Paris officials have put up plastic panels on an iconic pedestrian bridge spanning the Seine river in front of the Louvre in an attempt to stop lovers sealing their passion with padlocks attached to the bridge.

City hall authorities are desperately trying to save the world famous Pont des Arts and other bridges from damage from the thousands of padlocks left there by tourists and some locals as a pledge to their eternal devotion.

Since 2008, when the craze first began, thousands of couples from across the world have visited the Pont des Arts every year and sealed their love by attaching a padlock carrying their names to its railing and throwing the key in the Seine.

But too much love can be a dangerous thing and the city authorities have been wrestling with the problem of how to halt the phenomenon, which is beginning to take its toll.

In June, police hurriedly ushered tourists off the Pont des Arts when a section of the footbridge collapsed under the weight of the padlocks, which now completely cover the 155-metre-(509-foot-)long bridge.

City official Bruno Julliard said Friday the city had decided “to experiment by placing Perspex panels to replace the metal grills” to which visitors attach their “love locks”.

“Two have been installed, a third will be fixed in the coming days,” he said.

Over Paris’s busy summer period this year, romantic tourists to the world’s most-visited city attached more than 700,000 love lock on several Paris bridges, say City Hall authorities.

This has resulting in “a lasting deterioration for our cultural heritage and a risk for visitors’ security”.

“On the Pont des Arts alone, 15 grills have had to be removed for safety reasons. Each of these panels were carrying nearly 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds), more than four times the maximum weight,” city hall said.

In a desperate bid to stop the phenomenon, Paris city hall officials in August urged lovers to upload “selfies” instead of attaching a love lock.

Javiera Pacheco, a tourist from Chile, who was visiting the city with her Italian boyfriend Marco, was not impressed with the new initiative as she placed their “Marco and Javiera” padlock on the bridge.

“You have to keep the love locks. It’s very romantic and Paris is known for that,” she said.

For a different reason, the new measures were not welcome for Singh Sharry. The 19-year-old Indian sells padlocks to love-struck couples hoping to leave a lasting monument to their passion in the City of Light.

“It’s the end of our little business and, I can tell you, it’s the end of tourism in Paris,” he complained.


Date created : 2014-09-20

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20140920-paris-fights-bridge-love-lock-trend-with-plastic-panels-pont-des-arts/


PARIS (AP) — A mentally ill man fired his hunting rifle at a group of students on a class trip Friday, wounding two of them, one seriously, officials said.

A third student, whom officials initially said was shot, was treated for shock, according to Olivier Duchenoy, principal of the group’s Paris school, St. Thomas d’Aquin.

The shootings occurred on a street in the town of Vezelay, noted for its 12th-century basilica, in the Burgundy region 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of Paris.

Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said three students, aged 16 and 17, were hospitalized after the shooting.

The shooter, a man in his 40s, holed himself up for hours in his house in the nearby village of d’Asquins before police were able to negotiate his surrender, officials said.

The mayor of d’Asquins, Isabelle Georgelin, told iTele TV station that the man had been hospitalized in the past for mental problems, stopped taking his medication and had acted strangely recently, for instance, dumping garbage in front of the hilltop basilica, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts pilgrims.

Article source: http://tdn.com/news/world/europe/french-students-struck-by-gunfire-on-school-trip/article_9f9d1f4d-d63a-5730-844d-90e2a594f60e.html


It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, From the first explorations into North America nearly a century before Jamestown to the banning of Mexican-American Studies in Arizona, here’s 17 Latino historical events that every American should know.

  • 1

    1535, Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca (c.1490 – c.1557) and three others constitute the sole survivors of Panfilo de Narvaez’s ill-fated expedition to Florida. MPI via Getty Images

    What Happened: Hispanics, including mestizos, indigenous and Afro-descended people from the area today known as Mexico, explored North America almost a century before the British first founded Jamestown.

    Why It Matters: Hispanics aren’t foreigners in this country. Latinos, particularly those with Mesoamerican roots, have deeper roots in North America than those with other European backgrounds.

  • 2

    JOE KLAMAR via Getty Images

  • 3


    What Happened: Poet, revolutionary and Cuban nationalist José Martí spent four years in New York City, where he wrote for both English- and Spanish-language newspapers, developing ideas that would influence his thinking about the often tense relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.

    Why It Matters: Martí was one of Latin America’s greatest intellectuals, earning him a statue in front of Central Park in Manhattan.

