Life Turns Into Crazed Spy Novel: The Latest


The latest in the bizarre mystery surrounding the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko of apparent polonium-210 poisoning: Mario Scaramella, the Italian "security expert" he chowed on sushi with the night he suspects he was poisoned is also contaminated, the London Times is reporting–with amounts that are "significant" and "likely to be of concern to his immediate health."

Nature magazine has some news you can use about this baroquely bizarre tale (my goodness, why would someone choose such a crazy spy novel way of icing your foes in a world where bullets are abundant?): You needn't have access to a nuke plant to get your hands on polonium-210; the "and, if you suspect baddies with as convoluted a mind as those after Litvinenko might be after you, be apprised that sheets of paper are enough to block polonium-210 radiation.

skilled summation of all the twists and turns of this nutty, and scary, tale–including that former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar, who served in the Yeltsin era and was known as a market reformer, fell mysteriously ill in Ireland this week, and also thinks he was poisoned, though no radiation has yet been detected in his case.