|Holkham Mystery! |
Harry Burns, Batman,
Angel, Illiniwek &
The Secrets of Caral!
|Holkham Mystery A Case for Poirot |
BY ALAN HAMILTON
Norfolk UK January 4, 2002 (Times UK) - A mystery over missing jewels has all the ingredients of an Agatha Christie novel, but last night there was no sign of a Miss Marple or Hercules Poirot to solve it.
The great Holkham jewel theft features: a Christmas gathering at an upper-crust country house hotel owned by an aristocrat, two rich American guests, some seriously valuable baubles missing, baffled rural police and no clues.
During their ten-day seasonal holiday at the 11-bedroom Victoria Hotel on the Earl of Leicester’s Holkham estate near Wells-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast, the American visitors reported the theft from their room of some high-class jewelry, much of it bearing the desirable New York trademarks of Tiffany and Van Cleef. It included diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The value of the missing items has been unofficially put at £100,000.
The couple from New York have not been identified but are said to have Norfolk family connections. They paid £1,750 per head for their ten-day break at the hotel and put up a £10,000 reward for recovery of the jewelry before checking out two days ago.
Police said yesterday that the reward was a fraction of the worth of the items reported missing. The owners said that the jewels were of great sentimental value and they did not want them broken up by thieves who might find them easier to dispose of in pieces.
Just as Poirot likes to assemble all suspects in the library, Norfolk police have questioned all 20 staff at the hotel, along with other guests who were staying at the time of the theft.
Detective Inspector Steve Strong said yesterday that the couple had gone out leaving their bedroom door locked and there was no sign of forced entry. The couple told the police that the jewels had been in a black leather holder in a drawer when they left their room for the day at 11am last Friday.
Forensic experts have searched the room for fingerprints or any other clues. “We have not got any easy answers for what happened, which is why the owner has put up the reward,” Mr Strong said.
Viscount Coke, 35, heir to the Earl of Leicester, who reopened the hotel after a major refurbishment last July, said: “We are very shocked; it is the only time we have had anything stolen from the hotel.
“We have got some very trustworthy staff and we are very surprised it has happened. We are doing all we can to help with the investigation.”
A spokeswoman for the estate pointed out last night that the hotel had a safe for guests’ valuables, but the American couple had chosen not to use it. “We have been very busy since we reopened last summer, but we have never had a problem before.”
In true Christie tradition the theft took place in a quiet corner of the countryside whose crime figures are below the national average.
“We get relatively little of this sort of crime in the county, despite the large numbers of tourists,” a spokeswoman at Norwich police headquarters said.
Agatha Christie herself often holidayed in north Norfolk. If the new case were ever to be filmed as a Poirot mystery, the background would be familiar.
Close to the hotel is Holkham Beach, which Gwynneth Paltrow walks across in the last scene of the 1999 Oscar winner Shakespeare In Love, which had its BBC television premier earlier this week.
|Federal Judge Dismisses Vieques Navy Bombing Lawsuit |
By EUN-KYUNG KIM
WASHINGTON January 2, 2002 (AP) - A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by Puerto Rico seeking to stop the federal government from resuming Navy bombing exercises on the territory's island of Vieques. The Puerto Rican government said Wednesday it would appeal the decision.
U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said that while the political and policy issues surrounding the case were complex, "the legal issue, in contrast, is simple and straightforward."
Puerto Rico had filed its complaint last year after Gov. Sila Calderon signed a law banning loud noises along the island's shores. That law cited the U.S. Noise Control Act of 1972, which allows states - or, as in Puerto Rico's case, U.S. territories - to set noise-control laws.
In a ruling issued Monday, Kessler said she must dismiss the Puerto Rico's case "for lack of subject matter jurisdiction." She said the federal Noise Control Act "does not provide plaintiff a cause of action to sue in federal district court for the violations alleged."
Puerto Rican Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez pledged to appeal the ruling.
"We think the decision is erroneous," she said at a news conference Wednesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"It's sad," said Nellie Rodriguez, wife of the Vieques mayor, Damaso Serrano. "We'll have to keep fighting another way; for example, by putting a lot of pressure on the president."
President Bush has said he wants the Navy to end its training on Vieques by 2003, but many in Puerto Rico question whether the U.S. war in Afghanistan will cause him to back away from the commitment.
In addition, Congress passed legislation last month that would bar the Navy secretary from closing the site until he and top military leaders certify the availability of a site or sites that would provide "equivalent or superior" levels of training.
A Pentagon spokesman would not comment Wednesday because he had not seen the ruling.
Puerto Rican researchers have linked heart disease and other health problems found among Vieques residents to naval gunfire and pollutants released during military exercises.
The Navy denies the allegations.
Opposition to the Navy's use of Vieques erupted after a jet dropped two errant bombs in 1999 that killed a civilian Puerto Rican guard.
The Navy owns about half of Vieques, and the bombing range covers 900 acres on the island's eastern tip.
|Law-breaking Companies Can Get Government Contracts |
By LEIGH STROPE
WASHINGTON January 3, 2002 (AP) - President Bush has repealed a Clinton-era rule favored by unions that prevents the government from awarding contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax or other federal laws.
He also has threatened a recess appointment of conservative labor lawyer Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, to inspector general at the Labor Department.
The Bush administration also has announced plans to eliminate the 10 regional offices of the Women's Bureau of the Labor Department and failed to deal with workplace safety after Congress repealed ergonomics regulations last spring.
Since the administration turned to labor issues, said the AFL-CIO's Karen Nussbaum, "There's been plenty of action. It's been all negative."
President Clinton signed the lawbreaking contractor rule in 2000, a few months after a computer analysis by The Associated Press found hundreds of contractors remained eligible for new federal business despite convictions or lawsuits for defrauding the government.
The Bush administration had suspended enforcement of the rule in March and repealed it for good last week.
Business groups praised repeal, contending the regulation went too far and unfairly blacklisted companies that had minor infractions or had not been proved guilty.
"This rule gave government agents blanket discretion to blacklist federal contractors based on subjective and arbitrary notions of satisfactory compliance with any federal, state or even foreign law," said Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for labor and employee benefits. "Mere allegations of wrongdoing could prevent a business from winning a federal contract."
The chamber organized the National Alliance Against Blacklisting and lobbied Congress with other business groups.
Union officials retorted that a violator of labor, employment, environmental, civil rights or other federal laws cannot be trusted to receive government contracts.
