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Stories from Quick Reads

How Do We say “Bro” in Latin America?

The Facebook page of Pictoline, a highly visual site for news and information, shared this map with the different ways people in Latin American countries say “bro”, short for brother in English. While in Mexico they use wey, in Peru is pata, or pana en Venezuela and parce en Colombia.

The Bromap: ¿Cómo se dice “bro” en Latinoamérica?

Posted by Pictoline on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Bromap: How do we say “bro” in Latin America?

You Can Also Demand Justice for the Journalists Killed in Mexico

More than 500 journalists, writers, artists and defenders for freedom of expression from around the world wrote an open letter to the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in which they called for explanations on the murder of Rubén Espinosa and all other journalists killed in the country, according to the blog Journalism in the Americas.

On July 31, photo journalist Rubén Espinosa was found dead along with four women in a Mexico City apartment. Upon receiving death threats, he fled from Veracruz, where 14 other journalists were killed in recent years, to Mexico's capital last June with the purpose of protecting his integrity.

The letter says:

Since 2000, dozens of journalists have been killed in Mexico, and approximately 20 more remain disappeared. The great majority of these crimes have never been prosecuted”…

… Mr. President, we urge you:

1. To guarantee the immediate and effective investigation of the assassination of Rubén Espinosa and the shameful number of journalists in Mexico who have met the same fate, and the thorough investigation of state and municipal officials who, in each case, may have been involved.
2. To undertake an immediate review of the procedures established to protect reporters’ lives, and to make a swift and effective commitment to guarantee and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.

The letter has the support of PEN and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). People like Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Indian writer Salman Rushdie, American journalist Christiane Amanpour and hundreds of journalists, writers and artists have signed the open letter, and now you too could also add your name.

Search Coordinator for Ayotzinapa Students Assasinated

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, coordinator of the search for the 43 Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students, was assasinated in Mexico.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was found dead last weekend in a taxi he owned with a gunshot to the head.

In response to authorities’ lack of action against organized crime, he founded a self-defense group in 2013 in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A year later, the group formed a commission to launch the search for the 43 students of the rural teachers’ college in the community of Ayotzinapa who disappeared on September 26, 2014.

The BBC interviewed him about the search:

The activist never found the students, but thanks to his efforts, the search discovered 129 bodies which have been turned over to the authorities for identification.

Meet Sam Wakoba of TechMoran Blog

Bloggers Association of Kenya profiles Sam Wakoba who runs Techmoran blog. Techmoran won the award for the Best Technology Blog in Kenya this year:

We caught up with Sam to get some insights into his blogging journey.

Who is Sam Wakoba, in a few words?

Sam Wakoba is a humble and hardworking Kenyan, passionate about bettering lives in any way he can. He believes that, with the right information, anyone can be empowered to become a better citizen, employee or business person. My calling has been to dedicate my life and time to empower communities. This is just the start.

How did you come up with the name for your blog. Why ‘TechMoran’?

A Moran is a warrior and tour guide in the Maasai community. As tech ‘Morans’ we want to protect our local tech ecosystem as well as guide those who are new to it. International media covers African tech in a bad way – focusing more on NGO backed companies. We want to show the world everyday innovations in Africa hence protect the entire ecosystem

HRW Research Finds Media Freedom in Western Balkans Under Serious Threat

After almost a year of research in the region and in-depth interviews with over 80 journalists, editors, and independent media owners, Human Rights Watch released a report in July 2015 stating that media freedom in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia are under threat.

The report's findings include impunity and lack of action by authorities for threats, beatings, and even murders of journalists and media workers in these countries, citing that political interference and financial pressure through heavy fines and vague laws are often imposed on independent media in these countries.

In several cases journalists said they have continued to experience physical violence and abuse after their initial attack, again, often with impunity for their assailants. Journalists reporting on war crimes or radical religious groups in BiH, Kosovo and Serbia said authorities downplayed the seriousness of online threats they had experienced.[…]

Inefficiency and severe backlogs in the four justice systems impede timely adjudication of legal cases. Cases tend to drag on for years, creating an environment that can be used to the advantage of those who seek to stifle critical reporting through criminal acts of intimidation.

Human Rights Watch's key recommendations to authorities and governments in the four countries in question following this report include public and unequivocal condemnation of all attacks against journalists and media outlets and assurance of swift and thorough investigations into all such incidents, as well as prompt and impartial investigations into all attacks and threats against journalists and media outlets, including cybercrimes. The international human rights watch dog has also recommended that the European Union, to which all four of these countries are currently aspiring, the OSCE and the Council of Europe pay closer attention and take additional steps to urge relevant authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia to react appropriately to media threats and ensure a safe environment for journalists to work in.

An Amazon Tribe's 500-Page Traditional-Medicine Encyclopaedia

The Amazon Rainforest supports millions of plants that could be vital ingredients in still-undiscovered medications. For that reason, many pharmaceutical companies and even the US government are currently funding projects to study the indigenous plant knowledge of native shamans and healers in the area, and develop new drugs.

The Matsés people, who live in Peru and Brazil, have created a health encyclopedia more than 500 pages long cataloging their traditional medicinal practices, preserving ancestral knowledge for younger generations. The majority of the shamans are old and without apprentices. So when they die a vast knowledge also disappears.

But, in order to avoid bio-piracy, this information remains with the Matsés people; it is only accessible in the native tongue and is only distributed within the tribe’s villages. Protective measures also include: “no scientific names are used to identify local plant species, and no plants will be pictured in detail, so as not to be identifiable to outsiders.”

“The [Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia] marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words,” Christopher Herndon, president and co-founder of Acaté, told Mongabay in an interview.

