Alien Skull? Archaeologists discover ancient ‘conehead’ in French necropolis; wealth artistocratic woman’s skeleton


Archaeologists discover ancient ‘conehead’ in French necropolis; wealth artistocratic woman’s skeleton
conehead skull

The pointy ‘conehead’ skull of an ancient aristocratic woman has been discovered in a French necropolis. Picture: Inrap Source: Supplied

A SKULL of an aristocratic woman with a deformed, pointed ‘conehead’ has been found in an ancient burial plot in France.

The skeleton, whose skull was bound into a deformed cone-shape reserved for aristocracy, was unearthed in a necropolis discovered in the Obernai region of Alsace, France. The burial site contains 38 tombs from the Stone Ages to the Dark Ages, discovered in 2011, reports INRAP, the France’s archeological research institute.

Archaeologist Philippe Lefranc said the ‘conehead’ skull was discovered in a section of the necropolis that includes 18 tombs from either the late Roman period or early dark ages, roughly 1650 years ago, LiveScience reports.

In that period, an alien-like, domed skull was a privilege only afforded to deceased aristocracy.

“The deformation of the skull with the help of bandages (narrow strips of cloth) and small boards is a practice coming from central Asia,” said Mr Lefranc.  The practice was made popular by the Huns, from central Asia, and then spread throughout Germany, he said.

“In France, Germany and eastern Europe, these deformed skulls appear in tombs rich in objects,” he said. Researchers also found signs of wealth including gold pins, pearls, a comb made of antler and a bronze mirror in the woman’s grave.

The remains are thought to be the graves of Asian mercenaries and their families, hired by the Roman Army during the decline of the Roman Empire.

conehead skull

Researchers say the graves likely belong to Hun mercenaries who were hired to fight for the declining Roman Empire. Picture: Inrap

Think the Tea Party Is Crazy? Europe’s Rising Neo-Fascism Is a Taste of What’s Coming If Austerity Prevails in America


Think the Tea Party Is Crazy? Europe’s Rising Neo-Fascism Is a Taste of What’s Coming If Austerity Prevails in America

Cutting social programs and government investment is a recipe for the growth of fascism.

     

American political dysfunction looks pretty bad — but just take a look at what’s going on across the Atlantic. A poisonous wave of right-wing, neo-fascist parties is emerging in response to the continent’s ongoing austerity and hugely ineffectual policy response to the resulting jobs crisis.

The U.S. could be headed in the same direction if the austerity-pushers have their way. Europe is a case study in what happens when mainstream parties on both the right and the left fail to deliver relief to the people. Extremists seize the opportunity to assert themselves, and things get ugly very fast.

Bringing countries together in the European Union was supposed to make violent nationalist conflict a thing of the past. Member countries were supposed to prosper economically. But now countries like Greece and Spain are fracturing politically and falling into a downward economic spiral.

The creators of the euro were like parents fixing an arranged marriage. They knew that they were locking together countries with very different economies and political cultures. But they hoped that, over time, the new partners would grow together and form a genuine bond.

The European Union was banking on three forms of convergence: economic, political and popular. At the time the euro was launched, there was much hopeful talk that a surge in trade and investment between the euro zone nations would create a truly unified European economy, in which national levels of productivity and consumption would converge on each other.

It was also assumed—or perhaps just hoped—that the euro would create political unity. Once Europeans were using the same notes and coins, they would feel how much they had in common, develop shared loyalties and deepen their political union. The designers of the single currency were also hoping that elite and popular opinion would come together. They knew that in certain crucial countries, in particular Germany, the public did not share the political elite’s enthusiasm for the creation of the euro. But they hoped that in time, this would change.

Enter reality.  At first, people saw most regulations and orders coming from Brussels as annoying and occasionally inconvenient. Rulings on things like what kind of fat chocolate may contain seemed objects of ridicule, not the stuff of revolution. The European Commission was seen as something distant with little day-to-day relevance for the lives of most citizens living within the European Union. But everything changed with the Great Recession of 2008. Ruinously destructive austerity policies took hold in the councils of Europe, notably in the form of economic austerity packages demanded of Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, etc. The consequences have been monstrous.

