Here are a few of the stories that stuck out this morning.
1) Great story and photo slideshow out of NPR — female imams in central China’s Henan province. With over 20 million Muslims in China, and increasing coverage of women’s rights within the faith, this is something very unique.
In an alleyway called Wangjia hutong, women go to their own mosque, where Yao Baoxia leads prayers. For 14 years, Yao has been a female imam, or ahong as they are called here, a word derived from Persian.
2) Craigslist and free economy for the win.
After 14 Craigslist trades, this 17-year-old is now driving a 2000 Porsche Boxster S. That’s awesome.
(via Callan and Huffington Post)
3) When criminals need to carry an oxygen tank around, that’s a good sign for us commoners.
The robber walked into the Madison Avenue clothing store carrying a Saturday night special and a lifelong and violent rap sheet, but witnesses in the store that day remembered the same bizarre detail: the oxygen tank that helped him breathe through a tube to his nose.
A somewhat romantic story for a not-so-romantic criminal.
4) The International Monetary Fund has approved the cancellation of Haiti’s $268 million debt. Following the January 12 earthquake, Haiti has had little chance to focus on foreign relations and progressive rebuilding projects, instead needing to clean up the mess of rubble the quake left behind.
The IMF hopes that this decision will help Haiti utilize smaller stepping stones.
“The new program provides a strong and forward-looking framework to support economic stability and reconstruction in the country, and will also help catalyze donors’ contributions,” the IMF said in a posting on its web site.
5) And finally, of course, I need to mention Facebook’s milestone of half-a-billion active users. As one article put it, if it were a country, it would rank third in population in the world. Meanwhile, the movie “The Social Network” is gaining speed, with their tagline, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.