Last days of the Caliphate: US-backed forces celebrate ‘victory’ as ISIS ‘caliphate’ is reduced to a few hundred square yards of bombed-out scrapyard: Tiny last stronghold is surrounded

US-backed forces are celebrating ‘victory’ after they captured a key ISIS encampment and reduced the terror group’s ‘caliphate’ to a few hundred square yards of bombed-out scrapyard in Syria, As reported by Daily Mail.

Officials from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were seen singing and dancing and giving ‘V for victory’ signs as they returned from the frontline in Baghouz in the country’s east.

The extremists had retreated in to a tiny parcel of land with some reportedly having used their own children as human shields.

At the height of its power the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ stretched from Baghdad in Iraq all the way across north eastern Syria in the west – the dwindling remains have been constricted into the town of Baghouz in the Deir’ez-Zur region of eastern Syria

Pictures show the burning remains of cars along the banks of the Euphrates river where ISIS fanatics have been desperately digging in over the last few months. Hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, an SDF spokesman said, signalling the terror group’s collapse after months of stiff resistance.

Reduced to a burning scrapyard: ISIS fighters and followers have been steadily forced back to Baghouz after years of retreats in the face of military campaigns by an array of foreign and local forces. Pictures show the bombed-out remains of cars in the terror group’s last stronghold

Fighting has been intense as SDF fighters move in on ISIS positions in the village of Baghouz. Pictures show smoke rising over the enclave on the banks of the Euphrates in eastern Syria

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters sing and link arms as they celebrate their territorial gains over ISIS this afternoon

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made the ‘V’ for victory sign as they come back from the frontline today

The SDF captured hundreds of wounded militants when it overran the camp on Tuesday, Bali said. It also captured 157 mostly foreign fighters. An SDF fighter makes a ‘V for victory’ sign today

U.S.-backed Syrian forces on Tuesday seized control of an encampment held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, after hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, a spokesman said, signaling the group’s collapse after months of stiff resistance

Meanwhile, the spokesman, Mustafa Bali said the SDF had captured a group of alleged terrorists suspected of being behind a suicide attack in northern Syria that left four Americans dead earlier this year. Bali said the suspects were captured following technical surveillance. He did not elaborate on the number of suspects or when they were captured.

The Americans were killed in a suicide bombing in January in the town of Manbij that was claimed by ISIS. In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday, he said the outcome of the ongoing investigation will be shared at a later time.

The taking of the ISIS camp was a major advance but not the final defeat of the group in Baghouz, the last village held by the extremists where they have been holding out for weeks under siege, according to Bali. Still, fighters from the force were starting to celebrate anyway.

‘I’m happy it’s over. Now I know my people are safe,’ said a fighter who identified himself as Walid Raqqawi who fought in the camp Monday night. He said he is returning to his hometown of Raqqa to rest. Comrades from his unit sang and danced in celebration at an outpost in Baghouz, all saying they were looking forward to going home.

Hardened militant fighters holed up in the encampment have been mounting a last-stand defence of the enclave, all that is left of ISIS’s self-proclaimed ‘caliphate’ that once spanned a third of both Syria and Iraq.

The militants have been putting up a desperate fight, their notorious propaganda machine working even on the brink of collapse.

On Monday, ISIS issued a video showing its militants furiously defending the encampment, a junkyard of wrecked cards, motorcycles and tents. In the footage.
They shoot nonstop with AK-47s and M-16s from behind trucks, vehicles and sand berms. A group of children could be seen at one point amid the fighting.

‘My Muslim brothers everywhere, we did our best, the rest is up to God,’ a fighter said to the backdrop of black smoke rising from behind him.

The SDF captured hundreds of wounded militants when it overran the camp on Tuesday, Bali said. It also captured 157 mostly foreign fighters.

Asked earlier by Reuters how long it would take to defeat the remaining jihadists, Bali said he expected the operation to end ‘very soon’. Some remaining militants had fallen back to the bank of the nearby Euphrates River, he said.

‘The battles are not yet over,’ he said. ‘Some of the terrorists have taken their children as human shields. There are intermittent clashes.’

ISIS fighters and followers have been steadily forced back to Baghouz after years of retreats in the face of military campaigns by an array of foreign and local forces.

Evacuation: Trucks used by the Syrian Democratic Forces are shown transporting fighters and civilians from the last remaining Syrian land held by ISIS today

A man stands in the back of a truck used by the SDF to evacuate people from Baghouz today. SDF officials say they are close to driving the terror group out of the village

The area held by ISIS in Baghouz is the last pocket of territory in Syria controlled by the extremist group, which once held a vast area of Syria and Iraq, calling it an Islamic ‘caliphate’. Pictured: An SDF fighter takes aim during the battle for Baghouz

The complete fall of Baghouz would mark the end of the ISIS’s self-declared territorial ‘caliphate,’ which at its height stretched across much of Syria and Iraq.

For the past four years, U.S.-led forces have waged a destructive campaign to tear down the ‘caliphate.’ But even after Baghouz’s fall, ISIS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.

The battle for Baghouz has dragged on for weeks – and the encampment has proven a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels.

The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghouz, most of them families of IS members. Over past weeks they have been flowing out, exhausted, hungry and often wounded. The sheer number who emerged – nearly 30,000 since early January according to Kurdish officials – took the Kurdish-led SDF by surprise.

In the last two weeks, many IS militants appeared to be among those evacuating. But SDF commanders have stopped speculating when the battle may finally be over. Commanders say they don’t know how many more may still be left, hiding in tunnels beneath the war-scarred village.