"To ordinary citizens who play by the rules every day, the Bush administration has said that it's OK for corporations that violate the law to be rewarded with millions of taxpayer dollars," the AFL-CIO said.
Unions also are bracing for a Bush recess appointment of Scalia, which means he could serve without Senate confirmation until next January. The Senate went on its holiday break without taking up the nomination.
Scalia refused to discuss his nomination Wednesday. Organized labor opposes the appointment because of Scalia's opposition to a Clinton-era ergonomics regulation, killed by Congress last spring, which was aimed at reducing workplace injuries. Scalia criticized the rule as "quackery" based on "junk science." Ergonomics deals with human characteristics to be considered in the design and arrangement of things to prevent injury to people who use them.
Unions also are awaiting a decision by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao about how the agency will handle workplace safety, with new regulations or voluntary guidelines.
Congress repealed Clinton-era regulations last year after a big legislative fight that pitted business against labor unions. The regulations mandated that employers make changes to reduce the incidence of worker injuries related to ergonomics. After the repeal, Chao promised a "comprehensive plan" by her agency to reduce such injuries.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Bonnie Friedman said Thursday the announcement could come "very soon."
"Instead of taking an opportunity to build on progress made during the Clinton administration, the Department of Labor under President Bush and Secretary Chao seems intent on unraveling those gains," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said.
The Bush administration also is considering elimination of 10 regional offices of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, but Labor spokeswoman Sue Hensley said no decision has been made. The White House Women's Initiatives Office already has been shut down.
|Hundreds Protest as Harry Potter Burns! |
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. January 1, 2002 (AP) - With hundreds protesting nearby, a church group burned "Harry Potter" and other books.
Jack Brock, the Christ Community Church founder and pastor, said the books burned Sunday were "a masterpiece of satanic deception."
"These books teach children how they can get into witchcraft and become a witch, wizard or warlock," Brock said. Members sang "Amazing Grace" as they threw Potter books, plus some other books and magazines, into the fire.
Across the street, protesters chanting "Stop burning books" stretched in a line a quarter of a mile long.
"It may be useless but we want (the church) to know the community is not behind them," said Joann Booth, who protested with her four grandchildren. One protester dressed up as Adolf Hitler.
Brock told the congregation that he viewed the attention the church received as a blessing.
"There are those that are doing their best to make us look bad," Brock said. "But because of this, I've been able to preach the gospel around the world."
A letter to the Alamogordo Daily News inviting the community to attend the fire sparked debate in the town of 36,000. On Tuesday, protesters held signs reading "Book burning? Shame on our town" in front of the public library. Inside was a display highlighting the books.
|Meteorologist Could Get 6 Months for Forecast |
|By MICHAEL ASTOR |
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil January 2, 2002 (AP) - A meteorologist's predictions of rain storms for this flood-weary city that never materialized could land him in court facing criminal charges.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Cesar Maya asked prosecutors Wednesday to seek charges against Luiz Carlos Austin, claiming his predictions that the city would suffer heavy weather New Year's Eve were irresponsible and could have touched off a panic following a period of deadly floods.
Torrential rains last week triggered mudslides in the greater Rio de Janeiro area, in southeastern Brazil, and 71 people died.
Alberto Guimaraes Jr., the city's acting chief prosecutor, said he would likely charge Austin with sounding a false alarm, punishable by up to six months in prison.
The allegations came after Austin predicted on the local TV Globo affiliate that the area would be hit by heavy rains, lightning, thunder and hail, advising people to seek shelter.
Austin denied acting irresponsibly.
"There was a consensus among meteorologists that there would be problems with a cold front, but that cold front broke up earlier than expected," said Austin, who works for the National Meteorological Institute and has been forecasting weather for 35 years.
Guimaraes said that Austin's forecast contradicted the predictions of civil defense authorities, who said the day would begin cloudy and clear gradually.
"Making those kind of declarations on the most watched television station in the country could have caused a massive panic in light of the problems we've been having with rain," the prosecutor said.
|Birds 'Missing' After US Bombing |
By Jill McGivering
BBC South Asia correspondent
Pakistan December 29, 2001 (BBC) - Ornithologists in Pakistan fear that populations of birds whose migration route takes them over Afghanistan may have been devastated by the weeks of bombing there.
On the shores of Rawal Lake, a key conservation area only about 10 minutes drive from the centre of Islamabad, there is a sound that cannot be heard this year: a whole bird population which has suddenly gone missing.
Dr Masoud Anwar, a biodiversity specialist who monitors wildlife, says he usually sees several thousand ducks and other wildfowl migrating here from Central Asia via Afghanistan.
So far this year, not one has arrived. It is a conservation disaster.
"We are trying to conserve biodiversity here, and we need the birds for that. If there're no birds, we cannot go for the conservation," he says.
The same reports are coming from all over Pakistan. Tens of thousands of ducks, cranes and other birds depend on Pakistan as a winter habitat, and Afghanistan is a key migration route.
For the birds, the timing of the bombing could not have been worse.
Oumed Haneed, an ornithologist with Pakistan's National Council for Conservation of Wildlife, says it is unclear why the birds have not appeared.
"One impact may be directly the killing of birds through bombing, poisoning of the wetlands or the sites which these birds are using.
"Another impact may be these birds are derouted, because their migration is very precise. They migrate in a corridor and if they are disturbed through bombing, they might change their route," he says.
Cranes are perhaps the most at risk. Three species of crane winter in Pakistan. All of them are rare. One, the Siberian Crane, is globally endangered.
Asheik Ahmed Khan of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says the signs so far are very disturbing.
"Previously, the hunters used to see cranes in a group of 50 or 55. This year, they could not see them in a group of more than three. The group has become very small, and it means something is happening, somewhere."
Down at the lake, monitoring teams are waiting in the hope of seeing late arrivals.
The real impact on migrating birds will not be known until surveys are completed. But ornithologists fear the bombing in Afghanistan could have devastated bird populations, some of which will struggle to recover.
|10-Cent Batman Out! |
January 2, 2002 (SciFi) - DC Comics announced that it will sell a new full-color, 32-page Batman one-shot comic book for 10 cents, starting Jan. 2.
Batman: The Ten Cent Adventure will feature a classic noir storyline from writer Greg Rucka, penciler Rick Burchett, artist Klaus Janson and cover artist Dave Johnson, the publisher announced.
