The Most Interesting Stories of 2009
On New Years Day 2009 I wrote a brief post linking my favorite news stories from the previous year. Nothing beats an epic tale, so I’ve decided to publish it again and continue the tradition. Without further ado, here are my favorite stories from 2009:
Last week, according to the pirates and maritime officials in Kenya, the ship’s owners finally paid $3.2 million — in cash, dropped by parachute — to free the Faina and a day later the last of the heavily armed pirates made their way off the ship.
2) Colombia Confronts Drug Lord’s Legacy: Hippos
Doraldald, Colombia — Even in Colombia, a country known for its paramilitary death squads, this hunting party stood out: more than a dozen soldiers from a Colombian Army battalion, two Porsche salesmen armed with long-range rifles, their assistant, and a taxidermist.
They stalked Pepe through the backlands of Colombia for three days in June…
3) Metro Bus Driver Takes a Bite Out of McGruff the Crime Dog
The bus driver, 38-year-old Shawn Brim, climbed out of the bus, adjusted both sideview mirrors and then slugged McGruff in the face with his closed fist, according to a police report. Because the huge McGruff head offered little visibility, Hardy didn’t see the punch coming, one officer said.
4) Man with Cocaine-Filled Chicken Busted at Dulles
Chicken a la cocaine?
Federal officials said Friday that was on the menu after a man tried to pass through customs at Dulles International Airport last week carrying a fully cooked chicken. It turned out the bird was stuffed with the drugs, they said.
“It’s the Thanksgiving holiday, and this guy is bringing in a chicken. You’d expect a turkey,” said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
5) Miles for Nothing: How the Government Helped Frequent Fliers Make a Mint
At least several hundred mile-junkies discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off.
Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.
I hope everyone has a happy new year!