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Why I’m Running the Boston Marathon Again

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 00:01

I never considered myself a runner, but five years ago my best friend Brad called to tell me he had cancer. Brad was always the fit one, and I decided running could be a way for me to support him and raise money for his cause, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Before I knew it, I had signed up for my first marathon: the 2013 Boston Marathon.

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The evening before the race my family walked down Boylston Street to scope out where they should stand during the marathon. We decided the area by the finish line would be too packed, and so they chose an area further back. When we passed the medical tent, my 14-year-old daughter said to me, “Dad, I hope you don’t end up here.”

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The marathon was tough, but when I reached the 20-mile mark, I remember thinking to myself, this is it. My body was tired, but I was genuinely having a great time. I thought about Brad as I pushed through the last few miles–he was undergoing chemo at the time. I came up to the street where my family was, and I was rejuvenated when I saw them yelling and waving. When I turned onto Boylston Street, I was hugging the left side of the road like my training plan had advised. I started waving to the people cheering on the sidelines. I even stopped to thank a soldier for his service. I could see the arches over the finish line only 10 yards away and I was overwhelmed with excitement.

Then, suddenly, everything changed.

There was a huge flash to my left, right where I was waving to fans only a moment before. I felt the bang, and immediately grabbed my head in pain. My foot was hit with shrapnel, and an older man in orange (you may recognize him from footage of the explosion) collapsed in front of me.

I saw and felt the second blast, but I could barely hear it. I looked down and realized my foot was in a pool of blood, and I limped to the very medical tent my daughter didn’t want me to go.

Lying in the hospital bed later that day, I felt my phone buzz. It was a text from the Boston Athletic Association: “Congratulations on your time, you finished the Boston Marathon!”

Recovery was not easy, but I started trying to jog a bit in late May. I still have hearing loss in my left ear and I can feel the injuries in my foot, but by that summer I was running without much pain. Running is how I support Brad, so I was determined to continue. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $61 million for cancer research. I’m one of more than 700 runners on the team this year raising money. I even ran the New York City Marathon in November.

I decided I also needed to start taking care of my emotional self to better understand my physical and hearing related issues, and I joined a support group for people injured in the bombing. I realized when I met them for the first time that these were the very same people I was waving to at the finish. We understand each other’s pain. We saw and felt the same things, we were within feet of each other when it all happened.

In the late fall it was announced that everyone injured in the bombings received two entries into this year’s marathon. Many of the people within my support group dealing with similar injuries were ecstatic. This was the marathon where we could take back our hearing, take back that chunk from our leg, take back our ability to walk. It wasn’t a tough decision to sign up for the second time. We’ve created a running group called 4.15 Strong, and 28 of us will be running the Boston Marathon. We’re a rag-tag group of runners. Some of us are limping, some walking, some running.

I’m constantly thinking about what it will be like to run that route again. I’ve made myself return to Boylston Street many times so that it won’t be as emotional on race day. It’s already set up just like it was last year. This year, I’ll be at the finish line to make sure all 28 of us make it across. We are taking back what was taken away from us last year as runners and spectators….and we’re running for those that can’t.

You hear a lot about “Boston Strong,” resilience, and recovery. I’ve seen what that means. I’ve witnessed people learn how to walk again with one leg, or learn how to walk with two new legs. People just don’t give up, we adapt and we persevere.

Dave Fortier lives outside of Boston in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he owns a process and network optimization company. He lives with his wife and two daughters. You can visit his marathon fundraising page here.

Categories: Magazines

South Korean President: Ferry Crew Actions ‘Murderous’

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 23:45

(JINDO, South Korea) — The captain initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and waited more than half an hour to issue an evacuation order as the ferry Sewol sank Wednesday. By then the ship had tilted so much that many of the roughly 240 people missing are believed to be trapped inside.

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At a Cabinet briefing, Park said the captain and crew “told the passengers to stay put but they themselves became the first to escape, after deserting the passengers.”

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“Legally and ethically,” she said, “this is an unimaginable act.”

The captain and two crew members have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, and prosecutors said Monday that another four crew members have been detained. Senior prosecutor Ahn Sang-don said prosecutors would decide within 48 hours whether ask a court for arrest warrants for the four — two first mates, a second mate and a chief engineer.

Video showed that captain Lee Joon-seok, 68, was among the first people rescued. Some of his crew said he had been hurt, but a doctor who treated him said he had no fracture and only light injuries.

Lee spoke of “pain in the left rib and in the back, but that was it,” Jang Ki-joon, director of the orthopedic department of Jindo Hankook University. Jang said he did not realize Lee was the captain until after he treated him.

So far 64 bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people remain missing. About 225 of the missing and dead are students from a single high school near Seoul who were on their way to the southern tourist island of Jeju.

As divers increasingly make their way into the submerged ship, including a new entryway through the dining hall Monday, there’s been a big jump in the discovery of corpses. And that means that on Jindo, an island near where the ferry sank, relatives of the missing must look at sparse details such as gender, height, hair length and clothing to see if their loved ones have been found.

There are no names listed as relatives huddle around white signboards to identify bodies from a sunken ferry — just the slimmest of clues about mostly young lives now lost. Many favored hoodies and track pants. One girl painted her fingernails red and toenails black. Another had braces on her teeth.

“I’m afraid to even look at the white boards,” said Lim Son-mi, 50, whose 16-year-old daughter, Park Hye-son, has not been found. “But because all the information is quite similar, whenever I look at it, my heart breaks.”

Relatives have already lined up to give DNA samples at the gymnasium where many of them are staying, to make bodies easier to identify when they are recovered.

A transcript released by the coast guard Sunday shows the ship, which carried 476 people, was crippled by confusion and indecision well after it began listing Wednesday.

About 30 minutes after the Sewol began tilting, a crew member repeatedly asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea’s southern coast.

That followed several statements from the ship that people aboard could not move and another in which someone said that it was “impossible to broadcast” instructions.

An unidentified official at Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Center told the crew that they should “go out and let the passengers wear life jackets and put on more clothing.”

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will you be able to rescue them?” the unidentified crew member asked.

“At least make them wear life rings and make them escape!” the traffic-center official responded.

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?” the crew member asked again.

“Don’t let them go bare — at least make them wear life rings and make them escape,” the traffic official repeated. “The rescue of human lives from the Sewol ferry … the captain should make his own decision and evacuate them. We don’t know the situation very well. The captain should make the final decision and decide whether you’re going to evacuate passengers or not.”

“I’m not talking about that,” the crew member said. “I asked — if they evacuate now, can they be rescued right away?”

The traffic official then said patrol boats would arrive in 10 minutes, though another civilian ship was already nearby and had told controllers that it would rescue anyone who went overboard.

Ahn said Monday that a number of Sewol crew members, but not the captain, took part in the conversation.

The cause of the disaster is not yet known, but prosecutors have said the ship made a sharp turn before it began to list.

More than 170 people survived the sinking of the Sewol, but the confirmed death toll climbed over the weekend after divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel and quickly discovered more than a dozen bodies. They had been hampered for days by strong currents, bad weather and low visibility.