The comic will tell the story of a tragic night in the caped crusader's life and will be the springboard for a new story arc to run through DC Comics' Batman-related comics in January and February. [Batman for 10 cents! Click to enlarge pix!]
|1901 Census Website Crashing Success |
London January 2, 2002 (BBC) - The first online census in Britain has crashed on its first day after 1.2 million people tried to search for relatives. The 1901 census for England and Wales provides a unique snapshot of Edwardian Britain.
But such was the excitement surrounding the project, the website ground to a halt for several hours soon after its launch while technicians worked feverishly to improve access.
Those who were able to search for ancestors, were able to find out details about their lives including where they lived, their age and even their mental state.
The Public Record Office says it will be invaluable for people all over the world who want to trace their British forbearers. Census material is only released after 100 years, so these are the first public census records of the 20th Century. They contain information on 32 million citizens, including the infant Queen Mother and comedian Charlie Chaplin.
The publication of the census and index has been welcomed by the Society of Genealogists.
Librarian Sue Gibbons said: "It's going to have as much impact as the 1881 census which was put onto CD Rom and that revolutionized family research. It's wonderful to have an online facility. I think they've now found they are a victim of their own success because so many people want to log on."
Margaret Brennand, from the Public Record Office, told BBC Radio 4's Today program that over the past 10 to 15 years interest in family history had soared.
She said the fact that information from the 1901 census will be available at the click of a button will make a huge difference to researchers.
"A huge amount of work has gone into taking the original census forms, scanning them, creating digital images and a comprehensive index to enable people to search for more than 32 million individuals living in England and Wales in 1901," she added.
A spelling mistake, perhaps down to poor hand-writing, lists the Queen Mother's middle name as Angelia, instead of Angela. As eight-month-old Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, she is listed as living in Walden, Herts.
Silent screen star Charles Chaplin is listed as a "music hall artiste" while legendary cricketer WG Grace is described as a "physician and secretary of the London County Cricket Club".
Other famous names among the pages include French painter Claude Monet, War of the Worlds author HG Wells, Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien and nurse Florence Nightingale.
The data, which has taken more than two years to digitalize, is expected to be particularly popular with people from overseas trying to trace their English and Welsh ancestry.
They may find out more than they wanted to know about their relatives. Edwardians thought nothing of logging that someone was a lunatic, an imbecile or just plain feeble-minded.
A basic search of the site will be free of charge but to download a census image will cost 75p per page. The initiative is part of the PRO's wider effort, Census Online, which aims to digitize all the earlier censuses before 1901. The PRO has already started work on the 1881 and 1891 censuses and eventually plans to go back as far as 1841.
Studying 19th Century census data has previously required a visit to a local record office or library to find the returns for the local area. Alternatively it meant a visit to the Family Records Centre in London, which houses the census returns for England and Wales from 1841 to 1891.
|Killer Plants Choosy About Prey |
By Maggie Fox
Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON January 2, 2002 (Reuters) - A plant that feeds on bugs and insects may not just sit and wait for whatever falls into its greedy craw, but may actively choose its prey, researchers said on Wednesday.
It is the first time a plant has been shown to take such an active role in feeding itself, said the researchers, in Germany and Brunei.
Marlis Merbach and colleagues at Johann Wolfgang Goethe Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, were studying the carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes albomarginata, found on the island of Borneo.
As its name suggests, the plant grows in the shape of a pitcher and feeds on insects that fall inside and are digested by chemicals made by the plant.
"Carnivorous pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes are not usually selective about their prey, catching anything that is careless enough to walk on their slippery peristome, but Nepenthes albomarginata is an exception,'' the researchers wrote in their report, published in the science journal Nature.
"We show here that this plant uses a fringe of edible white hairs to lure and then trap its prey, which consists exclusively of termites in enormous numbers.''
Usually, the pitcher plants had a poor catch, they reported -- a few beetles, ants or flies.
But when termites were around, they found thousands of them in a single plant. "All termites in one pitcher belonged to the same species and were in the same state of decomposition, suggesting that they were caught over a short period,'' they wrote.
They noticed the pitchers had little white hairs -- except the ones that were filled with termites.
"To investigate this we placed fresh intact pitchers, together with pitchers with their white rims removed, near to the head of a foraging column of (termites),'' they wrote.
"When single leading workers came into direct contact with the white rim hairs, they turned back to the column and recruited their nestmates, which began grazing on the rim,'' they added.
"While doing this, the termites fell into the pitchers in their masses, workers and accompanying soldiers.''
It was a feast for the plant. As many as 22 termites a minute fell to their slow deaths. It seemed the plants stopped growing the hairs once they had their fill of termites, the researchers said.
They said that was the first example of a carnivorous plant actually choosing its prey and using its own tissue as bait.
|LACMA Tribute To Pixar |
LOS ANGELES January 3, 2002 (PRNewswire) - The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Pixar Animation Studios (Nasdaq: PIXR), the Academy Award(R)-winning creators of four of the most successful and beloved films of all time, "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," and most recently "Monsters, Inc.," which continues to break box office records.
The event takes place on Thursday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the museum's Leo S. Bing Theatre.
John Lasseter, Pixar's Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker and the company's Executive Vice President of Creative, will participate in a retrospective of the Studio's feature and short films as well as a Q&A hosted by ABC-TV film critic Joel Siegel. Clips from the studio's four feature films, and five ground-breaking animated short films, including the Academy Award(R)-winners "Tin Toy" and "Geri's Game," will be presented.
Also scheduled to attend the event are: Pete Docter, director of "Monsters, Inc.," and Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation Studios, as well as some of the studios' other filmmakers.
Admission to the event is free but tickets are required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the LACMA box office beginning at noon on the day of the event only.
Reservations are not accepted. Theater doors open at 7:00 p.m. LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
For more information, please call 323-857-6010.
About Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios combines creative and technical artistry to create original characters and stories in the medium of computer animation. Under its partnership with Disney, Pixar has created and produced tie first computer-animated feature film, the Academy Award(R)-winning "Toy Story," released in 1995; "A Bug's Life," the highest grossing animated film released in 1998; and Golden Globe-winner "Toy Story 2," the highest grossing animated film released in 1999. The Northern California studio's current films include "Monsters, Inc.," which was released on November 2, 2001, and "Finding Nemo," scheduled for a summer 2003 release.
|FBI Changes Advice for Windows Users |
By TED BRIDIS
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON January 3, 2002 (AP) - The FBI has reversed its advice for computer users trying to protect themselves against serious flaws in the latest version of Windows: Applying the free fix from Microsoft Corp. is adequate, after all.
