Global Scan

2014 enters with a bang of color and spectacle


People watch a New Year's Eve fireworks show beside a figure of Ded Moroz, wearing a Mongolian style hat, at Genghis Square in Ulan Bator, January 1, 2014.


Mareike Guensche/Reuters

Cities around the world rang in 2014 with fireworks — lots of fireworks. From Sydney to Dubai, Pyongyang to Singapore, revelers marked the turn of the calendar from 2013 to 2014 with pyrotechnics, in some cases record-breaking amounts of them.

Sydney set the record for most fireworks set off at the same time in the early hours of Wednesday. It lasted exactly seven hours, until Dubai topped it with its own over-the-top display.

The BBC captured images of the various fireworks displays, as well as various other celebrations around the world. In Moscow, the New Year was welcomed with heightened security in the wake of the suicide bombings in Volograd a few days ago.

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Guantanamo prison closes another chapter

A long diplomatic/legal struggle around the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, finally concluded this week when the US sent three ethnic Uighurs to Slovakia for resettlement. The men, among nearly two dozen Uighurs caught in Afghanistan in 2001, had been ordered released by a US judge years ago — but efforts to resettle them have moved slowly. The Associated Press has a report on how the men came to be captured, the persecution they feared if they were returned to China, their homeland, and the circumstances surrounding their arrival in Slovakia.

The music that died in 2013

PRI's The World examines some of the musical acts that sang their last songs in 2013. Alvin Lee, Tony Brevett and many others died last year. What musician who died during 2013 had the most impact on your life? Leave a comment at

Putin visits Volograd

Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Volograd Wednesday, the site of two deadly suicide bombings. While there, he visited survivors in hospitals, laid flowers at the site of the attack and discussed the security situation with local and national government officials. In remarks to the media, he declared there was never any justification for killing women and children, according to The Guardian. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Just what is causing Beijing's bad air?

Beijing, indeed many of China's urban areas, has a pollution problem. But what, exactly, is causing that problem is up for debate. The South China Morning Post looks at new research that says cars only produce a small portion of the pollutants fouling Beijing's air. The primary cause of the smog and haze is the fossil fuels burned to provide heat and power, contends a study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. But that research report was quickly challenged by the president of the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, who says cars account for the lion's share of Beijing's pollution.

What did you click in 2013?

We made lots of changes to in 2013 — including launching the Global Scan. With the calendar flipping to 2014, we thought it a good time to look back at some of the most-clicked stories of the past year. Take a look at 10 stories that caught your interest, from

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

The New Year will bring welcome relief from the heat in Argentina, where people — and the country's electrical grid — have been sweating under persistent high temperatures. A cool front is expected to roll through Wednesday night, according to AccuWeather. Meanwhile, in Russia, temperatures are also above average — but in this case it's cause for celebration. The normal high temperature for New Year's Eve is 19 degrees Fahrenheit, but this year it was 37 degrees.

This post is a regular 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.