Protesters against military rule make the three-fingered salute from the movie The Hunger Games, during a brief demonstration at a shopping mall in Bangkok June 1, 2014. According to some, the three fingered gesture stood for freedom, equality and brotherhood.


Erik De Castro/Reuters

In The Hunger Games, when the residents of the district give a three-finger salute to the books protagonists, they're met with a violent government crackdown.

In Thailand, the local residents have adopted the distinctive gesture — and local government officials are equally unamused. A spokesman for the local military junta that seized power in a coup says if demonstrators use the salute after being told to stop, they would be arrested.  The Washington Post has more.

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Message from the pope: A pet won't save you from a miserable old age

The pope wants you to have kids, and not for his sake, for yours. In a homily delivered to thousands of Catholics in Rome, Pope Francis said couples that get married and don't have kids because they want a "carefree lifestyle" will find themselves loney in their old age. In his remarks, the pope said the family is "under attack" — and encouraged the faithful to preserve what he called an essential institution of the church.

The Telgraph has more on the pope's call for more children and families.

Underwater gold mining won't make you rich — and it might kill you

In the Philippines, where money is tight and a few bucks make the difference between dinner and no dinner, underwater gold mining seems like an attractive job. It requires many people — not just the people who are digging tunnels under rice paddies and bays — doing different jobs.

PRI's Living on Earth looks at the slim rewards, and the really serious risks, the now-outlawed practice brings with it. For as little as $11 a month, locals are paying police to turn the other way, so they can keep on digging.

Why China's 'official drink' has been forced to seek Western customers

China's Xi Jinping is on a mission to reduce government corruption and waste. But one of the first casulaties is a specific kind of Chinese liquor. Baijiu, the world's best-selling spirit, has seen a precipitous drop in sales after Xi's crackdown on boozey military banquets and lavish government gifts. 

So the folks at Baijiu Moutai, the second-most valuable liquor brand in the world, are looking overseas for growth. To find success, though, they'll have to convince a global audience that the liquor often described by initial drinkers as tasting like "paint thinner" is worth a second and third try. Reuters has the story. 

Forget the bidet, the washlet is taking bathrooms by storm

PRI's The World hits the road with Alina Simone as she examines the world's bathrooms. Sure, most of us are probably familiar with how to use a toilet and toilet paper, but are you comfortable when confronted with a bidet? And even if you know how to use it, odds are you either love them, or hate them. 

But bidets are so 20th Century. The washlet — toilet, bidest and bottom dryer all in one — is taking the world's bathrooms by storm. Already, more than 75 percent of homes in Japan have a washlet, and a toilet maker is trying to introduce them in the American market.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

India's gearing up for the critical monsoon to start — the source of nearly 70 percent of the country's rain. But the monsoon hasn't even arrived and already there are concerns it will be late and be weaker than usual. The grim outlook for the monsoon can be traced back to El Niño, according to a report from Slate.

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.

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