US Changes How It Categorizes People by Race and Ethnicity in First Revision in 27 Years

An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a US resident is seen, April 5, 2020, in Detroit. (AP)
An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a US resident is seen, April 5, 2020, in Detroit. (AP)
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US Changes How It Categorizes People by Race and Ethnicity in First Revision in 27 Years

An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a US resident is seen, April 5, 2020, in Detroit. (AP)
An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a US resident is seen, April 5, 2020, in Detroit. (AP)

For the first time in 27 years, the U.S. government is changing how it categorizes people by race and ethnicity, an effort that federal officials believe will more accurately count residents who identify as Hispanic and of Middle Eastern and North African heritage.

The revisions to the minimum categories on race and ethnicity, announced Thursday by the Office of Management and Budget, are the latest effort to label and define the people of the United States. This evolving process often reflects changes in social attitudes and immigration, as well as a wish for people in an increasingly diverse society to see themselves in the numbers produced by the federal government.

"You can’t underestimate the emotional impact this has on people," said Meeta Anand, senior director for Census & Data Equity at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "It’s how we conceive ourselves as a society. ... You are seeing a desire for people to want to self-identify and be reflected in data so they can tell their own stories."

Under the revisions, questions about race and ethnicity that previously were asked separately on forms will be combined into a single question. That will give respondents the option to pick multiple categories at the same time, such as "Black," "American Indian" and "Hispanic." Research has shown that large numbers of Hispanic people aren't sure how to answer the race question when that question is asked separately because they understand race and ethnicity to be similar and they often pick "some other race" or do not answer the question.

A Middle Eastern and North African category will be added to the choices available for questions about race and ethnicity. People descended from places such as Lebanon, Iran, Egypt and Syria had been encouraged to identify as white, but now will have the option of identifying themselves in the new group. Results from the 2020 census, which asked respondents to elaborate on their backgrounds, suggest that 3.5 million residents identify as Middle Eastern and North African.

"It feels good to be seen," said Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando whose parents are from Iran. "Growing up, my family would check the ‘white’ box because we didn’t know what other box reflected our family. Having representation like that, it feels meaningful."

The changes also strike from federal forms the words "Negro" and "Far East," now widely regarded as pejorative, as well as the terms "majority" and "minority," because they fail to reflect the nation’s complex racial and ethnic diversity, some officials say. The revisions also encourage the collection of detailed race and ethnicity data beyond the minimum standards, such as "Haitian" or "Jamaican" for someone who checks "Black."

The changes to the standards were hammered out over two years by a group of federal statisticians and bureaucrats who prefer to stay above the political fray. But the revisions have long-term implications for legislative redistricting, civil rights laws, health statistics, and possibly even politics as the number of people categorized as white is reduced.

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, recently alluded to arguments made by people who allege Democrats are promoting illegal immigration to weaken the power of white people. As president, Trump unsuccessfully tried to disqualify people who were in the United States illegally from being included in the 2020 census.

Momentum for changing the race and ethnicity categories grew during the Obama administration in the mid-2010s, but was halted after Trump became president in 2017. It was revived after Democratic President Joe Biden took office in 2021.

The changes will be reflected in data collection, forms, surveys and the once-a-decade census questionnaires put out by the federal government, as well as in state governments and the private sector because businesses, universities and other groups usually follow Washington's lead. Federal agencies have 18 months to submit a plan on how they will put the changes in place.

The first federal standards on race and ethnicity were produced in 1977 to provide consistent data across agencies and come up with figures that could help enforce civil rights laws. They were last updated in 1997 when five minimum race categories were delineated — American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and white; respondents could pick more than one race. The minimum ethnic categories were grouped separately as not Hispanic or Hispanic or Latino.

The interagency group that worked on the latest revisions noted that categories are sociopolitical constructs, and race and ethnicity are not defined biologically or genetically.

Racial and ethnic categories used by the US government reflect their times.

