Summary of “Boy who escaped al-Shabab terrorist group”

MOGADISHU, Somalia – By the time Abdi was 9 years old, he had already joined al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organization in Somalia.
Abdi is just one of thousands of Somali children who over the years have fallen into the clutches of al-Shabab.
In the years since former leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S airstrike in 2014, al-Shabab has continued to lose territory that was once firmly in its control, and suffered several high-profile defections.
Eventually, the teacher persuaded Abdi to join seven other boys, ages 7 to 17, leaving town to join al-Shabab.
Comprehensive national statistics of child recruitment by al-Shabab, either by force or by indoctrination, is scant, since so many towns and villages where the group operates remain too dangerous to visit.
The group “Used detention, violence and threats to force family members, teachers and elders to hand over their children, causing families to flee or to send their children, often unaccompanied, out of areas controlled by Al-Shabab, in order to ensure their protection.”
Life in the camp would have been bearable had it not been for “Amir” Ali, an ill-tempered leader whom Abdi described as a “Khumay,” a Somali word that loosely translates to “Malevolent.” “I rarely saw his face except for his eyes, which were big and often red,” Abdi said.
In the two years he spent with al-Shabab, Abdi was taken on two fighting missions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Big tech warns of ‘Japan’s millennium bug’ ahead of Akihito’s abdication”

The Japanese calendar counts up from the coronation of a new emperor, using not the name of the emperor, but the name of the era they herald.
Akihito’s coronation in January 1989 marked the beginning of the Heisei era, and the end of the Sh?wa era that preceded him; and Naruhito’s coronation will itself mark another new era.
For one, Akihito has been on the throne for almost the entirety of the information age, meaning that many systems have never had to deal with a switchover in era.
For another, the official name of Naruhito’s era has yet to be announced, causing concern for diary publishers, calendar printers and international standards bodies.
Steele warned coders of what to look out for: “Some algorithms attempting to count the years during a transition year may not consider the possibility of two partial Japanese Calendar years, in two different Calendars Eras, within the same Gregorian year,” for instance.
Since Japanese computers use one character to represent the entire era name, Unicode needs to set the standard for that new character.
The era system doesn’t only pose problems during an imperial transition.
Many older computers, with aspects dating back to before the end of the Sh?wa era in 1989, have never been updated to reflect the new era, and still think the year is Sh?wa 93.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mortgage, Groupon and card debt: how the bottom half bolsters U.S. economy”

A Reuters analysis of U.S. household data shows that the bottom 60 percent of income-earners have accounted for most of the rise in spending over the past two years even as the their finances worsened – a break with a decades-old trend where the top 40 percent had primarily fueled consumption growth.
The data shows the rise in median expenditures has outpaced before-tax income for the lower 40 percent of earners in the five years to mid-2017 while the upper half has increased its financial cushion, deepening income disparities.
As a result, over the past year signs of financial fragility have been multiplying, with credit card and auto loan delinquencies on the rise and savings plumbing their lowest since 2005.
Some economists say that without the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts enacted in January spending, which has grown by around 3 percent a year over the past few years, could already be stalling now.
In the past, rising incomes of the upper 40 percent of earners have driven most of the consumption growth, but since 2016 consumer spending has been primarily fueled by a run-down in savings, mainly by the bottom 60 percent of earners, according to Oxford Economics.
Hourly wages for lower- and middle-income workers rose just over 2 percent in the year to March 2017, compared with about 4 percent for those near the top and bottom, while spending jumped by roughly 8 percent.
Economists say one symptom of financial strain was last year’s spike in serious delinquencies on U.S. credit card debt, which many poorer households use as a stop-gap measure.
More borrowers have also been falling behind on auto loans, which helped bring leverage on non-mortgage household debt to a record high in the first quarter of this year.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Theresa May’s Impossible Choice”

