Global Scan

Russia demands that Bulgaria treat Soviet memorials with a little respect

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In June 2011, protesters painted a Soviet soldier memorial to look like western comic and folk heroes.

Credit:

Ignat Ignev/Wikimedia Commons

Bulgaria's government is in hot water with Russia. It seems Bulgarians have taken to mocking Soviet war memorials from the Cold War that still exist in the country.

Protesters vandalized a monument recently — and it was just the latest in a string of similar incidents. For example, protesters had painted Soviet solders on a monument to look like Western superheroes and folk stars, including Superman, the Joker and Santa Claus. Other incidents have involved memorials being painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag or in a particular shade of pink.

Each successive incident of vandalism has drawn increased outrage from Moscow, with the latest incident prompting Moscow to demand a monument in Sofia be cleaned up, the perpetrators found and punished and "exhaustive measures" be taken to prevent any more similar incidents, the Moscow Times reports.

Israel bars human rights workers from entering Gaza

For more than a month, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip to conduct humanitarian investigations. According to a report from Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Israeli officials have used various bureaucratic maneuvers to keep the independent humanitarian investigators out since July 7, early in the current conflict.

For example, Israelis have claimed the Erez border crossing is closed, with no entry permits being granted. But Haaretz says journalists, United Nations employees and Palestinians needing medical care or returning from abroad have all been allowed to cross the border there. Humanitarian groups have wanted to enter Gaza during the fighting to independently evaluate what munitions were being used and what they were doing to civilian infrastructure.

He's reported from Gaza, the Soviet Union and China — but got arrested in Ferguson, Missouri

German journalist Ansgar Graw has spent years reporting from conflict zones, like the Gaza Strip and the country of Georgia, for the German newspaper Die Welt. He's also reported from Iraq, China, Cuba and the Soviet Union. And through all those trips, Graw had never been arrested — until he showed up in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, to report on the death of a teenage black man at the hands of local police.

The death has spawned more than a week of violent protests and drawn media from around the world, including Graw. As Graw and a photographer tried to take a picture of the incident on Monday, police arrested him for "failure to disperse." PRI's The World talked to Graw about his experience at the hands of Missouri law enforcement.

Social networks and chat apps in Africa are spreading an unproven 'cure' for Ebola

People in many parts of Africa are seeing messages on their phones that read: "Bitter-Kola has been internationally verified to cure Ebola. ... Simply peel and chew!" And then they are urged to spread the good news. 

 

Bitter-Kola is a fruit that grows in West Africa and is a common folk remedy for colds and fevers. In 1999, some early lab tests indicated it might work to fight Ebola, but the tests were dropped in favor of other research. The BBC's Trending News unit says a BBC article about the early tests from 15 years ago is now being reprinted by some African news outlets, helping to fuel the rumor. The messages are becoming so widespread that the health ministries in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia have issued statements saying there is no proof yet that the fruit counters the spreading, deadly disease. 

The pope ditches the popemobile for a Soul

On Pope Francis' recent trip to South Korea, he eschewed the typical armored popemobile in favor of a simple compact car for most of his trips around the country. And he got rave reviews for his choice: A locally made Kia Soul, the sort of car that an everyday South Korean might drive.

Global Voices looked at some of the reaction on social media to the pope's choice and found that many people wanted to ascribe deeper meaning to his choice of vehicle, especially one named Soul. While some in South Korean felt the humble approach seemed out of place, Pope Francis has repeatedly rejected the traditional trappings of papal power to get closer to his flock.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

It was unseasonably cool in northern Europe on Tuesday, with temperatures from the UK to France to Germany struggling to reach even 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). For London, which will top out around 18 degrees Celsuis (64 Fahrenheit), it was the coolest day in more than two months, according to AccuWeather. Though the cool weather may not seem dramatic, temperatures have actually been several degrees above normal in Europe all summer, making this a dramatic switch for Europeans.