Newsweek Apr-17-15

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The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


untangling the mysteries behind bowe bergdahl’s rescue mission

It was before dawn at Observation Post Mest-Malak, a U.S. Army outpost surrounded by Taliban-controlled villages in eastern Afghanistan, when the men in Blackfoot Company 2nd Platoon first noticed that Bowe Bergdahl was missing. An Army veteran who says he was one of Bergdahl’s closest friends in Afghanistan and spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity, remembers the moment well. “[Specialist Shane] Cross came over and he whispered, ‘Hey, you seen Bergdahl?’ and I knew instantly he was gone. I said, ‘He’s gone. He’s fucking gone.’” The U.S. Army boasts that it does not leave men behind, so when Private First Class Bergdahl disappeared in Paktika province on June 30, 2009, the Army was going to find him, no matter the cost. His platoon-mates all knew Bergdahl was eccentric, a quiet…

in orthodox jewish divorce, men hold all the cards

“Basically, what we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple of hours and beating him up and torturing him and then getting him to give the get,” Rabbi Mendel Epstein told two potential clients. It was August 14, 2013, and he was sitting in his home in Lakewood, New Jersey, with a young Orthodox Jewish woman and her brother. She had sought out Epstein because she desperately wanted to divorce her husband, who was refusing to give her a get, the document that formally dissolves a marriage under Jewish law. In Orthodox Judaism, only husbands can give gets, and while most do, those who refuse wield enormous power over their wives. Even with a civil divorce decree in hand, a woman is not divorced in the…

politicians union-bust their way to the white house

Fiery labor icon Mother Jones cannot be resting peacefully beneath the crabgrass in the Union Miners’ Cemetery, not far from Springfield, Illinois, where Bruce Rauner, the recently elected Republican governor, has launched an unprecedented attack on organized labor. Rauner, a former private equity fund chairman, made a reported $62 million in 2013, the year before he was elected. Now the Harvard MBA is challenging public and private unions on several fronts—even pushing the state’s municipalities to create “right-to-work zones,” where workers in unionized jobs could opt out of paying union dues. This town-by-town approach is a relatively new idea and may be of dubious legality, but it’s already caused Cook County, where Chicago is situated, to preemptively declare that it won’t go along. Rauner is part of a clique of Midwestern…

searching for mexico’s disappeared

Ricardo Illescas Ramírez wanted a drink. It was August 2013, and the 25-year-old clothing salesman was in Potrero Nuevo, on Mexico’s eastern Gulf coast, in Veracruz state. He had arrived earlier that afternoon to meet with buyers, and when he finished for the day, Ramírez plopped down at a rickety bar near the center of town. Shortly after he walked in, witnesses say, a group of men in police uniforms burst through the door, dragged Ramírez and several others outside, shoved them into patrol cars and drove off. Witnesses reported similar incidents earlier that day at a nearby park and truck stop. In total, 20 people vanished in Potrero Nuevo that day. None have been seen or heard from since. Ramírez wasn’t the first person to disappear in Mexico, and he won’t…

clock begins ticking for 911 system improvements

“911, what is your emergency?” Thanks to depictions in television and film, that is what most Americans think dispatchers say when answering an emergency call. But in reality, dispatchers more often ask: “911, where is your emergency.” The reason this question is asked first is simple: America’s 911 system is still fundamentally what it was when it was designed (for landline calls) in the 1960s, when an address was associated with each call. With the dramatic shift toward handheld devices, though, the government required telecommunications companies to come up with a new system to locate callers. Americans dial 911 an estimated 240 million times a year, and 70 percent of the calls are made on cellphones— a percentage that is only expected to rise. Wireless carriers rely on “triangulation” to approximate the emergency…

putin has mixed motives in backing iran nuclear deal

When Barack Obama goes to Congress to sell the nuclear deal thrashed out with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, he will likely replay his pitch that the agreement offers “a peaceful resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” To fiercely skeptical U.S. allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, the White House will likely say that this is a breakthrough opportunity for Tehran to shed its rogue status after 30 years of hostility between the U.S. and Iran. The underlying logic is that Iran, once it falls under international scrutiny, will become a U.S. ally against Sunni Islamist extremism. Another remarkable element of the deal is that it seems to have been the result of a joint effort between Washington and Moscow who, for all their bitter differences over…