Global Scan

This 'depressed' polar bear won't be getting a new home after all

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Arturo the polar bear is said to be in bad shape.

Credit:

Save Polar Bear Arthur / Salve al Oso Polar Arturo/Facebook

Earlier this month we introduced you to Arturo, an elderly polar bear that lives in Argentina and has become increasingly depressed in the two years since his mate died.

Online citizens took up his cause, starting a petition on Change.org to get him moved from the warm Argentinian city where he lived alone in a small enclosure to a zoo in Canada that was willing to let him live out his final years in a cooler, more natural environment. The petition appealed directly to Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

But, it seems Arturo won't be going anywhere. Veterinarians have decided he's too old to travel, as the BBC reports.

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After Crimea, Putin aims to conquer the Internet

Russia's parliament has just passed a law that says any Internet company that wants to store the personal data of Russians from 2016 onward will have to do that on a server in Russia. Otherwise, Russia has the right to block the site. The government says it is just trying to protect the digital data of its people. Critics don't buy it.

"The aim of this law is to create ... [another] quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services." That's the view of Internet expert and blogger Anton Nossi as quoted by The Moscow Times

Putin insists he has no plans to block the social networks, but other recent rules give the government the right to shut websites without a court order and require blogs with more than 3,000 daily visits to register with a government agency. 

They're Jewish. They're Israeli. And they're against the war in Gaza

Polls indicate that the Israeli assault on Gaza enjoys strong support among most Jewish Israelis. But some are decidedly against the violence — even if they deplore the Hamas tactics that Israel says forced it to take action. And when those Israeli critics take to the streets in peaceful protests to call for an end to the assaults, they're often met with anger from pro-war Israelis.

Sometimes the clashes become violent, with peaceful protesters being attacked, called traitors and even being told they should be raped for speaking out against the Israeli military operation. PRI's The World talked to several anti-war protesters about what drives them to protest, and the attacks they've endured.

You know that cable service you thought you canceled from your last home? 

James Ball was living in a London apartment when he decided the rent was too expensive. So he left and insists he cancelled his cable TV service, along with his other utilities. But he wasn't very vigiliant over the next few years as he moved back and forth to the US and changed jobs. 

Then, last summer, he realized he was still being billed by Sky TV. He had been charged $2000 worth of bills for service in an apartment he had given up four years earlier. When he called to complain, he learned he was out of luck. Eventually, in a "gesture of goodwill," the company gave him a tiny bit of his money back. 

He offers 3 pieces of advice in a blog post for The Guardian. The first: Don’t assume something is cancelled until you get an absolutely 100% clear confirmation, in writing. Ideally written in blood. Preferably theirs, rather than yours.

US veterans get lots of educational choices, but little protection

US veterans have access to generous education benefits when they get out of the military, enabling them to attend colleges and universities for little or no money. But the money can also be spent on other forms of post-secondary education — at tech schools or for-profit colleges, many of which have poor records when it comes to student graduation and retention.

Two California congressmen tried to pass a bill that would make G.I. educational benefits more like other federal education funding, where schools that receive funding must achieve certain performance benchmarks. They argued the law would protect veterans from wasting their benefits on poor options.

But a powerful congressman, US Rep. John Kline, killed the bill, saying it would harm veterans' choices. It just so happens that Kline's single largest campaign donor is a company that runs the University of Phoenix, a major for-profit college, though Kline denies any undue influence. PRI's The Takeaway talked to a reporter who recently investigated the for-profit college industry. 

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

In New Zealand, residents are bracing for another blast from old man winter. Forecasters are predicting this week will be the coldest of the year, with the brisk weather continuing through the weekend, according to the New Zealand Herald. Of course, chilly and winter are all in the eye of the beholder. In Auckland, New Zealanders can expect highs in the low 50s Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and lows in the low 40s. Brrr, or something.

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.