Europe mulls banning 'boxes' for abandoned babies

Europe mulls banning 'boxes' for abandoned babies — German pastor Gabriele Stangl says she will never forget the harrowing confession she heard in 1999. A woman said she had been brutally raped, got pregnant and had a baby. Then she killed it and buried it in the woods near Berlin.

Stangl wanted to do something to help women in such desperate situations. So the following year, she convinced Berlin's Waldfriede Hospital to create the city's first so-called "baby box." The box is actually a warm incubator that can be opened from an outside wall of a hospital where a desperate parent can anonymously leave an unwanted infant.

A small flap opens into the box, equipped with a motion detector. An alarm goes off in the hospital to alert staff two minutes after a baby is left.

"The mother has enough time to leave without anyone seeing her," Stangl said. "The important thing is that her baby is now in a safe place."

Baby boxes are a revival of the medieval "foundling wheels," where unwanted infants were left in revolving church doors. In recent years, there has been an increase in these contraptions — also called hatches, windows or slots in some countries — and at least 11 European nations now have them, according to United Nations figures. They are technically illegal, but mostly operate in a gray zone as authorities turn a blind eye.


But they have drawn the attention of human rights advocates who think they are bad for the children and merely avoid dealing with the problems that lead to child abandonment. At a meeting last month, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child said baby boxes should be banned and is pushing that agenda to the European Parliament.

There are nearly 100 baby boxes in Germany. Poland and the Czech Republic each have more than 40 while Italy, Lithuania, Russia and Slovakia have about 10 each. There are two in Switzerland, one in Belgium and one being planned in the Netherlands.

In the last decade, hundreds of babies have been abandoned this way; it's estimated one or two infants are typically left at each location every year, though exact figures aren't available.

"They are a bad message for society," said Maria Herczog, a Hungarian child psychologist on the U.N. committee. "These boxes violate children's rights and also the rights of parents to get help from the state to raise their families," she said.

"Instead of providing help and addressing some of the social problems and poverty behind these situations, we're telling people they can just leave their baby and run away."

She said the practice encourages women to have children without getting medical care. "It's paradoxical that it's OK for women to give up their babies by putting them in a box, but if they were to have them in a hospital and walk away, that's a crime," Herczog said. She said the committee is now discussing the issue with the European Parliament and is also asking countries which allow the practice to shut them down.

Herczog also said it's wrong to assume only mothers are abandoning these children and that sometimes they may be forced into giving up children they might otherwise have kept. "We have data to show that in some cases it's pimps, a male relative or someone who's exploiting the woman," she said.

In some countries — Australia, Canada and Britain — it is illegal to abandon an infant anywhere. Yet, in the U.S. there are "safe haven" laws that allow parents to anonymously give up an infant in a secure place like a hospital or police department. A handful of other countries including Japan and Slovakia have similar provisions.

Countries that support this anonymous abandonment method contend they save lives. In a letter responding to U.N. concerns, more than two dozen Czech politicians said they "strongly disagreed" with the proposed ban. "The primary aim of baby hatches, which (have) already saved hundreds of newborns, is to protect their right to life and protect their human rights," the letter said.

However, limited academic surveys suggest this hasn't reduced the murder of infants. There are about 30 to 60 infanticides in Germany every year, a number that has been relatively unchanged for years, even after the arrival of baby boxes. That's similar to the per capita rate in Britain where there is no such option.

Across Germany, there is considerable public support for the boxes, particularly after several high-profile cases of infanticide, including the grisly discovery several years ago of the decomposed remains of nine infants stuffed into flower pots in Brandenburg.

Officials at several facilities with baby boxes say biological parents sometimes name the infant being abandoned. "The girl is called Sarah," read one note left with a baby in Lubeck, Germany in 2003. "I have many problems and a life with Sarah is just not possible," the letter said.

The secretive nature also means few restrictions on who gets dropped off, even though the boxes are intended for newborns. Friederike Garbe, who oversees a baby box in Lubeck, found two young boys crying there last November. "One was about four months old and his brother was already sitting up," she said. The older boy was about 15 months old and could say "Mama."

Still, Germany's health ministry is considering other options. "We want to replace the necessity for the baby boxes by implementing a rule to allow women to give birth anonymously that will allow them to give up the child for adoption," said Christopher Steegmans, a ministry spokesman.

