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Shooting Down North Korea Missiles

Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service, via AP

Pyongyang may fire ballistic missiles in Japan’s direction this month, but Tokyo believes it’s ready to knock down whatever North Korea sends its way … as long as there aren’t too many of them.

Like a batter waiting for a wicked pitch that might just hit his head, the Japanese are on alert—full scale military alert—waiting for the nuclear-armed crazies in North Korea to throw a missile in their direction. The Japanese think it’s coming soon, and they’re letting it be known (but quietly and in contradictory leaks) that they plan to knock it out of the park.The question is: Can they? The other question is: Why don’t they want to talk about it publicly?The answer to the second question might just be related to the first.


American Jihadist Dies of Overdose


The Eric Harroun I knew wanted to fight for justice in Syria, but went into combat alongside Al Qaeda. The United States jailed him as a potential terrorist, and now he has died.

I first met Eric Harroun, better known as “The American Jihadist,” over cocktails at a rooftop martini bar in one of Cairo’s Nile-side 5-star hotels. It was July of 2011, and Harroun was recovering from a recent arrest by Egyptian security forces following his involvement in the summer’s anti-military protests. The conversation was one of fervent indignation and outrage, but also one of paralyzing powerlessness in the face of impunity and injustice.

Art Mysteries

Lost Masterpieces Found in Kitchen

Andreas Solar/AFP/Getty

A retired Italian autoworker unwittingly bought two stolen art masterpieces worth millions for $32 and kept them on his kitchen wall for nearly 40 years.

It was just after sunrise on a June morning in 1975, when “Nicolo,” whose real name cannot be revealed because of Italy’s privacy laws, finished working the night shift on the assembly line at the FIAT auto factory in Turin.  As he often did, he stopped by the “after work auction” run by the Italian state police where items found on the trains were sold to the highest bidder.  There, among the watches, radios and lost coats, Nicolo spotted two paintings he thought would look nice above his dining room table.

Crisis in Ukraine

Deadline Time in Ukraine

Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Getty

With thousands of Putin’s troops ready to support them, pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk mock the authorities’ vows to use force against them.

DONETSK, Ukraine — The Ukrainian government in Kiev has given all protestors occupying government buildings across the country 48 hours to withdraw or face being forcibly evicted. “For those who want dialogue, we propose talks and a political solution,” Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, announced on Wednesday. “For the minority who want conflict, they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities.”The threat has been greeted with derision here around the barricaded city hall festooned with Russian and Soviet flags.


MH370 in a Million Pieces?

Nguyen Huy Kham/Reuters

The search area needs to shrink dramatically before the black boxes can be retrieved. It could take years to pick up the rest of the pieces.

Nobody has said it in so many words, but those searching the Indian Ocean for Flight MH370 would appear to be driven by the principle that failure is not an option.The public voice of the search, retired Australian air chief marshal Angus Houston, speaks in carefully scripted and measured tones. He has explained that four separate acquisitions of ping signals made by the Australian vessel Ocean Shield have resulted in “better defining a reduced and much more manageable search area on the ocean floor.


Can Rent-a-Cops Protect US Troops?

Erich Schlegel/Reuters

After 9/11 more private contractors took over security responsibilities on military bases as troops headed overseas. Recent veterans weigh in on the impact of that shift.

The most recent catastrophe at Fort Hood has Congress asking questions: how can we prevent this from happening again? Along with talk about treating and screening for service members with mental health issues, the focus has been on the security procedures at military bases and how it might be improved.As CNN reported April 6th, lawmakers are examining how the military secure its installations, and whether current controls are sufficient. Along with looking at physical security measures to prevent the transport of illegal firearms on base another issue being reviewed is whether the military should return to using troops to guard checkpoints, rather than the private security contractors common today.


Iraq’s Horrific Child Marriage Law

Karim Kadim/AP

A new law would approve marriage to girls as young as nine in a bid to appease the nation’s conservatives ahead of parliamentary elections.

In a bid to please the nation’s Shi’a Muslim majority ahead of parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Council of Ministers has drafted a law that would legalize marital rape, as well as grant men the authority to marry girls as young as age nine. The Jaafari Personal Status Law was approved by the Council of Ministers in February, and now awaits likely passage in the Iraqi parliament in the last days before the April 30 election.The chaos in neighboring Syria, a domestic electricity crisis of demand, and yet another “Battle for Fallujah” have all set a geopolitical tone for what will likely be contentious parliamentary elections.

Courtroom Drama

‘Say I Shot And Killed Her!’

Themba Hadebe/AP

The prosecution pounded Oscar Pistorius with a withering cross-examination today, forcing him to confront a picture of Reeva Steenkamp moments after her death.

It has been a riveting day of testimony at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria as state prosecutor GerrieNel launched a dramatic assault on Oscar Pistorius, who has been on the witness stand since Monday. Nel, who up until now had appeared to be a relatively unassuming figure during the state’s case, today demonstrated exactly why he is known as ‘The Bulldog’ within South African legal circles.“You are a model for sportsmen, disabled and abled bodied sportsmen, all over the world?” Nel asked as he initiated his cross-examination of the six-time Paralympic gold medalistaccused of killing his 29-year-old girlfriend, ReevaSteenkamp.


Telling My Kids I'm Going to War

Sandy Huffaker/Getty

Before he leaves on another deployment to Afghanistan, a military officer has to break the news to his family.

Editor’s Note: Nick Willard is the pen name of a service member heading to Afghanistan on one of the final deployments in the closing days of America’s longest war. He will write what he sees in an ongoing feature for The Daily Beast that will appear as regularly as his schedule allows. Biographical details have been changed to protect his identity.  I’d known about the deployment to Afghanistan for three months, but made a deal with my wife to not tell the kids until after the holidays.

False Flag

Sy Hersh Gasses Turkey

Ammar Dar/Reuters

The veteran reporter blames Ankara for a horrific Syria chemical weapons attack. That’s unlikely—but he’s right that Turkey is increasingly frustrated at Western foot-dragging on Assad.

ISTANBUL— Analysts and diplomats in Turkey may doubt that Ankara orchestrated the deadly August poison gas attack near Damascus, as Seymour Hersh claims, but they insist that at least one important aspect of the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter’s new article is true.In the latest issue of the London Review of Books), Hersh writes that Turkey organized the August 21 attack, which killed more than 1,000 people, to provoke a U.S. intervention in Syria.


Crisis in Ukraine




The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

In his one-man show, ‘700 Sundays’, Crystal interweaves the bitter and sweet—growing up Jewish in Long Beach, being the token Munchkin on the school basketball team—and reminds us what great comedy is.

Changing Times

Senior Dem's Tough Re-Election

If You Dare

For Sale: The Scariest Island Ever

Legal Authority

Go It Alone, Obama, for Democracy

Fashion Cheat Sheet

The Duchess's DVF Dress Sells Out