In the seizure Tuesday of the encampment, hundreds of wounded and sick militants were captured and have been evacuated to nearby military hospitals for treatment, Bali, the SDF spokesman, said in a Twitter post. Still, he cautioned, ‘this is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight.’

There were conflicting reports from SDF commanders on the ground about the extent of the IS surrender.

The extremists are retreating in to an ever shrinking parcel of land at Baghouz in the country’s east – with some now said to be using their own children as human shields. Pictured: An ISIS fighter waving the jihadists’ black and white flag in Baghouz on Monday

Over the past two months, more than 60,000 people have poured out of the dwindling enclave, nearly half of whom surrendered as ISIS supporters, including some 5,000 fighters, according to the SDF. ISIS released this image of fighters firing their weapons from inside Baghouz

Commander Rustam Hasake told The Associated Press that SDF forces advanced on four fronts Monday night and were inside the camp when the last IS fighters surrendered at dawn. He said the last fighters were pushed out of the camp and were now in an open patch of land by the Euphrates River and were being processed and detained.

Another commander, however, said some IS militants continue to hold a tiny area in an open patch of land in the village, outside the encampment.

AP journalists in Baghouz reported sporadic gunfire echoing in Baghouz and jets circling overhead. At a command post in Baghouz, a Humvee pulled up and unloaded weapons captured from IS on Tuesday, including sniper and hunting rifles, pump action shot guns and grenades and ammunition.

The U.S. military has warned that ISIS may still count tens of thousands of fighters, dispersed throughout Iraq and Syria, with enough leaders and resources to present a menacing insurgency. The terror group released video (pictured) purportedly showing fanatics fighting in Baghouz this week

Five trucks hauling 10 trailers full of people were seen coming out of Baghouz. A child could be heard wailing from inside one of them. At least 100 people, nearly all of them children, have died in the truck trips from Baghouz on the way to a camp in northern Syria, or soon after reaching it, according to the International Rescue Committee – a sign of how miserable conditions were inside Baghouz during the siege as supplies ran out.

Terrifying video showed the moment an ISIS suicide bomber killed two US soldiers and two American civilians in a horrific attack in Syria in January

Bali, in a separate Twitter post Tuesday, said the SDF captured a group of suspects involved in a January suicide bombing that killed four Americans in the northern town of Manbij. He did not elaborate on the number of suspects or whether they were among the most recent militants to surrender.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast outside a popular restaurant in Manbij, which killed at least 16 people, including two U.S. service members and two American civilians. It was the deadliest assault on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces went into the country in 2015.

As they make their final stand, the IS militants have issued a string of statements this month claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on the SDF.

In an audio posted online Monday, the ISIS spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajer, issued his first message in six months, calling for revenge attacks by Muslims in Western countries in retaliation for the shooting attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 people.

He also ridiculed U.S. declarations of the defeat of the Islamic State group, calling the claim of victory a ‘hallucination.’

But SDF fighters celebrated as if the final collapse were imminent. At the SDF outpost in Baghouz, a commander danced with his soldiers. Fighters said remaining IS militants didn’t put up much resistance.

‘We fired on them with our rifles and heavy weapons and they didn’t shoot back. So we walked into the camp and they didn’t shoot at us,’ said Orhan Hamad, from the northern province of Hassakeh.

‘I tell the martyrs, it wasn’t for nothing. With God’s permission, we’ve finished Daesh.’

Herodotus Is True, Nile shipwreck discovery proves it after 2,469 years

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote of unusual river boats on the Nile. Twenty-three lines of his Historia, the ancient world’s first great narrative history, are devoted to the intricate description of the construction of a “baris”

An artistic treatment of the discovered shipwreck. The upper half of the model illustrates the wreck as excavated. Below this, unexcavated areas are mirrored to pro­duce a complete vessel outline. Photograph: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

For centuries, scholars have argued over his account because there was no archaeological evidence that such ships ever existed. Now there is. A “fabulously preserved” wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion has revealed just how accurate the historian was.

“It wasn’t until we discovered this wreck that we realised Herodotus was right,” said Dr Damian Robinson, director of Oxford University’s centre for maritime archaeology, which is publishing the excavation’s findings. “What Herodotus described was what we were looking at.”

In 450 BC Herodotus witnessed the construction of a baris. He noted how the builders “cut planks two cubits long [around 100cm] and arrange them like bricks”. He added: “On the strong and long tenons [pieces of wood] they insert two-cubit planks. When they have built their ship in this way, they stretch beams over them… They obturate the seams from within with papyrus. There is one rudder, passing through a hole in the keel. The mast is of acacia and the sails of papyrus…”

The wooden hull of ship 17. Photograph: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

Robinson said that previous scholars had “made some mistakes” in struggling to interpret the text without archaeological evidence. “It’s one of those enigmatic pieces. Scholars have argued exactly what it means for as long as we’ve been thinking of boats in this scholarly way,” he said.

Bust of Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c484-425 BC) Photograph: G Nimatallah/De Agostini/Getty Images

But the excavation of what has been called Ship 17 has revealed a vast crescent-shaped hull and a previously undocumented type of construction involving thick planks assembled with tenons – just as Herodotus observed, in describing a slightly smaller vessel.

Originally measuring up to 28 metres long, it is one of the first large-scale ancient Egyptian trading boats ever to have been discovered.

The wooden hull of ship 17. Photograph: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

Robinson added: “Herodotus describes the boats as having long internal ribs. Nobody really knew what that meant… That structure’s never been seen archaeologically before. Then we discovered this form of construction on this particular boat and it absolutely is what Herodotus has been saying.” as reported by The Guardian.

