Stories from Quick Reads
“Gone with the River” by Mario Crespo is Venezuela's Oscar entry in the Best Foreign Language Film… https://t.co/XR8tzauaSU
— Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film) September 3, 2015
Lo que lleva el río (“Gone With the River”), from Cuban-Venezuelan filmmaker Mario Crespo Dauna, is a Venezuelan film shot almost entirely in Warao, the language spoken by the people indigenous to the Orinoco River Delta. The film is Venezuela's entry to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Film.
The story follows an indigenous woman named Dauna who is marked by difference within her community. Torn between her love for Tarsicio or her desire to pursue studies outside of her village, Dauna’s decision to challenge the expectations of her traditional culture lead to suffering and, ultimately, reconciliation.”
The film was selected as part of the Berlin Film Festival’s groundbreaking NATIVe showcase, earlier this year. Here is the trailer:
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.
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?
Could using a cell phone in Iran entangle you with ”terrorists”?
This might be the case if Iran's Revolutionary Guards who control the country's telecommunications monopoly are designated as “terrorists”. This is a possibility being discussed as U.S. politicians and lawmakers consider how stringently to impose economic sanctions on Iran once the sanctions related to the country's nuclear program are removed. The passing of the 14 July nuclear accord signed in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 is becoming more of certainty after Democratic senators filibustered Republican efforts to block the deal on 10 September.
In a recent New York Times article, the newspaper's chief military correspondent Walter Gordon explains the promises President Obama had to make to skeptical Democrats he needed on his side. To this effect, the President has emphasized that the United States would increase sanctions on Iran's activities related to terrorism in the region, as well as human rights abuses.
Designating the Revolutinary Guards as “terrorists” is a way U.S. lawmakers are proposing to take this a step further. Amendments to sanctions on Iran would discourage business with any Iranian firm with an association with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps through the designation.
WHOA U.S. lawmakers planning on designating Iran Rev. Guards as a “terrorist organization” making business impossible http://t.co/NeKuNgxoaW
— Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) September 11, 2015
Many have already predicted the Revolutionary Guards stand to benefit the most from nuclear sanctions relief on Iran, as they maintain a foothold in crucial sectors of the country's economy, including construction, communications, banking and energy. The Guards also have a minority stake, or influence through membership or executive positions in hundreds of Iranian companies across a wide range of sectors.
If Iran Rev. Guards are designated “terrorists” @nytimes will be violation of sanctions. Like millions I use mobile phone provider they own.
— Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) September 11, 2015
By midnight Trinidad and Tobago time, the country should know which political party will form its next government. As predicted, it has been a tight race — out of just over a million eligible voters, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has thus far tallied over 400,000 votes. Many seats have already been declared, but two critical marginal seats, St. Joseph and La Horquetta/Talparo, both in the east Trinidad, are still up for grabs.
As expected, the two Tobago constituencies have gone entirely to the opposition People's National Movement (PNM).
PNM wins Tobago East & West #S6TT
— CCN TV6 (@tv6tnt) September 8, 2015
Should the PNM win the two marginal seats — and by all appearances, they are poised to claim victory for at least one of them, St. Joseph — they will have beat the incumbent by 23 seats to 18 — a slim majority, but a win nonetheless. Some media houses and pollsters have been taking the liberty of calling the election in favour of the PNM, even though final numbers have not yet come in:
— Wesley Williams (@wes2212) September 8, 2015
Nigel Henry calls general election for PNM 22 to UNC 19….still to be confirmed @tv6tnt
— Mark Bassant (@MarkBassant1) September 8, 2015
The still-sitting prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, retained her seat by a definitive margin:
— CCN TV6 (@tv6tnt) September 8, 2015
— Mark Bassant (@MarkBassant1) September 8, 2015
PM gives brief victory speech after winning Siparia seat with over 14,000 votes counted so far for her @tv6tnt
— Mark Bassant (@MarkBassant1) September 8, 2015
As things stand now, it looks as though her victory may remain limited to her personal triumph in the constituency of Siparia and the ‘safe seats’ that her party enjoys in east and central Trinidad.
The happiest (and least happy) countries in the world, ranked http://t.co/4EccwDNBp7
— Quartz (@qz) August 27, 2015
Gallup interviewed 150,000 adults in 148 countries, asking such questions as, “Did you smile or laugh yesterday?” and “Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?” to build a positive-experience index. Surprisingly, the leading countries in terms of positive emotions were all in Latin America, from Paraguay to Nicaragua, according to Quartz.
The survey used a scale from 0 to 100 and found that the world’s positive-experience index average for 2014 was 71/100—”the same as 2013, and just about what it’s been since 2006.”
The country with the least positive emotional score was Sudan (47/100). Happiness levels are also low in Tunisia, Serbia, Turkey, and others, apparently thanks to war and other forms of political instability.
In Bolivia and El Salvador, for example, 59 perecnt of respondents replied “yes” to all of the questions about both positive and negative emotions, which gives these nations particularly high “emotional” scores.
Suharto ruled Indonesia from 1967 to 1998. During his 31-year rule, he was accused of committing grave human rights violations and massive corruption. Several weeks of street riots and rallies forced Suharto to resign in 1998.
