Feature

It wasn’t all bad

A collection of letters, memos, and other documents from the “Black Sox” World Series of 1919 was found in an old file in Chicago and is now up for auction. . . .

A collection of letters, memos, and other documents from the “Black Sox” World Series of 1919 was found in an old file in Chicago and is now up for auction. Among the thousands of pages are papers from the 1921 criminal trial of the eight Chicago White Sox players who were accused of throwing the series for money—including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and George “Buck” Weaver—and letters from the team’s owner and league officials. Historians hope that the find will offer insights into the scandal; until now, they have had to rely largely on newspaper accounts and scattered interviews. “Wow,” said baseball author Gene Carney after viewing some of the documents. “This could be a treasure trove.”

The government of Congo has teamed up with U.S. agencies to set aside more than 11,000 square miles of the Central African nation as a sanctuary for the endangered bonobo, the great ape that is most closely related to humans. Totaling 1 percent of Congo, the Sankuru Nature Reserve is larger than the state of Massachusetts. Bonobos have been decimated by villagers who believe that rubbing a baby with the creature’s ashes will strengthen the infant. The ape’s current population is estimated at between 5,000 and 60,000. Bonobos are often called “the peaceful ape,” and live in a matriarchal society in which female leaders settle conflicts without violence.

For months, the city of Ghaziabad, India, was a mess. Municipal contractors weren’t being paid, officials were demanding bribes, and services weren’t being delivered. So when Ajay Shankar Pandey became municipal , ,commissioner, he took a bold step: He legalized bribery. Today, contractors pay the municipality 15 percent of what they receive for a job, and the money is channeled back into road, sewer, and lighting projects. In just three months, the approach has netted $4.7 million that would have gone into corrupt pockets. “I prefer this system,” said Arun Tyagi, a drainage and roads contractor. “There’s no harassment, and we get paid on time.”

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