November 22, 2013

By Matt M. Joye
Staff Writer

Will U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014? Afghan President Hamid Karzai has blended brinksmanship with delicate political maneuvering to bring a bilateral security agreement before the loya jirga this week—but says his successor may have the final vote. Meanwhile, two leaders of the Afghan Taliban were killed next door in Pakistan by U.S. drones.

Russian courts granted bail to some of the Greenpeace activists detained after their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, was seized in the wake of a protest near a Russian drilling rig in the Pechora Sea. Elsewhere, Alexander Bastrykin—“Russia’s J. Edgar Hoover”—lectured about creating a more independent judicial system to a less than receptive audience at the Paris Sorbonne.

A U.S. Navy drone used for target practice struck the missile cruiser USS Chancellorville near San Diego on Saturday, injuring two sailors and raising questions about a proposed San Diego area drone zone for unmanned flight research by private industry.

Just when you thought it was finally safe to Snapchat, television maker LG has apologized for spying on customers with smart TVs who opted out of data sharing. And according to researchers at the University of Cambridge, smart phone PINs can be hacked using the device’s own camera and microphone.

The “creator of the web” Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned the democratic nature of the Internet is threatened by government surveillance and censorship. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the United Kingdom signed off on letting the National Security Agency keep British phone, internet and email records after 2007, triggering outrage and an inquiry by a watchdog agency. In China, internet activists claim to have found a way around “The Great Firewall.”

Investigators in London are struggling to explain “The London Slaves”–three women rescued last week who were confined for over 30 years in a house in the middle of the sprawling metropolis.

Fans of the series “House of Cards” might find life imitating art: Florida U.S. Representative Henry Radel entered rehab for cocaine possession, while embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford saw of most of his powers stripped—perhaps temporarily—after he admitted to buying drugs while in office, among other questionable antics. One Canadian columnist even reflects on the impact Ford has had on the Canadian culture crisis.

Two legends intertwined by the day of their death were commemorated this week. C.S. Lewis wrapped morality in enchanted stories (The Chronicles of Narnia) and dialogues (The Screwtape Letters) that have been read by generations of youth. John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to give more—and made the ultimate sacrifice. Yet 50 years later, academics and former presidents still debate his legacy.

The surviving members of the British show Monty Python, who first appeared on television in 1969 and took sketch comedy to new levels of absurdity, announced their first live performance in over a decade.

Photo by shot7photos

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