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For Congo's Pygmies, Pot Can Be a Life-or-Death Crop

'Because of selling this marijuana, our children can get some food'

(Newser) - In the impoverished Democratic Republic of the Congo, members of the indigenous people commonly referred to as Pygmies have turned to a surprising line of work: dealing pot. As National Geographic reports in an in-depth feature, the marijuana they cultivate illegally in the forest represents one of the few ways... More »

Inside the Improbable $100M Grift of Bobby Thompson

America's strangest conman who also might be a CIA operative

(Newser) - With his fake-looking pompadour and nonprescription glasses, Bobby Charles Thompson came across like a "kook"—but, as one political consultant puts it, that was the "brilliance of his con." The Washingtonian dives headlong into the bizarre tale of Thompson, who was behind what is believed to... More »

Manhunt for the Creator of a Malware 'Masterpiece'

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is known as Russia's 'most notorious hacker'

(Newser) - Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, once described by a cybersecurity expert as the "most prolific bank robber in the world," ended up on a different list altogether in December: as one of the individuals noted in then-President Obama's sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the election. As Garrett... More »

John Hinckley Is Back Home With Mom—but Is He 'Better'?

Lisa Miller's take for Daily Intelligencer shows why that's a tough question to answer

(Newser) - The man who tried to kill Ronald Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster was released from a mental facility in September after nearly 35 years, and now that he's home (under rigid limitations) with his nonagenarian mom in Williamsburg, Va., 61-year-old John Hinckley Jr. is trying to rebuild his... More »

Serial Killer's Push for Freedom: I'm a 'Better Person'

75-year-old Richard Steeves says he's overcome his 'violent, unpredictable past'

(Newser) - Richard Steeves is 75 years old, plays the piano, and has just one wish in life. But as Bob Hohler details for the Boston Globe , that wish—freedom—is complicated by the fact that Steeves is a convicted serial killer who's been in prison for three decades. Hohler has... More »

Terror on the Mountain: 'I Let Out a Primal Scream'

Mountaineer tells tale of excruciating plummet—and extraordinary friendship

(Newser) - Alan Arnette admits he often braves mountain peaks on days other climbers label "unpleasant." But in his first-person account for the Coloradoan , Arnette explains why Feb. 10 was an entirely different scenario altogether, one in which he and fellow climber Jim Davidson found themselves in especially blustery conditions... More »

She Begged Shop Not to Sell Her Girl a Gun. It Did Anyway

Colby Sue Weathers bought a pistol with a disability check, then killed her father

(Newser) - In 2012, when a doctor told Janet Delana's schizophrenic adult daughter to stop an aggressive drug regimen that wasn't working and come back for a checkup in four days, the mother picked up the phone. Colby Sue Weathers had been hearing voices for five years and bought a... More »

Hundreds Enter US National Parks Never to Return

Government doesn't keep track of people who disappear on federal land

(Newser) - David Paulides believes the American public would be spooked if it knew how many people were mysteriously disappearing every year in the country's national parks. People have gone missing while poking around near a gift shop, running with a friend, and wearing professional survival gear. And while Paulides could... More »

Our Most 'Honorable' Citizens and Their Revenge Porn

Behind the scenes of 'Marines United' and other sexist military pages

(Newser) - Stumble onto a random revenge-porn site, and you'll likely be confronted with various avatars of trolls who hide behind screen names and aliases. But that wasn't the case with the "Marines United" private Facebook group that retired service member John Albert found himself invited to in September... More »

'London Bridge Is Down': Inside the Death of a Queen

Secret plans for Queen's death start with her doctor, end in 10-day funeral

(Newser) - One day in the future, the code phrase "London Bridge is down" will be delivered to the prime minister in Britain, and word will have started to leak that the queen is dead. The Guardian has a deep dive into the exhaustive plans and preparations—some of them secret—... More »

'Hermit' on His 27 Years of Isolation: 'It's a Mystery'

