The world’s most romantic city has said ‘ca suffit’ to foreginers putting padlocks on Parisian bridges.
The tradition, which started with just a couple of bridges across the Seine (the Pont des Arts and Pont de l'Archevêché in particular), has recently spread to almost all of the city's bridges. According to legend, if lovers attach a padlock with their names attached to the bridge and throw away the key, their love will be unbreakable. Unfortunately, the bridges aren't unbreakable and it's gotten to the point where the weight is so much there's genuine concern about the structural integrity of the bridges.
So a pair of American ex-pats living in Paris are launching a campaign to get people to stop. "It's a kind of mania. It's not about romance any more – it's just about saying 'I did it,'" one of the women said. The Guardian has more.
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The day NSA surveillance almost ground to a halt
The New York Review of Books reveals a weekend of panic for former President George W. Bush when his administration failed to notice, until almost too late, that the NSA’s metadata program was, well, kind of, sort of illegal. In a series of vignettes from Bush's memoirs and from two books about former Vice President Dick Cheney, we learn about how close the program came to dying just two years after it was created. It happened, apparently, because a series of justice department attorney, up to and perhaps including a hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft, were willing to resign rather than re-authorize the bill as it existed. "I was about to witness the largest mass resignation in modern presidential history, and we were in the middle of a war," Bush wrote. Bush blinked and changed the program — and it continues today.
If you're looking to start a war, this Toyota pickup truck should be on your shopping list
The Toyota Hilux is the transport of choice of armed militants around the world. It's fast and practically indestructible and it may be the Toyota truck on the list of "non-lethal" aid the US is sending to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. But, while it strictly is non-lethal, it is quite potent. It can be equipped with machine guns, soldiers or larger weapons and can make all the difference in battle. And it's not just that. It's practically indestructible. PRI's The World has a video of a Hilux being smashed, burnt and drowned — and motoring on.
A reporter goes undercover on the frontline of the new Cold War
Paul Mason of the UK's Channel Four has an excellent blog post from Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, and the frontline in West and Russia’s new battle for influence. Mason snuck into Transnistria, the breakaway republic where Russian "peacekeepers" have been deployed since a civil war years ago. In the country, residents say the soldiers are training paramilitary forces — forces they're worried will be used if Russia tries to annex pro-Russian Transnistria, like it did with Crimea. In many ways, Mason writes, Transnistria never left the Soviet Union. Lenin still towers over town squares and the USSR’s emblem greets you as you drive into town. What remains to be seen is if Transnistria will be Russia's next stop in its bid to re-establish the Soviet empire.
How do you sign off in your emails?
PRI's The World is looking at email sign offs. Cheerio, Thanks and all of that. Of course, if you're multilingual, you may be more into Poka poka, or how about Ciao, or Bises? How you finish your email can say a lot about you — and we want to know. Leave us a comment.
What we're seeing on social
— Shefali S. Kulkarni (@shefalikulkarni) April 1, 2014
Weather around the world
It's been a warm month in Beijing. According to data from AccuWeather, the average temperature in March was eight degrees above normal. In fact, though, Beijing has had above normal temperatures for months. The last time a monthly average temperature was below normal was June 2013.