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State-sponsored terror: British government directly funded and organized those responsible for 1994 Loughinisland massacre

An official investigation has revealed that the British government directly funded and organised terrorists in the Loughinisland massacre in 1994.

A 160-page report by Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman reveals that the murder of 6 Catholic men watching a football match happened as a result of collusion with the British state.

Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire declared: "I have no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders."

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, said the findings were "deeply disturbing".

Irish opposition leader Mícheál Martin said the victims were simply watching Ireland playing Italy in the World Cup soccer competition when they were ruthlessly gunned down by loyalist killers.

"The fact that the police, who were entrusted with protecting the community, were embroiled in collusion with the death squad responsible for the massacre is sinister and disturbing," the Fianna Fáil leader said.

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Document

Ancient documents show sunspots, auroras and other solar activity before Galileo

© National Archives of Japan
A premodern drawing of what may be an aurora in the Chinese manuscript “Tianyuán Yùlì Xiángyìfù.”
Until Galileo kick-started modern astronomy in the early 1600s, the record of the sun's activities was basically blank—or so scientists thought. To shed light on our star's history, researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have begun to comb through ancient texts. So far they have found dozens of apparent references to sunspots, auroras and other solar events that date as far back as the seventh century—albeit in terms that require more interpretation than Galileo's drawings.

"Although [scientists] can use ice cores, tree rings and sediments for clues as to past weather and climate change, things like space weather and auroras leave little or no trace," says Bruce Tsurutani, a space plasma physicist at NASA who is not involved in the Kyoto research. "So we need information that man has taken himself."

To that end, a team of historians and astronomers in Kyoto analyzed hundreds of handwritten Tang Dynasty documents from China as well as Japanese and European manuscripts from around the same period, the seventh to 10th centuries. As reported online in April in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, the researchers came across the terms "white rainbows" and "unusual rainbows" again and again. In fact, such spectacles were written about on the same dates in the documents from all three regions. Because people in such geographically distant locations simultaneously reported the phenomenon, the descriptions can only be explained as auroras, says lead author Hisashi Hayakawa, who is a student at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Letters. Auroras are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with particles in Earth's atmosphere. They usually occur as rings around our planet's magnetic poles.

Info

18th century bathing machines protected ladies' modesty

© vintage.es
Back in the 18th and 19th century, the ladies just couldn't strip to their swimwear and run towards the waves on the beach. There are certain sea-side etiquettes that needed to be observed and decorum to be maintained. Getting oneself seen in their bathing costumes by the members of the opposite sex was certainly not one of them.

To help women maintain their modesty and dignity, a simple contraption called the "bathing machine" was developed. A bathing machine resembled a wooden changing room commonly seen on beaches, but larger in size, and raised on wheels and with steps leading to the inside. The female bather would enter the small room of the machine while it was on the beach, wearing their street clothing. In the privacy of the machine, she would change into her bathing dress, which was exceedingly modest compared to today's standards, and place her street clothes into a raised compartment where they would remain dry.

Flashlight

Archaeologists discover skeletons and gold coins in ancient bronze workshop buried during eruption of Mt. Vesuvius

French and Italian archaeologists excavating in Pompeii have brought to light the remains of at least four people who died trapped in the back of a workshop during Mt. Vesuvius devastating eruption.

Likely belonging to a bronze maker, the shop stood in the artisan area near Porta Ercolano, the gate that opened onto the road linking Pompeii to Herculaneum. The building was ransacked following the eruption by looters known as fossores, who tunneled in seeking treasures buried under the ashes.

As a result, the skeletons were pushed up against the wall.

"Since they were disturbed by looters, the bones are not connected. Anthropologists have yet to examine them, but we believe the skeletons may belong to four adults and a child," archaeologist Annalisa Capurso at the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii, told Discovery News.

Cow Skull

12,000-year-old campsite, hundreds of artifacts unearthed in New Brunswick, Canada

© CTV News
Archaeological dig site in Fredericton
Hundreds of ancient artifacts have been discovered at an archaeological dig site near Fredericton. Archaeologists were brought in after a highway construction crew, working just metres away, began finding things that seemed significant.

The rare discoveries are unearthing the history of those whose ancestors called the area home. Construction workers found the artifacts that date back 12,000 years.

"Just to know that they were having a fire right in this exact position," says Tyson Wood, a Field Technician from Saint Mary's First Nation. "You know, my ancestors were all sitting around this beach shore, having a fire, fishing, and camping."

Shawna Goodall, also a Field Technician, is in awe of the discoveries. "Just to hold an artifact in your hand, that you know that you're the first person to hold that in 13,000 years, you get goose bumps every single time," says Goodall of Tobique First Nation. "Every single artifact - that never goes away, that feeling."

Info

Ancient Indo-Greek city discovered in Pakistan

© Greek Reporter
Italian and Pakistani archaeologists have discovered large layers of an Indo-Greek city with weapons, coins and pottery forms, in Barikot, Pakistan, according to a Dawnreport.

Barikot was called Bazira in ancient times, a city captured by Alexander the Great during his advance to India.