According to Pachamama Alliance, a global community focused on creating a sustainable future, the health and wellbeing of the Western world, often comes at a high price for indigenous peoples. As pharmaceutical companies have realized that their research generates better outcomes if they co-operate with indigenous people and tap into their wisdom, rainforest tribes are at risk of losing control over their resources.

Once the pharmaceutical companies have developed the drug, they file patents claiming exclusive rights to the medical use of the plant – hence limiting or even denying access to the plants that indigenous peoples have relied upon for centuries.

That's why in 2010, the tenth Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. It specifically addresses the issue of bioprospecting and the rights of indigenous peoples to access to forest resources, intellectual property, and adequate compensation.

Acaté, a San-Francisco-based non-profit, assisted the five shamans who compiled the encyclopaedia. In the encyclopaedia, each entry is categorized by a disease name and features explanations of how to recognise the disease according to symptoms, understand its root causes and know how to prepare medicine from specific plants to use as treatment. The entries also make readers aware of alternative therapeutic options.

The idea behind the project is to make the tribes less dependent on conventional doctors and western drugs, while maintaining their self-sufficiency.

Muhammadiyah Wants Indonesia be a Key Player in the World

Indonesian President Jokowi attends the national congress of Muhammadiyah. From the official Facebook page of Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah.

Indonesian President Jokowi attends the national congress of Muhammadiyah. Photo from the official Facebook page of Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah.

Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations, is officially holding its 47th congress in Makassar, South Sulawesi, this week. President Joko Widodo and several ministers, as well as ambassadors from neighbouring countries, attended the opening ceremony at Karebosi field on Monday, August 3.

Indonesia is the world's largest nation with a Muslim-dominated population. In recent years, the government has actively promoted the idea of a modern and moderate Islam amid the rise of extremist religious movements in the region and other parts of the world.

Muhammadiyah is an influential Islamic organization in Indonesia which claims to have a membership of 55 million aside from owning thousands of schools, clinics, and hospitals across the country. It has partnered with the government in endorsing Indonesia as the voice of moderate Islam.

No fewer than 6,000 people are participating in this year's congress, in addition to another 300,000 cheerleaders who aren't formally registered as participants, but will nonetheless enliven the event.

In addition, the chairmen of Muhammadiyah's special branches—present in 16 countries—will also be attending, along with several sister organizations who chose the name Muhammadiyah. While these sibling organizations don't have the same structural organizational relationship Muhammadiyah has in Indonesia, they do develop the same religious ideas, the same strategy of struggle, and even the same logo. The branches include representation in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Mauritius. Guests of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the organization's Catholic community (based on Rome) also attended.

The event is held concurrently with the congress of First Century of Aisyiyah—a women's organization of Muhammadiyah—and will take place over five days.

With a large population and abundant resources, Muhammadiyah has pledged to encourage Indonesia to emerge as a key player in the world. That promise was made by Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah.

The theme of the congress is the “propagation of enlightenment towards Indonesia progression”. Muhammadiyah wants to establish Indonesia as a country that is also founded by Muhammadiyah, which bound together communities even before the country was born.

Prof Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah.  Photo from the group's official Fcebook page

Prof Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah. Photo from the group's official Facebook page

Participants of Muhammadiyah’s Counseling Meeting

The congress ends today, August 7, with a closing ceremony attended by Indonesian vice president HE Jusuf Kalla.

 

‘Films for Action’ Website Shares List of Top 100 Documentaries ‘We Can Use to Change the World’

After years of promotion and reviews of documentaries devoted to social change, the site Films for Action released a list of what they consider to be the 100 most influencial and provocative. From critiques to manistream media to the corporate world, passing through the ideas and solutions proposed in and by the majority world, this list of films present a wide view of ideas that many consider crucial to discuss.

The list includes documentaries like The Economics of Happiness (2011), which will be available for free in August, and The Crisis of Civilization (2011), based on the Book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels […] All of the films have been selected because they are either free to watch online, or can be rented online. There are several films we would have loved to add to this list, but they currently don't have an accessible way to view them. As that changes, we'll be updating this list over time. Enjoy!

Watch This Giant Rainbow Mural Transform a Low-Income Mexican Neighborhood

A low-income neighborhood in Mexico was transformed in a giant rainbow by the collective Germen Crew—a youth organization of muralists and street artists formed by 15 graffiti artists, under the direction of Mibe (Luis Enrique Gómez Guzmán), who's teamed with Mexican Government.

The more than 200 homes of the village of Palmitas, in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo State), are now connected through colors.

Another example of the collective's “urban neomuralism” is Mexico City's famous Jamaica Market, which comprises over 1,000 stands dedicated to the sale of flowers, floral arrangements, ornamental plants, and garden accessories. Last year, the crew created a mural that visualizes a symbolic ritual beginning with “Mother Earth” (Tonantzin) giving birth to a life-form that transforms into flowers on the south façade of the famous flower market.

Court Fines the Taiwan Immigration Authority for the Denied Entry of a Foreign Visitor Ahead Anti-nuclear Protest

Daniel Andres Helmdach, working as a volunteer on conservation projects in 2011.

Daniel Andres Helmdach, working as a volunteer on conservation projects in 2011. Photo is from Rui-Guang Huang's facebook.

Two years ago in March 2013, Daniel Andres Helmdach was detained and deported from Taiwan because the immigration suspected that he visited the country to join the anti-nuclear protest. The German youth had done nothing illegal in Taiwan before, he merely worked as a volunteer on conversation projects back in 2011. He sued the immigration office for the unreasonable treatment and finally the Taipei District Court ruled on July 30, 2015 that the immigration authority should pay a compensation of NT$125000 (US$4200) to Daniel for his plane ticket and as consolation payment.

Daniel's case has been considered a typical example of the Taiwanese authorities abusive use of power in clamping down dissent activities. Two Japanese people from Fukushima were warned by the country's immigration office immediately after they gave a speech at an anti-nuclear demonstration on April 30, 2011 in Taiwan.

