Stories from 8 January 2013
Ecuador: “Children of the Jaguar” Documentary Wins National Geographic Prize
"Children of the Jaguar" is a vivid documentary that helps us to reflect on the damage caused by multinationals who attempt to exploit the oil reserves of the Ecuadorian Amazon forest and on the constant struggle by local inhabitants to defend their lands.
China Blames “Foreign Forces” for Press Freedom Protests
Following protests on press freedom in China triggered by the Southern Weekend censorship incident, China's Central Propaganda Department has issued an urgent notice, blaming the incident on meddling by foreign forces. The word "foreign forces" has triggered a lot of discussion on Sina Weibo.
Madagascar's Vanilla Beans Came from Mexico
Antoine Ganne tells the unique story of how Vanilla came to populate the island of Madagascar and Reunion island [fr] from the Gulf of Mexico. Ganne explains that European traders brought Vanilla from Mexico to Louis XIV who wanted to grow it on Reunion Island but failed. A young Reunionese slave,...
Cubans Defend Themselves Against Esperanza Aguirre's Accusations
The president of the People's Party in Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, stated that she did not recognize "any justice on the island of Cuba" and called the time that Ángel Carromero spent in prison "torture," after he was condemned to imprisonment in Havana for "involuntary manslaughter," in the car accident that cost the lives of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. The Cuban blogosphere reacts.
The Last Survivors of Aleppo’s Infantry School
Adel and Ahmad, two 24-year-old college graduates from Idlib, are survivors of a showdown between the rebels and the regime. When the battle began for a military school near Aleppo, they were inside, serving time in the Syrian Army. They had been on both sides of the revolution, joining in peaceful protests against the Assad regime, but they had refused to join in the armed conflict against the government.
Social Media Buzz: The Crimes We Don’t See in Syria
Millions of Syrians are using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Skype to disseminate and discuss the conflict. Each week our Mohammed Sergie monitors the online conversation in English and Arabic, pulling out the highlights in a feature called the Social Media Buzz. Apart from the relentless rounds of global diplomacy, recent headlines on Syria have focused on the rise of extremist brigades calling for an Islamic state and fears about the fate of Syria’s minorities.
Dueling Demonstrations Surround Same-Sex Marriage in France
For several months there has been a raging debate in France surrounding 'universal marriage' (i.e. same-sex marriage). Those who oppose same-sex marriage Commitment 31 want for the whole nation, not merely the parliamentarians, to engage in the debate.
Should Prostitution be Abolished or Regulated? Part I
Two hundred NGO's from across Europe gathered at the European Parliament in Brussels on December 4, 2012. They called for the abolition of prostitution and presented the outlines of a potential abolitionist policy for Europe. For these organisations, criminalization of prostituion is the key to counter human trafficking for sexual purposes. In Europe and around the world, sex workers disagree with the proposed measures and ask for more respect for their rights.
Ivorian Blogger Questions Government's Response to Abidjan Stampede
Ivorian bloggers Mohamed Diaby and Cyriac Gbogou have been released from police custody. Both citizens, helped create a humanitarian platform to assist victims of the January 1, 2013 stampede in Abidjan. But on January 4, 2013, they were arrested after being accused of interfering with official disaster assistance efforts. Mohamed Diaby explains about the events that led to their arrests on his personal blog.
Snowballs: Russia's Phantom Menace
St. Petersburg police have dispersed a snowball fighting flashmob in the city center. The RuNet is outraged.
Support Southern Weekend Against Censorship in China
Around 1000 Guangzhou citizens gathered outside Southern Weekend office building to express their support for the newspaper against the Propaganda Department's brutal censorship of the New Year Greeting editorial. Below is a youtube video uploaded by Chen Ye showing the protest scene. (via acopy.net)
Zambian Ex-President Banda on his 2011 Election Defeat
Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda has stated in a YouTube video interview that he did not contest the 2011 elections results because he did not want the country to go to war which his opponents were seemingly ready for.
South Korea: The Secret Agent's Illegal Electioneering
The police launched another round of investigation on a secret agent for conducting illegal electioneering in a progressively-oriented humor site with using 16 different IDs. The Marmot's Hole blog, though dismissive of the claim that this is a part of an organized political effort, briefly summarized the incident and linked back to related articles.
Censorship Meets Rare Defiance as Journalists Strike in China
Southern Weekend, a highly acclaimed newspaper that once lead the wave of media reform in China, has fallen from grace. Soon after the newspaper's official Sina Weibo microblog account issued a statement, which denied the provincial propaganda department's role in the recent censorship and rewriting of its New Year editorial, a legion from the current editorial staff announced a strike, declaring that the official microblog account had been forcefully taken over.