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News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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El Chapo: What The Rise And Fall Of The Kingpin Reveals About The War On Drugs

Just after midday on Tuesday 12 February, word came down that the verdict was ready in what had been widely described as the trial of the century. “United States of America v Joaquín Guzmán Loera” had lasted approximately three months – it took prosecutors that long to present what they described as “an avalanche” of evidence, which had taken more than a decade to compile. The government called 56 witnesses, the defence called only one: an FBI agent, who finished testifying within an hour.

There was little expectation that Guzmán would mount a convincing defence. The diminutive 61-year-old (his nickname, El Chapo, means “shorty” in Spanish) was known around the world as a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, and the most high-profile drug kingpin since Pablo Escobar. In addition to smuggling thousands of tonnes of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and synthetic narcotics across the US-Mexico border, he had successfully pulled off two dramatic escapes from prisons in Mexico. He has been the subject of dozens of books, two popular TV series and, in 2009, was included in Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires. The following year, that same magazine named Guzmán one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives, second to only Osama bin Laden. As Guzmán’s lawyers liked to tell anybody who would listen, even before their client set foot in Brooklyn, he had already been convicted in the court of public opinion.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Nazis Killed Her Father. Then She Fell in Love With One.

News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

1. Such appalling events
Emilie Landecker was 19 when she went to work for Benckiser, a German company that made industrial cleaning products and also took pride in cleansing its staff of non-Aryan elements.

It was 1941. Ms. Landecker was half Jewish and terrified of deportation. Her new boss, Albert Reimann Jr., was an early disciple of Adolf Hitler and described himself as an “unconditional follower” of Nazi race theory.

Somehow, inexplicably, they fell in love.

The story of Ms. Landecker, whose Jewish father was murdered by the Nazis, and Mr. Reimann, whose fervent Nazism and abuse of forced laborers did not stop his family from attaining colossal wealth after the war, is a tale of death and devotion and human contradictions. It is also a tale of modern-day corporate atonement.

Decades after World War II, Benckiser evolved into one of the largest consumer goods conglomerates on the planet. Known today as JAB Holding Company and still controlled by the Reimann family, it is worth more than $20 billion and owns Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Peet’s Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Pret A Manger, Keurig and other breakfast brands.

The relationship between Mr. Reimann and Ms. Landecker was for many years a secret. He was married, but had no children with his wife. He and Ms. Landecker had three, and he adopted them in the 1960s; today, two of them own a combined stake in JAB of about 45 percent. For decades, they say, they did not know about their father’s Nazism and the abuses that took place at the company they inherited: The female forced laborers who had to stand at attention outside their barracks naked. A prisoner of war who was kicked out of a bomb shelter and died.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson

In the spring of 1989, the Daily Telegraph sent Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to Brussels to cover what was then the European Economic Community. Johnson, who was twenty-four, knew the city well. His father, Stanley, had been one of the first British bureaucrats appointed to work at the European Commission after the United Kingdom joined the bloc, in 1973. Johnson, his parents, and his three younger siblings moved to Belgium when he was nine years old, joining a sleepy community of expats. Johnson was a clever boy. He learned to speak French without an accent.

When Johnson returned, his father invited an experienced Brussels correspondent, Geoff Meade, to lunch at the family’s large house near Waterloo. Meade and his wife, Sandra, were having drinks when a taxi pulled up. “We hadn’t been led to expect anyone else so it was a surprise to see this outstandingly blond chap jump out in the loudest pair of Bermuda shorts possible. I’ll never forget it,” Meade recounted in “Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition,” Sonia Purnell’s haunting biography, from 2011, of the man expected to be Britain’s next Prime Minister. “But it became clear over lunch that I had been invited there as the established hand to meet and help Boris.”

Read the rest of this article at:The New Yorker

News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Curse of the Ship of Gold

News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In November 2018, a 66-year-old man named Tommy Thompson was wheeled into Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt’s courtroom in Columbus, Ohio, clad in a dark blue suit and looking like he had just served four years in federal prison. Thompson’s hair, once thick black curls, had given way to a bald pate, and with a long white beard and piercing eyes, he looked like a slightly hairier Christopher Lee, the actor who played the wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.