Austria, France, and Italy allow women to give birth anonymously and leave the baby in the hospital to be adopted. Germany and Britain sometimes allow this under certain circumstances even though it is technically illegal. Eleven other nations grant women a "concealed delivery" that hides their identities when they give birth to their babies, who are then given up for adoption. But the women are supposed to leave their name and contact information for official records that may be given one day to the children if they request it after age 18.

For German couple Andy and Astrid, an abandoned infant in a baby box near the city of Fulda ended their two-year wait to adopt a child nearly a decade ago.

"We were told about him on a Sunday and then visited him the next day in the hospital," said Astrid, a 37-year-old teacher, who along with her husband, agreed to talk with The Associated Press if their last names were not used to protect the identity of their child. The couple quietly snapped a few photos of the baby boy they later named Jan. He weighed just over 7 pounds when he was placed in the baby box, wrapped in two small towels.

When Jan started asking questions about where he came from around age 2, his parents explained another woman had given birth to him. They showed him the photos taken at the hospital, introduced him to the nurses there and showed him the baby box where he had been left.

Earlier this year, the couple began the procedure to adopt a second child, a boy whose mother gave birth anonymously so she could give him up for adoption.

Astrid said Jan, now 8, loves football, tractors and anything to do with the farming that he sees daily in their rural community. She said it's not so important for her and her husband to know who his biological parents are.

But for Jan, "it would be nice to know that he could meet them if he wanted to," she said. "I want that for him, but there is no possibility to find out who they were." ( Associated Press )

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Russell Crowe Helped Me Get Wolverine - By Turning It Down

Hugh Jackman: Russell Crowe Helped Me Get Wolverine - By Turning It Down - Hugh Jackman has revealed that his "Les Miserables" co-star, Russell Crowe, was the original choice for the role of "X-Men" character Wolverine.

"Russell has given me advice several times at key moments in my life that helped with my career. I also owe him because two of the biggest roles I've ever had in my life, he turned down - and suggested me for them," the actor told Entertainment Weekly in a new interview with the mag, to promote "Les Miserbales."

Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman -- Getty Images
Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman -- Getty Images 

"On 'X-Men,' he was Bryan Singer's first choice for Wolverine," Hugh continued. "And he mentioned me also for [Baz Luhrmann's] 'Australia.'"

The two Australian actors play rivals in "Les Miserables" - Hugh as Jean Valjean and Russell as Javert - but in real life, teaming up for the project brought them closer as friends and helped them create better performances.

"We really pushed each other," he told the mag. "That rivalry at the beginning, it really is a constant throughout. It had to be strong, and it's really one of the spines of the story, that runs from beginning to end."

Anne Hathaway, who plays the prostitute Fantine in the film, said it was a role she's been close to since a young age -- she told EW her mother was in a touring production of the musical.

"My first experience was seeing my mom in the show. I was 7 and she was cast in the first national tour as the factory girl who gets Fantine fired. And she [understudied] for Fantine," the actress told the mag. "So my first time seeing the show was when she was the factory girl, and my second time seeing the show was when she played Fantine." ( )

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Lady Gaga ditches wheelchair


Lady Gaga ditches wheelchair - Lady Gaga is no longer wheelchair-bound. The 'Edge of Glory' singer has been rolling around in two custom-made designer wheelchairs since her hip surgery last month, but was spotted walking "with ease" for the first time on Tuesday (09.04.13) on a romantic date with her boyfriend Taylor Kinney.

The 27-year-old star appeared to have made a full recovery as she headed to Chicago restaurant Sunday with 'The Vampire Diaries' hunk.

The couple sat down to a meal, with an insider telling the New York Post newspaper they looked "sweet together".

Gaga decided to make the most of her recuperation period following her operation for a labral tear on her right hip by buying some high end wheels.

She asked luxury brand Mordekai to make her a 24-carat gold plated "chariot", which she affectionately nicknamed Emma.

The stylish wheelchair also features a black leather seat - which is inspired by vintage motorcycle jackets - and a removable leather canopy.

