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Mexico in the Labyrinth of its Solitude

15,000 people marched in downtown Mexico City against the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Photo taken on 8 October 2014 by Enrique Perez Huerta. Copyright: Demotix

Protest in Mexico City for the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa. Image by Enrique Perez Huerta. October 8, 2014. Copyright Demotix.

Since the beginning of his term in late 2012, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has been committed to reflect the image of a country that moves forward. The government has been able to enact structural reforms with support from the opposition. The security crisis, however, on stage again since the disapperance of 43 students from the state of Guerrero has been called into question the government strategy and the stance of the international community before human rights abuses.

Miguel Guevara, Global Voices contributor, has written a piece for the blog of Harvard Kennedy School Review titled Mexico’s Loneliness: Our drug wars are not over:

Today, high-ranking US officials have not voiced concerns over the deteriorating events in Mexico since September 26th. The US response to human rights violations around the globe – including the recent events in Iguala – should be unambiguous and consistent. Silence is tantamount to complicity.

Hong Kong Lion Rock Occupied

A group of mountain climbers hang a huge banner, "I want genuine universal suffrage" in Lion Rock, one of the most well-known landscape in Hong Kong.  The group explained their action to local media: “We were shock[ed] by CY Leung’s viewpoint that the poor should not have equality in election[s] and hope this action would be able to call public attention on the importance of universal suffrage.” Image from Hong Wrong.

A group of rock climbers hang a huge banner, “I want genuine universal suffrage” in Lion Rock, one of the most well-known landscape in Hong Kong. The group explained their action to local media: “We were shock[ed] by CY Leung’s viewpoint that the poor should not have equality in election[s] and hope this action would be able to call public attention on the importance of universal suffrage.” Image from Hong Wrong.

Hacking Against Ebola

Global Editors Network intends to develop new technologies and social networks for covering and preventing the Ebola epidemic from spreading.

Watch the YouTube video below for more information about the project:

Preventing Ebola in Nigeria With Ebola Alert Twitter Feed

Ebola Alert Twitter feed is the creation of evidence-driven group of volunteer professionals working on Ebola prevention interventions. The initiative involves active participation of professionals from different walks of life.

Video Animation Explains How Principle of “Free Prior and Informed Consent” Can Empower Indigenous Peoples

The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact has uploaded a video animation explaining the principle of “Free prior and informed consent” or how communities should have the right to decide for the development of their lands.

An Indian Photoblogger's Lone Fight Against Plagiarism

Term of copyright in photographs:- Length of copyright -50 years. Graphics by Anirban Saha. Used with Permission.

Term of copyright in photographs:- Length of copyright -50 years. Graphics by Anirban Saha. Used with Permission.

Indian photoblogger Anirban Saha points to a growing problem in India — plagiarism of intellectual property online. A number of his photos were used in a poster for a theatre festival, on a cover of a book, in an advertisement by the state government, in political banners, in magazines in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and a school publication without his consent.

He writes that Indian copyright laws protect intellectual property, but there is not much awareness:

We can spread the awareness of intellectual property rights, share contact details of lawyers who have already fought similar cases. We should be more aware of safeguarding our creations and spreading the awareness to create a better world. Read about Indian Copyright Act 1957. More than the artists who still now are a minority, it is you readers who can make a difference. You need to be aware and spread the awareness.

Anirban Saha also publishes a number of graphics to make the Indian copyright laws easier to understand.

Six Hong Kong Police Officers Kick and Punch a Handcuffed Protester in a Dark Corner

Last night at 9:30pm, around 300 hundred protesters attempted to set up new barricade in Long Wo Road, near the government headquarter at Admiralty. Riot police took action to disperse protesters and arrested 45 of them. The process was brutal. The TV news showed that one of the protesters, identified as Tsang kin-chiu, a member of Civic Party, was intentionally brought to a dark corner where he was punched and kicked by six police officers.

The protesters action last night was a reaction to the police clearance of the barricades in major sit-in sites in the past few days. The massive sit-in action, dubbed Occupy Central protests, is to impose pressure on the Hong Kong government demanding a revision of the political reform package by incorporating the idea of “citizen nomination” in the election of the city's top leader.

Animated Video Dispels Ebola Myths

Ebola: A Poem for the Living (English) from United Methodist Communications on Vimeo.

United Methodist Communications, Chocolate Moose Media and iheed have collaborated to produce an animated video for use in West Africa that helps dispel myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention of the disease. United Methodist Communications provided partial funding for Chocolate Moose Media to create the video, which will be produced in various languages, including English and French with West African voices and other West African languages. This is an international co-production, involving production in ten countries: Canada, Guinea, India, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone Switzerland and the United States.

Hometown Through the Eyes of Its Children

Imagen en Flickr del usuario  iñaki de luis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Image on Flickr by user iñaki de luis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Chapacoco, a Peruvian village located at an altitude of 3,000 meters, part of the district of Chilcaymarca in the Arequipean province of Castilla, has been in the news thanks to its children.