Dr. Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, told Dawn that during their recent excavation in April-June they unearthed some very important discoveries in Barikot, in the Swat river valley. Excavations at Barikot are funded by the Pakistan-Italian Debt Swap Program.

"Very little is known in the archaeology of the sub-continent about the material culture of the Indo-Greek. However, this time we discovered at Barikot ample layers associated not only to the Indo-Greek city (when the settlement was encompassed by the Defensive Wall, 2nd century BC), but also to the pre-Greek city, the Mauryan settlement (3rd century BC)," Olivieri told Dawn.

The archaeologist also said that during the excavations it was discovered that all pre-Greek layers were destroyed along the Defensive Wall at the time of its construction, to make space for the fortification, revealing conspicuous traces of the Iron Age village (7th century BC).

Info

The horrible truth of American eugenics

This video goes into great depth about the origin of the racist, anti-poor philosophy of Eugenics. From the in-breeding Darwin-Galton-Huxley family to the American Eugenics Society, this is a critical missing piece of history. Thousands were involuntarily sterilized in the United States before World War 2 and the roots of eugenics lead to familiar places.

Comment: More on American eugenics:


Light Saber

Russia's high moral values seen through the lens of her legends and folk wisdom contrast starkly with European 'civilization'


Ilya Muromets
In recent years, both the Western as well as the liberal Russian press have had a lot to say about Russian "barbarianism," as if to contrast it with European "civilization." But a closer inspection - through the prism of the heroic pages of Russian history - of the two groups' moral ideals and actual lives presents us with quite a different picture.

For example, in pagan times, ancient Russians never worshipped a god of war, although their contemporaries in Europe were transfixed by their own martial deity, constructing an entire epic narrative around the concepts of war and conquest.

After defeating the "infidels" (the Golden Horde), Russians never sought to forcibly convert them to Christianity. In the epic poem "Ilya Muromets and the Pagan Idol," the Russian hero liberates Constantinople from that mythological monstrosity, but refuses to become the voevoda (or ruler) of the city and returns home. Ancient Russian literature does not include tales of personal enrichment through conquest or plunder, although this is a common theme in the Western canon.

Magnify

Egyptologists to uncover mystery behind unknown sarcophagus from tomb KV55 at Valley of the Kings

© Ahram Online
The golden sheets.
This week, the Ministry of Antiquities will start the second phase of a study aimed at uncovering the mystery behind an unidentified sarcophagus found in 1906 inside tomb KV55 at the Valley of the Kings on Luxor's west bank.

The study is being operated with a grant of $28,500 from the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) Endowment Fund.

This tomb was thought to hold the body of the monotheistic king Akhenaten, though no definitive evidence has been presented to back up this speculation.

Elham Salah, head of the ministry's Museums Department, told Ahram Online that the study is being carried out on a collection of 500 gold sheets found in a box in storage at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir along with the remains of a skull and a handwritten note in French. The note, she says, is dated to when KV55 was first found and states that the 500 accompanying sheets were discovered with a sarcophagus, though it does not mention which sarcophagus.

According to Elham, the first phase of the study, which started last year, indicated that the gold sheets may belong to the sarcophagus found in KV55.

Islam Ezat, from the scientific office of the ministry, said that the study is being carried out by skilled Egyptian archaeologists and restorers from Egyptian Museums and it may lead to uncovering the identity of the owner of the sarcophagus and the tomb.

Info

'Whistling' Roman sling bullets found in southwestern Scotland

© John Reid/Trimontium Trust
Some of the sling bullets found at the Burnswark Hill battle site in Scotland. The two smallest bullets, shown at the bottom of this image, are drilled with a hole that makes them whistle in flight.
Archeologists have unearthed a set of Roman lead sling bullets which were used against the barbarian foes in Scotland. The bullets were found to make a piercing whistle noise when hurled through the air, a sound thought to have been used to strike terror in their enemies 1,800 years ago.

According to an article published recently by LiveScience, the bullets were discovered at Burnswark Hill in southwestern Scotland. The find was made during the excavation of a field where a massive attack of the Roman army took a place in the 2nd century AD.

The excavation work was led by John Reid of the Trimontium Trust, a Scottish historical society which is directing the first major archaeological investigation of Burnswark Hill site in 50 years. The bullets weigh about 1 ounce (30 grams) and had been drilled with a 0.2-inch (5 millimeters) hole. The researchers believe that it was designed to give the soaring bullets a sharp buzzing or whistling noise in flight, making them what they called a real ''terror weapon''.

John Reid said to LiveScience:
You don't just have these silent but deadly bullets flying over; you've got a sound effect coming off them that would keep the defenders' heads down. Every army likes an edge over its opponents, so this was an ingenious edge on the permutation of sling bullets.
About 20 percent of the lead sling bullets discovered at Burnswark Hill had been drilled with the holes. They were also smaller than the typical bullets, so the researchers pinpointed that the soldiers may have used several of them with one throw. The size of the bullets gave the ability to fire them in groups of three or four, so the soldiers could receive a scattergun effect. The researchers believe that they were for ''close-quarter skirmishing''.