Politically, the implementation of the euro-zone’s stability pact has been largely left in the hands of unelected bureaucrats—the so-called “Troika,” in particular the IMF and European Central Bank, operating out of institutions that are devoid of any kind of democratic legitimacy. They implement “fiscal rules” on the basis of some arbitrary numbers that have no foundation in economic theory or reality.

Here’s a perfect example. A former senior budget ministry official in the government of former French president François Mitterrand was recently revealed as being the inventor of a phony “rule” repeated by governments both right or the left that the public deficit should not exceed 3 percent of the national wealth. The French official had this to say when asked about the origins of the 3 percent rule:

“We came up with the 3% figure in less than an hour. It was a back of an envelope calculation, without any theoretical reflection. Mitterrand needed an easy rule that he could deploy in his discussions with ministers who kept coming into his office to demand money… We needed something simple. 3%? It was a good number that had stood the test of time, somewhat reminiscent of the Trinity.”

So highly paid unelected bureaucrats in Brussels pull magic numbers out of the air, and then policy makers use them to call for nations to cut welfare, wages, jobs and the like. The result? People have already started dying in riots in Athens, Madrid and Rome. Backlash in France produced Marine Le Pen’s surprisingly successful candidacy in the last French presidential election for the Front Nationale (FN). If the name sounds familiar, it’s because fascism runs in the family: She is the youngest daughter of the French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, former president of the FN and currently its honorary chairman. In last year’s French presidential election, she polled some 18 percent in the first round and finished in third position behind winner François Hollande and the previous incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Anti-EU parties of the sort Le Pen represents are on the rise across continental Europe. They are growing precisely because the mainstream parties conspicuously continue to ignore the prevailing social disasters they are imposing on their respective electorates.  As the New York Times recently reported, the far right is quickly gaining ground:

“In France, according to a recent opinion poll, the far-right National Front has become the country’s most popular party. In other countries — Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands — disruptive upstart groups are on a roll.”

While the European leaders are now talking about moving to a fully fledged political union (a “United States of Europe”) they are doing so within a culture of austerity, which simply exacerbates the prevailing social stresses and leads to further populist challenges to the mainstream.

Time is not on the side of Europe’s policy makers. The stock of private debt remains very high and policy makers are beginning to fret about the possibility of a genuine Great Depression-style debt deflation leading to another lost decade. That was the hidden message behind the ECB’s recent cut in interest rates, although the real answer must surely lie in a fiscal response that will break the fall in incomes and preserve living standards.

That’s the main reason America has not seen a comparable rise in fascism. In this country, we still have institutions, such as Social Security and Medicare, which were designed during the New Deal and the Great Society and by and large work extremely well. Europe, unfortunately, seems determined for now to go in an opposite direction, reviving old historic enmities and rivalries in the process. That could be in store for us if we follow a similar route, which would make the Tea Party seem like a tea party in comparison.

Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator.

Exorcists on trial for kidnapping and ‘crucifying’ teenager


Exorcists on trial for kidnapping and ‘crucifying’ teenager

Anthony Hopkins as the exorcist in "The Rite."

        Four former members of the Seventh Day Adventists, a US-based Protestant church, went on trial in France Monday for the kidnapping and torture of a 19-year-old woman during an exorcism. The incident took place in 2011 in Grigny, a suburb of Paris, when police entered an apartment and found the woman tied to a mattress in the attitude of Jesus Christ on the cross. The woman, identified only as Antoinette, an émigré from the Cameroun, was in shock and showed signs of recent beatings as well as emaciation and dehydration. According to her testimony, she had been bound to the mattress for a week and given only a few sips of oil and water during that time.

Three men and one woman, all of French Caribbean origin, have been charged with kidnapping, acts of torture and barbarism. One of the men, Eric Deron, was the victim’s former boyfriend. The others are his mother, Lise-Michelle Babin, and two men, Philippe Grego and Lionel Fremor. The prosecutors claimed that Deron has delusions of being a prophet on a divine mission. According to testimony by the accused assailants, Deron organized the exorcism after the victim allegedly leapt upon him while shouting incoherently.  All four denied committing any acts of violence and claim the victim consented to the exorcism.

