In the anti-nuke protest on March 8, 2014, a demonstrator promoting marriage equality held a sign saying: “Why can 23 millions citizens in Taiwan decide whether we can get married and why cannot the same 23 millions people decide whether we want the fourth nuclear power plant or not?” The LGBT community demanded legislation to allow same sex marriage, but it was turned down as the government said it was too controversial. The demonstrator use the same government logic to challenge its position on Nuke 4.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Citizen Media
It is important to talk about this. I want to show this video in all the areas where ‘Saptami’ is celebrated. People give it so much importance even though it is a rather strange celebration. Why don’t they celebrate their daughters who keep their houses running, the cattle fed and the water tanks filled? Why just their sons? The tradition and rationality behind it are so deeply carved into people… but we can change it.
Over the last seven years, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia has spent undisclosed amounts of taxpayers money to produce and air public service campaigns against drug use and drug trafficking. A new campaign has been launched by the government, calling drug users “mules”.
Artist Ines Efremova tweeted:
Слоганот на новата кампања против дрогата е:“Остани чист! Не биди муле!!! Одлуката е твоја!“ Немам што да додадам http://t.co/w463IPLy80
— Ines Efremova (@Inna_E) February 17, 2014
The slogan of the new campaign against drugs is: “Stay clean! Don't be a mule!!! The decision is yours!”
I have nothing to add.
While the term “mule” has been used internationally in the context of smuggling, signifying a person carrying concealed drugs over a border, in this context it only has the pejorative meaning of stubborn and stupid draft animal.
According to the official announcement [mk] of the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, the campaign's “goal is to raise awareness among high school students about the fight against narco-trafficking, and to act preventively and educationally over the young population.” The campaign will consist of presentations conducted by customs officers.
One of the previous campaigns was against the use of illegal drugs, titled “My life is my movie”, and was comprised of several film-like commercials (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), with an initial cost of 592,000 euro (800,000 dollars). According to a 2010 article [mk] in Dnevnik daily, the number of registered illicit drug users actually increased after the campaign.
As Tajikistan celebrates the International Women's Day (re-branded as Mother's Day in the country in 2009), social media help amplify the rare voices that speak against the holiday. Writing on his personal website, prominent religious leader and politician Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda urges [tj] Tajiks not to celebrate on March 8:
Celebrating Mother's Day or Women's Day is inadmissible. This is not our religious or national holiday. We inherited this holiday from the Soviet period.
Similar messages have appeared on social media sites, particularly on Odnoklassniki and Facebook. For example, Said Boboev argues [tj] in TAJIKISTAN Online, a Facebook group that has over 13,000 members, that marking the Mother's Day is against the Islamic tradition.
Such claims remain unpopular in Tajikistan where 90 percent of men and 87 percent of women celebrate the holiday on March 8, according to a recent survey [ru]. Following a Soviet tradition, the country's leader has congratulated [tj] the women of Tajikistan in a televised address. Reacting to Turajonzoda's comments about the holiday, one Tajik netizen tweeted [ru]:
Празднуешь 8 марта – гори в аду! У Тураджонзоды совсем крыша просела http://t.co/YeVoFZXrXk
— Пожиратель Курутоба (@qurutob) March 7, 2014
Burn in hell if you celebrate on March 8? Turajonzoda has totally lost his mind http://t.co/YeVoFZXrXk
A group of young activists in Pavlodar, a city in northeastern Kazakhstan, have founded a movement aimed at teaching manners to drivers. The young people confront motorists who park on sidewalks or in other improper places and ask them to move the vehicles to designated parking spots. The movement coordinates its activities and recruits activists via social media.
A Kazakhstani blogger interviews [ru] the founder of the movement:
When we just began to carry out our raids, motorists often threatened us and told that we were not police, using very offensive language. This is the only problem we have encountered so far. We are seeking support from the authorities because we help them enforce the law and ensure public order…
A photo essay in the website Sentidos Comunes [es] highlights 16 outstanding Chilean women who “are the protagonists of the public agenda in the next five or ten years.”
