Global Scan

As Washington careens toward shutdown, Saudi cleric tries to keep women from careening anywhere

sept302013.jpg

Chinese cartoonist Luojie of the China Daily captures the not-so-slow-motion train wreck about to take place in Washington as Republicans and Democrats continue their fight in the sandbox.

You know that awkward moment when you meet the leader of the neighboring regional superpower and you leave your mike open — and everyone hears what you really think of him? Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif does.

Here are some other stories catching our attention around the globe today.

Disneyland for jihad

"Subhan'Allah, bro, I asked for ketchup"

Der Spiegels’ Christoph Reuter has a fascinating report (in English) from what he refers to as a  ‘disneyland’ for ‘jihad tourists’ in northern Syria. Atmeh is a safe area where Islamists fighters from around the world can meet and live out their jihadi fantasies in relative safety, without going to the frontline.

Won't someone please think of the ovaries?

“If a woman drives a car  ... medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards."

The Statesman is one of several outlets to take an interest in a recent colorful fatwa from senior Saudi cleric Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan. The pseudo-scientific argument is apparently a response to an organizing effort among Saudi women to protest a government ban on women driving.

Lay down your penknives and surrender

The Telegraph has an intriguing story on what the Swiss military has been up to this month. In the absence of any actual war during several hundred years of neutrality, the Swiss Army’s war games department has been role playing a potential invasion.

The hypothetical aggressor? A bankrupt and bank account free French nation.

Get off of your bike, get into a car

While most of the world looks for ways to convince residents to give up their cars for public transportation or bikes, Calcutta is going in a different direction. Earlier this month, the city's traffic department banned bikes and handcarts from 174 major and minor streets around the sprawling city.

DNA India has a report about activist Medha Patkar's efforts to get the ban reversed.

Now boarding all zones and all rows for Tehran

On the heels of the seemingly major breakthrough last week in US-Iranian relations, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is proposing that the two nations take concrete steps to improve relations: by re-establishing air links between the two nations. Flights were terminated after the 1979 Iran Revolution.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Heavy smog has settled in around Beijing, just in time for China's National Day — the holiday that celebrates the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. According to the US Embassy, air pollution levels for PM2.5 particles is a 200 micrograms per cubic metre, and Beijing officials have the reading at an even higher 225 — all of which adds up to very unhealthy air in Beijing, just in time for a major national holiday. 

This post is a new feature of PRI.org. It's a daily brief and email newsletter of stories, events and graphics that are catching the attention of our news staff. The World's Leo Hornak kicks it off from London and various folks on our editorial team around the globe contribute from there, like Cartoon Editor Carol Hills in Boston. Don't expect anything near the standard wrap of major news stories. This blog post and its email companion will be as idiosyncratic as our staff... and we'll want you to tell us what you like and don't like. Sign up for a PRI.org account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.