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  • Originally published 06/16/2013

    Magna Carta: Passions still running high in Runnymede

    A peace treaty sealed in Runnymede in 1215, signalling the end of a conflict between King John and barons who were in revolt, has once again got passions running high in Surrey.Events are being organised across the world to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta - in the UK, the US, Australia, France, Spain and Trinidad.But a debate is raging on what to do in the place where the charter- hailed by some as the foundation of English democracy - was sealed....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    MI6: Hitler better alive because of his incompetence

    British military chiefs thought Hitler was more use alive than dead in the later stages of the Second World War because of the “blunders” he was making.The view emerged as the Government discussed bombing a rumoured hiding place of the Nazi leader two weeks after the launch of the D-Day landings.MI6 had also been asked to draw up a hit list of key German and French figures ahead of Operation Overlord to ensure the landings were a success, previously secret intelligence files reveal today.But the head of the Secret Service disliked the idea as did another intelligence chief even though there were people he would happily “kill with my own hands” without “spoiling my appetite”....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Allies discussed killing Rommel before D-Day

    Plans to assassinate key German figures, including Erwin Rommel, in the run-up to D-Day are revealed in newly-released British intelligence files.It was discussed in communications between the British government, military and intelligence services with the aim of aiding the landings.They planned to target those involved in the Gestapo and enemy logistics.However it was dismissed as "the type of bright idea which... produces a good deal of trouble and does little good".The letters and telegrams detailing the plans were revealed in a file, dated 1944 and obliquely entitled "War (General)", from the foreign office's permanent under-secretary of state Sir Alexander Cadogan....

  • Originally published 05/15/2013

    German dialect in Texas is one of a kind

    The first German settlers arrived in Texas over 150 years ago and successfully passed on their native language throughout the generations - until now.German was the main language used in schools, churches and businesses around the hill country between Austin and San Antonio. But two world wars and the resulting drop in the standing of German meant that the fifth and sixth generation of immigrants did not pass it on to their children....Hans Boas, a linguistic and German professor at the University of Texas, has made it his mission to record as many speakers of German in the Lone Star State as he can before the last generation of Texas Germans passes away.Mr Boas has recorded 800 hours of interviews with over 400 German descendants in Texas and archived them at the Texas German Dialect Project. He says the dialect, created from various regional German origins and a mix of English, is one of a kind....

  • Originally published 04/16/2013

    BBC journalist posed as historian for NK visit

    A student has told how she was conned by the BBC into believing its journalist was a history professor so he travel to North Korea for a Panorama investigation.The London School of Economics student, who wants to remain anonymous, has intensified pressure on the BBC, which is under fire over a Pyongyang documentary shown last night.The student told MailOnline: '[Panorama journalist] John Sweeney was presented to use as a history professor from a university in Beijing.'I was wondering why they were filming him so much. It was two days before then end of the trip that I realised he was an undercover journalist.'...

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    BBC gets heat for censoring Elvis Costello’s 1979 hit “Oliver’s Army”

    The BBC is fielding complaints for editing the 1979 Elvis Costello hit “Oliver’s Army” on a 6 Music radio broadcast last week. The Mail reports that BBC censored the “one more widow, one less white n****r” lyric, despite the fact that the song has generally played uncensored on the radio for more than thirty years.According to the Telegraph, one listener said, “‘Although it is not a nice phrase and I wouldn’t condone the use of the word these days, it is an anti-war song as far as I believe, arguing against British colonialism and the word would be appropriate for that song.”

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Iraq: The spies who fooled the world

    The lies of two Iraqi spies were central to the claim - at the heart of the UK and US decision to go to war in Iraq - that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But even before the fighting started, intelligence from highly-placed sources was available suggesting he did not, Panorama has learned.Six months before the invasion, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the country about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."The programme is not shut down," he said. "It is up and running now." Mr Blair used the intelligence on WMD to justify the war.That same day, 24 September 2002, the government published its controversial dossier on the former Iraqi leader's WMD....

  • Originally published 03/16/2013

    LBJ: Nixon guilty of treason

    By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands".The BBC's former Washington correspondent Charles Wheeler learned of this in 1994 and conducted a series of interviews with key Johnson staff, such as defence secretary Clark Clifford, and national security adviser Walt Rostow.But by the time the tapes were declassified in 2008 all the main protagonists had died, including Wheeler.Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told.It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign….

  • Originally published 02/16/2013

    Modern politics overshadows Israel’s historic Herod exhibit

    He's best known as a great tyrant. King Herod is said to have killed his wife and sons as well as all the baby boys of Bethlehem.But the first major exhibition on the Biblical ruler at the Israel Museum sets out to prove that he also had positive qualities that make him more deserving of the title "Herod the Great"."We tried to show that he was not only the cruel person described by [the Jewish historian] Josephus and the New Testament but he was also a ruler who managed to keep this country in peace for 33 years," says curator Silvia Rosenburg."It was probably very difficult being a local ruler caught between the Roman Empire and the different exigencies of Judaism, but he did it very well. In his time there was prosperity and work for everyone."A main reason why there was mass employment was because of the ambitious building projects ordered by Herod when he ruled between 37 and 4 BC......Palestinian officials say they will make a formal complaint to the museum for removing relics from the West Bank, which Palestinians want as part of a future state.

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    British cannon from Battle of Cape Passaro found off Sicily

    Marine archaeologists working on a wreck off the coast of Sicily have discovered five large cannon from a British ship, believed to have sunk in a major battle with Spanish galleons.The team searching waters near the city of Syracuse said the "exceptional" find dates back to the Battle of Cape Passaro in the early 1700s.Pictures taken by divers show the cannon were barely covered by sand....