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Stories from Quick Reads

Documenting the Struggles of Papuans in Indonesia

Papuan Voices is a video advocacy initiative that highlights the struggles of the people of West Papua, a province of Indonesia. West Papua has been struggling to be an independent state although this conflict from Indonesia is not widely reported in the media.

papuan_voices

10 Things to Love About Trinidad & Tobago Carnival

Christmas isn't quite over yet, but Trinidad and Tobago is already in the throes of its Carnival season – that frenetic period of masquerade, soca, celebration, creativity and revelry that some say is unmatched by any other carnival in the world.

One blogger is thrilled to bits that the much-anticipated Carnival is here again – Trinidad Carnival Diary, who takes her moniker from the festival itself. Over the years, her posts has evolved from a small mas'-lover's blog to a full-fledged website that is regarded as one of the authorities on all things Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. She's done a delightful post outlining 10 reasons people love the festival so much. It's worth a read, but to whet your appetite, it involves infectious music, an incomparable sense of freedom, lots of partying with kindred spirits, incredible costumes and a real sense of togetherness.

Sierra Leone: An Unlikely Fashion Hotspot

Freetown Fashpack is a fashion blog by an Australian living in Freetown, Sierra Leone who intends to show a different side of a country commonly associated with civil war and blood diamonds: 

My name is Jo Dunlop and I’m an Australian living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. After moving here in 2011, it soon became apparent that what Freetown lacks in high street shopping, it makes up for in style. The streets are teeming with some of the most resourceful, brave and outrageous fashion decisions ever made. In a country so commonly associated with civil war and blood diamonds I felt inspired to show a different side to Sierra Leone and reveal an unlikely fashion hotspot.

Kenya Monitor: Mobile Citizen Media and News App

Kenya Monitor app is a m-Media & News app. It is the to-go citizen journalism app for all local content. It brings together all favorite news in one place from different counties in Kenya. All content is presented in a fun and intuitive manner.

Getting reliable news stories about Kenya or about development issues has become a rarity. Any story that is covered is vague and has no follow-up. The Kenya Monitor app will seek to change this. All stories will focus on what is going on in the different locales. Anyone will get to play a role in telling the story of where they live.

Kenya Monitor will provide Kenyans with a platform to tell their stories in what is known as citizen journalism. Kenyans from all walks of life will get to tell stories about where they live, how they want it to be told and at the time they think it should be told. All content will be gathered from the people themselves. Stories will be submitted through SMS enabling anyone with access to a phone to do so. One does not need a smart phone to send in or receive content.

Malaysia Launches New Logo as Chair of ASEAN 2015

Malaysia is the new chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the year 2015. This year is crucial for ASEAN as the region takes steps to achieve full integration as a united community. The new logo represents “harmony, close partnership and aspiration of the people from the ten ASEAN countries aimed at achieving the shared vision” of the community.

asean logo

Hijacked Printers in Eastern Ukraine and Russia Print Pro-Ukraine Messages

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

As the world watches Russian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists occupy Ukrainian administration buildings, cities, and even an entire peninsula, a group of Ukrainian hackers is fighting back by launching an invasion of their own.

Since this summer, Ukrainian hacker Yevgeniy Dokukin and his group of fellow computer pros calling themselves Ukrainian Cyber Forces have carried out “Operation Bond, James Bond,” in which they leaked web camera and security footage from Crimea, separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, and even government offices in Russia. Dokukin and the Ukrainian Cyber Forces have been leaking videos from cameras for months now, including a video supposedly from a separatist base in Donetsk.

A few weeks ago, Dokukin and his allies took up new weapons in their cyberwar: printers. In a series of Facebook posts, Dokukin has explained how, after accessing private WiFi networks, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces were able to print documents on vulnerable networked printers in various offices in Crimea and separatist-held areas in eastern Ukraine, and were now trying to do the same in Russian networks.

#UkrainianCyberForces have begun occupying networked printers in Donbas and in Crimea.

As Dokukin told RuNet Echo, he sees the wasted ink and paper in Russia as a variant on Ukraine’s own “economic sanctions” aimed at its neighbor. The messages appearing on these printers vary, but they share a common theme:

Якщо ваш мережевий принтер передасть “вітання Путіну” чи надрукує “Слава Україні!” та інші цікаві надписи, то знайте, що він під нашим контролем.

If your network printer passes along “greetings to Putin” or prints “Glory to Ukraine!” or other interesting messages, then you know that it is under our control.

Not all of Dokukin’s printer messages were meant to be confrontational. Recently, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces accessed an open network printer in Canada—an especially strong ally of Ukraine throughout the ongoing crisis—and printed the message “Thanks for supporting Ukraine!” in English.