On October 10, 2014, the book “Chapacoco as seen from the children” was launched. The book has been written by fifth and sixth graders from the Elementary School 40351. Under the guide of their teacher Ronny Durand, in charge of the project “Making science as a game”, the students investigated for over a year about customs and riches of the area:

El libro resulta de Proyecto de Innovación Pedagógica “Haciendo Ciencia Como Jugando”, que tiene como objetivo que los niños desarrollen competencias y capacidades utilizando el conocimiento de la realidad, promoviendo la identidad cultural, la conciencia ambiental y la participación comunitaria. Resultado de esta es que la obra contiene: los datos generales (ubicación, población, servicios y geografía); costumbres y tradiciones, como mitos, cuentos y leyendas; la gastronomía, artesanía, paisajes turísticos y restos arqueológicos del lugar; y la riqueza natural de la flora y fauna.

The book results from the Educational Innovation Project “Making science as a game”, that has as an objective that children develop competences and abilities using knowledge from reality, promoting cultural identity, environmental awareness and community participation. As a result, the book has general information (location, population, services and geography); customs and traditions, such as myths, tales and legends; gastronomy, craftwork, tourist landscapes and archeological remains; and the natural riches of flora and fauna.

Weapon of Mass Destruction in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution

Mainland Chinese state-run media has been running editorials and opinion pieces to criticize the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, with emphasis on the destruction the street occupations have brought to ordinary people.

The Umbrella Revolution has also been labeled as “Color Revolution” backed up by foreign forces, in particular, the United State. Pro-Beijing law makers passed a motion on October 10 demanding an investigation of the mobilization of the massive sit-in action under the Legislative Council(Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

In response to the smear campaign, DDED HK, created a video that imitates the China Central Television's news report on the students’ use of mass destruction weapon – umbrellas and birthday song – in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution.

In the video, the umbrellas that protected the protesters from police pepper spray and tear gas were depicted as parachutes and ray guns. The birthday song, which was sang by the sit-in protesters, when they were surrounded and bombarded by the anti-occupation groups, was depicted as the most evil weapon.

Hiro's Forest, an Increasingly Rare ‘Satoyama’ School Connecting Rural Japanese Kids to Nature

生まれて初めてのこぎりで竹を切り、手作りした装置や食器を使って流しそうめん体験。外で食べるそうめんの味は最高! 撮影は2014年8月2日、SanoRieによる。使用許可済み。

Children are being taught how to make use of an abundent satoyama resource, bamboo. Bamboo can be used for tools, food, or in this case, a sluice for slurping noodles in the summertime (eating noodles outside in summer is always fun). Photo taken in August 2014. Image credit: SanoRie.

A satoyama school in rural Toyama Prefecture Japan's Hokuriku “north lands” that was closed down earlier this spring has been given new life.

Satoyama is a term rich with meaning in Japan, and broadly refers to an intensively cultivated land that blends in with the surrounding environment. Much of rural Japan was once such satoyama, where wet rice cultivation not only depended on clean water flowing from the surrounding hills, but the rice fields played a keystone role in supporting a rich, vibrant ecosystem.

A satoyama school, then, resided at the heart of a community, serving as a method for transferring important lessons about land stewardship to future generations who would continue to live in and help sustain the satoyama. As Japan's rural population declines, over the past two decades these schools have continued to shut down.

In the case of the Toyama school, a group of local parents, caregivers and other volunteers have resurrected the school and have called it Hirotan No Mori, which roughly translates as Hiro's Forest. The school posts photos and information about classes and events on their Facebook page.

The purpose of Hiro's Forest is to provide local children of all ages the opportunity to experience nature. The school is located about 30 minutes by car from the small rural city of Takaoka in Toyama, quite close to the Japan Sea coast.

Hiro's Forest gives kids a chance to experience the traditional pursuits of rural kids: digging up bamboo shoots, gathering to watch fireflies in June, and making traditional crafts out of bamboo. In November there are plans to give children the opportunity to build a treehouse in the forest.

The idea is to teach children about rural traditions while allowing them to experience a deeper connection with the natural world. The hope is to pass on methods of living within and protect their satoyama and at the same time learn how to enjoy both working and passing time in the surrounding forest.

Ultimately, the satoyama school and Hiro's forest are also all about preserving a way of life that is vanishing in the rest of Japan as the population ages.

Fashion Week Turns World's Gaze on Tokyo

The six-day Mercedes Fashion Week kicked off in Tokyo on October 13 and culminated on October 19. Fashion Week is all about launching hot new 2015 fashions from the planet's biggest brands, with daily runway events and fashion exhibitions.

For nearly 20 years Mercedes Benz has sponsored “fashion weeks” all over the world in fashion centers such as New York, Paris and Milan. The Tokyo show marks the start of a series of events all over the world this fall taking place in 20 cities all over the world.

As one of the “top 5 cities,” Tokyo was for one week the center of attention in the global fashion scene.

It's a party atmosphere filled with celebrities, events, and plenty of high fashion.

Kicking off the festival on October 13th was “MORI HANAE designed by Yu Amatsu”, an exhibit showcasing a new collection by Hanae Mori, a young designer with a bright future, while introducing a new brand by Mori Hanae.