The bureau's top cyber-security unit, the National Infrastructure Protection Center, told consumers and companies Thursday to disregard its earlier advice to go beyond the Microsoft recommendations to protect against hackers who might try to attack Windows computers.
The FBI said it based its latest determination "upon a careful review of the written technical materials provided by Microsoft'' and after working with the federally funded CERT Coordination Center, who are researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
Microsoft said last month that Windows XP suffers from serious problems that allow hackers to steal or destroy a victim's data files across the Internet or implant rogue computer software. The glitches were unusually serious because they allow hackers to seize control of all Windows XP operating system software without requiring a computer user to do anything except connect to the Internet.
The problem also affects some copies of earlier Windows ME software, and in some rare cases can affect users of Windows 98.
Microsoft offered a free fix on its Web site the day the vulnerability was announced. But one day later, on Dec. 21, the FBI urged consumers and corporations to go beyond installing that fix and to disable the Windows "universal plug and play'' features affected by the glitches.
However, even those warnings came under fire by experts as inaccurate. The steps outlined by the FBI failed to instruct consumers also to turn off in Windows an important, related feature - called a "discovery service'' - that still left computers vulnerable.
"They made an honest mistake, gave the wrong information,'' said Richard M. Smith, an independent security expert in Brookline, Mass. "All this stuff is so complicated. It shows that even the experts can't keep track of it.''
At the time, the FBI said its recommendation to shut down the vulnerable Windows features was based on "technical discussions with Microsoft and other partners in the Internet and information-security community.''
Outside experts have cautioned that disabling the affected Windows XP features threatens to render unusable an entire category of high-tech devices about to go on the market, such as a new class of printers that are easier to set up. But they also said that disabling it could afford some protection against similar flaws discovered in the future.
After its first warning, the FBI's cyber-security unit published an Internet link to the Web site for eEye Digital Security Inc., which discovered the Windows flaws. eEye's advisory, published on its Web site, also urged consumers to install Microsoft's fix and cautioned that "it would be wise'' to turn off the vulnerable features completely.
The FBI acknowledged Thursday that neither it nor security experts at CERT had independently tested Microsoft's repair solution. But the FBI said, "We are satisfied that it corrects the problem that could lead to system compromise and affords substantial and adequate protection.''
|Genre News: Angel, Dead Zone, X-Files and Nana Visitor |
Angel On the Rise
By Rick Porter
LOS ANGELES January 2, 2002 (Zap2it.com) - Two things initially attracted "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" executive producer David Greenwalt to doing a spinoff show about the slayer's love, the vampire-with-a-soul Angel.
"Angel did something incredibly dark in the pilot -- drinking blood after someone was already dead," Greenwalt tells Zap2it.com. "Also, the detective, Kate [Elisabeth Rohm], was so deep into her job that she had become a coke whore."
If neither of these plot points sounds familiar, it's because neither one ever happened. The first "looked great on the page, but not on film," Greenwalt says, and the second didn't fit with "the show we wanted to do."
Figuring out just what that show was took a while too. But now, midway through its third season on The WB, "Angel" has hit a creative high, balancing its supernatural, demon-hunting elements with well-shaded characters and a strong dose of humor.
That the show has blossomed away from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which famously switched networks (to UPN) before this season, is only partly a coincidence.
Greenwalt attributes the show's creative growth to the cast and writers becoming more comfortable with the characters. "It takes time to find [the voice of] a show, and we really have found it," he says.
"Angel" was first planned as an anthology, with the soul-cursed vampire (David Boreanaz) doing a good deed each week with help from his friends -- the opposite of "Buffy's" character- and mythology-driven stories. "Then we found out we were better at dealing with people," Greenwalt says, and midway through its first season, the series began moving toward its current form.
Fans of the show have been aware of this growth all along, but staying with The WB has allowed "Angel" to escape its predecessor's shadow and succeed on its own. While its audience is small by the standards of the big four networks (about 4.6 million viewers a week), the show draws the young viewers the network seeks in its 9 p.m. Monday timeslot.
"I knew in my heart of hearts that we wouldn't follow 'Buffy' to UPN, and David [Boreanaz] and I both felt good about it," Greenwalt says. "To see this year, the nice gradual building [of an audience], and to get promotion from the network -- that might not have come had we stayed tethered to 'Buffy.' "
Despite the acrimonious network switch, Greenwalt remains close with "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon. Their production offices are in the same building, and each serves as a consultant on the other's show.
The story arc in which Angel and his ex-lover Darla (Julie Benz) conceive a child -- something that shouldn't be possible for vampires to do -- was something Greenwalt, Whedon and co-executive producer Tim Minear worked out in the months before the current season began. The group, which also includes "Buffy" executive producer Marti Noxon, has regular talks about long-range plans for the show.
"[Whedon] reads the scripts, and we talk about the back nine [episodes] and next year," Greenwalt says. "I remain in a pretty interesting catbird seat. Joss is so bright and so understanding. To work for and with him is really a delight."
Whedon wrote and directed the 13th episode of "Angel," which will air some time in early 2002. Greenwalt isn't saying much about it, except that the script from the man who wrote the musical "Buffy" "involves ballet."
"Like the show wasn't 'gay' enough already," Greenwalt laughs.
The most appealing aspects of the show for Greenwalt are that Angel is "the world's oldest twentysomething," with all the potential for drama and comedy that phrase implies, and that the template Whedon set down for the characters allows them to continue developing.
He cites Cordelia, played by Charisma Carpenter, as an example. She started off as the embodiment of the rich, pretty, popular girl everyone hated in high school, but now is saddled with debilitating visions that alert Angel, Wesley (Alexis Denisof), Gunn (J. August Richards) and newcomer Fred (Amy Acker) to coming dangers.
"She's completely different from the vainglorious girl she was," Greenwalt says. "She's still very blunt, but now she's almost like a superhero. She wants the visions."
Angel has noticed the change too, and he finds himself with ever-growing feelings for Cordelia, which is something of a sore spot among some of the show's fans, who seem to prefer the doomed true-love relationship Angel and Buffy once shared.
According to Greenwalt, it's "only natural that she and Angel would have feelings for each other when they work in such an intense situation." The budding relationship, and Angel's fierce protection of his new son, speak to his becoming more human. Borrowing a phrase from "Pinocchio," Greenwalt hints that Angel might one day become a "real boy."
"I think it's a good target for Angel to shoot for," he says. "It's a good metaphor for the character to seek redemption and along the road to that, get to grow up some. He's certainly more comfortable in his own skin, and now he has a surrogate family, which is something he's never had."
