The Plight of Whistleblowers: Reaping Rewards or Getting Benched

Angelo Franco

The largest payout ever given to an informant, the $104 million awarded to Birkenfeld were part of the IRS’s whistleblower program, which rewards informants up to 30 percent of collected funds and fines from pursued claims. Around the time of the award, the IRS was seeking to shrink potential whistleblowers’ payout, which drew fierce criticism from a number of lawmakers. The IRS program, which was revamped in 2006 to offer higher rewards and incentives, was created to encourage informants to come forward with allegations of potential wrongdoings in an effort to help the agency recover an estimated $100 billion a year of underpaid taxes. 

Searching the Thames for a Slice of History

Neil Hall and Mary-Louise Gumuchian

Sandy has been mudlarking for a hobby for the last five years, scouring the river banks for historical artifacts. Some of his finds are so rare they are displayed in museums. "Over 2,000 years of time, everything has been thrown into the Thames, accidentally lost ... dropped so 2,000 years of history are down there," he said. "It's really the thrill of almost like time-traveling and knowing that the last person to touch this was from that time period," he added, describing the feeling of making a find.

Eye on Virginia: Restoring Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

Gary Gately

After four months of political and legal wrangling, McAuliffe, a Democrat, announced he had signed individual orders allowing 13,000 ex-felons who had registered to vote after the governor’s April order, including Banks, to re-register. Now Banks is eager to vote in the November election. “I mean, I want to rejoin society and be a productive person in society,” he said. “I learned my lesson from my incarceration. If you’re willing to come back to society, be productive and do what you’re supposed to do in life, they should welcome you back with open arms.”

What Good Political Leadership Looks Like

Jim Jaffe

On the one hand we’re told that politicians cautiously hold a finger to the wind before acting and lack the courage to get ahead of their constituents. On the other, when politicians step forward—as Obama did on the TPP or ACA or David Cameron did on EU affiliation or Angela Merkel on immigration—their positions are deemed proof of the growing gulf between the governing elite and the masses who would be impacted.

‘Black Lotus’: One Woman’s Search for Racial Identity in a Racist World

Hope Wabuke

But for Abrams, born to a Chinese immigrant mother and a white American father, passing was a result not of choice but of ignorance. All her life she had been told that the reason her skin was darker than the rest of her family’s was that she was born in Hawaii. And then, when she was 14, the man she thought of as her father told Abrams that her actual biological father was black.

Should Seniors Face Tighter Gun Controls?

Dana DiFilippo

Older Americans have the highest gun ownership rates in the United States, with firearms in 40 percent of households headed by someone age 50 to 64 or age 65 and older, according to the Pew Research Center. And a disproportionate number of older Americans apply to carry concealed weapons, according to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Public Health. The reasons for such trends vary: older Americans tend to have more disposable income with which to buy guns; they’ve had a longer time to amass an arsenal; and many invest in arms as a way to counter the physical vulnerabilities that can come with aging. 

Is It Time for Queen Elizabeth to Resign?

John Lloyd

But the saner sources, or at least those who claim to be in the know, say she will never resign. The BBC, cautious to the point of timidity in its comments on the queen (it fired its director of BBC1, Peter Fincham, in 2007 for making the mildest of jokes about her) has ventured that she won't resign while she lives. It reminded us that her message to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday contained the phrase, "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

 

‘Pokemon Go’ Craze Will Soon Hit India

Nishant Arora

The Pokemon Go is available for download on Google Playstore and Apple's App Store in the U.S., Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Germany, Britain, Europe and Canada and is coming soon to India, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia. The mobile game, developed by U.S. software company Niantic and part-owned by Japanese videogame giant Nintendo, has topped over 15 million downloads and its servers are crashing worldwide owing to heavy traffic.

Hillary Clinton Channels Her Inner Sixties

Leonard Steinhorn

Hearing her biography over and over during the Democratic convention confirmed one undisputed fact about her: she’s not only “from the Sixties,” as she said at a Democratic debate last year, but she’s of the Sixties. And she’s of a very specific side of the Sixties, the earnest activists who wanted to transform the world by digging deep into policy and challenging outdated norms and practices. For these activists, the popular phrase “question authority” had both a political and personal meaning.

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