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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, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The New York Times and CNBC made a big deal last week over Mao Zedong's 120th birthday. And the chipper accounts were simply abhorrent After all, China's late chairman of the Communist brand was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of, by one estimate, up to 78 million Chinese people. And this, The Times and CNBC celebrate? Sick. ... Federal workerslaid off during October's government shutdown reportedly flocked to the Zoosk Internet dating site. Traffic was up by as much as 100 percent. Hey, what's a federal worker who can't surf porn while on the job to do, right? ... The Washington Times reports that Leesburg, Va., restaurateur Bryan Crosswhite has created an online site ( where gun-rights businesses can obtain “2AO 2014” window stickers that let legal gun owners know their right to bear arms is honored at their establishments. It's a great idea. And what a message it could be to would-be robbers as well. ... In neighboring Ohio, the law prohibits “secret compartments” in motor vehicles designed to conceal illegal drugs. But the arrest of a Michigan man has sparked a healthy Fourth Amendment debate. Norman Gurley was recently pulled over for speeding. A state trooper found a secret trunk compartment after he said he smelled marijuana. But the car was clean. Authorities allege Mr. Gurley was “between” drug “runs.” Is this not what a police state looks like?

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