In 1820, the category "Free Colored People" was added to the decennial census to reflect the increase in free Black people. In 1850, the term "Mulatto" was added to the census to capture people of mixed heritage. American Indians were not explicitly counted in the census until 1860. Following years of immigration from China, "Chinese" was included in the 1870 census. There was not a formal question about Hispanic origin until the 1980 census.

Not everyone is on board with the latest revisions.

Some Afro Latinos feel that combining the race and ethnicity question will reduce their numbers and representation in the data, though previous research by the US Census Bureau did not find significant differences among Afro Latino responses when the questions were asked separately or together.

Mozelle Ortiz, for instance, is of mixed Afro Puerto Rican descent. She feels the changes could eliminate that identity, even though people can choose more than one answer once the race and ethnicity questions are combined.

"My entire lineage, that of my Black Puerto Rican grandmother’s and all other non-white Spanish speaking peoples, will be erased," Ortiz wrote the interagency group.

Others are unhappy about how some groups of people such as Armenians or Arabs from Sudan and Somalia were not included in the examples used to define people of Middle Eastern or North African background.

Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, said that while she was "incredibly happy" with the new category, that enthusiasm was tempered by the omissions.

"It is not reflective of the racial diversity of our community," Berry said. "And it’s wrong."



Design Space AlUla Attends Milan Design Week as Part of Initiative to Celebrate Cultural Heritage

Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
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Design Space AlUla Attends Milan Design Week as Part of Initiative to Celebrate Cultural Heritage

Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA
Design Space AlUla has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week. SPA

Design Space AlUla, a regional center dedicated to celebrating the works of local and international designers, has showcased modern design at Milan Design Week, that concludes Sunday 21.
The exhibition features, among others, projects from the thriving design center that has ambitious plans for the creative industries.
Among the exhibited works are recent projects from the first Arts and Design Center, Madrasat Addeera.
Participating artists from around the world contribute to the diverse collection. Saudi artist Dr. Zahrah Alghamdi's piece titled "Gharameel" draws inspiration from AlUla's distinctive rock formations. Argentine artist Cristian Mohaded's work, named "AlWaha", captures the essence of the desert dunes and palm-filled oases. The Spanish duo "TAKK's Duna" presents the Seating Dune, a versatile relaxation space inspired by the enchanting AlUla desert. TECHNOCrafts, a Spanish design studio, showcases "Alwadiya: The Living Pots", a self-sustaining system that mirrors the natural cycles of AlUla's lush oasis.
Additionally, the exhibition showcases designs from the AlUla Design Residency program. Highlights include "Peculiar Erosions" by artist Leo Orta, inspired by AlUla's mud-brick architecture and unique geology. "From Debris", by Raw Materials, reimagines local historical instruments with materials from the oasis. Architect Leen Ajlan presents "Takki", a modern reinterpretation of traditional recreational spaces. Hall Haus introduces "Haus Dari", a contemporary take on traditional cushions and diwans. "Surface", by Bahraini-Danish architecture firm, is a flexible steel divider facilitating interaction or serving as a screen or curtain.
Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) Nora Aldabal highlighted the significance of the design initiatives at AlUla.
"Our growing design initiatives reflect the ongoing development of AlUla as a hub for traditional design, arts, and innovation,” she said.

“These initiatives celebrate the region's cultural heritage, local materials, and natural history. The exhibited works represent the evolving aesthetics of design in AlUla, capturing the inspiration and continuous dialogue nurtured by our destination, embracing diverse cultures and artistic disciplines."


Would You Like a Cicada Salad? The Monstrous Little Noisemakers Descend on a New Orleans Menu 

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
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Would You Like a Cicada Salad? The Monstrous Little Noisemakers Descend on a New Orleans Menu 

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)
Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating at the insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)

As the nation prepares for trillions of red-eyed bugs known as periodical cicadas to emerge, it's worth noting that they're not just annoying, noisy pests — if prepared properly, they can also be tasty to eat.