She then upgraded to a Louis Vuitton model, which boasts a seat covered with the French fashion brand's iconic print and was spotted whizzing around Chicago in her new contraption.The singer was forced to cancel the remaining US dates of her 'Born This Way Ball' tour after sustaining the hip injury. (C) BANG Media International

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Justin Bieber begins concert more than two hours late (again)

The Image Gate/Getty Images 

Justin Bieber begins concert more than two hours late (again) - Hey, Justin Bieber: we understand it might not go with your harem pants, or those giant metal wings we’ve seen from your show, or maybe not even with your new swaggy haircut – but it might be time for you to start wearing a wristwatch on the regular. 

Bieber was in Dortmund, Germany on Friday night for the latest leg in his “Believe” European tour, but left fans disappointed when he showed up for his performance about two-and-a-half hours late. The crowd at Dortmund’s Westfalenhallen arena apparently chanted, booed, and sat on the floor of the venue until the 19-year-old pop start finally took the stage – without commenting on his tardiness. Many of the young concertgoers reportedly even had to wait outside in the cold for several hours before making it into the arena. 

Because of the area’s laws, adolescents under 16 years of age cannot be at a concert without parental supervision past 10 p.m. For a Justin Bieber concert, that’s a lot of ticketholders. So, as a result, photographers on the scene snapped long lineups of angry parents trying to get their money back. By 9:45, there were allegedly more than 100 adults in line for refunds. 

Parents line up for ticket refunds at the Justin Bieber concert. (Splash Images) 

“justin bieber was too late for his concert yesterday, i saw girls crying because they have to left because girls underage 15 (c),” one attendee posted on Twitter, and followed up with: “i think if justin bieber goes on with this life, coming hours too late and being like this, i think his career will end soon im sorry” 

But other Beliebers on Twitter are sticking steadfastly to their favourite pop star. 

“Justin was like an hour late to my concert, our arena did the wave and chanted 'JUSTIN BIEBER' the whole time. TRUE BELIEBERS were there,” @Believeeexoxo wrote. 

“justin was late so people were leaving? it's justin bieber you sit in the damn chair and wait for him,” wrote @malakfarhad. 

Of course, Bieber has made his fans wait before, when he was two hours late previously at a highly anticipated performance at the o2 arena in London, England earlier in March. 

We can perhaps give Bieber the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he lost track of time as he was trying to free his pet capuchin monkey that was confiscated from him in Munich last week. Right now the monkey, who Bieber named Mally, is being cared for at an animal shelter – where it will remain if Bieber doesn’t present German authorities with the proper paperwork within four weeks. 

We never thought that Bieber would have to face such a hard decision – his fans, or his monkey? ( North Stars )

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Gold Rush In Romania

Gold Rush In Romania - This mountain contains Europe’s biggest gold deposits. With the economic crisis, the price of gold is rocketing and there are plans to open new gold mines in Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece, Northern Ireland and Romania.

The Rosia Montana – Red Mountain – project is among the most controversial, due to the sheer size of the proposed site, the impact on environment, and the archaeological artefacts from Ancient Rome which are found all over this 2000 year-old site.

Team-leader Calin Pal checks the preservation works being carried out in the protected section of the site, criss-crossed by galleries dug by the Romans. He says: “There are at least three generations of miners before me: My great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father. My hope is that the next ten generations will go on mining here too.”

There have been violent protests in Kyrgyzstan over the government’s refusal to nationalise a gold-mining venture with a Canadian company.  Police fired tear gas on demonstrators who tried to storm government headquarters in what their leader called a coup attempt. The volatile Central Asian state has seen several assaults on the government since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.  This latest rally, with its direct call to overthrow the government, has been described as the most violent in the capital Bishkek since the 2010 revolt that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Romanian coal miners pursue pay dispute
Thousands of miners in western Romania have marched for the fourth day running in a pay protest, after talks with the new government broke down. The miners are demanding a bonus for working in dangerous conditions. They say this was promised to them by the previous administration. Police said the protesters threatened to block the main road from Petrosani, their company’s base, to the capital Bucharest, 340 kilometres southeast.
Most locals feel the same way. They want the Canadian investors to start blasting as soon as possible. But opponents fear that the Roman galleries will be destroyed. To ease tensions, the “Gold Corporation” is investing millions of euros to transform at least part of the Roman galleries into an underground museum. 

Robert Horvath, an Archaeologist on the site said: “The biggest information is the shape of the gallery: So, when it is geometrical, we know it is Roman. And we find ladders, ancient Roman type. And we find lamp niches and we know that medieval miners did not use the same shape.”

