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Sep 28, 2021
Good morning! Technology isn’t just creeping into every aspect of our lives. Criminal organizations love new gadgets too. Today, check out how some are using drones to transport drugs. Meet the former soccer player now known as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “Charm Cannon” — she’s the emerging face of European populism. And for a bit of fun, come for a stroll among some of the world’s best modern circuses, with no animal cruelty in sight.
The U.S. has seen its largest-ever annual increase in recorded murders, with 5,000 more Americans killed in 2020 than in the previous year, a 30% spike. Authorities documented the surge both in large and small cities with firearms used in the vast majority of cases. (Sources: NPR, Guardian)
2 - Musical Abuser
R&B artist R. Kelly was found guilty on Monday of leading a criminal organization that recruited and sexually abused women and girls. The 54-year-old musician has faced allegations of abuse for a quarter century. He now potentially faces a lifelong jail sentence. (Source: NYT, NPR)
3 - Democracy, Dictatorship-Style
Guinea’s military government has said that its members will not be allowed to stand for office in the country’s upcoming elections. The announcement comes after the junta held meetings with public figures and business leaders as the country tries to agree on a common framework for its transition. (Source: Reuters)
4 - Social U-Turn
Social media giant Facebook has put the brakes on plans to launch a version of Instagram for children. The move came after concerns were raised over the photo-sharing app’s impact on teenage girls’ mental health. The company said this version would be ad-free and allow parents to monitor their children’s activity. (Sources: WSJ, WaPo)
5 - Imagine
John Lennon fans across the world, get ready to bet on an old cassette tape containing a 33-minute interview with the late Beatles frontman and Yoko Ono, along with a previously unheard song. The rare tape, made more than 50 years ago by four Danish teenagers, could fetch up to $50,000 at an auction. What would you like to see happen to it? Answer here or on Twitter.(Source: BBC)
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Just before winning the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan by a landslide in January, he was serving a jail sentence for kidnapping a political rival. But since then, he has fulfilled a key — and controversial — election promise, nationalizing a massive gold mine that Canadian firm Centerra has spent more than $3 billion developing. That’s not all. In May, Japarov signed into law a new constitution that gives him the power to appoint the majority of the country’s judges and heads of law enforcement agencies.
Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a drug drone — carrying narcotics over the walls of a high-security prison in Chile. Inmates in penitentiaries in the U.S., Mexico and across Europe have also been using the technology, with one recently caught in Spain capable of carrying up to 330 pounds!
2 - Dropping Bombs
It’s not just drugs these drones are carrying. In April, Mexico’s bloody Jalisco New Generation Cartel is believed to have used the flying gizmos to drop explosives on police headquarters in the town of Aguililla, injuring two officers. The attack signaled an escalation in the arms race between Mexican authorities and gangs looking to bolster their arsenal.
3 - Bitcoin
Increasingly cornered by law enforcement, Latin American crime groups are turning online to launder their dirty money, and not only on the dark web. Buying and selling electronic coins in the lightly regulated online space is allowing criminals to insert the proceeds of their illegal businesses into regular economies. But some authorities seem to be slowly catching on, investing more resources in patrolling the elusive cyberspace.
Great Modern Circuses
They’re keeping the thrill of an age-old institution alive, using 21st-century tools.
As Timon and Pumbaa tell Simba in The Lion King, it’s a Swahili phrase that means “no worries.” It’s also an iconic and brilliant Zimbabwean traveling circus with some of the boldest, gravity-defying acrobatics you’ll ever see, coupled with pulsating dances. Check your worries at the entrance and soak in some “wow!”
3 - Wizards of Oz
Are you the audience or the ringmaster? Is it a circus or a critique of one? In fact, Australia’s Circus Oz is all of these and more. An innovative twist on an ancient tradition soaked in Australian humor, rock ‘n’ roll and daredevilry.
The Law & Order and Godfather of Harlem star, Vincent D'Onofrio, stops by the show to discuss how he approaches the craft of acting, growing up the child of hippies, and the actors who never cease to amaze him. Plus, hear him discuss playing controversial televangelist Jerry Falwell in the new drama The Eyes of Tammy Faye and why he thinks it’s important to approach every role with an open mind.
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