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Stories from and

France Launchs National Campaign to Curb Racist and Anti-Semitic Acts

"The Republic United Against Racism" Infographic on the national campaign - Public Domain

“The Republic United Against Racism and Anti-Semitism”. Infographic on the national campaign. Public domain

On April 17, the French government unveiled a national campaign to combat racism and anti-Semitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation.

One hundred euros will be allocated over three years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on Twitter on the day of the announcement.

According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30% increase in racist acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Anti-Semitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Boy’s T-Shirt Pokes Fun at Ecuadorian President

Detalle de imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Detail of image widely shared on Twitter.

When Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa agreed to take a photo with a boy, he probably didn't imagine it would go viral — and he would end up being the butt of the joke. The boy was wearing a T-shirt printed with the phrase “I’m with stupid” and an arrow that pointed toward the head of state.

The image's publication resulted in the hashtag #IAmWithStupidMashi on Twitter. “Mashi” is part of President Correa's handle on Twitter: @mashicorrea (“Mashi” means colleague or teammante in Quechua).

A picture with you, man, so I can wear my T-shirt for the first time. LOL!

#WeAreWithYouMashi all the idiots with you, oh!! Mashi, oh!! Mashi!!

And this is the photo that's causing a stir around the world.

It's clear he urgently needs some lessons with #OpenEnglish.

Municipal Referendum to Preserve Skopje Shopping Centre Scheduled

The local council of the Municipality of Centar, part of the Skopje downtown area, approved a proposal to hold a referendum to preserve the authentic look of the iconic Skopje Shopping Center. As Meta.mk reports, the referendum will take place on April 26. For the referendum to be successful, it needs a turnout of 50 percent plus one of the registered voters in the Municipality of Centar to vote in favor of preserving the original edifice.

The decision is the result of a two-year-long campaign to save the landmark from a faux-baroque reconstruction plan. The Skopje City Shopping Center is known by the local acronym GTC.

“GTC requires nurturing, renovation, reconstruction, while not losing the concept and function. Project for changing the look of GTC means distorting the essence of the object. The investor who will reconstruct the facility has to know the essence and what does GTC means to the citizens. We have nothing against the reconstruction of the GTC, its authenticity as a heritage must be kept,” said Danica Pavlovska from the Association of Architects.

She added that the referendum is the most democratic way to solve the problems of citizens and is something that allows the citizens to be aware of their power.

The activist campaign continues, with an aim to ensure high voter turnout at the referendum, using the hashtags ‘I love GTC’ (#ГоСакамГТЦ) and ‘GTC’ (#ГТЦ).

Centar decided! On April 26, we go to referendum to save GTC.
The voice of the citizens will be heard. Municipality of Centar voted to allow a referendum on GTC.

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.

South Korea: Game Mocking the Airplane Nuts Fiasco

Korean Air Lines vice president has made numerous headlines, both locally and internationally, for her arrogant behavior on a recent flight out. She randomly accused a crew member of serving macadamia nuts ‘incorrectly’ and even she ordered a plane back to the gate to remove the crew member out of the plane. No wonder this sensational story has become one of the trending topics in social media. Among numerous internet jokes, parody photos and even a cartoon by Japanese users, one stood out most would be a game mocking the Airplane nuts fiasco. A Korean web developer, Tai-hwan Hah (@duecorda) made a simple game entitlted ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon’ [ko]. However you play, you get the same result of the crew member being yelled at and hearing the sentence ‘You! Get out of the plane!’ — the very word the vice president allegedly said to the crew.

Image the 'Crew Members' Tycoon', Image tweeted by the maker of the game

Image the ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon’, Image tweeted by the maker of the game

He Stole, Was Caught, Asked for Forgiveness and Was Forgiven

Captuira de pantalla de video en YouTube del usuario KDNA15TV.

Screenshot of video on YouTube posted by user KDNA15TV.

He had probably thought it would be easy to steal some shampoo from the owner of a store in Peru, but things went bad for this thief.

The man and his accomplice entered a store in the Peruvian city of Huancayo, saying they were buying some liquor, and when the owner was distracted, they took a box of shampoo. The owner noticed what had happened and asked for help from security guards. To prevent the situation from escalating, one of the thieves knelt down to ask for forgiveness. The owner, a woman, was so moved by this reaction that she didn't press charges. The accomplice also benefited, although he didn't ask for forgiveness.

