News doesn’t stop at the border, and what happens in the rest of the world makes a difference to our lives here in the U.S. At the beginning of every week, Latitude News rounds up three stories from local papers that drive that point home.
- They’re beautiful, they’re charming, they want you to buy them drinks: the Russian “bar girls” of Miami Beach made a living getting unsuspecting businessmen drunk, charging outrageous amounts to their tabs and then taking a cut of the profits. The Miami Herald reports one naive Philadelphia weatherman spent $43,000 over two nights at the Caviar Bar with two beauties who said they were from Estonia. Bartenders, bouncers and Russian mobsters all took part in the racket, which was broken up by an undercover FBI agent posing as a dirty Miami cop. Eleven people have pleaded guilty so far in a series of trials that is still ongoing.
- While the rich checked into hotels in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, someone had to make their beds, deliver room service and scrub the bathrooms. In an editorial, the Latino news site Ponte Al Dia points out that these jobs we consider “menial” are largely performed by immigrants. Although they don’t have the advanced degrees our politicians crave in newcomers and, yes, some of them may be undocumented, our country continues to depend on the hard work of immigrants as we recover from the storm. “The accents may have changed from Italian, German and Polish to Spanish, Cambodian and West African,” the editorial argues, “but like most of our ancestors, you can’t measure the value of these immigrants by their degrees or net worth. “
- If you haven’t seen “Argo,” the new Ben Affleck flick about the Iranian hostage crisis, close your Internet browser and head to the nearest movie theater. If you have, it’s safe to read this Detroit Free Press interview with Mark Lijek. In November 1979, Lijek, a Michigan native, and five other Americans sneaked out the back door of the besieged American Embassy in Tehran and into the house of a Canadian diplomat. Three months later a CIA agent, played in the move by Affleck, showed up to exfiltrate the terrified Americans. His plan: head to the airport and pretend to be the advance team of a Canadian movie wrapping up a location shoot in Tehran. “It made sense to me,” Lijek remembers. “Who’s crazy enough to go to a country like Iran in the middle of a revolution and think they won’t be killed and shoot a movie.”