Links to Start Your Week 10/20/13

We’ll start with a little bit of good news. A new volunteer-run, crowd-sourced website in Pakistan called Chayn seeks to provide resources for women facing domestic abuse. It provides women with information about relevant laws that could help protect them as well as health services available to them. The volunteers hope to eventually open similar sites in India and Bangladesh, and to set up a pop-up shelter system for women leaving abusive relationships. Another cool thing: there’s a button on the website floating right above whatever you’re looking at that says, “hide this page.” When you click it, the screen automatically switches over to an ordinary news page, in case someone you don’t want to see you looking at this kind of information walks in.

Supposedly Syrian peace talks will begin November 23.

A Special Forces commander in the Afghan army has defected to an insurgent group that is reportedly allied with the Taliban. Sources believe he brought about 30 guns, night vision goggles and other equipment, a Humvee, and of course could now provide insurgents with Special Forces training. This defection takes place among a rise in “insider attacks” against coalition forces (members of the Afghan army or police attacking American forces there to train them.)

The U.S. Navy is facing a massive corruption scandal. It essentially boils down to some officers taking bribes from a defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine, which overbilled for many of its services. The bribes to officers (including some senior commanders) included not just cash, but prostitutes, luxury hotel rooms, and on at least one occasion, tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.

The Indian Coast Guard detained the crew of a U.S.-owned ship for carrying “a huge cache of weapons.” The company that owns the ship, AdvanFort, provides security to commercial vessels. Indian authorities say the ship did not have authorization to carry weapons in their waters and was not able to produce the necessary paperwork for them.

The latest argument for keeping stockpiles of nuclear weapons is that we might need them to blow up asteroids. Possible plans for this eventuality include building and orbiting huge nuclear bombs, which sounds like it could never ever go wrong.

And finally, Canada sent paramilitaries to clear anti-fracking protesters out of a forest, because why not?

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