Christopher Knight became known among locals for being the neatest burglar ever

(Newser) - When he was 20 years old, an introverted young man named Christopher Knight hopped in his car with a tent and backpack, drove into the most remote reaches of Maine, and, "without knowing where he was going, with no particular place in mind, he stepped into the trees and... More »

'Cursed' Gem Could Be Worth $925M—or $100

Bahia Emerald has caused folks more trouble than it may be worth: 'Wired'

(Newser) - A 752-pound gemstone that's sat for years in a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office vault has been called "a puzzle from hell" by one of the detectives who brought it in as evidence in a 2008 case. Now Elizabeth Weil takes a crack at the head-scratcher for... More »

700 Pounds Lost, a New Life of 'Wonder' Gained

But Paul Mason, once the world's heaviest man, still faces major struggles

(Newser) - He once weighed almost 1,000 pounds, ate nearly 20,000 calories a day, and had become a laughingstock in his native UK. Today Paul Mason, once the heaviest man in the world, is a new man, and Justin Heckert reports on his amazing transformation for GQ . It was seven... More »

Inside a Once-Bustling Home, a Horrifying Discovery

Tragedy befalls 'eccentric' elderly sisters, and a town wonders why no one noticed

(Newser) - In a story reminiscent of Grey Gardens , Patricia Wen tells the tale in the Boston Globe of two reclusive Massachusetts sisters—and the strange story of how one of them eventually disappeared from sight as life buzzed on around them. Sheryl Waldman and her older sister, Lynda, shared their 4,... More »

Greedy Mom Who Killed Her Kids or Victim of 'Junk Science'?

Intercept examines how fire science advances cast doubt on Angela Garcia's conviction

(Newser) - In May 2016, Angela Garcia did the unthinkable: She pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed her 2-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, Nijah and Nyeemah, 16 years earlier. Liliana Segura reveals the innards of the Cleveland woman's case for the Intercept , exploring why so many—her lawyer, her family,... More »

Osage Indians Were the Richest People on Earth. Then, Bodies

FBI's first big murder mystery, on the plains of Oklahoma

(Newser) - In the late 1870s, the Osage Nation was displaced from its Kansas roots and moved to an Oklahoma reservation—land that turned out to be sitting on an oil goldmine. As told in David Grann's piece for the New Yorker (an excerpt from his upcoming book, Killers of the ... More »

Homeless Man's Mission to Prevent HIV Saves Thousands

Record-breaking decrease in England's stats once Greg Owen got involved

(Newser) - Last year in England, the number of gay men diagnosed with HIV was slashed by a third from the previous year. The drop was even more drastic in London, with a 40% decrease, and, as Patrick Strudwick reveals for BuzzFeed , that major shift was driven by a homeless ex-sex worker... More »

Victims of Horrific 1940s Study Still Wait in Pain

Slate describes their fight to get compensation

(Newser) - In 2010, Hillary Clinton was among those to apologize on behalf of the US for horrific medical experiments that government researchers performed on Guatemalans in the 1940s. More than 1,000 were infected with STDs without their consent and at least 83 died as researchers sought to prevent illness in... More »

'Too Big to Fail' for NBC: Megyn Kelly and Matt Lauer

'Vanity Fair' examines network's personality-driven blueprint with 2 major stars in the mix

(Newser) - The news that Megyn Kelly would be leaving Fox and settling down at NBC surprised many (especially, apparently, Tamron Hall ), but in a piece for Vanity Fair , Sarah Ellison moves the story forward, exploring what she calls NBC's "star power as business model" gamble. The crystal ball... More »

Few Think Mom Was Shot by Her Son—Except the Son

Police originally blamed a 6-year-old back in 2001, but now they're not so sure

(Newser) - What's not in dispute is this: On March 28, 2001, 37-year-old Jill Wells was fatally struck in the head by a bullet. What's very much in dispute is the original explanation by police: They said Wells' 6-year-old son, Tanner, accidentally shot his mom as they were target shooting... More »

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