Moscow Times:

The notices were posted around the capital of Soviet Ukraine: All Jews living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity must report by 8:00 on the morning of Sept. 29, 1941, to the corner of Melnyka and Dokterivska streets (near the cemetery).

They were told to bring their ID cards, money and fresh clothes. Most thought the Nazi occupiers were deporting them to a Jewish ghetto. Some even arrived early in hope of getting a good seat on the train.

What met them that morning was death.

Forced to undress, the Jews were herded in groups — men, women and children — to the edge of a ravine. For 48 hours, the Nazis gunned down the crowd until at least 33,771 Jews had been massacred — a number recorded by the German shock troops — their lifeless bodies toppling down the embankment. In the ensuing months, the ravine would fill with an estimated 100,000 bodies, including other Kiev residents and Red Army prisoners.

Here.

Moscow Times:

Prosecutors showed that Sivyakov forced Andrei Sychyov, a first-year conscript at the Chelyabinsk Armor Academy, to squat for several hours while beating him last New Year’s Eve. The incident led to the amputation of Sychyov’s legs and genitals.

Sivyakov, who has consistently maintained his innocence, was convicted on five charges, including “exceeding authority, resulting in grave consequences,” and sentenced to four years, less time served, in a medium-security penal colony. He has been in jail since mid-January.

Here.

BBC:

The court heard that Momcilo Krajisnik helped arm Bosnian Serb civilians so that they could exterminate non-Serbs and drive them from large areas of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Krajisnik said he knew nothing of the war crimes. But former Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Biljana Plavsic testified that he was “very powerful” and at times he had even “dominated” the overall leader, Radovan Karadzic.

Here.

BBC:

The film, called Spring Break in Bosnia, tells the true story of a group of journalists who in 2000 went on the trail of Europe’s most wanted man, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

In the course of their adventure, they got mistaken for a CIA hit team.

Here.

Washington Post:

Clinton said he authorized the CIA to kill bin Laden, and even “contracted with people to kill him.” He also said he had a plan to attack Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and hunt for bin Laden after the attack on the USS Cole, but the CIA and FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible, and Uzbekistan refused to allow the United States to set up a base. By contrast, Clinton said the Bush administration’s neoconservatives “had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months,” believing he had been “too obsessed with bin Laden.”

“At least I tried,” Clinton said. “That’s the difference [between] me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, [Richard] Clarke, who got demoted.”

Here.

Guardian:

The report surfaced in a regional French newspaper which had obtained the leaked report claiming Saudi Arabian sources were ‘convinced’ the terror chief had been killed in August.

It prompted a flurry of official statements. After a remarkable day of rumour and counter-rumour, it appears the answer is that no one really knows. French President Jacques Chirac told reporters bin Laden’s death ‘… has not been confirmed in any way whatsoever.’ While a US intelligence official said: ‘It’s quite possible there was some talk of this, but in terms of being able to confirm this, that I can’t do.’

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We continue to have no reason to believe that he is dead.’ Downing Street refused to comment on the reports. Privately, senior Whitehall sources said they had no evidence that the claims were true.

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NYT:

But the darkest fears of a draconian Islam on Africa’s east coast have not come true, at least not yet. Boys are allowed to play soccer, and girls are allowed to go to school, despite rumors to the contrary. And businesses are not forced to close during prayer time, as has been widely reported outside of Mogadishu.

In fact, people were selling bread, biscuits and watermelon right in front of the Islamic forces’ headquarters during the noon prayer earlier this week. The teenage militia members standing guard regressed to the boys that they were, giggling over giant slices of watermelon and spitting seeds at each other, the juice running down their chins and dripping onto their guns.

“Nobody knows where we’re headed,” said Ahmed Mohammed Ali, chairman of a Mogadishu human rights organization. But, he added, the Islamists “pacified this place and brought the clans together.”

“Whatever you think about them,” he said, “you can’t overlook that.”

Here.

Alec Soth:

Curious about my studio. Have a look here.

*pictured are Phillip Carpenter, Eric William Carroll, Linda Dobosenski, Brian Lesteberg and Josh Grubbs.

