So just where will the NSA stop?

NSA and Santa cartoon

Chinese cartoonist Luojie notes the perils of spying on Santa.

(c) Luojie, China Daily, China

The US government's defense of widespread NSA surveillance on Americans was dealt a blow this week by federal Judge Richard Leon.

The US District Court judge ruled that the mass gathering of phone record information violates the constitutional right to unreasonable searches and seizures, as reported by The Guardian. Leon described it as "almost Orwellian" in scope. The ruling, amidst other court cases against the NSA surveillance, will likely end up at the US Supreme Court. 

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked documents about NSA spying, said Judge Leon's ruling vindicated his decision to make the confidential documents public. Separately, The Guardian reported that Snowden offered, in an open letter to Brazilians, to help their country block future National Security Agency eavesdropping. 

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Sorry about your family, please accept this Kalashnikov as reparation

Compensation schemes work best when they match the needs and interests of those being compensated. Still, the Yemeni government’s decision to compensate victims of a US drone attack with firearms and cash may not meet Yemen's broader goal to reduce militant attacks on the Yemeni military and keep the peace.

The National Yemen reports that a strike against a wedding party last week left 15 dead and 11 people injured. The target, apparently, was a car in the wedding party that had members of al-Qaeda "considered among the most dangerous leaders behind recent terrorist operations targeting men in the armed and security forces, citizens, installations and the vital interests of the country."

Families of the victims blocked streets in a nearby city, which led to mediation between tribal leaders and the government. The final settlement was $149,000 and 100 guns.

How underpaying a housekeeper became an international diplomatic debacle

Last week, New York police arrested Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York. She is accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her Manhattan housekeeper and hiding that the housekeeper’s pay was below minimum wage. The Washington Post is one of several outlets reporting on the escalating diplomatic spat between India and the US.

Indian officials claim that Khobragade was strip-searched and treated in a barbaric manner — which is seen as a humiliating affront. India immediatley threatened retaliatory steps with US diplomats there, and removed security barricades near the US Embassy in New Delhi.

Did mental illness play a role in the Boston Marathon bombing?

In a new investigative report, Boston Globe reporters reveal the troubled lives of the Tsarnaev brothers, who are accused of planting bombs that killed three and injured some 260 people at the Boston Marathon. The coverage reveals that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who was killed in a shoot-out with police, heard voices in his head "telling him to do things he didn't want to do." In interviews with PRI's The World, the reporters explain that both brothers had lives that were quickly unraveling at the time of the bombing.

After a year focused on violence against women, India stops blaming the victim

One year after the gang rape in New Delhi that made global news, attitudes in India are changing. PRI's The World reporter Rhitu Chatterjee covered the story from the US a year ago, and then moved back to India. She reports that many more women are stepping forward, with support from family and husbands, to report on sexual violence. And she says it is no longer politically acceptable to "blame the victim" for somehow attracting the sexual advances.

What we're seeing on social

Protesters in Ukraine wanted to get a look at just how big their protest was, so they launched a drone. The answer? Immense. See the video.

Weather around the world

Tourists are travelling to Sa Pa Town, in Vietnam's northern province of Lao Cai, to see a rare phenomenon: snow. According to Straits Times, almost two inches of snow fell in the city, which is already a major tourist draw, causing gridlock on the streets.