1. Car abandonment in Dubai
Thousands of luxury cars are abandoned every year in Dubai and the UAE. Many of them are abandoned in airport parking lots, their owners or lessors dropping them at the airport before fleeing the country. The underlying cause is the absence of Western-style bankruptcy laws, which is in turn a consequence of the rules of Sharia Law, which essentially forbids both usury (the levying of interest on debts), and also prevents debtors from escaping from debts via bankruptcy filing. As a result, failure to pay debts in that part of the world is a criminal offense carrying jail time. This results in people owing money simply abandoning cars and leaving the country.
2. Van Morrison
When you are 70 years of age, newly knighted in the UK, and still making music, life is good if you are Van Morrison. In this interview, Morrison comes dangerously close to dispelling the whole notion that he is a grumpy curmudgeon, talking about his upbrnging at length. I especially liked his idea of the shipping forecast being like poetry – with the cadences of the BBC announcers, he is absolutely right, it sounded like a poem changing daily.