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Murder of an Idealist, by Sean Flynn. GQ.
The life and last days of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
For Stevens, sailing on a ghost ship into a revolution really was an adventure. True, there was a good measure of altruism to what Stevens did for a living, which appears to be a family trait: His father, Jan, was a lawyer in the California attorney general's office who worked on water rights and public-land access and such; his brother, Tom, left a career as a civil litigator to prosecute federal white-collar crimes; his sisters, Anne and Hilary, are doctors. Like them, Stevens did want to make the world a better place. But he also thought his job was a terrific amount of fun. In fact, when he was posted to Libya under the Qaddafi regime, he told a foreign-service officer named S. Sita Sonty that she and her family should come, too. "This is gonna be awesome," he told her. "It'll be like the Wild, Wild West. We'll have a great adventure."
The World is Watching. Roads and Kingdoms.
The U.S. election as witnessed by 25 reporters in 23 countries from Barcelona to Bangkok.
The city didn't seem to care. The traffic ground on. And it did not take long for us to realize that our table of expats was not split between Democrats and Republicans, but pessimists and masochists. We could agree that no matter how the elections went Russia was getting worse, like a man getting crankier with age until he sits all day on his stoop with a shotgun and a bible, minding the lawn. The choice was either to embrace this as an interesting historical development or move the hell out of the away. On this we could not agree. "In some sense it would be good," said one of the journalists at the table. "If Romney wins things might pick up. It'd be like Russia becoming the Weimar Republic. The apocalypse, you know?" [Simon Shuster reporting from Moscow]
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images
Rio: The Fight for the Favelas, by Misha Glenny. Financial Times.
On the experimental favela police force UPP (aka "The Big Skull") and their efforts to clean Rio's largest slum in advance of the World Cup and Olympics.
In contrast with the townships of South Africa, which are almost all several miles from the city centre, a large number of Rio's 900-odd favelas sit cheek by jowl with some of the fanciest real estate in Brazil. Several of these slums creep up the mountains, which ascend steeply just hundreds of yards from the city's fabulous beaches. Favelas take their name from a hardy plant which survives in the arid northeast of the country (which happens to be where most of the slum dwellers hail from). Not only do vicious thorns protect the favela against predators but, if ingested, its leaves can kill you with a poison that mimics the effects of cyanide.
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images