Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Destruction of Ancient Palmyra Temple by ISIR Confirmed

THIS type of behavior is the only reason civilized societies need  to NOT repatriate precious ancient artifacts back to ANY country in the barbarian territories - or elsewhere, for that matter, because what seems stable today may be taken over by Christian Taliban, for example, tomorrow (like they are attempting to do in the USA).  Hey Saudis, where are you in this?  Hey, Iran, where are you in this (well, the government forces are still busy destroying their own monuments through massive looting, what was I thinking/??) Hey, Arab Emirates, where are you in this?

Guess these fellow barbarians and all of their sympathizers think they will be exempt from ISIR or ISIR-like forces.  Ha!  Think again, dudes.

Palmyra temple destruction confirmed by satellite images


AFP
Beirut (AFP) - Satellite images show the main temple in Syria's Palmyra has been flattened, confirming the worst fears for the ancient ruins held by the Islamic State group.

The destruction of the Temple of Bel sparked outrage and international headlines, precisely the reaction the jihadist group may have been seeking, experts said.
Dozens of relics remain at risk in the ruins of Palmyra, which IS jihadists seized from regime forces in May as they pursued their campaign for territory in Syria and Iraq.
The extremist group's harsh philosophy condemns pre-Islamic religious sites and considers statues and grave markers to be idolatrous, but it has also been accused of destroying heritage to loot items for the black market and to gain publicity.
Satellite images taken before and after an explosion at Palmyra on Sunday "confirm the destruction of the main Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity," UN training and research agency UNITAR said late Monday.
The 2,000-year-old temple was the centrepiece of Palmyra's famed ruins and one of the most important relics at the UNESCO-listed heritage site.  "The Temple of Bel was the most beautiful symbol of all of Syria. It was the most beautiful place to visit," Syrian antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP by telephone from Damascus.  "And we have lost it forever."
IS fighters seized Palmyra from Syrian regime forces on May 21, immediately sparking fears for the city's ruins and historic sites.  While antiquities staff evacuated most of the city's museum before IS arrived, the group destroyed an ornate lion statue outside the building and also mined Palmyra's ruins.
Last month the jihadists beheaded the 82-year old former antiquities chief in Palmyra and destroyed the ancient shrine of Baal Shamin.
- 'They have killed Palmyra' -
On Sunday, activists and a monitor reported a large explosion at the site had destroyed the Temple of Bel.  Abdulkarim said Palmyra's remaining ruins, which lie in the southwest of the city, include "dozens of the greatest grave markers, the amphitheatre, and the Temple of Nabu, which only has its foundations."
The city's grand Roman amphitheatre, which dates from between the second and third century, is not believed to have been damaged.  But it was the scene of a gruesome massacre shortly after IS seized Palmyra, with child members of the group executing 25 Syrian soldiers in the amphitheatre.
"They have killed Palmyra. Now, they will terrorise it," Abdulkarim said. "It's the last warning before the complete destruction of Palmyra." Cheikhmous Ali of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archeology (APSA) described the razing of the ruins as "a way to pressure and torture the local population -- to suppress their history and their collective memory."
It was also an attempt to "remain in the headlines", he said, warning: "The more we give IS's savage actions media attention, the more they will repeat this."
- 'Symbolic power' in destruction -
Gruesome violence and the destruction of priceless artefacts have become hallmarks of IS as it expands its so-called "caliphate" across swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.  In addition to damaging sites in Syria, IS has destroyed statues, shrines, and manuscripts in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and demolished the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud further south.
Charlie Winter, an analyst with the London-based Quilliam Foundation, said the destruction of artefacts in Palmyra and elsewhere "makes sense with the jihadist worldview, because these temples are symbols of polytheism.  They are pre-Islamic and are considered by IS not to be worthy of existence," Winter said.
He agreed that IS may be seeking to reclaim headlines at a time when its gruesome killings no longer receive the same media attention as before.  The militants have used sophisticated media techniques to gain publicity and lure thousands of foreign fighters to join their ranks.
"The videos IS publishes of people being burned alive don't grab headlines anywhere near as much as headlines about Palmyra do," Winter said.
IS "has recognised the symbolic power of destroying these ruins.  If there's anything IS revels in, it's condemnation" of its actions, he said.
Regime forces have launched an offensive to retake the ancient city and as they edge closer the jihadist group may be looking to sow as much destruction as it can.
"The more likely it looks that IS will end up losing Palmyra, the more likely it will destroy what's left there," Winter said.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Shigir Idol WAY Older Than Thought

Hola darlings!

The Shigir Idol
The Shigir Idol is covered in carvings, including what looks like code. It stands 9.2ft (2.8 metres) in height (shown left and right) but originally was 17.4ft (5.3 metres) tall - as high as a two storey house.

