By Michael Schwirtz The New York Times Ellen Barry Mon., Sept. 10, 2018 MOSCOW—Sergei V. Skripal was a little fish. This is how British officials now describe Skripal, a Russian intelligence officer they recruited as a spy in the mid-1990s. When the Russians caught Skripal, they saw him that way, too, granting him a reduced sentence. So did the Americans: The intelligence chief who orchestrated his release to the West in 2010 had never heard of him when he was included in a spy swap with Moscow. But Skripal was significant in the eyes of one man — Vladimir Putin, an intelligence officer of the same age and training. The two men had dedicated their lives to an intelligence war between the Soviet Union and the West. When that war was suspended, both struggled to adapt. One rose, and one fell. While Skripal was trying to reinvent himself, Putin and his allies, former intelligence officers, were gathering together the strands of the old Soviet system. … [Read more...] about A spy story: Sergei Skripal was a little fish who had a big enemy
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TEKNAF, Bangladesh: Captain Min Min, a Buddhist from Myanmar, looks on as a stream of Muslim Rohingya labourers zig-zag up narrow gangplanks hauling sacks of ginger from his boat onto Bangladeshi soil - one of many seizing the economic opportunities presented by a refugee crisis."I don't worry about conflict ... everything is just business," the ethnic Rakhine skipper says, offering whiskey, cigarettes and big betel nut-stained smiles as he waits for his nine-tonne cargo to be unloaded.The Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar now hosts around one million Rohingya from Myanmar, the vast majority of whom fled their country a year ago, driven out by the army and mobs of ethnic Rakhine, who falsely brand the Muslim minority as "Bengali" intruders.The makeshift Rohingya camps have now congealed into tent cities spread out across hills and farmland.They contain new and dynamic economies, pump-primed by donor money and driven by a captive market of hundreds of thousands in need of food, … [Read more...] about ‘Everything is business’: Rohingya crisis presents economic opportunity
No more business as usual? Now that almost all classes are open and the monsoon season is on, the traffic jams are back to their worst. For sure I’m not the only one who, while my car is crawling along the traffic-choked streets, muses about things that are just the stuff of our dreams: • Mass transport vehicles that unload and pick up passengers only at designated stops. At each stop there are printed signs or electronic crawlers that show the arrival times of the mass transport vehicle for each specific destination – and the schedules are followed strictly. • Intermodal transport hubs, with escalators and elevators, where commuters can transfer from high-speed express trains to slower inner city light trains, buses, taxis and other modes of public conveyance. The hubs allow commuters to travel efficiently from residential areas to schools and the central business district all the way to university towns, airports and seaports. Such … [Read more...] about No more business as usual?
source Andy Lyons/Getty According to one estimate, LeBron James took home about half of his $33 million contract after taxes and other costs, giving a sense of how athletes are taxed compared with most people. James was docked almost $13 million in taxes, plus another $4 million in other costs, according to the estimate. James is estimated to make about $55 million off the court in endorsements and has the chance to become the highest-paid player in NBA history this offseason. By now we know that most athletes’ contracts aren’t what they seem. Though the numbers in the contracts are enormous, after federal, state, and local taxes, plus fees for agents and other costs, athletes usually ending up taking home close to half of their base salary. ESPN’s Darren Rovell broke down what LeBron James, the second-highest-paid player in the NBA this season, made from his $33 million … [Read more...] about LeBron James got less than half of his $33 million salary this season — here’s what happened to the rest
caption Ex-Google executive and Poplar founder David Ripert. source David Ripert David Ripert has left a comfortable job heading up YouTube Spaces at Google to launch his own augmented-reality marketplace startup, Poplar. It was a big decision to leave a corporate job to run a startup, and Ripert has bucked the clichéd image of the super-young founder by launching Poplar just before turning 40. Poplar will help brands launch augmented-reality campaigns by matching them up with creators. It’s being launched from Founders Factory, the startup incubator launched by Made.com cofounder Brent Hoberman. David Ripert was perfectly happy at Google. He saw himself as an “intrepreneur” there, a word used to describe people who lead startup-like innovations inside big companies. But after six years leading what might be one of the company’s most fun divisions, … [Read more...] about Why a 39-year-old quit his job running one of Google’s most fun divisions and took a huge pay cut to launch a startup