The wooden hull of ship 17. Photograph: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

About 70% of the hull has survived, well-preserved in the Nile silts. Acacia planks were held together with long tenon-ribs – some almost 2m long – and fastened with pegs, creating lines of ‘internal ribs’ within the hull. It was steered using an axial rudder with two circular openings for the steering oar and a step for a mast towards the centre of the vessel.

Robinson said: “Where planks are joined together to form the hull, they are usually joined by mortice and tenon joints which fasten one plank to the next. Here we have a completely unique form of construction, which is not seen anywhere else.”

Similar rudder systems, from the Deir el-Gebrâwi reliefs, c.2325-2155 BCE. (Davies, N. de G., 1901-1902) credits : Science Alert

Alexander Belov, whose book on the wreck, Ship 17: a Baris from Thonis-Heracleion, is published this month, suggests that the wreck’s nautical architecture is so close to Herodotus’s description, it could have been made in the very shipyard that he visited. Word-by-word analysis of his text demonstrates that almost every detail corresponds “exactly to the evidence”.

Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his “inquiry” (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as “The Father of History”, a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

Despite Herodotus’s historical significance, little is known about his personal life. His Histories primarily deals with the lives of Croesus, Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale; however, his many cultural, ethnographical, geographical, historiographical, and other digressions form a defining and essential part of the Historiesand contain a wealth of information. Herodotus has been criticized for the fact that his book includes a large number of obvious legends and fanciful accounts. Many authors, starting with the late fifth-century BC historian Thucydides, have accused him of making up stories for entertainment. Herodotus, however, states that he is merely reporting what he has been told. A sizable portion of the information he provides has since been confirmed by historians and archaeologists.

Relief of Herodotus by Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1806), Louvre, Paris Source : Wiki

Short Story of The Best ‘Watermelon’ (1 min Read)

“I am from the village of Parra in Goa, hence we are called Parrikars. My village is famous for its watermelons. When I was a child, the farmers would organised a watermelon-eating contest at the end of the harvest season in May. All the kids would be invited to eat as many watermelons as they wanted (But only the biggest watermelons)

Years later, I went to IIT Mumbai to study engineering. I went back to my village after 6.5 years. I went to the market looking for big watermelons. They were all gone. The ones that were there were so small.I went to see the farmer who hosted the biggest watermelon eating contest. His son had taken over. He would host the contest but there was a difference.

When the older farmer gave us the biggest watermelons to eat he would ask us to spit out the seeds into a bowl. We were told not to bite into the seeds. He was collecting the seeds for his next crop. He kept his best biggest watermelons for the contest and he got the best seeds which would yield even bigger watermelons the next year.

His son, when he took over, realized that the larger watermelons would fetch more money in the market so he sold the larger ones and kept the smaller ones for the contest. The next year, the watermelons were smaller, the year later even small. In watermelons the generation is one year. In seven years, Parra’s best watermelons were finished.

In humans, generations change after 25 years. It will take us 200 years to figure what we were doing wrong while educating our children. Unless we employ our best to train the next generation, this is what can happen to us. We must attract the best into teaching profession.

–(Excerpt from a speech by India’s Ex- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event hosted by the Federation of Gujarat Industries in Vadodara, India on 11 September, 2016)

5000-Year-Old Human Skeleton Excavated in India, Archaeologists Find New Burial Site of Harappan Civilization

Apart from human skeletons, archeologists also discovered animal remains, shell-like bangles, grinding stones, and blades from the site.

Archaeologists in Gujarat, India have discovered a massive burial site around 360 kilometers from Dholavira in the Kutch district which they believe dates back to the Harappan Civilization.

5000-year-old skeleton found at burial site (Photo Credits: YouTube grab)

According to a Times of India report, the burial site has over 250 graves and 26 of them have already been excavated. The site, which is 300m x 300m in size, also had a human skeleton, estimated to be around 5,000 years old.

Harappan civilization experts and archaeologist said the burial site is rectangular in shape and estimated to be 4600-5200 years old.

Representative Image, Harappan Excavation Site

Interestingly, the researchers found the mode of burial to be non-uniform. Instances of primary burial and secondary burial (when the remains of the primary burial are exhumed and moved to another grave) were found. The remains of those who were possibly cremated were also found in a few graves.

Artefacts that were unearthed from an early Harappan site in Kutch. Credits: The Hindu

All the burial sites found in Gujarat till date are either circular or semi-circular. We are trying to establish the significance of this rectangular shape,” Suresh Bhandari, head of Department of Archeology, Kutch University, told the newspaper.

“The skeleton has been taken to Kerala University for determining its age, possible reason for death and knowing its gender,” Bhandari added.

Artefacts that were unearthed from an early Harappan site in Kutch. Credits : The Hindu

Kutch University and Kerala University performed the excavation in a joint effort near Khatia village of Lakhpat taluka.

Faculty members of both the universities said the rectangular burial site had sound wall rocks in the east-west direction and the biggest grave is around 6.6 meters wide.

Apart from human skeletons, animal remains, shell-like bangles, grinding stones, and blades were also discovered from the site.

The artifacts will now be studied by experts to find out the rituals and social deeds that existed in the Harappan culture.

“Studies of the potteries, as well as rock blocks, will enhance our knowledge about the different techniques employed and the raw material used to make them,” said Bhandari.

Grinding stones, blades made of rock with sharp edges, bangles were also found from this site. They also found pottery vessels near the grave.