Many relatives of the missing have been staying in a gymnasium on Jindo island, but dozens of relatives have started camping out at the port there to be closer to where the search was taking place, sleeping in tents. A Buddhist monk in white robes stood facing the water and chanted in a calm monotone as several relatives stood behind him, their hands pressed together and heads bowed in prayer.

The Sewol’s captain was arrested Saturday, along with one of the ship’s three helmsmen and the 25-year-old third mate. The third mate was steering at the time of the accident, in a challenging area where she had not steered before, and the captain said he was not on the bridge at the time.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said the third mate has refused to tell investigators why she made the sharp turn. Prosecutors have not named the third mate, but a fellow crew member identified her as Park Han-kyul.

As he was taken from court in Mokpo on Saturday, the captain explained his decision to wait before ordering an evacuation.

“At the time, the current was very strong, the temperature of the ocean water was cold,” Lee told reporters, describing his fear that passengers, even if they were wearing life jackets, could drift away “and face many other difficulties.”

He said rescue boats had not yet arrived, and there were no civilian vessels nearby.

___

Kim reported from Mokpo, South Korea; Foster Klug, Youkyung Lee, Jung-yoon Choi and Leon Drouin-Keith in Seoul; and Minjeong Hong in Jindo contributed to this report.

Categories: Magazines

Cold War Tit-for-Tat 2.0

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 22:26

Last week, Moscow canceled a scheduled U.S. surveillance flight over Russia, apparently to keep prying U.S. eyes from scouting out Moscow’s forces huddling along its border with Ukraine.

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This week, Washington is debating whether or not to bar a new Russian spy plane, the Tu-214, from flying over U.S. territory as part of the same 22-year-old arms verification regime.

The two actions aren’t linked. In fact, some U.S. officials say Moscow’s cancellation was due to poor weather and will be rescheduled. But it’s interesting that in both nations, there is a push to deny the other from flying an unarmed aircraft, designed to monitor military movements, across its home turf.

The idea sure beats secret American U-2 flights. The Soviets shot down Francis Gary Power’s U-2 over its territory in 1960, triggering an international showdown that could have led to war. The U.S. initially denied the plane’s mission, but was forced to recant when Moscow publicly revealed the plane, and Powers, to the world.

The 1992 Open Skies treaty lets sensor-laden aircraft fly over other nations with 72 hours’ notice (so that sensitive items can be shielded from view) to confirm compliance with arms-control pacts and monitor troop movements. Russia and Sweden are the only two nations that have flown such aircraft over the U.S. according to the Pentagon.

Four members of the Senate intelligence committee recently warned that Russia has built reconnaissance aircraft that will “support digital photograph equipment, sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar, and infrared equipment,” and cautioned against letting them over the U.S.

“We strongly urge you to carefully evaluate the ramifications of certification on future Open Skies observation flights and consider the equities of key U.S. Government stakeholders,” said the letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by Senators Dan Coats, R-Ind., Mark Warner, D-Va., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. “The invasion of Crimea and Moscow’s ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine using subversive methods is sufficient enough to counsel further review, irrespective of any technical concerns that may exist.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of the House intelligence panel, is also concerned. “Putin’s attempt to upgrade Russia’s sensing capabilities now is particularly problematic,” he said in an Apr. 11 letter to Obama. “I have serious concerns about the technical advantages Russia would gain.”

Sounds ominous. But the treaty’s language already permits infrared devices and sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar.

As for “digital photographic equipment”—when was the last time you loaded a roll of film into a camera? The U.S. government wants to do the same thing as you: “Technology advancements have made film cameras increasingly obsolete and, consequently, the United States is actively preparing for the transition to digital electro-optical sensors,” the State Department says in its assessment of the Open Skies treaty.

True, the U.S. is lagging behind the Russians in this area. “Based on current projections, the earliest the Air Force will fly an observation mission with digital cameras is the fall of 2017,” a member of the service’s International Treaty Compliance Office said last year.

Beyond that, any new capabilities have to be approved by all 34 signers of the treaty—and they must be commercially available to all of them.

The notion that one side has some technological edge that the other must thwart is what sparked the Cold War. These latest warnings, unless there is some missing element not being shared with the public, carry disturbing echoes of that time.

Knowledge beats ignorance. That’s why “trust, but verify” was Ronald Reagan’s superpower mantra. That’s even more true when trust is in short supply.

Categories: Magazines

Why There Is No Lime Industry in America Anymore

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 22:16

Across the country, ice waters are being served without their usual lime wheels, while lime wedges on gin cocktails are getting thin — if they’re still there at all. Bad weather, disease and crime have been ravaging Mexico’s lime crop, and because America depends almost exclusively on Mexico for its limes, U.S. prices are skyrocketing.

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A standard 40-lb. box of limes that would have cost a San Francisco bar manager $20 a few months ago now costs more than $120. And many of the limes in those boxes are juiceless nubs; with prices so high, Mexican growers are stripping everything they can off their trees to ship across the border, regardless of quality. Unfortunately, as one USDA Market News spokesperson says, it’s not like restaurants or grocery stores can call up Florida to get limes from domestic growers instead.

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That wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time, back in the 1940s and 1950s, there was a growing lime industry around Homestead, Fla., a town at the southern tip of the state where the humid climate is particularly suited to supporting lime trees. Unlike avocados or mangoes, limes provided year-round work for people like Craig Wheeling, a former fruit-company executive who at that time was a young man, learning the ropes on his father’s lime farm.

“In 1960,” he says, “the only game in town was really the Florida-grown limes.”

As the industry grew, so did Americans’ appetite for limes. Immigrants flooded into the country from Latin America, lands where limes are more central to cuisine, and Americans developed a taste for the fruit. Today Americans consume nearly 10 times the amount of limes they did in 1980; as the population has grown from 226 million to 317 million, a half-pound of consumption per person each year has become three.

The first natural disaster struck in 1992. Hurricane Andrew, at the time the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, made landfall in Dade County and nearly wiped Homestead’s lime groves off the map. “The impact on lime trees was devastating,” Wheeling says. “The hurricane picked up the trees and blew out the fences and the irrigation risers, virtually destroying all the plantings of the industry.” The larger businesses with more resources replanted their trees, Wheeling says, and by 1999, “we had a fabulous year.” America’s lime industry was back, and Florida growers were printing a little American flag on each piece of fruit so consumers would know where they came from.

But during most of the 1990s, when Florida was rebuilding after the hurricane, people still wanted their margaritas and ceviche. “There was a vacuum,” says Jonathan Crane, tropical-fruit-crop specialist at the University of Florida. “Mexico stepped up their production to take advantage of the U.S. being out of the market.” As Homestead slowly regrew its groves, a Mexican industry, built on much cheaper labor and land around Veracruz, became established, with trees planted specifically for exporting their goods to the U.S.