This photo of a statute of the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, has rapidly gone around the world since it was tweeted last week:
— Christopher Bello R. (@Ethical_Group) February 26, 2014
In Táchira, they tore down a MONUMENT of the deceased ASSASSIN and they beheaded it. Fear PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) for your time has come.
The image has been copied and retweeted hundreds of times, causing all sorts of reactions. Here's one from a government supporter:
Decapitado por fascistas monumento de Comandante Presidente Chávez en Táchira.Siguiendo guión de golpe a lo ucraniano pic.twitter.com/M9Aw9IOEfN
— itobé (@itobesur) February 26, 2014
Beheaded by fascists, the monument to the President Commander Chávez in Táchira. Following a Ukranian-style coup by the book.
Soon the image made it to the mainstream media, which informed [es] that the beheading happened during protests in San Antonio del Táchira. It was also reported that the statue was destroyed [es] afterwards.
Let's remember that Táchira, a Venezuelan border state with Colombia, was the birthplace [es] of the student protests against Nicolás Maduro's government, who ordered the deployment of the army [es] in the zone. The “gochos”, as the locals are known, have been the subject of many memes created by Venezuelan netizens due to their participation in the protests.
Here's another picture of the same scene:
CHAVEZ DECAPITADO!!! pic.twitter.com/YJj53nzCAo
— ALEXANDER MIRELES (@alexandermirele) February 26, 2014
TeaLeafNation uses China's dominant search engine Baidu's search history to finish half-written questions about different provinces in China. They plot the stereotypes onto an interesting map about China. For example, Beijing was associated with “smog” and Xinjiang was considered as “being chaotic”. The piece has also explained the stereotypes about different provinces in details.
Voting has begun for Kenyan Blog Awards 2014:
The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has today [March 3, 2013] unveiled the nominees for the 2014 BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards. The Awards reward bloggers that post on a regular basis, have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.
The nominees were selected by a panel of judges comprising of bloggers and media personalities.
The release of the nominees list begins the voting phase of the awards.
Voting will run from 3rd March 2014 and end on April 30th 2
014. You can vote for your favourite blogs through www.blogawards.co.ke/vote
The Mauritanian capital Nouakchott witnessed violent clashes [en] between security forces and an angry crowd. The story is that anonymous people tore up the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in one of the city's mosques. As a result of this confrontation, one person was killed [en] various people were injured and traffic was blocked in many parts of Nouakchott. The clashes happened on March 3.
Commenting the incident, blogger Abbas Braham urged his Facebook friends to be cautious and not fall in the trap of extremism (no matter what it is) [ar]:
حادثة “تدنيس”* المصاحف اليوم في العاصمة نواكشوط هي حالة تستدعي الانتباه والحذر. فلقد أصبح واضحاً أن التطرف القداسي والتطرف التدنيسي يغذيان بعضهما. وفي كل مرة نتعرض نحن في الوسط من المؤمنين باحترام المقدسات و/أو باحترام الحريات والحقوق لنيرانهما.
Today's Koran”desecration”incident in the Capital Nouakchott is a case that raises concern and caution. It is now clear that both sacred extremism and desecration are feeding each another. And each time, it us — those are in the middle (when it comes to respecting sacredness and/or freedom and rights) — who the suffer the fires (lashes) from both parts.
— ¿Sabías que? (@sabiastuque_) March 1, 2014
Given the rumors that the Academy Awards Ceremony would include artists’ messages regarding the protests in Venezuela, the event was not aired [es] by Venevisión, the biggest television outlet in Venezuela which traditionally aired the ceremony.
The network informed on Twitter:
Queremos informar que este año no tenemos los derechos de transmisión de los Premios Óscar.
— Venevision (@venevision) March 2, 2014
We want to inform that we don't have the rights to air the Academy Awards this year.
The reactions to the possibility that some artists might have sent a solidarity message with the protests went from jokes…
Los Narco-Dependientes mas famosos del mundo atacan a Venezuela hoy, desde la entrega de los Premios Oscar. No te lo pierdas.