All the material that has been found here will be sent in different laboratories across the country to find out more about the history and culture of the people living during the Harappan period.

Lending credence to the trade network that could have existed during the early phase of the Harappan civilisation from 3300 BCE to 2600 BCE, the researchers claimed that the mud pots bore similarities with those that were unearthed from other Harappan sites in Kot Diji, Amri and Nal in Pakistan, Nagwada, Santhali, Moti Pipli and Ranod in North Gujarat, and Surkotada and Dhaneti in Kutch.

Users’ data was shared without their consent – Facebook’s data-sharing deals with 150 companies reportedly under criminal probe

world’s largest technology companies amid intense scrutiny of the firm in recent years.

A New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from two smartphone makers involved in the partnerships, anonymous sources told The New York Times.

It is understood that data shared without users’ knowledge included friends’ names, genders and birth dates.

Facebook is being investigated for allegedly sharing its users’ data with dozens of tech companies without their knowledge. CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) has faced questioning over how user data is handled

Facebook claimed in June that it provided dozens of tech companies with special access to user data after publicly saying it restricted such access in 2015.

The New York Times reported that Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, cut data sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform.

However, Facebook continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers after it said it discontinued the practice in May 2015.

A mural decorates one of the many open space work areas at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California

The agreements let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent.

Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.

A spokesman for the social network said: ‘We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously.

‘We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.’ as reported by Daily Mail.

It is not known when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices, including ongoing investigations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and two state agencies in New York.

In addition to looking at the data deals, the probes focus on disclosures that the company shared the user data of 87 million people with Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that worked with U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Since then, Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg has testified in front of Congress and the European Parliament to answer questions about Facebook’s handling of user data.

In April Zuckerberg took questions for nearly five hours in a Senate hearing without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business, foiling attempts by senators to pin him down.

Zuckerberg faced broad concerns from members of Congress about how Facebook shares user data.

‘How can consumers have control over their data when Facebook does not have control over the data?’ asked Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce committee.

The latest estimate of affected users is up to 87 million.

Patience with the social network had already worn thin among users, advertisers and investors after the company said last year that Russia used Facebook for years to try to sway U.S. politics, an allegation Moscow denies.

Lawmakers have sought assurances that Facebook can effectively police itself, and few came away from the hearing expressing confidence in the social network.

‘I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God, I will,’ Republican Senator John Kennedy told Zuckerberg on Tuesday. ‘A lot of that depends on you.’

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg has taken hits to her reputation as she continues to be the frontwoman for Facebook’s excuses over its privacy shortfalls

Zuckerberg deflected requests to support specific legislation. Pressed repeatedly last year by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey to endorse a proposed law that would require companies to get people’s permission before sharing personal information, Zuckerberg agreed to further talks.

‘In principle, I think that makes sense, and the details matter, and I look forward to having our team work with you on fleshing that out,’ Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has defended the data-sharing deals, first reported in December, saying none of the partnerships gave companies access to information without people’s permission.

A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which The New York Times reported is overseeing the inquiry, said he could not confirm or deny the probe.

Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO Alexander Nix arrives to give evidence to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee at Portcullis House in central London last year

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg has taken hits to her reputation as she continues to be the frontwoman for Facebook’s excuses over its privacy shortfalls.

It emerged last month that the company took advantage of Apple’s enterprise developer certificate, which enables companies to distribute apps internally, to create an app that paid users as young as 13 to share their phone activity with Facebook.

Among the data collected from teens by the app was all of their phone and web activity, information on apps they installed, when they used them and what they did on them.

‘I want to be clear what this is. This is a Facebook research app,’ Sandberg told CNBC.

‘It’s completely opt-in. There is a rigorous consent flow and people are compensated.

‘The important thing is that people involved in that research project knew they were involved and consented.’

All you need to know about Winged Victory of Samothrace, Great Sphinx of Tanis and Venus De Milo at Louvre Museum, Paris

It’s no secret that the Louvre has one of the world’s most stunning collections of art.

In addition to the Mona Lisa and an entire Michelangelo Gallery, the major museum also excels in antiquities, with gems that include a Great Sphinx, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Though this marble masterpieceremains one of history’s most famous sculptures, many people may not be aware of its history—including its ancient roots, 19th-century discovery, and soaring influence on modern and contemporary art.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart’ via Shutterstock)

Origin and History

The exact origins of the Winged Victory of Samothrace are not known. However, archaeologists and art historians have extensively studied the sculpture in order to estimate its age, intention, and subject matter.

According to the Louvre, the piece was likely crafted by the people of Rhodes, a Greek island, in the early second century BCE. This places its creation at the heart of the Hellenistic period (323 BCE-31 CE). This ancient art movement is particularly renowned for its expressive sculptures of mythological subjects in motion—an approach embodied by the Winged Victory.

The 18-foot sculpture depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. As wet and wind-blown drapery clings to her body, the winged figure triumphantly steps toward the front of a ship, leading historians to conclude that it was created to commemorate a successful sea battle.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart’ via Shutterstock)

The statue was one of many marble pieces that adorned the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, an ancient temple complex on the island of Samothrace. This seaside shrine was dedicated to the Mystery religion, or secret cult, of the Great Mother.

Given both the prevalence of naval battles during this time and its close proximity to the Aegean’s widely-used maritime routes, the shrine featured several sea-inspired monuments. These included dedicated columns, important ships, and, of course, the Winged Victory, which was placed in a rock niche (possibly a grotto) that overlooked the shrine’s theatre.

