Global Scan

Mission to Mars? Not if some Islamic clerics get their way


A new religious edict suggests Muslims should not go to Mars.


NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Muslims living in the United Arab Emirates have been warned that taking part in a mission to Mars would be "un-Islamic" — because of the risk posed to human life.

A Dutch company, Mars One, wants to send four people on a one-way mission to Mars in the next 10 years. Beyond the fact that people would not return to Earth, the mission has lots of risk — so much risk that, apparently, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the UAE issued a fatwa warning that death on the mission would be "unglorious." According to the Telegraph, the organization warned the penalty for such a death in the afterlife would be similar to that for suicide. So far, more than 200,000 people have applied for the Mars One mission.

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Ghana rules there will be no 'Tweaa' in Parliament

A row has broken out on social media after the Ghanaian Parliament banned the use of a popular slang word in its chambers. "Tweaa" is used to show contempt for something someone has said. The speaker of the parliament outlawed the word earlier this week, claiming it was un-parliamentary. Critics say the real reason, however, is to prevent President John Dramani Mahama from being heckled when he gives the State of the Nation address next week.

According to the Modern Ghana website, the Ghanian writer Kwasi Gyan Apenteng ridiculed the decision on social media, saying "the idea of banning the 'FEELING' of contempt is ridiculous, although dictators up and down the byways of history have tried. None has succeeded." The site says the person who started the row by saying "tweaa" in Parliament remains unknown.

The face of Afghanistan we never see

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary has been taking pictures of Afghanistan for years. Alongside his usual reporting, he has been photographing ordinary life in the war-torn country. More recently, he started posting his pictures on Twitter. He's taken photos of school children in colorful outfits, a bird seller at the Kabul market and a farmer in Kundoz. Some of the photographs go as far back as 2003. He told PRI's The World that he wants to show people that Afghanistan is a country that has beauty and beautiful people. And that normal life goes on, despite decades of conflict.

That trash? It's a work of art

An overzealous cleaner accidentally threw away part of a contemporary art exhibition in southern Italy. The work, made from cardboard and newspaper along with pieces of cookies, were arranged on the floor at a museum in Bari, Italy, as part of a display by artist Sala Murat. Local cleaning firm Chiarissima has apologized for the mistake, and says it will pay the value of the work, estimated to be around 10,000 euros, or $13,700, according to the BBC.

Move over House of Cards, Korean dramas have a growing audience

Many of us are fans of firing up Netflix, grabbing food and drink, and watching five, 10, maybe even 20 episodes of a new favorite show. Say, season two of House of Cards. Would it surprise you if the next series you become addicted to was from South Korea? That's what happened to Joyce Brand.

She came across a South Korean show called "City Hunter," a hit thriller about a man who's hunting down his father's killer. "I started watching it, and as soon as I saw the subtitles, I thought about turning it off. But then I thought, well, I'll watch it for a few minutes, and within 10 minutes, I was hooked," she says. "I watched the whole 20 hours. Marathon-ed it!" Brand is one of millions of viewers across North America, mostly non-Asian, who are consuming Asian TV through video streaming sites, such as DramaFever. Akiko Fujita reports for PRI's The World.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

At least 10 people died and more than 100 people were injured when a building collapsed under the weight of so much snow in Gyeongju, South Korea. The building that collapsed was used as an auditorium at a school and was in-use at the time, according to the Korea Herald

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.