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‘Everybody counts or nobody counts’

In Michael Connelly’s crime thriller “The Late Show,” he introduced us to a new character, Renee Ballard, an attractive, 30-ish dedicated and smart Los Angeles detective who was working the night shift.

When spying enemies became friends

A quiet but deadly game is constantly waged in Washington and environs between CIA and FBI officers and their Russian counterparts.

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The deadly pact that inflicted grave damage

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, tyrants who did not especially care for one another personally, signed onto a partnership that was a major step toward the war that devastated much of Europe.

Exploring the sad and violent world of Naples' children

I visited Naples, Italy, in the mid-1970s while serving in the U.S. Navy. A friend who knew Naples very well warned me about the gangs of children who swarm visitors and ask for money, a scene I saw often while previously serving in Southeast Asia.

The hard path to restoring order in Lebanon

On March 16, 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives just as he had left his apartment building at 6:45 am and started driving his car to his office at the United States embassy compound, a two-minute drive away. The two cars driven by the Hezbollah kidnappers quickly blocked Mr. Buckley's car and their operatives overwhelmed him with their firearms and hurled him into one of their cars, driving him to their hidden place of captivity. Mr. Buckley had been in his position since June 1983, and contrary to standard security practice, he was not accompanied by an embassy-provided driver or bodyguard. Mr. Buckley reportedly died in Hezbollah captivity in June 1985, despite the numerous measures the United States had employed to attempt his rescue.

When 'fragile' students are shielded on campus

As the world knows, all is not well on many American college campuses, where the culture "has become more ideologically uniform, compromising the ability of scholars to seek truth, and of students to learn from a broad range of thinkers," as Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, the authors of "The Coddling of the American Mind" write.

Communities and their shared religious beliefs

"Living With The Gods" is an enormous and illuminating project, undertaken by Neil McGregor in collaboration with the BBC and the British Museum, of which he is the former director.

Time was money, so clippers sped

"What goes around, comes around," as Judge Kavanaugh testified before the Senate, or to quote the Bible's better maxim: "As ye sow so shall ye reap." Described either way, it may be said that America's opioid crisis resembles an epidemic we inflicted on China two centuries ago, launching the Opium Wars and China's self-styled "century of humiliation."

A masterful guide to capitalism American style

Long ago, but not very far away, I was a young presidential speechwriter in the Nixon and Ford White Houses. In 1974 a man named Alan Greenspan succeeded my dear friend Herbert Stein as head of the presidential Council of Economic Advisors. I remember the 1974 model Alan Greenspan as friendly, down-to-earth, extremely articulate and, above all, a clear, sharp thinker. Because of an 18-year gap in our ages, I also remember thinking of him as old at the time. He would eventually go on to distinguish himself as the second longest-serving chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1987 to 2006.

A Russian poisoning in Salisbury

Speaking to reporters in December 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that his spy agencies had assassination squads that targeted defectors. But he voiced an ominous warning. "Whatever thirty pieces of silver those people may have gotten, they will stick in their throat."