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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Boston Herald reports that Family Tsarnaev, including the suspected Boston Marathon terrorists, received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits in the decade ending last year. That would include cash, food stamps and Section 8 housing. How many other would-be terrorists are taxpayers underwriting these days? ... In an astounding move, the federal government has actually decided not to reward employees for not doing their jobs. The Department of Veterans Affairs is docking bonuses for top officials who have been unable to meet their goals for reducing a giant backlog of disability claims. Will wonders never cease? ... Vanity Fair has posted photos of President Obama with his feet up on his Oval Office desk. But it's not just any desk. This desk was a gift from Britain's Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. Known as the Resolute desk, it was built from the timbers of an Arctic exploration ship of the same name. Nothing like disrespecting history. ... A state senator in Missouri proposed, then withdrew, an amendment to an education bill that would have banned the wearing of seersucker suits by those 8 and over. Why? “(Because) adults look ridiculous in seersucker suits,” Ryan McKenna, a Democrat, told Esquire magazine. He says the measure was “all in jest.” Voters could do themselves a favor by jesting Mr. McKenna out of office when he's up for re-election.

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