The mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 on Friday has fueled all manner of speculation, from the sensational (the plane was hijacked by Uighur Muslims) to the banal (the plane disintegrated in midair because of a mechanical defect) and the dramatic but unlikely (the pilot deliberately crashed it into the sea). But one aspect of the story has captured the popular imagination like none the other: The discovery that two of the passengers on the flight had boarded using stolen passports.
When former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was briefly deposed in a 2002 coup, the country's press reacted with unbridled enthusiasm. The daily newspaper El Nacional welcomed the day's events with the headline "One step forward." But that wasn't particularly surprising: Never in the history of Latin America had the media played quite so prominent a role in facilitating the overthrow of a democratically elected government. Gustavo Cisneros, Venezuela's answer to Rupert Murdoch, played a direct role in planning and funding the coup. At the time of the putsch, he owned Venevisión, a private TV channel that ran biased, even manipulated, coverage to incite support for the coup.
International Women's Day was once a staple holiday of Eastern European communism, a day when bosses would give red flowers to their female employees. Ostensibly, it was a day to celebrate the achievements of women workers. But in practice, it was a propaganda exercise to highlight socialism's alleged commitment to equality between the sexes.
The photo of the two monks above looks innocent enough. One of the men presents the other with a birthday present. It's difficult to make out, but it looks to be some sort of gold figurine on a red velvet base. In fact, the photo would be totally uninteresting if it weren't for the fact that these men are two of the world's most important leaders of a dangerously radical brand of Buddhism.
The new head of Japan's public broadcasting company, NHK, has some unusual ideas. Since assuming his position in January, Katsuto Momii has defended Japan's wartime practice of sexual slavery by arguing that all nations have done it during times of conflict. He's argued that media coverage of Japan's territorial disputes should conform to the government line. And he believes that NHK, in spite of being one of the most trusted and influential news sources in the country, should not "say ‘left,' when the government says ‘right.'"