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Curses, Foiled Again
Brier Cutlip, 22, and Paul Bragg, 25, were arrested for firearms possession, a felony parole violation, after sheriff’s deputies in Randolph County, W.Va., found two rifles in Cutlip’s truck. The deputies thought to look for incriminating evidence because the two men showed up at their parole meetings together dressed in blaze orange. WBOY-TV News said the men admitted hunting earlier that day.

Community Investments
Hoping to capitalize on their success, Somali pirates have set up an exchange to sell shares of their raids to investors. Operating mostly out of Haradheere, sea gangs have made tens of millions of dollars from ransoms, according to Reuters, and their success is attracting Somali financiers in other nations to back their sea raids. “The shares are open to all, and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful maters,” a pirate named Mohammed explained, adding, “We’ve made piracy a community activity.”

Haradheere’s deputy security officer agreed. “Piracy-related business has become the main profitable economic activity in our area, and as locals we depend on their output,” Mohamed Adam said. “The district gets a percentage of every ransom from ships that have been released, and that goes on public infrastructure, including our hospital and our public schools.”

• A group of inner-city activists in Los Angeles announced the start of bus tours of rundown public housing, sites of deadly shootouts and racial unrest, and the birthplace of many of the city’s most famous gangs, including Crips and Bloods. “This is ground zero for a lot of the bad in this city,” former gang member Alfred Lomas, who is spearheading L.A. Gang Tours, told the Los Angeles Times. “It could be ground zero for a lot of the good, too.”

Lomas calls the venture “true community empowerment.” The nonprofit group is charging adults $65 for the two-hour tours of South L.A., Watts and Florence-Firestone, and notes it uses the money to create jobs and start similar tour franchises in other inner cities. Organizers will sell souvenir T-shirts painted on the spot by a graffiti tagger, and one organizer said he hopes to stage a dance-off among the locals where tourists pick the winner. Organizers did decide against having kids shoot tourists with water pistols, followed by the sale of T-shirts that read: “I Got Shot in South-Central.”

Finders Keepers
Jesus Leonardo, 57, told the New York Times he makes more than $45,000 a year by cashing in winning tickets on horse races that betters throw away. “It is literally found money,” he said, explaining he spends more than 10 hours a day at a New York City off-track betting parlor. “This has become my job, my life. This is how I feed my family.”

Leonardo collects the betting slips by picking through the OTB parlor’s trash each night. He also pays two friends $25 a bag to bring him the trash at four other OTB parlors around the city. Leonardo collects 2,000 to 7,000 discarded tickets a day and hauls them to his New Jersey home. He and two other friends bundle them in stacks of 300 for Leonardo to tote to the city the next morning and spend hours scanning each ticket to find any winners. “It is such exhausting work,” Leonardo said, “that I give myself a lunch hour.”

Social Networking
A Detroit man who took a bus to Madison, Wis., to spend a week dating a woman he met on Facebook told police that when his visit ended, she pretended to drive him to the bus station but instead robbed him. Considering that Facebook arranged the meeting, a police official told the Wisconsin State Journal, “We have significant leads.”

Jolting News
The Brazilian Coffee Industry Association (ABIC) has intensified its crackdown on rogue roasters, who cut corners and costs by adulterating their products. “The most common thing is to find wood from the (coffee) tree and shells from the beans, but you can also find corn or caramel, which is much cheaper than coffee,” Almir Jose da Silva, ABIC’s chairman, told Reuters. “These coffees can make you feel unwell in the stomach or make you burp a lot.” Brazil is the world’s No. 1 coffee grower and No. 2 consumer, and since most of the exported coffee is raw beans, the tainted coffee is largely a domestic problem. Noting that the ABIC ousted 10 members this year for deliberately bulking up their products, Silva said the crackdown is aimed at thwarting efforts to recruit new coffee drinkers. “Quality is what develops consumption,” he said.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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