— Rommel Bello (@RommelBello) March 2, 2014
The world's most famous drug-addicts attack Venezuela today from the Academy Awards. Don't miss it.
— Ray Angel Torres (@rayangeltorres) March 2, 2014
Meanwhile, many creative memes on the matter appeared on the web.
— Mili (@milivallad) March 2, 2014
It's worth noting that Venezuelans with cable TV were able [es] to watch the Oscars.
The popular Maidan Translations blog republished a Facebook post by Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Ukrainian Center for Military-Political Studies, that describes several alleged international violations and “irregular actions” since late February 2014. Tymchuk begin this run-down by saying:
For instance, on February 28, at 8.45 a.m. the flight of more than 10 military helicopters was monitored by the technical observation post located on the cape of Takil from the direction of the Russian Federation to Ukraine.
Three helicopters (two KA-27 and one Mi-8) landed at the Kacha airport and passed through the border and customs established procedures according to an application made preliminarily. The rest of the helicopters came down near the airport; herewith, there was no answer received on the border detail chief’s appeal concerning the necessity of passing the established formalities by these helicopters, which arrived without a preliminary made application in violation of relevant agreement.
The chief of the border detail of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine made a statement of Ukrainian border violation by aforementioned helicopters.
An expat blogger writes about how she spent winter in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
I spent most of the coldest times huddled next to the space heater (pechka), cup of tea in hand. Some mornings everything in the kitchen froze. I once tried to pour hot water into a cold cup and it cracked in half…
On several nights the electricity went out, sometimes for hours…
The story helps understand why Dushanbe was recently ranked the worst city in Asia for expatriates to live in.
A group of Macedonian Twitter users are organizing a blood drive on March 17, 2014, in Skopje. This is the second action event of this kind – the first took place on September 13, 2013.
Минатата акција 102-ца дојдоа да даруваат крв, од кои на 75 им беше дозволено. Да собереме дупло овој пат!
— Крводарители (@krvodariteli) January 22, 2014
Last time 102 people came to donate blood, of which 75 were allowed [to give blood]. Let's have twice as much this time!
Mobilization for the event is taking place on Twitter through hashtags #крводарители and @krvodariteli – meaning “blood donors,” as well as through a Facebook event page, Three influential websites, and various bloggers who are supporting the action by spreading word and distributing the event banner, whose design is also a donation by @banekoma.
PersianBanoo reported “expelled Qazvin International University student activist, Maryam Shafipour has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment.Previously it was reported by her family that she was beaten by her male interrogators during interrogation sessions”.
Ricey Wild, a Native American blogger at the Indian Country Today, writes about wolf slaughtering in Minnesota, USA.
[...]My beloved friend Melissa came to get me last month to rally against the wolf hunt in Minnesota and everywhere. We went way up north and joined other people who care and are disgusted with the massacre taking place upon the wolf population.
[...]I look at my Mitzi and I can’t tell that her nearest relatives are okay to slaughter just because. I imagined a pack of Mitzi’s being pursued by ‘hunters’ and her wondering what she ever did to them? Why are they murdering her family? So yes, I cried and vowed to make my voice and presence acknowledged..
Her original post, entitled “It ain't easy being Indian”, was published in December 2013 and you can find it here.
In the context of the number and scale of projects being undertaken via government to government arrangements, Afra Raymond explains why Trinidad and Tobago's current high-level State mission to China is “a critical issue to delve into.”
A lot of people confuse themselves about what the Indian head shakes mean and how to communicate using the same. Probably that is why a satirical video deciphering different types of Indian headshakes has gone viral. The 1:44 minutes long video titled “Indian headshakes, what do they mean?” has attracted more than 1.2 million views since it was published in YouTube on February 16, 2014. It has generated interesting reactions in different social media platforms such as Reddit and Twitter:
I have always loved the Indian headshake – but now I LOVE it even more. This is brilliant. http://t.co/eHxIyKqJjc
— geeta pendse (@geetapendse) March 1, 2014
Paul Mathew, its writer and director told BBC: “If we had known that this video was going to get such awesome viewership we would have shot it better.”
