The German tanker Marida Marguerite, which was hijacked off the coast of Oman in 2010.
Credit Dietmar Hasenpusch / EPA/Landov
Mohammad Saaili Shibin, a Somali man accused of acting as chief negotiator for pirates who killed four American hostages, is transported from the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., after a hearing on April 13, 2011.
Credit L. Todd Spencer / The Virginian-Pilot/AP
U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride calls Shibin "the highest ranking pirate ever brought to the U.S. for prosecution."
It's a bad time to be a pirate, at least in the American justice system.
Piracy on the high seas is one of the oldest crimes on the books. But U.S. authorities are using 18th century law in new ways to go after people who may never actually climb on board a ship and the men who negotiate and finance the plots.
About 1,000 pirates are in custody all over the world; about 30 of them are incarcerated in the United States.
A new report by the Brennan Center for Justice finds that more than 10 million potential voters in states that require photo ID at the polls live more than 10 miles from offices that issue such ID. Nearly 500,000 of these voters don't have access to a car or other vehicle.
Marathon medal winners listen to the anthem from the victory stand during the presentation ceremony at the XXI Summer Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. From left, Frank Shorter, U.S.A., silver; Waldemar Cierpinski, East Germany, gold, Olympic record; and Karel Lismont, Belgium, bronze. Evidence of doping by the East Germans suggests that Shorter deserved the gold medal.
The 2012 induction ceremony for the Baseball Hall of Fame takes place this weekend, so there's even more discussion about the 2013 election, because then both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the ballot, along with several other players who are also suspected of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
I've been surprised to learn that some baseball writers have declared that they'll vote for Bonds and Clemens because they were the best players in an era when drug use was widespread — ergo if there's a lot of guilt going around, then nobody should be assigned guilt.
House Republicans today released a preliminary spending bill that would slash more than six billion dollars from the budgets of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.The draft bill also bans NPR member stations from using federal funds to buy NPR programming.
David Bagley, HSBC's head of group compliance, resigned in the middle of a Senate hearing today that was looking into charges that the bank had been lax in meeting government requirements, allowing Mexican cartels to launder money and giving terrorists access to the American banking system.
A report (pdf) released today by Human Rights Watch accuses the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela of consolidating power in the executive branch and using that power to intimidate his opponents.
"The accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor, and punish Venezuelans who 'offend' the president or obstruct his political aims," the report found.
Pop music in the 21st century has been flush with precise re-creations of '60s and '70s American R&B — think of Sharon Jones, Adele, Raphael Saadiq and the late Amy Winehouse. Meanwhile, I've been waiting for a similar revival of Jamaica's R&B: ska, rocksteady, roots-reggae.
In case you were living under a rock last winter, here's a quick refresher on the phenomenon known as "Linsanity."
In just a few weeks, Jeremy Lin — a lanky Asian-American point guard who played his college ball at Harvard — went from a benchwarmer to a star. He led an unlikely winning streak that made the long-downtrodden New York Knicks seem momentarily relevant in the NBA title hunt.
"This kid has single-handedly done the unthinkable: made people want to watch the New York Knicks," Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert said, joining the media frenzy.
Several presidential battleground states are moving quickly to reach agreements with federal officials to access a U.S. immigration database to purge noncitizens from voter rolls.
The states, including some with large Latino populations, are following Florida, which last week reached its own pact with the Department of Homeland Security to use a database that contains information about immigrants who are in the U.S. legally. The states' efforts had initially been blocked by DHS until the agency relented.
Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.
Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.
While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.
"Schedules compress, priorities change and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends," Alex Williams writes in a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/fashion/the-challenge-of-making-friends-as-an-adult.html?_r=1">piece</a> in <em>The New York Times</em>.
Making close friends after college can be challenging. As the days of dorm life, dining halls and synchronized schedules fade, it can be tough to form solid bonds. Once marriage and children enter the scene, adults have even less say in choosing friends.
In a piece for The New York Times, writer Alex Williams explores his own changing friendships and his sometimes failed efforts to connect.
4Chan is a cesspool. That's not even editorializing. A few minutes on the notorious, free-for-all Internet message board that gave birth to Anonymous will — in the famous words of Gawker — "melt your brain."
But every once in a while, they do the right thing — like today.
As Hypervocal reports, last night a 4Chan user posted a picture of someone standing on two containers full of lettuce with the taunting caption: "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."
A lone pig roots through trash dumped over the side of a sewage canal that runs from the center of Port au Prince through Cite de Dieu. During the rainy season, the canal overflows its banks and fills nearby houses with sewage, which can carry cholera.
A few years back, Sally Koslow was settling into an empty nest. Her two 20-something sons were launched out of the house and into the wider world. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, her sons landed back home. She was startled and depressed to learn they were part of a much larger trend.
According to the Pew Research Center, one-fifth of young adults aged 25-34 live in multigenerational households. The bad economy is the main contributing factor, but the trend also reflects shifts in social norms.
Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:30 pm
Over half of U.S. states will have to close a combined budget gap of 55 billion dollars, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in the 2013 fiscal year. To avoid raising taxes, most states are implementing continued cuts to deal with budget shortfalls.
Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:32 pm
A year after South Sudan declared its independence, intractable problems remain: tribal conflict, oil disputes, corruption, hunger and continued fighting. New Yorker staff writer Jon Lee Anderson traveled to the remote Nuba Mountains, in Sudan, where the conflict between north and south rages on.
It's been years since manufacturers voluntarily stopped using the plastic additive BPA (Bisphenol A) in sippy cups and baby bottles. But now they have no choice. The FDA announced it has formally banned BPA from these products.
The jazz musician Ravi Coltrane, 47, didn't make his burden any lighter by choosing to play tenor and soprano saxophones — the same instruments his father, John Coltrane, indelibly stamped with his influence.
Ravi knew early he needed his own voice. On tenor, he has his own ways of bending and inflecting a note, applying flexible vibrato. Even when his noble sound bears witness to his heritage, Ravi Coltrane can draw on his father's language and make it his own.
Chris Truitt holds a photo of his daughter, Alyssa, who died when she was 2, at his home in De Forest Wis. After donating her organs and tissues, he decided on a career change that made him rethink tissue donation.
The story of how Chris Truitt went from being a tissue industry insider to an industry skeptic starts with a family tragedy.
In 1999, his 2-year-old daughter, Alyssa, died of a sudden health complication. Truitt and his wife, Holly, donated their daughter's organs and tissue, which saved the life of another young girl, Kaylin Arrowood.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continued Tuesday to push back on calls to release more years of tax returns and defended keeping investments in offshore accounts — both issues that have been dogging his run for the White House.
Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:03 am
High-profile experts are staging two separate Washington press conferences Tuesday to demand action on public-debt problems. One group is targeting state budget crises; the other, the federal budget mess.
If the ancient Greek philosopher Plato were still alive, he might hold a third press conference to declare: "It's hopeless. I told you so. Democracy will always degenerate into chaos because people will vote for their immediate self interests, not the long-term good."