Global Scan

A little good news (in Syria) goes a long way


Palestinian cartoonist Khalil Abu Arafeh comments on what feels like the first good news to come out of Syria in a while: the beginning of the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Whom do you turn to when you need accurate, detailed information about the approaching global apocalypse?

How about a retired early 80s British pop star and activist? The Independent reports on Bob Geldof's dark speech at a youth conference.

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Russia takes a cue from the NSA

Planning on a trip to Sochi for the winter Olympics? Just know that Big Brother will be watching, listening and following you. The Guardian reports on Russian plans for eavesdropping on every communication during the global sporting event.

Banksy versus Dumbo

Banksy, a widely-known street artist, has a new video about the Syrian conflict. In it, he shows Syrian rebels launching a missile and then celebrating as their target crashes to the ground. Only then do we discover, at least in Banksy's version of the world, that the rebels have downed Dumbo, the Disney elephant. According to, the reception for this project has been much chillier than Banksy has become accustomed to.

Kuwait claims to have Gaydar, really?

The Atlantic’s Alexander Abad-Santos reports on the news that Kuwait is pushing for a ban on gay visitors entering the country. The Islamic country says it has come up with technology to "detect" if someone is gay and keep them out of the country — on the grounds of "health." 

Found in the garage

‘An orthodox work, found in an unorthodox place’

The BBC has the story of Bill Forrest, an English auctioneer, who uncovered a rare 18th Century Jewish religious text in the back of a garage.

Meet me at the wall

The Women of the Wall group, which has been under fire from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups for its group prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, has signaled a willingness to compromise. The Jerusalem Post says the group will move from its current location, where the controversy over its insistence on leading all-women worship services started, to a new section of the wall, open to all genders and all faiths — provided they have a say in operations.

One step forward...

It’s far from perfect, but an experimental vaccine against malaria – one of the biggest killers in the developing world — could save the lives of millions of children. Here’s the Guardian’s take.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Australia's The Land makes a startling statement about that country's recent record-breaking heat: "2013 is on track to be the hottest the past six generations of Australians have ever experienced." 

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.