Protesters Rally Against Iranian Nuclear Deal in Times Square

This past Wednesday a rally gathered in New York's Time Square to oppose the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China). The effort was meant to send a message to the U.S. congress to veto the deal. The Associated Press described it as a event consisting mainly “of pro-Israel supporters, though organizers said it represents Americans of all faiths and political convictions.” Congress has 60 days to review the agreement that lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for measures by the Iranian government to prevent developing a nuclear weapon.

BBC Persian correspondent Bahman Kalbasi was in the crowd to tweet details of the event, and to criticize media outlets such as CBS for describing the event as ‘packed’.

Global Voices Checkdesk Training Workshop to be held in Beirut on July 29

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 3.21.50 PMInvestigative journalists and people interested in social media in Lebanon are in for a treat at the end of this month.

Global Voices Online and Meedan are teaming up to present a workshop on ‘Fact-checking for the Web’ at AltCity, Hamra, Beirut, on July 29.

The hands-on training will take place from 2pm to 6pm and covers topics related to the emergence and development of citizen journalism in the MENA region, reporting for the Web and online media verification.

Launched in March 2015, Global Voices Checkdesk is powered by the globally minded team at Meedan; working from San Francisco, Cairo, Vancouver, London and Beirut. It is a multi-year project combining research and open curriculum development with our University partner Birmingham City University, open curriculum development and training with a set of community media initiatives, and content creation through a growing network of regional media partners.

GV Checkdesk is run by Global Voices Lebanese author Joey Ayoub and Global Voices Bahrain author Faten Bushehri, who, along with a team of volunteers, have been tracking citizen media reports on breaking news across the Middle East and North Africa region. The goal is to collect witness accounts and other reports under one platform, and then verify the news, before it is used as part of our coverage at Global Voices Online. To join our GV Checkdesk team, please sign up here.

To find out how Checkdesk works, sign up here for the workshop. Hurry up as seating is limited.

Global Voices Partners with Sin Embargo México

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America and Mexican news site Sin Embargo recently agreed to join forces to spread original stories form Mexico and Latin America to a global audience.

Sin Embargo is a Spanish language news site based in Mexico that produces original journalism and investigative stories. The site was founded in 2011, under the slogan “rigorous journalism”, and is among Mexico's top news sites. Every month the site averages 4.6 million unique users and 10 million page views.

While many digital news operations aggregate content from other sites, founder and publisher Jorge Zepeda Patterson believes that “the only possibility for generating significant traffic is by creating your own content.”

Starting July, Global Voices will translate and publish stories from Sin Embargo on its Spanish and English language sites. Some stories may get translated into up to 30 languages through our Lingua translation project. This is the first story Global Voices published as part of the cooperation: Mexico Was Hacking Team's No. 1 Client for Spyware.

Serbian Authorities Take Control of A Man's Facebook Account Following Alleged Threats Against PM Vucic

Screenshot of the Facebook status in question, in which Milivojevic allegedly threatens Serbian Prime Minister Vucic.

Screenshot of the Facebook status in question, in which Milivojevic allegedly threatens Serbian Prime Minister Vucic.

In Serbia, the detainment of individuals for personal social media postings has become almost commonplace over the last year. During the mass floods in May 2014, police arrested over a dozen individuals for allegedly “inciting panic” on social media when the country was indeed in a national state of emergency. Some were detained for several days.

In early July 2015, in the Serbian town of Aleksinac, police detained Dejan Milojevic for allegedly threatening the life of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on his personal Facebook account. They seized his computer and other communications devices, and also took charge of his Facebook account, changing his password and locking Milivojevic out of his own account.

Serbian NGO Share Defense called the account takeover a “very intrusive measure under questionable legal basis, in particular from the aspect of international protection of privacy and freedom of expression standards.” The Share Defense team of legal experts explained the legal issues in this matter on their website:

Ovakav opis postupanja policije izdvaja aleksinački slučaj od sličnih istraga pokrenutih zbog komentara na društvenim mrežama, i otvara problem nejasnih ovlašćenja policije u digitalnom okruženju. Naime, pristup policije privatnom fejsbuk profilu nedvosmisleno predstavlja povredu tajnosti sredstava komuniciranja koja je zagarantovana članom 41 Ustava Republike Srbije. Odstupanja su moguća isključivo uz odluku suda koja bi se konkretno odnosila na sporni fejsbuk profil, o čemu za sada nema pouzdanih informacija. Dejanu Milojeviću je onemogućen pristup privatnom fejsbuk nalogu, čime mu je ograničena sloboda izražavanja i informisanja.

Policija je prilikom pretresa oduzela Milojevićev kompjuter i telefone (u skladu sa članom 147 Zakonika o krivičnom postupku), na šta ima pravo i bez posebne sudske odluke. Međutim, pretraživanje podataka o komunikaciji koji se čuvaju na tim uređajima nije moguće bez sudskog naloga.

This description of the actions of police separates the Aleksinac case from similar investigations started due to comments on social networks and opens the issue of unclear rights that police have in the digital realm. Specifically, police access to a private Facebook profile undoubtedly represents an injury to the privacy of communication, which is guaranteed under Section 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. An exception to this can only be awarded by a court, that would have to reference the Facebook profile in question…Dejan Milivojevic's access to his private Facebook account has been breached, thus his freedom of expression and right to access to information has been limited.

Police seized Milivojevic's computer and telephones during the raid (in accordance with Article 147 of the Law on Criminal Proceedings), which they are authorized to do without exceptional court order. However, search and seizure of communication information that are stored on those devices* is not allowed without a court order. [*editor's emphasis]

While Milivojevic no longer has access to his Facebook account, the status update that had police raiding his home and led to accusations that he was threatening the Prime Minister is still publicly visible on his profile:

Браћо и сестре, враг је однео шалу!!! Дајте да се организујемо да неко убије говнара и да ослободимо земљу. Доста је било, стварно!!!