From the AFP:

Their lawyer, Jacques Bourdais, said the four had acted in good faith. “To them, she was possessed, that is why they did not call a doctor. You call a doctor when someone is sick, when someone is possessed you exorcise them,” Bourdais told AFP.

Bourdais also told the court that the victim was very much in love with Deron and that she and all four of the accused shared strong religious convictions and a thorough understanding of biblical texts.

The victim met the accused several years before the alleged assault through the Seventh Day Adventists, which has 13,000 members in France. The Adventists claim that the assailants were expelled from the Church a year before the attack and that their teachings don’t include that kind of exorcism.

The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion


The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion

http://fora.tv/2011/11/15/debate_the_world_would_be_better_off_without_religion

http://fora.tv/2011/11/15/debate_the_world_would_be_better_off_without_religion#chapter_11

French Magazine Commits More “Blasphemy”


French magazine to commit more blasphemy

French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, is to publish new anti-Islam cartoons.

French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, is to publish new anti-Islam cartoons.
French weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its publishing of cartoons insulting Islam’s most revered figure, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), says it is planning to publish more blasphemous cartoons.

The magazine made the announcement on Sunday, saying that a special edition with cartoons on the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) will be published on Wednesday.

“If people want to be shocked, they will be shocked,” said Charlie Hebdo editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

In September, the same magazine published cartoons blasphemous against the Islamic sanctities, provoking widespread outrage worldwide.

The publication led to the temporary closure of several French institutes and cultural centers in some Muslim countries.

The September 19 sacrilegious caricatures appeared in the periodical after the emergence of a US-made film that insulted Islam’s holiest figure.

The blasphemous film sparked protests in Muslim countries, as well as in non-Muslim states like Australia, Britain, the United States, France, Belgium, and some other nations.

MR/HN

Are Americans The Worlds Biggest Cheats? | Lance Armstrong Stripped of Titles


With Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles, cycling can recover

The International Cycling Union stripped Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles – the result of a sport trying to clean up its act after years of doping scandals. The cleanup should be commended.

By the Monitor’s Editorial Board / October 22, 2012

 

Lance Armstrong speaks at the Livestrong Challenge Austin bike ride Oct. 21 in Austin, Texas. He was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the International Cycling Union Monday after the results of a probe by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

AP

The US doping investigation that led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles has exposed the rot in a popular sport. But amid the controversy and disappointments, it should not be overlooked that the sport has turned itself inside out to purge that pungent history. That uphill climb alone was quite an achievement.

The pursuit of Mr. Armstrong has been even messier than a peloton of cyclists careening around cobblestoned streets in the Tour de France. Personal rivalries and long-simmering resentments almost certainly played a role in bringing forth the evidence against Armstrong.

The 202-page report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency relied on the testimony of more than two dozen witnesses, including 11 former teammates. US anti-doping officials say the systematized doping they uncovered is “more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history.” The International Cycling Union accepted the USADA’s verdict, took away Armstrong’s seven Tour titles, and banned him from the sport for life.

The prosecution of doping cases, even when there are solid lab results (which the USADA could not rely on in this case), can be tricky from a scientific perspective. It can also be imperfect in the eyes of legal experts. Most cases are settled by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport and not a traditional court system.

National and international governing bodies responsible for keeping their sports clean often have other considerations, if not agendas, that affect their decisions. Critics say the global anti-doping framework, which has largely been established since 2000, has an interest not only in cleaning up sport but in exaggerating doping in order to justify its existence and secure more funding.

Armstrong has long portrayed himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” by this system. He vigorously and unequivocally denied having taken performance-enhancing drugs. He highlighted the fact that he had never tested positive for such substances.

He apparently distrusts the system so much that this summer he refused to agree to a hearing where he could have cross-examined the former teammates and other witnesses who testified against him. Yet they described him as not only someone who used the performance-enhancing drugs himself, but who created a team culture in which it was virtually obligatory to participate in a similar doping program in order to ensure Armstrong’s success year after year at the Tour de France.

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