A dictionary of Honduran indigenous languages was recently released online [es].
Honduran newspaper Tiempo [es] explains that this dictionary “registers the equivalent [words] in Spanish, chortí, garífuna, isleño, miskito, pech, tawahka and tolupán, languages that make up the country's linguistic heritage.”
For example, a search for the Spanish word for bead, “pan” [es], gives the following result:
Baked food made with flour.
P. síra arinayoka.
Ta. wan busna / brit.
Brazilian journalist and activist Carlos Carlos posted [pt] a list of the most important “Brazilian songs that denounce the police” on his blog, Bola e Arte. He explains:
Now it is trendy to make lists, right? and amid so many useless lists, Bola e Arte blog has prepared a selection of (Brazilian) songs of all genres (rap, samba, rock, reggae, funk etc…) with direct denouncements of arbitrary actions of police corporations. With so many sharp denouncements, could it be that these are all lies??? Or an effective reality, especially in the peripheries across Brazil (and the world)??
I dedicate this list to the mothers of Movimento Mães de Maio [Mothers of May Movement, that was created after the death of around 500 young people in a police action in the state of São Paulo, May 2006], who have lived (and still live) through these coward, discussing injustices! We're together until the end, against gray rats!!!
The song below “Who polices the police?”, by “Zumbi Somos Nós”, is one of the 27 tunes that the collaborative list already includes:
More suggestions can be added in the comments section of Bola e Arte blog.
The main canyon is about 150 kilometers long; the Charyn River crosses it. Multiple gorges, valleys, and smaller canyons surround the Charyn Canyon. One of the main [attractions] here is the Valley of Castles where rock formations have been crafted by water, wind, and soil erosion over millions of years. When you get to the Valley of Castles, you feel like you are at an architecture [exhibition] featuring masterpieces of biotech and neo-organic architecture of the past and present. Styles vary from Muslim shrines and minarets to Christian Orthodox cathedrals…
The Vienna-based opposition blog Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports that police in northern Turkmen town of Dashoguz raid cafes and restaurants in search of women out for the evening. According to the blog, single ladies and women dining without their husbands are taken to police stations. Chronicles of Turkmenistan alleged back in November 2013 that similar raids were carried out in the country's capital, with women detained and forcibly tested for sexually-transmitted infections and narcotics-use as part of the authorities’ effort to curb prostitution.
Kaushik Sengupta, a self-taught social documentary photographer, is the creator of a photo essay featuring Mr. Sandip Karan of Kolkata, India. Mr. Karan is known in his area as ‘street dog doctor’ because of his caring love for street dogs. Till-to-date, he has rescued and treated around 2500 street dogs in his own locality and adjacent areas. The photo essay can be found in his website, in Galli Magazine and in the Invisible Photographer Asia website.
While the current Ukraine revolution has many Chinese asking: “When are we going to take to the streets?”, netizens also learned from Ukraine that democracy isn’t the answer to all problems. Law professor Dong Zhiwei, a long-standing advocate of constitutionalism in China, called the anti-government protests in Ukraine a “coup” that is more of a clash between different power groups than between democracy and authoritarian rule. Offbeat China has more details.
A group of researchers from Madagascar, Canada, UK and USA published a detailed report in Science that alerts on the possible extinctions of 90% of the known lemurs of Madagascar following the prolonged political crisis in the country. One of the researcher, Christoph Schwitzer, explains to the Scientific American the dire consequences of such threat:
lemurs have important ecological and economic roles, and are essential to maintaining Madagascar’s unique forests through seed dispersal and attracting income through ecotourism.
Another researcher, Ian Colquhoun, explains what can be done to protect the unique Malagasy ecosystem in which the lemurs can thrive:
We highlight three key ways to save lemurs: community-based conservation management, the long-term presence of researchers at field sites, and ecotourism.