Global Scan

Vladimir Putin would like you to know he too opposes fracking

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Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin visits a Rosneft refinery in the Black Sea town of Tuapse in southern Russia October 11, 2013.

First your neighbor's car got an anti-fracking bumper sticker. Next, it might be the Russian president's jet.

Vladimir Putin has become one of the biggest opponents of fracking, but not because of his environmental credentials. The controversial process is used to produce natural gas, the same energy source that Russia has in abundance and uses as a diplomatic weapon in its dealings with other countries. The Guardian details how European officials are now calling out Putin on his alleged use of disinformation campaigns to halt fracking.

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David Petraeus says the US must not become a Shia militia air force

He once ordered American planes into action over the skies of Iraq, but former general David Petraeus doesn't want to see them return — at least not yet. He says that if the United States decides to support the government of Iraq with airstrikes, it risks siding with Shiite militias rather than Iraq's national army. That army largely collapsed when ISIS took control of much of northern Iraq, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has turned to volunteer Shiite fighters to help take back the country.

For now, President Barack Obama seems to agree. He said in a speech today that the US will only use airpower if it doesn't further sectarian violence. And, as the Daily Beast reports, Petraeus thinks that can only happen one way: if Maliki steps down.

Making it rain is better than ever

It's something straight out of a sci-fi movie: weather on demand. But journalist Dan Baum told PRI's The Takeaway about how it's becoming a reality. The long-established practice of cloud seeding, which primes clouds for rain using planeloads of silver iodide, is now far more accurate — thanks to advanced radar and ever more powerful computer simulations. It's great news for farmers facing severe droughts in places like west Texas.

The world's longest cave rescue finally ends

It took eleven days and more than 700 workers, but German spelunker Johann Westhauser was finally rescued on Thursday from 3,000 feet below the surface. Westhauser was one of the men who in 1995 originally discovered a giant cave near the border with Austria, but on his latest trip back, he was caught under a rock fall and suffered severe head and chest injuries. The BBC has video, maps and photos from the historic rescue effort.

New York's 9/11 tribute doesn't measure up

It was a flop 13 years in the making. That's how New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman sees the 9/11 Memorial, the site commemorating — and standing literally on the site of — the destroyed Twin Towers. It opened to the public in May, but Kimmelman thinks the project has failed to connect with New Yorkers. PRI's The Takeaway interviewed him about how the memorial's designers got it wrong.

What we're seeing on social 

Weather around the world

Istanbul residents might be wishing for some weather changing technology of their own. They've already endured heavy flooding this month, and, on Thursday, an extremely rare tornado touched down in the city. No damage has been reported, but Turks created their own flood on social media with videos and photos of the twister. Hürriyet Daily News collected some of them. 

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