At least nine people are dead in a shooting at Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel AME church. Among the victims is Clementa Pinckney, church pastor and SC state senator. The gunman sat with the church for a while before shooting, and told a survivor that he was letting her live so she could tell the story. [more inside]
DC Comics has scraped an upcoming Swamp Thing series by acclaimed writer China Miéville (previously), apparently so that Swamp Thing and other Vertigo characters such as Black Orchid and Shade The Changing Man can be reintegrated into the DC Universe. Vertigo started out as a darker, edgier imprint of comics, largely modeled on Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, that absorbed many of DCs supernatural characters and largely took them out of DC's more superhero orientated universe, something that this would reverse. There is no word on whether John Constantine, star of Vertigos longest running comic Hellblazer would be affected.>
Once-revered S.C. lawmaker freezes to death alone. Maybe it's OK to get in someone's business and force them to get help? A terrible way to go out.
How Much is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations. A paper from a doctoral student at the Harvard Business School, and an employee of the National Bureau of Economic Research has found a correlation between serving on the United Nations Security Council, and the amount of aid received from the United States and the UN. The paper will be printed in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Political Economy. From the abstract: "Ten of the fifteen seats on the U.N. Security Council are held by rotating members serving two-year terms. We find that a country’s U.S. aid increases by 59 percent and its U.N. aid by 8 percent when it rotates onto the council. This effect increases during years in which key diplomatic events take place (when members’ votes should be especially valuable) and the timing of the effect closely tracks a country’s election to, and exit from, the council. Finally, the U.N. results appear to be driven by UNICEF, an organization over which the United States has historically exerted great control." The Harvard Business School working paper can be found here. Commentary from Steven Levitt (the co-author of Freakonomics) can be found here.