Let's say you're the supreme leader of a pariah state. You're looking to move a few hundred tons of Soviet-era arms across international boundaries, but you've been slapped by a harsh arms embargo. You'd like to quietly transport a weapons shipment across the globe, but you'd really rather avoid detection. So what's a Dear Leader to do?
The bizarre tale of the North Korean-flagged oil tanker that has been trying to escape the clutches of Libya's fragile central government has prompted days of conflicting news coverage, precipitated the fall of the country's prime minister, and underscored the continued threat posed by its patchwork of heavily armed militias. But the tangled saga also raises a more basic question: Why on earth would a North Korean-flagged ship risk being bombed "into scrap," as one official threatened, in order to load up on Libyan crude?
It's one of the more adventurous -- or foolhardy -- media appearances President Obama has agreed to during his time in the White House. On Tuesday, he appeared on comedian Zach Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns, which is perhaps best known for an interview that ended with singer Justin Bieber getting spanked.
The mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 on Friday has fueled all manner of speculation, from the sensational (the plane was hijacked by Uighur Muslims) to the banal (the plane disintegrated in midair because of a mechanical defect) and the dramatic but unlikely (the pilot deliberately crashed it into the sea). But one aspect of the story has captured the popular imagination like none the other: The discovery that two of the passengers on the flight had boarded using stolen passports.
When former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was briefly deposed in a 2002 coup, the country's press reacted with unbridled enthusiasm. The daily newspaper El Nacional welcomed the day's events with the headline "One step forward." But that wasn't particularly surprising: Never in the history of Latin America had the media played quite so prominent a role in facilitating the overthrow of a democratically elected government. Gustavo Cisneros, Venezuela's answer to Rupert Murdoch, played a direct role in planning and funding the coup. At the time of the putsch, he owned Venevisión, a private TV channel that ran biased, even manipulated, coverage to incite support for the coup.