Farah Subhan at Amader Kotha, a women-based portal highlighting the unheard voices of Bangladesh, tells how countries like Bangladesh can particularly be positively affected by the celebration of International Women’s Day.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + International Relations
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski visted Iran past weekedend and found out even a polish news site is filtered in country.Later he found out Iran censored his remark on censorship.Green Voice of Freedom tweeted Polish diplomat slams internet censorship during a news conference with Iranian FM Javad Zarif.
— GreenVoiceOfFreedom (@IranGreenVoice) March 7, 2014
IGF Japan, the Japanese chapter of the Internet Governance Forum, where people involved in web come together to discuss Internet governance challenges, will be held on March 14, 2014 at Aoyama Gakuin University. Sessions cover topics such as personal data and privacy, emerging generic top-level domains in Japan, and global online trends.
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.
The 2014 Forum for Francophone Women [fr] Opens today in Kinshasa, DRC. This is the second installment of the forum following the initial one in Paris in 2013. While the first forum focused on reducing violence against women in conflict areas, The objective of the 2014 forum will be dedicated to the role of women in development. Three workshops will be held [fr]: women and education, women and power, women and peace. A focus group will address the issue of girls education up to 16 years old.
Any international readers interested in North Korea would probably come across at least once this famous photo of Korean peninsula from NASA demonstrating a stark difference in the light emission of two Koreas at nighttime. NASA finally updated a new satellite image and it is ‘even more dramatic than the monochrome NASA satellite image of old', writes North Korea Tech blog. The blog also introduces a video version of the image which shows North Korea in context with the rest of East Asia.
Both Venezuela and Haiti have been facing anti-government protests. However, the international media’s escalation of the Venezuelan crisis and their complete silence when it comes to Haiti, raises some important questions about the United States’ inconsistency in upholding the values of human rights and democracy.
Kevin Edmonds calls out the mainstream media.
A full month since President-elect Hery Rajaonarimampianina took position as the new head of state in Madagascar, there are still no indication who the new prime minister will be and what government he/she will assemble. Ma-Laza argues that the main issue is not really the identity of the prime minister but what he/she will bring to the table [fr]:
Un technicien hors pair, rassembleur, capable de mener à bien la politique générale du Président de la République. Ce Premier ministre ne devrait appartenir à aucune mouvance politique, en principe.Mais il n’est ni contre Rajoelina, ni contre Ravalomanana. Bref, c’est un oiseau rare qui inspire aux bailleurs de fonds la confiance. Cette personne existe-t-elle ?
(The prime minister should be) a person with outstanding technical know-how, a uniter who is able to carry out the policy of the President of the Republic. In theory, the Prime Minister should not belong to any political movement. He will not be against Rajoelina, nor against Ravalomanana (the two last presidents). In short, he will have to be that rare person who will inspire the trust of the investors. The question is: does this person even exist?
A day after a tiny news items titled, “Saudi Arabia ‘seeking Pakistani arms for Syrian rebels” appeared in Pakistani newspapers, political blogger Ahsan Butt posts a provocative piece warning Pakistan's foreign policymakers against tiptoeing into Syria's affairs.
In “This is not our war (Syria Edition)” on the Five Rupees Blog, Ahsan writes:
What Pakistan is doing vis-a-vis Syria is one of the dumbest things Pakistan has done in a long time, and that’s really saying something. The Syrian civil war, tragic as it is, has nothing to do with Pakistan. Pakistan has no interests in that conflict. None.
Saudi Arabia is in talks with Pakistan to provide Pakistan-made anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets. Ahsan warns:
Is it wise and advisable to wade into a sectarian civil war two thousand miles away?[...]
Just examine the trajectory of sectarian violence over the last decade.
He explains that any interference in Syria will force the Pakistani state to pay attention to rising sectarian violence in the country:
What are the possible ramifications for such a policy on sectarian violence in Pakistan? Is it likely to exacerbate and make more deadly sectarian cleavages or the opposite?