Discovery of the Sculpture

French diplomat and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseauunearthed the Winged Victory in April of 1863. While he reassembled 23 blocks that compose the ship, he sent the figure back to Paris just as he found it: in three pieces.

The base, torso, legs, and left wing eventually reached the Louvre, where they were reassembled in the Carytid Room of classical antiquities. The museum also added a plaster wing to the sculpture—an addition that remains today—but did not opt to recreate the head or arms.

However, nearly 90 years after Champoiseau discovered the fragmented figure, archaeologists from Austria uncovered missing pieces, including Nike’s right hand. Unfortunately, the hand had no way of being reattached to the sculpture, as the figure remained armless. Still, its unearthing was extremely important, as the unclasped hand disproved an early theory that the figure had originally been grasping an object.

“It has been suggested that the Victory held a trumpet, a wreath, or a fillet in her right hand,” The Louvre explains. “However, the hand found in Samothrace in 1950 had an open palm and two outstretched fingers, suggesting that she was not holding anything and was simply holding her hand up in a gesture of greeting.”

Today, the fragmented hand can be viewed at the top of the Louvre’s Daru Staircase, where the Winged Victory has been on display since 1883.

Hellenistic Realism

Like other Hellenistic sculptures, the Winged Victory is admired for its naturalistic anatomy and, consequently, its realistic depiction of movement.

To suggest a body in motion, the artist positioned Nike in an asymmetrical stance. Known as contrapposto(“counterpose”), this pose implies movement through the use of realistic weight distribution and an S-shaped body.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart’ via Shutterstock)

Other famous sculptures that demonstrate this classical approach to conveying the human body are The Walking Man by Rodin and Michelangelo’s David.

Another element that helps suggest movement is the billowing fabric draped across the figure’s body. As Nike dramatically steps forward, the seemingly translucent garment twists around her waist and wraps around her legs.

According to the Louvre, this “highly theatrical presentation—combined with the goddess’s monumentality, wide wingspan, and the vigor of her forward-thrusting body—reinforces the reality of the scene”


Today, the Winged Victory of Samothrace remains one of the most celebrated sculptures on earth. Since making its debut at the Louvre in the 19th century, it has inspired countless artists. Surrealist Salvador Dalí directly appropriated this sculpture for his Double Nike de Samothrace (1973), and Futurist Umberto Boccioni employed the figure’s iconic stance for his Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913).

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: The October Sky)

While these modern interpretations undoubtedly capture the spirit of the piece, no other Winged Victory can captivate audiences as triumphantly as the original treasure

Great Sphinx of Tanis

The sphinx is a fabulous creature with the body of a lion and the head of a king. This one was successively inscribed with the names of the pharaohs Ammenemes II (12th Dynasty, 1929-1895 BC), Merneptah (19th Dynasty, 1212-02 BC) and Shoshenq I (22nd Dynasty, 945-24 BC). According to archaeologists, certain details suggest that this sphinx dates to an earlier period – the Old Kingdom (c. 2600 BC).


This is one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt. It was found in 1825 among the ruins of the Temple of Amun at Tanis (the capital of Egypt during the 21st and 22nd dynasties). This impressive stone sculpture with its precise details and polished surfaces is a work of admirable craftsmanship. The recumbent lion, with tense body and outstretched claws, gives the impression of being ready to leap. The shen hieroglyph sculpted on the plinth under each paw evokes a cartouche, confirming the royal nature of the monument.

Great Sphinx of Tanis, Louvre Museum,Paris


The legible inscriptions are all “usurpations”, i.e. traces of subsequent modifications to the monument. The names of Merneptah (19th Dynasty) and Sheshonq (22nd Dynasty) are legible. The original texts (traces of which are still visible in places) were deliberately erased and replaced. It is therefore impossible to date this statue with certainty, especially as the face does not resemble any known, well-documented royal portrait. In view of this uncertainty, Egyptologists are divided: some date the sphinx to the 12th Dynasty, others to the 6th or even the 4th.

Great Sphinx of Tanis, Louvre Museum,Paris


The Greek word “sphinx”, commonly used to refer to the Egyptian statues representing a lion with a human head, was not the original term. The appropriate Egyptian appellation for a statue or image of this kind was shesep-ankh (“living image”). The creature was a symbolic representation of the close relationship between the sun god (the lion’s body) and the king (the human head), and was the “living image of the king”, demonstrating his strength and his close association with Ra.
The sphinx was always positioned either as (recumbent) guardian and protector of places where gods appeared – such as the horizon, and temple entrances – or as (upright) defender of Egypt against hostile forces, whom he trampled underfoot.


Christiane Ziegler, Les Statues égyptiennes de l’Ancien Empire, 1997, Réunion des musées nationaux p. 39
G. Andreu, M.-H Ruthscowskaya, L’Egypte ancienne au Louvre, 1997, Hachette, pp. 52 à 54
Nadine Cherpion, “En reconsidérant le grand sphinx du Louvre (A 23)”, in Revue d’égyptologie, 1991, t. 42, pp. 25 à 41
Jean Leclant, Le Temps des pyramides, 1978, Gallimard, coll. “L’univers des formes”, t. 1, p. 213
Jacques Vandier, Manuel d’archéologie égyptienne, 1958, Picard, t. 3, p. 56

Information Via Louvre Museum

Ancient Ruins of Tanis, Egypt

Venus De Milo

As one of art history’s most significant sculptures, the Venus de Milo continues to captivate audiences today. Located in the Louvre Museum, the marble masterpiece is celebrated for its Hellenistic artistry, renowned for its beauty, and famous for its absent arms.

