In 2010, the small community of specialists who pay attention to US road safety statistics picked up the first signs of a troubling trend: more and more pedestrians were being killed on American roads. That year, 4,302 American pedestrians died, an increase of almost 5% from 2009. The tally has increased almost every year since, with particularly sharp spikes in 2015 and 2016. Last year, 41% more US pedestrians were killed than in 2008. During this same period, overall non-pedestrian road fatalities moved in the opposite direction, decreasing by more than 7%. For drivers, roads are as safe as they have ever been; for people on foot, roads keep getting deadlier. Through the 90s and 00s, the pedestrian death count had declined almost every year. No one would have confused the US for a walkers’ paradise – at least part of the reason fewer pedestrians died in this period was that people were driving more and walking less, which meant that there were fewer opportunities to be … [Read more...] about Collision course: why are cars killing more and more pedestrians?
Military insurance car
This is what happens when the government targets you for zombie debt collection. You receive a letter from your state’s department of human services claiming that you were “overissued” $4,132 in food stamp and cash benefits in the 1980s. Enclosed is a copy of the original overpayment notice they say they sent you when you were still listening to Madonna and Bobby Brown. You don’t remember ever seeing it before. The letter informs you that, since you didn’t respond immediately three decades ago, your 90-day window to request a fair hearing and contest the overpayment has closed. You now have a debt, and it’s past due. The state threatens to refer this debt to the United States Department of Treasury, which has the power to withhold your federal tax return, your earned income tax credit, a portion of your military retirement pay – even your social security disability check. You are barely making ends meet, so the financial loss might mean doing … [Read more...] about Struggling Americans are haunted by zombie debt. Will you be next?
On 21 December 2016 Evgeny Lazarevich, a 55-year-old father to four daughters, disappeared in the Kemerovo region of Siberia. A week later his Ford Explorer was found in the city of Novokuznetsk, 30 miles from the coalmine where he worked as its administrator, overseeing its liquidation. According to his sister, Anna, the car’s number plate had been removed and its inside sprayed with pepper “so police dogs would not take the trail”. Nothing has been heard of him since, except for one, sinister postscript. The following March, Lazarevich’s mother, Tamara, received two calls on her mobile phone. “Mama, mama,” her son said before the line went dead. Now, desperate for answers, his family have escalated their efforts to find him. Curiously, though, their efforts have been focused not on Siberia, nor even Russia, but on London where a small army of PR agents, private investigators and lawyers have been working behind the scenes to push the story of … [Read more...] about Oligarchs at war in London over mystery of missing Siberian