The White House is upset. The Israeli media is outraged. Secretary of State John Kerry deplores it.
What's it? A pamphlet that came to light this week in Ukraine that purports to require Ukrainian citizens who are Jewish, and living in Donetsk to register with the local pro-Russia militia forces, and pay a $50 fee. Failure to register, the flyer said, could lead to people being deported and having their property seized.
Shades of pre-World War II Nazi Germany, certainly. The only problem? It's probably a hoax. The militia leader listed as having signed the document vowed he had nothing to do with it and, in fact, distribution seems to have been done by just three masked men. Mashable explains why this is likely a small action meant most likely to provoke outrage — not actually get anyone registered.
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If global warming gets too bad, maybe humanity can move here
Or maybe not, unless we figure out some serious interstellar transportation. Scientists working on data from NASA's Kepler planet finding mission have discovered what they say is a planet with the right characteristics to be similar enough to Earth to support life, The New York Times reports.
According to NASA, planet Kepler 186f circles star Kepler 186 in what's known as the "Goldilocks Zone" — the narrow band of distance from a star where liquid water could form. Liquid water is considered crucial to a planet supporting life. The planet isn't exactly like earth — it's a little bigger and somewhat closer to the Earth — but scientists are excited its one of their first finds that look to fit what they're looking for. Unforunately, it would be an extremely long time, if ever, before we can find out more about the planet.
Would you lick the back of a stamp depicting a naked male behind?
Finalnd's Touko Laaksonen had a huge impact on the culture of the gay community through his artwork. Better known as Tom of Finland, Laaksonen depicted barely-clad (or totally naked) men in all sorts of professions and positions. He died in 1991, but his work lives on. In conjunction with an exhibit of his work in September, the Finnish postal service has issued a series of stamps with some of his better known works on them. PRI's The World reports on Laaksonen's impact on the gay community — as well as how these stamps may be received in some other countries, where homosexuality is prohibited.
Sriracha factory threatens to pick up and move
People take their Huy Fong Sriracha mighty seriously, as we've told you before. But the manufacturer has been in a protracted battle with neighbors and the city where the factory is located for months now — and things seem only to be getting hotter. At the center of the problem are neighbors who say the factory, well, smells. And makes it difficult for them to breathe or even leave their homes.
Huy Fong says it's taken this all very seriously, and will rectify the problem, if there is a problem. But city officials say they're not moving fast enough, so recently they voted to label the factory a public nuisance. That step could allow the city to go in and make whatever "repairs" are needed to eliminate the odor — and then charge the repairs back to the company. But before that happens, Huy Fong says it will move. Vice has the story.
When they come to the US, some Sudanese bring an ancient beauty ritual with them
In Sudan, married women have a particular technique for purifying and cleansing themselves called dukhan. The ritual involves women taking coals and specific kinds of wood and letting the smoke billow around them in a sort of smoke hood. It perfumes their skin and even gives their skin an orang or tan complexion. But when Sudanese women come to the US, they often discover people don't exactly understand what it is they're trying to do.
PRI's The World has the story, the first in a new, occasional series from our Global Nation desk called Just Like Home — stories of how immigrants bring their customs with them when they come to the US. You can follow @GlobalNation on Twitter for new updates on the series.
What we're seeing on social
— TIME.com (@TIME) April 17, 2014
Weather around the world
All the air pollution in China is having a precipitous impact on weather in the US, according to new research. The air particles, according to a simulation published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, intensify storms over the north Pacific Ocean, which then lead to stronger, more eratic storms over the the US. The Guardian has the story.