Calin’s men remove the backfill from centuries ago, so that the historic galleries can be mapped. Since 1998, mining in Romania has seen radical changes: 550 mines closed, 80,000 people laid off. The mines from Communist times did not conform with modern regulations, or with EU competition rules.

When the Canadian investors arrived, the miners here had high hopes, but opponents fear that few profits will stay in Romania.

But Catalin Hosu, Communications Manager for Rosia Montana Gold Corporation said: “We do have the biggest gold deposit in the European Union: over 300 tons of gold. We do have here a proposed investment of over two billion dollars. We are talking about benefits for Romania: over 4 billion dollars, that means over 50% of the total estimated revenues. And we are talking about creating thousands of jobs.”

To allay fears about pollution from the cyanide, the company has designed a dam. It will be strong enough to withstand an earthquake of 8 degrees on the Richter scale. 

Sorin Jurca, Rosia Montana Cultural Foundation, said: “All this area will be destroyed: The Corna valley over there, where 40 families still live, with two churches and with graveyards. The company wants to build a big dam and a lake covering 600 hectares. If they’ll build the dam, all of this will disappear from the surface of this planet.”

Most of the inhabitants have already agreed to be resettled 70kms away, near Alba Iulia. On the outskirts of the town, the company has spent almost 30 million euros building 125 new houses and a church. Back in the mining region, ex-miners are hoping for new jobs, and a new economic future. 

But the Roma families fear they are being sidelined when it comes to hiring – out of the 480 people taken on so far, only 30 are Roma. 

Dorinel Pantir, a former Roma miner from Daroaia, said: “Gold Corporation should talk to us directly, not through the local mayor’s people. We should set up a committee to sign a protocol with Gold Corporation so that at least one member of each Roma family will be hired.”

The decline of mining here has led to unemployment rates of around 80% and young people are leaving. But life has always been hard here. In the 50s, during the Communist era gold prospectors had problems too. 

Ioan Catalina, a gold prospector, explained: “The Secret Service police shouted: “To the wall, face the wall! And he started waving his pistol around, threatening us. “I could shoot you on the spot! But you have one last chance!” So my grandfather and his friend destroyed their gold milling equipment.”

The red water from the old galleries is so polluted nothing can survive in it. The Gold Corporation has built a water treatment station, a high-tech lab, using nano-filter technology. The says it will clean up not only its own waste water, but also the mess from past centuries. 

Catalin Hosu, Communications Manager, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation said: “What you see here is historic pollution. Maybe for hundreds of years. It is very acidic water. But it can be cleaned up. We have a pilot station, proving this. And this is the result: clean and drinkable water.” 

But not everyone is impressed. One rancher, an outspoken opponent of the mine, says that the region’s future should be in agriculture and tourism. He calls the water treatment plant a poisoned apple.

Eugen David, President of NGO Alburnus Maior, said: “We do not need to take out 500 million tons of rocks and use hundreds of thousands of tons of cyanide to solve the problems of a small, acidic water spring in Rosia Montana.”

Nationally, polls show strong opposition to the project, but locals from the poor Roma settlement nearby are enthusiastically backing the mining relaunch, desperately hoping for a better standard of living. 

But the Roma are desperate. Ileana Tica, a Roma resident in Daroaia said: “Since the mines closed here, us Roma have had problems with the police. Sometimes we have to collect iron, from here and there… And then we get taken to court. But we have to feed our children, buy them a crust of bread.”

Mihai Valentin Pintea, a day labourer in Daroaia said: “Lots of us here work as day labourers. One day we find work, but the next day there’s nothing. We support the mining project, we hope to find work there. I like working – look at my hands. Soon I’ll have a child, I’m 20 years old, I’m married, I have to take care of my family, find something to eat.”

Renovating houses has already provided employment for some people in the region. But when will the gold rush start? There are political doubts. The fall of the centre-right government and the appointment of left wing Prime Minister Victor Ponta, critical of the project, has seen the Gold Company’s share price nosedive. 

Dragos Tanase, Director General, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, said: “A lot of people will get a job here. There will be a lot of money going to the State budgets. All these people, they need a decision on the project. Patience is running out, and money is limited. At some point we are going to finish. So, now is the moment that the government needs to take a decision.” 

Elections are upcoming. Some observers believe that a decision for or against the multi-billion euro project could be taken shortly afterwards.

