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Pompeii restoration unearths ‘surprise’ treasures

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Vivid frescoes and never-before-seen inscriptions were among the treasures unearthed in a massive years-long restoration of the world-famous archeological site Pompeii that came to a close Tuesday.

The painstaking project saw an army of workers reinforce walls, repair collapsing structures and excavate untouched areas of the sprawling site, Italy’s second most visited tourist destination after Rome’s Colosseum.

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New discoveries were made too, in areas of the ruins not yet explored by modern-day archaeologists at the site — frequently pillaged for jewels and artefacts over the centuries.

“When you excavate in Pompeii there are always surprises,” the site’s general director Massimo Osanna told reporters Tuesday.

Archeologists discovered in October a vivid fresco depicting an armour-clad gladiator standing victorious as his wounded opponent gushes blood, painted in a tavern believed to have housed the fighters as well as prostitutes.

And in 2018, an inscription was uncovered that proves the city near Naples was destroyed after October 17, 79 AD, and not on August 24 as previously believed.

That might not be the end of fresh discoveries.

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“It’s certain that by carrying out other excavation projects in areas never explored before, the discoveries will be extraordinary,” Osanna added.

Kicked off in 2014, the restoration enlisted teams of archaeologists, architects, engineers, geologists and anthropologists and cost $113 million (105 million euros), largely covered by the European Union.

The project was initiated after UNESCO warned in 2013 it could strip the site of its World Heritage status after a series of collapses blamed on lax maintenance and bad weather.

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But the project has breathed new life into the historic site.

On Tuesday, workers carefully restored ancient frescoes, hues dulled by years of dirt and calcifications, and cleaned off centuries-old tile floors.

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“You have to be careful not to take off too much,” explained Aldo Guida, who was scratching at the surface of the oxblood walls of the “House of Lovers”, a two-storey home in the complex that was closed for repair after an earthquake in 1980.

“Little by little,” he added, with a smile.

The giant eruption of Mount Vesuvius devastated the ancient Roman city of Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago, covering everything in its path with volcanic ash.

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That sediment helped to preserve many buildings almost in their original state, as well as the curled-up corpses of Vesuvius’ victims.

Some of the site has been closed to the public during the restoration, including several “domus” — family residences for the upper classes — that have been since reopened to the public.

The House of Orchards domus features intricately detailed frescoes of fruit trees and birds, while the House of the Ship Europa boasts a sketch of a large merchant ship.

Though the bulk of the restoration work is now complete, director Osanna said running repairs will never truly be over.

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“It’s a city in ruins,” he said. “The attention we pay to it must never stop.”


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Trump adviser: ‘we don’t want to have’ protection of voting rights get through Congress

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On CNBC News Thursday, President Donald Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration does not want protection of voting rights to pass as part of the coronavirus stimulus package.

"So much of the Democratic asks are really liberal left wishlists we don't want to have," said Kudlow. "Voting rights, and aid to aliens, and so forth. That's not our game."

Talks between Congress and the White House are currently at an impasse. The administration is refusing to support outlays greater than $1 trillion, and the president has explicitly demanded there be no funding for the Postal Service, to keep voting by mail as difficult as possible.

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Black man adopted by white Alabama family fights for Confederate symbols: ‘I’m not going to take my flag down’

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A Black Alabama man this week said that he was fighting to save Confederate monuments because members of his adopted white family fought in the U.S. Civil War.

WHNT spoke to Daniel Sims outside the courthouse in Marshall County, where activists are calling for the removal of Confederate monuments. Sims said that he opposed the effort to take down the monuments.

"Regardless of how the next person feels, I'm not going to take my flag down," Sims said. "If I've got anything to do with it, ain't no monument going to come down."

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Viewers reject Sarah Palin’s advice to Kamala Harris

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Sarah Palin offered advice to Sen. Kamala Harris on running for vice president, but social media users didn't want to hear it.

The former Republican vice presidential nominee and one-time half-term governor of Alaska appeared Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," where she complained about the media coverage of her failed 2008 campaign alongside Sen. John McCain.

"A lot of the coverage of me was quite unfair," Palin said. "I hope that they will treat her fairly, but at the same time, no kid gloves ... the American voter wants to know that we have the most capable people running and who will be elected, regardless of gender, regardless of race."

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