Story at The Daily Mail, along with a multitude of photos and graphics.

World's oldest wooden statue is TWICE as old as the pyramids: New analysis reveals Shigir Idol is more ancient than first thought

  • Shigir Idol was discovered in a peat bog in Kirovgrad, Siberia in 1890
  • Perfectly-preserved wooden statue was thought to be 9,500 years old
  • Dating technology revealed its 1,500 years older than  previously thought
  • Idol is covered in mysterious carvings which have yet to be deciphered, but could depict snakes, danger and even spirits in different worlds

A stunning wooden statue pulled from a Russian peat bog 125 years ago has been dated as being 11,000 years old after 'sensational' new analysis.

This means the remarkable Shigir Idol, which is covered in ‘encrypted code’ and may be a message from ancient man, is by far the oldest wooden sculpture in the world.

Previous dating attempts claimed it was made 9,500 years ago.  By comparison, Stonehenge dates back 4,614 years, while the haunting Russian wooden sculpture is also more than twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids.

But in fact, it is one and a half millennia older, according to the latest research by German scientists. 'We can say the results are sensational,' a source at Sverdlovsk Regional History Museum told The Siberian Times. The museum said the dating used the world's most sophisticated technology and was undertaken to remove doubts about the age of the idol.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nazi Loot Found?

Posted August 20, 2015:

Men claim to find Nazi train loaded with treasure in Poland


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — According to Polish lore, a Nazi train loaded with gold, artworks and weapons vanished into a mountain at the end of World War II, as the Germans fled the Soviet advance. Now two men claim they know the location of the mystery train and are demanding 10 percent of its value in exchange for revealing its location.
Historians say the existence of the train has never been conclusively proven, but authorities are not passing up this chance at possibly recovering treasures that locals and the government have sought for 70 years.

"We believe that a train has been found. We are taking this information seriously," Marika Tokarska, an official in the southwestern Polish district of Walbrzych, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
She said her office received two letters this month from a law firm representing the men, a Pole and a German who have chosen to remain anonymous, saying they are seeking 10 percent of the value of the train's contents for revealing its location. The documents from the lawyers say the train is 150-meters (490-feet) long and loaded with guns, valuables and precious metals, but do not specify where it is. Authorities say they are willing to pay the reward if the information pans out.

A lawyer for the men, Jaroslaw Chmielewski, compared the find to the "wreck of the Titanic" in an interview on a local radio station.

Tokarska said that hiring a law firm gives a degree of credibility to the two men's claims, as do indications that they are familiar with the train's contents. But there are also reasons for caution: The first letter included some references to the area's topography that indicated they might not know the area very well.

Joanna Lamparska, an author who has written about the train and the region's history, says she believes it could be a scam.  "We have had a lot of stories like that in the last few years with people claiming they know where the train is," Lamparska told The AP. "But nothing was ever found."

Local stories say a German train left from the German city of Breslau (today the Polish city of Wroclaw) in April 1945 and headed westward toward Waldenburg (now Walbrzych.) At some point in the 60-kilometer (40-mile) journey it vanished.

During the war, Adolf Hitler had started creating a secret underground system in the area under the Owl Mountains, a project called "Riese," or "Giant." The region still belonged to Germany at the time and the project included seven separate tunnel systems. It was probably intended to be a military headquarters, though the project remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

Lamparska describes the area as one filled with meadows and mountains where the Nazis had secret rail lines and tunnels with camouflaged openings that went under the mountains.

The source of the train legend was a Polish miner who claimed he was told about it just after the war by German miners; he said they saw it being pushed into one of the tunnels. The miner has spent his life since trying to find the train, Lamparska said.

Already, the district governor has convened a meeting of firefighters, police, military and others to explore how they can safely handle the train if it is finally found. Not only could it be armed with explosives, but methane gas underground could add to the risk of an explosion.

The mystery is now compounded by questions about who the two men are.  "It could either be nonsense or they got the information directly from the Germans," local rescuer Krzysztof Szpalkowski told the private broadcaster TVN24. "Maybe one of these men is a descendant of people who took part in this action."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Theory About the Location of Queen Nefertiti's Tomb

If there is any water to this, HOLY HATHOR!  I have deleted some of the more sensationalist information included in the article that was not on point, but could not resist keeping the information about Dorothy Eady, who believed she was a reincarnated Egyptian priestess, intact :)

Archaeologist believes he may have found remains of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti — hidden in King Tut’s tomb 

Nefertiti — she’s an ancient Egyptian queen and the source of a fantastic mystery regarding the iconic remnants of long-lost royalty. For decades, archaeologists have speculated on the location of the queen’s remains, the last royal mummy missing from the dynasty of the famous King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut.