In 1976, Suharto ordered state-managed banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits in favor of Supersemar Foundation's scholarship program. But in 2010, the court found the foundation once chaired by Suharto guilty of misappropriating public funds. It also noted that only a tiny amount of the funds was actually distributed to students. Last month, the court issued its final ruling on the matter.
The ruling, which was made public only this month, is significant since it’s the first time that a local court has found Suharto guilty of corruption. Naturally, it got intense reactions from many Indonesians.
Kompasiana, Indonesia's leading citizen media platform, featured some commentaries about the issue. Vishnu Andang Jaya urged Suharto's family to respect the court's ruling and to immediately return the people's money. Fadli Zontor wrote that the foundation was a mysterious entity with many questionable dealings in the past. Indira Revi urged an audit of all ‘donations’ registered by state-owned enterprises, especially during the time of Suharto.
But Hatta Celebes testified that the scholarship program was real:
I am proud to have received a scholarship from this foundation and this foundation had a positive role that many in this country are now ignoring.
Masinton Pasaribu, one of the student activists who joined the anti-Suharto rallies in 1998, urged the government to quickly implement the court's decision.
Tidak ada kata mundur sebelum berperang untuk kebenaran, Malam ini saya nyatakan Banding demi Harga diri putra putri lulusan Terbaik NKRI..!
— Hutomo Mandala Putra (@Tommy_Soeharto1) August 13, 2015
No retreat in fighting for the truth. Tonight I initiated an appeal to protect the dignity of sons and daughters of the best graduates of (Supersemar Scholarship)!
Ahmed Marwan shares stories about a few Iraqi startups one year after the rise of ISIS, at Wamda.
But what is more uncertain than calculating the success probability of a startup working in a city less than 50 km away from the turmoil caused by ISIS?
That is exactly what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in Baghdad: they’re operating under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
Marwan sites a few examples of Iraqi startups and concludes:
These young guys and the other entrepreneurs have proved one thing: entrepreneurship in Iraq has unlimited potential in the face of adversity.
The pressing security situation, Iraq’s financial crisis and damaged infrastructure, investors’ unfamiliarity with startups, and other big obstacles are all valid arguments for the doubters and naysayers in the debate about the future of entrepreneurship in Iraq.
But entrepreneurs beg to differ and they keep doing what they are best at: surviving in this brutal market and striving to make a name for themselves.
If you believe that nothing good can come from a rifle, then you have to get to know the “escopetarra”—a hybrid that transforms two “lethal” weapons (an AK-47 and a guitar) into an instrument of peace. “Escopetarra” is a Spanish blend that combines the words “escopeta” (shotgun) and “guitarra” (guitar).
In his Spanish-language podcast, Colombian musician César López talks about how he created the instrument, tracing it from the moment of its conception to all of the technical issues he faced creating it, as well as its characteristic sound.
There are more AK-47s in the world than any other gun, thanks to how unusually cheap the weapon is to make. It is estimated that there are 35-to-50 million AK-47s in existence, not counting those that are manufactured illegally each year.
“Primero, el AK 47 es el arma que más muertos le ha causado al planeta Tierra en toda su historia. Es el arma que se ha usado en Sudáfrica, Medio Oriente, Centro América, en Colombia”, dijo López en entrevista con la cadena estadounidense Univision.
“First of all, the AK-47 has caused the most deaths by any weapon on the planet. It's been used in South Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and also in Colombia”, stated López in an interview with the American television network, Univision.
The first “escopetarra” was made in 2003 using a Winchester rifle and a Stratocaster electric guitar. The rifle is taken apart in a way that it is no longer considered a weapon and cannot be used as such.
Currently, about 20 “escopetarras” have been presented to prominent musicians and international leaders who stand for peace, including the Colombian band, Aterciopelados, Argentinean musician Fito Páez, and UNESCO.
Serbian NGO SHARE Defense reported in July 2015 that leaked emails and files belonging to Milan-based software company Hacking Team (HT) published on Wikileaks reveal that at least one Serbian security service inquired about and negotiated the purchase of surveillance software from this company in 2012. There is also evidence that one or more email accounts from the Serbian Ministry of Defense appear as trial users of the spy software made by the Italian company.
The software in question is the so-called Remote Control System, or RCS, ans essentially works by targeting the spreading of viruses on computers and mobile phones of persons under surveillance. According to SHARE Defense sources, most clients using this software are governments from around the world and their security services.
SHARE Defense's legal team also called attention to which organizations might be able to gain permission and afford the use of such software:
Share Foundation wrote about the legal framework for import of this kind of software in Serbia back in 2013 because of the “Trovicor” case, stating that rules for dual use goods must be applied and that a permit from the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications is obligatory.[…]
If we assume that certain organisations can be authorized to use this equipment, in our legal system that wouldn’t be possible without a court decision in accordance with the law. Using it in any other way would be an obvious violation of human rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and numerous international conventions.
Zambian citizen media website Zambia Reports is facing legal threats from a local businessman, Rajan Mahtani, is petitioning GoDaddy, the website’s hosting company, to kick Zambia Reports off of its servers.
According to the Zambian Watchdog, a rival website, Zambia Reports has been accused of publishing defamatory articles on Dr. Mahtani, who is the founder of one Zambia’s biggest indigenous banks, Finance Bank and a chain of other businesses.
