Saturday, May 28, 2016

Book

Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness
Nonfiction book by Craig Nelson
Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Simon & Schuster:
Published in time for the 75th anniversary, a gripping and definitive account of the event that changed twentieth-century America — Pearl Harbor — based on years of research and new information uncovered by a New York Times bestselling author. 
The America we live in today was born, not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when almost four hundred Japanese planes attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet, killing 2,400 men and sinking or damaging sixteen ships. In Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness, Nelson follows, moment by moment, the sailors, soldiers, pilots, admirals, generals, emperors, and presidents, all starting with a pre-polio Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, attending the laying of the keel at the Brooklyn Navy Yard of the USS Arizona, against the backdrop of the imperial, military, and civilian leaders of Japan lurching into ultranationalist fascism, all culminating into an insanely daring scheme to shock the Allies with a technologically revolutionary mission in one of the boldest military stories ever told — one with consequences that continue to echo in our lives today. 
Besides the little understood history of how and why Japan attacked America, we can hear the abandoned record player endlessly repeating "Sunrise Serenade" as the Japanese bombs hit the deck of the California, we feel terror as Navy wives, helped by their Japanese maids, upturn couches for cover and hide with their children in caves from a rumored invasion, and we understand the mix of frustration and triumph as a lone American teenager shoots down a Japanese bomber. Backed by a research team's five years of efforts with archives and interviews producing nearly a million pages of documents, as well as a thorough re-examination of the original evidence produced by federal investigators, this definitive history provides a blow-by-blow account from both the Japanese and American perspectives and is a historical drama on the greatest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy, and heroism of the attack in stunning detail, and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen and resonant consequences.
Personal Note:

On December 7, 1941, my father was on the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor.

Friday, May 27, 2016

U.S. Navy

From the U.S. Justice Department: "Three current and former [U.S.] Navy officers were charged in documents unsealed today for their roles in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving a Navy contractor."

Australia

Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW): "Fossil remains of a previously unknown family of carnivorous Australian marsupials that lived 15 million years ago have been discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil Site in northwestern Queensland."

Book

The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists
and the Last Age of the Exotic
Nonfiction book by Jamie James
Publication Date: August 9, 2016

Macmillan Publishers:
From the early days of steamship travel, artists stifled by the culture of their homelands fled to islands, jungles, and deserts in search of new creative and emotional frontiers. Their flight inspired a unique body of work that doesn't fit squarely within the Western canon, yet may be some of the most original statements we have about the range and depth of the artistic imagination. 
Focusing on six principal subjects, Jamie James locates "a lost national school" of artists who left their homes for the unknown. There is Walter Spies, the devastatingly handsome German painter who remade his life in Bali; Raden Saleh, the Javanese painter who found fame in Europe; Isabelle Eberhardt, a Russian-Swiss writer who roamed the Sahara dressed as an Arab man; the American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who went to Haiti and became a committed follower of voodoo. From France, Paul Gauguin left for Tahiti; and Victor Segalen, a naval doctor, poet, and novelist, immersed himself in classical Chinese civilization in imperial Peking. 
In The Glamour of Strangeness, James evokes these extraordinary lives in portraits that bring the transcultural artist into sharp relief. Drawing on his own career as a travel writer and years of archival research uncovering previously unpublished letters and journals, James creates a penetrating study of the powerful connection between art and the exotic.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New York

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL):
U.S. prosecutors opposed a wealthy gold trader's request to be released on bail while he awaits trial for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying his "immense" resources makes him a flight risk. 
Describing Reza Zarrab as a "sophisticated, well-connected, international businessman with immense wealth and influence," prosecutors argued before a New York judge on May 25 that he might use his "tremendous wealth" to flee the United States. 
Zarrab has been in U.S. custody since his arrest in Miami in March on charges that he conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions to help the Iranian government and Iranian individuals evade U.S. sanctions. 
If convicted, Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and his native Iran who is a celebrity married to Turkish pop star Ebru Gündeş faces the possibility of decades in prison.