Ahsan lists four more provocative questions which you can read here.
The health international network La Chaîne de l’Espoir (The Link of Hope) reports that 7 Congolese children in critical conditions benefited from open heart surgeries [fr] on February 14 in Brazzaville, Congo. With the help of the Congo Assistance Fundation as well, Prince Béni and Maya, both suffering from cardiomyopathy were operated for several hours as told in the following report [fr]:
Elle a dix ans et ne pèse que quinze kilos. Son cœur fonctionne mal. Il l'empêche de s'alimenter et donc de grandir. La petite fille doit être opérée le plus vite possible. L'intervention dure six heures.
(Mayala) is ten years old and weighs fifteen pounds. Her heart is malfunctioning. It prevents her from getting nutrients to all her cells and therefore growing. The girl needed an operation as soon as possible. The procedure took six hours.
“Bring All the Culprits of Ethnic Cleansing to Justice” Says a CAR Citizen of Muslim and Christian Descent
Here is Moussa Tanko–Tchaibou's take on the ethnic cleansing that is underway in his country, the Central African Republic and what should be done to stop it [fr]:
Je suis centrafricain de confession musulmane avec cette particularité illustrative de la cohésion sociale, celle d’avoir un père de confession musulmane et une mère d’origine chrétienne [..] Alors que la maison commune est en train de bruler qu’apportent-ils comme contribution afin de mettre fin à cette situation? Rien à part se préparer pour les prochaines échéances électorales, à attiser à distance cette haine contre une certaine catégorie de population [..] il faudrait que les choses avancent vite, car ne pas traduire les coupables de ces crimes horribles devant la cour pénale internationale laisse la porte ouverte à d’autres massacres.
I am a Central African Republic citizen who happens to be muslim. In what used to be an illustration of the social cohesion of the past in my country, my father is Muslim and my mother is Christian. [..] While the house of Central Africa is now burning, what did that they (political leaders) do to put an end to this situation? Nothing but prepare for the next elections and stir up hatred against a certain group of people [..] The world needs to move quickly (with identifying the culprits), because if we do not bring the perpetrators of these horrible crimes to the International Criminal Court rapidly, we will leave the door open for other massacres to occur.
Hayes Brown unpacks why it is important to better understand the two-way atrocities in the region and whether the use of the term genocide in the media is appropriate. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch states that without prompt action, the country will be emptied of its Muslim population [fr].
Is civil society really being heard by inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) such as the United Nations, World Bank, or World Trade Organization? CIVICUS, the world alliance for citizen participation, is polling all civil society organizations (CSOs) who have ever engaged with an IGO to get a clear picture. Eventually they wish to develop a scorecard to assess how well different IGOs and processes are working.
The topic of the post-colonial evolution of francophone versus anglophone African states has always a fodder for intense debate. Cheidozié Dike, from Nigeria, brings a new perspective to the subject :
While the French Loi Cadre system was mostly about integration, the British colonial system sought only exploitation. Creating an air of suspicion between the nations that make up present-day Anglophone Africa, fracturing connections before they were even made, all the better to rule.[.;] Francophone Africans do not feel the need to aspire to western culture, because the French culture was wedded with local customs such that it became an indivisible whole
However, the predominant analysis from francophone Africa is quite different. Ouréguéhi, from Benin, articulates why he thinks francophone Africa is lagging behind its anglophone counterpart financially [fr]:
Les pays anglophones ont été libérés de leur colon sur tous les plans. la France a toujours les regards dans les affaires des colonisés sans oublier la dictée qu'elle fait à ces pays. Quand tu veux voir celui que tu prétends aider évoluer, tu lui donne les conseils tout en lui laissant le choix de sa politique
English-speaking countries were freed from their colonizers at all levels. France still keeps an eye in the affairs of its former colonies, not to mention the fact that she still dictates (a few policies) of these countries. When you want to help someone evolve, you give him/her advice but you let them choose their own policy.
