Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Salish Sea

(Art by Joseph R. Tomelleri)


Xinhua: "Chinese police have arrested 75 people in the past month for involvement in illegal banking activities involving a total of 240 billion yuan (37.8 billion U.S. dollars), announced the Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday."


U.S. Justice Department:


Native Fashion Now: North American Indian Style
Nonfiction book by Karen Kramer
With contributions from Jay Calderin,
Madeleine M. Kropa, and Jessica R. Metcalfe
Publication Date (US/UK): November 1, 2015

Prestel Publishing:
Celebrating Native American design as an important force in the world of contemporary fashion, this book features beautiful, innovative, and surprising looks from Native American artists. 
Mainstream American fashion has always been influenced by Native American design, and that's because Native artists have always created exquisite clothing, jewelry, and accessories of their own. But it's only recently that Native designers themselves have started to break into the fashion industry in a big way. Current Native fashion is both wearable and beautiful and, as this volume reveals, increasingly fashion-forward. Divided into sections according to the designers' personal styles, the book showcases the work of dozens of fashion designers, from Virgil Ortiz to Patricia Michaels to Jamie Okuma. The book even includes a few Native-influenced pieces by non-Native designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Ralph Lauren. Native Fashion Now designers have dressed presidents' wives and been finalists on Project Runway, sold their work around the world, and seen it acquired by museums and private collectors. With examples that range from haute couture to casual streetwear, from evening gowns to beaded boots, and from skateboards to umbrellas, Native Fashion Now demonstrates the extraordinary range and talent of designers who honor important cultural traditions while creating breathtaking of-the-moment fashion.
Related: Amazon


Associated Press (AP): "Nicaragua's normally sleepy northern Caribbean coast in recent weeks has erupted in deadly clashes between Miskito Indians and settlers from the country's west."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


World Economic Forum (WEF):


Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians
and the Making of America
Nonfiction book by Michael A. McDonnell
Publication Date: December 8, 2015

Macmillan Publishers:
In Masters of Empire, the historian Michael A. McDonnell reveals the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. Masters of Empire charts the story of one group, the Odawa, who settled at the straits between those two lakes, a hub for trade and diplomacy throughout the vast country west of Montreal known as the pays d'en haut
Highlighting the long-standing rivalries and relationships among the great Indian nations of North America, McDonnell shows how Europeans often played only a minor role in this history, and reminds us that it was native peoples who possessed intricate and far-reaching networks of commerce and kinship, of which the French and British knew little. As empire encroached upon their domain, the Anishinaabeg were often the ones doing the exploiting. By dictating terms at trading posts and frontier forts, they played a crucial part in the making of early America. 
Through vivid depictions — all from a native perspective — of early skirmishes, the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution, Masters of Empire overturns our assumptions about colonial America. By calling attention to the Great Lakes as a crucible of culture and conflict, McDonnell reimagines the landscape of American history.


Washington University in St. Louis: "A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed."

Puerto Rico

U.S. Justice Department: "Ten Puerto Rico police officers have been indicted for their alleged participation in a criminal organization, run out of the police department, that used their affiliation with law enforcement to make money through robbery, extortion, manipulating court records and selling illegal narcotics, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico."

Monday, September 28, 2015


United States

Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown
and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman
Nonfiction book by Brooke Hauser
Publication Date: April 19, 2016

HarperCollins Publishers:
Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Helen Gurley Brown's arrival at Cosmopolitan magazine in 1965, this female Mad Men-like story chronicles the legendary editor's rise to power as both a cultural icon and trailblazer who redefined what it means to be an American woman. 
In the mid-Sixties, Helen Gurley Brown, author of the groundbreaking Sex and the Single Girl, took over the ailing Cosmopolitan magazine and revamped it into one of the most successful brands in the world. At a time when magazines taught housewives how to make the perfect casserole, Helen reimagined Cosmo and womanhood itself, championing the independent, ambitious, man-loving single woman. Though she was married, to Hollywood producer David Brown, no one embodied the idea of the Cosmo Girl more than the Ozarks-born Helen, who willed, worked, and — yes — occasionally slept her way to the top, eventually becoming one of the most influential media players in the world. 
Drawing on new interviews with Helen's friends and former colleagues as well as her personal letters, Enter Helen brings New York City vibrantly to life during the Sexual Revolution and the Women's Movement and features a cast of characters including Hugh Hefner, Nora Ephron, and Gloria Steinem. It is the cinematic story of an icon who bucked convention, defined her own destiny, and became a controversial model for modern feminism, laying the groundwork for television shows like Sex and the City and Girls. 
"Bad Feminist" or not, Helen Gurley Brown got people talking — about sex, work, reproductive choices, and having it all — forever changing the conversation.




U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): "Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today that the painting Portrait of a Young Man by Polish painter Krzysztof Lubieniecki has been returned to officials with the government of Poland. The work of art is believed to have been looted by Nazi soldiers from the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland, during World War II."


