,000.
In Pompeii, the effects of the cataclysm were especially vivid, leaving as they did a city almost frozen at the moment of its expiration.
So fast and vast was the tonnage of volcanic rock and dust dumped on its residents and livestock that many were killed on the spot.
It is these emblematic "figures" of Pompeii that are now the subject of an extraordinary new exhibition.
They are the skeletal remains of the victims that have been preserved under a thin veneer of plaster, to give them their life form.
"Until now, these figures have been dispersed around Pompeii itself, or to other museums around the world," says Grete Stefani, the organiser of the exhibition at the nearby Antiquarium de Boscoreale, a five-minute drive from Pompeii.
"They've never been seen together."
The process of unearthing the bones and preserving them in plaster has gone on since the 19th Century, when archaeologists really began the work of prizing out Pompeii's buried existence.
One of the exhibits shows a figure, probably a man, clasping a step.
Another shows a man with his arm over his mouth, most likely trying to hold back the choking dust.
A third shows a family, their arms raised, as though trying to fend off the calamity that was engulfing them.
The figures are exactly how the archaeologists found them buried in the layers of ash.
Once discovered, the cavity containing the skeleton is filled with a liquid plaster mixture.
After 48 hours the plaster hardens and the life-like figure can be lifted out.
Not even the animals had the speed to escape.
The exhibition includes a pig and alongside a dog, his four legs contorted together to form one point and his mouth open.
You can see a tooth and a collar, and even make out the lines of his fur.
"The detail of the figures is remarkable" says Mrs Stefani. "They have been preserved at the very second of their death."
On another figure you can make out the creases of a scarf they were wearing as they struggled to breathe.
One of the saddest is the figure of a child.
The exhibition reflects the merciless, indiscriminate nature of the volcanic eruption.
The authorities decided to mount the displays partly because of the ignorance surrounding the figures.
"Many visitors to Pompeii thought they were sculptures, the work of artists," says Mrs Stefani. "But they are the remains of real people".
The work of preservation falls to Pompeii's workshop of experts.
Set in a former villa in the city, the team prepare the plaster mixture.
Too thin and it would not be strong enough to support the skeletal frame, too thick and it would obliterate the detail of the person or animal being covered.
"It is a very delicate operation," says Stefania Giudice, one of the preservers working here.
"The bones are very brittle, so when we pour in the plaster we have to be very careful, otherwise we might damage the remains and they would be lost to us forever."
A little more than 100 figures have been preserved in plaster, though not all are on show at the exhibition.
That is out of a total of about 1,150 bodies that have been discovered in Pompeii.
Some are not suitable to be covered as they have already been damaged, either by the debris of the volcano, or when they were unearthed.
As a third of Pompeii has yet to be excavated, more human and animal remains could be found.
Where possible these, too, will be treated with the plaster, removed and preserved.
To preservers like Ms Giudice, it is more than just a job.
"It can be very moving handling these remains when we apply the plaster," she says.
"Even though it happened 2,000 years ago, it could be a boy, a mother or a family. It's human archaeology, not just archaeology."
The exhibition lasts until the end of the year.
Name of source: The Missoulian
SOURCE: The Missoulian (4-3-10)
The reasons are several.
Obsidian, a valued rock used to create razor-sharp points for weapons and tools, is located about 20 miles to the northwest at Obsidian Cliff. The lake area contains a variety of flora – everything from camas to wild onions – that would have created a great stew or to create medicines. And there was plenty of wildlife in the region. One archaeological site turned up blood residue from bear, wolf and deer as well as rabbit sinew.
Hale said analysis of campsites showed some visitors could have been small parties of male hunters, while others were families staying for longer periods.
Name of source:
On its first day, Pony Express riders left San Francisco, heading east, and St. Joseph, Mo., heading west. Daring young men on fast horses pounded along day and night 1,966 miles over prairies and deserts, over the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, through searing heat and blinding snowstorms.
They rode in relays, a rider jumping off his worn pony and onto another. "We stopped for nothing," express rider Charles Cliff was reported to say.
The Pony Express trail led over what is now Highway 50. On the way west, the riders rode over the Sierra and down to Sacramento. San Francisco was the western terminal, and Pony Express riders usually rode riverboats from Sacramento to San Francisco, but the boats didn't run on Sundays, and for some months, the express riders came through Benicia, Martinez, Lafayette and Oakland.
The pony, celebrated in movies, books, dime novels, Wild West shows and legends, is part of the legacy of the Old West. It began on April 3, 1860, when the first eastbound rider, a gent named James Randall, picked up his mailbag loaded with "full dispatches," as the papers reported, and mounted his wiry pony in front of the Alta California Telegraph Co. office at Merchant and Montgomery streets in San Francisco.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (4-1-10)
Egypt has already cleared out Luxor's old bazaar, demolished thousands of homes and dozens of Belle Epoque buildings in a push to transform the site of the ancient capital Thebes into a huge open-air museum.
Officials say the project will preserve temples and draw more tourists, but the work has outraged archaeologists and architects who say it has gutted Luxor's more recent heritage.
Name of source: USA Today
SOURCE: USA Today (3-31-10)
In the current Journal of Archaeological Science, a team led by Bernardo Arriaza of Chile's Universidad de Tarapaca analyzed hair from 45 Andean mummies taken from ten sites some 7,000 to 600 years old. The mummies dried in Chile's Atacama desert region, one of the most parched regions on Earth. They were deliberately mummified with sticks, reeds and clay, given wigs and distinctive caps.
