Chatter: US overseas missions on high alert




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Need to know:
US diplomats the world over are bracing for more violence, as protests against a now infamous anti-Islam video continue for a fourth day.

Demonstrations are reported in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and elsewhere, with numbers expected to swell after Friday prayers. Extra security has been deployed around US missions that have already been attacked, in Sanaa in Yemen, and Cairo in Egypt – where the ruling Muslim Brotherhood is urging people to take to the streets, but stay away from the US embassy.

Libya has now detained four people suspected of orchestrating the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which a US ambassador and three other Americans died. But the crisis is far from over. According to GlobalPost's analysts, we can expect the events of the past four days to blow a hole in the US election campaign, and set the stage for even tenser relations with the Arab world.

Want to know:
South Africa's government has announced a major crackdown on the violence that continues to rock the country's mining industry.

Production at many of South Africa's valuable gold and platinum mines has been frozen by recent wildcat strikes and protests, which have continued to spread since police shot dead 34 striking miners at the Marikana mine on August 16.

The government now says it will no longer tolerate the illegal gatherings, carrying of weapons, and threats and intimidation that are keeping mines closed. Strikers remain defiant, however: some unions are threatening a general strike, while Marikana workers today rejected the management's offer of a pay rise.

Dull but important:
Stocks, they are a-surging today after the Federal Reserve promised to continue buying up mortage debt until the US economy improves.

US markets jumped as soon as the Fed said, yesterday, that it would spend $40 billion a month buying mortgage-backed securities and hold short-term interest rates near zero until mid-2015. Asian and European markets have since followed suit.

Investors are rejoicing, borrowers are happy. Everyone's a winner, then! Well, not quite. Lest we forget, America's monetary policy decisions have ramifications elsewhere – and they aren't all positive.

Just because:
It must have been an awkward breakfast in Buckingham Palace this morning, as news broke that a French magazine had published unauthorized photos of the Duchess of Cambridge – topless.

Kate Middleton and Prince Wills are said to be "furious" over the blurry snaps, which were taken by a peeping paparazzo during the couple's holiday at a royal relative's private chateau.

British tabloid editors, their grubby fingers burned by the phone-hacking scandal, backlash to Prince Harry's Vegas exposé and that vague memory of photographers hounding Princess Diana to her death, were reportedly offered the pictures but declined. Proving once more that nothing unites Brits like monarchy, nakedness, and disliking the French.

Strange but true:
We interrupt your Googling for those K-Midds photos to bring you another sight you never thought you'd see: a man paying a $137 traffic ticket with 137 individual dollar bills folded into origami pigs.

That's right, fella, you stick it to the man! You may have spent six hours folding paper, you may have been forced to unfold it all by the on-duty police officer, and you may have had to hand it all over – but by golly, you showed him.