Global Scan

In Venezuela, you can't even die without running into a shortage


A worker builds a coffin in a casket factory in Caracas, Venezuela, in November 2012. Venezuela has a shortage of caskets right now.


Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Venezuela's economy has been hobbled, with shortages of even the most basic items, like toilet paper.

But now, shortages are starting to impact the final stage of life. Production of coffins has declined by 20 to 30 percent, because of lack of materials. That's led to delays in funerals and has sent the price of caskets soaring. The Guardian reports one coffin company executive predicts that in two to three months, there won't be enough caskets to bury all who die there.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and little hard currency available to purchase imports.

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Believe it or not? A personal video to rival Jaws

On Wednesday, we brought you the story of a Great White Shark that was killed, probably by an even bigger shark. Today, we bring you a video of a purported close encounter with a shark in Sydney Harbor. The man who uploaded the video, shot on a GoPro camera, claims it is absolutely real, but others aren't so sure. Either way, the video is terrifying.

The Independent looks at the footage and the man's story. But judge for yourself.

Here's a primer on the jihadist group ISIS sweeping through Iraq

If you're watching Iraq, you know an enigmatic-sounding organization called ISIS is rapidly captured the country's northern area, taking control of major cities and potentially threatening Baghdad in the near future.

US President Obama has said the US will provide assistance to Iraq to counter the threat. "I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothoold in either Iraq or Syria." PRI's The World looks at the connection between ISIS and al-Qaeda, where the group came from and where it says it is going.

Colombian photographers illustrate reggaeton lyrics to make a point

Reggaeton is a popular musical genre in Latin America that combines elements of Jamaican dancehall and Trinidadian soca with those of other Latin America styles, such as salsa, bomba, Latin American hip hop, and electronica. But much like rap in the US, Reggaeton often has lyrics that are, at the least, disrespectful toward women and, at worse, violently misogynistic.

Some Colombian photographers want to change that. Global Voices looks at some tweets the photographers created to illustrate the lyrics. Be warned, some of these photos are quite graphic.

In the battle against wildfires, goats are on the front lines

Wildfires are often in difficult-to-reach areas and that makes the fire-fighting hard. People have to climb over rocks and plunge into valleys to prevent fires from spreading. So you can forget bulldozers to create clear zones to contain them.

But wildfires are generally fueled by brush — and brush is the perfect food for goats, who love rocky hills and valleys. PRI's Science Friday looks at one effort to use specially-trained goats to deal with forest fires.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

The National Hurricane Center is tracking a powerful category 4 hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Mexico. Hurricane Cristina is the second category 4 hurricane of the season — the first time in the satellite era that two storms of such strength have been recorded before July 1. The good news is that Cristina is not currently expected to pose any threat to land.

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