Global Scan

Thailand's military junta tries to pacify its people with free haircuts


Activists, with their mouths taped up as a form of protest against the ongoing military rule in Thailand, gesture during a protest in front of the Thai embassy in Manila June 5, 2014.


Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

Thailand's ruling military junta hasn't had an easy time of it since it deposed the country's democratically-elected government last month.

There have been protests and demonstrations, even a new power symbol based on a gesture used in the movie, The Hunger Games. But the military leaders say they only deposed the government because they wanted people to be happy. So why aren't they happy?

The junta's leaders think they've come upon a solution: street parties — with free haircuts. No word on whether protesters are eligible. Vice has the story.

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Behind the scenes of Sgt. Bergdahl's release

Asked whether the Taliban would be inspired by the exchange to kidnap others, a commander laughed. “Definitely."

The US decision to trade five prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been controversial, to say the least. And a new story from Time magazine will do nothing to change that. In conversations with long-time Time sources, the magazine reveals that Taliban officials says the trade gives them renewed interest in kidnapping Americans. It also provides another account of Bergdahl's alleged disilusionment with the US mission in Afghanistan and how close he came to release by his captors a few years ago.

These LEGO scientists minifigures aren't just toys

LEGO announced recently that it was releasing a few new sets of their popular building blocks — dedicated to scientists. Among them will be a new group of women LEGO minifigure scientists, including an astronomer with a telescope, a palaeontologist with a dinosaur skeleton and a chemist in a lab. Ellen Kooijman, an isotope geochemist in Stockholm, Sweden, designed the new sets and submitted them to LEGO as part of the company's LEGO Ideas campaign.

PRI's The World looks at why these new figures are being hailed as a major breakthrough.

Here's what happens when public science education goes a little too far

A zoo in Spain made a big mistake during a simulation over what to do if a gorilla escaped his enclosure. At the Loro Parque zoo in Tenerife, a staff member was wearing a gorilla suit to make the zoo simulation more real. Except it became too real, when a staff veterinarian shot the man with a real tranquilizer dart.

Metro reports that the zoo employee had a bad reaction to the tranquilizer and is hospitalized in serious condition.

Did the US effort to rebuild Afghanistan repeat our mistakes in Iraq?

The US has poured billions of dollars into rebuilding Afghanistan over 13 years of war and nation building. But has America gotten what it paid for? Not entirely. At least, that's what the special inspector general for Afghanistan says in his most recent report.

PRI's To The Point interviewed John Sopko, the special inspector general who sums up US spending in Afghanistan very simply: “We’ve wasted a lot of money.”

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

The National Hurricane Center is watching an area of storms and low pressure off the coast of Mexico that could become the Atlantic's first named tropical storm of the season. Heavy rains, along with life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, are possible over southeastern Mexico over the next couple days as the storm tries to organize into a tropical cyclone.

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.