Wheeling, who had become president at the country’s biggest lime producer, still remembers seeing the next disaster hit, a quieter one but equally deadly for the industry. A disease called citrus canker appeared on a tree in the middle of the lime groves of his company, Brooks Tropicals, in 2000. At the time, Crane says, “the dogma” was that citrus canker would weaken trees to the point where they would die. The much more powerful citrus industry to the north, producing Florida’s famous oranges and grapefruit, was worried that the disease would spread to its crops, and so was the government. Because citrus canker spreads by wind and rain, an eradication program was established in 1996 to destroy all the citrus trees planted anywhere near an infected one. “The state of Florida agriculture department would order them destroyed, send in bulldozers, pile up the trees and burn them,” Wheeling says. By 2007 the industry had been wiped out again.

This time, Crane says, there was a prohibition on replanting citrus in the area for years, for fear that new trees would also get infected. Farmers turned to other crops, like avocados and vegetables. Wheeling says farmers feared a new disease would arrive, and the low costs of production in Mexico were impossible to beat. “You’re not going to get rich having your trees destroyed every 15 years or so,” he says. “Given all the risk, it was hard to justify going back in and growing them.” His business shifted to papayas, and imports from Mexico increased. Today the U.S. gets some 97% of its limes from Mexico, followed by Guatemala with a paltry 1.5%.

In other parts of the U.S., the climate isn’t as suited to supporting a lime industry, experts say, even in places where backyard growing is popular. Limes are the most “cold tender” of citrus trees, says David Karp, who has worked as a plant specialist of the University of California at Riverside. So in California, he says, “90% of the time you’d be fine, but if there’s one cold day, you lose your trees and crops die. If you’re a backyard grower, it’s no big deal.” Currently there are about 400 acres dedicated to lime-growing in the state, enough to support some local farmers’ markets; by contrast, 41,000 acres of California land are dedicated to lemons. And importing limes from Hawaii isn’t worth the cost, Karp says, especially when Mexico is so close by.

The most tragic part of the Florida story may be that citrus canker wasn’t actually as harmful to lime trees as scientists thought at the time. Crane is currently helping Florida growers experiment with new plantings, having published a paper earlier this year suggesting it would be profitable to produce limes in southern Florida again, partly because of their resistance to disease. “There’s a tiny bit of lime out there,” he says. It may resurge. In the meantime, the U.S. will be beholden to other countries for wheels and wedges.

Categories: Magazines

RECAP: Game of Thrones Watch: History Lessons

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 22:00

Caution: Spoilers ahead.

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“I will not become a page in someone else’s history book.”

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Game of Thrones has always had an interest in history, in no small part because of the vast universe and backstory that George R.R. Martin built into his A Song of Fire and Ice novels. But in the fourth season of the HBO show, that interest has become an obsession. In the opening episode, Prince Oberyn recounted how the bad blood between the Lannisters and Martells boiled over, and a few scenes later, Joffrey flipped through the pages of The Book of Brothers to belittle his uncle-father Jaime about his lack of accomplishment. Then, last week, Tyrion gave Joffrey the Lives of the Four Kings, which survived all of a few minutes before being chopped to pieces by Widow’s Wail. Shortly thereafter, Joffrey gave a speech about weddings being history, not amusement, and then he survived all of a few minutes before his death by poison.

Point being, history has become both a specter hanging above the Westerosi’s heads and the driving force behind their decisions. Stannis is determined to not become a footnote in it, Tywin is determined to keep his surviving grandson from repeating it and right now, all Tyrion wants to do is survive it.

This week’s episode began right where we left off, with a dead king and his mother screaming for her brother to be arrested for committing the crime. As Tyrion is being hauled away, Ser Dontos is shuttling Sansa through King’s Landing in an attempt to escape the city before Tywin Lannister can have it completely closed off. The fact that Dontos — a literal fool — is able to thwart Tywin’s effort so effortlessly was a nice hint that he wasn’t acting alone. Strange things happen in Westeros all the time, but the idea that a bumbling former knight could thwart the designs of the realm’s most manipulative thinker would require too much suspension of disbelief. Sure enough, when Sansa and Dontos arrive at the large ship, accompanied by so much fog it practically deserves its own place in the credits, we discover that Littlefinger has been the one pulling these particular puppet strings.

For anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to Petyr Baelish’s actions over the course of the first three seasons, the idea that he could be the one behind Joffrey’s assassination isn’t far-fetched. After all, he’s the one who disputed Varys’ assertion last season that chaos is a gaping pit, instead insisting, “Chaos is a ladder.” If you go back and listen to that episode-ending monologue, it quickly becomes apparent that Littlefinger — with the proper plan and tools at his disposal — could be far more dangerous to Westeros than any of the Lannisters — even Joffrey.

Baelish’s scene with Sansa this week only helps to confirm that idea. Immediately after bringing her onboard his ship, he has his men put arrows through Ser Dontos, explaining, “Money buys a man’s silence for a time. Bolt to the heart buys it forever.” (There’s some delicious irony in the former Master of Coin criticizing Dontos for helping Sansa in exchange for money.) That’s something Sansa would be wise to remember, because just moments after reminding her that everyone in the capital lies, Littlefinger promises Sansa that she is now safe. Lord only knows how many dead Westerosi have heard those words from Baelish before. This turn of events doesn’t confirm that he’s the one who killed Joffrey, but it’s safe to say that he’s right at the top of the list.

Also near the top of that list is Tywin himself. It’s possible he’s just a kindly old grandfather trying to make the best of a bad situation, but that sounds even more far-fetched than the notion that Ser Dontos outsmarted him. As Cersei and Tommen grieve for Joffrey, Tywin enters to give his remaining grandson the sort of kingly advice that Joffrey would never accept. Tommen fails the Westeros version of the Little Big League managerial test, so Tywin tells him what he must do to be a good king (using history, naturally). Tommen must not be holy, lest he starve to death. He must not value justice above all else, lest his brother kill him in his sleep (that one seems a little far-fetched at this point, unless the White Walkers get ahold of Joffrey, but it’s certainly the sort of thing Joffrey would do if he were second in line to the throne). He must not focus solely on strength, lest he confuse winning with ruling as his “father,” Robert Baratheon once did.

Instead, Tywin instructs, Tommen must be wise in way that Joffrey never was. “Your brother was not a wise king — your brother was not a good king.” And according to Tywin, being wise means listening to his council — in particular the Hand of the King. As Tyrion later points out, Tommen will prove far more malleable than Joffrey ever did. Joffrey was Cersei’s son above all else, possessing all of her worst qualities and none of her best ones (few and far between though they may be). Tywin clearly hopes it’s not too late for Tommen to avoid that particular path. A clever bit of direction from Alex Graves drives the point home, as Tywin physically removes Tommen from his mother’s side, guiding him out of the hall with a hand on the future king’s shoulder.

Over in Dragonstone, the rightful king once again proves himself incomparably dour, even at the most opportune of moments. Stannis Baratheon is thrilled (well, at least his version of thrilled) that Joffrey is dead and that Melisandre’s magic appears to have worked its wonders yet again. But his excitement is outweighed by the fact that he sees no way to take advantage of the chaos that could follow in the wake of Joffrey’s demise. The biggest issue he faces: he simply has no men following his defeat at Blackwater. He rejects Ser Davos’ suggestion that they purchase the services of the Golden Company (10,ooo sell-swords) even though Davos is quick to point out Stannis’ hypocrisy: the would-be king is willing to use blood magic to put himself on the throne, but not willing to pay men to fight for him.

Of course, the bigger issue is that Stannis has no money. Fortunately for him, it seems that Davos is well aware of the debts that King’s Landing (more specifically, the Lannisters) have wracked up with the Iron Bank over the years. Olenna Tyrell warned Tywin not to make enemies with the Braavosi bankers during last week’s wedding. If Davos’ plan is to use the Lannisters’ debt to gain the support of the Iron Bank for Stannis, that particular chicken may be coming home to roost for Tywin and company far sooner than anyone could have imagined.

More pressing for Tywin — who, it seems, is moving rapidly to the very center of the Game of Thrones universe — is his son’s imminent trial. Cersei’s accusations (along with Tywin’s apparent support) have landed Tyrion in jail and he has little recourse at his disposal. Sansa has fled the city, meaning she can’t appear as a witness for him. Varys has already been called as one of Cersei’s witnesses. And Podrick informs Tyrion that Bronn isn’t even permitted to visit the prison, due to his close relationship with Tyrion and repuation as a sell-sword. When Tyrion learns that Prince Oberyn is to serve as the third judge at his trial, he appears even more deflated (though he may recognize that regardless of what Tywin told Oberyn, the Dornish prince has far more reason to hate his father).

The subsequent farewell between Tyrion and Podrick provides a rare emotional moment in a week largely devoted to moving the show’s various pieces closer to position. Tyrion, after learning that Podrick was approached by “the ominous they,” immediately recognizes that his squire has two choices: talk willingly or die after being compelled to talk. Podrick turned down the offer to become a knight in exchange for flipping on Tyrion, and any student of Westeros history knows all too well that a lack of self-interest never provides a happy ending for the selfless party (see: Stark, Ned).

Much of next week is likely to focus on the continued march toward Tyrion’s trial. When faced with a similar predicament way back in Season 1, he was able to thwart Caetlyn Stark’s attempts to have him executed (Cersei even mentions his uncanny ability to “squirm free” when talking with Jaime), but Tywin is a far more formidable opponent than any of the Starks. Only time will tell whether history is fated to repeat itself.

And now for the hail of arrows:

  • Speaking of potential Joffrey assassins: Lady Tyrell doesn’t seem too broken-up over her grandson-in-law’s demise, telling Margaery she’s much better off than if she’d remained married to Joffrey (though Olenna likely would have had the good sense to allow the two to consummate the marriage before taking any action).
  • Poor, poor Margaery. All she wants is be queen, but odds are she’ll have to settle for title of Kingslayer once Jaime is done with it — she’s already two-for-two with Renly and Joffrey. (Lady Tyrell: “Next one should be much easier.)
  • Seemed as though Cersei was as much trying to convince herself that Tyrion had killed Joffrey as she was Jaime. Then he raped her near the dead body of their son, so I guess the Kingslayer Character Rehabilitation Program was suspended this week.
  • The Hound and Arya were back this week — this time not quite on the same page (he robs a father and daughter, then tells Arya: “There are plenty worse than me. I just understand the way things are. How many Starks will they have to behead before you figure it out?”) Guess all the rehabilitation programs are on hold for this week.
  • Sam takes Gilly away from Castle Black, but her new home doesn’t seem a whole lot better than her last one. Can we get these kids a spot on that ship with Shae so they can go live happily ever after?
  • Prince Oberyn is quickly proving himself the rare worthy adversary for Tywin, but he doesn’t seem to have quite the same vision as the Hand of the King, who wants to barter the Mountain and a spot on the small council for Dornish support should Daenerys ever make it to Kings Landing (at this rate, in Season 32).
  • Tyrion rightly points out that if he had arranged Joffrey’s death, he wouldn’t have done so to be “standing there, gawking like a fool” when his nephew died.
  • Also: “I’ll give it to my father — he never fails to take advantage of a family tragedy.”
  • Between their paltry forces, the incoming Wildlings (led by the cannibalistic Thenns) and the information possessed by the mutineers beyond the wall, the gang at Castle Black finds themselves in a good bit of trouble. Let’s see how Jon Snow bails them out of this one.
  • Oh yeah! Daenerys is continuing her long march, this time approaching the city of Meereen. Looks like she’ll be adding a few more slaves to her forces after Daario Naharis killed Meereen’s champion in truly badass fashion. Between him, Jorah Mormont, Barriston Selmy, the Unsullied and the dragons, Dany should truly be a force to be reckoned with — if she can ever get to Westeros.
Categories: Magazines

Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies at 76

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 21:35

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters.

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For 19 long years, the prizefighter was locked in a prison cell far away from the spotlight and the adulation of the boxing ring. But when he at last won his biggest fight — for exoneration — he betrayed little bitterness. Instead, Carter dedicated much of his remaining life to helping other prisoners and exposing other injustices.

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The middleweight title contender, whose murder convictions became an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film, died Sunday. He was 76.

The New Jersey native, who had suffered from prostate cancer, died in his sleep at his home in Toronto, said John Artis, his former co-defendant and longtime friend and caregiver.

Carter “didn’t have any bitterness or anger — he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength,” said Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison.

The boxer, a former petty criminal, became an undersized 160-pound contender and earned his nickname largely on his ferocity and punching power.

Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

But his boxing career came to an abrupt end when he was imprisoned for three 1966 murders committed at a tavern in Paterson, N.J. He was convicted in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985, when his convictions were thrown out after years of appeals. He then became a prominent public advocate for the wrongfully convicted from his new home in Canada.

His ordeal and its racial overtones were publicized in Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.

In a statement issued Sunday, Washington praised Carter’s “tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”

Carter and Artis had been driving around Carter’s hometown on the night that three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill. They were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.

Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed in 1976, but he was sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial.

“I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in an interview in 2011 on PBS. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people … found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”

Dylan, a boxing aficionado, became aware of Carter’s plight after reading the fighter’s autobiography. He met Carter and co-wrote “Hurricane,” which he performed on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975. The song concludes: “That’s the story of the Hurricane/But it won’t be over till they clear his name/And give him back the time he’s done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world.”

Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King spoke out on Carter’s behalf. Other celebrities also worked toward his release, joined by a network of friends and volunteers.

Carter eventually won his freedom from U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who wrote that the boxer’s prosecution had been “predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”

Born on May 6, 1937, into a family of seven children, Carter struggled with a hereditary speech impediment and was sent to a juvenile reform center at 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954 and learned to box while in West Germany.

After returning home, he committed a series of muggings and spent four years in various state prisons. Upon his release, he began his pro boxing career, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by knockout.

At 5-foot-8, Carter was fairly short for a middleweight, but he was aggressive and threw waves of punches. His shaved head and menacing glower gave him an imposing ring presence but also contributed to a forbidding aura outside the ring. He was quoted as joking about killing police officers in a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post, which was later cited by Carter as a cause of his troubles with law enforcement.

Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and overseas in London, Paris and Johannesburg. Although his career appeared to be on a downswing before he was implicated in the murders, the 29-year-old fighter was hoping for a second middleweight title shot.

Carter defied his prison guards from the first day of his incarceration and spent time in solitary confinement because of it.

“When I walked into prison, I refused to wear their stripes,” Carter said. “I refused to eat their food. I refused to work their jobs, and I would have refused to breathe the prison’s air if I could have done so.”

Carter eventually wrote and spoke eloquently about his plight, publishing his autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” in 1974. Benefit concerts were held for his legal defense featuring Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack.

Although many of his celebrity friends abandoned the cause after his second conviction and an allegation of assault during his brief release, other advocates worked tirelessly on his behalf, culminating in Sarokin’s ruling and two subsequent failed prosecutorial appeals to have the convictions reinstated. Each year on the anniversary Sarokin’s decision, Carter called the judge to thank him.

After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. He received two honorary doctorates for his work.

Canadian director Norman Jewison made Carter’s story into a biographical film. Washington worked closely with Carter to capture the boxer’s transformation and redemption.

“He’s all love,” Washington said while onstage with Carter at the 2000 ceremony where he won a Golden Globe. “He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love.”

The makers of “The Hurricane,” however, were widely criticized for factual inaccuracies and glossing over other parts of Carter’s story, including his criminal past and a reputation for a violent temper. Giardello sued the film’s producers for its depiction of a racist fix in his victory over Carter, who had long acknowledged that Giardello deserved the win.

Artis said Carter will be cremated and didn’t want a funeral or any memorial. Artis has been taking care of him since 2011.

“He was a champion of the underdog,” he said. “He was like the David against the Goliath of the justice system.”

Kidrin spoke with Carter on Wednesday.

“He said, ‘You know, look, death’s coming. I’m ready for it. But it’s really going to have to take me because I’m positive to the end.’”

 

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Transcript Reveals Confusion Over Ferry Evacuation

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 19:06

JINDO, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean ferry that sank was crippled by confusion and indecision well after it began listing, a radio transcript released Sunday showed, suggesting the chaotic situation may have added to a death toll that could eventually exceed 300.

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About 30 minutes after the Sewol began tilting, a crew member asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea’s southern coast. The crew member posed the question three times in succession.

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That followed several statements from the ship that people aboard could not move and another in which someone declared that it was “impossible to broadcast” instructions.

Many people followed the captain’s initial order to stay below deck, where it is feared they remain trapped. Fifty-nine bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people are still missing.

“Even if it’s impossible to broadcast, please go out and let the passengers wear life jackets and put on more clothing,” an unidentified official at Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Center urged at 9:24 a.m. Wednesday, 29 minutes after the ferry first reported trouble, according to the transcript released by South Korea’s coast guard.

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will you be able to rescue them?” the unidentified crew member asked.

“At least make them wear life rings and make them escape!” the traffic-center official responded.

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?” the crew member asked again.

“Don’t let them go bare — at least make them wear life rings and make them escape!” the traffic official repeated. “The rescue of human lives from the Sewol ferry … the captain should make his own decision and evacuate them. We don’t know the situation very well. The captain should make the final decision and decide whether you’re going to evacuate passengers or not.”

“I’m not talking about that,” the crew member said. “I asked, if they evacuate now, can they be rescued right away?”

The traffic official then said patrol boats would arrive in 10 minutes, though another civilian ship was already nearby and had told controllers that it would rescue anyone who went overboard.

The ferry sank with 476 people on board, many of them students from a single high school. The cause of the disaster is not yet known, but prosecutors have said the ship made a sharp turn before it began to list. Several crew members, including the captain, have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning passengers.

More than 170 people survived the sinking of the Sewol, which had been on its way from the South Korean port city of Incheon to the southern island of Jeju. The captain took more than half an hour to issue an evacuation order, which several passengers have said they never heard.

The confirmed death toll jumped over the weekend after divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel and quickly discovered more than a dozen bodies. They had been hampered for days by strong currents, bad weather and low visibility.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that another body was recovered early Monday near the sunken ship.

Families of the missing are staying on Jindo Island, where information sheets taped to the walls of a gymnasium offered details to help identify any corpses, including gender, height, length of hair and clothing.

It was too little for Lee Joung-hwa, a friend of a crew member who is among the missing.

“If only they could have made some kind of image of the person’s face. Who can tell who this person is just by height and weight?” Lee said.

A woman with a blue baseball cap shouted at government officials who were seated nearby, working at their desks. “I can’t live like this! I’m so anxious!” she yelled. “How can I trust the police?”

Anguished families, fearful they might be left without even their loved ones’ bodies, vented rage Sunday over the government’s handling of the crisis.

About 100 relatives attempted a long protest march to the presidential Blue House in Seoul, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the north, saying they wanted to voice their complaints to President Park Geun-hye. They walked for about six hours before police officers in neon jackets blocked a main road.

“The government is the killer,” they shouted as they pushed against a police barricade.

“We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done,” said Lee Woon-geun, father of 17-year-old missing passenger Lee Jung-in. “They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others.”

Earlier Sunday, relatives of the missing blocked the car of Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and demanded a meeting with Park as Chung made a visit to Jindo. Chung later returned to the gymnasium, but met only with a number of representatives of the family members in a side office.

On Sunday evening, dozens of relatives who gathered at the port in Jindo surrounded the fisheries minister, Lee Ju-young. They shouted, swore, yelled threats and pushed him as he was on his way to a meeting with other officials.

Relatives are desperate to retrieve bodies before they decompose beyond recognition, Lee Woon-geun said.

“After four or five days, the body starts to decay. When it’s decayed, if you try to hold a hand, it might fall off,” he said. “I miss my son. I’m really afraid I might not get to find his body.”

The Sewol’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, 68, was arrested Saturday, along with one of the ship’s three helmsmen and the 25-year-old third mate. The third mate was steering at the time of the accident, in a challenging area where she had not steered before, and the captain said he was not on the bridge at the time.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said the third mate has refused to tell investigators why she made the sharp turn. Prosecutors have not named the third mate, but a fellow crew member identified her as Park Han-kyul.

As he was taken from court in Mokpo on Saturday, the captain explained his decision to wait before ordering an evacuation.

“At the time, the current was very strong, the temperature of the ocean water was cold,” Lee told reporters, describing his fear that passengers, even if they were wearing life jackets, could drift away “and face many other difficulties.”

He said rescue boats had not yet arrived, and there were no civilian vessels nearby.

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Captain America Dominates Box Office for Third Week in a Row

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 16:57

The superheroes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier are victorious once again, topping the box office for the third consecutive week and earning $26 million domestically, according to Sunday studio estimates.

The movie, which stars Chris Evans as the titular comic book character and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, became the biggest April release ever when it earned more than $96 million domestically its opening weekend, the Associated Press reports.

Sci-fi thriller Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, opened in fourth place this weekend with $11 million. The movie, which was directed by Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister, marked Depp’s third underwhelming box-office performance after The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows.

“As we approach the summer movie season, box-office drawing power becomes more about the concept of the movie rather than its star,” Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the AP. “It may not have been so much [about] Johnny Depp, but audiences right now like brands that they know.”

Rio 2 claimed the number-two box office spot while the religious-themed Heaven Is for Real took third place this Easter weekend.

[AP]

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Ukrainian PM: Putin Wants to Restore USSR

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 16:16

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has a dream to restore the Soviet Union and every day he goes further and further,” interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told NBC’s David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday. “God knows where is the final destination.”

Ukrainian loyalist forces engaged in deadly clashes with pro-Russian groups this weekend despite a peace deal brokered in Geneva, Switzerland Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavov.

Pro-Russian militants occupying buildings in eastern Ukraine refuse to back down until their demands, which range from autonomy from Kiev’s control to annexation by Russia, are met. Meanwhile, approximately 40,000 Russian troops are encamped along the Russia-Ukraine border.

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8 Killed in Finland Parachutist Plane Accident

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 15:57

(HELSINKI) — Finnish officials say eight people died when a small plane carrying parachutists crashed to the ground and caught fire.

Det. Supt. Petri Kangas said three people survived the accident Sunday after they parachuted from the aircraft above Jamijarvi airfield, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) east of the southwestern town of Pori.

Kangas said investigators didn’t know the cause of the accident but that “apparently some parts fell off the plane before it crashed.”

Police said the eight victims were found in the badly burned aircraft, a Comp Air 8 kit aircraft, popular among parachutists.

Police said all 11 people on board were accounted for and that the three survivors were being treated for minor injuries.

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What’s This? Oh Nothing, Just a Llama Frolicking to DMX

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 15:13

This is by FAR the most important thing that has ever happened on the Internet. Ever. It’s got two incredible ingredients: an adorable, prancing llama and the sweet, sweet melodies of DMX. They blend together to create the most magical concoction.

If you weren’t convinced that Vine really needed to exist, this has to change your mind.

Oh, yeah, make sure to turn the sound on.

You’re welcome.

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Miss America: Don’t Suspend Teen Who Asked Me to Prom

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 15:08

Miss America asked a Pennsylvania high school to reconsider a decision to suspend a senior who asked her to prom during a school assembly.

Nina Davuluri wrote on the Miss America Organization’s Facebook page Saturday to say that while she could not attend the prom because of her schedule, she was flattered by 18-year-old Patrick Farves’ request and has contacted the school about reversing the decision.

“Meeting and interacting with students across the country has been an important and rewarding part of my year as Miss America,” she wrote. “I always encourage students to follow their dreams through education, and I’m inspired daily by the enthusiasm and aspirations of the bright young adults I have the pleasure of meeting through my travels.”

The school was aware that Farves intended to ask Davuluri during her Thursday presentation about the importance of math and science education and discouraged him from doing so, the Associated Press reports. He received a three-day in-school suspension and later apologized for the disruption.

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Martin Garrix on Coachella, ‘Animals’ and His Upcoming Singles

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 15:05

Martijn Garritsen, otherwise known by his stage name Martin Garrix, took the stage at the Coachella Valley Music Festival on two back-to-back Fridays (April 11 and April 18) to deliver an explosive set that was surely a highlight for many of the festival’s EDM (electronic dance music) fans.

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The 17-year-old Dutch DJ’s hit song “Animals,” released last June, propelled him into the electronic music spotlight. The platinum-certified track is continuing to climb the Billboard Hot 100 (it hit a new peak of #21 on the chart this week).

Garrix became the youngest DJ ever to perform on the main stage at Ultra Music Festival in Miami last month. TIME caught up with Garrix after his first Coachella performance – another career milestone – to discuss his experience at the festival, the success of “Animals” and upcoming singles.

TIME: How does Coachella compare to other festivals and venues you’ve played?

Garrix: What’s cool about Coachella is the diversity of crowd. You’ve got rock fans, you’ve got pop fans, you’ve got indie fans. For me, it was an unreal experience … It was about people having fun and playing a lot of new stuff, and I think that worked out well. I played a few unreleased tracks as well.

During your set, you played unreleased collaborations with Dillon Francis and Afrojack. What else do you have in the works?

There are so many new tracks coming up in 2014, which I’m really excited for. My next release is going to be “Tremor,” together with Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. It’s going to be on Beatport on April 21. Then I got “Gold Sky” together with Sander Van Doorn and the guys from DVBBS. I ended my set with it. It’s getting released on June 2.

I might do an album later this year or next year, I got 10 new tracks in the works, including collaborations, solo stuff and remixes. I can’t wait until it all gets released.

Your track “Animals” was a huge hit. Can you describe the creative process behind producing it?

For me, it was just another track. I released like 20 other tracks before “Animals.” I just thought it was time for a new solo track. So I went into the studio and reopened an old project file, which I had started but never released, and I made this drop inspired by hip-hop. I wanted to bring something weird, something unique into the track, and that turned out to be the drop of “Animals.”

I started playing it live – I made the track to play at festivals, clubs and at own sets – and suddenly the radio started playing it, which was a big surprise for an instrumental track. Usually instrumental tracks don’t get that much love on the radio.

I’m just really thankful [for] the radio support, because with the radio you can reach out to a whole different kind of audience, which I wouldn’t reach myself.

When you start producing a new track, do you go in with a vision or is it a more experimental process?

It depends on how I feel. Sometimes I go in a very experimental direction, and I already know when I start it I can never release this under Martin Garrix as a single. But I make music, because I love to make music. I love to put my ideas into the computer and share them with my friends. Some of them get released under Martin Garrix. I also got some different aliases I’m working on. I’m not going to say which names, but I’ve got some other projects going on as well.

EDM has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years, and some might say it’s becoming too popular and that the genre is suffering creatively because of it. Do you have a response for that?

I honestly don’t care because some people are going to hate on music if it’s getting popular. But it doesn’t change the track and if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to the music … I’m just doing my thing and a lot of people do actually like it and those are the people I make the music for and I play for the shows for.

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General Mills Reverses Legal Terms After Controversy

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 14:58

General Mills announced it was removing controversial legal terms from its website on Saturday following an uproar over the changes.

“Because our concerns and intentions were widely misunderstood, causing concerns among our consumers, we’ve decided to change them back to what they were,” company spokesman Mike Siemienas wrote in an email obtained by the New York Times.

The New York Times reported last week that the General Mills had added new legal terms to its website which could force customers to surrender their right to sue the company if they downloaded coupons, joined its “online communities” or interacted with the company in a variety of other ways. Instead, the Times said customers would have to submit complaints through arbitration or “informal negotiation.”

The company later clarified that “online communities” did not include its Facebook or Twitter profiles.

The surprising reversal follows criticism from both consumers and legal experts, who questioned the breadth and enforceability of such terms.

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Sleeping Girl Killed in Alleged Drunk Driver Crash

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 14:44

(PALMDALE, Calif.) — A 16-year-old Southern California girl was killed while sleeping in her bed after an alleged drunken driver crashed his SUV into her home.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that 20-year-old Roberto Rodriguez of Palmdale allegedly crashed his Nissan Pathfinder into the corner of an apartment building at 3:50 a.m. Sunday.

When deputies arrived they found the SUV embedded in the building and the girl dead inside.

Rodriguez was transported to a hospital with minor injuries and has been booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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Egypt: Ex-Army Chief, Leftist to Run for President

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 14:16

(CAIRO) — Egypt’s election commission said Sunday only two presidential hopefuls, one of them the powerful former military chief who nine months ago ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader, have submitted their papers to run in next month’s polls.

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With only two people — former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi — vying for the country’s top post, the race is certain to be dramatically different from Egypt’s 2012 presidential vote, when 13 candidates of all political stripes competed in a heated campaign.

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Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood, won that race, defeating a former general in a runoff to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Just over a year later, the military removed Morsi from office following mass protests calling for his ouster.

El-Sissi, the man who led the military’s move against Morsi, is riding a wave of popular support and is the clear front-runner in this year’s vote. Since Morsi’s ouster, el-Sissi has achieved a near cult-of-personality. His picture is plastered in posters around the country; songs about the military and him ring out in weddings and private cafes, and he has been hailed in state and private media as a national savior.

Election commission spokesman Abdel-Aziz Salman said el-Sissi garnered 188,930 signatures of support. That’s nearly eight times the required 25, 000 signatures from at least 15 of Egypt’s 27 provinces that a would-be candidate needs in order to run.

El-Sissi’s only rival is Sabahi, a leftist politician who came in third in the 2012 elections after receiving around 5 million votes and largely appealing to Egypt’s secular youth and working class.

Salman said Sabahi submitted 31,555 signatures.

Sabahi’s staff has complained of intimidation tactics during the signature collection period and of bias by state officials in favor of el-Sissi. They blamed officials with links to former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

On Sunday, Sabahi’s office said military troops detained a campaign worker in north Sinai because of his political activities. It was not clear why he was taken into custody. The army is waging a campaign against militants in the restive region.

Some in Egypt have urged Sabahi to withdraw from the race to avoid providing what they say would be a democratic facade to el-Sissi’s likely victory. Ayman Nour, a liberal politician and 2005 presidential candidate who opposed Morsi’s ouster, said he had appealed to Sabahi to withdraw.

“I hope that my friend Sabahi doesn’t become an extra,” Nour told Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr from Lebanon where he has resided since the summer. “This is farcical theater.”

Over the next two weeks, the election commission will review the documents while also allowing the hopefuls to challenge their rival’s nomination on legal grounds. The campaign officially begins May 2, when the commission will announce a final list of candidates.

The May 26 and 27 presidential elections are pivotal to the post-Morsi political plan, and are to be followed by parliamentary vote. Morsi supporters reject the plan, and continue to hold near daily protests against the military-backed authorities.

Turnout in the vote will be a key test of el-Sissi’s popularity and the ability of Islamists and other critics of the military chief to impact the race— either by boycotting or supporting Sabahi. In the 2012 elections, nearly 50 percent of the voters took part in both rounds. There are 53 million registered voters this year.

Already buffeted by waves of political turmoil since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has been wrestling with a surge in political violence since Morsi’s overthrown in July.

Security forces have killed more than 1,300 Morsi supporters and detained another 16,000 — including the ousted leader himself —in a sweeping crackdown on Islamists. The crackdown has also widened to include secular critics of the military-backed government and the crackdown on Islamists.

Suspected militants, meanwhile, have killed more than 450 police and soldiers in clashes and attacks, the government says.

On Sunday, gunmen killed a police captain and a conscript in a firefight on a desert road outside Cairo, the Interior Ministry said, in the second such attack in three days to target Egypt’s security services.

The two security men were killed early Sunday while taking part in a joint security patrol that tried to stop a suspicious vehicle on the road to the canal city of Suez, the Interior Ministry said. The vehicle’s occupants opened fire before speeding off.

The ministry said Captain Ashraf Badeer al-Qazaz was killed in the firefight, along with a conscript from the central security force. A security official said initial investigation shows the gunmen were driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The attack comes two days after a bomb targeting a traffic post in a busy square in Cairo killed a policeman. A militant group that goes by the name of “Ajnad Misr,” or “Egypt’s Soldiers,” claimed responsibility for the blast. The group says it is waging a campaign against police because of the government crackdown on protesters.

Sunday’s attack comes as Egypt’s Orthodox Christians, who make up more than 10 percent of the country’s 85 million, celebrated Easter. Security was boosted around churches as worshippers flocked to them for the Easter Mass. Senior government officials, including the prime minister and the interior minister, paid visits to St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope.

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10 Cities Where Americans Are Pretty Much Terrified to Live

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 13:30

According to Gallup, 70.5% of Americans surveyed in 2012 and 2013 said they felt safe walking alone at night. This is effectively unchanged from 2011, when 71% of respondents said they felt safe.

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In a number of metro areas, however, far fewer residents felt safe at night. In McAllen, Texas, where Americans were least likely to feel safe, less than half of all respondents were comfortable outside of their homes after dark. Based on data gathered by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, these are the 10 cities where Americans felt the least safe.

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Seven of the 10 metro areas in which residents felt the least safe had violent crime rates above the nationwide rate of 386.9 incidents per 100,000 people in 2012. In the Memphis, Tenn., area, there were 1,056.8 violent crimes per 100,000 people, the most of any metro area in the country. Stockton, Calif., also had one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, with 889.3 incidents per 100,000 residents.

But not all metro areas where residents felt unsafe had high violent crime rates. In two metro areas, McAllen and Yakima, Wash., there were just 319 and 349 violent incidents, respectively, for every 100,000 residents in 2012. In both cases, this was below the national rate.

Click here to see the cities where Americans don’t feel safe

24/7 Wall St. discussed the issue with John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington, D.C. “A fact of modern life [is] that people are bombarded with negative stories about crime,” Roman said. People “develop the perception that where they live, or wherever they like to go, isn’t safe.”

While concerns about safety may be somewhat misplaced in some areas, in others, such “perceptions of feeling unsafe are right on,” Roman added. In those areas, residents may feel unsafe because crime is underreported. In immigrant communities, because “people who are victimized are afraid to come forward and report it, there’s a hidden number of crime,” Roman explained.

However, in bigger cities, like Washington, D.C., New York and Dallas, “immigrant populations are thriving because they can do business with the local governments in Spanish. Those cities that are attracting a lot of first and second generation immigrants have really much lower crime rates than you’d expect,” said Roman.

Residents of areas who are less likely to feel safe tended to also struggle to afford adequate shelter. According to Gallup, the relationship between the concerns for personal safety and being able to afford housing is not coincidental. “The factors that contribute to both of these problems are often rooted in socioeconomic status and are likely traced back to poverty and the discontent that comes with it,” Gallup noted.