The US lawyers have that GoDaddy cease and desist from hosting Zambia Reports and remove its contents from GoDaddy’s servers.
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.
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!
A low-income neighborhood in Mexico was transformed in a giant rainbow by the collective Germen Crew—a youth organization of muralists and street artists formed by 15 graffiti artists, under the direction of Mibe (Luis Enrique Gómez Guzmán), who's teamed with Mexican Government.
The more than 200 homes of the village of Palmitas, in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo State), are now connected through colors.
— Artsper (@Artsper) July 30, 2015
Another example of the collective's “urban neomuralism” is Mexico City's famous Jamaica Market, which comprises over 1,000 stands dedicated to the sale of flowers, floral arrangements, ornamental plants, and garden accessories. Last year, the crew created a mural that visualizes a symbolic ritual beginning with “Mother Earth” (Tonantzin) giving birth to a life-form that transforms into flowers on the south façade of the famous flower market.
Court Fines the Taiwan Immigration Authority for the Denied Entry of a Foreign Visitor Ahead Anti-nuclear Protest
Two years ago in March 2013, Daniel Andres Helmdach was detained and deported from Taiwan because the immigration suspected that he visited the country to join the anti-nuclear protest. The German youth had done nothing illegal in Taiwan before, he merely worked as a volunteer on conversation projects back in 2011. He sued the immigration office for the unreasonable treatment and finally the Taipei District Court ruled on July 30, 2015 that the immigration authority should pay a compensation of NT$125000 (US$4200) to Daniel for his plane ticket and as consolation payment.
Daniel's case has been considered a typical example of the Taiwanese authorities abusive use of power in clamping down dissent activities. Two Japanese people from Fukushima were warned by the country's immigration office immediately after they gave a speech at an anti-nuclear demonstration on April 30, 2011 in Taiwan.
This past Wednesday a rally gathered in New York's Time Square to oppose the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China). The effort was meant to send a message to the U.S. congress to veto the deal. The Associated Press described it as a event consisting mainly “of pro-Israel supporters, though organizers said it represents Americans of all faiths and political convictions.” Congress has 60 days to review the agreement that lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for measures by the Iranian government to prevent developing a nuclear weapon.
BBC Persian correspondent Bahman Kalbasi was in the crowd to tweet details of the event, and to criticize media outlets such as CBS for describing the event as ‘packed’.
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) July 22, 2015
“We are letting the Persian tiger out of the cage“ says Mr. Zuckerman. The first speaker of the anti- #IranDeal protester.
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) July 22, 2015
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) July 22, 2015
Nope, they didn’t pack it. https://t.co/FYlAF5nGNE
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) July 23, 2015
Investigative journalists and people interested in social media in Lebanon are in for a treat at the end of this month.
The hands-on training will take place from 2pm to 6pm and covers topics related to the emergence and development of citizen journalism in the MENA region, reporting for the Web and online media verification.
Launched in March 2015, Global Voices Checkdesk is powered by the globally minded team at Meedan; working from San Francisco, Cairo, Vancouver, London and Beirut. It is a multi-year project combining research and open curriculum development with our University partner Birmingham City University, open curriculum development and training with a set of community media initiatives, and content creation through a growing network of regional media partners.
GV Checkdesk is run by Global Voices Lebanese author Joey Ayoub and Global Voices Bahrain author Faten Bushehri, who, along with a team of volunteers, have been tracking citizen media reports on breaking news across the Middle East and North Africa region. The goal is to collect witness accounts and other reports under one platform, and then verify the news, before it is used as part of our coverage at Global Voices Online. To join our GV Checkdesk team, please sign up here.
To find out how Checkdesk works, sign up here for the workshop. Hurry up as seating is limited.
Sin Embargo is a Spanish language news site based in Mexico that produces original journalism and investigative stories. The site was founded in 2011, under the slogan “rigorous journalism”, and is among Mexico's top news sites. Every month the site averages 4.6 million unique users and 10 million page views.
While many digital news operations aggregate content from other sites, founder and publisher Jorge Zepeda Patterson believes that “the only possibility for generating significant traffic is by creating your own content.”
Starting July, Global Voices will translate and publish stories from Sin Embargo on its Spanish and English language sites. Some stories may get translated into up to 30 languages through our Lingua translation project. This is the first story Global Voices published as part of the cooperation: Mexico Was Hacking Team's No. 1 Client for Spyware.
Serbian Authorities Take Control of A Man's Facebook Account Following Alleged Threats Against PM Vucic
In Serbia, the detainment of individuals for personal social media postings has become almost commonplace over the last year. During the mass floods in May 2014, police arrested over a dozen individuals for allegedly “inciting panic” on social media when the country was indeed in a national state of emergency. Some were detained for several days.
In early July 2015, in the Serbian town of Aleksinac, police detained Dejan Milojevic for allegedly threatening the life of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on his personal Facebook account. They seized his computer and other communications devices, and also took charge of his Facebook account, changing his password and locking Milivojevic out of his own account.