Like many other treasured antiquities, the story behind the statue was entirely unknown when it was unearthed in the 19th century. Today, however, archaeologists and art historians have managed to piece together a narrative that explores and explains its possible provenance—though the sculpted goddess remains shrouded in mystery.

What is the Venus de Milo?

Known also as the Aphrodite of Milos, the Venus de Milo is a marble sculpture that was likely created by Alexandros of Antioch during the late 2nd century BC. It features a nearly nude, larger-than-life (6 feet, 8 inches tall) female figure posed in a classical S-curve.

Her body is composed of two blocks of marble as well as “several parts [that] were sculpted separately (bust, legs, left arm and foot),” according to the Louvre. Furthermore, the sculpture was likely colorfully painted and adorned with jewelry, though no pigment or metal remain on the marble today.

Due to her nudity and the sinuous shape of her body, the figure is widely believed to be Venus, the goddess of love. However, she may also represent Amphitrite—the goddess of the sea—who held special significance on the island where the work of art was found.


‘Aphrodite Anadyomene’ (before 79) Photo: Stephen Haynes via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)
Poseidon and Amphitrite’ (50-79) Photo: Stefano Bolognini via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain

Nasa spacecraft observes movement of water molecules on Moon 

Scientists, using an instrument aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon.

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) measurements of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon, a finding that may prove beneficial as the agency plans to put astronauts back on the lunar surface.

NASA’s LRO has spotted movement of water molecules around the moon’s dayside

Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) — the instrument aboard LRO — measured sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the Moon’s surface, which helped characterise lunar hydration changes over the course of a day, revealed the paper published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“The study is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission,” said John Keller, LRO deputy project scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.

This LRO image of the moon shows areas of potential frost. (Photo : NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio)

Until the last decade, scientists thought that the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles.

More recently, they identified surface water in sparse populations of molecules bound to the lunar soil, or regolith.

But, the amount and locations were found to vary based on the time of day. The lunar water is more common at higher latitudes and tends to hop around as the surface heats up.

Scientists had hypothesised that hydrogen ions in the solar wind may be the source of most of the Moon’s surface water. As a result, when the Moon passes behind the Earth and is shielded from the solar wind, the “water spigot” should essentially turn off.

However, the water observed by LAMP does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than “raining” down directly from the solar wind.

“These results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the Moon,” said lead author Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

“Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management; if these materials do not need to be launched from Earth, that makes these future missions more affordable,” Hendrix added.

The Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro : 2500BCE

The Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro is what generations of besotted archaeologists have named a 10.8 centimeter (4.25 inch) tall copper-bronze statuette found in the ruins of Mohenjo Daro. That city is one of the most important sites of the Indus Civilization, or more accurately, the Harappan Civilization (2600-1900 BC) of Pakistan and northwestern India.

The Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro at National Museum, Delhi

The Dancing Girl figurine was sculpted using the lost wax (cire perdue) process, which involves making a mold and pouring molten metal into it.

Mohenjo-Daro Archeological Site

Made about 2500 BC, the statuette was found in the remains of a small house in the southwestern quarter of Mohenjo Daro by Indian archaeologist D. R. Sahni [1879-1939] during his 1926-1927 field season at the site.

The figurine is a naturalistic free-standing sculpture of a nude woman, with small breasts, narrow hips, long legs and arms, and a short torso; her genitals are explicit. She wears a stack of 25 bangles on her left arm. She has very long legs and arms compared to her torso; her head is tilted slightly backward and her left leg is bent at the knee.

On her right arm are four bangles, two at the wrist, two above the elbow; that arm is bent at the elbow, with her hand on her hip. She wears a necklace with three large pendants, and her hair is in a loose bun, twisted in a spiral fashion and pinned in place at the back of her head. Some scholars suggest that the Dancing Girl statuette is a portrait of a real woman.

Although there have been literally thousands of figurines recovered from Harappan sites, including over 2,500 at Harappa alone, the vast majority of figurines are terracotta, made from fired clay. Only a handful of Harappan figurines are carved from stone (such as the famous priest-king figure) or, like the dancing lady, of lost-wax copper bronze.

Figurines are an elaborate class of representational artifact found in many ancient and modern human societies. Human and animal figurines can give insight into concepts of sex, gender, sexuality and other aspects of social identity. That insight is important for us today because many ancient societies left no decipherable written language. Although the Harappans had a written language, no modern scholar has been able to decipher the Indus Script to date.

A recent survey of the use of copper-based metals used in Indus civilization sites (Hoffman and Miller 2014) found that most of the classic Harappan aged objects made of copper-bronze are vessels (jars, pots, bowls, dishes, pans, scale pans) formed from sheet copper; tools (blades from sheet copper; chisels, pointed tools, axes and adzes) manufactured by casting; and ornaments (bangles, rings, beads, and decorative-headed pins) by casting. Hoffman and Miller found that copper mirrors, figurines, tablets, and tokens are relatively rare compared to these other artifact types. There are many more stone and ceramic tablets than those made of copper-based bronze.

The Harappans made their bronze artifacts using a variety of blends, alloys of copper with tin and arsenic, and varying lesser amounts of zinc, lead, sulfur, iron, and nickel.

Adding zinc to copper makes an object brass rather than bronze, and some of the earliest brasses on our planet were created by the Harappans. Researchers Park and Shinde (2014) suggest that the variety of blends used in different products was the result of fabrication requirements and the fact that pre-alloyed and pure copper was traded into the Harappan cities rather than produced there.