Brothers and sisters, the joke has gone too far!!! Let's organize and have someone kill the shithead and liberate the country. Enough is enough, really!!!

The Prime Minister's name was not mentioned in the status update or in the comments of the post, although one commenter does ask whom Milivojevic is referencing as “the shithead”. Milivojevic also calls for a “lynching” in his responses to comments, but then later adds in a comment that “of course, I was kidding about the killing; I abhore violence, even towards such a worm and bum.”

ISIS Hacks Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Website and Threatens its Director

A residential area of Aleppo, after a bombing in 2014. Photo by Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A residential area of Aleppo, after a bombing in 2014. Photo by Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The ISIS cyber army has allegedly hacked the website of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog on July 8, 2015, and threatened its Syrian director, Rami Abdelrahman, for his role in documenting human rights abuses committed by all parties in the ongoing war in Syria.

The news was confirmed by Reuters. SITE Intel Group also reported the hack on the UK-based site:

The cyber attack was made by the group, affiliated with ISIS, which calls itself the Cyber Army of the Khilafah, or the self-proclaimed Caliphate, which covers large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq.

Below is a screenshot of the site, which is now down.

syrian-observatory-website-down-hack

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights website is down, after being allegedly hacked by ISIS supporters

Here is Why Nairobi is Africa's Most Successful ICT Hub

Elvans Kidero explains the secrets behind Nairobi's success in ICT sector in Africa:

Where is Africa’s ICT hub? Is it South Africa, Nigeria or Nairobi, the capital of Kenya? By growth, it would have to be Nairobi, with my county’s ICT sector expected to grow by 15 per cent this year, compared to around 6 per cent for the economy as a whole.

Kenya and Nairobi – dubbed the “Silicon Savannah” – has boomed in recent years through international partnerships and home-grown products, the most famous being M-PESA the mobile money transfer service that has revolutionised financial transactions for hundreds of millions across the world. Innovation spaces such as iHub have helped spur growth for young tech entrepreneurs offering opportunities for co-working and incubation. Other products such as M-Farm, an app providing an online marketplace and real-time prices for agricultural buyers and sellers and iCow, an SMS-based service for farming information – just to name a few – have seen Nairobians’ technology spread far beyond city borders.

Only this month, in a real boost for Nairobi, IBM opened a new big data research centre in our city, underlining our new front-runner status. This body will assist in analysing big data, support the decongestion of traffic and improve accessibility and speeds for accessing information and services.

So why has Nairobi been growing so fast?

53 Echoes of Zaire: Popular Painting From Lubumbashi

Liese Van Der Watt, a South African art writer based in London, writes about 53 Echoes of Zaire, exhibition of popular painting from Zaire that is going on in London:

The exhibition was curated by Salimata Diop from the Africa Centre in London in cooperation with the Sulger-Buel Lovell gallery. It comprises 53 paintings by artists Louis Kalema, C. Mutombo, B. Ilunga, Ndaie, and Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, belonging to the Belgian collector Etienne Bol whose late father Victor Bol collected these works while spending time in Zaire in the 1970s.

The artists are all self-taught and the exhibition shows a series of works all executed in a style similar to what is sometimes called the Zaire School of Popular Painting. The most famous of this so-called school is probably Chéri Samba, who shot to fame after he was included in the Magiciens de la Terre (Magicians of Earth) show at the Pompidou in 1989. These works are painted on flour sack rather than canvas, often with a limited palette of poster paints and with thick brushes.

Documentary ‘Too Black To Be French’ Wants to Start an Honest Conversation on Race in France

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary "Too black to be French"

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary “Too black to Be French”

Too Black to Be French” is a documentary made by Isabelle Boni-Claverie, a French-Ivorian writer and filmmaker. Boni-Claverie's goal is to provide unexplored ideas and start a conversation on French society's inequalities and discrimination.

The documentary includes commentary and analyses from renowned Francophone thinkers such as Eric Fassin, Pap Ndiaye, Achille Mbembe, Patrick Simon and Eric Chalaye, along with testimonies from anonymous people of color. Some of the main arguments in the documentary are the conspicuous lack of minorities in the public media sphere, the lack of acknowledgment of colonial history in the fabric of the nation and the absence of quantitative data on discrimination at the workplace.

The documentary ignited a trending hashtag #TuSaisQueTesNoirEnFranceQuand (Translation: You know you are black in France when…) on Francophone social media.

Storipot: A News Aggregator for Ugandan Blogs

Keep up to date with news and conversations on Ugandan blogosphere through Storipot, a news aggregator created by Dignited:

Storipot is a News aggregator that provides you with headlines of the latest stories (“Feeds”) curated from websites and blogs by or about Uganda.

Storipot helps you filter through the noise of today’s vast information by bringing to surface a summary of the day's most important stories on a single page.

We are currently doing this through clever computer algorithms that routinely crawl through our large database of more than 250(as of launch) Ugandan content sources. We analyze and gauge all this content to bring you the most compelling content on the web from Uganda.

However, with the understanding that nothing beats the human judgement, Storipot also employs human editorial curation mechanisms. With a team of long-time experienced bloggers and journalists, we sieve through the blog sphere to discover and bring you great content that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Designed for both readers and publishers.

Kenyan Blogger Defamation Case Highlights the Need for Education

Shitemi Khamadi argues that a case where a telecommunication provider, Safaricom, has sued a Kenyan blogger Cyprian Nyakundi for defamation highlights the need for education on the law and Internet in Kenya:

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) in whose mandate is to promote online local content has been running a project called ifreedoms. The project seeks to enlighten Kenyans of all walks of life about the law and the internet in Kenya. It conducts these training’s in various locations around the country. So far, these training’s have been held in Nairobi, Kisumu and Nyeri. It intends, in the long run, to go nationwide.