Lest anyone think the show will turn into its current lead-in, "7th Heaven," however, Greenwalt is quick to qualify that statement. "This is a Whedon/Greenwalt show, so terrible, awful things will befall him."
Again, he's tight-lipped about what, exactly, might happen, although it will get in the way of Angel professing his feelings for Cordelia. "Suffice to say that he will suffer unbearable pain and loss."
Stephen King's Dead Zone Returns
By Melissa Grego
HOLLYWOOD January 3, 2002 (Variety) - Cable's USA Network has picked up "The Dead Zone,'' a series adaptation of the Stephen King novel that had been on UPN's slate as a possible midseason entry.
USA picked up the completed two-hour pilot and ordered 22 episodes of the psychological thriller, which stars Anthony Michael Hall as a man who gains psychic powers after emerging from a coma. Nicole De Boer (Deep Space Nine), Chris Bruno and John Adams co-star.
Production on the Lions Gate/Paramount series is expected to start in March, and it will likely premiere on USA in early summer.
"We are building the show from the pilot, and it will be a somewhat different show for USA than it would have been for UPN,'' said Jeff Wachtel, USA Network's exec VP of series and long form programming. "We have a slightly older, broader target audience than UPN's younger guy. So it will affect the creative balance.''
X Ratings Frustrate Gish
HOLLYWOOD January 3, 2002 (Sci-Fi) - The X-Files co-star Annabeth Gish told SCI FI Wire that she is disappointed by the steep decline in the show's ratings this season, its first without the presence of David Duchovny (Agent Mulder) on even a part-time basis. "It is disappointing when you work this hard," Gish (Agent Monica Reyes) said in an interview. "We want to uphold the legacy of something that's been so successful, but, at the same time, the only thing I can take responsibility for is knowing my lines, doing the best job I can possibly do and hoping all good things."
Gish--who stars with Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully) and Robert Patrick (Agent Doggett)--added, "There is something to be said for the fact that The X-Files is a mythological thing. And Scully and Mulder are certainly myths, legends, in and of themselves. So I have to be realistic in the sense that when it's time for a show to go, it's time for a show to go."
The X-Files is in its ninth season, with Duchovny gone and Anderson there to remind longtime fans of what once was. "I just have to be grateful for what it is now," Gish said. "They've done a great job of trying to integrate us into this old franchise. Who knows what will come? But I couldn't speculate on what that will be like." The X-Files airs on Fox at 9 p.m. Sundays.
DS9 Star Gets an Asteroid
Hollywood January 1, 2001 (Nanavision.com) - An asteroid discovered by astronomer W. K. Y. Yeung has been named after actress Nana Visitor. The IAU (International Astronomical Union) approved the name. The official citation is as follows:
(26733) Nanavisitor 2001 HC16. Discovered 2001 April 22 by W. K. Y. Yeung at Desert Beaver.
Nana Visitor is a talented actress who started her career on the stage, but most of her work appeared on television. She is most famous for playing the role of Major Kira Nerys in the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine.
The asteroid Nanavisitor is 2 to 5km, and therefore is too small to be seen by the naked eye. Orbital and positional information can be found at Harvard's Minor Planet Ephemeris Service website: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html (type in Nanavisitor in the search box).
|'Kandahar' Actor Fugitive Assassin |
By STEPHEN MANNING
BETHESDA, Md. January 3, 2002 (AP) - An actor in the movie "Kandahar" is also an assassin who killed an Iranian dissident in suburban Washington in 1980 and then fled to Iran, according to a county prosector in Maryland.
Hassan Tantai, who plays a black American doctor in the film, is actually 51-year-old Daoud Salahuddin, born David Belfield, said Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler.
"We are very confident that they are one in the same," Gansler said. "He's a terrorist, he's a fugitive and he's a confessed assassin."
"Kandahar" has been shown at film festivals worldwide and won two awards at the prestigious Cannes festival. With its suddenly timely theme of the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan, it opened in New York theaters on Dec. 14 and debuted in the rest of the country Friday.
Directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and filmed in the Iranian town of Niatak, near the Afghan border, "Kandahar" is the story of an Afghan journalist living in Canada who travels to Afghanistan to find her sister. She must cover herself with a burqa and pretend to be an Afghan wife for the trip into the fundamentalist, Taliban-ruled society.
Along the way she meets Tantai, playing the role of an American-born doctor treating Afghan women. He wears a fake beard to satisfy strict Taliban rules, a prop that he eventually takes off to show his full face.
Gansler said he has "conclusive" information that proves Tantai is actually Salahuddin, but won't comment further because the case is still technically open. There is no statute of limitations on first-degree murder cases, he said.
Makhmalbaf said he chooses his actors from "crowded streets and barren deserts'" and does not know if Salahuddin and Tantai are the same person.
"I never ask those who act in my films what they have done before, nor do I follow what they do after I finish shooting my film. "Kandahar" is no exception," he said in a statement.
Prosecutors say Salahuddin, who had converted to Islam as a young man, pulled up to former Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Tabatabai's home in July 1980 in a postal truck that he borrowed by bribing a friend. He wore a mailman's outfit to get past tight security at the home and hid a gun inside a package.
When Tabatabai came to the door, Salahuddin fired off three shots and then fled, officials said. Tabatabai died later that day while Salahuddin escaped to Iran and shelter under the regime of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Tabatabai, the former spokesman for the Iranian embassy in Washington, was an opponent of Khomeini.
In a 1995 interview with The Washington Post and ABC News in Turkey, Salahuddin said he was contacted by the Iranian agents shortly after Khomeini's Islamic revolution toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979, and asked if he would kill Tabatabai. He agreed in return for $4,000 and a promise he would be sent to China for medical training.
|Native School Reform Bill Passes Senate |
|By Brian Stockes |
WASHINGTON December 31, 2001 (Indian Country Today) – The promise to improve Native schools may finally be kept.
After more than two years of tribal meetings, Committee hearings and debates, the Senate finally passed the "Native American Education Improvement Act of 2001." The legislation includes a comprehensive set of reforms that address all areas of BIA and tribally operated schools including accreditation, accountability, the recruitment of Indian teachers, and the construction of Indian schools. The bill has now been sent to President Bush for his approval.
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, was the bill’s sponsor. As the former chairman of the committee he held numerous hearings on school construction, education standards and Indian education.