  • 4

    People march in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade haul the flag of Puerto Rico Sunday, June 9, 2013, in New York. ASSOCIATED PRESS

    What Happened: Perhaps not for the most altruistic of reasons, the United States extended both citizenship and, shortly after, military conscription to Puerto Rico in 1917, as World War I raged in Europe.

    Why It Matters: Puerto Ricans are American just like anyone born in the 50 states.

  • 5

    What Happened: Octaviano Larrazolo of New Mexico became the first Hispanic elected to the U.S. Senate. As a politician, he pushed to boost Hispanic representation so that the political system would reflect the state’s population. He also helped write portions of the state’s constitution guaranteeing that people of Mexican descent wouldn’t be disfranchised.

    Why It Matters: Because score Team Latino!

  • 6

    Bill Clark via Getty Images

    What Happened: Before Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to segregate students of Mexican heritage into inferior schools. The plaintiff, Sylvia Mendez, sued after being turned away from a “whites only” public school in California .

    Why It Matters: The 1945 Supreme Court decision helped pave the way for Brown v. Board of Education and played a key role in making school segregation illegal.

  • 7

    Unidentified family members of Pvt. Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, observe a moment of silence beside his flag-draped casket in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Feb. 16, 1949. (AP)

    What Happened: Private Felix Longoria was killed in the Philippines as World War II came to an end. When his body was recovered and returned to his hometown of Three Rivers, Texas, the director of the funeral home forbad the family from using the chapel because he feared white residents would disapprove.

    The G.I. Forum, a civil rights organization led by Hector P. Garcia, organized a campaign that caught the attention of then-U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson. He arranged for Longoria to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    Why It Matters: This repudiation of anti-Mexican-American sentiment stands as a milestone in march toward the guarantee of Latino’ civil rights.

  • 8

    Fidel Castro with revolutionaries, Cuba, Photograph, Around 1960. Imagno via Getty Images

    What Happened: Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and it’s sharp leftward turn toward Communism within the next two years,

    Why It Matters: More than one million Cubans left the island as the Revolution became more radical, with most of them settling in Miami, Fl., a city they transformed. Subsequent waves of Cubans migrated to the United States in the 1980s, with the Mariel boatlift, and the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union upended the island’s economy.

  • 9

    Cesar Chavez, leader of the Delano grape pickers’ strike, smiles broadly following a meeting with California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, in background at right, in Sacramento, Calif., June 27, 1966. (AP Photo)

    What Happened: In 1965, Filipino and Latino farmworker unions joined in a strike, and latter a boycott of grapes in the Delano area of California to protest poor conditions. The five-year campaign ultimately succeeded in forcing the grape producers to sign union contracts.

    Why It Matters: This early victory helped secure the place of the United Farm Works and its leader Cesar Chavez key players in the Latino civil rights movement.

  • 10

    These youths, one stripped of all his clothes and the other badly beaten, fell victim to raging bands of servicemen who scoured the streets in Los Angeles, June 20, 1943, looking for and beating zoot suited youths. (AP)

    What Happened: In the 1940s, tensions in California rose between Chicanos and Anglo sailors living there. Authorities viewed many young Chicanos, who favored baggy zoot suits, as criminals. Sailors went around beating them up. The tensions eventually erupted into a week of rioting in June of 1943, when some 200 sailors descended upon Los Angeles and severely beat several “pachucos,” at times stripping the suits from their bodies. The violence was met with indifference from police.

    Why It Matters: The Zoot Suit Riots stand as a prominent example of the discrimination faced by the Mexican-American community that offers context for the Latino civil rights movement.

  • 11

    This undated photo released courtesy the Salazar family showing Ruben Salazar with his wife Sally and his children (AP)

    What Happened: During a riot in 1970, police shot prominent journalist Ruben Salazar with a tear gas canister while he was drinking a beer at the Silver Dollar Bar and Cafe in Los Angeles, killing him.

    Why It Matters: Salazar was one of the great Mexican-American journalists of his time, who covered local politics with the same vigor as he covered foreign wars. His killing is viewed by many as a symbol of the injustices committed against the Chicano community in California.

  • 12

    Pirates’ Roberto Clemente gets a handshake from third base coach Frank Oceak after his homerun in third inning of Saturday, Oct. 16, 1971 World Series game in Baltimore (AP)

  • 13

    Former President Ronald Reagan (AP)

    What Happened: In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed an immigration reform into law that legalized the status of some 3 million people.

    Why It Matters: It proves that passing comprehensive immigration legislation is possible.

