Global Scan

Rio de Janeiro's Olympics prep is being described as 'the worst' yet


People gather to observe the Perimetral overpass after its partial demolition as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha urbanization project on April 20, 2014. The project is part of the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.


Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are still two years away, but international officials are already concerned the facilities may not be ready on time.

Olympic officials have called Rio's preparations "the worst" — worse even than the notoriously late construction in Sochi and Athens. Attention recently has focused on the city's preparations for this summer's World Cup, which have also been plagued by delays.

Among the concerns: facilities that haven't even broken ground, breakdowns in communications at all levels and — familiar to anyone worrying about World Cup preparations — public and labor unrest. The Guardian has more.

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A Vietnam vet searches for the son he left behind there

"I suppose I am here out of guilt," he says. "And to try and do my duty as a father."

Jerry Quinn is one of thousands of American veterans who fathered children with Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. Many of them abandoned the women and their children when they left Vietnam — and are only now looking back. Quinn traveled to Vietnam to try and find his son, whom he felt forced to leave behind when US soldiers were ordered out of Vietnam immediately.

His trip was ultimately unsuccessful, but his story still has a happy ending. He found his son, much closer to home, as the BBC reports.

This scientist celebrates humans' fishy ancestors

When we think of the progenitors of humans, we typically think of apes and chimps. But Neil Shubin, an evolutionary biologist, says we should widen our definition to include fish. From our arms to our gonads, there's a direct connection from our anatomy to the anatomy of fish, as PRI's Science Friday reports.

Saudi Arabia criticizes Norway for its 'poor' human rights record

Saudi Arabia is putting Norway on notice over its record on human rights. If this seems somewhat reversed, Norway agrees.

Norway is one of 14 countries singled out for special review during the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review. But the criticism is typically coming from countries not widely regarded for their positions on human rights, like Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia criticized Norway for "failing to protect its Muslim citizens and not doing enough to counter criticism of the prophet Mohammed," according to The Independent. Russia, on the other hand, criticized the country’s child welfare system, among other complaints.

Mexico is testing cheap, natural ways to deal with climate change

The increasing effects of climate change are a real threat to southern Mexico, as stronger hurricanes and torrential rains lead to flooding and land erosion. Some towns have had to be relocated, but that's expensive. So the Mexican government is testing decidedly lower-tech, lower-cost solutions to keep climate change in check.

PRI's The World visited Chiapas and learned about government efforts to use natural methods to help stem the impacts of climate change. The government is planting "natural barriers," plants and trees, and even paying locals to preserve the vegetation they already have.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Australians on Tuesday got a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse that produced stunning sunset photos as the moon covered about two-thirds of the sun. Clouds got in the way of many observers chasing the eclipse, but Mother Nature Network still caught some amazing photos.

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.