The lost wax method used by Harappan metallurgists involved first carving the object out of wax, then covering it in wet clay. Once the clay was dried, holes were bored into the mold and the mold was heated, melting the wax. The empty mold was then filled with a melted mixture of copper and tin. After that cooled, the mold was broken, revealing the copper-bronze object.
Most of the images of women from Harappan-period sites are from hand-modeled terracotta, and they are primarily curvaceous mother goddesses.
The ethnicity of the woman depicted in the figure has been a somewhat controversial subject over the years since the figurine was discovered. Several scholars such as ECL During Casper have suggested that the lady looks African. Recent evidence for Bronze Age trade contact with Africa has been found at Chanhu-Dara, another Harappan Bronze Age site, in the form of pearl millet, which was domesticated in Africa about 5,000 years ago. There is also at least one burial of an African woman at Chanhu-Dara, and it is not impossible that the Dancing Girl was a portrait of a woman from Africa.

However, the figurine’s hairdressing is a style worn by Indian women today and in the past, and her armful of bangles is similar to a style worn by contemporary Kutchi Rabari tribal women.

British Archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, one of many scholars besotted by the statuette, recognized her as a woman from the Baluchi region.

Second bronze statuette of a girl c.2500 BC, now displayed at Karachi Museum, Pakistan.

New species of killer whale ‘discovered’ after decades off Chile coast

Scientists say they’ve found a mysterious type of killer whale that they’ve been searching for for years. It lives in parts of the ocean near Antarctica — and it could be the largest animal to have remained unidentified by biologists.

The notion that there might be some unusual kind of killer whale emerged in 1955. Photos from New Zealand showed a bunch of whales stranded on a beach. “This was a very different-looking group of killer whales,” says Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A rare photo of “type D” killer whales off South Georgia island, located between South America and Antarctica, shows the whales’ blunt heads and tiny white eye patches.

Courtesy of J.P. Sylvestre

The whales were smaller than other killer whales, and they had rounded heads and pointier fins. “And most importantly,” Pitman adds, “they had a little tiny eye patch,” a white spot under each eye characteristic of killer whales. These patches were unusually small, in some cases almost nonexistent.

The Type D killer whale, top, and a common killer whale (AP)

Biologists were mystified.

Then in 2005, Pitman met a French biologist at a science conference who showed him a photo of an odd-looking killer whale swimming in the southern Indian Ocean. “And I looked down, and there they were, the New Zealand killer whales,” he recalls.

For Pitman, the hunt was on. Last year, he assembled a team to go to Cape Horn, in Chile, to look for what’s now technically called the “type D” killer whale. Local fishers had been complaining that some kind of whale was stripping fish off their lines.

NOAA biologist Lisa Ballance, who’s married to Pitman, was part of the team. “From the beginning, I had referred to it as the needle in the haystack,” she says. “It’s a big ocean, and it’s a rough ocean.”

It was a slow start. Their ship at Cape Horn was trapped at anchor for eight days by howling weather. But then they got a 12-hour quiet spell. “We left that night,” Ballance recalls, and “pounded into the seas so that we could get to our spot at first light the next morning.”

Pitman picks up the story: “The sun came up in the morning at 5:50. We had type D killer whales swimming around our boat.”

“There they were,” Ballance recalls, for a moment at a loss for words. “Uh … I can’t even … it was thrilling for all of us.” Pitman adds: “It’s like seeing a dinosaur or something. It’s one of those moments that biologists live for. And I said, ‘That’s it! That’s the New Zealand killer whale!’ ”

There was no mistaking its peculiar look, says Ballance. “Visibly,” she says, “this form is the most unusual and distinct form of killer whale on the planet.”

Later, they realized why the whales swam up to them. The team had lowered an underwater microphone over the side on a long cable, with cameras attached.

“By collecting the first biopsy samples ever obtained on this form of killer whale, Pitman’s expedition [promises to] increase our knowledge on genetics, evolution, feeding preferences, and resource partitioning in type Ds, and in killer whales as a whole,” Paul Tixier, with Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, said, according to National Geographic.

Pitman says it must have looked like a fishing line with fish on it — it looked like breakfast. “And you can imagine them thinking, ‘Hey, where’s our fish?’ ” he says. “But that was definitely the way to bring them to the boat.”

“There are good grounds for considering other killer whales separate species as well, but where to draw that lines is very difficult,” Ford told National Geographic

The team was able to snip off small tissue samples from the whales by firing a harmless dart, attached to a line, into their skin. An analysis of the DNA will determine if this is actually a completely new species or just an unusual subtype.

The male sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is the largest living toothed predator on Earth. Its submarine-like shape is perfectly adapted for deep diving — it can swim down to at least 6,500 feet to feed. The whale’s massive bulbous head is about one-third of the animal’s length. It’s also a massive sound generator that helps the whale navigate

Credit: © Brandon Cole

Either way, the mystery killer whales of the Southern Ocean have been found.

According to Pitman and his team, the discovery of the Type D killer whale serves as a reminder of how much we have left to learn about life in our oceans.

Radio stations around the world ban Michael Jackson: in wake of abuse claims

Radio stations across the world have pulled music by the King of Pop

Major stations have removed his songs affecting millions of listeners

HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary features accusations from two men

James Safechuck and Wade Robson said they were abused as young boys

Radio stations in Australia, Canada and New Zealand have become the latest to ban Michael Jackson from the air after horrific abuse claims.