  • 14

    In this Thursday, December 26, 2013 photo, vehicles line to cross The Paso del Norte Bridge between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez towards El Paso (AP)

    What Happened: The countries of Mexico, the United States and Canada signed a free trade agreement in 1994 that reduced trade barriers between the three countries.

    Though money was allowed to cross borders more freely, people were not. Millions of Mexican farm workers lost their jobs as cheap U.S. imports put Mexican farms out of business. Many of those migrants eventually wound up in the United States.

    Why It Matters: Many Americans think that Latinos leave their countries of origin in order to pursue the American dream. In fact, economic policies that dry up Latin American jobs drive illegal immigration more than the intangible lure of a foreign lifestyle.

  • 15

    Pro and anti Prop. 187 activists are separated by a police line during a in Los Angeles, Aug. 10, 1996 (AP)

    What Happened: California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) championed this draconian referendum that would have made it illegal to provide public services, including schools and hospitals, to undocumented immigrants. Challenged in the courts, the law never went into effect.

    Why It Matters: Prop 187 paved the way for a long series of anti-immigrant legislation championed by nativists generally allied with the Republican Party. These laws, that many Latinos view as an attack on their communities, help to explain why the GOP consistently underperforms among Hispanic voters.

  • 16

    Protesters gather to support the Tucson Unified School District (AP)

  • 17

    FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

    What Happened: This year, Latinos became the largest ethnic group in the state of California, overtaking non-Hispanic whites.

    Why It Matters: Latinos constantly deal with the misperception that we’re somehow more foreign than the other immigrant-descended people who live here. In fact, about two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics were born in this country. In places like California or New Mexico, where Latinos are the largest ethnic group, it’s become increasingly impossible to deny that Latinos are as American as everyone else.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/19/latino-history_n_5850748.html


Munitions and other artefacts from World War One and World War Two have been found during a raid on a residential garage in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The joint investigation by police and English Heritage has been investigating illegal metal detecting in the UK and across the English Channel in Europe.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing “heritage artefacts” from a site in Batford, near Harpenden.

An army bomb disposal unit removed items from the property on Wednesday, where the man was detained.

Robert Hall reports from the scene.

Article source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29238850

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Voters in Scotland go to the polls Thursday to decide whether to cut their three-century-old ties to the United Kingdom in a closely watched referendum that has Washington and Wall Street riveted and increasingly on edge.

Should the Scots decide to break from the U.K., analysts see a range of possible outcomes. The split could be complicated but relatively painless and take several years to play out — or it could be a cataclysm that unleashes chaos in global markets, destabilizes the United States’ top global ally at the worst possible time, and sends Europe and the world spiraling back into recession.

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The frightening thing for Washington policymakers and Wall Street traders is that no one really knows how Scotland will vote — the polls could be wildly wrong — or what the impact will be if the world wakes up Friday morning and the United Kingdom is suddenly much less united.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama weighs in on Scotland vote)

“This would be a really momentous thing, and you just can’t predict what would happen,” said Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist and former top adviser to President Barack Obama, whose family traces its heritage to the Scottish Highlands. “There’s tons of uncertainty, from the question of the currency to what school maps would look like to how you divide the national debt. There are millions of details to be worked out from the mundane to the very serious.”

Polls suggest the vote — once considered a certain blowout for the “No” side to reject independence — could be quite close. The latest surveys show “No” leading by a narrow margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. But many question the value of polling on the issue when turnout and the makeup of the electorate remain so uncertain.

That uncertainty has led global politicians from the Queen of England to former President Bill Clinton to step up efforts to convince Scotland that going it alone could be a big mistake.

“With so much turmoil and division across the globe, I hope the Scots will inspire the world with a high turnout and a powerful message of both identity and inclusion,” Clinton said in a statement on Wednesday. Queen Elizabeth recently broke her silence on the issue, saying after church on Sunday near her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland, that the Scots should “think very carefully” about their future. It was a remarkable statement from a monarch who by tradition has stayed neutral on political questions.

(Also on POLITICO: Bill Clinton: Vote ‘no’ in Scotland)

Even pop stars are weighing in. David Bowie says the Scots should stay. Bjork thinks they should go. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was asked about the Scotland vote on Wednesday, but given the sensitivity of the issue, she did not have much to say. “Scottish voters are about to go to the polls tomorrow, and they’ve had a good debate about this topic; in light of that, I really don’t want to weigh in on this today,” she told reporters.