Unaware of the dangers of radioactivity, the locals take the equipment in the old abandoned mines and sell them as scrap, risking not only their own lives but also the spread of radioactivity. A further problem is the use of rock from landfills as a building material for houses and roads.
The threat coming from radioactive waste is aggravated by unsettled borders, water scarcity, and a history of ethnic riots, making the future of the region “increasingly uncertain”.
Patrick Lozada from Beijing Cream discussed the phenomena that many dissidents who have left China would turn up joining the Right Wing organizations in the U.S. He pointed out the dilemma of the current situation:
I understand why they do it. You can say bad things about China in China and go to jail, or you can have conservatives pay you enormous amounts of money to do it in the US. Regardless it causes these activists to lose credibility as agents of change in China, and the impact they can have from the States is minimal.
Iran celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Tuesday.Some netizens wrote about what hardliners reported after the celebration.Hadi Nili tweeted
Some hardliner #Iran'ian users in social networks shown disappointment about "less" anti-US atmosphere in the annual march of revolution.
— Hadi Nili (@HadiNili) February 11, 2014
As the world comes together to take a stand against mass surveillance on February 11, 2014, Brazilian citizens, organizations and collectives are bringing momentum to #TheDayWeFightBack campaign.
Anti-surveillance collective Antivigilancia.tk (@antivigilancia on Twitter), one of the 15 Brazilian signatories of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, has a website with complete information in Portuguese on how to participate in #TheDayWeFightBack, as well as several resources for the day of action, such as banners and memes.
Well-known Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff took on the challenge launched by Web We Want early in February to create original visual works on digital surveillance and the right to privacy.
On Twitter, many Brazilians are linking the day of action with the country's pioneer bill of rights for Internet users, the “Marco Civil da Internet” (Civil Framework for the Internet), which will be brought to the floor in a plenary session [pt] in the House of Representatives today. A group of civil society organizations is expected to meet the Minister of Justice [pt] to voice “serious concerns” regarding the latest modifications to the bill, especially with respect to “the right to the inviolability and secrecy of the flow and content of private communications, the right to privacy and freedom of expression.”
All submissions to the Web We Want contest are available on Flickr.
The Afrographique blog mapped the happiness index for the African continent. Topping the ranking are Angola and Mauritius who hold the same happiness index as Albania and Russia, respectively. In related news, the Pharell’ single “Happy” has been used by dancers around the world to celebrate the new year 2014. All the videos are compiled at the blog We are Happy from . Below are the videos from Antanannarivo, Madagascar:
and Cotonou, Benin:
It's a comic book. And yet, while I did a lot of laughing [it's got a lot of funny moments] I also couldn't stop the tears. Because I was so happy to see a version of myself reflected before me, not sensationalized or stereotyped.
Blogger Aisha Saeed posts a review of the Pakistani American comic hero Ms. Marvel, who was featured in the latest book of Marvel Comics.
French humorist Nicolas Canteloup has come under fire for a sketch making light of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda [fr]. Following the outrage, Mr Canteloup has yet to apologize for the sketch. Audrey Kucinskas, a blogger for the Plus asks the logical question: “can anything be a laughing matter?” [fr]:
Rire du génocide rwandais, ça me dépasse. Vous vous souvenez qu'en 1994, plus d'un million de personnes ont été torturées, violées et assassinées ? Ça vous fait rire ?
Joking about the Rwandan genocide is beyond me. Do you remember in 1994 when more than a million people were tortured, raped and murdered? It was a riot, wasn't it ?
The president of CRAN, Louis-George Tin believes the sketch is totally unacceptable [fr]:
Quand il s'agit des Noirs, à l'évidence, on peut tout se permettre. Mais il est temps que cela cesse. Ce soi-disant humour masque mal une forme extrême de mépris et d'abjection. Devant le crime contre l'humanité, esclavage, Shoah, Rwanda, on ne rit pas, on fait silence.
