PAJU, South Korea, May 24 (Reuters) - A group of international women activists crossed the heavily-fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea on Sunday in what they said was a symbolic act for peace.
North and South Korea are still technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Despite its name the DMZ is one of the most heavily militarized and fortified borders in the world.
“We feel very celebratory and positive that we have created a voyage across the DMZ in peace and reconciliation,” said U.S. activist and feminist Gloria Steinem, honorary co-chair of the WomanCrossDMZ group, which is calling for a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice which ended the conflict.
The Black Death struck Europe in 1347, killing 30-50% of the European population in six violent years. It wasn’t a one-off epidemic: it signalled the start of the second plague pandemic in Europe that lasted for hundreds of years and only slowly disappeared from the continent after the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666.
These outbreaks were traditionally thought to be caused by rodent reservoirs of infected rats lurking in Europe’s cities, or potentially by rodent reservoirs in the wilderness. But our research, published in the journal PNAS, suggests otherwise.
If the “reservoir” thesis were correct, we would expect plague outbreaks to be associated with local climate fluctuations, through changes in agricultural yields and primary productions in forests, affecting the number of urban and wildlife rodents, resulting in more plague. We found that Europe’s plague outbreaks were indeed associated with climate fluctuations - but in Asia.
If reading The Bourne Identity and watching Burn Notice has taught me anything, it’s that spies need to blend in. Kate Warne was a master at this:
The novelty of a female detective in those days meant Warne was able to go undercover with ease (including pretending to be a fortune-teller as a means to gather intel), and gain the trust of other women (like the wife of a man suspected of embezzling $50,000 from the Adams Express Company in Montgomery, Alabama).
She saved Abraham Lincoln’s life through some clever misdirection. Warne traveled to Baltimore to infiltrate a group of Confederate sympathizers. After learning of the assassination plot, Warne made arrangements:
Lincoln donned an overcoat and hat, abandoning his signature “stovepipe.” His role was that of Kate Warne’s “invalid brother.” Warne purchased tickets for herself and her “brother,” and saw to it that the rear sections of a sleeping car were secure. Kate charmed the conductor into keeping the back door of the sleeping car open, so that her “sick brother” could enter in privacy.
oy Lofthouse, 92, flew the iconic planes during the Second World War.
This time, she took off from Boultbee Flight Academy in Chichester, Sussex, as a passenger.
After landing, Mrs Lofthouse said: “It was lovely. It was perfect.”
The thrilled grandmother, from Cirencester, Glos said the flight had made her feel “quite young” again.
And referring to the Spitfire, she told BBC 5 Live: “It was the iconic plane, I know they both - the Hurricanes and the Spitfires - played their part, but the Spitfire lasted a lot longer because it’s such a wonderful aeroplane I think.
The nearest thing to having wings of your own and flying that I’ve known.”
But she admitted to having been a little apprehensive before taking to the skies once again.
“I was excited, but aware of my age. So hoping that things went OK.
But not as confident as I did when I used to fly them alone when I was young.’
“But I’m being very cosseted and I’m very grateful. It was incredible to be in a Spitfire again after so long.
I’m so lucky to be given this chance to fly in this again. It’s very hard to describe the feeling.”
The Spitfire used for this flight, ML 407 or the “Grace Spitfire,” is one of a number converted to a two seat conversion trainer configuration after the war. It has full dual controls and Ms. Lofthouse was able to fly the aircraft again during this flight.
We live in an amazing world.
NYT Video at link.
By Ann Shin
When I first met Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud in Vancouver back in 2012, they seemed like any other Middle Eastern immigrants settling into new lives: Zahed was working as a mechanic, while Najah ran a small furniture moving company. But when I sat down with them over cups of mint tea, their story moved me to tears. I’ve been helping them tell it ever since.
More: ‘My Enemy, My Brother’
For expanded videos of this story, please go here.
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) — Beth Olem Cemetery is like many aging, final resting places, with assorted tombstones in varying condition, sizes and styles, encircled by a brick wall and iron gate.
Yet surrounding it on all sides is an unusual neighbor: a massive automotive plant.
