Global Scan

Groupon, step aside. Now, you can fly like a billionaire — on the cheap

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Credit: JetRequest.com

Ever wanted to ride in a private jet? Now could be your chance.

It seems every commercial flight these days is packed to the gills. No airline wants to fly with empty seats. And that includes companies whose private jets drop the wealthy off on the Riveria ... or Poughkeepsie.

Those chartered jets, with their beds and couches and champagne, used to fly empty back to their bases after dropping off the well-healed. Now charter companies are making a bit of extra money by selling these "empty leg" flights at steep discounts.

The flights are not dirt cheap, unless you can find a handful friends to split the ride, but they sure beat the hassle of flying economy these days. You only have to show up for your flight 15 minutes ahead. The Guardian tells you how it works.

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India makes it easy to catch abusive police on your smartphone

People have used smartphones to shame police. Last week, a video showed New York City police putting Eric Garner in a chokehold and, apparently, slamming his head against the sidewalk. Garner died and the videos have led to a police investigation. Now the Delhi Police are actually inviting citizen videos and tape recordings that show police wrongdoing.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Sindhu Pillai, "People can do a sort of sting operation and send the audio or video clip ... via WhatsApp." India Today reports the Delhi police hope to catch officers who seek bribes or mistreat people. The police department will use its forensic lab to ensure the video is authentic and undoctored before investigating the claims.

Think your pet's behavior is weird?

Does your dog insist on doing six circles before eating his dinner? Or perhaps your cat started pulling at fuzz on your carpet and didn't stop until you could see the padding underneath. Some animals seem to suffer from mental health problems, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

PRI's Science Friday talked to Laurel Braitman, whose new book "Animal Madness" is about the minds of our pets. She became interested in the topic when her dog, Oliver, battled separation anxiety, including leaping off a three-story balcony, being medicated and eventually dying in a panic-related incident. Our pets, she says, suffer from many of the same anxieties and fears as we do.

This video game is a little too real for Thailand’s coup leaders

Tropico 5 is a new simulation game that lets you play a dictator in a tropical paradise. To wield power, you might decide to, say, stage a coup and then work to appease the populace by meeting their needs. Sound familiar? Well, it may for the military junta that led Thailand's latest coup in May.

Thailand's new army-established government has banned the game from being sold in the country. Global Voices reports that a Culture Ministry subcommittee said it imposed the ban because the game “allowed players the freedom to name the country and its leader or king as they pleased.” 

So Thai citizens will have to find other forms of entertainment. Too bad the government has also banned public gatherings of five or more people.

Need to cross the US-Mexico border? Check Facebook

It turns out that coyotes — the smugglers who bring would-be immigrants across the US-Mexico border — have become quite savvy about social media.

Many actually depend on Facebook referrals to help generate business and urge their clients to post updates to family and friends during their journeys north, as a way of showing the trips are safe and successful. PRI's The World heard about one "e-coyote" in Mexico City, who says personal reviews of his service posted on social media are the best advertising he can get.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Tropical Storm Halong battered the Marianas Islands last week and then drenched Japan over the weekend, dropping as much as 31 inches (79 cm.) of rain in a single nine-hour period in Kochi Prefecture. Now, the storm is moving offshore and has another country in its sights. Residents of Russia are bracing for drenching rains as the remnants of the storm scoot along the country's southeast coast with winds of up to 50 mph (80 kph), according to AccuWeather.

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.

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