Brazilian thieves use soccer to pull off heist

Thieves in Brazil made off with nearly $6 million in a heist that demonstrated the unbelievable distracting power of soccer in the country.

The looters rented a house near a cash delivery firm, put up Christmas decorations to make the operation look legitimate, and then started digging a 110-yard-long tunnel under the building. Then they waited. Last Sunday, during the 39th Brazilian soccer championship, they blew the floor out of the building and plundered the riches.

The security guard on duty didn't suspect a thing. He thought the thuds and bangs he heard were people celebrating Flamengo's victory with fireworks. As of now, the thieves have gotten away with a perfect heist. 



John Kerry: End the Cuba travel ban

In a St. Petersburg Times op-ed today, Sen. John Kerry criticizes the U.S. embargo on Cuba, saying it has "manifestly failed for over 50 years" and announces his support for a bil that would lift the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba:

I am announcing my support for the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. Nowhere else in the world are Americans forbidden by their own government to travel. Americans who can get a visa are free to travel to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and even North Korea. This act does not lift the embargo or normalize relations. It merely stops our government from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba, except in certain obviously inappropriate circumstances.

Free travel is also good policy inside Cuba. Visiting Europeans and Canadians have already had a significant impact by increasing the flow of information and hard currency to ordinary Cubans. Americans can be even greater catalysts of change.

Studies of change in Eastern and Central Europe find the more outside contact a country has, the more peaceful and durable its democratic transition. That's one reason why all of Cuba's major prodemocracy groups support free travel, as do longtime Castro critics like Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. A majority of Cuban-Americans have joined the rest of the country in supporting travel to Cuba by all American citizens.