NEED TO KNOW
Death in Xinjiang. A court in China's restive western province has sentenced two men to death for what authorities call a terrorist attack, but what local activists say was a confrontation escalated by the police's heavy-handed treatment of a marginalized minority.
The disputed incident happened in Xinjiang in April, when gunfights broke out during a raid on a house. Twenty-one people died, including 15 police and community workers and six "terrorists." The supposed conspirators are Uighurs, members of the region's native ethnic minority that complains it has been displaced by Han Chinese immigrants. Any version other than the authorities' is difficult to obtain; but Uighur rights groups outside Xinjiang say it's the latest instance of the government using supposed extremism to keep the province on a tight leash.
Not safe to pray. In northeast Nigeria, at least 44 people are dead after gunmen attacked a mosque during dawn prayers. They were killed Sunday but news of their deaths only emerged a day later, due to a state of emergency that has kept Borno state on lockdown for the past three months.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack — though the obvious suspects are Boko Harem, the radical Islamist group that has killed thousands in Nigeria since 2009. As previous killings have proved, simply attending a mosque where a cleric disagrees with the group's extremist ideology can be enough to make you a target.
WANT TO KNOW
It's a mobster's life. James "Whitey" Bulger, the former godfather to Boston's murky criminal underworld, has been found guilty on all but one of 32 charges against him. Convicted of 11 murders, money laundering and arms trafficking, the 83-year-old mob boss is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Bulger — who spent 16 years on the run before his arrest in 2011, and maintained throughout his trial that he'd been promised immunity by federal agents — remains defiant. His lawyers are already preparing an appeal. "I don't think you've heard the last word from James Bulger," says one.
Happy birthday, Pakistan! OK, we know we're early, but so are Pakistanis: in the days leading up to their country's 66th Independence Day on August 14, city streets become home to pop-up shops of patriotism. Card tables line busy traffic thoroughfares, ice cream stands morph into stalls selling green and white knicknacks, and every third car boasts a Pakistani flag.
GlobalPost presents the view from Karachi, in photos.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
Things Rich People Do, no. 38579: Build buildings on top of other buildings. It took six years, but one man in China managed it: a palatial villa, complete with rock garden and — are those...? They look like... Yes, those are — trees, perched atop what was already a 26-story building in Beijing.
The only problem is that the building's owner, one Professor Zhang, never sought permission for his rooftop folly. (Of course he didn't. He's rich. That's not what rich people do — they're too busy stocking their aquarium fences and learning the polite way to peel an orange.) Since we reported on the good professor's audacious structure yesterday, city authorities have given him 15 days to prove it was built legally, or tear the whole thing down. Things Rich People Do, no. 38580? Order rooftop villa-sized camouflage canopies.