Serbian NGO Share Defense called the account takeover a “very intrusive measure under questionable legal basis, in particular from the aspect of international protection of privacy and freedom of expression standards.” The Share Defense team of legal experts explained the legal issues in this matter on their website:
Ovakav opis postupanja policije izdvaja aleksinački slučaj od sličnih istraga pokrenutih zbog komentara na društvenim mrežama, i otvara problem nejasnih ovlašćenja policije u digitalnom okruženju. Naime, pristup policije privatnom fejsbuk profilu nedvosmisleno predstavlja povredu tajnosti sredstava komuniciranja koja je zagarantovana članom 41 Ustava Republike Srbije. Odstupanja su moguća isključivo uz odluku suda koja bi se konkretno odnosila na sporni fejsbuk profil, o čemu za sada nema pouzdanih informacija. Dejanu Milojeviću je onemogućen pristup privatnom fejsbuk nalogu, čime mu je ograničena sloboda izražavanja i informisanja.
Policija je prilikom pretresa oduzela Milojevićev kompjuter i telefone (u skladu sa članom 147 Zakonika o krivičnom postupku), na šta ima pravo i bez posebne sudske odluke. Međutim, pretraživanje podataka o komunikaciji koji se čuvaju na tim uređajima nije moguće bez sudskog naloga.
This description of the actions of police separates the Aleksinac case from similar investigations started due to comments on social networks and opens the issue of unclear rights that police have in the digital realm. Specifically, police access to a private Facebook profile undoubtedly represents an injury to the privacy of communication, which is guaranteed under Section 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. An exception to this can only be awarded by a court, that would have to reference the Facebook profile in question…Dejan Milivojevic's access to his private Facebook account has been breached, thus his freedom of expression and right to access to information has been limited.
Police seized Milivojevic's computer and telephones during the raid (in accordance with Article 147 of the Law on Criminal Proceedings), which they are authorized to do without exceptional court order. However, search and seizure of communication information that are stored on those devices* is not allowed without a court order. [*editor's emphasis]
While Milivojevic no longer has access to his Facebook account, the status update that had police raiding his home and led to accusations that he was threatening the Prime Minister is still publicly visible on his profile:
Браћо и сестре, враг је однео шалу!!! Дајте да се организујемо да неко убије говнара и да ослободимо земљу. Доста је било, стварно!!!
Brothers and sisters, the joke has gone too far!!! Let's organize and have someone kill the shithead and liberate the country. Enough is enough, really!!!
The Prime Minister's name was not mentioned in the status update or in the comments of the post, although one commenter does ask whom Milivojevic is referencing as “the shithead”. Milivojevic also calls for a “lynching” in his responses to comments, but then later adds in a comment that “of course, I was kidding about the killing; I abhore violence, even towards such a worm and bum.”
The ISIS cyber army has allegedly hacked the website of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog on July 8, 2015, and threatened its Syrian director, Rami Abdelrahman, for his role in documenting human rights abuses committed by all parties in the ongoing war in Syria.
The news was confirmed by Reuters. SITE Intel Group also reported the hack on the UK-based site:
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) July 8, 2015
The cyber attack was made by the group, affiliated with ISIS, which calls itself the Cyber Army of the Khilafah, or the self-proclaimed Caliphate, which covers large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq.
Below is a screenshot of the site, which is now down.
Elvans Kidero explains the secrets behind Nairobi's success in ICT sector in Africa:
Where is Africa’s ICT hub? Is it South Africa, Nigeria or Nairobi, the capital of Kenya? By growth, it would have to be Nairobi, with my county’s ICT sector expected to grow by 15 per cent this year, compared to around 6 per cent for the economy as a whole.
Kenya and Nairobi – dubbed the “Silicon Savannah” – has boomed in recent years through international partnerships and home-grown products, the most famous being M-PESA the mobile money transfer service that has revolutionised financial transactions for hundreds of millions across the world. Innovation spaces such as iHub have helped spur growth for young tech entrepreneurs offering opportunities for co-working and incubation. Other products such as M-Farm, an app providing an online marketplace and real-time prices for agricultural buyers and sellers and iCow, an SMS-based service for farming information – just to name a few – have seen Nairobians’ technology spread far beyond city borders.
Only this month, in a real boost for Nairobi, IBM opened a new big data research centre in our city, underlining our new front-runner status. This body will assist in analysing big data, support the decongestion of traffic and improve accessibility and speeds for accessing information and services.
So why has Nairobi been growing so fast?
Liese Van Der Watt, a South African art writer based in London, writes about 53 Echoes of Zaire, exhibition of popular painting from Zaire that is going on in London:
The exhibition was curated by Salimata Diop from the Africa Centre in London in cooperation with the Sulger-Buel Lovell gallery. It comprises 53 paintings by artists Louis Kalema, C. Mutombo, B. Ilunga, Ndaie, and Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, belonging to the Belgian collector Etienne Bol whose late father Victor Bol collected these works while spending time in Zaire in the 1970s.
The artists are all self-taught and the exhibition shows a series of works all executed in a style similar to what is sometimes called the Zaire School of Popular Painting. The most famous of this so-called school is probably Chéri Samba, who shot to fame after he was included in the Magiciens de la Terre (Magicians of Earth) show at the Pompidou in 1989. These works are painted on flour sack rather than canvas, often with a limited palette of poster paints and with thick brushes.