When it comes to black people, it seems that again, anything goes. But it is time to put an end to that. This so-called humor barely hides an extreme form of contempt and prejudice. When it comes to crime against humanity, slavery, the Holocaust and Rwanda, we do not laugh, we just ought to stay silent.
In preparation for the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance that will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 23-24 April 2014, the organizers are now accepting pre-registrations through a form for expression of interest. The event is a partnership between the state-convened Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), and the non-governmental multistakeholder platform ./1net.
According to the website of the event, NetMundial.br:
This meeting will focus on crafting Internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem.
The organization of a global Internet governance event began a few weeks after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivered a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013, when she criticized the United States for spying and mentioned that Brazil “[would] present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.”
Writing for The Culture Trip, Melissa Pearce reviews the French impact on Vietnamese cooking:
The French brought many ingredients and flavours to Vietnam, most popular and noticeable upon entering the country is probably the baguette, which the Vietnamese adapted and today create their own style of baguette using rice flour.
North Korea has released its own operating system, Red Star Linux, which remarkably resembles Apple's Mac OS X. One tech writer calls it ‘basically a Linux distro skinned to look like OS X‘ and if you want to check yourself, visit North Korea Tech blog who explains in detail with many screen shots.
A special exhibition on ‘comfort women‘- Korean girls forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese army during the World War 2 era- was featured at one of the leading cartoon festivals in France. It made several headlines as the Japanese government tried to block it, but failed. Korean net users have shared an English translation of Park Gun-woong's cartoon ‘Tattoo- A Story of a Comfort Woman'. (The cartoon- which is based on a true story- depicts violent assault, torture and rape. Viewer discretion is strongly advised)
While commenting on the a list of 10 most inspirational Bangladeshis around the world published by the London-based organization ‘British-Bangladeshi Power and Inspiration’, blogger Aminul Islam Sajib points out that 3 of them had significant contribution in technology field.
That’s Twitter – it makes a joke out of serious issues and takes jokes seriously.
- comments blogger Purba Ray while discussing Sunanda Pushkar’s sudden death who underwent a Twitter spat with a Pakistani journalist. The unusual death of the wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor has created a lot of controversy pointing fingers at Twitter.
As Berlin and Tokyo mark 20 years of friendship as sister cities, representatives of two creative industries, including Chairman of the Club Commission of Berlin Marc Wohlrabe and Takahiro Saito, a lawyer and member of Let's Dance, a consortium that fights against Japan's dance regulations, will come together for the AFTER 25 conference on March 1, 2014 in Tokyo to discuss how creative culture can contribute to the socio-economic development of both cities:
After the fall of the Berlin wall, extreme social, cultural and economic changes transformed the city into a unique playground. Today, 25 years later, it attracts creatives, tech startups, social entrepreneurs, and investors from all over the world.
Berlin recognized its creative sub-cultures as part of its identity and history, which now act as key drivers for tourism and economy. This transformed Berlin into a unique, successful city demonstrating how supporting creativity can grow into key economic and social factors fueling innovation and growth.
This dramatic yet positive change that Berlin went through leads us to the question: what role can Tokyo’s creative cultures play in laying the foundations for the city’s next phase? How can we paint a brighter future by aligning the creative potential of these two cities?
Several sources report that a Muslim minister was attacked and killed with knives by mob in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) today (24/01). This recent twitter update by Peter Bouckaert, Emergency Director at Human Rights Watch confirms the identity of the minister:
x-Patasse Min of Health welcomed and hosted Seleka when they entered #Bangui, was attacked w machetes today and died from wounds.
— Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) January 24, 2014
The conflict between Séléka and anti-balakas in CAR has already forced the displacement of more than 1 million people.
“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.
The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative - a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:
Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.
A short video presents the campaign: