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Stories from and

It's a Small (Social Media) World, After All

Kyoto resident and Kyoto Journal associate editor Lucinda Cowing experienced a moment of social media serendipity recently.

Cowing wrote on her Facebook page (which is private, but quoted with permission below):

Woaaa, talk about “it's a small world” moment. I had a suspicion the girl opposite me was taking a sneaky phone picture on the Eiden the other weekend. Sure enough, that photo appeared on Instagram, and now, a friend of mine living in Beijing sees it and says he's sitting opposite the Taiwanese girl who took it.

Next stop

A photo posted by tammytu (@tammytu) on

Cowing's friend in Beijing then posted a photo on Facebook of Instagram user tammytu, who snapped the photo during a recent sightseeing trip to Kyoto.

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Photo: Will Wilcox

The two women are now friends, according to Cowing.

At Least 48 Fatalities After Landslide Hits Colombian Village

Salgar en Antioquia. Imagen en Flickr del usuario Iván Erre Jota (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Salgar in Antioquia, Colombia. Image on Flickr by user Iván Erre Jota (CC BY-SA 2.0). Archive photo

At least 48 people were killed and an unknown number of people are missing after a landslide caused by heavy rains that hit the community of Salgar, in the Colombian department of Antioquia, in the early hours of May 18, 2015.

The secretary of government of Salgar, Zulma Osorio, declared that the “tragedy has had an overwhelmingly big magnitude (…), there are many fatalities, the community has completely collapsed.”

The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, expressed this on Twitter:

We've declared a state of public disaster in Salgar to respond to the emergency. From the national government and with the governor of Antioquia, Sergio Fajardo, all our support goes to the victims.

The Red Cross of Antioquia used the microblogging network to ask for donations:

Huge tragedy in Salgar, if you can help with blankets and non-perishable food at the logistics center in Medellin.

Other users said:

More rescuers and less opportunistic people is what it needed in Salgar right now.

Now the politicians pro and against are taking advantage of the tragedy in Salgar! MISERABLE PEOPLE.

Government responds to the emergency in Salgar, Antioquia, which has left more than 30 dead.

Pakistanis Use Twitter To Raise Their Concerns On The Proposed Cybercrime Bill 2015

tweetstormThe proposed Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill in Pakistan has raised concern among local and international human rights organisations as it could put at risk freedom expression and privacy in Pakistan.

Mariam at Catalyst Woman blog reports:

After the dedicated efforts of numerous advocacy groups, ngos and private citizens, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication has agreed to a public hearing of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill 2015 this Friday, 22 May in Islamabad.

Invitations to the “public” hearing have only been extended to six people to appear before a committee of 20 members. According to the Joint Action Committee on the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 (PECB) & Alliance For Access:

This is contrary to the spirit of a “public hearing.”

The Joint Action Committee members are definitely among the stakeholders, but we are not the only ones. Instead of hand-picking selected invitees, we call upon the NA Standing Committee on IT to conduct the public hearing in a proper manner, by opening it to all concerned members of the public and invite the entire print and electronic media too, in the spirit of transparency and openness.

The Catalyst woman blog proposed a #Tweetstorm to raise awareness of the public’s concerns about the Cyber Crime Bill in its current state. “There should be a public debate on all aspects of the bill,” the blog says.

Global Voices Checkdesk Tracking Reactions to Morsi's Trial

Faten Bushehri tracks reactions to the trial of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was sentenced to death on May 16, on Global Voices Checkdesk, a project in partnership with Meedan's Checkdesk to verify news.

Morsi is being charged with collaborating with foreign militants to free Islamists during a prison break from the Wadi Natroun prison amid the Egyptian revolution in January 2011. Among his 105 co-defendants were some 70 Palestinians, accused of being members of Hamas, who were charged and tried in absentia. And among the Palestinians sentenced to death, Hassan Salameh has been in an Israeli prison since 1994, and Raed Attar is already dead.