As Russia increases its support of information warfare, including slick redesigns of its news agencies and propping up fake Ukrainian news sites, Ukrainian Cyber Forces are taking the trolling and information war to their opponents—and their offices—more directly.

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.

Argentina: The Tourism Input in Economy

Blogging for Turytecnia, Adrián Martinez echoes the results of the survey published by the World Travel & Tourism Council, WTTC, where we can find and interactive infography with data from the tourism industry and its impact on the economy in different countries, where we can observe:

[...] la evolución que ha tenido en aspectos tales como la contribución económica del turismo, a puestos de trabajo, cantidades de turistas, e inversiones que se han realizado en esta actividad.
Suena interesante la evolución que ha tenido la Argentina en esta actividad, donde puede verse que la inversión se ve reflejada en resultados.

[...] the evolution in items such as economic contribution of tourism, jobs, number of tourists and investments made. it's interesting to note the evolution Argentina has had in this activity, where we can see that the investment gets reflected in results.

Captura de pantalla de estudio interactivo del WTTC, extraída del blog Turytecnia, utilizada con autorización

Captura de pantalla de la infografía interactiva por el WTTC, extraída del blog Turytecnia, utilizada con autorización

In Argentina, we can observe how just in 2013, 47,5 billion dollars entered the national chests thanks to the tourists that visited the country, which gets up tp 9,9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On the other hand, according to the report, tourism industry generated 1.685 jobs, 9,5% of existing working force. The report claims also that in 2013, 7,2 billions were invested in tourism, about 6,4% of total investments, although it's expected to grow 4,1% in 2014.

You can follow @Turytecnia and Adrián Martinez on Twitter.

This post was part of the thirty-third #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on December 1, 2014.

Argentina: Outstanding Tourist Attractions on Social Media in 2014

Wenceslao Bottaro presents us with the most outstanding tourist attractions on social media from the interior of the country, according to the II Edition of the Ranking of Tourist Attractions and Social Networks in Argentina 2014. He also explains that this ranking is important because:

[...] sirve cómo radiografía del trabajo que los destinos provinciales realizan en las redes sociales. Siguiendo la evolución de su performance en las redes sociales, nos damos cuenta de cuáles son los destinos que trabajan e invierten en Internet, en la generación de contenidos genuinos, en estrategias de promoción y difusión, cuáles son los que están más atentos a las tendencias actuales y, sobre todo, cuáles son los que dejan pasar la oportunidad de posicionarse y ganarse un lugar en el deseo de los potenciales viajeros.

[...] can be used as an in-depth analysis of the work that provincial destinations carry out on social networks. Following the evolution of its performance on social networks, we realize which are the destinations that work through and invest in the Internet, in generating genuine content, in promoting and spreading the word, which ones are more aware of the current trends and, above all, which ones don't leave their positioning to chance and instead attract the attention of potential travelers themselves.

Gráfico extraído del blog Blucansendel, utilizado con autorización

Chart from the blog Blucansendel, used with permission

According to the ranking, the province of Misiones, where the Iguazú Falls are located, ranks top of the list on Facebook with over 730,000 fans and an inter-annual growth of over 600,000 new fans. Then come the provinces of Salta with 359,702 fans, Tucumán (267,636), Córdoba (227,091) and Mendoza (226,354). The situation is different on Twitter, where the province of Tucumán is top of the list with 29,200 followers. This was the only place that had more than 20,000 followers, along with Córdoba with 18,900 followers, Salta (16,800) and Mendoza (14,900).

You can also see the first edition of the ranking, from the year 2013.

You can follow Wencesleao on Twitter.

This post was part of the 32nd #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on December 8, 2014.

Mexico: An Unsatisfactory and Late Presidential Address

On Thursday, November 27, 2014, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto addressed publicly Mexican nation to make a stand about the shocking events occured in Iguala and to announce a set of actions to be taken.

The address was a disappointment for most of the Mexican people, who expected more from their president. In this context, Fernando Vázquez Rigada responds ciítically to the presidential address and points out it was not only late, but it also lacked empathy towards the people. Furthermore, the announced mesaures weren't enough to face the current Mexican crisis:

La mención al combate a la corrupción fue blanda y retórica. Se asume el plan de la oposición, pero sin ser capaz de agregar nada ni de garantizar una nueva ética que se base en los mejores hombres, en las mejores prácticas, en un blindaje real e inmediato. Vendrá la implementación de las reformas por los mismos que han debido cancelar licitaciones, encubrir, coludirse.

Lo mejor fue la mención a la aplicación del modelo chino de estímulo al crecimiento. La pobreza no produce criminales, pero si divide y desgarra.