Blocks away from such French Quarter fine-dining stalwarts as Antoine's and Brennan's, the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans has long served up an array of alternative, insect-based treats at its “Bug Appetit” cafe overlooking the Mississippi River. “Cinnamon Bug Crunch,” chili-fried waxworms, and crispy, cajun-spiced crickets are among the menu items.

Periodical cicadas stay buried for years, until they surface and take over a landscape. Depending on the variety, the emergence happens every 13 or 17 years. This year two groups are expected to emerge soon, averaging around 1 million per acre over hundreds of millions of acres across parts of 16 states in the Midwest and South.

They emerge when the ground warms to 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius), which is happening earlier than it used to because of climate change, entomologists said. The bugs are brown at first but darken as they mature.

Recently, Zack Lemann, the Insectarium's curator of animal collections, has been working up cicada dishes that may become part of the menu. He donned a chef's smock this week to show a couple of them off, including a green salad with apple, almonds, blueberry vinaigrette — and roasted cicadas. Fried cicada nymphs were dressed on top with a warm mixture of creole mustard and soy sauce.

“I do dragonflies in a similar manner,” Lemann said as he used tweezers to plop nymphs into a container of flour before cooking them in hot oil.

Depending on the type and the way they are prepared, cooked cicadas taste similar to toasted seeds or nuts. The Insectarium isn't the first to promote the idea of eating them. Over the years, they have appeared on a smattering of menus and in cookbooks, including titles like “Cicada-Licious” from the University of Maryland in 2004.

“Every culture has things that they love to eat and, maybe, things that are taboo or things that people just sort of, wrinkle their nose and frown their brow at,” Lemann said. “And there’s no reason to do that with insects when you look at the nutritional value, their quality on the plate, how they taste, the environmental benefits of harvesting insects instead of dealing with livestock.”

Lemann has been working to make sure the Bug Appetit cafe has legal clearance to serve wild-caught cicadas while he works on lining up sources for the bugs. He expects this spring's unusual emergence of two huge broods of cicadas to heighten interest in insects in general, and in the Insectarium — even though the affected area doesn't include southeast Louisiana.

“I can’t imagine, given the fact that periodical cicadas are national news, that we won’t have guests both local and from outside New Orleans, asking us about that,” said Lemann. “Which is another reason I hope to have enough to serve it at least a few times to people.”


Saudi Heritage Commission Celebrates World Heritage Day at Thee Ain Historic Village 

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
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Saudi Heritage Commission Celebrates World Heritage Day at Thee Ain Historic Village 

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)
The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee. (SPA)

The Saudi Heritage Commission and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Al-Makhwah Governorate of the Al-Baha region celebrated on Thursday World Heritage Day at the Thee Ain Historic Village.

The event was attended by Al-Makhwah Governor Ghalab bin Ghaleb Abu Khashaym.

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee.

Thee Ain Historic Village is renowned for its authentic heritage, rich history, and breathtaking beauty. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the village dates back to the end of the 10th century.

It stands as one of the most significant heritage villages in the Kingdom, featuring 58 stone-built palaces situated atop a mountain of white marble. The village is home to a mosque where obligatory and Friday prayers are held.


Saudi Arabia: Centuries-old Defensive Moat, Fortification Wall Discovered in Historic Jeddah

Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
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Saudi Arabia: Centuries-old Defensive Moat, Fortification Wall Discovered in Historic Jeddah

Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA
Remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah. SPA

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Historic District Program released the results of the archaeological excavations in Historic Jeddah as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project.

In a recent archaeological discovery, remains of a centuries-old defensive moat and fortification wall, which once encircled the city, were found in the northern part of Historic Jeddah near Allegiance Square and east of Al-Kidwah Square.

According to historical sources, Jeddah was a fortified city as early as the late 10th - early 11th century AD. However, laboratory analysis indicates that the mentioned discoveries belong to a later phase of the fortification system, as they were likely constructed around the 18th-19th century AD.

By the middle of the 19th century AD, the moat had fallen out of use and was soon filled with sand. However, the fortification wall survived until 1947. Some parts of the moat's retaining wall have remained intact up to three meters in height.

