Global Scan

A Russian billionaire offers to help save the dogs of Sochi


Dogs look up at a municipal dog shelter in Baranovka near Sochi on February 8, 2014. In response to an outcry over the fate of stray animals being rounded up in Sochi, local authorities and private groups have built makeshift dog shelters.


Ints Kalnins/Reuters

Dog lovers around the world have been horrified by reports that police in Sochi have been clearing the streets of stray dogs — by shooting them.

Now, at the last moment, the dogs of Sochi have acquired an unlikely savior. Billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska has donated money to a local animal welfare charity to help them set up a rescue center for Sochi's strays. He told the BBC's Daniel Sandford he was inspired by the memory of his own childhood pet. He found his first dog on the streets and took home. More than 140 strays have already been taken in by the shelter Deripaska supports — and some of them have already gone on to "forever homes." But there are still many more waiting.

The city has also set up its own makeshift shelter in response to vocal outrage over the prospect the dogs would merely be rounded up and disposed of. It's unknown what will happen to those dogs after the Olympic spotlight goes away.

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UAE wants to establish a drone delivery service — ASAP

The United Arab Emirates has unveiled plans to use drones to deliver government documents, such as drivers' licenses, directly to citizens. The announcement was made at the Virtual Future exhibition conference. The unmanned aircraft will measure about 18 inches across and will use eye recognition and finger-print scanning technology to ensure the documents are received by the right person, according to Sky News.

It will be the first drone delivery system in the world. Online retailer Amazon tipped its plans to use drones to deliver customer purchases late last year, but they said they were a long way off. The US FAA has said we're still a year away from it allowing widespread commercial use of drones.

Ever wonder what the surveillance state looks like?

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first received Edward Snowden's National Security Agency leaks, has a new home: The Intercept, from First Look Media. The Intercept, a digital-only "magazine" just launched and one of their first posts is a series of night-time photographs of the buildings that house America's surveillance apparatus. Trevor Paglen and Creative Time Reports hired a helicopter to take photographs of the NSA headquarters, as well as the headquarters of lesser-known government agencies the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Paglen also requested permission to take aerial photographs of the headquarters of the CIA, but was turned away.

What happens when a diplomat drops an F bomb?

Sometimes, you have to say what you mean — even if you are a top diplomat talking about an ongoing political crisis. You might even resort to expletives if you're feeling frustrated, except you'd probably never expect those expletives to be made public. Unfortunately for US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, that's exactly what happened to a conversation she had with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt about the situation in Ukraine. The conversation ended up on YouTube. The US Government has suggested Russia could have been behind the leak. Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns told PRI’s The World "The Russians want to present a picture of American intervention in Ukraine's affairs." That may be the goal, but there's also been a lot of anger in Europe over Nuland's comments.

A homeless man from Jamaica may get home, thanks to the generosity of strangers

More heart-warming news, this time from London. A young woman has managed to raise more than £3000, about $5000, to help a homeless man buy a plane ticket home to Jamaica. Jenny Baker started a "#GetMichaelHome" campaign on Twitter after a chance meeting in London's East End. She met 64-year-old Michael and bought him a ginger beer and a sandwich over the weekend. She promised to help him when he told her he had no more living relatives in the UK and dreamed of returning to his native Jamaica. Within 24 hours, Twitter users had pledged enough money to get Michael his £800, $1300, ticket home — and now Jenny is looking for Michael to give him the good news, according to the Independent.

An Iranian playwright has never seen his unconventional play performed

Can you think of a bigger acting challenge than this? A one man show that you only get to perform once, you've been told nothing about the play in advance, and the first time you will see the script is on opening night. Oh, and you also have to drink a glass of water that might have been poisoned. It's called White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. It's being performed next month in several Washington, DC, theaters. Soleimanpour has never seen it performed, though, because he's not allowed to leave Iran. PRI's Studio 360's has the story.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Residents of the UK and continental western Europe are worried about flooding as persistent rain continues. Flood warnings are already in place across swaths of the UK and the latest storms, one early in the week and another late in the week, are expected to exacerbate that problem, AccuWeather reports.

Putin's games

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