The serene, green oasis is enveloped by the steel and concrete structures and grounds of General Motors Co.’s Detroit Hamtramck Plant, which makes Chevrolet Volts, Cadillacs and other cars. To maintain plant security, public access to the cemetery is limited to a couple days a year — typically Sundays nearest to the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover — and some special requests. This year, the opening around Passover was postponed a month until this past Sunday, when a couple dozen people showed up.
The 2.2-acre, 1,100-grave Jewish cemetery with burials ranging from the late 1860s to the late 1940s, has survived through historical quirks. The biggest was an agreement ironed out about 35 years ago to preserve the cemetery when GM got Michigan Supreme Court approval of its contentious bid to demolish roughly 1,500 homes and businesses, several churches and a hospital so it could build a new plant.
Visitors who clear GM security and drive about a mile around the plant are welcomed by an iron arch with partly rusted letters that reads, “BETHOLEM CEMETERY.”
Given the passage of time and infrequent access, cemetery officials say visitors with no connection to the deceased outnumber descendants. Still, Sunday’s guests included Susan Brodsky, who saw for the first time the grave of her great-grandfather, Chlavno Cantor, who died in 1909. The connection was made through her daughter, Olivia Brodsky, who was working on a college genealogy project, then confirmed by an elderly male cousin.
“He said it was in the Cadillac plant,” said Susan Brodsky, standing next to the headstone that read “Cantor” in English and the rest in Yiddish. “At first, I’m sitting there going like, ‘Where? Where? What is he talking about?’ Then I started Googling ‘old Jewish cemeteries in Detroit’ and it was pretty obvious. … This was it.”
The cemetery’s existence isn’t widely known, but those searching online can find some information. Local historic and Jewish organizations as well as a weekly Jewish publication occasionally write about it, and some learned about the cemetery opening from those websites and social media.
In the early 1860s, members of what’s now called Congregation Shaarey Zedek secured the burial ground, according to a 1992 article published by the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. Beth Olem’s bucolic setting soon gained industrial neighbors as the auto industry ascended at the turn of the 20th century. The Jewish community moved in subsequent decades, and the cemetery had fewer burials as other cemeteries opened.
Ralph Zuckman is executive director of Shaarey Zedek’s Clover Hill Park Cemetery, a suburban Detroit cemetery overseeing Beth Olem, which is also spelled Beth Olam and means “house of the universe” or “house of eternity.” He said the synagogue shared oversight with other congregations in the 1980s but assumed full responsibility when it came time to negotiate with GM.
“We realized we had an interest in that cemetery and wanted to make sure it remained,” he said. “In Hebrew, going onto a cemetery property is like walking into a synagogue. You’re walking on holy ground.”
While the arrangement is unconventional, Zuckman described the relationship between the automaker and cemetery officials as “very good.” Some landscaping work and headstone repairs are needed, but the grounds and graves are in generally good shape given their age. Clover Hill Park is responsible and pays for upkeep, though GM has access in case of emergency.
I used to work at GM back in the ‘90’s and frequently performed tech support at the Hamtramck facility. My g-g-grandfather’s obituary in the Detroit News in 1910 said that he was carried to “Beth Olem” on Chene Street so a co-worker and I were allowed into the cemetery.
Here is where the story gets really freaky.
When my youngest (6th) son was born in 1985, we had completely run out of family names. We went over booklets of Baby Names and finally, a week after he was born, we decided on a Hebrew name.
We knew my g-g-grandfather’s name was Louis but we thought his Hebrew name was Isaac since his nickname was “Ike”
But it turned out that his name was Aryeh Leib, the same name we gave our son. (Although now he goes by “Bob”)
The Fourth of July celebration has all the hallmarks of a scene from “Gone with the Wind,” or a county fair in the most unreconstructed corners of Mississippi or Alabama. The men, dressed in Confederate gray shell jackets, yellow-trimmed frock coats, kepis and plumed black slouch hats, cross the dance floor to select their partners, elegant young women in colorful hoop-skirted ball gowns. Arm in arm, they step to the rhythms of ancient dances, as the fiddle and banjo strike up the old-time strains of “Dixie’s Land,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “The Virginia Reel” and “Cumberland Gap.”
Meanwhile, families gather around banquet tables loaded down with dishes that are the products of centuries-old Southern family recipes. Along the sidelines, vendors hawk rebel battle flags, Confederate campaign caps, and T-shirts, mugs and bumper stickers emblazoned with slogans like “Hell no, we won’t forget!”
