The government shutdown causes a missed opportunity in this cartoon by Canada's Brian Gable of The Globe and Mail.

The airlines would dearly love you to pay attention to the pre-flight safety announcements they make whenever you take a plane journey. But you don't.

However, you might think twice now about zoning out with your book. As the UK's Independent reports, you might end up landing the aircraft yourself.

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Negotiating with pirates

So how do you persuade pirates to hand over their hostages without a ransom? “With great difficulty,”

The Telegraph interviews a man who has devoted himself to negotiating with Somali pirates. British Col. John Steed is working to secure the release of dozens of seafarers still being held hostage, who were abandoned by their employers, their governments and even their families.

Minnesotan takes on al-Shabab

Would you have the guts to go to Somalia and declare war on the terrorist group once there? PRI's The World tells the story of the Somali-American imam who did just that.

When jobs go wrong: How I ended up shooting hoops for Gaddafi

American basketball player Alex Owumi picked the very worst time to start playing on a Libyan basketball team, the Daily Mail reports.

Waterboarding a laughing matter?

Buzzfeed reports on a private roast this week celebrating former Vice President Dick Cheney. One of the laugh lines, according to the story? Sen. Joe Lieberman joked it was a good thing they could all gather at such a nice New York hotel, rather than in jail cells awaiting war crimes trials. 

Mr. Putin's ice caps

The Atlantic explores why Russian security services have clamped down hard on environmentalists. Hint: it's about oil and gas.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Another tropical system is taking aim at Asia this week. Tropical Cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal is expected to make landfall Saturday or Sunday and bring heavy rainfall to eastern India, possibly impacting millions of people.

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.

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