Newsweek Apr-25-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


somebody’s watching

Incrimination by selfie can happen. From 2008 to 2010, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with the British Government Communications Headquarters to intercept the webcam footage of over 1.8 million Yahoo users. The agencies were analyzing images they downloaded from webcams and scanning them for known terrorists who might be using the service to communicate, matching faces from the footage to suspects with the help of a new technology called face recognition. The outcome was pure Kafka, with innocent people being caught in the surveillance dragnet. In fact, in attempting to find faces, the Pentagon’s Optic Nerve program recorded webcam sex by its unknowing targets—up to 11 percent of the material the program collected was “undesirable nudity” that employees were warned not to access, according to documents. And…

chernobyl redux

We climb eight flights of stairs. Eight more remain. This is sturdy Soviet concrete, dusty as death, but solid. So I hope, anyway. My guide, Lena, who is in her early 20s, has informed me that the administrators of the Exclusion Zone that encompasses Chernobyl do not want tourists entering the buildings of Pripyat for what appears to be an unimpeachable reason: Some of them could collapse. But the roof of this apartment building on the edge of Pripyat, the city where Chernobyl’s employees lived until the spring of 1986, will provide what Lena says is the best panorama of this Ukrainian Pompeii and the infamous nuclear power plant, 1.9 miles away, that 28 years ago this week rendered the surrounding landscape uninhabitable for at least the next 20,000 years. So…

yes, more nukes!

So much for a world without the atomic bomb. Not so long ago, President Barack Obama said he believed such a future was in the cards. Now, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, not so much. Many states in Russia’s neighborhood are giving new attention to nuclear protection. “Although there’s a very small risk of Russia acting against Poland, that risk is much bigger now than it was just a few weeks ago,” Stanislaw Koziej, head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, tells Newsweek. The most important deterrence, he says, is “NATO solidarity and the presence of the U.S. military in Europe. Nuclear deterrence is a very important factor that NATO has at its disposal, and it’s becoming increasingly important.” That’s a very different tone from the one struck by Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign…

prisoner-turned-chef takes on italian state over unpaid wages

As a child, Pasquale Contini dreamed of being a chef. He had to go to jail to fulfill his dream. Now he’s a free man, and he claims the Italian state owes him more than 15,000 euros in wages for his work as head chef at a prison in central Italy, where he served a 10-year sentence for accidentally killing his mother. A court near the town of L’Aquila agreed with him, ruling that prison workers should be paid two thirds the market rate and that Contini was paid less than half that. In 2012, the court ordered the state to pay him just under 13,000 euros, a figure that has since risen due to late interest payments and other fees. So far, Contini has got nothing. The chef joins a very long…

too big to jail

When fraudulent banking nearly sank the global economy in 2008, one former government official knew exactly how to nail the crooks. And he’d already swooped in to clean up a similar mess. More than two decades ago, during the savings and loan crisis, Bill Black exposed the Keating Five, senators who took big campaign contributions from the most infamous of the savings and loan executives and then tried to hide their crimes by stopping bank examiners from doing their job. The scandal ended the careers of three of those senators. One of them—John McCain—went on to run for president. Black also helped prosecutors convict more than 3,000 crooked bankers, a third of them high-level executives. He also trained bank examiners and FBI agents in what to look for and showed prosecutors how…

peace out

As American-backed peace talks nearly collapsed last week, would-be successors to the current leaders in Ramallah and Jerusalem quickly jockeyed for position. Sooner or later, new Palestinian and Israeli leadership will emerge, but will that be enough to reanimate a perennially moribund peace process? On the Israeli side, the first political broadside came even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was busy devising a formula to revive a complicated deal that would release Palestinian prisoners and extend the talks for up to a year. Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said in New York that he would rather go to new elections in Israel, and predicted he’d soon replace his party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, as Israel’s prime minister. And for several months now, Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled former stalwart of the Palestinian…