Moroccans are sharing links for a video showing a car which is part of a royal motorcade ferrying Moroccan King Mohammed VI running over a man in Tangiers during the visit of French President Francois Hollande.
Samia Errazzouki tweets:
Video footage showing royal security protocol running over a man in Tangiers during Francois Hollande visit https://t.co/1qwEy8fSBL
— Samia Errazzouki (@charquaouia) September 21, 2015
Hollande was in Morocco for a two-day visit and was met by Moroccan King Mohammed VI on Saturday. The video shows a vehicle in a motorcade with its doors open run over a by-stander moments after the King and his guest passed. The waving cheering crowds then start screaming.
The video was uploaded by Tanja7.com on YouTube and has been viewed more than 31,000 times so far.
It is not clear what happened to the passer by.
Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha, a communications officer for HIVOS (full disclosure: HIVOS is one of Global Voices’ sponsors) explains why Zimbabwe must ditch the start-up pitch:
The start-up pitch, which involves making a rapid fire presentation of an idea followed by a question and answer session involving selected judges, is increasingly a waste of time and non-efficient in propagating the tech start up ecosystem in Zimbabwe.
The start-up pitch is based on the traditional business planning methodology and ignores the fact that start-ups are in essence an exercise in exploration, that cannot in an way provide full proof answers. One of the most mundane questions asked at start up pitches is: how will you make money? Really? Not all ideas are geared at making dollar bills from word go. The right question is how is your idea of service and how are you planning to grow it in that manner.
Understandably, tech entrepreneurship is a hit-or-miss proposition but using pitching as a determinant of entrepreneurial success especially in a tech deficient context like Zimbabwe is simply a wastage of time, passions and resources.
The reason why the pitch model is favoured is that it allows for the evaluation of a large number of ideas in a short period of time. But in sifting through many ideas in a short time, a lot is missed that is key to making an entrepreneurial idea succeed particularly in the Zimbabwean context where a lot of data that is key to the tech ideas is missing.
The official announcement has been made for the Second Conference of Women Communicators of Indigenous and African Descent. The conference, whose slogan is “We occupy the media, we occupy the internet”, will take place October 6-10, 2015, at the Centro de las Artes CASA (CASA Arts Center) in San Agustín Elta, Oaxaca, Mexico.
According to the announcement, the conference “looks to foster an exchange of experiences in order to reflect on the challenges and difficulties of the work of women communicators, to delve into topics such as gender and inter-culturalism in the media; community media and legislation; political participation and the empowerment of women, and the use of TIC (Information and Communication Technologies) for communication strategies”:
Mujeres que participan en proyectos comunicación, procedentes de comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes de México y Centroamérica, se reunirán para potenciar el uso de herramientas digitales y transformar la información en acción; generando estrategias de comunicación al servicio de sus proyectos…
Women who participate in communication projects, are of African descent or come from indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, will gather to improve on the use of digital tools and to put the information into action by generating communication strategies to use in their projects…
- Comprometerse a participar durante los 5 días del Encuentro.
- Trabajar o colaborar en la actualidad y de manera continua en proyectos de comunicación (radio, fotografía, video documental, etc).
- Pertenecer a alguna comunidad / pueblo indígena o afrodescendiente de México o Centroamérica.
• Commit to participating during the five days of the conference.
• Currently and continuously work or collaborate on communication projects (radio, photography, documentary video, etc.).
• Must be of African descent or come from an indigenous community in Mexico or Central America.
The Facebook page for Pictoline, a highly visual site for news and information, shared this map with the different ways people in Latin American countries say “bro”, short for brother in English. While in Mexico they use wey and pata in Peru, it's pana in Venezuela and parce in Colombia.
Writers around the world ask President Peña Nieto of Mexico to probe journalist murders. (Here's their letter) https://t.co/qAkZI5K2MR
— Susana Hayward (@mediasayer) August 16, 2015
More than 500 journalists, writers, artists and defenders for freedom of expression from around the world wrote an open letter to the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in which they called for explanations on the murder of Rubén Espinosa and all other journalists killed in the country, according to the blog Journalism in the Americas.
On July 31, photo journalist Rubén Espinosa was found dead along with four women in a Mexico City apartment. Upon receiving death threats, he fled from Veracruz, where 14 other journalists were killed in recent years, to Mexico's capital last June with the purpose of protecting his integrity.
The letter says:
Since 2000, dozens of journalists have been killed in Mexico, and approximately 20 more remain disappeared. The great majority of these crimes have never been prosecuted”…
… Mr. President, we urge you:
1. To guarantee the immediate and effective investigation of the assassination of Rubén Espinosa and the shameful number of journalists in Mexico who have met the same fate, and the thorough investigation of state and municipal officials who, in each case, may have been involved.
2. To undertake an immediate review of the procedures established to protect reporters’ lives, and to make a swift and effective commitment to guarantee and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.
The letter has the support of PEN and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). People like Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Indian writer Salman Rushdie, American journalist Christiane Amanpour and hundreds of journalists, writers and artists have signed the open letter, and now you too could also add your name.
— PrensaRebelde (@RebeldePrenssa) August 9, 2015
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, coordinator of the search for the 43 Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students, was assasinated in Mexico.