"As a former teacher and one who knows all too well the problems faced by Indian youngsters, I strongly believe that education holds the key to individual accomplishment, the promotion of developed Native communities and real self-determination," Campbell said. "I believe that the Native American Education Improvement Act of 2001 is legislation that improves the conditions and operations of Bureau and tribally operated schools."
Campbell said the bill would provide standards and accreditation for Indian schools, as well as provide local educational authorities with the flexibility to design and implement school reforms, without what he calls unproductive and often redundant federal regulations. The bill also includes key school construction provisions, early childhood development programs, and family literacy programs.
BIA and tribally controlled schools across the country have been plagued for years by under-funding. In many instances the result has been a poor learning environment, but in some cases it has even resulted in dangerous building conditions for Indian students.
"Anyone who has visited Indian schools knows that it is nearly impossible for teachers to teach and for children to learn in these facilities," Campbell said. "With this bill, we lay the foundation for a system of identifying crumbling, drafty and dangerous schools and ultimately building new ones."
There are approximately 600,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students in K-12 programs in the United States. Of this total, less than 10 percent, or 50,000, are served by the BIA. They are found in 185 K-12 schools located in 23 states throughout the country, many of which are on Indian reservations. While these schools represent a small portion of the overall population, the average condition of schools within this group is surprisingly poor.
The other 75 percent of the students, some 450,000, are served by Office of Indian Education programs through the Department of Education. The OIE administers 1,200 programs in 43 states with direct funding to local education agencies. The remaining 100,000 students either have no access to Indian education programs or attend private schools.
Campbell’s bill also maximizes participation by tribal governments and Indian parents by requiring that major actions undertaken under the Act be done in consultation with tribes. The President is expected to sign the bill into law.
|The Chief Illiniwek Controversy |
By CHRISTOPHER WILLS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. January 2, 2002 (AP) - University of Illinois officials have asked a candidate for the state Supreme Court to stop airing a commercial featuring a longtime school symbol that some say mocks American Indian traditions.
But Robert Steigmann said Wednesday he will keep running the ad. Steigmann, an appellate judge and alumnus of the school, said the ad shows voters he is not among the "politically correct" people who object to having a student dress up as an American Indian and dance at sports events.
The university in Champaign has scaled back its use of Chief Illiniwek in response to criticisms that his historically inaccurate dance and costume mock Indian culture. Supporters call the symbol a harmless tradition that salutes Indian courage.
The ad has run on cable occasionally since Nov. 27, Steigmann said, but it made a larger splash when it aired Tuesday during the University of Illinois' appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
The ad shows Chief Illiniwek dancing, and closes with a campaign slogan: "Steigmann - Leadership for the Supreme Court."
"The university doesn't allow its images to be used in political campaigns," said Bill Murphy, the school's associate chancellor for public affairs. "It's just inappropriate."
Steigmann said he voluntarily added a line to the commercial that says it is not supported by the university.
|Romans Bribed Ancient Tribes |
By Frank Urquhart
Scotland January 2, 2002 (Scotsman) - The discovery of a second hoard of Roman coins at an Iron Age settlement in Moray has confirmed controversial claims that the ancient Caledonians were brought to heel by corruption rather than confrontation.
The warlike tribesmen of the north were just as likely to take a back-hander in Roman silver than take to the battlefield when it came to their dealings with the legions of Rome.
And pacifying the native warriors the Romans knew as "the painted ones" was simply down to good old fashioned bribery.
The first hint that the all-conquering Roman legions had resorted to paying off the local tribesmen rather than fight them first surfaced last year when a team of archaeologists from the National Museums of Scotland unearthed a hoard of 300 Roman coins during excavations at an Iron Age settlement at Birnie, near Elgin.
The silver denarii coins, worth the equivalent of a year’s pay for a Roman legionnaire, were found inside the broken earthenware pot in which had been buried more than 1,800 years ago, during the reign of the Emperor Severus, who attempted the last Roman invasion of Scotland.
And the dig’s leader, Fraser Hunter, the curator of Iron Age and Roman archaeology with the National Museums of Scotland, is convinced he now has the proof he needs that the pragmatic Romans simply resorted to corruption to keep the Caledonians in check.
The second hoard was discovered only ten yards away from the cache which was found last year.
The clay pot in which the coins are contained was intact and has now been taken to Edinburgh for further investigation and conservation.
Mr Hunter said: "To find a second pot full of coins was the last thing I was expecting. It is absolutely unparalleled and a completely amazing find."
|Griffith Observatory to Get Makeover |
By ANDREW BRIDGES
AP Science Writer
LOS ANGELES January 2, 2002 (AP) — Griffith Observatory, which has linked this star-struck city to the stars above for 66 years, is getting a down-to-earth makeover.
The art deco observatory will close Sunday for a three-year, $66 million renovation and subterranean expansion that will more than double its size. The extensive remodeling will be the first for the city-owned observatory since it opened on the flanks of Mount Hollywood during the depths of the Depression.
"This place has been running full-bore since 1935,'' said Edwin Krupp, the observatory's longtime director. "We've just worn the place out.''
The Griffith Observatory is one of the city's best-known landmarks, drawing 1.8 million people a year.
"When you have visitors in town, it's the place to start,'' James Adeyemo said as he squired 25 friends and family members on a nighttime visit to gaze at the city lights from the observatory's roof.
More people have peered through the observatory's 12-inch telescope — which pokes through one of the three domes on that roof — than any other telescope on Earth. The observatory is also a popular film location, appearing most famously in 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause'' with James Dean.
"It's been in more films than most stars,'' said Paul Pohlman, who is managing the renovation project for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Stegeman & Kastner Inc.
Griffith Observatory is the latest of a handful of the nation's oldest planetariums to undergo major renovations in recent years. Others include the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago and the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York.
When the cast-concrete observatory reopens in 2004, its exterior will look almost exactly the same as it does today, except for the newly burnished copper that will top its domes and a coat of fresh white paint.
Hidden under the front lawn will be a new underground chamber that will help add 35,000 square feet of space to the observatory.
New spaces will include a vast exhibition hall, complete with a 150-foot-long wall emblazoned with millions of stars. An open-air corridor will allow visitors to follow the voyage of the sun through the seasons.
"We're giving people a cosmic perspective, not by touching a computer screen, but by actually seeing things,'' said Camille Lombardo, executive director of the Friends Of The Observatory.
The nonprofit group has spearheaded the project and raised $49.3 million from public and private sources to fund it.