Book

United States

The Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money
in the Gilded Age
Nonfiction book by Wendy Gamber
Publication Date: August 21, 2016

Johns Hopkins University Press:
In September 1868, the remains of Jacob and Nancy Jane Young were found lying near the banks of Indiana's White River. It was a gruesome scene. Part of Jacob's face had been blown off, apparently by the shotgun that lay a few feet away. Spiders and black beetles crawled over his wound. Smoke rose from his wife's smoldering body, which was so badly burned that her intestines were exposed, the flesh on her thighs gone, and the bones partially reduced to powder. 
Suspicion for both deaths turned to Nancy Clem, a housewife who was also one of Mr. Young's former business partners. In The Notorious Mrs. Clem, Wendy Gamber chronicles the life and times of this charming and persuasive Gilded Age confidence woman, who became famous not only as an accused murderess but also as an itinerant peddler of patent medicine and the supposed originator of the Ponzi scheme. Clem's story is a shocking tale of friendship and betrayal, crime and punishment, courtroom drama and partisan politicking, get-rich-quick schemes and shady business deals. It also raises fascinating questions about women's place in an evolving urban economy. As they argued over Clem's guilt or innocence, lawyers, jurors, and ordinary citizens pondered competing ideas about gender, money, and marriage. Was Clem on trial because she allegedly murdered her business partner? Or was she on trial because she engaged in business? 
Along the way, Gamber introduces a host of equally compelling characters, from prosecuting attorney and future U.S. president Benjamin Harrison to folksy defense lawyer John Hanna, daring detective Peter Wilkins, pioneering "lady news writer" Laura Ream, and female-remedy manufacturer Michael Slavin. Based on extensive sources, including newspapers, trial documents, and local histories, this gripping account of a seemingly typical woman who achieved extraordinary notoriety will appeal to true crime lovers and historians alike.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