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was found dead last weekend in a taxi he owned with a gunshot to the head.
In response to authorities’ lack of action against organized crime, he founded a self-defense group in 2013 in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A year later, the group formed a commission to launch the search for the 43 students of the rural teachers’ college in the community of Ayotzinapa who disappeared on September 26, 2014.
The BBC interviewed him about the search:
The activist never found the students, but thanks to his efforts, the search discovered 129 bodies which have been turned over to the authorities for identification.
We caught up with Sam to get some insights into his blogging journey.
Who is Sam Wakoba, in a few words?
Sam Wakoba is a humble and hardworking Kenyan, passionate about bettering lives in any way he can. He believes that, with the right information, anyone can be empowered to become a better citizen, employee or business person. My calling has been to dedicate my life and time to empower communities. This is just the start.
How did you come up with the name for your blog. Why ‘TechMoran’?
A Moran is a warrior and tour guide in the Maasai community. As tech ‘Morans’ we want to protect our local tech ecosystem as well as guide those who are new to it. International media covers African tech in a bad way – focusing more on NGO backed companies. We want to show the world everyday innovations in Africa hence protect the entire ecosystem
After almost a year of research in the region and in-depth interviews with over 80 journalists, editors, and independent media owners, Human Rights Watch released a report in July 2015 stating that media freedom in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia are under threat.
The report's findings include impunity and lack of action by authorities for threats, beatings, and even murders of journalists and media workers in these countries, citing that political interference and financial pressure through heavy fines and vague laws are often imposed on independent media in these countries.
In several cases journalists said they have continued to experience physical violence and abuse after their initial attack, again, often with impunity for their assailants. Journalists reporting on war crimes or radical religious groups in BiH, Kosovo and Serbia said authorities downplayed the seriousness of online threats they had experienced.[…]
Inefficiency and severe backlogs in the four justice systems impede timely adjudication of legal cases. Cases tend to drag on for years, creating an environment that can be used to the advantage of those who seek to stifle critical reporting through criminal acts of intimidation.
Human Rights Watch's key recommendations to authorities and governments in the four countries in question following this report include public and unequivocal condemnation of all attacks against journalists and media outlets and assurance of swift and thorough investigations into all such incidents, as well as prompt and impartial investigations into all attacks and threats against journalists and media outlets, including cybercrimes. The international human rights watch dog has also recommended that the European Union, to which all four of these countries are currently aspiring, the OSCE and the Council of Europe pay closer attention and take additional steps to urge relevant authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia to react appropriately to media threats and ensure a safe environment for journalists to work in.
The Matsés peoples of Brazil and Peru—have created a 500-page encyclopedia of their traditional medicine! http://t.co/4t9hh6KIQr
— Moonching Wu (@SunMoonLake99) July 4, 2015
The Amazon Rainforest supports millions of plants that could be vital ingredients in still-undiscovered medications. For that reason, many pharmaceutical companies and even the US government are currently funding projects to study the indigenous plant knowledge of native shamans and healers in the area, and develop new drugs.
The Matsés people, who live in Peru and Brazil, have created a health encyclopedia more than 500 pages long cataloging their traditional medicinal practices, preserving ancestral knowledge for younger generations. The majority of the shamans are old and without apprentices. So when they die a vast knowledge also disappears.
But, in order to avoid bio-piracy, this information remains with the Matsés people; it is only accessible in the native tongue and is only distributed within the tribe’s villages. Protective measures also include: “no scientific names are used to identify local plant species, and no plants will be pictured in detail, so as not to be identifiable to outsiders.”
“The [Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia] marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words,” Christopher Herndon, president and co-founder of Acaté, told Mongabay in an interview.
According to Pachamama Alliance, a global community focused on creating a sustainable future, the health and wellbeing of the Western world, often comes at a high price for indigenous peoples. As pharmaceutical companies have realized that their research generates better outcomes if they co-operate with indigenous people and tap into their wisdom, rainforest tribes are at risk of losing control over their resources.
Once the pharmaceutical companies have developed the drug, they file patents claiming exclusive rights to the medical use of the plant – hence limiting or even denying access to the plants that indigenous peoples have relied upon for centuries.
That's why in 2010, the tenth Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. It specifically addresses the issue of bioprospecting and the rights of indigenous peoples to access to forest resources, intellectual property, and adequate compensation.
Acaté, a San-Francisco-based non-profit, assisted the five shamans who compiled the encyclopaedia. In the encyclopaedia, each entry is categorized by a disease name and features explanations of how to recognise the disease according to symptoms, understand its root causes and know how to prepare medicine from specific plants to use as treatment. The entries also make readers aware of alternative therapeutic options.
The idea behind the project is to make the tribes less dependent on conventional doctors and western drugs, while maintaining their self-sufficiency.
Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations, is officially holding its 47th congress in Makassar, South Sulawesi, this week. President Joko Widodo and several ministers, as well as ambassadors from neighbouring countries, attended the opening ceremony at Karebosi field on Monday, August 3.
Indonesia is the world's largest nation with a Muslim-dominated population. In recent years, the government has actively promoted the idea of a modern and moderate Islam amid the rise of extremist religious movements in the region and other parts of the world.
