Global Scan

Right to be forgotten? Google has a backup plan


A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in Brussels May 30, 2014.


Francois Lenoir/Reuters

European courts recently ruled that EU citizens had a "right to be forgotten" by Google, giving them the ability to tell the company to remove pages with their names from search result.

Now the company has seemingly found a way to make sure those requests backfire in spectacular fashion. According to Quartz, Google has started the process with requests most likely to anger news outlets, like deletion requests for news articles that name certain people. That's sparked a new round of furious articles from newspapers and other outlets, who are upset over the prospect of censorship.

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Tibetans have an unlikely source to thank for their high-altitude lifestyle

For most humans, life at high altitude is a challenge. But scientists have found that Tibetans, whose country lies miles above sea level, are able to thrive in the thin air thanks to a large dose of Neanderthal DNA. National Geographic says Tibetans once mixed with Denisovans, close relatives of Neanderthals, giving them a gene that keeps the body from pumping out extra hemoglobin at high altitudes.

While that response keeps up oxygen levels, it also greatly increases the risk of a heart attack. The heart-healthy Tibetan genome is probably 30,000 to 40,000 years old, according to scientists. And it's only one of the many new bits of Neanderthal DNA that have been discovered among human genes in recent months.

Colombia fights World Cup deaths and disorder with an alcohol ban

In the early days of the World Cup, as the Colombian national team became one of the highlights of the tournament, alcohol-fueled deaths and arrests marred the joyous celebrations in Bogota. Now, governments in some cities have banned alcohol during Colombia's games.

PRI's The World found that the crackdown has saved lives but has also damaged businesses that were depending on big World Cup revenues. Unlike in the United States, where bars held huge viewing parties and raked in the profits, Colombians abandoned their country's now-dry establishments. The result has been dismal profits, made even worse by the big upgrades many bars and resautrants made in preparation for the games.

If the Queen isn't available, perhaps Sherlock will do

Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was reportedly a huge movie buff, so this latest news about the UK's off-beat diplomacy with the Communist country might actually make sense. The Guardian reports that the British government shipped out an episode of the BBC's "Sherlock" TV show, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, to Pyongyang for a film festival in 2012.

They apparently hoped to "show a different perspective of the outside world than they are normally shown." But it may not have been only Cumberbatch's star power that influenced the decision: the UK's Foreign Office only had to pay about $500 for the rights to the show, much less than an ambassador's flight from London to Pyongyang.

Taking 'not in my backyard' to the next level

This week, anti-immigration protesters in Murrieta, California, successfully blocked busloads of undocumented immigrants, mostly women and children, from entering a Homeland Security facility in the town. The protesters were fighting against the arrival of the migrants from other states like Texas, which has seen a recent surge in illegal crossings, who they say will take jobs and negatively impact local services.

PRI's The World looked at the charged atmosphere in the city near San Diego, where a town meeting held in the evening after the showdown was filled with outrage at the new arrivals. The Homeland Security buses were rerouted to San Diego after drivers were unable to enter the processing facility.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

It was a very slow start to the monsoon season in Mumbai, with just a few inches of rain falling all month. But Wednesday, the city got more than six inches of rain in the day — nearly double the amount seen in the entire month of July.

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.