Archaeological excavations also unearthed 19th-century AD European imported ceramics, demonstrating Jeddah's far-reaching trade connections. Moreover, a fragment of 9th-century AD pottery was discovered at Al-Qidwah Square.


Centuries-old Artworks Saved from Copenhagen's Stock Exchange Blaze

Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
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Centuries-old Artworks Saved from Copenhagen's Stock Exchange Blaze

Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers
Charred remains stand on the Old Stock Exchange building, following a fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Ali Withers

Art conservators are assessing the damage to centuries-old paintings recovered from a blaze that destroyed Copenhagen's Old Stock Exchange this week, the National Museum of Denmark said on Thursday.
As the blaze ripped through the 400-year-old Copenhagen landmark on Tuesday, passersby jumped off their bicycles to help firefighters, conservators and soldiers retrieve valuable paintings.
"It had to be fast," Nina Wajman, a curator at the National Museum of Denmark, told Reuters.
Conservators retrieved paintings from the half of the building that had not caught fire, while firefighters in smoke-helmets and soldiers of the Royal Life Guards recovered paintings from the part that was ablaze, hastily loading them on to trucks.
"They might not have done it in the way an art expert would, but that's minor, I think," said Wajman.
She entered the building to recover a portrait in oil of Christian IV, Denmark's 17th-century king who oversaw the construction of the building, which was originally built for trading in commodities.
"I wasn't sure that it had been rescued, so I went in to look for it and it was still there," Wajman said.
Some paintings were severely damaged by water or fire or because they were hastily torn off the walls.
Conservators are still inspecting the paintings, which were brought to a depot of the National Museum, and are trying to get an overview of the damage and what is missing.
"We had great focus on the valuables inside the building. But the problem was that I needed all my firefighters to contain the fire as long as we could," Jakob Vedsted Andersen, head of the fire department in greater Copenhagen, told Reuters.
"So we had to ask people for help to bring out the paintings and the sculptures," he said.
Employees at the nearby Danish Chamber of Commerce, including its CEO, helped to carry paintings as big as 3 meters wide into a section of the nearby Christiansborg palace.
Klavs Lockwood, a local, was at the site early on Tuesday.
"These paintings were very big and heavy, so I quickly offered my help," he said.
He said the painting he helped carry had been torn in several places.
"You could see it was taken off the wall in a hurry."


Michelangelo's Scribble Sells for $200,000 at New York Auction

The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
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Michelangelo's Scribble Sells for $200,000 at New York Auction

The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File
The small work by Michelangelo depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English, according to Christie's auction house. ANGELA WEISS / AFP/File

A square scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper by Renaissance genius Michelangelo sold for $201,600 -- 33 times its estimated value, auction house Christie's said Wednesday.
Found stuck to the back of a frame, the small drawing accompanied by a letter from Michelangelo's last direct descendant was initially expected to sell for between $6,000 and $8,000, AFP said.
But Christie's in New York said the piece went under the hammer for "33.6 times its low estimate," without disclosing any details of the buyer.
The small work depicts a block of marble, with the word "simile," or "similar" in English. It is believed to have been drawn while Michelangelo worked on his famed Sistine Chapel ceiling, a Christie's specialist told AFP in January.
The drawing is coupled with a letter written by Cosimo Buonarroti in 1836, in which he offers the piece by his "illustrious forefather Michelangelo" to Sir John Bowring, the future governor of Hong Kong, whose signature appears at the bottom of the sheet.
Christie's specialists found the letter and diagram attached to the back of a different drawing that had been in a private collection for decades, the auction house said in a media statement.
Though unsigned by Michelangelo, Christie's said that research confirmed the great Italian artist was responsible for the small drawing.
Fewer than 10 of Michelangelo's works are thought to be privately owned, according to Christie's, with most housed in the Casa Buonarroti, a museum in Florence, Italy.


