Global Scan

India is hiring 40 'young people' to act like monkeys in Parliament


Langur monkeys follow their handler at the forecourt of India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi September 21, 2012. Langur monkeys are used in parts of New Delhi to scare away other monkeys which create a menace around government buildings.


B Mathur/Reuters

India has a monkey problem in Congress — and it's not just the sort of excrement flinging like you might find in the US Capitol.

But rather, there are actual monkeys, as well as stray dogs, that have made themselves at home in the actual grounds of Parliament House, as well as in areas nearby. So the government has hired more monkeys to scare them away — but with a twist.

The government has decided rather than hire actual langur monkeys, the natural rivals of the rhesus monkeys that are pestering parliamentarians, they'll hire young people to "disguise" themselves as langurs to drive away the rhesus monkeys. And they have proof it works. The Independent has more.

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Uncontacted Amazon tribe emerges from the forest to seek protection from drug traffickers

Illegal logging and well-armed drug traffickers are making life untenable for previously uncontacted tribes in the Amazon rain forests of Brazil and Peru — driving the tribes to walk out of their native lands and seek the assistance of Brazilians in combatting their new enemy.

But they're facing a host of new problems when they make first contact — not the least of which is the common flu, which can ravage a tribe that's never previously been exposed to the influenza virus. The Guardian looks at the increasing number of tribes being forced to make contact the outside world for their own safety and protection — as well as what Brazil's government is trying to do to make sure that they're safe when they do so.

June was hot. Really, really hot

The data are in and June was a record-breaker. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June 2014 was the hottest June on planet Earth since record-keeping began back in 1880. And the consequences of that can be seen in wildfires and drought that are ravaging the American West Coast.

There's hope, though — at least in the west. El Niño is developing in the Pacific Ocean, which should bring cooler temperatures and more rain, ending the drought that's threatened a huge part of the American food crop. But the wetter, cooler conditions could have a downside. Coming so soon after such an intense period of dryness and heat, they could lead to erosion and houses literally falling into the sea. PRI's Living on Earth has the story.

In an Ebola world, are we all just waiting for the big one?

“There is no bomb, no poison, no plan of attack with the potential to do as much damage.” That line from Michael Specter, writing in the New Yorker, is referring to viruses — not just Ebola, the scary hemorragic fever du jour, but rather the simple virus that we don't even know of, that could wipe out humanity in a matter of days or weeks.

In fact, scientist Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel Prize winner, says viruses are the single biggest threat to mankind's continued dominance of the planet. So what's there to be done? Specter suggests we need to increase the funding we provide to surveillance of viruses development and virus transfer from animals to humans. Otherwise, the next scary viral outbreak could be the last.

This female surfer is fighting more than just India's waves

Ishita Malaviya discovered surfing by accident. In college in her native India, she had a chance meeting with a couple of California surfers who were traveling the world. After they helped her get started, she fell in love with the sport, and after finishing college she made it her career. Now she's not just a professional surfer, but she's also trying to cultivate surfing as a hobby among more Indian women.

PRI's The World traveled to Malaviya's Shake Surf Club in Karnataka, India, to find out why Malaviya chose to spend her days surfing, and what she sees as the biggest barrier to making surfing more popular in India. Don't miss the photos of surfing in India.

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Weather around the world

Several islands in the Caribbean, from Martinique to Puerto Rico, are gearing up for their first tropical system of the year. Tropical Storm Bertha has organized off the Leeward Islands and is projected to hit Martinique and the Virgin Islands with winds of 50 mph Friday. By Saturday night, it's forecast to hit Puerto Rico. According to the National Hurricane Center, it should scoot just east of the continental US. 

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