La nación esperaba el jueves a un ejecutivo y encontró a un legislador. Aguardaba a un líder que compartiera el dolor, que mostrara reflexión sobre sus errores propios, que asumiera los costos que le corresponden y, sobre todo, que inspirara a una sociedad harta y desconsolada.

The mention about fighting corruption was soft and rhetorical. The plan from the opposition might be guessed, but without the possibility of adding nothing on nor secure a new ethics based in new men, better practices, a real and immediate reinforcement. The reforms will be implemented by the same people who should have called off tendrs, concealed, colluded.

The best thing was the mention of implementing the Chinese model of growth boost. Poverty doesn't produce criminals, bit it does divide and rips up.

On Thursday, the nation was waiting for an ejecutive and came across a legislator. They were waiting for a leader that might share their pain, that might show some reflection upon his own flaws, that would assume the costs upon him and, above all, that might inspire a society that's fed up and inconsolable.

You can follow Fernando on Twitter.

This post was part of the thirty-first #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on December 1, 2014.

AIDS Activist Freed After Kidnapping in Honduras

Keren Jemima Dunaway González, a teenage Honduran Aids activist who was abducted in the city of San Pedro Sula on Tuesday has been released.

Three unidentified men grabbed Keren, 18, with her mother near the offices of the Llaves Foundation, which helps children with AIDS. González, the head of Llaves, was freed, but Keren remains captive.

Police said her captors had asked for ransom but had released her after her mother assured them the family had no money.

San Pedro Sula remains one of the most violent cities in the world and has the world's highest homicide rate at 187 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.

Upcoming Documentary Looks at Causes of Somali Conflict

Somali history enthusiast Mohammed Ibrahim Shire blogs about an upcoming Somali documentary Kacaan: The Untold Stories

‘Kacaan: The Untold Stories‘ is an upcoming hard-hitting documentary film that will objectively look at the background to the Somali conflict and its causes with special emphasis on events after 1969. It will closely look at the last functioning Somali government headed by late Mohammed Siad Barre; its inception to its downfall. Kacaan (Revolution in Somali) was the self-designated name of the 1969 bloodless coup d’état in Somalia. The documentary will contain key interviews with assorted people, ranging from former senior government officials to opposition (rebel) leaders to prominent members of Somalia’s pre-199 civil society — unseen footage and will revisit key subjects in order to develop a clearer picture; separate fact from fiction and attentively look at what went right, wrong and what we can learn from it.

Kenyan Blog OilNews Among World’s Top Oil and Gas Websites

Oilnews Kenya has been ranked as top blog in Africa on matters oil and gas, Kachwanya reports

 

The website recently launched as first of its kind in Kenya aiming to give Kenyans insight in the oil and gas industry opening up information platform for explorers, investors and stakeholders in the sector.

Following increased interest from investors in the oil and gas sectors with a number of discoveries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique that has seen the East African region now named the new oil frontier, Kamau Mbote founder of Oilnewskenya saw it fit to give exposure to the latter as well as provide Kenyans more information on the sector.

The website has been ranked 22 globally and 1st in Africa with a Visibility of 58%, Engagement of 41% and relevance rating at 100% according to a research by Inkybee a renown research company. 

MTN South Africa launches FrontRow

Telecommunication provider MTN South Africa has launched MTN FrontRow, a video-on-demand (VOD) service. Tech Moran reports
 
According to MTN, ” MTN FrontRow, is a premium entertainment network that brings you all the TV series and movies you love, even if you’re not an MTN subscriber – and you could get the first month FREE.You won’t even have to install a dish, buy a box or take out a bank loan. From only R179 a month, you can sign up to MTN FrontRow Club and play our content instantly at any time via your browser on your computer or mobile device, or on our Android app (an iOS version is coming soon!). You can even stream to your TV via your devices, of course.”

 

A Presidential Birth Certificate Controversy Provokes Social Unrest in Gabon

Protests in Libreville, Gabon against president Bongo on on December 20 - via OpGabon with permission

Protests in Libreville, Gabon against president Bongo on on December 20 – via OpGabon with permission

Clashes broke out between police and the opposition in Gabon on December 20 stemming from questions about the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo. 

A recent book called “New African Affairs” by French reporter Pierre Péan alleged that President Ali Bongo has Nigerian origins. The book was slammed by the authorities, accusing the reporter of inciting racial hatred in Gabon. The clashes led to the death of one student and several arrests. Photos on social network of the protests and its impact on civilians were widely circulating on the Gabonese blogosphere, such as the following:  

True or false, recap of a tumultuous week-end in Gabon http://t.co/hu4r9iWtya #Libreville #obs #Bongo @cbainier 

COP20: Responsibilities of Capitalism On Climate Change

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP20/CMP10) was held in Lima between December 1 to 12, and was chaired by the host country, Peru. During the conference, Bolivian president Evo Morales, emphatically appealed to consider climate change as a direct consequence of capitalist system and urged industrialized countries to accept the consequences of their actions:

Evo Morales urges to listen to indigenous people and to fight against capitalism during COP20.

