Global Scan

Jellyfish bring down a nuclear power plant, but politicians fail to bring down Italy - in today's global scan


The Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, Sweden, had to shutdown this week after its water intakes were clogged with jellyfish.



Nuclear power plants are having a tough week.

In Japan, the crippled Fukushima plant released four tons of radioactive water (Voice of America) on Tuesday. 

And one of Sweden's nuclear plants — its biggest — was forced to shutdown after jellyfish — yes, the ocean creatures — invaded the plant's water intake pipes, Russia Today reports. Officials there say the reactor was never in any danger, but the jellyfish were, from the power of the plant's filtration system.

al-Qaeda gets inclusive — but would you want a franchise?

"You get a lot of street cred (…) "But you also know that with the [al Qaeda] designation comes your likely death."

It’s the dilemma that every multinational grapples with: how to expand operations and market share without compromising brand values. And as the BBC reports, al-Qaeda has opted to expand by being less picky about affiliates like al-Shabab.

North Korean defectors had four-year roundtrip and now in danger

The nine escapees were last seen on North Korean state television, ... thanking the leader Kim Jong-un for welcoming them back.

The Telegraph has the story of nine young North Koreans who escaped from their country to Laos — only to be deported back as illegal immigrants. Their fate is uncertain, even as they publicly thanked the Supreme Leader.

The Vatican Bank gives the world a peek into its vault

In a move toward greater openness, the bank issued its first annual report. And just how big is that vault? In euros, 5 billion ... or $6.8 billion. And just how risky are its investments? Not very. Quartz reports the document shows the bulk of its trading securities are in government and index bonds.

How 'combat incompetence' led to firing of two Marine generals

Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy has typically forthright views on the firing of two Marine generals for their performance in Afghanistan — and what it means for accountability in the US military.

The Italians can compromise, why can't we?

Just Tuesday, we told you about a crisis in Italy that was threatening to shut down its government. On Wednesday, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi backtracked and agreed to support the government, ending the crisis. Who would have thought Washington could get a lesson in good government from the Italians?

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

It's been unusually dry in South America recently — and that's having an impact on farmers. In Argentina and Brazil, Businessweek reports that farmers are facing the loss of wheat crops and haven't been able to get corn and soy beans into the ground.

Are you sick of the shutdown yet?

Maybe... but global cartoonists are having a great time lampooning the US crisis. On day two of the government shutdown, Slovak cartoonist Shooty (aka Martin Sutovec) has transformed the traditional symbol of healing and medicine into a symbol of the ill health of Obamacare.

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    On day two of the government shutdown, Slovak cartoonist Shooty (aka Martin Sutovec) has transformed the traditional symbol of healing and medicine into a symbol of the ill health of Obamacare.

This post is a new feature of 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 account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.