Global Scan

Chile's earthquake could have been much worse


Rescue workers inspect a car caught under a landslide after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique, April 2, 2014.


Cristian Vivero/Reuters

Chile was rocked by a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake Tuesday night that spawned a relatively minor tsunami that spread across the Pacific Ocean as far as Hawaii and beyond.

And while the quake and tsunami did considerable damage in Chile, and killed six people, the fact is with an earthquake that strong, the situation could have been much, much worse. According to The Australian, experts are pointing to the country's building codes and general earthquake preparedness as a key reason why the impact was so minimal.

But experts warn Chile is still due for another, larger earthquake — based on how long its been since the last "big one."

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

Could power cuts in Turkey be the work of cats?

Who is responsible for the major power cuts that have swept Turkey in recent days? Could it be business groups accused of official corruption? Or could it be — as one government minister suggested — the work of rogue felines at power stations. The Hurriyet Daily News has been sifting the evidence. According to their report, "arbitrary power outages" are illegal under Turkish law, though there's no indication whether an investigation is planned.

What exactly does the nose, know?

Scientists have long thought the human nose could discern about 10,000 different scents and odors. But new research questions that — and suggests the number could be much higher. A new study, published in Science, suggests we may actually be able to discern from between a trillion or more different scents. Science Friday reports on how this new research was conducted — and what it means in the context of human senses in general.

Sing along with Japan's largest organized crime syndicate

La Cosa Nostra had the Godfather movies, Mexican cartels have Narcocorrido music, and now Japan’s largest Yakuza syndicate has launched its own PR campaign. Yamaguchi-gumi, one of the Yakuza groups is trying to turn around its image, and declining membership, using a less-than-polished sounding website, named the Banish Drugs and Purify the Nation League. Fans can log onto the new website, where they'll find a special corporate song and a strong anti-drugs message. Unlike the mafia or the cartels, the Yakuza groups aren't illegal, despite their criminal endeavors. So it's not uncommon for them to have legitimate faces, even corporate headquarters. The Guardian has the story.

Marijuana's coming out of the shadows in Uruguay

Uruguay is on the verge of becoming the first country to legalize and regulate marijuana. PRI's The World reports on the entrepreneurs planning to make the most of pot's new legal status, as well as the people who aren't so sure this is the best thing for their country. No matter what they think, though, the country is poised to start the legal cultivation and sale of marijuana by the end of this month.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

London is under a smog warning because of — get this — dust and sand blown up from the Saharan desert. According to The Guardian, air pollution levels were forecast to begin dissipating by Thursday, but were at their highest level, 10, on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

There's a new sheriff in town

Russia's keeping a close eye on its newly acquired neighborhood, sending high level officials to Crimea to affirm the new arrangement.

Russia's keeping a close eye on its newly acquired neighborhood, sending high level officials to Crimea to affirm the new arrangement.


(c) Gable, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada

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.