Global Scan

Even Mandela meets his heroes in heaven

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Credit: (c) Zapiro, The Times, South Africa, Courtesy: www.zapiro.com

A tender cartoon about Nelson Mandela meeting one of his favorite boxers, Baby Jake Matlala, in heaven. At 4-foot-10, Baby Jake was the shortest boxing world champion ever. Mandela was a huge fan of Baby Jake's and attended his last bout in 2002. At the match, the South African boxer gave the former president (and former boxer) one of his belts. Baby Jake Matlala, at 51, died just two days after Nelson Mandela.

President Barack Obama's handshake with Cuban leader Raul Castro has reverberated around the world since Tuesday morning.

Writing for The New Yorker, Jon Lee Anderson says there was heavy symbolism to the handshake, even if the White House insisted Obama was just being polite. Cuba stood with Angola against apartheid-era South African troops, which, he argues, was a major factor in the ultimate fall of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela.

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That man's a fake!

In many of the photos of world leaders at Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday, a solitary man also appeared.

The man seemed to be translating the remarks for the deaf and hard of hearing. In turns out, however, that he was doing something more akin to interpretive dance — and it wasn't any form of interpretation recognizable by the deaf community. Now South African officials are trying to figure out just who this man was — and how he got so close to all of those world leaders, as the Daily Mail reports.

Hezbollah is playing both sides in the Syrian war... and a journalist got caught in the middle

Rami Aysha, the head of Time's Lebanon bureau, discovered that Hezbollah was both sending fighters to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and selling weapons to the rebels trying to force Assad from power. Hezbollah didn't want that revealed, Aysha said in an interview with Vice. So he was kidnapped and tortured.

When he was finally released and handed to the Lebanese military, they accused him of arms smuggling and he was convicted in abstentia. He talks about the close ties between Hezbollah and the Lebanese military. Undaunted, Aysha returned and demanded his conviction be overturned. He's headed to the country's Supreme Court.

Can you name the five remaining communist countries?

We'll give you one: North Korea. PRI's The World talks to Oxford University professor Robert Service who wrote the book on world communism. Service says North Korea is really the only country of the five that still tries to follow Marxist principles, with the other four take a more hybrid, or pragmatic approach. 

Our pollution is a defensive measure, right?

A nationalist Chinese newspaper wants people to stop complaining about that country's choking pollution. So it pointed out the bad air could be useful to China. “Smog may affect people’s health and daily lives … but on the battlefield, it can serve as a defensive advantage in military operations,” the Global Times wrote. Needless to say, as the South China Morning Post reports, everyday Chinese people were not buying it. One person on the social site Weibo put it simply: "But enemies wouldn’t need to resort to missile attacks if the smog continues to increase — people will simply be poisoned to death.”

Ford's ready to take the Mustang global

Clark Boyd of PRI's The World got a fire-engine red 1967 Ford Mustang when he was a new driver. Like many, he fell in love with the sound, the growl, of the powerful car. It turns out the car was not just a draw for Americans. It is hugely popular abroad, even though it has never been commercially sold beyond the US over the last 40 years. But that's set to change with the 2015 model Ford unveiled earlier this month. And Boyd finds out why something so American is so appealing to foreigners.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Rain marked the Nelson Mandela memorial service, and it's been pouring all over the country. According to AccuWeather, Port Edward, South Africa, has had 10.7 inches of rain just since Sunday. And it continues to rain today in many parts of South Africa.

This post is a regular 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.

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