It is in the interest of BAKE that Kenyans know how they should conduct themselves online so that they responsibly, accurately and consistently tell their own stories online through blogs and social media platforms. Certainly when a blogger has a legal issue, BAKE may intervene when the cause is genuine and especially when it involves its members. It does these by assisting with legal counsel, popularizing the issue on social media and documenting it.

This Nyakundi court case validates what BAKE is doing. Nyakundi is still innocent until proven guilty. However, if he knew his legal rights and obligations, he probably would not be in the situation he is today. More importantly, more Kenyans should take queue from this to learn how they should conduct themselves online.

The Happiest Countries in the World Are All in Latin America

Gallup interviewed 150,000 adults in 148 countries, asking such questions as, “Did you smile or laugh yesterday?” and “Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?” to build a positive-experience index. Surprisingly, the leading countries in terms of positive emotions were all in Latin America, from Paraguay to Nicaragua, according to Quartz.

The survey used a scale from 0 to 100 and found that the world’s positive-experience index average for 2014 was 71/100—”the same as 2013, and just about what it’s been since 2006.”

The country with the least positive emotional score was Sudan (47/100). Happiness levels are also low in Tunisia, Serbia, Turkey, and others, apparently thanks to war and other forms of political instability.

In Bolivia and El Salvador, for example, 59 perecnt of respondents replied “yes” to all of the questions about both positive and negative emotions, which gives these nations particularly high “emotional” scores.

Indonesian Court Orders Family of Former President Suharto to Return Embezzled Funds

Students in Karawang, Indonesia. Photo from Public Domain Images

Students in Karawang, Indonesia. Photo from Public Domain Images

Indonesia's Supreme Court has ruled that the foundation of the late President Suharto is guilty of embezzling state funds from 1976 to 1998. It ordered the family of Suharto to return 315 million US dollars to the state.

Suharto ruled Indonesia from 1967 to 1998. During his 31-year rule, he was accused of committing grave human rights violations and massive corruption. Several weeks of street riots and rallies forced Suharto to resign in 1998.

In 1976, Suharto ordered state-managed banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits in favor of Supersemar Foundation's scholarship program. But in 2010, the court found the foundation once chaired by Suharto guilty of misappropriating public funds. It also noted that only a tiny amount of the funds was actually distributed to students. Last month, the court issued its final ruling on the matter.

The ruling, which was made public only this month, is significant since it’s the first time that a local court has found Suharto guilty of corruption. Naturally, it got intense reactions from many Indonesians.

Kompasiana, Indonesia's leading citizen media platform, featured some commentaries about the issue. Vishnu Andang Jaya urged Suharto's family to respect the court's ruling and to immediately return the people's money. Fadli Zontor wrote that the foundation was a mysterious entity with many questionable dealings in the past. Indira Revi urged an audit of all ‘donations’ registered by state-owned enterprises, especially during the time of Suharto.

But Hatta Celebes testified that the scholarship program was real:

I am proud to have received a scholarship from this foundation and this foundation had a positive role that many in this country are now ignoring.

Masinton Pasaribu, one of the student activists who joined the anti-Suharto rallies in 1998, urged the government to quickly implement the court's decision.

Meanwhile, Suharto's youngest son, Tommy Suharto, is challenging the decision of the Supreme Court via Twitter:

No retreat in fighting for the truth. Tonight I initiated an appeal to protect the dignity of sons and daughters of the best graduates of (Supersemar Scholarship)!

Iraqi Startups One Year After the Rise of ISIS

Ahmed Marwan shares stories about a few Iraqi startups one year after the rise of ISIS, at Wamda.

He explains:

But what is more uncertain than calculating the success probability of a startup working in a city less than 50 km away from the turmoil caused by ISIS?

That is exactly what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in Baghdad: they’re operating under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

Marwan sites a few examples of Iraqi startups and concludes:

These young guys and the other entrepreneurs have proved one thing: entrepreneurship in Iraq has unlimited potential in the face of adversity.

The pressing security situation, Iraq’s financial crisis and damaged infrastructure, investors’ unfamiliarity with startups, and other big obstacles are all valid arguments for the doubters and naysayers in the debate about the future of entrepreneurship in Iraq.

But entrepreneurs beg to differ and they keep doing what they are best at: surviving in this brutal market and striving to make a name for themselves.

The ‘Escopetarra': A Killer Instrument

If you believe that nothing good can come from a rifle, then you have to get to know the “escopetarra”—a hybrid that transforms two “lethal” weapons (an AK-47 and a guitar) into an instrument of peace. “Escopetarra” is a Spanish blend that combines the words “escopeta” (shotgun) and “guitarra” (guitar).

In his Spanish-language podcast, Colombian musician César López talks about how he created the instrument, tracing it from the moment of its conception to all of the technical issues he faced creating it, as well as its characteristic sound.

There are more AK-47s in the world than any other gun, thanks to how unusually cheap the weapon is to make. It is estimated that there are 35-to-50 million AK-47s in existence, not counting those that are manufactured illegally each year.

“Primero, el AK 47 es el arma que más muertos le ha causado al planeta Tierra en toda su historia. Es el arma que se ha usado en Sudáfrica, Medio Oriente, Centro América, en Colombia”, dijo López en entrevista con la cadena estadounidense Univision.

“First of all, the AK-47 has caused the most deaths by any weapon on the planet. It's been used in South Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and also in Colombia”, stated López in an interview with the American television network, Univision.

The first “escopetarra” was made in 2003 using a Winchester rifle and a Stratocaster electric guitar. The rifle is taken apart in a way that it is no longer considered a weapon and cannot be used as such.