Morsi was the president of Egypt for one year after the revolution, which overthrew Hosni Mubarak early 2011, who ruled Egypt for more than 30 years. Morsi's reign was cut short in July 2013, following massive protests calling for his ouster. Then, the Egyptian Army took command, under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and Minister of Defence General Abdul Fattah El Sisi, who is now Egypt's president.

The next hearing is set for June 2.

Follow the link to add more stories and help verify them. Please contact me if you are interested in joining the team.

‘I'm Not a Swindler': A Campaign Against Romani Discrimination Takes Aim at the Dictionary

Captura de video de Youtube

Screenshot of video on YouTube

On April 8, on the occasion of the International Romani People Day, the organizations that form the Romani People Council started a campaign using social networks to request the Royal Spanish Academy to change the definition of the word gitano (Spanish word for gypsy) in the dictionary.

The purpose of the campaign, which is using the hashtags #YoNoSoyTrapacero and #YoNoSoyTrapacera (I'm not a swindler, in both grammatical genders), is to raise awareness of the discrimination against ethnic Romani people. The campaign video is being widely shared on social networks.

It's worth noting, though, that in the definition that appears in the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary, the word trapacero doesn't appear, but the fourth definition states “that swindles or acts with tricks”, as noted by user @MonicaEHM:

The campaign “I'm not a swindler” is a good idea, but could someone tell me where in the dictionary does the Royal Spanish Academy use that term?

I'm not a swindler.

Worth listening to these children. I'm not a swindler. Stop discrimination, even in language.

Peru Sets Up First Bilingual Spanish-Awajun Civil Registrar

Delegación de la comunidad awajún en visita al Congreso Peruano. Foto en Flickr con licencia (CC BY 2.0).

Delegation of the Awajun community during a visit to the Peruvian Congress. Image taken from Flickr and published under license (CC BY 2.0).

May 21 marks the National Day of Cultural and Linguistic Diverisity, and to commemorate the occasion, the Peruvian National Registrar of Identification and Civil Status (Reniec) launched the Awajun-Spanish bilingual civil registrar:

Las actas generadas de esta manera tendrán el mismo valor oficial que las actas tradicionales en castellano, y sus copias certificadas podrán obtenerse en cualquier agencia o Plataforma Virtual Multiservicios (PVM) del Reniec.

The documents thus generated will have the same official validity as the documents in Spanish, and the authenticated copies will be available in any agency or at the Virtual Multiservices Platform of Reniec.

The Awajún are an ethnic group from the Peruvian Amazon region. Their language has 70,000 Peruvian speakers in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto and San Martín.

On Twitter, users shared remarks and pictures of this new registrar:

RENIEC set up the online first bilingual civil registrar (Spanish – Awajun) in America.

I have Awajun lessons. I had forgotten.

New Awajun bilingual civil registrar has something new: its registers, besides being manual, will be…

Lima Orchid, a Flower Once Believed to Be Extinct, Blooms Again in the Peruvian Capital

Variedades de orquídea.

Different kinds of orchids. Image published on Wikimedia Commons under license CC BY-SA 3.0.

For over 50 years, it was thought that the Lima orchid was an extinct species; but, good news comes from a team from the National Forest and Wildlife Service, which is also part of the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture:

Los especialistas encontraron ejemplares de dicha orquídea, típica de las lomas de la cuenca del río Rímac, en las cercanías de dicho cuerpo de agua. Pronto corrió el rumor sobre la mítica flor, que se creía desaparecida desde hace más de cincuenta años.

The team of specialists found some specimens of this orchid, typical of the hills in the Rimac river basin, near that body of water. The rumor about the mythical flower was soon well known, a flower believed to be extinct for over 50 years.

The news was echoed on Twitter:

Orchid of Lima “Chloraea undulata” reappears, although it was believed extinct. Enjoy it.

Now it's up for the authorities and the population to take care of it and preserve it.

Argentinians Organize Online to Demonstrate Against Femicides

Under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less), Argentina is mounting a campaign against the alarming increase in the number of femicides, which shows no signs of going down. Many of the country's public personalities have joined the campaign, like cartoonist Liniers, who used one of his best known characters to participate in the movement.

3 June. Plaza Congreso. No more femicides.

Femicide, understood as a hate crime against women, poses a serious problem in Argentina. Despite the passage of laws that deal with and criminalize violence against women, these crimes continue to be numerous. The protest will take place on 3 June in the Plaza del Congreso.

The movement gained momentum following the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paéz. She was allegedly killed at the hands of her boyfriend and had been expecting a child at the time of her death.

The NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, which runs support groups for victims of domestic violence, reported that since 2008 in Argentina 1,808 women were killed by domestic violence, 261 of these girls between 13 and 21 years old. Last year alone, 277 femicides were documented in Argentina, according to Buenos Aires Herald.

#IFellAsleepToo: Sleeping Latin American Doctors Go Viral

It's a trending topic under the hashtag  #YoTambienMeDormi (#IFellAsleepToo). In one week, there have been 17,500 comments on Twitter. The stories of tens of thousands of doctors in Mexico and Latin America who are sharing pictures of them sleeping during their long hospital shifts have gone viral.

It all started when a blogger criticized a physician whose photo showed him sleeping, according to the BBC.

“We know this work is tiring, but they have the duty to fulfill their responsibilities while there are dozens of sick people who need their attention at any moment,” Noti-blog site reports, showing the photo of a medical resident at General Hospital 33 in Monterrey, México, who fell asleep at 3 am while filling out the records of that night's patient number 18.

I Fell Asleep Too, because we are not machines but human beings like everyone else

In addition to showing solidarity, the spontaneous campaign has also been a way to put a face the sacrifices people in the profession must make, including long meal-less, sleepless shifts, which are not always financially compensated nor always provide the necessary basics for the job.

Chilean Campaign to Prevent Child Grooming Goes Viral

The Chilean Police campaign against grooming, in which adults earn the trust of minors online to later abuse them, has already reached more than 5 million views. It has become a success going way beyond the borders of the South American country, according to Verne website.

The video was published on Facebook to raise awareness among young people. It tells the story of a teenage girl who sets up a date with a guy she met on a social network. The man, who has been asking her for “sexy” pictures is older than she imagined. The video leads to think the girl was abused.

Augusto Schuster, a very popular Chilean teen actor and singer with a base of 270,000 Twitter followers, was part of the campaign. At the end of the video, which is also available on YouTube, Schuster questions kids: “How many of your social network friends do you really know? Grooming is not a game. It is abuse. Remember that on Internet, the pictures are not only yours, they belong to everyone.”

Groomers pretend to be teenagers to take advantage of minors on social networks, wining their trust little by little, then asking them for intimate images, or setting up meetings that can end up in sexual abuse. Besides the video, the Chilean campaign offers tips — and even a test — to help kids recognize dangerous behavior. Verne adds that the police are promoting the hashtag #todoscontraelgrooming (everyone against grooming).

Self-evaluation: Am I exposed to grooming?

1. I have a profile in more than one social network.

2. I have more than 250 friends on Facebook.

3. I have accepted friendships requests from people I don't know.

4. I have established strong ties with people I never met in person.

5. I have dated people I have never met on real life.

6. Have spoken on a webcam with strangers.

7. I have set up dates with people I met online.

8. I have taken pictures of myself on my underwear.

9. I have taken pictures of intimate parts of my body.

10. I have been asked to strip infront of a webcam or send intimate pictures.

11. I have been forced to send intimate pictures.

If you have answered YES to the questions:

1-5 You are vulnerable to be contacted by a groomer

6-8 You have probably been contacted by a groomer and you are at risk.

9-11 You have been a grooming victim.

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