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New Spider Species in Borneo Named After Missing Activist

Aposphragisma brunomanseri goblin spider. Photo from the Natural History Museum of Berne

Aposphragisma brunomanseri goblin spider. Photo from the Natural History Museum of Berne

A new spider species in Borneo discovered by Swiss scientists was named after Bruno Manser, an environmentalist who went missing in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia in 2000. Bruno Manser has been campaigning for the protection of the nomadic Penan people and against the destruction of Sarawak rainforest when he was declared missing.

Beijing Expects Hong Kong People to be Rubber Stamps

David Webbs a finance news commentator concluded that the Beijing decision on the nomination of Chief Executive candidates in 2017 is to turn Hong Kong people into rubber stamps.

China Blocks Beijing Independent Film Festival

Beijing authorities blocked an annual independent film festival from opening on August 23, 2014. The move is seen as a sign that Beijing is tightening ideological controls. According to indie director Huang Wenhai, the shutdown was “the darkest day in the history of Chinese independent film.” Started in 2006 by independent art critic Li Xianting, the film festival is a place for indie filmmakers to share and discuss their work. Although the festivals like this had some trouble with the police over the years, it's the first time the whole festival has been blocked. The police also took away records of the Li's work for investigation. 

China Media Project has more details about happenings around the shutdown.

Beatriz’s War: East Timor's First Feature Film

From Facebook page of East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

From Facebook page of East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

A Guerra da Beatriz (Beatriz’s War) is the first feature film from East Timor. It is about Indonesia's occupation of East Timor from 1975 to 1999 and its impact on the Timorese society.

According to the producers of the film, it was “made guerrilla style by the men and
women who fought in the armed resistance and the clandestine movement” against Indonesia's occupation.

Yasmine: Brunei's First Feature Film

The film Yasmine is notable because it is Brunei's first feature film. It is about a young woman who wanted to be a champion of silat, an indigenous martial arts from Brunei. The film has been well-received in various international film festivals.

An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Experience the “Hanoi Soundwalk” Interactive Audio Tour

PrintThe Soundwalk is an “interactive, geo-locative audio tour” where a user with a headphone and smartphone app equipped with GPS can hear sounds as he or she walks around the city.

…when you move around the sounds will appear to be coming from a particular location, and you can discover other sounds as you walk around.

This innovative project was launched in Hanoi, Vietnam last year. The developers plan to spread the concept and campaign to other cities.

Imagine, as the number of available Soundwalks develop, instead of “what do I want to listen to today?”, you'll be wondering “where do I want to listen to today?”.

Digital Reconstruction of Cambodia's Angkor Wat

The Smithsonian Channel has uploaded a video showing a digital reconstruction of Cambodia's Angkor Wat using 3D image technology. Angkor Wat (Temple City) is a popular tourism destination in Cambodia which used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. It is also a massive religious monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia.

Derailed Train Exposed Inefficient Philippine Mass Transport System

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

Scores were injured when a train overshot its stop at a busy intersection in south Manila. The crash ignited an intense discussion about the weak and inefficient mass transportation system in the Philippines. Authorities vowed to improve train service amid rising public anger over the incident.

China’s Soldiers Have Instant Noodles Cooked With Muddy Water. Political Performance? Or Not?

Offbeat China

Offbeat China reported on state-run media, Global Times’ report and self-denial response on a photo feature showing soldiers eating instant noodles cooked in muddy water in Yunnan earthquake zone.

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