Currently, about 20 “escopetarras” have been presented to prominent musicians and international leaders who stand for peace, including the Colombian band, Aterciopelados, Argentinean musician Fito Páez, and UNESCO.

Serbian Intelligence Agency Caught Inquiring to Purchase Surveillance Software

Screenshot of one of many emails from Hacking Team account manager to unknown official Serbian State Intelligence Agency email from 2012. Image courtesy of SHARE Defense, used with permission.

Screenshot of one of many emails from Hacking Team account manager to unknown official Serbian State Intelligence Agency email from 2012. Image courtesy of SHARE Defense, used with permission.

Serbian NGO SHARE Defense reported in July 2015 that leaked emails and files belonging to Milan-based software company Hacking Team (HT) published on  Wikileaks reveal that at least one Serbian security service inquired about and negotiated the purchase of surveillance software from this company in 2012. There is also evidence that one or more email accounts from the Serbian Ministry of Defense appear as trial users of the spy software made by the Italian company.

The software in question is the so-called Remote Control System, or RCS, ans essentially works by targeting the spreading of viruses on computers and mobile phones of persons under surveillance. According to SHARE Defense sources, most clients using this software are governments from around the world and their security services.

SHARE Defense's legal team also called attention to which organizations might be able to gain permission and afford the use of such software:

Share Foundation wrote about the legal framework for import of this kind of software in Serbia back in 2013 because of the “Trovicor” case, stating that rules for dual use goods must be applied and that a permit from the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications is obligatory.[…]

If we assume that certain organisations can be authorized to use this equipment, in our legal system that wouldn’t be possible without a court decision in accordance with the law. Using it in any other way would be an obvious violation of human rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and numerous international conventions.

Zambian Businessman’s Lawyers Petition GoDaddy To Pull Down News Site

Zambian citizen media website Zambia Reports is facing legal threats from a local businessman, Rajan Mahtani, is petitioning GoDaddy, the website’s hosting company, to kick Zambia Reports off of its servers.

According to the Zambian Watchdog, a rival website, Zambia Reports has been accused of publishing defamatory articles on Dr. Mahtani, who is the founder of one Zambia’s biggest indigenous banks, Finance Bank and a chain of other businesses.

A letter said to have been written by Rajan Mahtani's US-based lawyers to GoDaddy.

A letter said to have been written by Rajan Mahtani's US-based lawyers to GoDaddy. Used with permission of Zambian Watchdog.

The US lawyers have that GoDaddy cease and desist from hosting Zambia Reports and remove its contents from GoDaddy’s servers.

Young Israeli Fashion Designer Prints World's First 3D Collection

3D printed skirt, top, and shoes from the collection of Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg. (Source: DanitPeleg.com)

3D printed skirt, top, and shoes from the collection of Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg. (Source: DanitPeleg.com)

Fashion designer and innovator Danit Peleg, 27, is giving the world something to talk about. The creator of the world's first 3D printed clothing collection, Peleg explains:

My goal was to create a ready-to-wear collection printed entirely at home using printers that anyone can get. I've spent the past year searching for the best solution.
She adds:
Just imagine the potential… if you're cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room. Will we soon be able to design, share, and print our own clothes directly from home?

Posted on YouTube on July 22, 2015 and on Start-Up Nation's Facebook page on July 29th, Peleg's two-minute promotional video displaying the line and explaining her process has garnered 2.8 million views and 50,000 shares to date.

The collection is made out of a plastic thread-like material called Filaflex using a Witbox printer. Three dimensional printing is done through a series of layering and binding of materials to create a stacking effect of each successive layer. Fashionista reports that each of Peleg's outfits took 400 hours to print; printing out the shoes took longer.

As 3D printing technology advances and becomes quicker and more affordable, users could download and print files at home as they do with two dimensional clothes patterns. Peleg predicts:

I think this is just the beginning. As technologies evolve, we will soon be all printing our own clothes at home.

Public Prosecutor's Office in Colombia to Monitor Twitter Accounts of Public Servants During Elections

Are you aware of any irregularities which might jeopardize the transparency or security of Elections 2015? Tell us here:

On October 25, Colombians head to the polls to elect governors, departmental assemblies, mayoral offices, municipal and district councils as well as administrative boards throughout the country. Since the electoral campaign began on July 25, public officials have been banned from using social media to support candidates.

Ante la proximidad de la jornada democrática en la que los colombianos elegirán gobernaciones, asambleas departamentales, alcaldías, concejos municipales y distritales y juntas administradoras locales, la Procuraduría General de la Nación insta a los colombianos a poner en conocimiento de las autoridades competentes las posibles irregularidades que puedan afectar la transparencia y seguridad de las elecciones.

As election day draws closer, a time when Colombians will democratically elect all governing bodies throughout the country, the Office of the Inspector General urges citizens to alert the relevant authorities of any irregularities which might affect the transparency and security of the electoral process.

According to the magazine Semana, the Inspector General's office will closely monitor the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of public servants in order to avoid any kind of political suasion. Likewise, they encouraged Colombians to make any reports of irregularities through social media or other means of communication.

Preserving Historic Thai Films

The Thai Film Archive has been uploading historic films and vintage news reports on YouTube.

One of the films is Chok Song Chun (Double Luck), which is Thailand's first feature silent film produced in 1927. Only 55 seconds of the film have remained featuring a fight scene and car chase.

Another rare film is Payut Ngaokrachang's Hed Mahassajan (The Miraculous Incident), which is the first Thai animated film released in 1955. Payut is known as the “Walt Disney of Thailand”. In the animated silent film, Payut witnessed a traffic incident in Bangkok.