But now, an archaeologist claims that he has found her secret tomb in the Valley of the Kings, hidden just beyond a wall near the resting place of the boy-pharaoh. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona, theory is based on an analysis of detailed scans of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The scans reveal the texture of walls beneath their layers of paint, and Reeves believes he found a number of cracks indicating two previously concealed doors.

One of these doors would possibly lead to a storeroom, Reeves said. But the larger door on the north side of the burial chamber, he suggests, could lead to another room holding the remains of Nefertiti, believed by some to be the mother of Tutankhamun.

“I have been testing the evidence ever since, looking for indications that what I thought I was seeing was, in fact, not there,” Reeves told the BBC. “But the more I looked, the more information I found that I seemed to be looking at something pretty real.”

Archaeologists have expressed cautious excitement over Reeves’s conclusion, although they have yet to embrace it fully, as expected. The theory would take many more tests to confirm, although a radar scan could quickly reveal any hollows, an archaeologist told the Economist. “If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m right this is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made.”

To find Nefertiti would be a huge win for archaeologists, and may be able to solve some of the mysteries of King Tut’s tomb. The queen, famed for her beauty and her uniquely realistic bust at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, served as co-regent to King Akhenaten, her husband, and may have been a pharaoh after his death. That means the contents of her tomb, if it exists, would be just as fantastic as Tutankhamum’s — perhaps even more fantastic.

Tutankhamun is believed to have only ruled for nine years, taking power only as a young boy. His remains show that he was a fragile child, with buck teeth and a pronounced overbite. Thanks to rounds of royal inbreeding, he had a club foot and could only walk with a cane.

His reign was overshadowed by much more prominent pharaohs who came before him, including Ramses II, Khufu and his father Akhenaten. Still, the magnificence of the treasures found in his tomb has made it one of the most celebrated archaeological finds in the world. His famous gold funeral mask — which mysteriously depicts him more femininely than other pharaohs — is considered one of the most recognized artifacts ever.

There’s also the bizarre story of Dorothy Louise Eady, who served as a researcher at the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. Eady, better known as Omm Sety, openly believed that she was an ancient Egyptian priestess in a past life who had been reincarnated in the modern age. Her beliefs, detailed in a number of biographies,were supposedly awakened in her after falling down stairs at 3 years old. She grew up dreaming about her experiences in ancient Egypt, and eventually moved to Egypt to become close friends with a number of prominent archaeologists. She made a number of Egyptological discoveries based on what she said were memories, not research.

At one point, she reportedly said she knew where the tomb of Nefertiti was located based on a conversation in another life with a pharaoh, according to a biography titled “Omm Sety’s Egypt.” It’s in the Valley of the Kings, and it’s quite near to the Tutankhamun tomb,” she said, according to the biography. “But it’s in a place where nobody would ever think of looking for it. And apparently it is still intact.”

Eady died in 1981 at the age of 77.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nepalize Women Fear Loss of Rights Under Proposed Constitution

Fears grow over Nepal's 'anti-women' constitution

AFP


Kathmandu (AFP) - Nepal's proposed new constitution has sparked fury from women who say their citizenship, property and other rights are being curtailed by the document designed to draw a line under centuries of inequality.
Lawmakers tabled a draft in parliament in June shortly after bickering political parties struck an historic deal on the long-awaited charter, spurred to negotiation by an earthquake in March that killed more than 8,800 people.
 
But a series of sometimes violent protests have since hit the impoverished, Himalayan nation, with activists saying the charter has failed to address a string of concerns.
 
Forty-year-old shop owner Rama Bista says the charter poses a major step back for women, in a country that has long favoured men.
 
Bista, who is married to an Indian man based in Nepal, has spent the last four years trying to secure citizenship for her two sons -- their legal right under the current constitution.  "I cannot even speak of some of the things I've been told. They tell me my children are not Nepali, that I should go to my husband's country," Bista told AFP.
 
But Bista's already tough struggle is set to become impossible under the new charter which bars single parents from passing on their citizenship to their children and additionally says both parents must be Nepalese. It will overturn a 2006 act that says children are eligible for citizenship as long as one parent is Nepalese.  Activists say the move could leave a million people stateless and will disproportionately affect women, who account for the vast majority of single parents in Nepal.
Bista says she is anxious about the future for her sons since citizenship is needed to get anything in Nepal from a driving license to a bank account.

The draft also makes it easier for a Nepalese man to confer citizenship on his foreign spouse, while a Nepalese woman needs to be married 15 years to her foreign husband before even being allowed to apply.
 
