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AIDS Activist Freed After Kidnapping in Honduras

Keren Jemima Dunaway González, a teenage Honduran Aids activist who was abducted in the city of San Pedro Sula on Tuesday has been released.

Three unidentified men grabbed Keren, 18, with her mother near the offices of the Llaves Foundation, which helps children with AIDS. González, the head of Llaves, was freed, but Keren remains captive.

Police said her captors had asked for ransom but had released her after her mother assured them the family had no money.

San Pedro Sula remains one of the most violent cities in the world and has the world's highest homicide rate at 187 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.

Sierra Leone: An Unlikely Fashion Hotspot

Freetown Fashpack is a fashion blog by an Australian living in Freetown, Sierra Leone who intends to show a different side of a country commonly associated with civil war and blood diamonds: 

My name is Jo Dunlop and I’m an Australian living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. After moving here in 2011, it soon became apparent that what Freetown lacks in high street shopping, it makes up for in style. The streets are teeming with some of the most resourceful, brave and outrageous fashion decisions ever made. In a country so commonly associated with civil war and blood diamonds I felt inspired to show a different side to Sierra Leone and reveal an unlikely fashion hotspot.

Kenya Monitor: Mobile Citizen Media and News App

Kenya Monitor app is a m-Media & News app. It is the to-go citizen journalism app for all local content. It brings together all favorite news in one place from different counties in Kenya. All content is presented in a fun and intuitive manner.

Getting reliable news stories about Kenya or about development issues has become a rarity. Any story that is covered is vague and has no follow-up. The Kenya Monitor app will seek to change this. All stories will focus on what is going on in the different locales. Anyone will get to play a role in telling the story of where they live.

Kenya Monitor will provide Kenyans with a platform to tell their stories in what is known as citizen journalism. Kenyans from all walks of life will get to tell stories about where they live, how they want it to be told and at the time they think it should be told. All content will be gathered from the people themselves. Stories will be submitted through SMS enabling anyone with access to a phone to do so. One does not need a smart phone to send in or receive content.

Hijacked Printers in Eastern Ukraine and Russia Print Pro-Ukraine Messages

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

As the world watches Russian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists occupy Ukrainian administration buildings, cities, and even an entire peninsula, a group of Ukrainian hackers is fighting back by launching an invasion of their own.

Since this summer, Ukrainian hacker Yevgeniy Dokukin and his group of fellow computer pros calling themselves Ukrainian Cyber Forces have carried out “Operation Bond, James Bond,” in which they leaked web camera and security footage from Crimea, separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, and even government offices in Russia. Dokukin and the Ukrainian Cyber Forces have been leaking videos from cameras for months now, including a video supposedly from a separatist base in Donetsk.

A few weeks ago, Dokukin and his allies took up new weapons in their cyberwar: printers. In a series of Facebook posts, Dokukin has explained how, after accessing private WiFi networks, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces were able to print documents on vulnerable networked printers in various offices in Crimea and separatist-held areas in eastern Ukraine, and were now trying to do the same in Russian networks.

#UkrainianCyberForces have begun occupying networked printers in Donbas and in Crimea.

As Dokukin told RuNet Echo, he sees the wasted ink and paper in Russia as a variant on Ukraine’s own “economic sanctions” aimed at its neighbor. The messages appearing on these printers vary, but they share a common theme:

Якщо ваш мережевий принтер передасть “вітання Путіну” чи надрукує “Слава Україні!” та інші цікаві надписи, то знайте, що він під нашим контролем.

If your network printer passes along “greetings to Putin” or prints “Glory to Ukraine!” or other interesting messages, then you know that it is under our control.

Not all of Dokukin’s printer messages were meant to be confrontational. Recently, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces accessed an open network printer in Canada—an especially strong ally of Ukraine throughout the ongoing crisis—and printed the message “Thanks for supporting Ukraine!” in English.

As Russia increases its support of information warfare, including slick redesigns of its news agencies and propping up fake Ukrainian news sites, Ukrainian Cyber Forces are taking the trolling and information war to their opponents—and their offices—more directly.

Paddington Bear Gets His Peruvian ID

The National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (known as RENIEC) handed over a National Identity Document (DNI) to Paddington Bear, the popular British literary character whose biography says he is of Peruvian origin.