Damián Profeta sums up the ten main points of Morales’ speech, and he highlisghts:

- ‘Hay que crear un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática’ [encargada de] ‘juzgar a países que no cumplen sus compromisos y los tratados internacionales y a los que hacen mucho daño al ambiente’ [...]
- ‘Que el sistema capitalista asuma su responsabilidad en el cambio climático’ [...]
- ‘En la lucha contra el Cambio Climático los países del Norte nos han llevado a un terreno infecundo’ [...]
- ‘El medio ambiente debe ser administrado comunitariamente porque la naturaleza misma es comunitaria’

- An International Court of Climate Justice [in charge of] judging countries that don't fulfil their obligations and international treaties and those who harm environment a lot must be implemented [...]
- The capitalist systema should take responsibility on climate change [...].
- In the fight against climate change, the Northern countries have taken us to a sterile ground [...]
- Environment must be managed communally, as nature itself is communal

Some Twitter users answered reminding him his actions about the construction of a highway along the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS):

Evo proposes community property to save the planet? OK, let's stop the highway across TIPNIS and individual property by coca growers.

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.

Will Death of Cartoonist Prompt Introduction of Better Traffic Laws in Bermuda?

A beloved Bermudian political cartoonist dies after being struck by a motorist's car while on his way to deliver his latest drawing to the newspaper where he worked. The Beach Lime blog notes that “the Corporation of Hamilton speedily acted to move the pedestrian crossing away from the roundabout, in the efforts of pedestrian safety.” Still, the blogger feels that more can be done, including the installation of proper signage and lighting, and even constructing an elevated crosswalk.

In a follow-up post, he recounts his own traffic experience and predicts that if the right measures are not taken quickly, the next road fatality will be just a matter of time:

Light turns green, car in front gets ready to go, then zoom, grey hatchback runs through [the] red light.

People here just don't care, because they know there's little risk of them getting into trouble. Other motorists and pedestrians have to take evasive action. Might is right. There may be cameras at the junction (who knows?) but there's no policy or presence for these scenarios.

How to Reduce the Production of CO2 in Daily Life?

Rut Abrain reflects on her blog Esturirafi about one of the main cause of climate change: the production of carbon dioxide (CO2). In this sense, the blogger stresses out that not only factories, vehicles and planes produce CO2, but also each one of un in our daily lives. To have an idea of the magnitude of the impact of our daily activities in the production of CO2, Rut suggests us to use this calculator.

Surprised? Yes, each one of us has some responsibility in climate change, and at the same time, each one of us is able to reverse that with small actions. Rut shares some advises to reduce pur production of CO2:

[...] – Reducir, reutilizar y reciclar. Esto tienes que aplicarlo en todas las facetas de tu vida: evita productos con un empaquetado excesivo, compra productos de segunda mano, separa los residuos de manera adecuada para su posterior reciclaje.

[...] – Reduce, reuse and recycle. You have to do this in all aspects of your life: avoid products with excessive packaging, purchase second hand articles, separate litter properly for further recycling.

Rut also says to reduce our “carbon footprint“:

- Ahorra energía, tanto electricidad, como gas natural, butano o gasoil.
- Compra productos locales.
- Camina, utiliza el transporte público, la bicicleta.
- Utiliza menos papel.

- Save energy, electricity, natural gas, domestic gas or diesel.
- Purchase local products.
- Walk, use public transportatipn.
- Use less paper.

The blogger ends up with a quote by Eduardo Galeano applicable to the impact these small actions have on reversing climate change:

Mucha gente pequeña en lugares pequeños, haciendo cosas pequeñas, pueden cambiar el mundo.

Too many small people in small places, making small things, can change the world.

You can follow Rut on Twitter.

This post was part of the thirty-first #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on December 1, 2014.

Man's Best Friend: Dog Chases Ambulance to Be With His Owner

This happened near the city of Brasília, Brazil.

A homeless man was being transported in an ambulance after suffering a seizure. All of a sudden, the paramedics noticed something unusual: the man's dog was desperately following the ambulance. He kept going for some kilometers until he was finally allowed to enter the vehicle and join his owner.

The scene happened in March this year, but only went viral on social media this Christmas Eve. As Daily Mail Online reported, 42-year-old paramedic Caliomar Ferreira do Couto recorded the scene and said this was a first for him, after 19 years in the profession. At the hospital, the faithful dog patiently waited by the stretcher while his owner was being cared by the doctors.

Dog chases an ambulance in Taguatinga

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