In fact, these areas also suffered from high poverty rates. Each of the 10 had a poverty rate greater than the national rate in 2012. In Fresno, Calif., and McAllen, 28.4% and 34.5% of the population lived below the poverty line that year. Both were among the highest rates for any metro area in the country.

However, Roman noted that the state of the local economy is often “less related than you might think it might be” to perceptions of safety. Instead, perceptions of where an area is heading might be more important. Certain parts of the country that are improving “might be poorer than average, but there’s a sense of optimism, there’s a sense of development,” he explained.

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Not surprisingly, residents in these areas also reported being unhappy with where they lived. Across the United States, 85% of residents told Gallup they felt satisfied with where they lived. In nine of the 10 metro areas where residents felt least safe, residents had lower satisfaction rates. In Stockton, just 73.3% of people surveyed were satisfied with the area, the second lowest rate in the country.

To determine the 10 metro areas where people felt most unsafe walking alone at night, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures from the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. Responses were collected for the index over 2012 and 2013. To determine how recorded crime rates actually aligned with citizens’ opinions of these areas, we considered figures published in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2012. Unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for December 2013 and are seasonally adjusted. Other figures such as poverty rates, education and income are from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. Population figures are from 2012 as well.

These are the cities where Americans don’t feel safe.

5. Modesto, Calif.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 54.2%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 14.2%% (10th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 549.4 per 100,000 (48th highest)
> Poverty rate: 20.3% (64th highest)
> Population: 523,330 (124th highest)

With relatively high crime rates, Modesto residents are not likely to feel completely at ease walking alone at night. Motor vehicle theft was particularly bad in the area, with more than 780 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2012, second worst nationwide. Like many metro areas where people feel unsafe, Modesto’s economy has been strained in recent years. The unemployment rate was an abysmal 12.3% at the end of last year, among the highest rates nationwide. More than one in five residents lived in poverty in 2012, also among the highest rates in the nation. More than 14% of respondents said they had enough money for shelter at all times in the past 12 months, among the worst rates in the country.

4. Columbus, Ga.-Ala.

> Pct. feel safe at night: 54.2%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 14.8% (7th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 437.4 per 100,000 (99th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.7% (102nd highest)
> Population: 304,291 (182nd highest)

Like in many of the cities in which people do not feel safe, 14.8% of Columbus residents said that they did not have enough money for adequate shelter within the past year, among the 10 worst rates in the country. A high percentage of people in the area struggled economically. The area’s median household income was less than $43,000 in 2012, versus more than $51,000 nationwide. Additionally, the area had one of the nation’s highest portions of residents on food stamps, at 20.6% that year. The region also had 166.3 robberies per 100,000 people in 2012, among the highest rates in the nation, and 4,778.6 property crimes per 100,000 people, worse than all but just five other metro areas in the country.

3. Stockton, Calif.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 52.2%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 12.5% (tied for 34th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 889.3 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.4% (108th highest)
> Population: 702,670 (97th highest)

Stockton had 889 incidents of violent crime for every 100,000 residents in 2012, higher than all but a handful of metro areas nationwide. That year, there were 89 murders, or 12.7 per 100,000 residents, among the highest rates in the nation. Cases of aggravated assault and robbery were also extremely frequent. Violent crime was such a problem in Stockton that year that the city’s police declared a policy of immediately dispatching officers only in cases of violent crimes and crimes in progress. The city of Stockton, which is currently working on plans to exit from bankruptcy, has lost police officers in recent years due to a combination of layoffs and retirements. At the end of 2013, 12% of the area’s workforce was unemployed. While this was down from 16% two years before, it was still among the worst unemployment rates in the nation.

2. Yakima, Wash.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 51.3%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 12.5% (tied for 34th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 349.4 per 100,000 (172nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 23.1% (29th highest)
> Population: 249,564 (178th lowest)

While Yakima residents often felt unsafe walking home alone at night, the area’s violent crime rate was actually lower than the national rate. Property crime, however, remains a problem. Despite Yakima County’s Crimestoppers grassroots organization, which encourages citizens to report crimes, the area had 1,217.7 burglaries per 100,000 people in 2012, and 673.2 car thefts per 100,000 people, both among the highest rates in the country. Like most metro areas in which residents do not feel safe walking alone at night, Yakima is struggling economically. Nearly one-quarter of the area’s residents had to rely on food stamps for at least part of 2012, and 23.1% of residents lived in poverty in 2012 — both among the worst rates in the country.

MORE: America’s Most Miserable Cities

1. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
> Pct. feel safe at night: 48.5%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 24.5% (the highest)
> Violent crime rate: 319.2 per 100,000 (160th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 34.5% (2nd highest)
> Population: 809,759 (90th highest)

McAllen was the only metro area in which less than half of all respondents felt safe walking home alone at night. This was despite the fact that McAllen actually had a lower violent crime rate than the United States overall in 2012, at just 319 incidents per 100,000 residents, versus 387 crimes for 100,000 residents nationally. However, violence along the border with Mexico remains a concern for many McAllen residents. The State Department warns against traveling to the neighboring city of Reynosa, Mexico, due to high levels of drug-related violence. Additionally, nearly 25% of residents stated they did not have enough money for adequate shelter at some point in the previous year, by far the most of any metro area. A lack of adequate shelter may be tied to the relatively low economic prosperity in the region. In 2012, 34.5% of residents lived below the poverty line, and the median household income was just $33,761, both among the worst in the nation.

Visit 24/7 Wall St. to see the remaining five cities where Americans don’t feel safe.

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Categories: Magazines

Jack White Sets World Record for Fastest-Released Record

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 13:23

It took Jack White three hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds to set a new world record Saturday for the fastest-released album.

As a part of Record Store Day festivities, White performed the title track of his upcoming album, Lazaretto, due June 10, for a small crowd in Nashville, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Immediately after White’s performance, master recordings of the show were delivered to United Record Pressing, which began pressing vinyl 45s using pictures of the show as sleeves.

Fans who stuck around were able to buy recordings of the concert they had just heard hours before.

Swiss polka group Vollgas Kompanie held the previous record for releasing a live album one day after they recorded it, Rolling Stone reports.

[THR]

Categories: Magazines

Take a Look at Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, and Albert Einstein’s Stunning Business Cards

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 13:13

What would some of the world’s most famous writers, thinkers, and politicians’ stationary look like if they were alive today? Online printing company MOO has an answer—sort of. The firm has designed a collection of modern letterheads and business cardsfor the likes of Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. For more, check them all out here.

MOO MOO MOO
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‘Capt. America’ Tops Box Office for Third Week

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 13:00

(LOS ANGELES) — Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and beating formidable contender Johnny Depp.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the Marvel sequel added another $26 million to its coffers, while Depp’s sci-fi thriller, “Transcendence,” opened in fourth place.

Another newcomer, the religious film “Heaven Is for Real,” debuted in third place, while another sequel, “Rio 2,” held on to second.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” set a box-office record as the biggest April release ever when it opened with more than $96 million in domestic ticket sales. Starring Chris Evans as Capt. America and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, the Disney release has earned more than $200 million to date in North America — the 12th Marvel film to do so.

Categories: Magazines