Muhammadiyah is an influential Islamic organization in Indonesia which claims to have a membership of 55 million aside from owning thousands of schools, clinics, and hospitals across the country. It has partnered with the government in endorsing Indonesia as the voice of moderate Islam.
No fewer than 6,000 people are participating in this year's congress, in addition to another 300,000 cheerleaders who aren't formally registered as participants, but will nonetheless enliven the event.
In addition, the chairmen of Muhammadiyah's special branches—present in 16 countries—will also be attending, along with several sister organizations who chose the name Muhammadiyah. While these sibling organizations don't have the same structural organizational relationship Muhammadiyah has in Indonesia, they do develop the same religious ideas, the same strategy of struggle, and even the same logo. The branches include representation in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Mauritius. Guests of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the organization's Catholic community (based on Rome) also attended.
The event is held concurrently with the congress of First Century of Aisyiyah—a women's organization of Muhammadiyah—and will take place over five days.
With a large population and abundant resources, Muhammadiyah has pledged to encourage Indonesia to emerge as a key player in the world. That promise was made by Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah.
The theme of the congress is the “propagation of enlightenment towards Indonesia progression”. Muhammadiyah wants to establish Indonesia as a country that is also founded by Muhammadiyah, which bound together communities even before the country was born.
— #Muktamar47 (@muhammadiyah) August 1, 2015
Participants of Muhammadiyah’s Counseling Meeting
The congress ends today, August 7, with a closing ceremony attended by Indonesian vice president HE Jusuf Kalla.
Public Prosecutor's Office in Colombia to Monitor Twitter Accounts of Public Servants During Elections
— Procuraduría General (@PGN_COL) July 25, 2015
Are you aware of any irregularities which might jeopardize the transparency or security of Elections 2015? Tell us here:
On October 25, Colombians head to the polls to elect governors, departmental assemblies, mayoral offices, municipal and district councils as well as administrative boards throughout the country. Since the electoral campaign began on July 25, public officials have been banned from using social media to support candidates.
Ante la proximidad de la jornada democrática en la que los colombianos elegirán gobernaciones, asambleas departamentales, alcaldías, concejos municipales y distritales y juntas administradoras locales, la Procuraduría General de la Nación insta a los colombianos a poner en conocimiento de las autoridades competentes las posibles irregularidades que puedan afectar la transparencia y seguridad de las elecciones.
As election day draws closer, a time when Colombians will democratically elect all governing bodies throughout the country, the Office of the Inspector General urges citizens to alert the relevant authorities of any irregularities which might affect the transparency and security of the electoral process.
According to the magazine Semana, the Inspector General's office will closely monitor the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of public servants in order to avoid any kind of political suasion. Likewise, they encouraged Colombians to make any reports of irregularities through social media or other means of communication.
The Thai Film Archive has been uploading historic films and vintage news reports on YouTube.
One of the films is Chok Song Chun (Double Luck), which is Thailand's first feature silent film produced in 1927. Only 55 seconds of the film have remained featuring a fight scene and car chase.
Another rare film is Payut Ngaokrachang's Hed Mahassajan (The Miraculous Incident), which is the first Thai animated film released in 1955. Payut is known as the “Walt Disney of Thailand”. In the animated silent film, Payut witnessed a traffic incident in Bangkok.
Access to the visual history of most former colonial countries in Africa is usually a challenging proposition because former colonial powers restrict access to historical archives. Helihanta RAJAONARISON and Tsiry Fy-Tia SOLOFOMIHANTA in Madagascar sought to solve this issue and make the history of Madagascar more palatable to the general public by creating an online Museum of Madagascar through a collection of vintage photographs.
The website went live on July 27, 2015, and offers a glimpse of everyday lives in Madagascar from 1850 to 1960. The collections is organized in four major periods: Pre-colonial Period, Colonial Period, Major Constructions, Everyday Life and Independence.
In an opinion piece published in alternative magazine Conexiones, Katya Najlis explores the ideas that lead to women being harassed on the street in Nicaragua. The essay presents multiple examples and reflections linking the majority of theories defending the right of Latin American women to move about freely without concern for safety to the social conventions that perpetuate gender inequality:
Los estereotipos hacia la mujer nicaragüense se convierten en otro método de violencia que nadie regula. El machismo asume el cuerpo de la mujer como un objeto público. El uso de imágenes sexistas contribuye a esta realidad, violentándola de forma implícita y posicionándola como un objeto. […] Lamentablemente, algunas mujeres hemos llegado a pensar que es “normal” o que “por nuestra culpa” somos víctimas de este tipo de abuso, y es que los acosadores aprovechan las unidades de transporte –sobre todo las rutas–, para ofendernos sexualmente.
Stereotypes have become another way to commit violence against Nicaraguan women that nobody regulates. Macho sexism assumes that women's bodies are public objects. The use of sexist images contributes to this reality, violating a woman implicitly and positioning her as an object. […] Sadly, some of us women have been led to think this is “normal” or that “it's our fault” we are victims of this type of abuse, and it's because our aggressors use public transport — and especially the streets — to offend us sexually.
— El Universo (@eluniversocom) July 11, 2015
Pope Francis concluded his eight day tour of South America, where he held mass in the three countries he visited: Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The pontiff's message centered on peace and the most needy.