California

U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California:
Just a few hours after murdering his girlfriend in Panama and chopping up her body with a machete, retired [U.S.] Marine Brian Karl Brimager sent an email to a friend: "Hey bro, whatcha up to? I got stories for days. I’m living on an island off the coast of Panama loving life and living semper free!!!!!!"
A few days later, after he'd disposed of Yvonne Baldelli's body in the Panamanian jungle, Brimager accessed her bank account and used the money to buy rounds of drinks for female friends at a bar. "Thanks Vonnie," he announced, as he raised his glass in a toast. 
After returning to the United States, Brimager received an email from another friend who told him to say hello to Baldelli. In his reply, Brimager wrote that he'd "ditched the bitch." In a social media post about the sale of the machete he used to sever Baldelli's limbs, Brimager joked: "I only dismembered one stripper with it — it’s hardly used." 
Because of the heinous nature of the crime and his actions afterward — particularly the way he celebrated her death and tormented Baldelli's family with his elaborate cover-up — Brimager was sentenced in federal court by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller today to 26 years in prison, ending a long and legally challenging FBI-led investigation and prosecution spanning thousands of miles, multiple countries and more than four years. 
"The day of reckoning has come for Brian Brimager," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "Not only did he show a callous disregard for Yvonne Baldelli's life by viciously beating, stabbing, dismembering and dumping her in the jungle, but his words and actions in the hours, days and months following his horrendous crime exhibited an extreme lack of remorse. He stole a precious daughter, sister, aunt and friend, and now he is paying the price." 
"I hope today’s sentencing brings some closure to Ms. Baldelli's family, knowing that her murderer will serve a very long prison sentence for her cruel and vicious murder," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum. "I commend the professionalism and dedication of our international law enforcement partners, the prosecutors and the FBI agents here in San Diego and Panama who worked tirelessly to obtain justice for Yvonne Baldelli." 
Judge Miller also ordered Brimager to pay $11,132 in restitution to Baldelli’s father and a $10,000 fine. 
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors argued that the circumstances of the crime — including mutilation of the body and Brimager's multiple attempts to convince Baldelli's family that she was still alive — amounted to "extreme conduct," a legal term of art that merits an enhanced sentence. 
Prosecutors told the court at today's hearing that eight witnesses in Panama related separate incidents to the FBI in which they saw Brimager beating, punching, choking and threatening to kill Baldelli. When the 220-pound ex-Marine killed the 110-pound Baldelli on November 27, 2011, the evidence showed that he broke her teeth and nose and stabbed her multiple times before dragging her lifeless body to the shower, where he mutilated her. 
Judge Miller agreed that these actions amounted to extreme conduct and handed down a sentence that is stronger than a typical second-degree murder term. "This murder was particularly cruel and depraved," the judge said. "The lengths Mr. Brimager went to to avoid detection were particularly brazen and ultimately shattering to the Bardelli family. I dare say they will never recover. A day may never go by without them thinking of Ms. Baldelli's murder and the images seared in to their psyches." 
During the hearing, nine members of Baldelli's family, including her parents, sister, nieces and closest friends, told the court how they have suffered emotionally and physically because of the loss, the way in which she was killed, and the torture of not knowing her whereabouts. Some described in wrenching detail their search for her body in the muddy spider-infested swamps of the Panamanian jungle — too afraid to find her, too afraid not to. 
During the court hearing, Brimager faced family members seated in the gallery and said he was sorry. But the family wasn’t receptive. "Don’t look at us!" someone fired back. "Sure," scoffed another. 
During her victim impact statement before the court, Michelle Faust, Baldelli's sister, said: "Today we got an apology — a hollow last-minute attempt to save himself. Last night we talked about forgiveness. But forgiveness is for those who repent, not for those who cover their crimes, not for those who confess only when their back's against the wall." 
According to sentencing documents, after dismembering her body, Brimager stuffed her torso into a military duffle bag and shoved her lower limbs into garbage bags. He then hiked approximately 1.5 miles to the other side of the island where he threw the duffle bag and garbage bags down an embankment into the remote Panamanian jungle -- where they remained for 21 months until a local Panamanian stumbled onto the duffle bag containing her skeletonized remains. 
Brimager pleaded guilty on February 24, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller to Foreign Murder of a United States National. In his guilty plea, Brimager also admitted that he obstructed the investigation into her murder by destroying, concealing and disposing of evidence, including a blood-stained mattress, clothes and jewelry;  killed Baldelli's two dogs; accessed Baldelli's email account after her murder and impersonated Baldelli in emails sent from her account to friends and family; withdrew money from Baldelli's bank account in Costa Rica after her death; and provided false statements to an FBI agent — all in an attempt to make it seem as though Baldelli were alive and well and traveling with another man in Costa Rica. 
Brimager has been in custody since June 2013. 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Conover told the court that Brimager killed Baldelli in order to silence her. She'd discovered that Brimager had a girlfriend and daughter in San Diego. Baldelli could've ruined it for Brimager by revealing their relationship to the girlfriend. Within two weeks of returning to San Diego after Baldelli's murder, Brimager married the girlfriend.

New York

U.S. Justice Department: "Virgil Flaviu Georgescu, 43, of Romania, was convicted by a federal jury today of conspiring to sell large quantities of military-grade weaponry to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, to be used to kill Americans in Colombia."

Phoenician


University of Otago: "A research team co-led by a scientist at New Zealand's University of Otago has sequenced the first complete mitochondrial genome of a 2,500-year-old Phoenician dubbed the 'Young Man of Byrsa' or 'Ariche.' This is the first ancient DNA to be obtained from Phoenician remains. Ariche was found to have belonged to a rare European haplogroup that likely links his maternal ancestry to locations somewhere on the North Mediterranean coast, most probably on the Iberian Peninsula."