Once the formal Brexit negotiations with the E.U. began, last June, ministers and officials bemoaned the absence of a leader’s voice.
As Prime Minister, May immediately established two new government departments: Dexeu, to manage the Brexit process; and the Department of International Trade, to explore economic opportunities outside the E.U. Dexeu was given offices at 9 Downing Street, the former premises of the court of the Privy Council.
During her short campaign, May had coined the phrase “Brexit means Brexit,” to indicate that she would honor the result of the referendum.
In May’s first six months in Downing Street, she intimated a form of Brexit that would give the U.K. looser bonds with the E.U. than Iceland and Turkey have.
A photograph from the second day of the talks, at the European Commission’s headquarters, showed the E.U.’s negotiating team, led by Michel Barnier, a former French Foreign Affairs Minister, facing David Davis, May’s Brexit Secretary, and a pair of British officials across a pale-green glass table.
“Look through the papers. Look in the government and the politics, it is only about Brexit,” Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coördinator and a former Prime Minister of Belgium, told me in his office last month.
“Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Can you imagine a country that, for years, the clock stops?” Earlier in the week, Verhofstadt had been in London, pitching May and David Davis his own idea-an “Association agreement” with the E.U., loosely modelled on its relationships with Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein, which are members of the European Economic Area, or E.E.A. But it hadn’t gone well.
On the tape, Johnson fantasized about what would happen if Trump were leading Brexit: “He’d go in bloody hard…. There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But, actually, you might get somewhere.” In Parliament, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the saturnine leader of the Party’s hardcore, Euroskeptic wing, warned that May’s strategy would leave Britain as “a semi-vassal state” of the E.U. The Cabinet gathered in the great parlor at Chequers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The commas that cost companies millions”

Three lorry drivers for Oakhurst Dairy claimed that they were owed years of unpaid overtime wages, all because of the way commas were used in legislation governing overtime payments.
Commas in contracts link separate clauses in a non-definitive way, leaving their reading open to interpretation.
Arguments have been fought over the value of so-called Oxford commas.
In high-stakes legal agreements, how commas are deployed is crucial to their meaning.
Arguments over commas have been raging for more than a century.
“You can use terms like ‘inter alia’, or ‘this includes, amongst other things’ to blur the lines to include anything. You can use commas as part of that, too. There are so many language tricks you use to appease people.”
One of the biggest cases battled over a comma was a dispute between two Canadian telecommunications companies.
How do these misplaced or misused commas make their way into complicated contracts that have been drafted by professionals? Part of the problem, says Adams, is technology.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Where is Braves legend Dale Murphy now?”

IN THE YEARS after baseball, the Murphy kids don’t remember Dale bringing up the Hall of Fame, and with his next window of eligibility coming soon, it remains other people who talk about it most often.
Induct cheaters but also celebrate Dale Murphy for his 398 home runs and for the dozens he did not hit.
Dale says opening the email and seeing the attached drawing remains one of the great milestones of his life, like his wedding day or the birth of his children.
On a family vacation to Disney World, his kids spotted a man wearing a Braves No. 3 jersey and goaded Dale into introducing himself.
“It has been interesting to see him learn how to manage the Dale Murphy Persona,” Chad says.
Turns out, Dale liked those records he bought to find a common interest with Chad. Today he is a huge indie-rock nut, which surprises no one more than his own children.
Bassist Mike Mills wrote a song about Murphy’s failure to get into Cooperstown: “Forget all the liars, all the Sosas and McGwires … I wanna see Dale Murphy in the Hall of Fame.”.
“That’s because I’m just a kid,” Dale says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Painstaking Hunt for War Criminals in the United States”

A few years ago, Mike MacQueen, a historian working for the Department of Homeland Security, was at his desk combing through decades-old Bosnian military records, in search of war criminals who had eluded justice.
MacQueen had turned himself into an unlikely expert on the war that unfolded in the Balkans two decades ago, mastering the Serbo-Croatian language, making two dozen trips to the region, and becoming so well schooled in the war crimes that Bosnian prosecutors had flown him over repeatedly to testify at trials.
MacQueen, who is sixty-eight, has spent the last three decades tracking down war criminals who have been hiding in the United States.
After finding Josipović’s name in the logs that day, MacQueen set out to learn what Josipović did during the war.
Most of MacQueen’s cases have involved Bosnian Serbs, the group blamed for the bulk of the war crimes during the conflict, but his unit has also moved to jail or deport a number of Bosnian Croats and Muslims who were also accused of atrocities.
MacQueen switched in 2004 to searching for the perpetrators of war crimes in Bosnia.
Using Bosnian documents and U.S. government records, MacQueen managed to identify a handful of men from the 6th Infantry Battalion living in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and elsewhere in the United States.
“This was someone we wanted to get out of the United States as soon as possible,” Jason Katz, the federal prosecutor who brought the case with MacQueen’s help, told me.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five Reasons Why 2018 Has Been the Year of the TV Sophomore Slump – Rolling Stone”

