Global Scan

Facebook plus drones equals Internet?


Facebook is reported to be considering a purchase of Titan Aerospace in order to extend Internet access to corners of the globe that have had to go without.


Titan Aerospace

The folks at Facebook aren't satisfied with the hundreds of millions of users they have now — and they've got a plan to open up a whole new segment of potential users.

Facebook is reportedly considering purchasing the maker of advanced solar-powered drones, Titan Aerospace. Titan's drones are supposedly able to stay in the air for as long as five years, acting as Internet beacons in parts of the world that, to date, are not digitally connected. According to The Telegraph, just a third of the global population has access to the Internet — these drones could dramatically increase that pool.

Titan's drones fly at upwards of 60,000 feet, effectively serving as inexpensive, low-level satellites. According to reports, Facebook may be interested in building as many as 11,000 of the drones. 

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

Even the pope occasionally lets a curse word fly

Pope Francis has been hailed for being the people's pope — eschewing elaborate robes for more simple garments, and spending time among the people of Rome. But perhaps no one expected him to let loose with what can gently be called, in English, an F-bomb.

To be sure, the pope did not intend to utter a profanity, but something got mixed up in his translation and what was supposed to be the Italian word for case (caso), came out as the Italian word cazzo, The Local reports. And that slight difference between s and z is the difference between case and, well, you know. 

Here's why Russia will not give up Crimea

For Russia, Crimea provides a major Black Sea naval base. But it's also long been a symbol of Russia's greatness and power. And PRI's The World explains that Putin is not about to give that up on his watch.

In 1783, Russia established the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea and that marked its coming of age as a world power and the beginning of its naval might. For the first time, it had an ice-free port. Fast forward to World War II and Sevastopol was the site of a huge battle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia — a battle the Soviets won. Shortly after that, in what was then mainly an administrative move, Russia transferred Crimea to Ukraine, its Soviet satellite. Then, the Soviet Union fell apart and Ukraine became independent in the 1990s. And now that history is playing out.

In China, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em

It’s the longest man-made structure in the world — the only one that can be seen from space and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. Yet despite official pleas, tourists are insisting on writing on it. (And guess what language is the most common? Yep — English.)

So now Beijing has a new plan for the Great Wall of China. It’s getting a designated graffiti area, at a special zone in the wall's Number 14 Fighting Tower, according to the BBC. If the plan works, two more areas could be set up. After all, the wall is all about containment.

How are you? Terrible — if you're a Russian

When you meet someone and ask them, “How are you?” would it surprise you if they actually told you the truth? “Terrible. I am in pain. I wish I had not lived so long.” Many an American has gotten just this sort of treatment when they try to exchange pleasantries with Russians, according to Alina Simone.

She says since moving to America, she has had to learn to greet people with the kind of upbeat response those in the US expect — and sometimes, it still feels alien to her Russian upbringing and culture. She and her American husband, Josh, spoke to PRI’s The World about learning to understand these little differences between their respective cultures.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

The persistent drought in Brazil could hit you where it hurts: in your coffee cup. According to a report from Business Standard, the price of Arabica coffee beans is climbing, up as much as 92 percent over its price in November 2013. The rise is attributed to expectations for a smaller-than-normal crop out of Brazil, the world's largest coffee grower.

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.