(Photo credit: M. Rais)

New York

Associated Press (AP):

Virginia

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia: "Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, of Arad, Romania, a hacker who used the online moniker 'Guccifer,' pleaded guilty today to unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft."

Novel

A novel by Michael S. Koyama
Publication Date: November 15, 2016

About the Author: "Michael S. Koyama is the nom de plume of an economist with degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University. He recently retired as professor of economics and Asian studies at a major university in the United States where he held an endowed chair."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Taiwan

Radio Free Asia (RFA):

Europe

Eurojust: "This past weekend two arrests and seizure of evidence took place in Rome, with the close cooperation of Portuguese and Italian authorities. The case related to a Portuguese national and a Russian national suspected of being paid to transfer confidential information to a foreign intelligence service."

Related: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)

Book

United States

Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition,
Ego, Money, and Power
Nonfiction book by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher
Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Simon & Schuster:
A comprehensive biography of Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner in the presidential election campaign. Trump Revealed will be reported by a team of award-winning Washington Post journalists and co-authored by investigative political reporter Michael Kranish and senior editor Marc Fisher. 
Trump Revealed will offer the most thorough and wide-ranging examination of Donald Trump's public and private lives to date, from his upbringing in Queens and formative years at the New York Military Academy, to his turbulent careers in real estate and entertainment, to his astonishing rise as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. The book will be based on the investigative reporting of more than two dozen Washington Post reporters and researchers who will leverage their expertise in politics, business, legal affairs, sports, and other areas. The effort will be guided by a team of editors headed by Executive Editor Martin Baron, who joined the newspaper in 2013 after his successful tenure running the Boston Globe, which included the "Spotlight" team's investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

New York

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York: "A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Michael Rizzi, a retired NYPD* police officer, with conspiring to launder the proceeds of a multimillion-dollar prostitution operation."

*New York City Police Department

Somalia

U.S. State Department: "The security situation in Somalia remains unstable and dangerous."

Garamba National Park

Associated Press (AP):

Book

The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest
to Discover New Medicines
Nonfiction book by Donald R. Kirsch
and Ogi Ogas
Publication Date: January 3, 2017

Perseus Books Group:
The surprising, behind-the-scenes story of how our medicines are discovered, told by a veteran drug hunter.
The search to find medicines is as old as disease, which is to say as old as the human race. Through serendipity — by chewing, brewing, and snorting—some Neolithic souls discovered opium, alcohol, snakeroot, juniper, frankincense, and other helpful substances. Ötzi the Iceman, the five-thousand-year-old hunter frozen in the Italian Alps, was found to have whipworms in his intestines and Bronze-Age medicine, a worm-killing birch fungus, knotted to his leggings. Nowadays, Big Pharma conglomerates spend billions of dollars on state-of-the-art laboratories staffed by PhDs to discover blockbuster drugs. Yet, despite our best efforts to engineer cures, luck, trial-and-error, risk, and ingenuity are still fundamental to medical discovery. 
The Drug Hunters is a colorful, fact-filled narrative history of the search for new medicines from our Neolithic forebears to the professionals of today, and from quinine and aspirin to Viagra, Prozac, and Lipitor. The chapters offer a lively tour of how new drugs are actually found, the discovery strategies, the mistakes, and the rare successes. Dr. Donald R. Kirsch infuses the book with his own expertise and experiences from thirty-five years of drug hunting, whether searching for life-saving molecules in mudflats by Chesapeake Bay or as a chief science officer and research group leader at major pharmaceutical companies.

Monday, May 23, 2016

China

NPR: "A 5,000-year-old brewery has been unearthed in China."

U.S. Navy

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ivan Mitchell gets his face painted
to participate in a traditional Pacific Islander dance as part of a
celebration to mark Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage
Month aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy in the Pacific Ocean.