So is the goldrush on or off? It’s a decision which will radically people’s future in this part of Europe.( euronews )

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Final 10-mile trek for space shuttle Atlantis

Final 10-mile trek for space shuttle Atlantis — Accompanied by astronauts and shuttle workers, Atlantis made a slow, solemn journey to retirement Friday, the last space shuttle to orbit the world and the last to leave NASA's nest.

Atlantis emerged just before dawn from the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and, riding atop a 76-wheeled platform, began the 10-mile trek to the Kennedy Space Center's main tourist stop.

About 200 workers gathered in the early morning chill to see the spaceship out in the open for the final time. They were joined by the four astronauts who closed out the shuttle program aboard Atlantis more than a year ago.

"My opinion is it looks better vertically," said Christopher Ferguson, the commander of Atlantis' final flight.

"It's a short trip. It's taking a day," he added. "It traveled a lot faster in its former life. But that's OK. ... it's got a new role." 

Space shuttle Atlantis rolls down Kennedy Parkway on its way to its new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The spacecraft traveled 125,935,769 miles during 33 spaceflights, including 12 missions to the International Space Station. Its final flight, STS-135, closed out the Space Shuttle Program era with a landing on July 21, 2011. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

This image from video provided by NASA-TV shows the Space shuttle Atlantis departing the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time early Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The spacecraft is moving to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where it will be featured in a new display slated to open in July 2013. (AP Photo/NASA-TV)

In this Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 photo, shuttle technician Joe Walsh looks through a hatch of the space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis isn't going far to its retirement home at Kennedy Space Center's main tourist stop. But it might as well be a world away for the workers who spent decades doting on Atlantis and NASA's other shuttles. Those who agreed to stay until the end - and help with the shuttles' transition from round-the-world flying marvels to museum showpieces - now face unemployment just as so many of their colleagues did over the last few years. (AP Photo/Marcia Dunn)

Portions of Atlantis' final launch countdown boomed over loudspeakers before the shuttle hit the road. Employees gathered in front of a long white banner that read, "We Made History," and below that the single word "Atlantis." They followed the spaceship for a block or two, then scattered as the shuttle transporter revved up to its maximum 2 mph. The convoy included a dozen trucks and vans, their lights blinking.

The fact that several hundred shuttle workers are about to lose their jobs, now that Atlantis is being turned over to the visitor complex, dampened the mood. Thousands already have been laid off.

"The untold story of the last couple years, the last missions that we flew, is the work force. I mean, the contractors knew that their numbers were going to go down ... and yet they kept doing their jobs," said NASA's Angie Brewer, who was once in charge of getting Atlantis ready for flight.

Some were too upset to even show up. Friday's event marked the true end to the 30-year shuttle program.

Seeing so many members of the shuttle team "helps soften the hard edge of seeing Atlantis go off to a museum," said astronaut Rex Walheim, part of the ship's final crew.

Atlantis made its way down broad industrial avenues, most of them off-limits to the public. So the trek did not replicate the narrow, stop-and-go turns Endeavour encountered last month while navigating downtown Los Angeles.

The mastermind behind Atlantis' slow march through Kennedy was sweating bullets nonetheless.

"It's only a priceless artifact driving 9.8 miles and it weighs 164,000 pounds," said Tim Macy, director of project development and construction for Kennedy's visitor complex operator, the company Delaware North.

"Other than that, no pressure at all," Macy said, laughing. "Only the eyes of the country and the world and everybody at NASA is watching us."

The relocation of Atlantis was plotted out for months, he noted last week, and experienced shuttle workers took part.

The roundabout loop took Atlantis past Kennedy's headquarters building for a midmorning ceremony that drew several thousand past and present employees, and their guests, as well as a few dozen astronauts. A high school color guard and band led the way.

The mood was more upbeat than when the one-way road trip began four hours earlier and resembled a funeral procession. NASA officials went out of their way to emphasize the space agency's future.

"It's an incredibly historic day," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., a former skipper of Atlantis. "But I don't preside over an agency that's in the history business. ... We're in the business of creating the future."

Bolden proudly cited NASA's new target destinations for astronauts — an asteroid and Mars — and he hailed the successful start to commercial supply missions to the International Space Station.