Several lawmakers who belong to the Friends of Scotland Caucus on the Hill said in interviews this week that they fear several significant negative implications of Scotland cutting ties with the U.K. — namely, in the economic and national security arenas.

“My cousins, the Scots, would go from being a part of one of the greatest economic powers the world has ever known to being the 20th economy in the European Union. I just hope they don’t do it,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who has English and Scottish roots. “The people of Slovakia are not necessarily better off having broken off from Czechoslovakia. … I don’t think my brothers and sisters in Scotland will be better off.”

(On POLITICO Magazine: Why the Scottish vote is shaking up Europe)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the upper chamber’s most outspoken foreign policy hawks, said any decision that breaks up the U.K. could send ripples that weaken the U.S. military alliance with its traditional ally. “You’ve got nuclear submarines in Scotland. This alliance has worked for a very long time,” Graham said. “Scottish guys are really tough fighters. I just hope they stay together.”

Another major concern is that if Scotland votes for independence, other parts of Europe might start coming apart, increasing global unrest at a time when the Middle East is boiling and Russia is moving aggressively into Ukraine.

“Scottish independence would encourage autonomy movements starting with Catalonia in Spain, and that would raise the issue of fragmentation across Europe,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and one of the world’s leading investors. “And if Scotland becomes separate, it would undermine the standing of the U.K., which plays such a central role as the United States’ leading ally on the global stage.”

Article source: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/scotland-independence-vote-111085.html

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Genetic analysis reveals present-day Europeans descended from at least 3, not 2, groups of ancient humans.

The setting: Europe, approximately 7,500 years ago.

Agriculture was sweeping in from the Near East, bringing early farmers into contact with hunter-gatherers who had already been residing in Europe for tens of thousands of years.

Genetic and archaeological research in the last 10 years has shown that almost all present-day Europeans descended from a mixing of these two ancient populations. But in actual fact, that is not the full story.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Tübingen in Germany have now documented a genetic contribution from a third ancestor: Ancient North Eurasians. This group appears to have contributed DNA to present-day Europeans, along with the people who traveled across the Bering Strait to the Americas over 15,000 years ago.

“Prior to this paper, the models we had for European ancestry were two-way mixtures. We show that there are three groups,” said David Reich, professor of genetics at HMS and co-senior author of the study.

“This also explains the recently discovered genetic connection between Europeans and Native Americans,” Reich added. “The same Ancient North Eurasian group contributed to both of them.”

Another discovery the research team made was that the ancient Near Eastern farmers and their European descendents can trace a large amount of their ancestry to a previously unknown, even older lineage called the Basal Eurasians.

Their research is published September 18th in Nature.

Peering into the past

To probe the continuous mystery of European’s heritage and their relationships to the rest of the world, the international research team– including co-senior author Johannes Krause, professor or archaeo- and paleogenetics at the University of Tübingen and co-director of the new Max Planck Institute for History and the Sciences in Jena, Germany– collected and sequences the DNA of over 2,300 present-day people from around the globe and of nine ancient humans from Sweden, Luxembourg and Germany.

The ancient bones came from eight hunter-gatherers who lived approximately 8,000 years ago, before the advent of farming, and one farmer from approximately 7,000 years ago.

The researchers also included in their study genetic sequences previously gathered from ancient humans of the same time period, including early farmers such as Ötzi “the Iceman”.

“There was a sharp genetic transition between the hunter-gatherers and the farmers, reflecting a major movement of new people into Europe from the Near East.” Said Reich.

It was found that Ancient North Eurasian DNA was not present in either the hunter-gatherers or the early farmers, implying the Ancient North Eurasians arrived in the area later.

“Nearly all Europeans have ancestry from all three ancestral groups,” said Iosif Lazaridis, a research fellow in genetics in Reich’s lab and first author of the paper. “Differences between them are due to the relative proportions of ancestry. Northern Europeans have more hunter-gatherer ancestry– up to about 50 percent in Lithuanians– and Southern Europeans have more farmer ancestry.”

Lazaridis added, “The Ancient North Eurasian ancestry is proportionally the smallest component everywhere in Europe, never more than 20 percent, but we find it in nearly every European group we’ve studied and also in populations from the Caucasus and Near East. A profound transformation must have taken place in West Eurasia after farming arrived.”

When the research was carried out, Ancient North Eurasians were considered a “ghost population”– an ancient group known only through the traces left in the DNA of present-day people. Then, in January, a separate group of archaeologists discovered the physical remains of two Ancient North Eurasians in Siberia. Now, said Reich, “We can study how they’re related to other populations.”

