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Estonian Rhapsody: Did Krugman cherry-pick data?

Master austerity-slayer Paul Krugman dismisses Estonia's economic progress. Here's the bigger picture, and the back story behind one of the most entertaining Twitter wars in euro zone history.
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The big picture: Despite a sharp drop, Estonia's economy is humming again. (GlobalPost)
Master austerity-slayer Paul Krugman dismisses Estonia's economic progress. Here's the bigger picture, and the back story behind one of the most entertaining Twitter wars in euro zone history.

Estonia's economy causes online debate (STORIFY)

GlobalPost correspondent Paul Ames wrote a story earlier this week on how despite the fact that Estonia uses the euro, the eastern European country's economy is going strong. The article, "Yes, they use the euro. And the economy is booming," attracted significant attention on Twitter, including a link from Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

Coming Apart? European experience of illegitimate births is different than America's

Controversial author Charles Murray's new book points to births out of wedlock as a reason for social decay in America. Europe's experience says illegitimacy may not be the reason.
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Not all families are traditional, like President Obama's, but is the decline in their number behind America's social crisis? (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The works of conservative intellectual Charles Murray are designed to provoke debate and raise hackles among liberal intellectuals. His book "The Bell Curve" is the best-known example, along with "Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences." He is an ice-cold flame-thrower as this radio interview from a couple of years ago shows.

He's at it again, in the just published, "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010." Much of the discussion of the book has centered on Murray's statistical dissection of the white working class, particularly family breakdown as measured by births out of wedlock.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has an interesting discussion of the book here, and at least partially tips his liberal hat towards a point Murray makes.


Lebanon returns to murky days of kidnapping

The release of seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped from the lawless Bekaa Valley sheds little light on who’s to blame: Jihadis, the Syrian regime or someone else?
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Seven Estonian cyclists who were kidnapped in March make their first public appearance on the balcony of the French embassy in Beirut (-stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Once notorious for the kidnappings of Westerners during the dark days of its civil war, Lebanon appeared to have turned that murky chapter in its history, with hardly a report of such a crime in decades.

That was until March 23 when seven Estonian cyclists appeared over the Anti-Lebanon mountains from Syria, sped down the highway into the lush and troubled Bekaa Valley, land of vineyards and crime gangs, and were soon slammed off their bikes by armed men in three cars.

Somewhere outside Zahle, a predominantly Christian city in the Bekaa, the Estonians were bundled into a van, stripped of their mobile phones, and were next to be seen on a YouTube video reportedly posted from Syria. The video has since been removed.

After 113 days in captivity the seven Estonian have now been released by their kidnappers, after efforts by the French, which acts on behalf of Estonians in Lebanon.

Yet still no one is quite sure who took them.


A fire at an orphanage in Estonia kills 10 (VIDEO)

A fire at an home for disabled youth in Haapsalu, Estonia, killed 10 children Sunday. Most of the killed were orphans. The fire broke out in the home while the children were having their afternoon nap. Nine adults and 37 children were inside the wooden building when the fire began. By the time fire fighters reached the home, it was completely in flames. Rescuers told BBC that most of the children in the home used wheelchairs and could not flee from the flames.
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