Every day, GlobalPost delivers written reports, video and photography that inform and entertain, taking people to far flung places around the globe most will never visit but where events are shaping all of our lives.

The world’s saddest giant rubber duck…

May 15th — and source with 10 notes

A New Zealand man is on a mission to save the country’s native flightless birds by launching an anti-cat campaign that calls for the animals to be kept inside at all times and slowly allowed to die out. 

Cat-loving New Zealand does not appear to be particularly interested in placing their pets under house arrest, however — even if doing so will supposedly save the country’s struggling bird population. 

Read on: New Zealand man wants cats banned to protect birds

Need to know:
The crisis in Syria is getting a lot worse – fast.

That’s the stark warning from the United Nations, whose humanitarian office told theSyria Humanitarian Forum in Geneva today that as many as four million Syrians will require aid by early next year. Two and a half million need it already. There are currently almost 400,000 known refugees in the countries surrounding Syria; the figure will be 700,000 within months if the civil war continues at its current, devastating pace. Turkey says 9,000 Syrians crossed its border last night alone.

Meanwhile the Syrian National Council, the most prominent opposition group, is meeting in Qatar to decide whether to unite with other military and political groups. The merger would bring it recognition from other countries, and with it, the more practical benefits of funding and, potentially, military aid.

What’s President Bashar al-Assad up to amid all this? Oh, just reminding interviewers that: “We do not have a civil war… If the Syrian people are against me, how can I be here?” How, indeed.

Want to know:
There’s still no comment from Iran on the Pentagon’s revelation that Iranian forces fired on one of its surveillance drones.

A warplane shot at the US aircraft repeatedly as it carried out “routine surveillance” some 16 miles off the coast of Iran, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday. The incident, which happened a week ago, was kept quiet until now, but defense officials said Washington had already sent a formal warning to Iran.

Iran has not yet responded publicly – other than to warn, via state media, that “if any foreign aircraft seeks to enter our country’s airspace, our armed forces will confront it.”

Dull but important:
Anglicans have a new spiritual leader. Eight months after Rowan Williams announced he was stepping down as the head of the Church of England, Justin Welby has been selected to take his place.

The Right Reverend Welby, Bishop of Durham (to give him his full title) will become Archbishop of Canterbury in March 2013. When he does so, he’ll be responsible for not only the Church in England, but some 77 million Anglicans worldwide.

Bishop Welby – who used to be an oil executive before the death of his daughter prompted him to enter the priesthood – faces a tough job to unite his vast global flock, who range from the relatively liberal to the extremely conservative – especially in Africa, where more than half of all Anglicans worship. Williams never managed to reconcile the warring factions; can Welby, a renowned mediator, save the Church from a split?

Just because:
The first rule of SEAL Team Six? Don’t talk about SEAL Team Six.

But if you will insist on, oh, killing Osama bin Laden and rescuing aid workers from Somali pirates, you can’t expect other people not to talk about you. In the past two years, the elite US special forces unit – which, technically, doesn’t even exist – has become the subject of TV documentariesmovies and countless novelty T-shirts.

Lo and behold, it seems not even Navy SEALS are immune to the call of fame. Two months ago, a book came out that purportedly offered one Team Six member’s firsthand account of the mission that killed bin Laden. And now, seven members have been disciplined for helping to design the latest ‘Medal of Honor’ video game.

Developers paid the troops, all of whom are on active duty, to give the game “a dotted line to real world events.” The Navy reprimanded them and put them on half wages for two months, apparently as an example to others who’ve forgotten that silence is golden.

Strange but true:
Sibling rivalry is a cruel thing. We’re sure the Kenyan woman who gave birth to twins shortly after this week’s US election loves both her boys equally, but you’ve got to wonder what being named Barack and Mitt will do to the brothers.

New mother Millicent Owuor, who hails from the village where President Obama’s father was born, said she wanted to remember the elections a long time. Her sons certainly will, whether they want to or not.

Baby Barack was born first; Baby Mitt was not. Baby Barack heard local residents chant his namesake’s surname in joy after results were announced; Baby Mitt, unsurprisingly, did not. Still, it could have been worse: at least it’s not Abel and Cain. Or George and Al. Or George and Bill. Yep, on second thoughts, Mitt and Barack will be just fine.

Just who is Facebook’s oldest user?

Facebook’s oldest user title has been the bone of contention between two centenarians lately.

Florence Detlor, 101, was said to be Facebook’s oldest user by Mark Zuckerberg and was even given a personal tour of the company, yet she may not in fact be the oldest person on Facebook.

Detlor is being challenged for the title by Maria “Mary” Colunia Segura-Metzgar, who just turned 105 this week and has an account with 68 friends, said Yahoo News.

Segura-Metzgar was helped by her grandson Anthony Segura to joining Facebook.

Segura said that when he set up her account he couldn’t enter her age as Facebook dates didn’t go that far back.

More from GlobalPostFacebook stock price surges on news of strong mobile, revenue gains

She had to make her 101, instead of 104.

"I tried to sign her up on Facebook a few months ago but it wouldn’t accept her birth date," Segura, 60, told ABC News.

"Then I tried again and just put in 101 and it accepted it for the timeline, even though she was 104. Now on Facebook it says she’s 102 when, in reality, she’s 105," he added.

He said that he contacted Facebook about the issue but they have not returned his calls,reported The Inquisitr.

Segura-Metzgar has been twice widowed and is the mother of four, said Yahoo News.

Two orphaned baby walruses have found new homes in New York and Indianapolis, in what is possibly the most adorable wildlife story of the year.

Mitik, 234 pounds, and his buddy Patak, 350 pounds, were rescued off the Alaskan coast near Barrow in July, seemingly abandoned by their herd. The were rescued by locals, and nursed back to health at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Seward City News reported

The two calves were transported in giant crates via Fed-Ex cargo jet (the cost? $10,000 to $15,000 a walrus) to their respective zoos, which are just two of seven of US facilities to showcase walruses,according to zoo database Zoo Chat

More from GlobalPost: Baby walrus rescue mission saves 2 more in Alaska (VIDEO)

The New York Aquarium just off the Coney Island Boardwalk will welcome Mitik, or Mit for short, Thursday, and the Indianapolis Zoo will house Patak. 

Martha Hiatt, the New York Aquarium’s behavioral husbandry supervisor, traveled to Alaska in September to help care for their new pup. 

“If Mit is resting with his head on my lap, sucking my fingers, looking sweetly into my eyes, and Pak comes anywhere near us, he pops up, yells at Pak and tries to head-butt him,” she told the New York Times. “Then he’ll turn to me and be all cuddly again. We say he is small, but scrappy — the perfect New Yorker.” 

If your heart hasn’t melted enough, check out Anchorage Daily News’ slideshow of the two pups

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September 26th — and with 0 notes

Each Wednesday GlobalPost will bring you our favorite weirdest wackiest tales from around the web. But only two of the three stories are real. If you’re the first to correctly identify the fake in this story’s comments section below, you will win a $5 iTunes giftcard. Yes, that’s right, five free songs.


Watch and win! Every Wednesday GlobalPost will bring you our three favorite Weird Wide Web stories… but here is the kick: only 2 are real. Correctly identify the fake in the comments section on this page and you could win a $5 iTunes giftcard! Just a little pick-me-up for your humpday. 


An elderly woman has unintentionally destroyed a valuable piece of artwork after she decided to ‘restore’ the painting herself. 

The painting was a 19th century Spanish fresco titled “Ecce Homo” by painter Elias Garcia Martinez. It was donated to the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain, by the painter’s granddaughter, according to the Telegraph. The centro reportedly holds an extensive archive of regional religious paintings. 

The woman, a neighbor of the church reportedly in her 80s, thought she would save the church both time and money by restoring the painting herself. 

The Telegraph described the restoration as, “a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian’s paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown.”

Juan María Ojeda, The councilman of Culture Borja, told Noticias de Navarra that the woman who attempted the restoration “had a hard life.” He also added that is would be “very difficult” to recover the painting.

According to Yahoo News, the elderly women reportedly realized she was ruining the painting and turned herself in to authorities. Culture councilor Juan Maria de Ojeda added, “she had gotten out of hand”.

Read the rest at GlobalPost

August 22ndvia and with 7 notes

A ban on female biking in urban areas of North Korea was lifted Monday.

The country’s dear leader Kim Jong Un made the decree, reversing his father’s decision taken in the mid-1990s.

Orange News reported that the late Kim Jong Il made the decision after the daughter of one of his top generals was killed while riding in downtown Pyongyang.

Since then, women have faced hefty fines for riding their bikes in the city streets.

More from GlobalPostHow to report from inside North Korea

They could have also had their bicycles taken away by authorities if they were caught.

The reaction by North Koreans was undoubtedly unclear but one imagines that the move was welcome, given the population’s heavy reliance on the bicycle as a means of transport, said NewsFix.

It is also unclear as to why so called “Lil’ Kim” repealed the order but no doubt building popular support in his early days as ruler was among the reasons.

 Authorities in Mexico have slaughtered nearly four million chickens as they seek to contain an outbreak of bird flu in the central-west state of Jalisco.

Senasica, Mexico’s food safety watchdog, said more than 9.3 million birds were being monitored for the H7N3 virus, Spanish news agency EFE reported today.

Several laboratories have been tasked with making 80 million vaccines to prevent the spread of the disease, the BBC reported. They should be ready by the end of this month.

Bird flu has been detected at 33 of the 253 chicken farms in Jalisco inspected by Senasica, Informador reported.

The Jalisco-based newspaper said 82 farms were found to be free of the disease and 138 were under “strict surveillance.”

Earlier this month, the Mexican government declared a national animal emergency, Al Jazeera reported.The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has confirmed the bird flu epidemic. The virus has cost the Mexican poultry industry $50 million since it was first detected on June 20.

Such outbreaks are monitored closely in Mexico since H1N1 began there in 2009 before spreading around the world and killing 17,000 people.

According to the UN, the H7N3 virus has occasionally caused human disease but has not shown itself to be easily transmittable between humans.

More from GlobalPost: In Tanzania, HIV at a crossroads

Canada’s national police force faces pointed criticism after an officer posted bondage and S&M photos of himself online, including those showing him stalking a woman and holding a knife to another’s throat.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched a code of conduct investigation against Cpl. Jim Brown stationed in Coquitlam, BC, The Canadian Press said.

“While we must strike a balance between an individual’s rights and freedoms when off duty and the RCMP code of conduct, I am personally embarrassed and very disappointed that the RCMP would be, in any way, linked to photos of that nature,” Assistant Commissioner Randy Beck told CP.

Police learned about the photos in December 2010, but took no actions because they believed the photos were personal.

The investigation began after the staged photos appeared on bondage websites.

More from GlobalPost: Logs detail serious allegations against Secret Service agents over a decade

They have since been removed from a site the Toronto Sun said Brown administered.

“(In one) series of picture, he comes upon a woman on the street. He stalks her, he captures her, he takes her somewhere, it’s a private location, he wraps her in cellophane … he puts his feet on her, he cuts her, she bleeds,” former police psychologist Dr. Mike Webster told the Sun.

In others, Brown — who called himself the Kilted Knight online, the Sun said — is naked brandishing a sword, while he’s shown holding a butcher knife to another woman’s throat.

This is just the latest incident to shake public confidence in the Mounties, with officers facing allegations of everything from sexual harassment to theft of cocaine.

There’s also concern among politicians who learned Brown played a small role in the Robert Pickton serial killer case.

Pickton said he imprisoned, tortured and killed 49 women at his Port Coquitlam-area pig farm.

“We expect more from our police and I am disappointed in this particular situation,” BC Justice Minister Shirley Bond told The Globe and Mail. “It’s important that British Columbians have confidence in the men and women who serve in our communities every day, as police officers.”

More from GlobalPost: Missing women inquiry casts doubt on police work in Canada

Talk about a heat wave: Scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif., have generated temperatures of 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit (2 million degrees Celsius) by zapping super-thin aluminum foil with an x-ray laser, Wired Magazine reported. That’s hotter than the outermost layer of our Sun, according to Wired.

(Read more — Scientists heat foil to 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit

January 26th — and with 4 notes