World Heritage Day... Saudi Arabia Celebrates its Rich Treasures

More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
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World Heritage Day... Saudi Arabia Celebrates its Rich Treasures

More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)
More than 5,393 craftsmen are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts (Ministry of Culture)

As World Heritage Day falls on April 18, Saudi Arabia celebrates the qualitative transformations it has achieved in the heritage and antiquities sector since the launch of its national strategy for culture, which falls within Vision 2030.

Over the past years, Saudi Arabia has made tremendous efforts to preserve its diverse cultural heritage.

These treasures are evident through traditional costumes that reflect the national identity and the rich cultural heritage, and handicrafts that constituted a source of livelihood and guaranteed a decent life for members of society in the past.

Moreover, excavation projects have uncovered valuable discoveries in various Saudi archaeological sites, and shed light on the Kingdom’s cultural wealth and its importance as a bridge linking the thriving cultural experience on its land.

Seven sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List

The story of heritage and antiquities in Saudi Arabia is full of diversity, and blends authenticity with modernity.

Recently, the Kingdom presented a model of its rich cultural experience to the world, when seven Saudi sites were put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Those include: Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, Al-Turaif District in ad-Diriyah, Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah, Rock Art in the Hail, Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural Landscape, Ḥima Cultural Area and the Harrat Uwayrid Reserve.

Through individual and collective efforts, Saudi Arabia registered a number of elements on the UNESCO lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Those include falconry, Arabic calligraphy, traditional weaving of Al-Sadu, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri (female traditional interior wall decoration in Asir), Almezmar (drumming and dancing with sticks), Arabic coffee (a symbol of generosity), Majlis (a cultural and social space) and Alardah Alnajdiyah (dance, drumming and poetry in Saudi Arabia).

These achievements reflect the scale of the Saudi effort in the heritage sector, as shown by the increase in the number of archaeological sites to 8,917 across the Kingdom, in addition to around 3,646 urban heritage sites, and more than 5,393 craftsmen registered with the National Register of Handicrafts.

Riyadh hosted the work of the 45th expanded session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO last September, in the presence of about 3,000 guests from 21 countries. The event shed light on the rich and diverse Saudi heritage sites and the important archaeological discoveries that received global attention.


Saudi Heritage Commission Announces New Discovery in Umm Jirsan Cave

The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
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Saudi Heritage Commission Announces New Discovery in Umm Jirsan Cave

The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA

The Saudi Heritage Commission has announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave "Harrat Khaybar", located in Madinah Region.

The research was conducted by the Heritage Commission of the Ministry of Culture with the participation of some archaeologists from the commission and in collaboration with King Saud University, the Max Planck Institute, and the Saudi Geological Survey through the "Green Arabian Peninsula project," which focuses on multidisciplinary field research, the Saudi Heritage Commission said in a statement.

According to the statement, the study was published in the journal "PLOS ONE," the first comprehensive study of archaeological research in caves in the Kingdom.

The study involved archaeological surveys and excavations in Umm Jirsan cave, revealing ancient evidence of human occupation dating back to the Neolithic period, around 10,000-7,000 years ago, encompassing the Copper Age and Bronze Age periods.

The cave was shown to have been utilized by pastoral groups, using Radiocarbon c14 that supported the discovery of animal remains such as bones dated back to 4100BC, as well as human skulls dated back to 6000BC, and other artifacts including wood, cloth fragments, and stone tools. In addition to rock art facades depicted scenes of grazing animals and hunting activities.
The discoveries provided evidence of human occupation within the cave, which remarkably preserved thousands of animal bones, including those of striped hyenas, camels, horses, deer, caribou, goats, cows, and wild and domestic donkeys, in good condition despite the passage of time. Furthermore, an analysis of human skeletal remains using radioactive isotopes indicated a dietary shift over time, with ancient human groups primarily relying on a meat-based diet and gradually incorporating plants, suggesting the emergence of agriculture.
The study also highlighted the feeding habits of animals such as cows and sheep, which primarily consumed wild grasses and shrubs, and the region exhibited significant animal diversity throughout different historical periods.
The scientific study underscored the importance of caves utilized by ancient human groups and the ancient volcanic magma paths within Saudi Arabia.


