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Chatter: What we're hearing

Need to know: Many Mexicans seek political asylum in the U.S. because they fear drug violence at home. But they face a tough battle with U.S. immigration law. Some of their attorneys were so upset by the situation they went to the press.

Wonder what Kim Jong Il's saber-rattling means at home? Stricter controls on market and food aid, according to The Washington Post.

And the political situation is looking bleak for Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, who managed to survive a no-confidence vote yesterday. Good thing he has those comics to distract him.

Meanwhile, a helicopter supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan crashed, killing at least six foreigners.

Want to know: How U.S. allies embrace gays in the military, including in Britain, Australia and Israel. They know, they tell — and somehow, they manage.

Dull but important: Exxon acknowledges there might be a future for alternative fuels, specifically, algae-based fuel.

Just because: Happy Bastille Day! On France's national holiday, here's a fun fact: Among the entrants in an 1889 contest to commemorate the storming of the Bastille "was a gigantic working guillotine." Imagine that as Paris' centerpiece and be very glad the judges went with the Eiffel tower, rather than the guillotine, which shockingly won second runner up. This fun fact comes courtesty of our friend Jill Jonnes, whose new book tells the story of the Eiffel tower.

Wacky: Thought on the relationship between TV and sex, or as India's health minister called it, "the process of population growth." Indeed.

Set a reminder: GlobalPost's Executive Editor C.M. Sennott explains the Taliban in a four-part series beginning today on PRI's The World.