Nearby stands a small stucco-walled chapel. An old cemetery, shaded by Alabama pines and bougainvillea, contains over 500 graves with stones bearing such venerable Southern names as MacKnight, Miller and Baird, Steagall, Oliver, and Norris, Owens, Carlton and Cobb.
The setting is, in fact, in the South - very far south, in Brazil.
The Festa Confederada is held as often as four times a year in Campo, an area carved out of the sugar cane fields outside Americana, a modern city of some 200,000 residents in the state of São Paulo. All the participants are “Confederados” - fifth-generation descendants of Southerners who immigrated here in the days following the Civil War. The entire scene - the dress, the music, food, even the conversation - is a carefully rendered homage to those disaffected rebels who elected to leave their conquered nation and make a new home in a foreign land.
By 1866, the future for countless Southerners appeared bleak. Not only had their bid for nationhood been destroyed; in many instances, so had their homes, their communities and their livelihood. The prospect of living under the harsh fist of the conquering North was more than many were willing to bear. As one Confederado descendant wrote, “Helpless under military occupation and burdened by the psychology of defeat, a sense of guilt, and the economic devastation wrought by the war, many felt they had no choice but to leave.”
There were other reasons. For some, the prospect of laboring alongside former slaves was unacceptable. And then there were those adventurers who hoped to find gold or silver in what was being widely touted as a tropical paradise. Whatever their impetus, for tens of thousands of Southerners, the promise of a new beginning in a new land was irresistible, and Latin America beckoned.
The Southerners’ knowledge of agriculture made them an attractive asset, and a number of countries, including Mexico, Honduras and Venezuela, competed to colonize the disaffected Americans. The most favorable offer, however, came from Brazil’s Emperor Dom Pedro II. Desperate to expand the cultivation of cotton in his country, he put together a proposal offering an impressive list of amenities, including the building of a new road and rail infrastructure for conveying crops to market. Brazil had been a strong ally to the Confederacy throughout the war, harboring and supplying rebel ships. And although Brazil had closed its ports to the African slave trade in 1850, it would not abolish slavery for another 38 years. Of all the Latin American nations, Brazil was the one with which the Southerners felt the strongest bond.
Glenn Greenwald would feel right at home with these paleo-secessionists.
It’s funny I have read a lot of fiction about nazi colonies in South America, but almost nothing about the Confederates.
Why would they celebrate the Fourth of July? Isn’t that, like, a Yankee festival? Wouldn’t they celebrate Ft. Sumter Day (April 1861?)
Half a century before famed Helen Keller, the “Original Helen Keller,” Laura Dewey Bridgman, became the first deaf and blind person to learn a language. By the time that Keller became famous in the early twentieth century, Bridgman’s story had faded and been forgotten — but like Keller, Bridgman moved souls around the world by triumphing over her multiple disabilities.
Laura Dewey Bridgman was born in the expansion period of the United States on December 21, 1829, just shy of President Andrew Jackson’s message to Congress to relocate the Native American tribes west of the Mississippi River. With her parents, Daniel and Harmony Bridgman, Laura resided in Etna, New Hampshire, just a few miles east of Vermont. Although Native Americans had moved from that area decades earlier, it remained rural.
When she was two, Laura contracted scarlet fever, which eradicated both her hearing and her sight, while seriously damaging her senses of taste and smell. Touch was the only one of the five senses that was not impaired.
The sisters would sing together, Ziegler says, and the lyrics to “You’ve Got to Be Taught” stay with her, even today.
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught
To be afraid of people
Whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
“I just remember hearing [the lyrics] when I was young, and it made me very sad,” Ziegler says. “I had parents who did exceptionally love us and taught us to do the same. And I just thought, how can people be taught to hate, especially children?”
It has been 50 years since two Avro Lancaster bombers flew side by side. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster, VeRA, flew from Hamilton, Ontario to meet her British counterpart, Thumper—the only other surviving flight worthy Lancaster bomber in the world—the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s (BBMF) Lancaster in England.
Suddenly SeeMore…Productions Inc’s specialty is reality adventure television and the people who make it. REUNION OF GIANTS documents this historic mission as it unfolds, through the eyes of the flight crews, veterans, friends and family—all part of the bombers’ history, including this new chapter as VeRA crosses the Atlantic.