France Prepares to Commemorate D-Day’s 80th Anniversary 

This photograph taken on April 12, 2024 shows cutting board silhouettes of British soldiers installed as part of the "Standing with Giants" installation at the World War II British Normandy Memorial ahead of the upcoming D-Day commemorations, in the village of Ver-sur-Mer which overlooks the Gold Beach in northwestern France. (AFP)
This photograph taken on April 12, 2024 shows cutting board silhouettes of British soldiers installed as part of the "Standing with Giants" installation at the World War II British Normandy Memorial ahead of the upcoming D-Day commemorations, in the village of Ver-sur-Mer which overlooks the Gold Beach in northwestern France. (AFP)
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France Prepares to Commemorate D-Day’s 80th Anniversary 

This photograph taken on April 12, 2024 shows cutting board silhouettes of British soldiers installed as part of the "Standing with Giants" installation at the World War II British Normandy Memorial ahead of the upcoming D-Day commemorations, in the village of Ver-sur-Mer which overlooks the Gold Beach in northwestern France. (AFP)
This photograph taken on April 12, 2024 shows cutting board silhouettes of British soldiers installed as part of the "Standing with Giants" installation at the World War II British Normandy Memorial ahead of the upcoming D-Day commemorations, in the village of Ver-sur-Mer which overlooks the Gold Beach in northwestern France. (AFP)

Eighty years on, Normandy's beaches and fields still bear the scars of violence that erupted during World War Two on D-Day, history's largest amphibious invasion on June 6, 1944, drone footage shows.

Commemorations in June will mark the day when more than 150,000 allied soldiers invaded France to drive out Hitler's forces.

At the Normandy American Cemetery, perched above Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer, dotted with white cross headstones and US flags, 9,386 soldiers are buried.

Along the coast lie the remains of the artillery batteries of Longues-sur-Mer, from which the forces of Nazi Germany shelled invading forces on Omaha Beach.

Allied troops built the Winston Harbour nearby, in Arromanches-les-Bains, to bring in the supplies needed to force the Germans out of France, with its concrete caissons still visible to this day.

The D-Day beaches, spread over 120 km (75 miles) of the Normandy coastline, attract large numbers of tourists each year.


Painting of Winston Churchill by Artist Whose Work He Hated Is up for Auction 

Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
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Painting of Winston Churchill by Artist Whose Work He Hated Is up for Auction 

Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)

A portrait of Winston Churchill by an artist whose work the British leader loathed went on display Tuesday at Churchill’s birthplace ahead of an auction in June.

The painting by modernist artist Graham Sutherland was made in preparation for a larger portrait that Churchill hated and which was later destroyed — an episode recounted in the TV series “The Crown.”

The surviving oil-on-canvas study shows Churchill’s head in profile against a dark background. It is expected to sell for between 500,000 pounds and 800,000 pounds ($622,000 and $995,000) at Sotheby’s in London on June 6.

Sutherland was commissioned by the Houses of Parliament to paint Churchill to mark his 80th birthday in 1954. The full-length portrait was unveiled in Parliament that year, with Churchill calling it, with a smirk, “a remarkable example of modern art.”

Churchill is said to have complained that the painting “makes me look half-witted, which I ain’t.” It was delivered to his home and never seen again. The Churchill family disclosed years later that it had been destroyed.

Its fate was recreated with poetic license in an episode of “The Crown” in which Churchill’s wife, Clementine, watches the painting go up in flames.

Andre Zlattinger, Sotheby’s head of modern British and Irish art, said that in the surviving study, “Churchill is caught in a moment of absent-minded thoughtfulness, and together with the backstory of its creation, it gives the impression of a man truly concerned with his image.”

Sotheby’s put the picture on public display inside the room where Churchill was born 150 years ago at Blenheim Palace, a country mansion 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of London. Visitors can see it there until Sunday. It will go on show at Sotheby’s offices in New York May 3-16 and London May 25-June 5.