Scroll Through Madagascar History Via Vintage Photographs

Online Photo Museum of Madagascar with their Permission

Online Photo Museum of Madagascar with their Permission

Access to the visual history of most former colonial countries in Africa is usually a challenging proposition because former colonial powers restrict access to historical archives. Helihanta RAJAONARISON and Tsiry Fy-Tia SOLOFOMIHANTA in Madagascar sought to solve this issue and make the history of Madagascar more palatable to the general public by creating an online Museum of Madagascar through a collection of vintage photographs.

The website went live on July 27, 2015, and offers a glimpse of everyday lives in Madagascar from 1850 to 1960. The collections is organized in four major periods: Pre-colonial Period, Colonial Period, Major Constructions, Everyday Life and Independence.

‘Stereotypes Are Another Unregulated Way to Commit Violence Against Nicaraguan Women’

In an opinion piece published in alternative magazine ConexionesKatya Najlis explores the ideas that lead to women being harassed on the street in Nicaragua. The essay presents multiple examples and reflections linking the majority of theories defending the right of Latin American women to move about freely without concern for safety to the social conventions that perpetuate gender inequality:

Los estereotipos hacia la mujer nicaragüense se convierten en otro método de violencia que nadie regula. El machismo asume el cuerpo de la mujer como un objeto público. El uso de imágenes sexistas contribuye a esta realidad, violentándola de forma implícita y posicionándola como un objeto. […] Lamentablemente, algunas mujeres hemos llegado a pensar que es “normal” o que “por nuestra culpa” somos víctimas de este tipo de abuso, y es que los acosadores aprovechan las unidades de transporte –sobre todo las rutas–, para ofendernos sexualmente.

Stereotypes have become another way to commit violence against Nicaraguan women that nobody regulates. Macho sexism assumes that women's bodies are public objects. The use of sexist images contributes to this reality, violating a woman implicitly and positioning her as an object. […] Sadly, some of us women have been led to think this is “normal” or that “it's our fault” we are victims of this type of abuse, and it's because our aggressors use public transport — and especially the streets — to offend us sexually.

Pope Francis in Latin America: ‘Ideologies End Badly, They Serve No Purpose’

Pope Francis concluded his eight day tour of South America, where he held mass in the three countries he visited: Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The pontiff's message centered on peace and the most needy.

He also advocated “playing cleanly and staying clear of corruption.”

But it was during the close of the tour in Asuncion on Saturday, July 11 where he gave one of the most political speeches of his trip stating:

Ideologies end badly; they serve no purpose. Ideologies have a relationship to the people that is absent, unhealthy or evil. Ideologies don't take into account the people. In the last century ideologies have ended in dictatorships. [Ideologies] think of the people, but don't let the people think.

Disappeared Juvenile Iranian-Kurdish Activist Resurfaces Months After Scheduled Execution

Uncertainty exists over Saman Naseem's death after international pressure to prevent his execution. Image taken from the Amnesty International campaign to stop Saman Naseem's execution.

Uncertainty existed over Saman Naseem's death after international pressure to prevent his execution. Image taken from the Amnesty International campaign to stop Saman Naseem's execution. Photo: Amnesty International.

Saman Naseem, a juvenile Kurdish activist who went through a five month period of disappearance since his scheduled execution in February was able to call his relatives from prison this past weekend, according to Amnesty International. The day before he was due to be executed, he was transferred to an unknown location, which has now been confirmed to be Zanjan Prison. Neither his family nor lawyers were given any concrete information about his whereabouts until now.

Global Voices followed the story of the 22 year old Saman Naseem last winter as activists petitioned for the release of the Kurdish activist arrested while he was still a teenager for being a member of an armed Kurdish opposition group.

Activists and lawyers working on Naseem's case, alongside his family were left in the dark about the status of his case and whereabouts after his scheduled execution was cancelled. Working until the last minute, several campaigns placed international pressure on Iran to stop the execution on February 19. His death sentence and imprisonment is unjustified under Iran's own laws and international obligations, given that Naseem was a minor (just 17 years old) when he was arrested.

In a statement on Naseem's Amnesty Campaign page, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa explained:

The welcome revelation that Saman Naseem was not executed and will receive a retrial is incredible news for his relatives, but raises very troubling questions about what the authorities have been doing to him while they held him in secret.

Hungarian PM: Immigration Crisis Should be Solved by Building Wall along the Border with Serbia

While the European immigration crisis is not showing any signs of dying down, the EU has been taking some much needed measures related to saving the lives of the people who are trying to enter Europe trough the Mediterranean. Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, migrants have also been fleeing their home countries by way of the now familiar ‘Balkan Route’, traveling from Kosovo and war-torn Middle Eastern countries. One of the key entrance points to European grounds is the route from non-EU Serbia into neighboring EU member Hungary. Hence, to keep immigrants out of the European Union, the Hungarian PM is planning on erecting a 4-meter-high, 175-kilometer-long fence along the border with Serbia.

Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, said during the Globsec Bratislava Security Conference:

Mađarska ne vjeruje u europsko rješenje pitanja ilegalnih imigranata, a zid prema susjedima gradi jer je to “obaveza države”.

Hungary does not believe in the European solution of the illegal immigrant problem and the wall towards our neighbors is this country's obligation

There were more than 50,000 illegal entrances to Hungary since the beginning of January 2015. At the same time, 47,000 migrants have entered Italy. Austria and Germany will return 15,000 illegal immigrants to Hungary and, by the end of the year, there could be some 150,000 immigrants in that country by the end of the year, Al-Jazeera reports.

A podcast by photojournalist Mauro Prandelli describes first-hand what is it like to be an undocumented person and to stay at the immigrant camp in Hungary, an immigrant calling the country “a dead zone for immigrants”. The interview was recorded in Bogovajda bush, 70 kilometers from Belgrade, Serbia.

