· April, 2009

Stories about Feature from April, 2009

Malaysia: Humans as Commodities

  30 April 2009

In early 2009, Malaysia had the dubious privilege of being investigated by the US senate for the trafficking of humans. News reports stated that the migrants involved were mostly from Myanmar, but other foreigners were also allegedly taken by the government officials to the Malaysian-Thai border, where they were extorted or sold to human trafficking syndicates.

UAE: Torture video sends shock waves around the world

Last week, a grainy video from 2005 made headlines, shaking up viewers around the globe. The video, first shown on U.S.-based ABC News, showed Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan - brother of UAE's crown prince torturing an Afghan grain farmer, attacking him with a cattle prod then literally pouring salt on his wounds. Jillian C. York brings us reports from the blogosphere.

Fiji: New rule creates thousands of retirees

  28 April 2009

A recent government decree in Fiji orders all civil servants 55 years and older must retire Thursday, April 30. The new rules affect any person working within Fiji’s government, police force and prisons service. Previously, those workers would be employed until turning 60.

China: Tracking swine flu on Twitter

  28 April 2009

Swine flu for China so far is a chance to reflect [zh] on how SARS was prevented from becoming a pandemic, and the steps being taken now in Mexico and elsewhere. Wang Jiadong has a post [zh] looking at how social media have been used to track the spread of...

Qatar: Video of Unpaid Workers Sparks Debate

The harsh realities facing migrant workers in Qatar was at the centre of a discussion on Qatar Living after an Al Jazeera English report highlighted their plight recently. The video zooms in on the lives of construction workers, whose livelihood was impacted by the economic crisis, some of whom haven't be paid for up to four months.

Global Health: Swine Flu Threat Spreads Worldwide

  27 April 2009

Confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu, which was detected in Mexico earlier this month, have now been found in at least seven other countries around the world. The World Health Organization says that this outbreak constitutes a "public health emergency of international concern."

South Asia: Coping With The Heat And The Rolling Blackouts

  26 April 2009

Heatwaves during this time of year is not uncommon for countries in South Asia. But the recent dry weather has kept sufficient rain away from the region keeping the mercury rising. And load shedding (rolling electricity blackouts) due to power crisis in several countries have made the lives of millions of people unbearable.

Mexico: Concern Over Swine Flu Outbreak

  25 April 2009

Mexican health officials have become concerned with an outbreak of swine flu, which has caused the deaths of 68 in Mexico City, and another 1,000 have fallen ill. The outbreak prompted the closure of schools and the cancellation of many cultural events. On the streets of the capital, residents are taking precautions to avoid the virus and others are waiting to see if it spreads.

Indian Elections '09: Where The Shoe Pinches

  23 April 2009

When Muntadhar al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at the then US President George Bush, little did he know that his method of getting a point across would soon become viral across continents. In India too, the trend seems to have caught on. For indeed, the humble footwear has become the preferred...

MENA: Reflections on Durban II

  22 April 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech, and the way European Union representatives reacted to it at the United Nations Conference on Racism in Geneva (Durban II), has stirred debates among bloggers across the Middle East. Eman AbdElRahman sums up reactions in this post.

Brazil: Judicial decisions, a growing threat to online freedom

  22 April 2009

When it comes to freedom on the Internet, Brazil is a free country according to recent report. However, bloggers face a growing threat from judicial decisions leading to content censorship and the risk of prosecution for libel and defamation. News of blogs being closed down, bloggers having to delete posts or receiving threats abound, appearing on a near monthly basis.

Rwanda: The unresolved FDLR issue

  22 April 2009

Last January the conflict in North Kivu shifted once again with the arrest of CNDP rebel group leader Laurent Nkunda in Rwanda and the entry of the Rwandan national army (RDF) into the DR Congo to root out the FDLR rebel group in joint operations with the national Congolese army (FARDC). As Rebecca Feeley of the Enough Said blog explains, the Congolese Minister of Defense, Charles Mwando Nsimba, even went so far as to say that the FDLR threat had been “neutralized.”

Iran: Free Potatoes Inflamed Electoral Fever

The Iranian authorities have distributed free potatoes in recent weeks in different cities. Several Iranian politicians have criticized the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s government free potato distribution as an act of the presidential electoral campaign and call it a waste of public money. Iranian officials say that there was an excess of...

Fiji: Devaluation debate

  21 April 2009

The past week bloggers in Fiji have had a lot to say about the devaluation of the Fiji Dollar. On April 15, the Reserve Bank of Fiji devalued the Fiji Dollar by 20 percent, making it cheaper compared to other currencies. This means that more Fiji dollars are needed to purchase goods from outside the country. For overseas buyers, products in Fiji will now be less expensive.

Honduras: Does the Country Need a New Constitution?

  21 April 2009

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya recently announced that he will ask the people whether or not the country needs a new Constitution. He says yes, but will let the people decide. Some critics believe that Zelaya wants to scrap the current version in order to remain in power indefinitely.

Lebanon: From the Election Campaign Trail

Campaigning for the Lebanese parliamentary elections in June is in full swing, and the Lebanese blogosphere is not skipping a beat. As expected, the Lebanese blogosphere is keeping a close eye on election developments and offering plenty of insight, writes Antoun Issa.