Stories from 31 July 2012
Costa Rica: Video Love Note Gets Vice-Minister Dismissed
The Costa Rican Vice-Minister of Youth Karina Bolaños was removed from her post by the Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla after a video showing an underwear clad vice minister sending a love note to a lover was made public and spread through the web. Reactions to this news are quite varied: from censure to the Vice-Minister for making a video and not taking care to erase it, to rejection of all those who continued to spread the video and finally, repudiation to the President for removing the vice-minister from her post as if she were not the victim of this whole affair.
Russia: Anti-Church Activist Flees Under Psychiatric Incarceration Threat
A blogger and leader of the Youth Human Rights Group in Karelia, has fled Russia to Poland after months of interrogations by prosecutors that included threats of detention in a psychiatric clinic in retaliation for statements made online against the Russian Orthodox Church.
Iran: Pro-Ahmadinejad Blogger Jailed
"What a world and judiciary we have, Ahmad was arrested just for writing and supporting his country's president" - Ahmad Shariat is behind bars. Other pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers have also been hounded by Tehran prosecutor’s office for criticizing associates of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trinidad & Tobago: Hoping for Medals
The MEP Blog takes a look at the country's past Olympic greats and 2012 medal hopefuls.
Guyana: Olympic Dreams
Guyana-Gyal explains how the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London “remind[ed] [her] to stay true to [her] dreams, no matter how mad they might sound to them people here.”
Ecuador: Sarayaku.org, Blogging from the Amazon
José Santi, 27, is one of the administrators of the blog Sarayaku.org. The blog contains information about the Sarayaku people, who live in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and their fight against exploitation in their territory. In this interview José tells us about the blog and the case that his people has brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the state of Ecuador.
Spain: Fighting Catalonia's Wild Fires
The terrifying fires that continue to devastate the Catalan comarca of Alt Empordà have given way to the citizens' initiative #1Català1Arbre, launched on Twitter by Oriol Puig. The goal is to "create coordination, cooperation and a strong collective consciousness until the fires are extinguished."
Guyana: Linden Protests
Imran Khan explores the roots of the Linden Protests and concludes that the recent electricity rate hike is merely the latest in a long series of “economic and social hardships” meted out to the citizen of that mining community.
St. Lucia: The Power of Words
David Cave writes a tribute to his mentor, the Saint Lucia poet Kendel Hippolyte: “Indeed, Kendel showed me first hand that there is real power in words. Words evoke emotions, conjure images, analyse, interrogate, bring back memories, experiences and transport and even return a student to his mentor and friend.”
China: Bizarre Power Triangle – Sina, the Government and Netizens
Ever since the advent of Internet in China, the Chinese government has either tried to embrace it or control it. The upsurge of social media in the country has introduced two other characters into the story-Chinese netizens and leading Internet company Sina. Find out more about this often bizarre power triangle.
Tanzania: ‘Don't Drown’ SMS-Based Maritime Early Warning System
"Tanzania has few if any rivals for numbers of boat deaths over the last couple of decades," says the founder of Usizame, Rachel Hamada. Usizame is a free SMS-based ferry check-in and alert system designed to help prevent marine accidents in Tanzania.
Latin America: Is 2012 the ‘Year of the Woman” at the Olympics?
The Americas Quarterly blog points out that although there is still a lot to do to end gender discrimination at the Olympics, “for the first time in history, every country competing in the London 2012 Olympics will have at least one female athlete, with many – notably in Latin America...
Democratic Republic of Congo: Rwanda Accused in North Kivu Violence
Since April 2012, North Kivu province in the eastern Congo has been destabilised by the March 23 movement (M23), comprised of fighters from the Tutsi-led National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). M23 continues to cause enormous loss of life and massive population displacement within the province.
Angola: Citizens Demand Transparent Electoral Campaign
Angola's civil society is urging more transparency [pt] on the preparation of the coming general elections scheduled for August 31, 2012. One of the initiatives recently launched is an online petition [pt] demanding the parties leaders to take part of live debates on TV.
Argentina: Citizens Mobilize for Guide Dog Law
Blind and visually impaired people in Argentina are facing difficulties in accessing public spaces accompanied by a guide dog. Maximiliano Marc and other citizens have resorted to the web to lobby for a national law defending the rights of the visually impaired.
Tanzania: Newspaper Shut Down by Government
On 30 July, the government of Tanzania banned indefinitely a popular weekly investigative newspaper called Mwanahalisi. Tanzanians received the news with great astonishment, although the same newspaper was previously banned for three months in 2008.
Tunisia: The Plight of Palestinians in Iraq
Tunisian blogger Nawel Abdullah posts an interview [ar] she conducted with the founder of The Australian Society for the Palestinian-Iraqi Refugee Emergency Yousef Alreemawi, who speaks to her about the plight of Palestinian refugees living in Iraq and efforts to resettle some of them in Australia.
Lebanon: ‘AlloFail’ Campaign Lobbies for Better Mobile Services
AlloFail is an initiative to improve the quality of mobile products and services in Lebanon which according to many, leaves much to be desired. See how a group of netizens are using social media to create awareness about the problems and usher change in this sector.
Guatemala: Mining Community Organizes Peoples’ Health Tribunal
For years, the community of San Miguel Ixtahuacán in Guatemala has been denouncing the negative consequences of Goldcorp's Marlin gold mine. On July 14 and 15, members of the community joined other international organizations to form a 'Peoples' International Health Tribunal.' In the first post in this two-part series, we introduce the Health Tribunal and also highlight the local efforts of the San Miguel Ixtahuacán community .
Togo: Preacher Transports 4.2 kg of Cocaine Hidden in Lollipops to Build Church
Togolese Preacher Woegna Yao Koufoualesse was caught at the Accra International Airport with 4.2 kg of Cocaine in a flight from Sao Paulo, Afrique Infos reports [fr]. The drugs were hidden inside caramel lollipops; Koufoualesse argued that he did not know about the cocaine and that the lollipops were to be sold to help...
Wales: Imagining the Welsh Language Web
For the 600,000 speakers of Welsh the Internet represents a galaxy of new opportunities to use and see their language. But what exactly is 'y we Gymraeg' - the 'Welsh language web' - and how can it benefit the language's speakers?