Chatter: Malala Yousafzai is awake and back on her feet




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Need to know:
Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban, is awake and back on her feet.

Doctors at the British hospital where she is being treated say that she is able to stand with help and communicate in writing after being woken from her medically induced coma. There are signs of an infection, so her condition remains delicate, but neurologists are optimistic that she hasn't suffered significant brain damage.

She is continuing her recovery – which is expected to be long – in private, but asked hospital spokespeople to thank the public for all its support. She apparently remembers details of the attack, in which she and two classmates were shot by Taliban gunmen on their way home from school; but doctors want to avoid talking about it with her yet, in an effort to minimize the trauma.

Want to know:
Rwanda is the newest member of the UN Security Council, despite allegations that its government is fuelling a rebellion in next-door Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda was among five countries elected yesterday to two-year terms on the Council, beginning Jan. 1, 2013. Despite the DRC raising a formal objection to its candidacy, Rwanda, which ran unopposed for the Africa seat, received 148 votes — well above the 129 votes it needed.

The vote came the a day after a UN report accused Rwanda's defense minister of commanding the M23 rebels in eastern DRC. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who denies the allegations, says the Security Council's decision shows "justice and truth will prevail"; human rights campaigners say Rwanda has been rewarded for undermining the UN's own peacekeeping work.

Dull but important:
The European Union has agreed to set up a joint supervisor to oversee all euro-zone banks, aimed at reducing the risk of "cross-border contagion."

The Single Supervisory Mechanism will be put in place by Jan. 1, to go operational later in 2013. Crucially, it is only once the mechanism is up and running that the euro zone's rescue fund will begin pumping cash into struggling banks.

All 27 EU members have signed off on the scheme, which, led by the European Central Bank, will have the authority to intervene in any bank within the euro area. That represents a compromise by Germany, who had sought to limit its scope to only the biggest firms, and is hailed as a significant step toward a European banking union.

Just because:
The teenage grandson of Kim Jong Il and nephew of Kim Jong Un has given a rare TV interview, in which he shockingly appears... sort of normal.

Speaking from the school he attends in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 17-year-old Kim Han Sol says he dreams of "making things better" for the people of North Korea, reunification with the South, and – naturally – world peace. What's more, he says his uncle and Outstanding Leader is a "dictator." In perfect English! He has American friends! And wears an earring and trendy nerd specs!

If all this makes him sound more like your average Joe than your average Kim, it's no wonder: his father is the black sheep of the family, Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam – who fell spectacularly from grace when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001, in order, he said, to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Strange but true:
So a heterosexual couple in their 20s started a sex blog. Just one more online over-share, right? Well, not in Malaysia, where this couple is from.

"Sumptuous Erotica," the romantic stylings of ethnic Chinese Malaysians Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, has shocked their conservative community and seen its auteurs accused of indecency, drug use and mental illness. They could even face criminal prosecution if they're judged to have violated obscenity laws.

"It is all right for Westerners to do this but not Asians," Lee complains, probably crediting some of us with less inhibition than is accurate. "What do we have to apologize for?" Tan asks. "Hurting your soft, sensitive feelings?"

It's probably not soft and sensitive feelings they've got to worry about. The blog is currently suspended due to "family pressure," though they tell fans it may return in the future.