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Stories from and

Unlivable Conditions in Macedonian Student Dorms Worsen

The Student Plenum, a grassroots movement fighting for the rights of university students in Macedonia, published new photos of the unlivable conditions that students in Macedonia's capital of Skopje live in. The movement has steadily been following the situation in the state-owned student dorms and has called on the state several times to improve basic hygiene and safety conditions in the student living quarters. Student Plenum recently informed the public that the living conditions and structural safety of at least one of the largest student dormitories in Skopje has worsened since and has reminded that the government promised to fully reconstruct the dorms more than a year ago, after being shamed in international media.

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In the accompanying text, Student Plenum indirectly address the new institution of special public prosecutor, which is supposed to handle corruption cases that the regular public prosecutor in Macedonia actively ignores.

Домовите се распаѓаат исто како и системот во државата, но ние сè уште немаме добиено нов специјален студентски дом за да се спасат студентите живи од бедата во која живеат и која се руши околу нив.

Ова е блокот В во студентскиот дом “Гоце Делчев”, во кој пред некој ден како што може да се види на сликите се срушил дел од кровот во еден од ходниците.

Овојпат немало повредени. Дали и наредниот пат нашите колеги ќе бидат еднакво среќни или пак до тогаш ќе добијат нов (специјален) студентски дом?

Student dorms are falling apart just like the state system and we have not received a new special student dorm to save the students’ lives from the misery in which they live and which crumbles around them.

This is the Block V of the “Goce Delchev” student dorm. The ceiling fell in one of the hallways a few days ago.

This time no one was injured. Will our colleagues be so lucky the next time or by then will they get a new, (special) student dorm?

‘Films for Action’ Website Shares List of Top 100 Documentaries ‘We Can Use to Change the World’

After years of promotion and reviews of documentaries devoted to social change, the site Films for Action released a list of what they consider to be the 100 most influencial and provocative. From critiques to manistream media to the corporate world, passing through the ideas and solutions proposed in and by the majority world, this list of films present a wide view of ideas that many consider crucial to discuss.

The list includes documentaries like The Economics of Happiness (2011), which will be available for free in August, and The Crisis of Civilization (2011), based on the Book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels […] All of the films have been selected because they are either free to watch online, or can be rented online. There are several films we would have loved to add to this list, but they currently don't have an accessible way to view them. As that changes, we'll be updating this list over time. Enjoy!

Peruvian Police Arrest Elderly Drivers for a Good Reason

Captura de pantalla de video publicado en YouTube.

Screenshot of video posted on YouTube about the detention and happy ending for the elderly in Peru.

In the Peruvian city of Huancayo, located in the center of the country, agents of the local Police Transit Authority arrested several elderly drivers of public transportation vehicles:

A pesar que los conductores se resistían a ir a la dependencia policial, por contar con todos los documentos en regla. Fueron trasladados 12 ancianos los cuales se encontraban disgustados con la policía y aseguraban que todo eso les parecía una injusticia.

Although the drivers were reluctant to go to the police station, as they had all their documents in working order, 12 elderly drivers were taken by the police, all of them angry, claiming that it was all an act of injustice.

But what could be considered a routine action was actually a different way to honor these drivers due to Father's Day, celebrated in Peru on the third Sunday of June. When the “arrested” men entered the police station, they were welcomed with presents, snacks and drinks.

The news traveled all the way to Mexico, where El Sol de Nayarit posted the story and the reactions by some of the honored guests:

“Muchísimas gracias, fue una sorpresa”, aseguró uno de los padres.
“Fue una sorpresa grande para mi, nunca hemos recibido nada” dijo otro.
Uno de los afortunados mencionó que en un primer momento se encontraba muy molesto, pues pensó que recibiría una multa que no merecía.

“Thank you very much, it was a surprise”, said one of them.
“This was a huge surprise for me, we've never received anything”, expressed another one.
One of the lucky guys mentioned that at first he was pretty angry, as he thought he'd be unfairly fined.

Brother, I've got something in my eye… :’) HUANCAYO POLICE PRETEND TO ARREST ELDERLY DRIVERS.

In this video below, you can see the arrest of some of the drivers and the cordial welcome they had at the police station:

Media Factory Seeks to Invest in New Digital Media in Latin America

Media Factory, a startup accelerator which focuses on the business of online news and journalism, announced the second class of its news acceleration program, seeking to support new digital-only media ventures in Latin America during 2015.

Teams should be based anywhere in the region and have a strong professional network, successful experience generating impact (building audience, having political influence, or creating revenue), experience in journalism and digital content, capacity to produce summaries and to cover breaking news, and a fluid understanding of new technologies related to media. The initial goals will be to work on audience generation, community engagement and defining a business model.