University of California, Irvine (UCI) :
In a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists from three universities show that products made in China are associated with significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions than the same products made elsewhere.
"The amazing increase in Chinese manufacturing over the past 15 years has driven the world economy to new heights and supplied consumers in developed countries with tremendous quantities of lower-cost goods," said co-author Steven J. Davis, an assistant professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. "But all of this has come at substantial cost to the environment."


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech): "Scientists from Virginia Tech and the University of Bristol have revealed how pigment can be detected in mammal fossils, a discovery that may end the guesswork in determining the colors of extinct species."

Dominican Republic

Oregon State University: "About 20 million years ago a single flea became entombed in amber with tiny bacteria attached to it, providing what researchers believe may be the oldest evidence on Earth of a dreaded and historic killer — an ancient strain of the bubonic plague."

Sunday, September 27, 2015


BBC News: "A Mexico City judge has sentenced three men to 520 years in jail each for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of 13 young people two years ago."

Saturday, September 26, 2015


United States

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared,
Surviving the Aftermath
Nonfiction book by Ted Koppel
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Penguin Random House:
In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America's power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. 
It isn't just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation's three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure — and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors — from "hacktivists" to terrorists — have the capability as well. "It's not a question of if," says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, "it's a question of when."
And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio. 
In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation's estimated three million "preppers," we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company — the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive? 
With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL): "The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Polish ambassador to Moscow on September 25 after graves of Soviet soldiers were vandalized in a Polish village."


Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS
Nonfiction book by Joby Warrick
Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Penguin Random House:
In a thrilling dramatic narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq. 
Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi's hideout in 2006. 
His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi's dream of an ultraconservative Islamic caliphate. 
Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today's most dangerous extremist threat.

Friday, September 25, 2015

U.S.-Cuba Business Council

U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched the U.S.-Cuba Business Council (USCBC), a formal commitment by the American business community to build a strong and strategic commercial relationship between Cuba and the United States. 
"We're facing a historic opportunity to support a vital and growing Cuban private sector, one that is defined by entrepreneurs whose expanding efforts show that the spirit of free enterprise is already taking hold in the country," said Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber President and CEO. "This council will work tirelessly to ensure that both countries can take advantage of the new avenues for trade, investment and economic cooperation in the bilateral relationship." 
The council will lead strategic efforts to maximize the potential of the U.S.-Cuba economic and trade partnership. By advocating for reforms in both the United States and Cuba, the USCBC's agenda aims to ultimately enhance commercial and investment opportunities for U.S. companies in Cuba and afford economic benefits directly to the Cuban people. 
"For too long, the U.S.-Cuban relationship has been defined by its differences and burdened by its past, while lacking a clear path forward," said Jodi Bond, the U.S. Chamber's vice president of the Americas. "The launch of the business council serves as another step toward the opening of a new chapter in relations between our countries."
USCBC will seek to work with the U.S. Congress, respective public and private sectors, and other key stakeholders to remove barriers to trade and create jobs, growth and prosperity in both countries. Additionally, the council will urge the Cuban government to continue to make policy changes to lessen government control or ownership of Cuban businesses.


United States

Mac Baldrige: The Cowboy in Ronald Reagan's Cabinet
Nonfiction book by Chris Black and B. Jay Cooper
Foreward by George H.W. Bush
Publication Date: November 3, 2015

Rowman & Littlefield:
Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency at a time when Japan and Europe, fully recovered from wartime devastation, threatened America's position as the number one economy in the world. Manufacturing was in decline; traditional industries were being beaten by foreign competitors; many American industries had grown complacent. President Reagan named Mac Baldrige, a successful industrialist (and card-carrying member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), Secretary of Commerce to address these economic challenges. This book recounts the Washington career of an American original during the era supporters celebrate as "morning in America."

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "A thief disguised with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask has driven off with a motorcycle from a high-end Melbourne car dealership after setting fire to a stolen van."


From Xinhua: "Police in south China's Guangdong Province have seized 28 people suspected of printing counterfeit renminbi, the Chinese currency, and confiscated notes worth 210 million yuan (32.9 million U.S. dollars), the police announced on Thursday."


The World Atlas of Tattoo
Nonfiction book by Anna Felicity Friedman
Foreward by James Elkins

Yale University Press:
Tattoo art and practice has seen radical changes in the 21st century, as its popularity has exploded. An expanding number of tattoo artists have been mining the past for lost traditions and innovating with new technology. An enormous diversity of styles, genres, and techniques has emerged, ranging from geometric blackwork to vibrant, painterly styles, and from hand-tattooed works to machine-produced designs. 
With over 700 stunning color illustrations, this volume considers historical and contemporary tattoo practices in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Each section, dedicated to a specific geographic region, features fascinating text by tattoo experts that explores the history and traditions native to that area as well as current styles and trends. The World Atlas of Tattoo also tracks the movement of styles from their indigenous settings to diasporic communities, where they have often been transformed into creative, multicultural, hybrid designs. The work of 100 notable artists from around the globe is showcased in this definitive reference on a widespread and intriguing art practice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


From Australia's University of Queensland: "As if life wasn't hard enough during the last Ice Age, research led by the University of Queensland has found Australia's first human inhabitants had to contend with giant killer lizards."