The revamped exhibition space will include scale models of the nine planets and — perhaps — space tourist Dennis Tito's space suit. Lombardo said her group was pursuing the artifact, worn by the Los Angeles tycoon on his visit to the international space station last year.
Also tucked inside the hall will be a new 200-seat theater named for Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on "Star Trek'' and donated $1 million to the renovation effort.
Above ground, the interior of the 76-foot wide dome that caps the planetarium will be completely revamped. Both its famously uncomfortable seats and its projector, dating from 1964, will be replaced.
Pohlman boasts the planetarium will have "the best-looking sky in the world.''
The Foucault pendulum and Tesla coil will stay. But the Laserium show, a 1970s throwback that matched dancing laser lights to the strains of Pink Floyd and other bands, will be discarded. Admission to everything but the planetarium will remain free.
Krupp stresses that unlike its counterparts, Griffith remains a working observatory — a vision laid out by mining magnate Col. Griffith J. Griffith in 1916 when he left the city of Los Angeles the money to build the institution. Griffith became smitten by astronomy after looking through telescopes on nearby Mount Wilson.
"It wasn't just the experience of seeing things, which is nifty, but what it does to your head,'' Krupp said. "That experience is what this place is founded on.''
The impending closure has sent many scurrying to the hillside observatory to get in their last looks until 2004. Hillary Gray, 44, visited for the first time since an elementary school field trip in the 1960s.
"Now that I see it again, it's, whoa, wish I had done it sooner,'' Gray said.
Griffith Observatory http://www.griffithobs.org
|Magnetic Refrigerator Developed |
AMES, Iowa December 31, 2001 (AP) — Scientists at the Ames Laboratory say they have created the world's first magnetic refrigerator, which someday may save consumers money on energy bills and be better for the environment.
"We're witnessing history in the making,'' said Karl Gschneider Jr., senior metallurgist at the U.S. Department of Energy lab said Monday.
Laboratory researchers have worked for years to develop magnetic refrigeration as an alternative to traditional cooling systems, which emit gases that contribute to global warming.
The new refrigerator uses a special metal that heats up when exposed to a magnetic field, then cools when the magnetic field is removed. It is the first device to operate at room temperature and use a permanent magnet rather than large, awkward superconducting magnets.
The rotary design features a wheel that is constructed of an alloy known as gadolinium which heats up when passed through a high-powered magnet. As the material leaves the magnetic field, the material cools down.
The result is a system that is nearly silent, because it is vibration free.
Gschneider said magnetic refrigeration could someday power air conditioners, freezers and other commercial and household systems. He said the technology also would save money because the magnets do not require energy inputs to make them work.
"So the only energy it takes is the electricity for the motors to spin the wheel and drive the water pumps,'' he said.
Initially the new appliances would run on 110 volts of power, but battery-operated versions are a possibility in the future, Gschneider said.
A breakthrough occurred at the Ames Laboratory when researchers Sasha Pecharsky and Vitalij Pecharsky developed a process for producing large quantities of gadolinium, which is capable of producing a stronger magnetic field and improves the refrigerator's efficiency.
The Ames scientists are developing magnetic refrigeration for Astronautics Corp. of America of Madison, Wis., which wants to market the technology to the public. The company took over the concept from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1985 and devoted millions of dollars to research.
The Department of Energy and Astronautics Corp. are sharing the cost of the project, Vitalij Pecharsky said. The Ames Laboratory has spent about $2 million in federal money on the concept, he said.
The researchers hope commercial production will start in about a year with a major refrigeration or air conditioning company purchasing the patent rights to manufacture appliances. Consumers probably won't see the first model for sale for about eight years, Gschneider said.
Gschneider said the new appliances will likely cost more than the top of the line products on the market today, but will come down in cost as manufacturers produce more. He said he has estimated that within five years, the new appliance will have saved enough money through more efficient operation to pay for the higher up-front purchase price.
Magnetic refrigeration was discovered by scientists in the 1920s, with slow improvements about every 20 years, Gschneider said.
Ames Laboratory http://www.external.ameslab.gov
Astronautics Corp. of America http://www.astronautics.com
|Children of the Dead Can Inherit |
By DENISE LAVOIE
BOSTON January 2, 2002 (AP) - Children conceived artificially after the father's death have the same inheritance rights as children conceived while both parents are alive, the state's highest court ruled unanimously Wednesday.
"Posthumously conceived children may not come into the world the way the majority of children do. But they are children nonetheless," Chief Justice Margaret Marshall wrote in the 7-0 decision.
For inheritance rights in such cases, the mother must prove a genetic relationship between the father and child and establish that the father consented to posthumous conception and agreed to support his child, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled.
Most states have laws granting rights to children born after the father's death if the child is conceived before the death, but they do not address the rights of children born through posthumous conception, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
In Massachusetts, the question came before the court in the case of Lauren Woodward, a mother from city of Beverly who had twin girls using her husband's frozen sperm two years after he died of leukemia.
After the twins were born in 1995, Woodward applied for survivor benefits for her and her daughters, but her claim was rejected by the Social Security Administration.
Woodward sued in federal court. A federal judge then asked the Supreme Judicial Court to decide whether Massachusetts inheritance law grants posthumously conceived children the same rights as naturally conceived ones.
The high court was not asked to rule specifically on Woodward's case, so the dispute will return to a lower court. But the ruling clearly favors Woodward's position.
"These children should not be discriminated against based on the timing of their birth, especially in this situation, where there is absolutely no question at all that they are genetically the children of this couple," said Woodward's attorney, Thomas C. Fallon.
The Social Security Administration argued that under Massachusetts case law, heirs must be determined at the time of death. Since the children were born after Warren Woodward's death, they are not legally his heirs, Assistant U.S. Attorney George B. Henderson II argued.
Henderson would not comment on Wednesday's ruling.
In an earlier interview, Henderson said if the court ruled in Woodward's favor, all sperm donors could have the legal obligations that come with fatherhood, including child support.
|The Lost Civilization of Caral |
|By Laurent Belsie |
CSM Staff Writer
SUPE VALLEY, PERU January 03, 2002 (Christian Science Monitor) - On a desert outcropping known simply as NN2, archaeologist Ruth Shady Solís is kneeling over the remains of a clay wall, sweeping away dust with a small whisk broom. Then she stands up, baffled.
"Levels 1 through 3 are straightforward," she says, pointing to three separate tiers of dirt flooring at this site, some 120 miles north of Lima, Peru. But the next tier proves complicated because it's built of two different kinds of fill, one light gray, the other a reddish gray-brown studded with straw.
