Global Scan

What's the next best thing to a roll in the mud with pigs?


Semen from British pigs, like this Essex breed boar in Coventry, England, will be gathered and shipped to China, to help that country improve the genetics of its pig population.


Amanda Slater/Wikimedia Commons

China's home to the largest pig population in the world but, it seems, their genetics aren't quite up to snuff.

So China's signed an agreement with the UK to procure some British pig semen, The Guardian reports, to help improve the Chinese population. The deal will pay almost $74 million per year and involves flying fresh and frozen semen to China, starting after the new year.

But Brits are hoping the deal doesn't end there. They're hoping to get British pork onto Chinese tables — and not just in Chinese pigs.

(Editor's note: The Global Scan can be delivered straight to your inbox every weekday. Just register and sign up today.)

China's students at the top of the class?

Earlier this week, PRI's The World told you about an international exam for teens (the PISA test) that saw US students ranking pretty average. But students in China really excelled. Or so it seemed.

Time magazine has peeled back the layers of the onion a bit and explained that the student scores, which came only from Shanghai, probably don't represent the country very accurately. Nationally, about 24 percent of Chinese students who finish high school go on to college, whereas in Shanghai, the number is 84 percent. In other words, the Chinese data is likely a snapshot of the most well-to-do and well-educated students in the nation.

Meet the Edward Snowden of 1912

The Atlantic looks back to 1912, and a man who was the Edward Snowden of his era. Herbert O. Yadley is so famous in intelligence that his hiring in the early part of the 20th century earned its own spot on the National Security Agency's timeline of cryptography. The NSA itself wasn't established until the 1950s. 

Yardley became famous for cracking codes and spying on foreigners and American citizens alike. But he also spilled a great many secrets when, in 1931, he published his book "The American Black Chamber." Ironically, he published the book because he lost his job when the stock market crashed in 1929.

In Iceland, police have never killed anyone, until now

Iceland’s police officers are not routinely armed, and violent crime is rare. But earlier this week, for the first time since the country became a republic in 1944, the police shot and killed a suspect. PRI's The World looked at the reaction to an event that has shocked the nation.

It's lonely being a spy

"I feel the need to talk. Sometimes I have the feeling that I'm going crazy."

There’s more to intelligence gathering than electronic eavesdropping and high-tech drones. There’s also the old fashioned business of physical surveillance, spys and informants. Der Spiegel has an exclusive interview with one of the Pakistani men who supplies the CIA with information.

Hanukkah is a street party in Israel

The Van Leeuwen family sits in front of the menorahs and sings.

The Van Leeuwen family sits in front of the menorahs and sings.


Daniel Estrin

It's the last night of Hanukkah this evening and PRI's The World brings us a story and slideshow of what it will look like in Jerusalem. In the Mediterranean country, the Jewish festival of light spills into the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem, with songs and oil-lit menorahs.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Winter has come to western Ontario. About 11 inches of snow was reported in Thunder Bay on Tuesday and more is on the way. According to Thunder Bay's NetNewsLedger, an additional seven to 12 inches of snowfall may fall by Thursday morning.

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.