He also advocated “playing cleanly and staying clear of corruption.”
But it was during the close of the tour in Asuncion on Saturday, July 11 where he gave one of the most political speeches of his trip stating:
Ideologies end badly; they serve no purpose. Ideologies have a relationship to the people that is absent, unhealthy or evil. Ideologies don't take into account the people. In the last century ideologies have ended in dictatorships. [Ideologies] think of the people, but don't let the people think.
Saman Naseem, a juvenile Kurdish activist who went through a five month period of disappearance since his scheduled execution in February was able to call his relatives from prison this past weekend, according to Amnesty International. The day before he was due to be executed, he was transferred to an unknown location, which has now been confirmed to be Zanjan Prison. Neither his family nor lawyers were given any concrete information about his whereabouts until now.
Global Voices followed the story of the 22 year old Saman Naseem last winter as activists petitioned for the release of the Kurdish activist arrested while he was still a teenager for being a member of an armed Kurdish opposition group.
Activists and lawyers working on Naseem's case, alongside his family were left in the dark about the status of his case and whereabouts after his scheduled execution was cancelled. Working until the last minute, several campaigns placed international pressure on Iran to stop the execution on February 19. His death sentence and imprisonment is unjustified under Iran's own laws and international obligations, given that Naseem was a minor (just 17 years old) when he was arrested.
In a statement on Naseem's Amnesty Campaign page, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa explained:
The welcome revelation that Saman Naseem was not executed and will receive a retrial is incredible news for his relatives, but raises very troubling questions about what the authorities have been doing to him while they held him in secret.
While the European immigration crisis is not showing any signs of dying down, the EU has been taking some much needed measures related to saving the lives of the people who are trying to enter Europe trough the Mediterranean. Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, migrants have also been fleeing their home countries by way of the now familiar ‘Balkan Route’, traveling from Kosovo and war-torn Middle Eastern countries. One of the key entrance points to European grounds is the route from non-EU Serbia into neighboring EU member Hungary. Hence, to keep immigrants out of the European Union, the Hungarian PM is planning on erecting a 4-meter-high, 175-kilometer-long fence along the border with Serbia.
Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, said during the Globsec Bratislava Security Conference:
Mađarska ne vjeruje u europsko rješenje pitanja ilegalnih imigranata, a zid prema susjedima gradi jer je to “obaveza države”.
Hungary does not believe in the European solution of the illegal immigrant problem and the wall towards our neighbors is this country's obligation
There were more than 50,000 illegal entrances to Hungary since the beginning of January 2015. At the same time, 47,000 migrants have entered Italy. Austria and Germany will return 15,000 illegal immigrants to Hungary and, by the end of the year, there could be some 150,000 immigrants in that country by the end of the year, Al-Jazeera reports.
A podcast by photojournalist Mauro Prandelli describes first-hand what is it like to be an undocumented person and to stay at the immigrant camp in Hungary, an immigrant calling the country “a dead zone for immigrants”. The interview was recorded in Bogovajda bush, 70 kilometers from Belgrade, Serbia.
In global terms, illegal immigration is a growing issue and governments are searching for a permanent solution. According to UNHCR's report ‘Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2014′, displaced persons now roughly equate to the population of Italy or the United Kingdom. The top three countries of origin of the immigrants are the Syrian Arab Republic (3.88 million), Afghanistan (2.59 million), and Somalia (1.11 million). However, many do not see building a wall between countries in the 21st century as a proper solution.
Two African startups have emerged winners of a regional competition organised by Village Capital:
Village Capital today announced the first winners of its innovative program, East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015. The program supports entrepreneurs in making financial services more affordable and accessible for smallholder farmers and other underbanked individuals in East Africa. It is supported by the DOEN Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and Duncan Goldie-Scot.
Over 65% of Sub-Saharan Africans do not use financial institutions or mobile money accounts to save or borrow money. Access to financial services can be especially difficult for smallholder farmers, often far from a financial access point. Furthermore, many promising early-stage entrepreneurs addressing this issue cannot find the resources they need to get off the ground.
Village Capital East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015 provided these resources to 12 high-potential, early-stage entrepreneurs from across East Africa. The program also supported them through business development training, mentorship, and opportunities to meet potential customers and pitch to investors. At the end of the 12-week program, the entrepreneur-participants ranked each other on six criteria, and chose two companies to each receive a 50,000 USD investment. The two top peer-ranked companies are:
Atikus Insurance (Rwanda); expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions.
Farmerline (Ghana, expanding to East Africa); provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers and also provides technology to stakeholders to work better.
The reclaiming of history as an ally of marginalized groups is key to their very survival. This is especially true in a colonial context such as Puerto Rico, where history has been and continues to be used as a means to justify inequalities and deny visibility.
In the spirit of doing justice to the men and women who have contributed greatly to Puerto Rico, and yet have been sidelined by years of official history, the digital magazine La Respuesta, which focuses primarily on the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, recently published a short post titled 10 Afro-Puerto Ricans Everyone Should Know, which briefly highlights the legacy of people such as pro-independence leader Pedro Albizu Campos, literary critic and lawyer Nilita Vientós Gastón, and intellectual leader Arturo Schomburg.