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According to the Daily Mail, a time capsule of an apartment in Paris's 9th arrondissement was discovered three years ago upon the 91-year-old owner's death. She had fled to the south of France when World War II broke out, and it looks as though she never returned. Authorities found the once-elegant apartment in a cluttered, lived-in state, its brocade wallpaper faded and everything covered in cobwebs.
Among the abandoned possessions, one painting caught an expert's eye: a luminous image of a flirtatiously posed young brunette with a slinky pink silk or satin gown spilling far down her shoulders. The expert suspected it to be a Boldini (the Italian was a friend of Edward Degas and a noted portrait artist in Paris in the late-19th century). But he had no proof - until he found, among the scattered papers in the residence, a love letter from Boldini to the actress Marthe de Florian, a French star at the turn of the century. De Florian was the apartment owner's grandmother, and those bundled love letters were from her admirers, including one French prime minister.
Later identified as a 1898 Boldini, the painting eventually fetched more than $2 million at auction, six times its opening bid and more than any other work by the artist.
[Via the Daily Mail]
Archaeologists have long known about a civilization called Dilmun. It's mentioned in many Mesopotamian texts as a wealthy place of "sweet water." Even the Epic of Gilgamesh mentions it, but all the sources were vague about its location.
It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that excavations in Bahrain uncovered impressive cities and temples and proved that Dilmun was located there. Archaeologists found that Dilmun had been an important center for the Persian Gulf trade route that flourished between the Mesopotamian civilizations in what is now Iraq and the Indus Valley in southern Asia around 2000 B.C. Dilmun's trade connections also extended to civilizations in Oman, Turkey, and Syria.
Dilmun owed its importance for being one of the few spots to get fresh water along the route. Ships would stop there to rest and fill up on supplies, and Dilmun became an important player in world trade.
Now the Bahraini government is looking to make Bahrain a destination for heritage tourism. Of the two UNESCO World Heritage and five tentative sites in Bahrain, five belong to the Dilmun civilization. One of the most important, the ancient city of Saar, is now undergoing restoration after a recent excavation. The BBC reports that Bahraini archaeologists have shifted their efforts from excavating more of the site to developing it for tourism and exhibiting the many artifacts they've uncovered, such as this seal dug up near Saar.
Gallery: Ancient Dilmun
We wanted to camp at Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin this weekend, but alas, there are no tent sites available on a weekend there until August 30 (!) and a host of other state parks in that region, including Mirror Lake, Rocky Arbor, Buckhorn, Governor Dodge, Lake Kengosa, Wildcat Mountain and others, are also sold out for the holiday weekend. Most of the state parks in Wisconsin charge just $12-15 per night for tent sites, though they have a three-night minimum stay on holiday weekends and a $9.70 reservation fee.
The @American_Latino Expedition project will focus on education, park stewardship, outdoor recreation and exploration inside Olympic and Mesa Verde national parks in Washington and Colorado respectively, as well as the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area located in Arizona and Utah. With that in mind, the ALHF is looking for groups of bloggers to visit each location and share their experiences with readers. That includes using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to creatively engage their audiences as well. In exchange for their efforts, all expenses – including airfare, lodging and most on-site excursions – will be completely covered.
The deadline for applying to take part in this program is June 14, and the ALHF is quick to point out that you don't have to be Latino to be selected. Any group with an active social media following, or even adventurous families, are encouraged to apply. To find out more about the project and to download the applications, click here.
"Amazingly there was no damage to the camera," said Josephs on the YouTube page for the video. With all those teeth, it seems pretty amazing to me, too.
For those of you who fear getting up close and personal with grizzlies, here are some tips for traveling in bear country. You certainly don't want to end up like the hiker who was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear in Denali National Park last year, or the one killed in Yellowstone a year earlier.
What was once one of the world's most famous ships is now rusting away in an Italian shipyard. The U.S.S. Williamsburg, a naval ship that became President Harry Truman's personal yacht in 1945 and was once considered an American treasure, could be scrapped within a few years if a last-minute attempt to save the ship fails, NBC Nightly News reports.
Some "suspected or known terrorists" on the TSA's No Fly list were able to board commercial flights in and over the United States for years, according to a new internal report from the Department of Justice.
The report, released this month and cited by Breaking Travel News, focused on the U.S. Marshals Service and another office's handling of terrorists in the federal witness security program (WITSEC), commonly called the witness protection program. It concluded that those authorities were not communicating with "national security stakeholders," such as the FBI, before admitting terrorists into the program and giving them a new identity. Part of the problem was that the new names didn't make it onto the Terrorist Screening Center's watch list or the TSA's No Fly list, creating a serious and surprising loophole:
We found that WITSEC Program participants include individuals known or suspected by the government to be involved in terrorism. This includes individuals trained in areas such as aviation and explosives, involved in plotting bombing attacks, and guilty of serious offenses such as conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals.
We identified some WITSEC Program participants who were on the TSA's No Fly list yet were allowed to fly on commercial flights with WITSEC Program officials' knowledge and approval. Moreover, these individuals, on their own accord, could have flown without WITSEC Program officials' knowledge and approval.
But that's not even the worst revelation in the report. This is:
On land, Comcast has a new program for hotels, offering reliable, high-performance bandwidth that can easily scale up to meet increased demand. Prices are starting to come down too, as hotel chains provide complimentary Internet access to members of their loyalty programs. Look for more of the same as travelers list having to pay for Internet access second only to noisy neighbors as the most annoying part of staying at a hotel in a recent survey.
Air travelers have been connecting over the continental United States for years. Now they do it less expensively with day and hourly passes and bundled services from companies like GoGo Internet. Soon, American Airlines and others will add access over the Atlantic Ocean for international travelers. Through May 21, 2013, American had provided free International Internet access as they worked out the bugs. Going forward, American will offer a "duration of the flight" pass over international waters for $19.
According to the blog, even the woman carrying the cane was surprised to find the blade inside when she tried to pass through a security checkpoint at Washington Dulles International Airport.
"It's important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside," said the TSA. "If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement."
At airports this week, officials also found 10 stun guns, two inert grenades and a can of tear gas.
[via Business Insider]
Now the Guardian reports that the European Union has banned serving olive oil in anything but sealed, throwaway containers. The EU says this is to stop fraud, claiming some restaurants substitute cheaper olive oil than what they advertise, a bit like how some bars put cheaper brands into their top-shelf liquor bottles. In fact, few restaurants actually advertise which olive oil they're serving.
The new move is also supposed to improve hygiene, although of course it will increase the amount of trash restaurants produce.
Several newspapers are lambasting the move, saying it's pointless meddling by a bloated bureaucracy that should be tackling the economic meltdown. The move has already passed, however.
So the next time you go to Europe, your authentic local meal will be a little less authentic.