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October 11, 2009 | David Zucchino
Barrel Monster, a fearsome 12-foot-tall creature made from orange traffic barrels, became an Internet sensation when it briefly appeared along a street here last spring, trying to hitch a ride. Art lovers around the world rose up in outrage after its creator, North Carolina State University student Joseph Carnevale, was busted by the cops in June. His crime? Stealing the materials for his art from a road construction site. Barrel Monster spoofs popped up on websites and Facebook pages.
October 9, 2009 | Alex Rodriguez
In the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, people are accustomed to the hum of American drones overhead -- and don't like it. The drones kill civilians as well as militants, they say, and use of the pilotless aircraft also tramples Pakistani sovereignty. This summer in the Swat Valley, Pakistanis again heard drones whirring in the sky, but there was a difference. They were Pakistani-owned and operated, a toe-in-the-water foray into a technology that is revolutionizing warfare. They weren't missile-carrying drones like the ones used by the U.S., but unmanned aerial vehicles that sent images of targets back to Pakistani command posts.
October 7, 2009 | Chris Kraul, Kraul is a special correspondent.
Craving adventure and escape from his broken home, Jerson enlisted with leftist guerrillas when he was in his early teens. He saw it as a way to emulate Che Guevara and bring social justice to this impoverished region of Colombia. Plus the rebels offered him new clothes and a cellphone. So three years ago the indigenous youth found himself in the Sixth Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which patrols the mountains of Cauca state. Two months later, chafing under strict rules and horrified by the killing of a childhood friend and fellow recruit by Colombian soldiers, he fled the rebel ranks.
September 27, 2009 | Associated Press
A U.S. military drone crashed Saturday in northern Iraq, hitting a regional office of Iraq's largest Sunni political party in an area that remains an insurgent stronghold, an American military official said. The unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the local office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul. The U.S. military identified the crashed drone as a Shadow model, which does not carry weapons and is routinely used in areas like Mosul to track insurgents planting explosives.
September 24, 2009 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
It isn't easy making a movie in the Dominican Republic. When Michael Mann tried shooting part of "Miami Vice" there in 2005, a gunfight broke out near the film set, prompting costar Jamie Foxx to leave the country and forcing the film to relocate to Miami. The filmmakers who made "La Soga," which recently earned several standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival, managed to finish their movie without anyone being killed, though they do have colorful stories, which include hiring a machete fighter to handle security.
September 16, 2009 | Associated Press
Juan Almeida Bosque, a comrade of Fidel Castro since the start of his guerrilla struggle more than half a century ago, died of a heart attack Friday in Havana, government media announced. He was 82. One of three surviving rebel leaders who still bore the title "Commander of the Revolution," Almeida was a major figure in the battle to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, and through the early years after the Jan. 1, 1959, triumph of the revolution. His death "is a reminder of what everyone knows, which is that the original generation is in its final laps," said Phil Peters, a Cuba expert at the Washington-area think tank the Lexington Institute.
September 8, 2009 | DAN NEIL
For reasons known only to the pop-culture gods, IKEA -- the Swedish retailer of cheap, lingonberry-flavored furniture and other shinola -- has suddenly become a ubiquitous presence in the ether. Example: in August, when the 2010 IKEA catalog came out, people went utterly bonkers because the designers had changed the print font from the familiar Futura to Verdana -- an esoteric difference, to be sure. The story rocketed to No. 2 on's most-read list, according to Mona Astra Liss, IKEA's director of public relations.
August 9, 2009 | John M. Glionna
Restaurant owner Lyra Quitay is blind in one eye. Her arms, chest and legs bear painful black scars and her right hand is so gnarled that it resembles a claw when she signs her name. In October 2001, a terrorist's bomb ripped through the claustrophobic downtown market where Quitay runs a tiny kitchen, instantly killing her security guard and blowing a hole in her life. The guard had gone to investigate an abandoned duck egg cart; when he opened the lid on a pot, it exploded -- ripping off his head and leaving Quitay with injuries so severe that she still wakes up crying at night.
July 30, 2009 | Associated Press
Soldiers in tanks and armored cars besieged the shelled compound of a radical Islamist sect and sporadic gunfire erupted as hundreds of noncombatants fled Wednesday, the fourth day of fighting in Nigeria's northern city of Maiduguri. Relief official Apollus Jediel said about 1,000 people had abandoned their homes Wednesday, joining 3,000 displaced this week in four states caught up in the violence. It is not known how many people have been killed.
July 24, 2009 | Associated Press
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all countries Thursday to provide urgent military support to Somalia's beleaguered transitional government, warning that its survival is at stake. Two allied Islamist insurgent groups -- Shabab and the Islamic Party -- launched an offensive after the return of an exiled insurgent leader in April that has killed hundreds of Somalis and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.
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