Sunday, December 21, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Business From Pirates,
Hackers, Gangsters, and Other Unconventional Innovators
Nonfiction book by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Simon & Schuster:
A book that argues that lessons in creativity, innovation, salesmanship, and entrepreneurship can come from surprising places: pirates, bootleggers, counterfeiters, hustlers, and others living and working on the margins of business and society.
Who are the greatest innovators in the world? You're probably thinking Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford. The usual suspects.
This book isn't about them. It's about people you've never heard of. It’s about people who are just as innovative, entrepreneurial, and visionary as the Jobses, Edisons, and Fords of the world, except they're not in Silicon Valley. They're in the street markets of São Paulo and Guangzhou, the rubbish dumps of Lagos, the flooded coastal towns of Thailand. They are pirates, slum dwellers, computer hackers, dissidents, and inner city gang members.
Across the globe, diverse innovators operating in the black, grey, and informal economies are developing solutions to a myriad of challenges. Far from being "deviant entrepreneurs" that pose threats to our social and economic stability, these innovators display remarkable ingenuity, pioneering original methods and practices that we can learn from and apply to move formal markets.
This book investigates the stories of underground innovation that make up the Misfit Economy. It examines the teeming genius of the underground. It asks: Who are these unknown visionaries? How do they work? How do they organize themselves? How do they catalyze innovation? And ultimately, how can you take these lessons into your own world?
Voice of America: "Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers have been found in contempt of court for continuing their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica."
Website: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Website: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Friday, December 19, 2014
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia:
Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle, 42 and his brother, Luis Alonso Valle Valle, 45, both Honduran nationals, were extradited yesterday from Honduras to face federal criminal charges in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Florida. On June 19, 2014, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a superseding indictment charging the brothers and 13 other individuals with committing drug and money laundering crimes from 2005 through June 2014.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division; and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the defendants' initial appearance before U.S. District Judge Ivan Davis.
"As leaders of one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations, the Valle Valle brothers are responsible for importing tons of cocaine into the United States each year," said U.S. Attorney Boente.
U.S. Justice Department: "PacifiCorp Energy, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, based in Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company's wind projects in Wyoming."
A five-month long Interpol-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests.
Involving 13 countries, Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins. Wildlife traders using the internet and social media in certain countries were also investigated.
Among the live animals recovered were tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, red pandas, lions and crocodiles in addition to 3,500 kg of elephant ivory, 280 kg of pangolin scales, rhino horns and more than 4,000 kg of red sandalwood. A large number of turtles, tortoises and birds were also seized across a wide range of countries indicating a high demand for these species.
Designed and developed by the involved member countries as a collaborative law enforcement response to wildlife crime, Operation PAWS was coordinated by Interpol's Environmental security unit as part of Project Predator, in addition to support from the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
Aimed at supporting and enhancing the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of Asian big cats, Interpol's Project Predator is primarily funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
The 13 countries which participated in Operation PAWS which was conducted between July and November were Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. It was also supported by Australia, Canada and the USA.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): "Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice was joined by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and city and federal officials yesterday afternoon to announce the dismantling of a multimillion dollar illegal drug pipeline which ran directly from Mexico to New York City and Long Island as part of an investigation involving local, state and federal law enforcement."
U.S. Justice Department: "Two Colombian nationals pleaded guilty today to second degree murder and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent James 'Terry' Watson in Bogotá, Colombia, on June 20, 2013."
Alibaba's World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company
Is Changing the Face of Global Business
Nonfiction book by Porter Erisman
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history — bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more than twice the size of Amazon's, and handling the bulk of e-commerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride?
In Alibaba's World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba's first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world's most dominant e-commerce player. He shares stories of weathering the dotcom crash, facing down eBay and Google, negotiating with the unpredictable Chinese government, and enduring the misguided advice of foreign experts, all to build the behemoth that's poised to sweep the e-commerce world today. And he analyzes Alibaba's role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape — with its focus on the East rather than the West, emerging markets over developed ones, and the nimble entrepreneur over the industry titan. As we face this near future, the story of Alibaba — and its inevitable descendants — is both essential and instructive.
Voice of America: "Arab royal families have begun their annual hunt of the large houbara bustard bird in southwestern Pakistan. For years, authorities have granted hunting permits to wealthy sportsmen, who use trained falcons to kill the migratory bird. But as the houbara's population has dwindled, the hunting permits have not, which this year has sparked a legal and political backlash."
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Princeton University: "A definitive geological timeline from Princeton University researchers shows that a series of massive volcanic explosions 66 million years ago played a role in the extinction event that claimed Earth's non-avian dinosaurs, and challenges the dominant theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause of the extinction."