(U.S. Navy photo by Hank Gettys)

Piranhas

Deutsche Welle (DW): "Do you think piranhas are bloodthirsty monsters, who skeletonize any creature they can eat within seconds? Then you will be surprised! DW's Brigitte Osterath has come to know seven piranhas quite intimately."

Peru

Voice of America: "Peru's President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day state of emergency in a large remote area of the Amazon jungle because of extremely high levels of mercury poisoning from illegal gold mining."

India


(Photo credit: © Sumeet Moghe)

South Africa

NPR: "South Africa will allow domestic trade of rhino horns again, after a seven-year ban."

Cephalopods

University of Adelaide, Australia: "Unlike the declining populations of many fish species, the number of cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squid) has increased in the world's oceans over the past 60 years, a University of Adelaide study has found."

India

Survival International:
Several tribal villages in central India face annihilation as they are being forced to leave their ancestral land in Achanakmar tiger reserve, close to the area which inspired Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book
The Baiga tribespeople have been repeatedly harassed and told that they will have to move from their villages to a muddy clearing outside the reserve, even though there is no evidence their presence in the reserve is harming tigers. Such evidence is required if the tribe's eviction is to be lawful, but in fact the number of tigers in the reserve reportedly rose from 12 to 28 between 2011 and 2015. 
One Baiga man from Rajak village said: "We don’t want to go, we can't go. What should we do?" 
A local witness told Survival: "There is nothing around the new site for them, nothing will grow in the land, there is no water and they won't be able to take anything from the forest. That's why they are so adamant that they won't leave, because if they go they will just die out." 
Some have been told that if they don't leave their ancestral land, guards will release bears and snakes into their villages. Others have been arrested and harassed — in 2009 one man was jailed for three months for eating a squirrel he had found dead on the forest floor. 
Those who have already been evicted from Achanakmar now live in inadequate government camps and face lives of poverty on the fringes of mainstream Indian society. 
One Baiga person from Chirahatta village, which is facing eviction, said: "They've been placing restrictions on us for two or three years. They don't let us live. They take us to jail and threaten us. They are harsh and strict. They put us in jail for nothing. If we say anything they threaten to put us in jail. They are making it difficult for us to live." 
Elsewhere, Baiga people do backbreaking manual labor in bauxite mines in terrible working conditions. 
Across India, tribespeople are being illegally evicted from tiger reserves, despite there being no evidence that their presence harms tigers. They face arrest and, in some places, beatings, torture and even summary execution for trying to re-enter their ancestral land, while large-scale tiger-spotting tourism is encouraged. 
Last year, Survival learned that tiger numbers had increased at well above the Indian national average in BRT, the one reserve in India where tribes have been formally allowed to stay on their land, demonstrating that tribal villages within wildlife reserves do not pose a substantial threat to tigers or their habitat. 
Survival has written to WWF, the world's largest conservation organization, which equips and trains the forest guards in the region. 
Evidence proves that tribal peoples are better at looking after their environment than anyone else. Despite this, they are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of conservation. The big conservation organizations are guilty of supporting this. They never speak out against evictions. 
Survival's director Stephen Corry said: "It's illegal and immoral to target tribes, who have coexisted with the tiger for centuries, when industrialization and mass-scale colonial-era hunting are the real reason the tiger became endangered. It's also ineffective, because targeting tribespeople diverts action away from tackling the true poachers — criminal gangs. Big conservation organizations should be partnering with tribal peoples, not propping up the Forest Departments that are guilty of brutalizing them. Targeting tribal people harms conservation."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book

Egypt

Cairo Inside Out
Nonfiction book by Trevor Naylor
Photographs by Doriana MacMullen
Shipping Date: December 6, 2016