Media Factory invests USD 75,000 in each company and works with founders on editorial efficiency, audience growth, and revenue generation. The second class will be held over three months in Buenos Aires, beginning Sept. 1st, 2015, after the Media Party conference.

After the acceleration period, the teams will return to their countries of origin where they’ll receive the mentoring of Media Factory to scale and achieve new rounds of investment. Furthermore, as part of the acceleration process, the startups will build strong sales and marketing departments so they can monetize their platforms.

For the first class in 2014, Media Factory reviewed 115 entries, interviewed 58 teams and selected 18 finalists, to choose three teams to its first class of entrepreneurs. ElMeme.me from Argentina, El Cambur from Venezuela, and GKillCity from Ecuador spent around 100 days in Buenos Aires, received investment and mentorship from disruptive digital media worldwide like Mic.comVox Media and the Knight Lab at Northwestern University.

Travelling Radio: Sound Postcards and Histories from Cali to Panama

Performers, communicators and scientists are working together on Hacia el Litoral. Acción Colectiva (On the Way to the Littoral: Collaborative Action), an initiative to give voice to the population dwelling in the lands located between Cali (Colombia) and the border with Panama:

Hacia el litoral. Acción colectiva es una práctica artística, una serie de movimientos sobre un territorio, geográfico y mental, un ejercicio de relectura del territorio y de frontera realizado por dos grupos, uno ubicado en Cali y otro en Ciudad de Panamá, conformado por artistas, comunicadores sociales, antropólogos, ingenieros, sociólogos, biólogos, entre diferentes actores que conforman un grupo interdisciplinar llamado a desarrollar proyectos y acciones en un viaje que comprende Ciudad de panamá, Jaqué, Punta Ardita, Juradó, Bahía solano, El Valle, Nuquí, Coquí y Cali. Con el proyecto La Radio Va–llena, Estación Viajera resultaron ganadores de la beca CreaDigital de los Ministerios de las TIC y de Cultura en Colombia, en la categoría cross y transmedia, año 2014.

‘On the Way to the Littoral: Collaborative Action’ is a creative practice, a series of movements over a land, geographically and mentally, an exercise in reinterpretation of the territory and frontiers elaborated by two groups, one located in Cali and the other in Panama City. The project is comprised of performers, social communicators, anthropologists, engineers, sociologists, biologists, creating an interdisciplinary group to develop designs and actions along a journey which takes in Panama City, Jaque, Punta Ardita, Juradom, Bahia Solano, El Valle, Nuqui, Coqui and Cali. With the project La Radio Va-llena and Estación Viajera (Travelling Station) they were winners of the CreaDigital grant awarded by the Ministries of ICT (Ministry of Information Technology and Communications) and Culture in Colombia, in the cross and trans-media categories for 2014.

Radio Va-llena gathers classical music excluded from mass media, sounds, voices and life histories of the region's population and their effects, demarcated by the frontier, allowing them to subvert surroundings marked by conflict and violence through a manifestation of cultural expressions.

Hacia el Litoral. Fotografía de Evelyn Soto, utilizada con autorización

Hacia el Litoral (On the way to the Littoral. Evelyn Soto's photo, used with permission.

The University del Valle (Cali) on May 14, 2015, alongside the Cinemateca of University in the teatrino of the Facultad de Artes Integradas (Integrated Arts Faculty) will be able to hear sound postcards, watch videos of different characters and photos of the travelling, as well as conversations with members of Radio Va-llena.

He Stole, Was Caught, Asked for Forgiveness and Was Forgiven

Captuira de pantalla de video en YouTube del usuario KDNA15TV.

Screenshot of video on YouTube posted by user KDNA15TV.

He had probably thought it would be easy to steal some shampoo from the owner of a store in Peru, but things went bad for this thief.

The man and his accomplice entered a store in the Peruvian city of Huancayo, saying they were buying some liquor, and when the owner was distracted, they took a box of shampoo. The owner noticed what had happened and asked for help from security guards. To prevent the situation from escalating, one of the thieves knelt down to ask for forgiveness. The owner, a woman, was so moved by this reaction that she didn't press charges. The accomplice also benefited, although he didn't ask for forgiveness.

The guy claimed he will never again commit an act like this one.

The blog Noticias Huancayo Perú summed it up:

Se arrodilló y pidió perdón a la anciana manifestando que era la última vez que robaría. La agraviada […] al aceptar sus súplicas del ladrón negó en denunciar el hecho.

He knelt down and begged the old lady for forgiveness, claiming it would be the last time he'd steal. The affected lady […] while accepting the thief's pleas, refused to report the incident.