U.S. Justice Department: "U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton for the Western District of Pennsylvania and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Eric P. Zahren of the Pittsburgh Field Office today announced the filing of a criminal complaint in Pittsburgh charging a U.S. citizen with leading an international counterfeit currency operation headquartered in the Republic of Uganda."
City of Steel: How Pittsburgh Became
the World's Steelmaking Capital
During the Carnegie Era
Nonfiction book by Kenneth J. Kobus
Publication Date: March 15, 2015
Rowman & Littlefield:
Despite being geographically cut off from large trade centers and important natural resources, Pittsburgh transformed itself into the most formidable steelmaking center in the world. Beginning in the 1870s, under the engineering genius of magnates such as Andrew Carnegie, steelmakers capitalized on western Pennsylvania's rich supply of high-quality coal and powerful rivers to create an efficient industry unparalleled throughout history. In City of Steel, Ken Kobus explores the evolution of the steel industry to celebrate the innovation and technology that created and sustained Pittsburgh's steel boom. Focusing on the Carnegie Steel Company's success as leader of the region's steelmakers, Kobus goes inside the science of steelmaking to investigate the technological advancements that fueled the industry's success. City of Steel showcases how through ingenuity and determination Pittsburgh's steelmakers transformed western Pennsylvania and forever changed the face of American industry and business.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
U.S. Justice Department:
- "CEO and Managing Director of U.S. Broker-Dealer Plead Guilty to Massive International Bribery Scheme"
- "Avon China Pleads Guilty to Violating the FCPA by Concealing More Than $8 Million in Gifts to Chinese Officials"
U.S. Justice Department:
William J. Lednum, 41, of Tilghman Island, Maryland, was sentenced today in federal court in Baltimore to a year and day in prison, respectively followed by six months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release, for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and to defraud the United States through the illegal harvesting and sale of 185,925 pounds of striped bass. Lednum was also ordered to pay $498,293.40 in restitution to the State of Maryland for the damage caused to the Striped Bass fishery. In addition, Judge Bennett ordered Lednum to pay a fine of $40,000.
According to their plea agreements, Lednum and his co-defendant, Michael D. Hayden, were "captains" on fishing vessels owned by them, William J. Lednum Fisheries, d/b/a, Michael D. Hayden, Jr., and Michael D. Hayden, Jr., Inc. The defendants also employed numerous "helpers" as part of this scheme, including, co-defendants Kent Sadler and Lawrence "Daniel" Murphy.
From at least 2007 to 2011, Hayden and Lednum engaged in a scheme to illegally poach tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay in violation of Maryland regulations relating to harvest method, amounts, tagging, and reporting. In an effort to conceal their crimes, Hayden and Lednum falsified paperwork related to their harvests and submitted those falsified documents to the state of Maryland. The state of Maryland in turn submits such paperwork to numerous Federal and interstate agencies responsible for setting harvest levels all along the Eastern Seaboard. Hayden and Lednum shipped and sold the striped bass to wholesalers in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, receiving a total of $498,293.47 for the poached fish.
The investigation in this case started in February 2011 when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources found tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass snagged in illegal, anchored nets before the season officially reopened. The conspirators were seen on the water in the vicinity of the illegal nets. The subsequent investigation unveiled a wider criminal enterprise for which Hayden and Lednum were sentenced today.
Co-defendants Michael D. Hayden, 43, of Tilghman Island, Lawrence "Daniel" Murphy, 37, of St. Michaels, Maryland, and Kent Conley Sadler, 31, of Tilghman Island, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracy. Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced on December 19, 2014, Sadler is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2015 and Hayden is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27, 2015.
The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion
Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History
Nonfiction book by Robin Givhan
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
On November 28, 1973, the world's social elite gathered at the Palace of Versailles for an international fashion show. By the time the curtain came down on the evening's spectacle, history had been made and the industry had been forever transformed. This is that story.
Conceived as a fund-raiser for the restoration of King Louis XIV's palace, in the late fall of 1973, five top American designers faced off against five top French designers in an over-the-top runway extravaganza. An audience filled with celebrities and international jet-setters, including Princess Grace of Monaco, the Duchess of Windsor, Paloma Picasso, and Andy Warhol, were treated to an opulent performance featuring Liza Minnelli, Josephine Baker, and Rudolph Nureyev. What they saw would forever alter the history of fashion.
The Americans at the Battle of Versailles — Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, and Stephen Burrows — showed their work against the five French designers considered the best in the world — Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior. Plagued by in-fighting, outsized egos, shoestring budgets, and innumerable technical difficulties, the American contingent had little chance of meeting the Europeans' exquisite and refined standards. But against all odds, the American energy and the domination by the fearless models (ten of whom, in a groundbreaking move, were African American) sent the audience reeling. By the end of the evening, the Americans had officially taken their place on the world's stage, prompting a major shift in the way race, gender, sexuality, and economics would be treated in fashion for decades to come. As the curtain came down on the Battle of Versailles, American fashion was born; no longer would the world look to Europe to determine the stylistic trends of the day, from here forward, American sensibility and taste would command the world's attention.