Oxford University Press:
Cairo is a city of splendor and spectacle, long celebrated as much for its warmth and bustling street life as for the legacy of its tumultuous past. Yet for the countless visitors who fall under its spell, the prolonged din of its crowds and traffic can seem overwhelming at times, tempting them out of the city's open spaces into its shadow light, the cooler, quieter interiors of restaurants, homes, hotels, and terraces. Cairo Inside Out evokes the light and moods of this great metropolis with stunning photographs shot from the city's indoor havens. We observe it through and from nostalgic haunts, such as Café Riche and the Windsor Hotel, and look out onto its great sights — the Nile, the Red Pyramid at Dahshur, Ibn Tulun mosque — from the most intimate urban interiors, homes, and watersides. For those who may have lived in Cairo, this is a reminder of a city that moves and yet remains wonderfully unchanged. For visitors and residents, this evocative collection, an unabashed homage to Cairo's persistent color and allure, will inspire them to visit those places once more.

Israel

From Voice of America: "Israel returned two smuggled ancient sarcophagus covers back to Egypt Sunday, a sign of warmer relations between the two neighbors."

Colombia

Associated Press (AP):

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Indonesia

Deutsche Welle (DW): "Three people have been killed and four critically injured after a volcano erupted in Indonesia."

Update (22 May 16): The death toll has risen to seven.

Costa Rica

BBC News: "A volcano has erupted in central Costa Rica, belching smoke and ash up to 3,000m (9,840ft) into the air."

Book

White Man's Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden,
and Other Myths About Conservation in Africa
Nonfiction book by Stephanie Hanes
Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Macmillan Publishers:
A behind-the-scenes look at the celebrated yet troubled Gorongosa wildlife preserve, where Western conservation efforts are colliding with African culture.
The stunningly beautiful Gorongosa National Park, once the crown jewel of Mozambique, was nearly destroyed by decades of civil war. For American multimillionaire Greg Carr, a tech mogul seeking new challenges, it looked like a perfect place for Western philanthropy: under his guidance, he promised, Gorongosa would be revived as an ecological paradise. But what of the local Mozambicans themselves, who had been living in the area for centuries? In White Man's Game, journalist Stephanie Hanes traces Carr's effort to tackle one of the world's biggest environmental challenges, showing how the ambitious reconstruction turned into a dramatic clash of cultures. 
In vivid, you-are-there stories, Hanes takes readers on a virtual safari into this remote corner of southern Africa. She faces down lions and malaria, describes what it takes to transport an elephant across international borders, and talks to park workers and wildlife poachers — who sometimes turn out to be one and the same. And she examines the larger issues that arise when Western do-gooders try to "fix" complex, messy situations in Africa, acting with best intentions yet ignoring the experience of the people who actually live there. 
A gripping narrative of environmentalists and warlords, elephants and rainmakers, poachers and millionaires, White Man's Game profoundly challenges the way we think about philanthropy and conservation.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mexico

Voice of America:
Mexico on Friday approved the extradition to the United States of Joaquín Guzmán, also known as "El Chapo," Mexico's most powerful drug lord and one of the world's most notorious criminals. 
The Mexican government issued a statement permitting Guzmán to be extradited to the United States for trial. He is wanted in the states of California and Texas on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and murder. 
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department ruled that he could be transferred to the United States after U.S. officials provided what it called "adequate guarantees" that Guzmán would not face the death penalty. Mexico no longer uses the death penalty and avoids extradition to nations where it is still in practice. 
Guzmán's lawyers say they are filing multiple legal challenges to the extradition order.

Texas

U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas:

Book

Sports Betting and Bookmaking: An American History
Nonfiction book by Arne K. Lang
Publication Date: July 16, 2016

