Chatter: Detroit goes bust




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Motown is broke. Detroit has become the biggest city in US history ever to go bankrupt. The once-mighty Motor City finally filed for Chapter 9 protection yesterday, after decades of urban decay and industrial decline.

From here a tough legal battle looms, as well as the prospect of laying off municipal employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back collapsing basic services yet further. But Detroiters are far from the only people for whom the American Dream is fading. As GlobalPost has reported in depth: America is gutted.


The "real" Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Even the biggest cynics in Rolling Stone's publicity department probably didn't expect the backlash they started with their misty-lensed cover photo of the Boston bombing suspect. But such is the anger at the supposed glamorization of an alleged terrorist that one police officer has put his career on the line to show a different picture.

Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer for the Massachusetts force, made the decision to leak graphic photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture to show the "real face of terrorism." It's a face dirtied, bloodied and marked by the red dot of a sniper's laser sight. And for revealing it without permission, Murphy now faces disciplinary action.

Alexei Navalny walks. The anti-corruption blogger and notable thorn in Russian President Vladimir Putin's side is free — for now. One day after a judge ordered Navalny led from a courtroom in handcuffs to spend the next five years in prison, the self-same judge has ordered him released on bail pending an appeal.

Navalny — and the thousands of his supporters who protested across Russia last night — say his conviction for embezzlement is pure political vengeance. While he challenges it in the appeals court, he's been granted the right to wait out the result a free man — and, most significantly, to continue his campaign to be elected mayor of Moscow in a September vote.

Closing the shores. Australia's government has announced that from here on, any asylum seeker who arrives by boat will have "no chance" of being accepted as a refugee. Instead, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says, they will be sent directly to neighboring Papua New Guinea — and a detention center.

Rudd says the policy — unparalleled in its strictness — is to deter the people smugglers who lure thousands of people to attempt the perilous journey from Southeast Asia to Australia by sea, resulting in scores of deaths each year. Critics and human rights groups have a different version: they call it cynical, heartless, and "absolutely immoral."


'Sharknado 2: Beast versus Wetsuit.' That's wishful thinking on our part, but only half: Australian researchers have invented what they claim is the world's first shark-proof swimwear

The blue-and-white striped "Elude" range uses new discoveries about the predators' notoriously patchy eyesight to disguise the wearer from their view. The shark-foxing pattern is also available as a handy sticker to help surfboards and boats go unspotted. Now, just throw in about two tons of reinforced steel and we might just get back in the water.