The next stop for Atlantis, meanwhile, was a still-under-design industrial park that offered a few hours of public viewing in the afternoon. Tourist tickets ran as high as $90 apiece for a chance to see the spaceship up close.

Crews removed 120 light poles, 23 traffic signals and 56 traffic signs in order for Atlantis to squeeze by. One high-voltage power line also had to come down. Staff trimmed back some scrub pines, but there was none of the widespread tree-axing that occurred in Los Angeles.

Atlantis had to traverse just one noticeable incline, a highway ramp. The rest of the course is sea-level flat.

Tourists jammed the public portion of Atlantis' route. Patricia LeBlanc, visiting from Orlando with her daughter, said she misses the shuttle launches. Thirteen-year-old Ashley Gest, waiting in line for astronaut autographs with her Ormond Beach family, was excited to see Atlantis but expressed sadness, too.

The grand entrance into Atlantis' new home, in the early evening, was expected to go just as smoothly. One complete wall of the exhibit hall was kept off, carport-style, so the shuttle could roll right in. Construction will begin on the missing wall early next week.

Once safely inside, Atlantis will be plastic-wrapped for protection until the building is completed. The grand opening is set for July 2013.

Total exhibit cost: $100 million, a price borne by Delaware North.

Discovery, the oldest and most traveled space shuttle, was the first to leave, zooming off to the Smithsonian in Virginia in April atop a modified jumbo jet. Endeavour, the baby of the fleet, headed west in September.

And now, Atlantis.

"Although it's the end of Atlantis flying in space, it's not the end. It's not the end for KSC," stressed Kennedy Space Center director Robert Cabana, a former astronaut. "And it's not the end for Atlantis because Atlantis now takes on a mission of inspiration to future generations." ( Associated Press )

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Bones, Caskets Unearthed by Sandy

Image credit: Thomas MacMillan/New Haven Independent

Bones, Caskets Unearthed by Sandy - Residents of New Haven, Conn., got an eerie Halloween surprise when a famed tree uprooted during Hurricane Sandy, unearthing the bones of a woman who died nearly 200 years ago - and maybe from others who died during the same period. 

Around 6 p.m. on Monday the famous tree at New Haven's Upper Green, named the "Lincoln Oak" after President Abraham Lincoln, was uprooted as Sandy swept through. New Haven resident Katie Carbo was passing by when she saw the back of a skull in the 60- to 70-foot-tall tree's roots, police said.

Carbo quickly contacted the New Haven police, and soon after detectives were on the scene as a crowd of onlookers formed. Officer David Hartman with the New Haven Police Department told that the timing of the discovery was particularly striking.

"I found myself standing there, among onlookers saying, 'wow this is really cool, the day before Halloween,'" he said.

Detectives from the NHPD's Bureau of Identification and the state Medical Examiner's office came to collect the bones, which Hartman said included a spine and rib cage.

New Haven police also contacted staff from Yale University's anthropology department, Hartman said.

The NHPD said that they have not launched a criminal investigation into this discovery, and that the remains are being taken to the medical examiner's office.

"What we haven't yet determined is what will happen with the remains," Hartman said. "This archaeological event that is going on will last for probably about a week, they're estimating."

New Haven police said that the bones belonged to a probable victim of yellow fever or smallpox, who likely was buried between 1799 and 1821, when the headstones were removed to New Haven's Grove Street Cemetery, but the bodies were never relocated. Later, the New Haven Independent, citing an initial investigation by an anthropologist and a state investigator, reported bones at the scene actually may be from two or more centuries-old skeletons - not just one.

The Lincoln Oak was planted at the town green by Admiral Andrew Hall Foote's Grand Army of the Republic post, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday in 1909, according to the New Haven police.

Robert S. Greenberg, a local historian, said that the town green is the burial ground for as many as 5,000 to 10,000 bodies.

Hartman said that he learned today that this is actually not the first time this has happened on the historic Upper Green. According to a local historian, the same situation occurred in 1931, when an uprooted tree brought up skeletal remains, he said.

New Haven is not the only place where the dead were unearthed in Sandy's wake. The Associated Press reported that at a cemetery in Crisfield, Md., two caskets were forced out of their graves, making their sides visible from the grass, after the cement slabs covering the graves became dislodged.

The corpses remained inside the caskets.

Image credit: Alex Brandon/AP Photo ( ABC News )

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