Rowman & Littlefield:
Horse racing in America dates back to the colonial era when street races were a common occurrence. The commercialization of horse racing produced a sport that would briefly surpass all others in popularity, with annual races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes growing to rank among America's most celebrated sporting events. From the very onset, horse racing and gambling were intertwined. As the popularity of racing and betting grew, so, too, did the controversies and corruption. Yet, despite the best efforts of social reformers, bookmakers stubbornly plied their trade, adapting and evolving as horse racing gave way to team sports as the backbone of their business. 
In Sports Betting and Bookmaking: An American History, Arne K. Lang provides a sweeping overview of legal and illegal sports and race betting in the United States, from the first thoroughbred meet at Saratoga in 1863 through the modern day. The cultural war between bookmakers and their adversaries is a recurring theme, as bookmakers were often forced into the shadows during times of social reform, only to bloom anew when the time was ripe. While much of bookmaking's history takes place in New York, other locales such as Chicago, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City — not to mention Cyberspace — are also discussed in this volume. 
A comprehensive exploration of the evolution of bookmaking — including the legal developments and technological advancements that have taken place over the years — Sports Betting and Bookmaking is a fascinating read. This informative and engaging book will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about America's long history with gambling on horse racing and team sports.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Florida

University of Florida (UF):
Spotting native alligators and crocodiles in Florida is common, but anyone who sees a large reptile may want to take a second look — man-eaters that can grow to 18 feet long and weigh as much as a small car have been found in the Sunshine State. 
Using DNA analysis, University of Florida researchers have confirmed the capture of multiple Nile crocodiles in the wild. 
The ancient icon eats everything from zebras to small hippos to humans in sub-Saharan Africa.

Massachusetts

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts: "The City of Boston's Director of the Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment was arrested this morning after a federal grand jury indicted him in connection with the extortion of a music festival production company."

Wanted

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): "Two men charged with brutal murders have been named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, with rewards of up to $100,000 being offered in each case."

New Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP):
Border Patrol Agents from the Deming Station arrested a convicted felon this week who was previously charged with murder in New Mexico in 1989. 
On May 17, Border Patrol Agents on the ATV unit were alerted to activity west of Columbus, New Mexico. Agents responded and located the footprints of several subjects. The tracks eventually led to four male subjects attempting to conceal themselves behind nearby brush. Each subject admitted to being in the United States illegally, and were taken into custody. They were then transported to the Deming Border Patrol Station for further processing. 
Upon arrival at the station, the men were thoroughly processed, and it was discovered that 54-year-old Arturo Solano Ramos of Mexico had an extensive criminal history. His information revealed charges including: First Degree Murder (in Albuquerque, NM, in 1989), Transporting Illegal Migrants, Possession of Cocaine, Marijuana and numerous charges related to Re-Entry after Deportation. Ramos was transported to the Luna County Detention Center pending criminal prosecution for illegal re-entry.

Book

Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun:
Sino-Japanese Relations, Past and Present
Nonfiction book by June Teufel Dreyer
Shipping Date: June 2, 2016

Oxford University Press:
Japan and China have been rivals for more than a millennium. In more recent times, China was the more powerful until the late nineteenth century, while Japan took the upper hand in the twentieth. Now, China's resurgence has emboldened it even as Japan perceives itself falling behind, exacerbating long-standing historical frictions. 
June Teufel Dreyer's Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun provides a highly accessible overview of one of the world's great civilizational rivalries. Dreyer, a senior scholar of East Asia, begins in the ninth century in order to provide a historical background for the main story: by the mid-nineteenth century, the shrinking distances afforded by advances in technology and the intrusion of Western powers brought the two into closer proximity in ways that alternately united and divided them. In the aftermath of multiple wars between them, including a long and brutal conflict in World War II, Japan developed into an economic power but rejected any concomitant military capabilities. China's journey toward modernization was hindered by ideological and leadership struggles that lasted until the death of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong in 1976. 
Bringing the narrative up to the present day, Dreyer focuses on the issues that dominate China and Japan's fraught current relationship: economic rivalry, memories of World War II, resurgent nationalism, military tensions, Taiwan, the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, and globalization. Dreyer argues that recent disputes should be seen as manifestations of embedded rivalries rather than as issues whose resolution would provide a lasting solution to deep-standing disputes. For anyone interested in the political dynamics of East Asia, this integrative history of the relationship between the region's two giants is essential reading.