Evan Ratliff
Evan Ratliff
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We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn't We?

We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn't We?

100-year thing,” Nathan Wolfe said. It was 2006, and Wolfe, then a 36-year-old virologist with an unruly nest of curly hair, was sitting across a table from me at a bustling restaurant in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. An epidemiology professor at UCLA, he had been living in West Africa for six years, establishing a research center to identify and study viruses as they crossed over from wild animals into humans. That night Wolfe told me he was forming a network of research outposts around the globe, in hot spots where potentially devastating viruses were poised to make the jump:...

June 16, 2020
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Coder-Turned-Kingpin Paul Le Roux Gets His Comeuppance

Coder-Turned-Kingpin Paul Le Roux Gets His Comeuppance

late September 2012, Paul Calder Le Roux was sitting in a hotel room in Monrovia, Liberia, working out the final details of a large cocaine and methamphetamine deal with the head of a Colombian drug cartel. As the pair discussed prices and drop-off points, Le Roux—a programmer who had turned an online pharmacy business into a global criminal empire, trafficking in drugs, arms, and violence—reflected aloud on the two ways he kept his criminal organization in line. The first was zero tolerance for stealing: He’d ordered his top lieutenant killed for as much. The second, he said, was ensuring...

June 12, 2020
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Meth, Murder, and Pirates: The Coder Who Became a Crime Boss

Meth, Murder, and Pirates: The Coder Who Became a Crime Boss

How a brilliant self-made software programmer from South Africa single-handedly built an online startup that became one of the largest individual contributors to America’s burgeoning painkiller epidemic. In his world, everything was for sale. Pure methamphetamine manufactured in North Korea. Yachts built to outrun coast guards. Police protection and judges’ favor. Crates of military-grade weapons. Private jets full of gold. Missile-guidance systems. Unbreakable encryption. African militias. Explosives. Kidnapping. Torture. Murder. It's a world that lurks just outside of our everyday...

February 8, 2019
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The story of Jamal Khashoggi's murder and how the world looked the other way

The story of Jamal Khashoggi's murder and how the world looked the other way

A ghost.One year ago, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and never walked out. In the months that followed, the facts of his disappearance and murder would emerge in fragments: an international high-tech spy game, a diabolical plot, a gruesome killing, and a preposterous cover-up reaching the highest levels of the Saudi government, aided by the indifference and obstinacy of the White House. Eventually those fragments came to comprise a macabre mosaic.This June, the United Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions...

October 2, 2019
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