The Handmaid’s Tale, Luke Cage, Westworld, Legion, 13 Reasons Why, Jessica Jones and Sneaky Pete were among the second-year shows to disappoint, frustrate and/or inspire reevaluations of their acclaimed debut seasons.
There are a lot of different reasons for how and why the first group of shows went awry.
If there’s a Grand Unified Field Theory to the phenomenon, it’s this: Like second novels and albums, sophomore seasons of TV dramas have an awfully hard time living up to the original, while comedies are much more immune to this.
TV shows don’t always work that way, but at minimum, there’s often a sense in freshman-show writers’ rooms to put the most vital and resonant material into that first year to make as big an initial splash as possible.
13 Reasons Why embarrassingly contorted itself this way and that to re-solve a mystery its first season had exhaustively solved, simply because the show was apparently too popular to cancel.
On top of that, one way TV execs are trying to break though the cluttered programming environment is with flashy, high-concept work that can more easily get attention rather than “Here’s a really well-executed variation on a thing you’ve seen three dozen times already.” Together, this means that a lot of shows are in the hands of screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, etc.
TV isn’t “Movies, but longer” – and a lot of shows are in the hands of people who never learned that.
Sophomore slumps are so frequent throughout TV history, you could probably find 1960s TV criticism along the lines of, “Ugh, again with the twists, Rod Serling?” Truly great shows manage to come back strong the year after and the ones that don’t make it clear pretty quickly that it’s all downhill from here.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mom, in Touch”

Every morning, just before heading out into the predawn light to her job as a dentist for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, my mom would hunch over the laminate countertop in our dimly lit kitchen and scribble a note for me.
My mom had a particular attachment to handwritten notes.
In the letter, Mom assured me that she was no longer hurting, that her death had been a release.
At the same time, I was morphing from an oval-faced kid into something resembling an adult, one who looked and behaved much like my dad. At every milestone I was becoming ever more distant from the girl that my mom knew.
Her father left when she was a kid, and her mother dropped in and out, so my mom spent many of her teenage years taking care of her siblings.
At first I’d consumed the notebook so rapidly that the fact of its existence-that it was here, and my mom was not-was all that registered.
“Abby, Mom went to school a long time to become a dentist, and there is really not a way I can stay home with you. When you’re older, and understand more, maybe my hours will be flexible enough to spend time with you.”
In the first moments she learned of her cancer, my mom was not thinking about the pain or the treatments or the daunting uncertainty.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It Looks Like We Are Now, Officially, Over Steroid Panic”

McGwire is currently a bench coach for the San Diego Padres, a fact you probably didn’t know, because the last time Mark McGwire came across your mind was likely 2010, when he gave a high-profile interview to Bob Costas on MLB Network in which he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his playing career.
This interview cemented the hostility of many who felt betrayed by McGwire, whose memories of that beautiful summer of 1998, when McGwire and Sammy Sosa raced to break Roger Maris’s 37-year-old home-run record, were now sullied by the Steroid Era.
USA Today said of all the candidates for the Cardinals’ job, McGwire “Made the most sense.” McGwire has gone from being a baseball pariah to being the guy everybody wants in charge.
There has long been an argument among those who believed much of the PED hysteria was lunacy – who claimed, as science advanced, someday we all would look back at Bonds and McGwire and mock then not for cheating, but for using such primitive performance enhancers like “The cream” and cattle steroids.
When you look back at the PED panic in the age of Trump, it looks more and more like one of those First World problems, the sort of national scandal you invent because there are no actual national scandals to deal with, or at least none that you want to.
Today, the PED panic looks more and more like the last gasp of a fading generational outrage, an emotional outburst and response to an increasingly wonkish and data-driven world: It feels more like Baby Boomers pounding their fists angry that it’s not 1961 anymore and athletes are not powered by Ovaltine the way they were told when they were 12.
Even more than its more fashionable cousin basketball and its more popular cousin football, the sport is run by data nerds from Harvard and Wall Street now, and they have no moral illusions about the game.
Perhaps more notably, the fact that the two best players of their generation, and maybe two of the best of all time, still aren’t in the Hall of Fame is increasingly being seen less as an ethical stand and more like a reason to ignore the Hall of Fame altogether.

The orginal article.