User KDNA15TV posted a video with the events:

Thief got forgiveness after kneeling down for stealing a box of shampoo. Along with his accomplice…

Mexican Beauty Pageant Contestant’s Baffling ‘Chimpanzee’ Answer

Mariana Torres. Imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Mariana Torres. Image widely shared on Twitter.

It's well known that every aspiring beauty queen must answer a difficult question in the interview portion of the contest. Also well known are some of the answers that contestants have given, answers that earned them more publicity than their good looks ever did.

The most recent of those answers was given by Mexican Mariana Morres during the semifinal of the Miss Our Latin Beauty 2015, which has circulated online. The question: “Which partner would you choose to preserve the human species in case of a nuclear holocaust?” Torres answered: “A couple of chimpanzees… You know, due to the theory we come from there, so…”

As expected, Twitter users didn't waste any time in commenting:

Mariana Torres, finalist in Miss Our Latin Beauty really stepped in it while answering a question.

Wonderful! Number 1 fan of beauty queen wisdom. Hahaha.

Mariana Torres makes a fool of herself and loses the final at Miss Our Latin Beauty.

Although some were sympathetic:

Don't make fun of Miss Our Beauty Mariana Torres and her chimpanzee, in the future she could become the partner of some politician.

Höség: Water and Windproof Solidarity

Mirador de los Andes. Imagen en Flickr del usuario Boris G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Viewpoint of the Andes. Image on Flickr by usser Boris G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Höség is a Hungarian word that means heat, and that's what supportive people are giving children in the highest zones of Peruvian Andes, where temperatures are so low that “it's winter every day after five in the afternoon”.

Warm and functional. Thought on the needs of children who live over 9800 f.a.s.l. Waterproof and windproof. With fiberfill and fleece lining to keep warm but also comfortable. Hood, elastic cuffs and high collar neck to keep the cold out.
Coral color inspired by cochinilla, a natural dye from the Peruvian Andes, making it visible from a distance.
A happy jacket for kids between 0 and 16 years.
A jacket designed with love.

The idea of Hösėg is simple: when you buy a jacket, you give another one to a child in the Peruvian highlands, according to Juan Carlos Sznak, one of the promotors of the iniitiative:

Nuestro mensaje a los niños cuando le entregamos las casacas va más allá del simple hecho de abrigar, es darles calor humano.

Our message to children when we hand them the jackets goes beyond the simple fact of getting them warm, it's to bring them love and affection.

The jackets are personally delivered by Sznak and his brothers, the brains and hearts behind Höség.

Bicycling 2,930 Kilometers for a Selfie With Uruguay's President José Mujica

After bicycling for 35 days accompanied only by his bike, 28-year old Brazilian Carlos Eduardo Lemos de Oliveira achieved his goal: he took a selfie with Uruguay's President José Mujica.

Brazilian guys takes a ‘selfie’ with Mujica after pedaling almost 3,000 km to Uruguay.

The loneliness of the journey from the city of Alfenas, in the state of Minas Gerais — in the center of Brazil — all the way to Mujica's home, on the outskirts of Uruguayan capital Montevideo, allowed him to reflect about some aspects of daily life that we usually take for granted, as summed up by G1 website:

Viajar sozinho tem suas vantagens. Você faz seus horários, impõe seu ritmo, decide quando partir e como chegar. Eu sempre digo aos amigos que para viajar assim, sem companhia, é preciso primeiramente estar aberto a fazer novas amizades.
[…]
No começo você desconfia de que as pessoas vão te achar louco por estar falando sozinho nas rodovias. Então você começa a perceber que não existem pessoas naqueles lugares e, num estalar de dedos, você se pega cantando no mais alto tom canções que você tem pavor de ouvir quando está em casa.

Traveling alone has its advantages. You make your schedules, you set the rythm, you decide when to leave and how to arrive. I always tell my friends that for an unaccompanied trip you first need to be open to making new friends.
[…]
At first, you mistrust that people will think you are insane as you talk to yourself on the roads. Then you start to notice there is nobody in those places and just like that, you are singing songs out loud that you would never sing while being at home.

The meeting with Mujica, which was the purpose of the trip, happened on November 21. Carlos Eduardo wrote:

De um lado, uma bicicleta, de outro, um fusquinha azul encardido. Não poderia haver um encontro mais apaixonante do que este que tive com o presidente do Uruguai, José Mujica. Aliás, foi tudo muito despretensioso e quase nada programado. “Pepe”, apelido de Mujica, é um homem de muita simplicidade.

On one side, a bike, on the other, a blue, dirty beetle. There probably won't exist a more passionate encounter than the one I had with Uruguay's President José Mujica. Furthermore, it all was very simple with nothing programmed. “Pepe”, Mujica's nickname, is a man full of simplicity.

Twitter also echoed Carlos Eduardo's journey:

It's good to have dreams, projects, and being able to accomplish them!!