The guy claimed he will never again commit an act like this one.

The blog Noticias Huancayo Perú summed it up:

Se arrodilló y pidió perdón a la anciana manifestando que era la última vez que robaría. La agraviada […] al aceptar sus súplicas del ladrón negó en denunciar el hecho.

He knelt down and begged the old lady for forgiveness, claiming it would be the last time he'd steal. The affected lady […] while accepting the thief's pleas, refused to report the incident.

User KDNA15TV posted a video with the events:

Thief got forgiveness after kneeling down for stealing a box of shampoo. Along with his accomplice…

Mexican Beauty Pageant Contestant’s Baffling ‘Chimpanzee’ Answer

Mariana Torres. Imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Mariana Torres. Image widely shared on Twitter.

It's well known that every aspiring beauty queen must answer a difficult question in the interview portion of the contest. Also well known are some of the answers that contestants have given, answers that earned them more publicity than their good looks ever did.

The most recent of those answers was given by Mexican Mariana Morres during the semifinal of the Miss Our Latin Beauty 2015, which has circulated online. The question: “Which partner would you choose to preserve the human species in case of a nuclear holocaust?” Torres answered: “A couple of chimpanzees… You know, due to the theory we come from there, so…”

As expected, Twitter users didn't waste any time in commenting:

Mariana Torres, finalist in Miss Our Latin Beauty really stepped in it while answering a question.

Wonderful! Number 1 fan of beauty queen wisdom. Hahaha.

Mariana Torres makes a fool of herself and loses the final at Miss Our Latin Beauty.

Although some were sympathetic:

Don't make fun of Miss Our Beauty Mariana Torres and her chimpanzee, in the future she could become the partner of some politician.

Höség: Water and Windproof Solidarity

Mirador de los Andes. Imagen en Flickr del usuario Boris G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Viewpoint of the Andes. Image on Flickr by usser Boris G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Höség is a Hungarian word that means heat, and that's what supportive people are giving children in the highest zones of Peruvian Andes, where temperatures are so low that “it's winter every day after five in the afternoon”.

Warm and functional. Thought on the needs of children who live over 9800 f.a.s.l. Waterproof and windproof. With fiberfill and fleece lining to keep warm but also comfortable. Hood, elastic cuffs and high collar neck to keep the cold out.
Coral color inspired by cochinilla, a natural dye from the Peruvian Andes, making it visible from a distance.
A happy jacket for kids between 0 and 16 years.
A jacket designed with love.

The idea of Hösėg is simple: when you buy a jacket, you give another one to a child in the Peruvian highlands, according to Juan Carlos Sznak, one of the promotors of the iniitiative:

Nuestro mensaje a los niños cuando le entregamos las casacas va más allá del simple hecho de abrigar, es darles calor humano.

Our message to children when we hand them the jackets goes beyond the simple fact of getting them warm, it's to bring them love and affection.

The jackets are personally delivered by Sznak and his brothers, the brains and hearts behind Höség.

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.

Paddington Bear Visits the Land of His Peruvian Forefathers

"Por favor, cuiden de este oso. Muchas gracias". Imagen en Flickr del usuario Mark Kenny (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Image on Flickr by user Mark Kenny (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Paddington Bear, the lovable fictional character in children's literature popular in the United Kindgonm, arrived in Peru, the land of his forefathers. According to the character's story, Paddington was found at Paddington Railway Station in London by the Brown family. Because, apparently, “no one understands his Peruvian name”, he becomes known as Paddington after the railway station in which he was found.

In a press release from the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, a campaign by Promperú, which is part of the ministry, was made public:

[…] para promover a nuestro país como uno de los destinos más fascinantes de América del Sur y del mundo, incluye esta visita durante la cual el Oso Paddington pondrá en vitrina nuestras culturas vivas, historia milenaria, biodiversidad, gastronomía y celebraciones.

[…] to promote our country as one of the most fascinating places in South America and the world, during this visit Paddington Bear will highlight our lively cultures, millenary history, biodiversity, cuisine and celebrations.

So, Paddington Bear was seen all around Lima:

Paddington Bear in our capital city Main Square. Go ahead and meet him!

Paddington Bear attends First International Fair President of the Republic Scholarship

I came across Paddington Bear and I can only conclude he must be boiling under that costume.

Today, Paddington Bear visited our newsroom.

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