Room for more

The team was only able to progress so far in its analysis because of the limited number of ancient DNA samples. Reich thinks there could easily be more than three ancient groups who contributed to the genetic profile of today’s European people.

Reich and his colleagues found that the three-way model does not tell the whole story for particular regions of Europe. Mediterranean groups such as the Maltese, as well as Ashkenazi Jews, had more Near east ancestry than anticipated, while far northeastern Europeans such as the Finns and the Saami, as well as some northern Russians, had more East Asia ancestry in the mix.

The most startling aspect of the project for Reich, however, was the discovery of the Basal Eurasians.

“This deep lineage of non-African ancestry branched off before all the other non-Africans branched off from one another,” he said. “Before Australian Aborigines and New Guineans and South Indians and Native Americans and other indigenous hunter-gatherers split, they split from Basal Eurasians. This reconciled some contradictory pieces of information for us.”

Next, the team wishes to work out when the Ancient North Eurasians arrived in Europe and to find ancient DNA from the Basal Eurasians.

“We are only starting to understand the complex genetic relationship of our ancestors,” said co-author Krause. “Only more genetic data from ancient humans remains will allow un to disentangle our prehistoric past.”

“There are important open questions about how the present-day people of the world got to where they are,” said Reich, who is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. “The traditional way geneticists study this is by analyzing present-day people, but this is very hard because present-day people reflect many layers of mixture and migration.

“Ancient DNA sequencing is a powerful technology that allows you to go back to the places and periods where important demographic events occurred,” he said. “It’s a great new opportunity to learn about human history.”



Contributing Source: Harvard Medical School

Header Image Source: Wikimedia

copy Copyright 2014 HeritageDaily – Heritage Archaeology News


Article source: http://www.heritagedaily.com/2014/09/new-branch-added-european-family-tree/105037

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Richard Cohen

At the age of 91, Henry Kissinger has published yet another book — his 17th in 60 years, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson. In that sense, “World Order” is something of a miracle, but it is also a swell read.

So, I initially thought, was a review of it in The New York Times by John Micklethwait, the editor in chief of the admirable Economist magazine — and I praised it to him in an email. A bit later, I did a double-take. I still like the book, but Micklethwait’s review is a different matter.

What caused me to change my mind? Not Micklethwait’s basic admiration of Kissinger (I feel the same) or his awe at Kissinger’s durability as a foreign policy wise man or his finding that Kissinger can be a bit of a toady, scattering praise as a certain Johnny once did apple seeds. He cites, in this regard, Kissinger’s air kiss to George W. Bush “in the midst of a section on the cluelessness of his foreign policy.” Kissinger is forever in the anteroom, waiting to be summoned.

It is when Micklethwait discerns Kissinger’s real reasons for characterizing Israel as a victim — a European-style nation with some dangerous, if not deranged, neighbors — that I take umbrage.

For Micklethwait, this somehow cannot be. To him, the case against Israel — and Kissinger’s failure to condemn West Bank settlements — is apparently so obvious, not to mention repulsive, that support for it can only be another example of Kissinger cravenness.

“It all feels like a rather belated olive branch to the Israeli right and its supporters in America’s Congress,” Micklethwait writes. To me, it feels like nothing of the sort.

Kissinger’s family came to the U.S. as German-Jewish refugees. Members of his immediate and extended family died in the Holocaust. The German-Jewish community was exterminated.

To gauge the full extent of that tragedy, I can only recommend Amos Elon’s masterful book “The Pity of It All.” It begins with the impoverished Moses Mendelssohn entering Berlin in 1743 and ends with the obliteration of one of the most accomplished ethnic communities in all of Europe — but not before some Jews had fled, penniless and disoriented, to what is now Israel. The story, both enthralling and compelling, will break your heart.

Kissinger has referred to his heritage numerous times and has acknowledged its impact on him. He has always been cagey about his Jewish background — hardly an asset when dealing with Arab governments — and he has expressed some vexation at what in the book he calls Israel’s “occasionally grating” approach to peace negotiations. He favors the conventional two-state solution, and while Israel has certainly been recalcitrant at times, it has been the soul of reason compared to the outright hostility of many Arab governments — not to mention a whiff of noxious anti-Semitism emanating from their (officially approved) media.

Article source: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-left/091514-717470-kissinger-supports-israel-in-new-book-world-order.htm

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