Pulitzer-Prize winning fashion journalist Robin Givhan offers a lively and meticulously well-researched account of this unique event. The Battle of Versailles is a sharp, engaging cultural history; this intimate examination of a single moment shows us how the world of fashion as we know it came to be.
American Chemical Society:
Many consumers seek out shampoos, soaps and cosmetics that are labeled "hypoallergenic" or "dermatologist tested," words that imply the products are safe to use. But recent research gives shoppers reason to question what those labels really mean. Now some scientists and consumer advocates are calling for change, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.
Britt E. Erickson, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that the definitions of the terms "hypoallergenic" and "dermatologist tested/recommended" is currently left to the manufacturers that put them on their products. The [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration has not set any standards for using these descriptions. The last time the agency attempted to do so was in the 1970s, but cosmetic industry giants Almay and Clinique challenged the regulation and ultimately won in an appeals court.
A recent study on 187 personal care products formulated for children has shown that most contain at least one known skin allergen even if they’re marketed as hypoallergenic. Some companies are self-regulating and moving away from using certain compounds, such as those that release formaldehyde. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a safer product. And one preservative that some manufacturers have turned to in place of parabens, which are endocrine disruptors, can cause allergic reactions. Some researchers are calling for the FDA to step in. But for now, it is up to consumers to shop by trial and error.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
Four of six major archaeological sites in Syria have been heavily looted and damaged, according to an AAAS analysis of high-resolution satellite images that documents the extent of the destruction.
The report analyzes six of the 12 sites that Syria has nominated as World Heritage Sites: Dura Europos, Ebla, Hama's Waterwheels, Mari, Raqqa, and Ugarit. A forthcoming report will analyze the additional six sites.
"As we continue to study the conditions at Syria's important cultural sites, we have observed significant destruction that is largely the result of conflict. However, unlike our previous analysis of Syria's World Heritage Sites, we're seeing a lot of damage that appears to be the result of widespread looting," said Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, which authored the report.
U.S. Justice Department:
A 131-count criminal indictment was unsealed today in Boston in connection with the 2012 nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, the Justice Department announced. Barry J. Cadden, owner and head pharmacist of New England Compounding Center (NECC) and NECC's supervisory pharmacist Glenn A. Chin were charged with 25 acts of second-degree murder in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The outbreak was caused by contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured by NECC, located in Framingham, Massachusetts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 751 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of NECC's MPA. Of those 751 patients, the CDC reported that 64 patients in nine states died.
Twelve other individuals, all associated with NECC, including six other pharmacists, the director of operations, the national sales director, an unlicensed pharmacy technician, two of NECC's owners, and one other individual were charged with additional crimes including racketeering, mail fraud, conspiracy, contempt, structuring, and violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
From the U.S. Justice Department: "A police officer employed by the City of Salem, Virginia, and assigned to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force pleaded guilty today for soliciting and receiving sexual favors from a cooperating defendant in exchange for agreeing to recommend a favorable sentence to a federal prosecutor on the defendant’s behalf."
U.S. Justice Department: "A former employee of a U.S. contractor was indicted today in the Eastern District of Texas for allegedly soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for his influence in awarding U.S. government-funded contracts in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John Malcolm Bales of the Eastern District of Texas."
Europol has supported Italian Carabinieri in arresting 12 people responsible for importing and distributing counterfeit euro coins from China.
The leader of the criminal group is thought to be operating from Shanghai, China, where he has links to a clandestine manufacturing facility and people to organize the shipping of the counterfeit money to Naples, Italy. On arrival in Italy, the coins are distributed throughout Europe by other members of the criminal group, led by the main suspect in Palermo, who is a Ghanaian national.
The 12 arrests were made last week, however the investigation started earlier this year and a number of counterfeit two euro coins were seized, along with telephone numbers of significant interest to the investigation. From this first seizure, investigators realized that the criminal group had the capability to produce a vast quantity of good-quality fake coins, as the criminals were using sophisticated manufacturing techniques, very similar to those used to produce authentic coins.
An important seizure was made in September 2014 near Naples, where over half a million euros, in one and two euro denomination coins, were found hidden in a container, concealed in metal pipes.
Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story
of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy
Who Commanded Her Own Army
Nonfiction book by Phyllis Birnbaum
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Columbia University Press:
Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907-1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.
Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with various daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.
While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932, which became one of the reasons she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan — some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the most accurate and colorful portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.