A Eurasian brown bear, like this one, attacked an 80-year-old shepherd in Russia's Caucasus region, but the shepherd managed to survive.


Malene Thyssen/Wikimedia Commons

When are bruises, bite wounds, broken ribs and being thrown off a cliff good news? Probably when the alternative is being eaten by a bear.

The Guardian has the full story of an 80-year-old shepherd in southern Russia who was attacked by a bear, wouldn't give up and wound up walking away from the encounter.

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Mars barred

With countries (including India) considering trips to Mars, it's only mildly surprising that a senior Saudi cleric would provide what he says is an official Islamic view on inter-planetary travel. Short answer: at least as envisioned today with the Mars One project, it's a no-go. More over at Australia’s news.com

Russian DNA catalog

There's another setback for hopes that Russia would set an open and culturally inclusive tone for the Sochi Olympics. This week, Al Jazeera reported on a Russian initiative to gather DNA swabs from conservative Islamic women in Dagestan in the country's Caucasus region.

Why? Residents say its so officials can identify body parts if the women become suicide bombers, especially in advance of the Sochi Olympics.

From Baghdad to Southern California

Each year, hundreds of Iraqis leave their country to find a better life overseas. PRI's The World introduces us to one of these people — a young doctor named Sarah Darwish who has swapped Baghdad for southern California. It was the insecurity and violence that drove her away.

Nothing to hear

Is Angela Merkel’s cell phone even worth bugging? After another NSA survelliance scandal, Ann Applebaum examines the evidence for Slate. Turns out, Merkel doesn't really use her cell phone for talking and her texts are famously cryptic.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Crews in Edmonton, Canada, are gearing up for a big blast of winter this weekend, according to the Edmonton Sun. The city has 131 sanders, 44 plows, 20 graders, 17 blowers and 20 sidewalk plows ready to go — and has promised to keep residential streets in better shape than last winter.

Swiss cartoonist Patrick Chappatte provides a damning commentary on the video game-like remoteness of the US drone program.


(c) Chappatte, Le Temps, Geneva, www.globecartoon.com

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