Throughout the trial, Judge Blunt interrupted Thompson’s testimony to reprimand him for veering wildly off course. Thompson had long insisted that he suffers from neurological problems and chronic fatigue syndrome, which impairs his memory, and that his meandering explanations were a symptom of the distress foisted upon him.

But Judge Blunt, like other officials who’d presided over civil and criminal cases against Thompson, claimed that his malingering was the maneuvering of a hyper-intelligent con man. Indeed, Thompson’s legs were shackled as he sat through his trial. As everyone knew, he’d already fled from authorities once.

Thompson was genuinely sickened and overwhelmed, however, and he found it extremely frustrating that nobody seemed to take his condition seriously. He’d been living a hectic life for almost 30 years, and he tried to make the jury understand the unique stress that had put him in such a weak state. His problems had all begun when he’d discovered one of the largest caches of gold in human history, a lost treasure at the bottom of the sea. In the 30 years since, the weight of the find had upended partnerships, ended his marriage, and set loose the specter of greed. What began as a valiant mission of science turned into something else entirely.

Read the rest of this article at: Narratively

The Death of the Family Secret

News 06.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

From what Ali’s been able to piece together in the last year, her story began at a house party in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in September 1979. Her mother, Dorothy Cohen (née Mao), then 28, was enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Michigan. She was divorced from her first husband and in a long-distance relationship with Brett Cole, then 41, who was separated from his first wife.

Dorothy had threatened to cheat on Brett if he didn’t get a divorce and marry her. She made good on that threat by sleeping with an acquaintance, a professor at the university, which she quickly confessed to Brett.

Six weeks later, Dorothy discovered she was pregnant. She was adamant that the child was Brett’s, and that she wanted to marry him and raise the child together. And that’s what happened. Alison was born June 6, 1980. The family moved to New York’s Long Island in 1983, where her sister, Emily, was born two years later.

“My young childhood was good. But then it wasn’t,” she said. “After my sister was born, they fought a lot and they fought badly, and they really put my sister and I in the middle of it a lot.”

Things deteriorated when Dorothy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was ill, and Brett couldn’t handle the emotional strain. “My dad could not get his shit together when she was sick,” she said.

Soon after Dorothy’s cancer went into remission, she and the girls moved out. Brett “completely fell apart,” Ali said. He began hoarding his belongings and stopped taking care of the house and the property. He also developed an opiate addiction and various physical and mental health problems.

When Dorothy died in 1995, the girls moved back in with their father. He was in no shape to parent his young daughters, and Ali was embarrassed at the condition of her home. She felt abandoned by her surviving parent. “I know he loved me,” she said. “But he didn’t know how to talk to me and I was going through this very hard time, having lost my mom.”

“At a certain point, he wasn’t capable of being a dad anymore,” she said.

Brett’s health continued to decline. He died of lung cancer in 2004, leaving Ali parentless at 24. Ali has no idea if Brett ever doubted whether she was his daughter. She began using Ancestry.com to research his family, about which she knew little, and build a family tree. She also decided to have her DNA tested to see if she could learn more about her lineage.

“When I opened the Ancestry results, I was actually disappointed at first,” she said. She learned she is about 25% Asian and 25% Eastern European, which she expected based on her mother’s background. But it also said she is 41% Irish ― “a shocking amount,” given that it was not part of her family’s ethnic identity.

A few days later, a woman identified on Ancestry as Ali’s second cousin sent her a message. Then another second cousin reached out, with a surname Ali couldn’t link to the Cole family tree. In fact, no one from the Cole lineage showed up among the more than 1,000 people who matched her DNA.

She began to suspect the truth before she confirmed it. “I think my dad might not be my dad,” she told her husband. Ali began to entertain fantasies about babies being switched at birth. It didn’t occur to her that she might be the product of a one-night stand.

Read the rest of this article at: Huffpost

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