Global Scan

The man behind the Middle East version of Amazon has a plan to end book censorship


Anti-government protesters read books at Kizilay square in central Ankara June 12, 2013. About 50 protesters gathered at the square to read books in an attempt to circumvent police bans against mass gatherings and protests in the capital.


Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Ala Alsallal runs a popular website in the Middle East that sells millions of books every year. Something like an for Arabic-language books.

Jamalon sees bursts of business whenever books are banned from people looking to buy the latest controversial title. That gave Alsallal an idea: set up a whole section devoted to banned books.

That's just the latest step in what he hopes is a multi-pronged attack on censorship — an attack that is so successful governments won't stand a chance at censors books any more. Quartz looks at Alsallal's new plan — and the success his website has enjoyed.

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A vet disappears from his retirement home — to make one last meeting with D-Day buddies

Bernard Jordan went missing from his Britain retirement home this week. The 89-year-old man had been told that, no, he would not be able to go to Normandy to meet up with D-Day comrades in arms. That didn't sit well with Jordan — so he decided he was going whether official wanted him to leave or not.

The Telegraph has the story of Jordan's disappearance from the home and police finding him on the beaches of Normandy.

No, we're not prepared for Arctic oil spills

The warming of the Arctic has fossil fuel companies moving quickly to try and stake out claims — but they're not exactly moving quickly into drilling. And that's because the conditions in the Arctic are so difficult. But if they can get past that, and they probably will, those difficult conditions will present another problem — in the event of an oil spill.

PRI's Living on Earth looks at some of the challenges that would be presented by an oil spill in the inhospitable climate of the Arctic.

Thai military warns social media critics: 'Well get you"


If the haircuts aren't enough to mollify Thai political protesters, maybe police threats will at least shut them up. At least, that seems to be the view point of the military junta that deposed Thailand's democratically elected government last month.

Police in Bangkok on Friday warned people that they would come for anyone who made online posts that "incite divisiveness." They said a Tuesday arrest of an anti-coup leader is an example of their social media prosecution in action. The Associated Press has the story.

A WWII veteran brings D-Day to life for students

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings is a time for the world to remember the battle that took place on June 6, 1944, to begin the liberation of Western Europe. But a veteran of those landings, Charles “Bud” Dasey of Winthrop, Massachusetts, tries to bring that day to life far more often than that with his "D-Day in a box."

PRI's The World looks at the man and his project to teach students about the important history of the D-Day invasions.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Bloomberg is looking at weather for the World Cup, which starts next week in Brazil. It turns out the Germans will have the worst weather for their matches — a distinction they'd probably rather avoid. Their games, based on historic climate date, will be the hottest and fourth-most humid. According to Bloomberg's data, German players will face an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (83 Fahrenheit) and high humidity for their first three games. Matches for the US won't be as hot, but they will face the most humidity.

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.