Here.

Work by the great Bruce McCall, appearing in NYT:

Should the developers scale back the proposed — and mammoth — Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn by 6 percent to 8 percent, as recent reports suggest they might be considering, the decision would hardly be novel. Indeed, history teems with myriad similar, if less subtle, downsizings.

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NYT Magazine:

What happened next was the strangest encounter of Lemming’s 28-year career as a football scout. Michael Oher sat down at the table across from him. . .and refused to speak. “He shook my hand and then didn’t say a word,” Lemming recalled. (“His hands — they were huge!”) Lemming asked a few questions; Michael Oher just kept staring right through him. And soon enough Lemming decided further interaction was pointless. Michael Oher left, and he left behind blank forms and unanswered questions. Every other high-school football player in America was dying for Lemming to invite him to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Michael Oher had left his invitation on the table.

What never crossed Tom Lemming’s mind was that the player he would soon rank the No. 1 offensive lineman in the nation, and perhaps the finest left-tackle prospect since Orlando Pace, hadn’t the faintest notion of who Lemming was or why he was asking him all these questions. For that matter, he didn’t even think of himself as a football player. And he had never played left tackle in his life.

Here.

Fantagraphics:

The 1999 Nato bombing of Serbia. A grenade shell from a Sarajevo souvenir shop. A refrigerator with the frozen mummy of Tito… These serve as the starting point for a journey further and further down the collective unconscious of the Balkans, where the borders between dream and reality are erased and redrawn until they form a tale as exciting as it is fantastic, a tale which could be about our times and a war-torn Europe but just as well might be a deep dive into the psyches of its authors or a discussion about the essence of drawing. Bosnian Flat Dog is the result of a unique collaboration between two of Sweden’s most internationally renowned cartoonists, Death and Cand and Pixy creator Max Andersson and Lars Sjunnesson. Each of them contributed to every single drawing to the extent that they no longer can tell themselves exactly who did what. This has lead to the emergence of an independent artistic entity which is neither of the two, but something else, at once familiar and unknown and perhaps a little bit scary.

Here.

NYT:

If this sounds confusing, that’s the nature of chaos, which can be as hard to photograph as it is to describe. Fortunately, Robert Polidori is a connoisseur of chaos, and the beauty of his pictures — they have a languid, almost underwater beauty — entails locating order in bedlam.

The X of wires and the diagonal thrust of that green house, extending horizontally across the photograph, are vertically anchored by the telephone pole, creating a tranquillity in the composition that belies the actual pandemonium. Given bearings by this geometry, a viewer is set free to find details like the teetering stop sign on the street corner where the green house landed: a black-humored punch line.

All artists, as best they can, make sense of a world that is often senseless. Mr. Polidori’s work, from Chernobyl to Havana — in sometimes dangerous, topsy-turvy, out-of-time places — generally bears witness to profound neglect. A photojournalist’s compulsion and problem is always to contrive beauty from misery, and it is only human to feel uneasy about admiring pictures like these from New Orleans, whose sumptuousness can be disorienting. But the works also express an archaeologist’s aspiration to document plain-spoken truth, and they are without most of the tricks of the trade that photographers exploit to turn victims into objects and pictures of pain into tributes to themselves.

Here.

NYT:

“I was fortunate to work with Ingmar,” he said in 1995. “One of the things we believed was that a picture shouldn’t look lit. Whenever possible, I lit with one source and avoided creating double shadows, because that pointed to the photography.”

In his films, especially those with Mr. Bergman, light assumed a metaphysical dimension that went beyond mood. It distilled and deepened the feelings of torment and spiritual separation that afflicted Bergman characters. But in scenes of tranquillity filmed outdoors, the light might also evoke glimpses of transcendence. The sumptuous scenes of a Scandinavian Christmas in “Fanny and Alexander” burst with warmth and a magical, childlike joy.

Here.

He severed head of a corpse and claimed he pitied it and decided to do it a favour.

Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

Azubuike, a native of Aguata in Anambra State, said: “I went to look for my friend at Alakuko on that fateful day. On getting there, I met his absence and decided to look for him at the motor park. On my way to the park, I saw three corpses on the road. They were all decayed and their skeletons were sticking out. I felt sorry for one of them and decided to cut off the skull.

I saw a machete by the roadside, which I used to sever the head. I put the head into a nylon bag and was going back to my friend’s house when I was intercepted by the police. I explained to them that I only took pity on the corpse. I would have even carried the whole corpse, but it was too heavy. My intention was to help the corpse by burying its head. I had no ulterior motive.”

Here.

NYT:

That solitary drive would also give shape to “Train to Pakistan,” Mr. Singh’s slim, seminal 1956 novel whose opening paragraphs contain one of its most unsettling lines: “The fact is, both sides killed.” An estimated one million people were killed during the partition, and more than 10 million fled their homes: Hindus and Sikhs pouring into India, Muslims heading in the other direction, to Pakistan. The novel tells the story of an uneventful border village that gets swept up in that violent storm.

Now, in a new edition of the novel, Roli Books in New Delhi has paired his story with 66 unflinching black-and-white photographs of the Partition era, some never before published, by the American photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White. This new incarnation of “Train to Pakistan,” which Roli hopes to find international distributors for at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month, has given the book what its author happily calls “a new lease on life.” It has also given Mr. Singh, who at 91 has borne witness to several rounds of carnage in his country, an occasion once again to warn against forgetfulness.

Here.

NYT reviews American Hardcore. My review from a January showing at Sundance is Here.

NYT:

Musically hardcore was a repudiation of almost everything, from disco to the dilution of first-generation punk labeled new wave to, of course, the same high-flying and deeply loathed bands, like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Journey, that the original punks also despised. Hardcore was more than noncommercial; it was anticommercial. No one in the movement made more than spare change, and many lived hand to mouth. Poverty was synonymous with purism.

Directed by Paul Rachman, from a screenplay by Steven Blush based on his book “American Hardcore: A Tribal History,” the film, which is filled with grainy archival clips of hardcore performances, is a toned-down cinematic equivalent of the music: fast and loud, but not too loud. The movie scrambles to cover so much territory that there is room only for musical shards and slivers; few complete songs are heard, and no signature anthems stand out. These excerpts are spliced with pungent bits and pieces from dozens of interviews, the whole crisply edited into a rapid-fire history. If 9 out of 10 bands are groups almost no one ever heard of, the movie’s encyclopedic concept is touchingly thorough.

Here.

Washington Post:

“We’re not going to speculate with you today about recommendations,” Baker announced at the session, hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Can the war in Iraq be won?

“We’re not going to make any assessments today about what we think the status of the situation is in Iraq,” said Hamilton.

Could they at least explain their definitions of success and failure in Iraq?

“We’re not going to get into that today,” Baker replied.

After more such probing, Hamilton became categorical. “We’ve made no judgment of any kind at this point about any aspect of policy with regard to Iraq.”

A few minutes later, one of the organizers called out: “We have time for one or two more questions.”

Here.

Last words of death row inmates, from the Guardian:

“Statement to what. State what. I am not guilty of the charge of capital murder. Steal me and my family’s money. My truth will always be my truth. There is no kin and no friend; no fear what you do to me. No kin to you undertaker. Murderer. [Portion of statement omitted due to profanity] Get my money. Give me my rights. Give me my rights. Give me my rights. Give me my life back.”

Here.

LA Times:

I was still looking at the wounded man and blaming myself for not stopping to help. Other shoppers peered at him from a distance, sorrowful and compassionate, but did nothing.

I went on to another grocery store, staying for about five minutes while shopping for tomatoes, onions and other vegetables. During that time, the man managed to sit up and wave to passing cars. No one stopped. Then, a white Volkswagen pulled up. A passenger stepped out with a gun, walked steadily to the wounded man and shot him three times. The car took off down a side road and vanished.

No one did anything. No one lifted a finger. The only reaction came from a woman in the grocery store. In a low voice, she said, “My God, bless his soul.”

I went home and didn’t dare tell my wife. I did not want to frighten her.

Here.

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