Were both sections built at the same time? If so, why the change in material? Remodeling was complicated, it seems, even 4,000 years ago.
The two-tone floor remains one of the small puzzles of the much bigger mystery known as Caral. Confirmed last year as the oldest city in the Americas, Caral has shattered the myth that civilization got a late start in the New World. Nearly 5,000 years ago, around the time that Sumerians developed writing and before Egyptians built the Great Pyramid at Giza, people here in the Supe River Valley began building a city.
They knew nothing about writing and had no knowledge of ceramics. But they planned and built huge public works, evolved a specialized and stratified society, and developed a sophisticated and diversified economy. The findings at Caral have added another millennium to the age of civilization in the Americas.
But here in Peru, their discovery evokes mixed emotions from the archaeologists who work the site and the rural people who live around it. There's pride, certainly, but also puzzlement.
"The campesinos always ask: Why did our ancestors have the capacity to build such an important city, and we live so poorly and don't have the ability to do similar things?" says Dr. Shady, the Peruvian archaeologist who recognized the importance of Caral five years ago. The answer "is very difficult for me."
It involves the rise and fall of civilizations.
If ever there were a spot commemorating the shifting fortunes of history, Caral is it. Set in a mountainous desert not unlike southern Nevada, bordered by a long, narrow stretch of green fields fed by the Supe River, Caral has spent millennia covered by dust and debris. Early in the 1900s, archaeologists realized that its six large dunes were too regularly shaped to be natural. But it took decades before excavation began, and until recently, archaeologists believed the site was relatively modern. In 1996, when Shady began working at Caral, she quickly guessed that it dated from the preceramic era but still had very complex architecture. Her excavations began to prove her theory.
For example, two partially excavated pyramids reveal adjacent, circular sunken plazas - a combination of square and round that would come to characterize later structures throughout Peru. The presence of plazas suggests two things. First, that the early society had evolved a need for large ceremonial gathering places. (Shady's team also unearthed 32 flutes made of condor and pelican bones, suggesting a knowledge of music and, perhaps, public ceremonies.) Second, the labor required to build such large public works needed some kind of hierarchy to plan the development and organize the workers.
The pyramid builders had unique building methods. They would tie up rocks in fiber bags, called "shicras," and then transport them to the construction site and lay them, bag and all, as fill to build up the pyramid. Shady's team has uncovered enough of these shicras to notice differences in their quality: some knotted expertly, others less so. This suggested Caral had developed a division of labor with people specializing in different trades.
A civilization arises because it controls something important. Mesopotamia prospered once it irrigated the desert and produced an abundance of food. Caral diverted water from the Supe River to irrigate fields, growing staples such as squash and beans. But its secret weapon may have been cotton. By growing cotton, used to make fishing nets, the people of Caral could trade for fish with the communities on the Pacific coast 12 miles away. Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of fish bones.
The community also traded with communities in the jungle farther inland and, apparently, with people from the mountains. Shady has found the remains of jungle plants at Caral as well as aspects of mountain architecture in the buildings of Caral. The Supe Valley hosts other communities, some of them much older and some within view of the city itself, but none of them approaches the scale and sophistication of this city.
"Caral is a fabulous complex of a site," says Michael Moseley, an anthropology professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Its sheer size and the scale of its pyramids suggest to some experts that its inhabitants were developing an economy different from maritime communities on the coast, he says, although the point remains controversial.
Caral's one-time splendor makes its current condition all the more troubling. Shady and her archaeologists have barely scratched the surface of this vast area. The central zone itself stretches out over 160 acres. Her university in Lima, La Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, supports her and her team of archaeologists. The Peruvian government has provided a new van and 25 soldiers during the work week to help with the digging. But it's not enough, Shady says.
The soldiers have no training in excavation. Because of its own financial woes, her university has cut her team of on-site archaeologists from six down to three. To add insult to injury, the site itself remains unprotected and unguarded. So private cars and even tour buses show up unexpectedly throughout the day. To keep errant tourists from trampling the site, archaeologists leave their own work and give guided tours.
"It's very difficult because in Peru, there is no political culture that favors archaeological investigation," Shady says. "Archaeologists find themselves isolated."
To raise money, Shady agreed to work with Jonathan Haas, curator of anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago, and his wife, Winifred Creamer, anthropologist at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. The pair helped Shady get several Caral samples radiocarbon-dated in the United States, which proved the site dates back to at least 2600 BC, as Shady suspected. (The city probably is older, she contends, because the dated samples didn't come from the oldest parts of the excavations.) The three then coauthored an article on Caral.
But relations cooled after the article appeared last April in Science magazine. The American press quoted Drs. Haas and Creamer extensively, making it appear they were leading the team even though their work at the site was limited to collecting the samples for dating. And US funds never materialized.
Haas did propose $50,000 in support if Shady would agree to let him and his wife pursue their research in the area. She refused.
"I think it's an ... unequal relationship," she says. "There are many benefits for the professionals abroad." Little, if any, trickles down to local archaeologists. Haas points out that the US government will only fund archaeological research abroad if an American plays a lead role.
"There are always problems with this kind of arrangement," says Betty Meggers, a research associate and anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution who has worked for years with Shady and other Latin American archaeologists. "North Americans are always going to be dominant."
But "it's at a crossroads now," she adds. "As you're getting more well-trained people down there, they're saying: 'We've had enough of this.' "
Instead of looking for funds abroad, Shady is trying to build local support from the ground up. She has convinced a nearby village to make T-shirts and caps with Caral logos, which her museum will sell.
After a full day of digging on one recent weekend trek to Caral, she traveled to a nearby village for an hour-long meeting. By the glow of kerosene lamps (the village still has no electricity), she tried to convince local leaders to open a small inn and restaurant to accommodate tourists and visiting archaeologists. Tourism, she hopes, will convince the government that her site is important enough to receive more support. Village leaders, however, remain skeptical.
"There's a problem of self-identification in the country," Shady answers when locals ask her why Peru is so backward today. When Caral flourished, "the society was organized with a population that worked to do things collectively for the collective good. But with the rupture from the arrival of the Spaniards [3,500 years later], there was no more interest in the country except as a source of minerals to be exported to Spain."
Even after the colonizers were thrown out, she says, "our leaders, generally because of problems of identity and self-esteem, believed that everything from abroad was good. Never again did they try to understand the country from its geography, from its history, from its social problems."
Caral on the Archeology Channel - http://www.archaeologychannel.org/caralint.html