Connect to share and comment

Chatter: What we're hearing

To receive the morning chatter by email, let us know at

Need to know: Huge crowds of Iranians chanted anti-government slogans during the funeral of leading dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in the holy Shiite city of Qom, websites reported.

Want to know: A crazed collector may be behind the theft from Auschwitz of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" (“Work Sets you Free”) sign, which was recovered after a 72-hour nationwide manhunt. The iron sign had been split into three parts and hidden in Polish woodland. Five men have been arrested and none were members of a neo-Nazi group.

Dull but important: Japanese TV manufacturers, which desperately need new markets to save them from their withering customer base at home, are trying to convince Latin American countries to use their digital TV standard. The question is whether their prize is more TV exports, or just the modicum of prestige that comes with having their standard widely adopted.

Just because: On the 20th anniversary of the Romanian revolution, a photographer offers a portrait of his country — a land of winter, Orthodox faith, class divide and industrial decay. His rural subjects are often faceless; silhouetted against a blanched snowscape, obscured by a train window or dwarfed by Eastern Orthodox icons.

Wacky: One is named Obama, another goes by Son of Bush. They charge tens of thousands of dollars for sex. Convoys of luxury cars, driven by fans, greet the most expensive studs at airports. Meet the canine gigolos — the purebred Tibetan Mastiffs that have become the latest symbol of China's growing wealth.