Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine took to the streets to protest President Viktor F. Yanukovich's decision to postpone an agreement with the European Union in favor of maintaining close economic ties with Russia. The crowd, estimated at up to a million people, rivaled the protests that brought down the government during Ukraine's Orange Revolution nine years ago.
Today, Kiev's main Independence Square has been taken over by thousands of protesters, as The New York Times reports. Yanukovich's support in his government and his party is waning, and even the country's business oligarchs are expressing their displeasure.
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This takes 'slumming it' to a whole new level
In South Africa, a hotel has opened a slum — for tourists. Emoya Private Game Reserve, Conference Centre and Spa in Bloemfontein, South Africa, built a fake shanty town, modeled on the slums in that country... with a few added amenties, like in-floor heating and wifi, of course. The idea is for wealthy tourists to experience slum life “within the safe environment of a private game reserve.” You can see the photos and read the comments flying around social media about the slum accommodations on PRI.org.
Don't try this at home
Your mom probably told you not to run holding a pair of scissors. And that's still good advice, unless you’re highly trained, like these Peruvian villagers, who do coordinated dances with scissors. The Independent has photos.
Reporters unwittingly become Israeli police photographers
At least 34 protesters were arrested and 15 police officers were wounded in the so-called "Day of Rage" protests in Israel's Negev desert over the weekend — and now the police are turning to the media to get to the bottom of the incident. The Jerusalem Post reports on an unusual, perhaps unprecedented, move by the Israeli police to demand that the media turn over all photos taken of the protest.
Saved by the mangroves
The Philippines were badly damaged by Typhoon Haiyan — but not every community fared the same. The small community of General MacArthur, named for the US general who led the US liberation of the islands during World War II, had carefully preserved its mangroves. And now, it seems, the mangroves may have preserved the town during the typhoon. PRI's The World has the details.
Croatia bans gay marriage
Croatians went to the polls over the weekend and, by a two-to-one margin, approved a constitutional provision defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. The newest member of the European Union is a heavily Catholic country, and the Catholic Church strongly supported the measure. The government had been an outspoken opponent of the move, the BBC reports.
Russian driving test? Pay the bribe and you pass
The London Review of Books’ Peter Pomerantsev recounts his introduction to the world of bribes in Russia — a system that dates back to the tsars. Pomerantsev wanted to pass his driving test, so he signed up for lessons. Then, the instructor told him the only way to pass was to pay $500. He protested, but eventually relented. It turns out it really was the only way he could pass.
What we're seeing on social
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) December 2, 2013
Weather around the world
Northern Europe is preparing for a major storm to blow through this week. Currently over Greenland, forecasters are predicting winds exceeding 65 mph over Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and Scandanavia. In addition to the wind, rain and snow are also expected with the storm.