In global terms, illegal immigration is a growing issue and governments are searching for a permanent solution. According to UNHCR's report ‘Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2014′, displaced persons now roughly equate to the population of Italy or the United Kingdom. The top three countries of origin of the immigrants are the Syrian Arab Republic (3.88 million), Afghanistan (2.59 million), and Somalia (1.11 million). However, many do not see building a wall between countries in the 21st century as a proper solution.

 

 

African Startups Win FinTech for Agriculture 2015 Competition

Two African startups have emerged winners of a regional competition organised by Village Capital:

Village Capital today announced the first winners of its innovative program, East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015. The program supports entrepreneurs in making financial services more affordable and accessible for smallholder farmers and other underbanked individuals in East Africa. It is supported by the DOEN Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and Duncan Goldie-Scot.

Over 65% of Sub-Saharan Africans do not use financial institutions or mobile money accounts to save or borrow money. Access to financial services can be especially difficult for smallholder farmers, often far from a financial access point. Furthermore, many promising early-stage entrepreneurs addressing this issue cannot find the resources they need to get off the ground.

Village Capital East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015 provided these resources to 12 high-potential, early-stage entrepreneurs from across East Africa. The program also supported them through business development training, mentorship, and opportunities to meet potential customers and pitch to investors. At the end of the 12-week program, the entrepreneur-participants ranked each other on six criteria, and chose two companies to each receive a 50,000 USD investment. The two top peer-ranked companies are:

Atikus Insurance (Rwanda); expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions.

Farmerline (Ghana, expanding to East Africa); provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers and also provides technology to stakeholders to work better.

Do You Know These 10 Afro-Puerto Ricans?

The reclaiming of history as an ally of marginalized groups is key to their very survival. This is especially true in a colonial context such as Puerto Rico, where history has been and continues to be used as a means to justify inequalities and deny visibility.

In the spirit of doing justice to the men and women who have contributed greatly to Puerto Rico, and yet have been sidelined by years of official history, the digital magazine La Respuesta, which focuses primarily on the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, recently published a short post titled 10 Afro-Puerto Ricans Everyone Should Know, which briefly highlights the legacy of people such as pro-independence leader Pedro Albizu Campos, literary critic and lawyer Nilita Vientós Gastón, and intellectual leader Arturo Schomburg.

PHOTO: 141 Dead in Indonesia C-130 Plane Crash

Indonesian rescuers and military personnel examine the wreckage of the crashed C-130 military airplane at the crash site in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo and caption by Yudha Lesmana, Copyright @Demotix (7/1/ 2015)

Indonesian rescuers and military personnel examine the wreckage of the crashed C-130 military airplane at the crash site in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo and caption by Yudha Lesmana, Copyright @Demotix (7/1/ 2015)

Indonesian officials have recovered 141 dead bodies after a military C-130 plane crashed in Medan, the country's third largest city. The plane crashed just two minutes after take off on June 30, 2015. Many of the fatalities were relatives of air force personnel.

Authorities are now probing the safety of other military planes. They also denied that overcapacity was the cause of the crash.

After FIFA Ban on Indonesia, New Book Tells Story of Former Football Coach

Wina tells story on the creative process of writing a book about football coach

Wina shares the creative process of writing a book about football coach Petar Segrt. Photo by author

After the ban imposed by FIFA on Indonesia following the decision of the government to suspend the Indonesian football federation, a bit of good news greeted fans last week when a book was launched about the story of Petar Segrt, a Croatian who became head coach of the Makassar Football Association (PSM) from 2011-2013. The book is authored by Andi Widya Syadzwina, former media officer of PSM.

Segrt came to Indonesia when the country’s football clubs were split into factions. He became a popular coach during his stint with PSM.

In a video interview before he left Indonesia, Segrt hinted at some of the problems affecting Indonesian football:

You must be serious what you want. I think that in the beginning everybody was speaking to me: ‘We will build academy, we will be make this, will make this…’ But, in the end, you know what I mean, we have only problems.

How a Young Kenyan Doctor Fell in Love With Medicine

Dr. Claire Kinuthia, a Kenyan doctor and blogger, writes about how she fell in love with medicine:

How it all began.

Medicine found me when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I have a particularly vivid memory of hearing my dad get up in the middle of the night to go attend to an emergency in the hospital. Dad was already a hero in my little beating heart but that night, lying in bed imagining what he’d been called to do and how many lives he’s get to save, he was elevated to superhero status. I remember trying hard to stay awake and wait for him to tell me all about his “adventures”. Sadly, sleep won that battle. However, the seed had been sown and I always knew I’d be a doctor one day, a superhero who saved lives

Herve Cornara's Relatives Want Him to Be Remembered as a Great Guy, Not the Beheaded Victim of a Lunatic

hervecornara2

Herve Cornara – via @ldecrion CC-BY-20

Herve Cornara was the manager of ATC, a delivery company in Chassieu in the suburbs of Lyon, France. More importantly, he was a father of a young man and loved by his relatives and colleagues.

Cornara was killed and beheaded by Yassin Salhi next to a ISIS flag at a factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, in the Isère region. Salhi is a truck driver and father of three. He was born in Pontarlier, France; his mother now lives in Morocco and his late father was Algerian.

Cornara's relatives describe him as a loving father and great colleague:

Il était investi, c'était quelqu'un qui voulait toujours aider les gens. Je vais continuer ce qu'il a commencé

He was invested in his community. I will continue the work he started

Pascal Servino, a friend of Cornara, adds:

C'était un homme affectueux, généreux. Il était strict sur le quartier : dès que quelque chose n'allait pas, il se mobilisait pour résoudre les problèmes. Il va nous manquer.

He was an affectionate, generous man. He was relentless when it came to the community: when something went wrong, he would get involved right away to solve the issue. He will be missed.

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