Global Scan

Some wealthy Chinese think slaughtering tigers is a status symbol

tiger-dead.jpg

Credit: China Daily/Reuters

A dead tiger is found during a police raid in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, January 8, 2014.

Chinese officials are cracking down on wealthy businesspeople and others who slaughter tigers as a "visual feast" to demonstrate their wealth and extravagance. At least 10 healthy tigers have been killed recently, according to China's state media.

The Guardian reports that tiger bones and flesh can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars. They are prized because of Chinese tradition that says they provide strength to those who possess them. What ever happened to just driving an expensive car or cruising on your yacht?

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Leader of a nation, voice like a Teletubby

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened another front in his struggle with the Internet this month, banning Twitter last week and now apparently banning YouTube after an audio recording of a high-level security meeting was posted on the site. The Internet hasn't respond kindly (or maturely).

On social networks, people have been spreading footage of Erdoğan speaking with a strangely high-pitched voice during a campaign rally. Some speculate the audio is real and the result of vocal damage from too many speeches leading up to Turkey's elections.

According to the BBC's Trending blog, a social hashtag that translated roughly to "helium lobby" quickly started trending. In the past, Erdoğan has tended to blame his problems on "lobbies" of enemies. Others joked that the Twitter bird was trapped inside of him.

Taiwan's students hit the streets, with sunflowers

Taiwan's government is pushing for closer ties with mainland China — and that's not sitting well on the streets. Students have staged large protests and taken over parliament buildings to protest a free trade bill with the mainland.

The government says the bill will spur Taiwan's economic growth. Students feel the bill is being pushed through parliament with little review, circumventing the democratic process. PRI's The World reports that many worry that China's larger businesses will overwhelm local companies. In Taiwan, the sunflower is a symbol of hope — so students have decided to carry the flower in hopes that the country's legislature will change direction.

The British Army used pigs to test body armor

Yet another story about animal slaughter, this time in the name of science. Evidence emerged that the British army used pigs to test its body armor and develop new battlefield medical techniques, resulting in the deaths of 115 animals. According to The Independent, PETA UK blasted the UK's military for its outdated practices — urging it to use modern testing procedures and training doctors on "life-like human-patient simulators."

The UK Ministry of Defense said any pigs that were operated on or blown up were anaesthetized before the procedure and were "humanely culled." At least 28,000 animals were killed in defense tests over the past three years. Officials say they're cutting back on the practice, thanks to new technology.

This book about Chinese history is surprisingly relevant today

China's 19th-century Boxer Rebellion was led by the country's youth. It was a battle over religion and the direction of the country. And it's the subject of graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang's latest book, Boxers & Saints. But while the graphic novel is set in the past, Yang says it resonates with youth today. 

The teenage Boxers saw themselves as endowed with superpowers, and many drawings in the novel have the intensity of comics. The author says immigrant kids, and especially Asian Amerians, often become immersed in the world of comics and superheroes —  because they must navigate, like superheroes, between different identities and worlds. PRI's Studio 360 tells the story.

What we're seeing on social

Learn more about climate change and its impact on food systems from our series, What's For Lunch?

Weather around the world

It's going to be a wet weekend across much of East Asia. China, South Korea and Japan are all set to pick up a few inches of rain, according to AccuWeather.

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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