• The World According to Russia

    Vladimir Putin demanded at the United Nations in September. The question was a rebuke to the American-led bloc of countries that initially viewed with optimism the Arab Spring, which began five years ago this month, but has since given way to chaos and Islamist violence across once-stable parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Those events, and much else, look different when viewed from Russia than they do from the United States, and a documentary that aired recently on Russian state television helps explain the worldview behind Putin’s question… – The Atlantic

  • How Norway Lost Control of $500 Million Dollar Arctic Sub Base

    During the Cold War, Norway built a secret naval base, Olavsvern, that was carved into the mountain just outside the city of Tromsø, in the Arctic Circle. The base—comprised of a submarine hangar made of rock, direct sea access, nearly 150,000 sq ft of buildings and almost double that in bombproof interior space—took 30 years and cost NATO around $500 million to build to fight the threat of the Soviet Union. – Quartz

  • Giant Mao Statue in China’s Countryside

    A 37m-high (120ft) gold-painted statue of Chairman Mao has been built in China’s countryside. The giant homage to the late communist leader was paid for by local businessmen, who spent nearly 3 million yuan ($460,000; £313,000), reports say. Some villagers also contributed money to the project said The People’s Daily. The giant sits in farmland in Tongxu county, Henan Province. The province was the centre of a famine in the 1950s resulting from Mao’s policies. Millions of people died in the famine triggered by the campaign, known as the Great Leap Forward. – BBC News

  • Obama Thinks He Is Going to Stop Gun Violence with Feel Good Executive Order(Video)

    President Barack Obama grew emotional Tuesday as he made a passionate call for a national “sense of urgency” to limit gun violence. He was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Obama circled back to that shooting in the final moments of his speech. – CNN

[Featured image: Vladimir Putin at his end-of-the-year news conference in Moscow | Maxim Smeyev / Reuters]