The identification card, which was given during a symbolic ceremony, is yellow, as it is with underage ID cards.

Paddington Beat got his DNI at Reniec.

Not everybody is happy, however, with the character's presence on Peruvian soil:

When the hell does he leave? Paddington Bear got his yellow ID card at Reniec headquarters.

The popular literary character is visiting Peru, as part of a campaign to promote tourism in the South American country.

10 Things to Love About Trinidad & Tobago Carnival

Christmas isn't quite over yet, but Trinidad and Tobago is already in the throes of its Carnival season – that frenetic period of masquerade, soca, celebration, creativity and revelry that some say is unmatched by any other carnival in the world.

One blogger is thrilled to bits that the much-anticipated Carnival is here again – Trinidad Carnival Diary, who takes her moniker from the festival itself. Over the years, her posts has evolved from a small mas'-lover's blog to a full-fledged website that is regarded as one of the authorities on all things Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. She's done a delightful post outlining 10 reasons people love the festival so much. It's worth a read, but to whet your appetite, it involves infectious music, an incomparable sense of freedom, lots of partying with kindred spirits, incredible costumes and a real sense of togetherness.

Kenyan Blog OilNews Among World’s Top Oil and Gas Websites

Oilnews Kenya has been ranked as top blog in Africa on matters oil and gas, Kachwanya reports

 

The website recently launched as first of its kind in Kenya aiming to give Kenyans insight in the oil and gas industry opening up information platform for explorers, investors and stakeholders in the sector.

Following increased interest from investors in the oil and gas sectors with a number of discoveries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique that has seen the East African region now named the new oil frontier, Kamau Mbote founder of Oilnewskenya saw it fit to give exposure to the latter as well as provide Kenyans more information on the sector.

The website has been ranked 22 globally and 1st in Africa with a Visibility of 58%, Engagement of 41% and relevance rating at 100% according to a research by Inkybee a renown research company. 

A Presidential Birth Certificate Controversy Provokes Social Unrest in Gabon

Protests in Libreville, Gabon against president Bongo on on December 20 - via OpGabon with permission

Protests in Libreville, Gabon against president Bongo on on December 20 – via OpGabon with permission

Clashes broke out between police and the opposition in Gabon on December 20 stemming from questions about the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo. 

A recent book called “New African Affairs” by French reporter Pierre Péan alleged that President Ali Bongo has Nigerian origins. The book was slammed by the authorities, accusing the reporter of inciting racial hatred in Gabon. The clashes led to the death of one student and several arrests. Photos on social network of the protests and its impact on civilians were widely circulating on the Gabonese blogosphere, such as the following:  

True or false, recap of a tumultuous week-end in Gabon http://t.co/hu4r9iWtya #Libreville #obs #Bongo @cbainier 

COP20: Responsibilities of Capitalism On Climate Change

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP20/CMP10) was held in Lima between December 1 to 12, and was chaired by the host country, Peru. During the conference, Bolivian president Evo Morales, emphatically appealed to consider climate change as a direct consequence of capitalist system and urged industrialized countries to accept the consequences of their actions:

Evo Morales urges to listen to indigenous people and to fight against capitalism during COP20.

Damián Profeta sums up the ten main points of Morales’ speech, and he highlisghts:

- ‘Hay que crear un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática’ [encargada de] ‘juzgar a países que no cumplen sus compromisos y los tratados internacionales y a los que hacen mucho daño al ambiente’ [...]
- ‘Que el sistema capitalista asuma su responsabilidad en el cambio climático’ [...]
- ‘En la lucha contra el Cambio Climático los países del Norte nos han llevado a un terreno infecundo’ [...]
- ‘El medio ambiente debe ser administrado comunitariamente porque la naturaleza misma es comunitaria’

- An International Court of Climate Justice [in charge of] judging countries that don't fulfil their obligations and international treaties and those who harm environment a lot must be implemented [...]
- The capitalist systema should take responsibility on climate change [...].
- In the fight against climate change, the Northern countries have taken us to a sterile ground [...]
- Environment must be managed communally, as nature itself is communal

Some Twitter users answered reminding him his actions about the construction of a highway along the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS):

Evo proposes community property to save the planet? OK, let's stop the highway across TIPNIS and individual property by coca growers.

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!!

This is a real president.

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