Sydney’s Nova Entertainment on Thursday became the latest radio group to announce they are taking the late ‘King of Pop’ off the air in response to public opinion.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim in HBO’s Leaving Neverland that Jackson abused them aged seven and ten respectively.

Michael Jackson with Wade Robson who claims in HBO’s Leaving Neverland that Jackson abused him at the age of seven

‘In light of what is happening at the moment, SmoothFM is not currently playing any Michael Jackson songs,’ local media quoted Nova’s programme director Paul Jackson as saying.

Michael Jackson with Wade Robson who claims in HBO’s Leaving Neverland that Jackson abused him at the age of seven.

The documentary has not yet been broadcast in Australia. A second major Australian radio network, ARN, said it was ‘closely monitoring audience sentiment in relation to individual artists’.

In New Zealand, the star’s songs are now almost totally absent from the airwaves, after being pulled by the country’s two biggest radio networks, MediaWorks and NZME.

The two companies between them dominate commercial radio.

‘We aren’t deciding whether Michael Jackson is guilty of paedophilia, we’re just making sure our radio stations are going to play the music people want to hear,’ MediaWorks director of content, Leon Wratt, told Magic FM.

He said the decision was ‘a reflection of our audiences and their preferences’.

NZME group director of entertainment, Dean Buchanan, confirmed Jackson’s material was off the air, though he shied away from talk of a ban.

Meanwhile, public broadcaster Radio NZ said Jackson’s songs did not feature on its playlists anyway.

A major radio station in Quebec and Ontario announced the decision to stop playing Jackson across its 23 stations, affecting around five million listeners.

A spokeswoman told CTV: ‘We are attentive to listeners’ comments, and last night’s documentary created reactions.’

This included the popular Montreal stations, Francophone CKOI and Rythme and English-language The Beat.

It had been claimed by The Times that Jackson was quietly pulled from BBC Radio 2, but this was later denied by the BBC who say they do not ban artists.

The HBO documentary, which aired in the United States on Sunday, has rekindled long-running questions about Jackson’s relationship with children.

There had been persistent rumours throughout Jackson’s life, but no allegations were ever substantiated.

The four-hour two-part documentary – which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year – has made sure those allegations continue a decade after he died of an overdose.

The abuse alleged in the film was so appalling there were counsellors on hand for traumatised viewers.

Jackson’s estate has denied wrongdoing and filed a $100 million (£76m) lawsuit against HBO.

The 53-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims HBO was violating a ‘non-disparagement’ agreement by airing the documentary.

‘Ten years after his passing, there are still those out to profit from his enormous worldwide success and take advantage of his eccentricities,’ the suit claimed.

The decisions not to play Jackson’s music will no doubt further tarnish his brand and could result in a loss of radio royalties.

But it is far from clear that listeners on digital platforms are abandoning the singer in the same way, and ‘The Essential Michael Jackson’ is still the 65th most downloaded album in Australia.

Who is Wade Robson?

Wade Robson is a 36-year-old choreographer from Brisbane, Australia.

He began performing as a dancer at the age of five.

When he was nine, Robson and his family relocated to America.

He appeared in three of Jackson’s music videos – Black and White, Jam and Heal The World.

He has directed music videos and world tours for numerous music artists such as NSYNC and Britney Spears.

He has been married to actress Amanda Rodriguez since August 13, 2005, and they have one child together
The 36-year-old claims he was molested at Neverland Ranch by Michael Jackson when he was just seven.

He says the abuse went on for seven years, and alleges two Jackson firms were used to lure kids.

His lawyer Vince Finaldi said guests were ferried to the ranch in limos, given plane tickets and had food and accommodation paid for.

He added: “Neverland was nothing but a well-orchestrated trap.”

Robson previously sued Jackson’s estate for £1.2billion over the abuse but the lawsuit was dismissed when the judge ruled the estate of Jackson couldn’t be held responsible for the allegations made by the dancer.

In court filings from 2013, Robson revealed how Jackson raped him from the age of seven before “losing interest” in him when he turned 14.

Robson denied he was abused in the King of Pop’s 2005 molestation trial but is now suing the firms in California.

The dancer claims that Michael Jackson ran the most sophisticated child abuse operation the world has ever known.

It is claimed Robson’s mum says her son denied being sexually abused by the pop star after she quizzed him repeatedly over abuse allegations.

After meeting Jackson at a Los Angeles hotel room, he allegedly attempted to have anal sex with Robson, but it was too painful so Jackson stopped.

The following day, it is claimed Robson was summoned to a LA dance studio, where Jackson asked him what he did with his underwear from the previous evening and if there was any blood on it.

Robson claims he later discovered his underwear was stained so put them in the rubbish.

What is Leaving Neverland?

Documentary Leaving Neverland gives a disturbing glimpse into the lives of former boy companions of Michael Jackson – who dressed like him, allegedly slept with him and have all accused the star of sex abuse.

Two of his victims, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, have taken part in the new documentary Leaving Neverland which screened at the Sundance film festival.

They both have cases similar to that of Terry George.

The documentary was branded a “horror film” after the four-hour film’s debut revealed gruesome accounts from two of Jacko’s alleged victims who are now in their 30s.

Leaving Neverland left audience members shocked with graphic abuse claims including how he allegedly gave a young boy jewellery in exchange for sex acts.

Amy Kaufman, LA Times Hollywood writer, said: “Incredibly emotional reaction from the audience after #LeavingNeverland.

“One audience member says he was molested as a child and that Robson and Safechuck ‘are going to do a lot more f*****g good in the world than Michael f*****g Jackson’.”