Campaigners fear provisions could also be used to prevent Nepalese wives or widows from inheriting property unless stipulated in the deceased's will.  Instead of specifying that daughters can inherit ancestral property, the draft vaguely says "all children". Activists are concerned this could be interpreted as sons and unmarried daughters only -- the wording used in the country's civil code.
The draft removes the explicit reference in the current constitution to "sons and daughters".
"The draft dismisses the identity of a woman and reflects our country's patriarchal mindset that seeks to maintain discriminatory practices," said Sapana Pradhan Malla who heads pressure group the Forum for Women, Law and Development.

- Right to abortion fears -

Campaigners are also concerned the draft will be misused to restrict a woman's right to abortion which was legalised in 2002 in the socially conservative country.

The charter bans sex-selective abortions, but activists say the provision is unnecessary since the practice is already illegal. They fear the charter will be used as a powerful tool to deny women abortions, by falsely accusing them of trying to abort girls in a country where boys are preferred.
"This issue should not be dealt with in the constitution," said Sonali Regmi, Asia regional manager for the Center for Reproductive Rights.  "We fear that the clause can be misused to limit a woman's right to safe abortion, a key reason for the decrease in Nepal's maternal mortality rates."
 
Parliament is expected to eventually vote on the long-awaited constitution which had promised to end years of political limbo in the impoverished nation.

Lawmakers were tasked with drafting the charter after a decade-long insurgency ignited by deep-rooted social, political and economic inequalities.

A committee is now set to draw up recommendations for changes to the draft, following a series of public consultations around the country.  In recent weeks, violence has marred the consultations, especially in the southern plains, home to the historically marginalised Madhesi community, many of whose members marry into families living across the border in India.

Lawmakers have brushed off the protests and campaigners' concerns, saying the draft is not intended to discriminate against anyone. "The constitution is not anti-women," said ruling coalition lawmaker Bhim Rawal, who helped draft the document.  "Every country has provisions to protect its nationality and sovereignty," Rawal told AFP.

But Bista and others remain fearful the charter will close the door on rights they had fought years to get.  "We call our country our motherland, and yet a mother's identity has no value," she said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Water Wars: Coming to a Country Near You (Or Maybe Your Country)

China: As water demands grow sharply, supply is shrinking

China has 20 percent of the world's population, and 7 percent of its fresh water. As pressure mounts, officials are pushing conservation reforms such as reforestation and water taxes – and diverting water from the south to the north.

Christian Science Monitor

A 15-foot band of eroded red clay that surrounds Miyun Reservoir, one of Beijing’s largest sources of fresh water, serves as a stark reminder of the region’s severe water shortage.
Built 100 miles northeast of the capital in the 1960s, the reservoir has operated at less than a third of its capacity for years. A massive project now under way to divert water to Beijing from southern China will help alleviate demand, but protecting the reservoir from pollution remains a separate challenge.
China has 20 percent of the world’s population but only 7 percent of its fresh water – and it is quickly running out of the vital fluid.

Efforts to boost supply have provided temporary relief for major cities, but the central government is scrambling to preserve what water is left. Expanded conservation work, higher water prices, and new industrial regulations are on the table.
 
“The demand is growing but the supply is shrinking,” says Zhang Yan, program coordinator of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global environmental organization in Beijing. “There is just less and less water.”
 
Environmentalists and local authorities have promoted forest restoration as a key tool for conserving water. Trees and shrubs now cover upward of 70 percent of the Miyun watershed, a dramatic uptick from a half century ago, when forests covered less than 10 percent of the region. The plants help stave off erosion and improve the reservoir’s water quality by filtering out pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals.
 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Human Sacrifice Alive and Well in - Nepal

Holy Hathor!

Nepal arrests 11 in suspected case of human sacrifice

AFP

Police have arrested 11 villagers on charges of murdering a 10-year-old boy in southwestern Nepal, an official said Sunday, in what villagers described as a case of human sacrifice.
 
Local media reports said the father of a sick teenager had last Tuesday lured away the 10-year-old, Jeevan Kohar, with a packet of biscuits and the promise of 50 rupees (50 cents).
 
The suspect then reportedly slit the child's throat on the advice of a shaman (traditional spiritual healer), who said his own son's health would improve if he committed the crime.
 
"We have arrested 11 people, including four women, for murdering a ten-year-old boy," said Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, police superintendent of Nawalparasi district where the incident took place.
 
"All the villagers say the boy was killed in a case of human sacrifice, because the suspects were superstitious and believed in witchcraft," Upadhyaya told AFP.
 
"But we cannot confirm anything until our investigations are completed," he said.
 
According to a report in The Himalayan Times, one of the suspects, who confessed to the crime, believed that his sick child was under the "spell of a ghost" who could only be "pacified with human flesh".
 
Shaman healers and mystics are a common presence in the Himalayan nation, especially in remote villages with poor access to healthcare.xxx
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