Global Scan

After decades apart, reunions bring Koreans together again


Kim Chang-nam, 71, who was one of the participants in the latest inter-Korean reunion for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. On the left is a picture of him with one of his family members.


Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

The Korean War ended more than 60 years ago, leaving the North and South — and many families — split across a border.

Every now and then, the two sides hold family reunions. Brothers and sisters, parents and children, are allowed to meet for the first time in decades, sometimes ever. The most recent reunion was held in late February and photographer Kim Hong-Ji of Reuters has photos.

The reunion was originally scheduled for September, but tensions between the two Koreas caused it to be postponed. Unfortunately, that delay caused 80-year-old Kim Sun-yeon to miss out on reuniting with her sister, who died in the past few months.

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This is not a good sign for a free press in the new Ukraine

Brutality hasn’t been limited to the protesters involved with the crisis in Ukraine. A group of anti-Russian members of Ukraine's Parliament didn’t appreciate the state TV channel broadcasting images featuring President Vladimir Putin signing an accord making Crimea part of Russia. Their solution? Visit the station and beat the TV executive into agreeing to resign. Then, they put the beating on YouTube, as the BBC reports.

Formula 1 goes green-ish

Just about everyone is trying to be more energy efficient these days, and that includes those who drive purely for sport. The Formula 1 race circuit has mandated that all of its cars switch from throaty V8 engines to comparatively more fuel-sipping V6 engines this year.

That's all well and good, unless you're a fan of the deep roar that the powerful eight-cylinder engines produce. PRI's The World offers an audio quiz on the different sounds. And it talked to a freelance journalist who explains that the racing industry is changing in hopes that its innovations will be more applicable to the overall automotive industry.

Is there a next step after Crimea for Russia's Putin?

The New Yorker asks if Russia's annexing of Crimea is the end, or merely the end of the beginning for Russian expansion. In his speech on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented the separation of ethnic Russians from Russia.

His strong language could amount to an acknowledgement that, with Crimea annexed, all he has left is rhetoric. Or it could be a suggestion that Putin will move aggressively to annex other areas that are home to large populations of ethnic Russians — specifically in Belarus and other parts of Ukraine.

Can there ever be too much wine?

Good weather and increased efficiency produced a bumper crop of wine for Spain this year — so big that Spain likely vaulted to the top of the list of global wine producers. According to a report from The Guardian, Spain produced 50 million hectoliters of wine, more than traditional leaders France and Italy. Spain has long had more acres of grapes planted than any other country, but inefficiencies meant the land wasn't as productive as in other countries.

So increased irrigation and better planting, coupled with perfect growing conditions in 2013, led to a record-breaking crop. Spanish officials are hopeful that the wine industry will help it recover from a prolonged economic downturn. Meanwhile, winemakers are worried that all this wine will drive down prices. Incidentally, the US also enjoyed a bumper crop in 2013, with experts estimating the US produced about 22 million hectoliters.

Next time you're in Mexico City, consider a bike

Mexico City is well-known for its traffic gridlock. PRI's The World's Jason Margolis visited Mexico recently and decided to take a bike for a spin, to see how cycling conditions in the city are. Turns out, not bad. Cycling hasn't historically been popular in the mega-city, but it's seeing a surge in interest. And one group regularly runs races pitting cars against motorbikes and bicycles. The bicycles win.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

China has a plan to reduce pollution in Beijing, and it's all about the weather. China has spent millions over the years manipulating the weather — including during the Beijing Olympics, when it used cloud seeding to make sure they'd have a rain-free day for the opening ceremony. But now, they're turning their weather modification efforts loose on pollution. Earlier this year, there were reports that China planned to use drones in the effort. Today, China News Service reported that the government has appropriated $3.25 million for smog reduction-related weather modification.

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.