Global Scan

The conflict over Ukraine now reaches into space

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Credit: NASA

The International Space Station

In April, the US said it would suspend space cooperation with Russia because of its annexation of Crimea, with one exception — the International Space Station. Now, Russia is hitting back.

According to The Guardian, Russia has announced it will end its space station cooperation in 2020. But more importantly, it will stop selling its RD-180 engines to NASA, which are critical parts for the US Atlas V rockets that boost everything from Mars probes to spy satellites into orbit. The move will hurt because it could take the US several years to develop a replacement. The Russian prohibition could help propel the rapidly-developing commercial space industry, which includes players like Space X.

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A Sudanese judge condemns a women to death for abandoning Islam

Under Sudan's form of Islamic law, Muslim women cannot marry outside of the faith. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag married a Christian man. She insists she is Christian and was raised as a Christian. The judge gave her three days to recant and return to Islam, but she refused.

The BBC reports that the young woman is pregnant, so the sentence will be postponed for two years. And a BBC reporter in Khartoum says it is rare for death sentences in Sudan to actually be carried out. The woman will appeal the decision. The US, UK, Canada and the Netherlands have issued protests. As soon as the woman gives birth, she is also slated to receive 100 lashes for committing adultery, since her marriage is not recognized.

Do you want a living wage to go with your fries?

Organizers said they held the world's largest fast-food protest ever on Thursday. Rallies were planned in 33 countries around the world from India to Japan to Brazil. In London, more than 100 protesters gathered in front of a McDonalds in Trafalgar Square. "Hungry for justice" was their chant.

PRI's The World reports that fast-food workers are demanding higher pay, guaranteed hours and benefits. US workers are seeking $15 an hour. They are targeting an industry that is estimated to earn $200 billion a year and includes McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, and other chains. 

Nigerian villagers organize against Boko Haram

After the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram, local vigilante groups are organizing to protect themselves against the group. Al-Jazeera reports that villagers in Kalabalge ambushed two truckloads of armed militants and reportedly killed 41 of them. They may be detaining others. One villager said that they organized because Nigeria's military was not doing enough to stop the attacks.

In Indonesia, thousands of Muslims seek a divine blessing through a night of sex

"So the ritual goes like this. First, offer up prayers and flowers, then find a stranger and have sex with them."

PRI's The World reports on one of Indonesia’s most unusual cultural traditions — a Muslim shrine in Java devoted to anonymous sex. It's based on a legend of runaway lovers, and many workers claim that prayer and sex at the shrine have helped them find work and improve their businesses.

What we're seeing on social

Like the Bangladesh factory collapse before it, the Turkish mine collapse has raised profound questions about global workplace safety and the human cost of a globalized economy.

Weather around the world

If you think it is hard enough to keep track of weather on Earth, now we may have to track the solar wind, too. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports on new research out of Britain indicating that changes in the stream of charged particles from the Sun may increase the amount or magnitude of lightning on our planet. A team from the University of Reading looked at thunderstorm data over central England from 2000-2005 and compared it with NASA satellite data on the solar wind. Researchers believe that the charged particles electrify the atmosphere as they collide with it, altering the electrical properties of the air, which leads to more lightning.

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