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Chatter: What we're hearing

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Need to know: Iran went ahead and launched its third round of missile tests on Monday, this time firing long-range missiles capable of reaching Israel. The two days of weapons testing fly in the face of the U.S. warning last week after the confirmation of Iran's secret, underground uranium plant. The U.S. is now taking an increasingly hardline against the Islamic Republic, clamoring for an assortment of harsher sanctions.

Want to know: The media has been having a field day with Aceh's controversial new Shariah law, which punishes Muslims convicted of committing adultery with death by stoning and declares homosexuality illegal. The WSJ, for instance, called it a sure sign of "creeping fundamentalism" in the Indonesian northern province. GlobalPost sets the record straight. Not only is the law likely to be short-lived, but a short walk through the streets of Banda Aceh will show that Aceh's capital is further along than some make it out to be. "[W]omen walk freely without their headscarves, girls and boys mingle at coffee shops and the so-called 'Shariah Police' make up only a tiny fraction of the city’s police force."

In Uganda a new telephone hot line called "Question Box" aims to break down the country's digital divide by providing information to those without internet access. Frustrated farmers can turn to hot line workers with cell phones with their questions. The workers call in to a headquarter where someone searches for the answer online and then relays it back. Sort a new spin on the old "telephone" game.

Dull but important: Strange bedfellows. Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi and Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, are strengthening ties in opposition to the "imperialism" of wealthy nations. Who needs NATO when you have SATO? "We're going to have our treaty, too," said Gadhafi.

Just because: Three decades after being accused of child rape, Roman Polanski's been nabbed. The Polish-French film director, of such acclaimed films as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby," finally was arrested when he arrived in Switzerland, where he was to be given a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich film festival. Instead of a trophy, he was greeted at the airport with a set of shiny handcuffs. Polanksi fled the U.S. in 1978 shortly after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, and has long been living in Paris, where he is protected from extradition. He was reportedly "stunned" at the arrest. France and Poland want him released on bail. Even the girl herself, now grown, has said she'd prefer not to have the media attention.

Wacky: Whether confused or just trying to give that joke one more go, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi can't stop calling Obama "sun-tanned." Berlusconi, who is himself famed for his year-round tan, sparked international outrage last November when he first described Obama as "sun-tanned." On Sunday, he said before a cheering crowd in Milan: "You wouldn't believe it, but they go sunbathing at the beach together — his wife is also sun-tanned."

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/general/090928/chatter-what-were-hearing