In the research, the team cleaned hair samples with de-ionized water, and then blasted them with lasers for chemical analysis. Some modern-day waters in the region have arsenic levels 100 times higher than the 10 microgram-per-liter limits recommended by the World Health Organization.
About 31% of the mummies had arsenic levels above 2.6 micrograms per liter, the study finds, and 89% had arsenic levels at least a tenth of that concentration, enough to trigger health effects. "Our data show that ancient people of northern Chile accumulated significant levels of arsenic in their bodies," concludes the study.
Chronic arsenic poisoning causes health problems ranging from premature birth, stillbirths, infant mortality, skin disorders, stunted growth, neurological disorders and cancer, the study notes, as well as cleft palate and spina bifida.
SOURCE: USA Today (4-2-10)
Although his predecessor John Paul II traveled the globe often to meet millions of adoring Catholics, Benedict has been content to remain close to home and out of the limelight.
But today, five years to the day of the death of his charismatic predecessor, Benedict faces a sex scandal that some Vatican observers say threatens to overwhelm his accomplishments.
Name of source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
SOURCE: Minneapolis Star Tribune (4-2-10)
What began as a casual hallway conversation between two Minneapolis lawyers has turned into a small-scale international search for Danish fishermen who helped rescue Jews during World War II. The obstacles include the passage of time -- 67 years to be exact -- and a well-deserved cultural reputation for stoicism and modesty.
In October 1943, in German-occupied Denmark, Danish Jews were about to be rounded up and deported to concentration camps. But, in one of the few upbeat chapters of the Holocaust story, an underground network rallied to coordinate a massive boat lift of 7,200 Jews from Denmark across the Oresund Strait to nearby neutral Sweden.
Danish fishermen risked their lives by cramming Jewish families into the holds of hundreds of small fishing boats. It's estimated that all but about 450 Jews found freedom.
The legend of the Danish boat lift has resonated with Jews. Children in Hebrew school learn that they should appreciate the Danes, even if they are not clear why. One of the most famous boats used in the rescue -- the "02" -- is part of the permanent exhibition of the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington....
Name of source: Salon.com
SOURCE: Salon.com (4-2-10)
Name of source: GlobalPost
SOURCE: GlobalPost (4-2-10)
When he was child in the early 1970s, Tran says he witnessed U.S. soldiers shoot his parents — both of whom were communist Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. Bent on revenge, he joined the guerrilla group within hours.
To this day, Tran weeps over the memories of bloodshed and the hellish cries of his dying friends. But one bizarre memory will haunt him forever. "The American airplanes came right toward me and dropped a mist in the jungle, and the next day, the trees were dead,” he recalled. “We weren’t scared. We were confused.”
Thanks to that experience, his son has been unable to walk since birth.
Tran was sprayed with dioxin, codenamed by the military Agent Orange — an herbicide that the U.S. Army used to kill off shrubbery in central Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s, so the Viet Cong would have no place to hide.
The defoliant is known to cause a myriad of birth defects in the children of those exposed. Today, Tran’s 18-year-old son suffers from a spinal disorder called spina bifida, an ailment Tran’s doctor said was caused by his contact with dioxin four decades ago....
Name of source: Spiegel Online
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (4-2-10)
As a boy, the son of a Hungarian nobleman would often stare off into the distance from his birthplace, a castle in the Burgenland region of present-day Austria. He always longed for the unattainable.
At 14, the boy built himself a glider to fly up to the sky, but it crashed.
Then, in the 1930s, Laszlo Almasy set out to find the lost oasis of Zarzura. The mythical place is mentioned in Arabian treasure books and in the collection of stories known as "One Thousand and One Nights," where it is referred to as "City of Brass."
The pioneer explored 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) of the Sahara. He surveyed the land, drew maps and set foot in places in that sea of sand "that no human eye had seen." In the remote Wadi Sura, he even stumbled upon painted dugouts from the Stone Age -- a sensational find.
But he never found Zarzura.
There is no question that Almasy was a man who followed his desires. But who was this adventurer, flight instructor and Nazi agent, who the Bedouins reverently called Abu Ramla, or Father of the Sand?...
Name of source: Investopedia.com
SOURCE: Investopedia.com (4-2-10)
Benjamin Franklin was correct in his assessment of both death and taxes, but while taxes have been certain, they've been far from consistent. (The receipts you cram into your wallet could be replaced with cash come tax season. To learn more, read 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions.)
The Land that Tax Forgot
America was tax-free for much of its early history. That is, free of direct taxation like income tax. It was, after all, taxes that led Americans to revolt against the British in 1773. Following the revolutionary war, the new American government was understandably cautious when it came to taxation – direct taxation was prevented by the constitution for all practical purposes. Therefore, government revenues had to be collected through tariffs and duties on certain items. These excise taxes on liquor, tobacco, sugar, legal documents and so on, betrayed a social agenda as well as a revenue-gathering attempt.
The first challenge to the system came in 1794, when the Whiskey Rebellion broke out. It was basically groups of Pennsylvanian farmers angry about the tax on whiskey burning down tax collectors' houses and tarring and feathering any collectors too slow to get away. Defending the right to collect their indirect taxes, Congress put down the revolt by military force....