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Friday, December 23

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No Country for Innocent Men

Why it took more than a decade for the posthumous pardon of Tim Cole, even after another inmate confessed to the brutal crime that put Cole away.

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In the Land of the Dear Leader

The author travels to North Korea in the years after Kim Jong Il’s succession. He also gets a haircut:

But suddenly the whole chair starts vibrating and I find myself surrendering to her, as she begins to knead the acupressure points on my forehead and neck. Next it's ginseng unguent all over my face. Gobs of pomade smelling like bubble gum go on my hair. Then, like a true daughter of the revolution, she upholsters her blow dryer and begins combing in the pomade and sculpting my now subdued hair. The pungent aroma of heated pomade, like fat frying in a pan, fills the room. My stylist gives my hair a little twist with the comb. It feels like she's making a Dairy Queen curl on top. Then she fries it in place with the dryer. Another dab of pomade. More mincing motions with the comb. Another blast of hot air. Suddenly I feel a moist breeze around my ears. She's taken out a can of imported aerosol spray and is cementing her creation in place. She's delicately patting my new coiffure now the way a baker taps a loaf of bread to see if it's springy to the touch. She murmurs something. I'm breathless with expectation. I open my eyes and gaze into the mirror. Magnifique! It looks like I have a loofah sponge on my head! I am reborn -- a cross between Elvis and a 1950s Bulgarian hydrology expert! At last I have become a true son of Pyongyang!

Thursday, December 22

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From Pakistan to Afghanistan, U.S. Finds Convoy of Chaos

What happened when Pakistan shut down the vitally important Karachi to Kabul trucking line.

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Say Hello to My Little Friend

How shrunken heads ended up in downtown Chicago.

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A Family Obsessed

On February 10, 1982, Lucy Dixon’s daughter was raped. Against all odds, she and her family brought the man to justice.

Wednesday, December 21

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Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance

Inside the shadowy meetings between Chicago’s violent gang members and its elected officials.

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The Kiss

The Vancouver riots and an unforgettable image.

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No Ordinary Counterfeit

Alarmingly sophisticated imitations of American currency have turned up all over the world and the false-paper trail leads to North Korea.

Tuesday, December 20

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Chuck Berry Goddamn!

Now 85, Berry still records live music. He just doesn’t want you to hear it.

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The Collector

He was the world’s foremost collector of presidential memorabilia, an outsider with a pathological need to fit in. He was also a thief.

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Hannah and Andrew

In October 2006 a four-year-old from Corpus Christi named Andrew Burd died mysteriously of salt poisoning. His foster mother, Hannah Overton, was charged with capital murder, vilified from all quarters, and sent to prison for life. But was this churchgoing young woman a vicious child killer? Or had the tragedy claimed its second victim?

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Peter Braunstein, WWD Writer Turned Tabloid Monster, Still Has Issues

A former colleague visits the ‘Fire Fiend’ in prison.