Fashion journalist, stylist, and blogger Misha Janette writes in Japanese and English about her impressions as a newcomer to Tokyo Fashion week:

*時間厳守。海外では”ショーのスタート時間にホテルを出ても余裕で間に合う”よね?でもここは東京。数分の遅れでも車掌さんが丁寧に謝罪してくるような街。ちょっと早めに到着するべし。せめてスタート時間には着いてないと見逃すよ!

*…電車を活用すべし!東京の交通網は他のファッションシティとは比べ物にならないくらい優秀。[…] それに、タクシーに乗るのも他の国より簡単。でも[…]電車がおすすめ。だって、東京のタクシーは高い!!!初乗り2キロで710円って。。[…]電車に乗るのってちょっとした冒険みたいでいいじゃない?

*指定席ではないよ!基本的には早い者勝ち。優先順位はちょっと海外より難しいかも。第一優先:ビジネスパートナーと古くからの友人。第二:ブランドを取り上げてくれるメディア(年功序列)。第三:ニューフェイスのメディア。…バイヤーはあまり大切に扱われないハプニングが多いという噂だが…汗。

* BE. ON. TIME. I cannot iterate this enough. I know that the rule of thumb for overseas shows is “Leave your hotel the same time the show is scheduled to start and still be on time.” But this is Tokyo, where train conductors will get on hands and knees to apologize for being a minute late. Get to the show a few minutes early, or at least *right* on time, or you WILL miss it.

* ….take the train. It’s true that traffic in Tokyo is not nearly as terrible as it is in every other fashion city (um, an HOUR to get from SOHO to midtown?? And in Paris I had to run from the taxi to the metro or I would have missed the Chanel show). And yes, it’s easier to get a cab than any other city, too. But most shows are conveniently held at the Hikarie shopping complex connected to Shibuya station and taking the train is not seen as so bourgeois as it is in other world cities. Taxis in Tokyo are some of the most expensive in the world (starting 710yen=USD$7 for 2km) so honestly, if you’re taking cabs every where you’re just being stupid and unadventurous.

* Seats don’t have name reservations. Seats come on a first come first serve-ish basis, and the heirarchy is a bit different than overseas. TOP: Business partners, long-time friends. NEXT: Media, in age from oldest people to youngest, despite who they write for. LAST: Media, who are new to the brand, despite who they write for. NOSEBLEED: Buyers.

To keep on top of events at Tokyo Fashion Week, follow the Facebook page.

One Vibe Africa Launches Africa From the Skies

One Vibe Africa uses music and art to inspire Kenyan youths to appreciate culture and tradition and to develop their own creative potential. Their latest initiative #Africafromtheskies needs your support. Africa From the Skies is an expedition to create empowering films and media, capture culture and facilitate workshops.

Humanitarian Associations in Burkina Faso Campaign for Revenue Sharing from the Mining Industry with “Just 1%” Hashtag

Bobo Vendors in Burkina Faso - Public Domain

Bobo Vendors in Burkina Faso – Public Domain

A new hashtag is trending in Burkina Faso online networks: #Justeunpourcent (Just 1 Percent in English). The hashtag refers to a campaign initiated by local NGOs to the Parliament that requests that 1 percent of the mining revenues be shared with humanitarian associations to fight poverty in Burkina Faso. Nadine Kone from Ouagadogou kickstarted the campaign on twitter :

Just 1 Percent: To all the Members of Parliament in Burkina Faso, this is a way to help communities against poverty.

Ex-President's Return Triggers Media Warning from Government in Madagascar

Marc Ravalomanana - Public domain

Marc Ravalomanana – Public domain

The political situation is tense again in Madagascar after ex-president in exile Marc Ravalomanana's return to the country. The conditions under which he came back and the subsequent house arrest and deportation to the North of the country are strongly debated on most malagasy media outlets. Heninkaja Rakotomanantsoa, managing editor of a TV channel in Antananarivo, posted in Malagasy on his facebook profile that all press editors received a warning memo from the government about fact-checking any news pertaining to the return of Marc Ravalomanana : 

 Nahazo fampîtandremana ny Onjam-peo sy ny Fahitalavitra rehetra, sao hono mitarika any amin'ny fanakorontanana saim-bahoaka ny fampahalalam-baovao diso, na tsy voamarina.

All media outlets in Madagascar (TV and radio) received a warning that they will be held responsible of threats to national security if they are caught spreading false information or rumors (since Ravalomananana's return). 

Chinese Outbound Foreign Direct Investment in Europe

This five-minute video created by ESADE business school shows where Chinese capital is invested in Europe and examines the various motivations Chinese companies have for investing overseas (via the China Observer).

Macedonian Civic Sector Starts Fundraising to Aid Independent Fokus Magazine

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) appealed in October 2014 to all journalists and citizens to show solidarity with the journalists of Fokus magazine, who are subject to what has been deemed by many as harsh punishment due to a lost defamation law suit for some of the investigative pieces they published. A Fokus journalist and its editor-in-chief have to pay over 9,300 euros to the Director of the Macedonian Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate Sasho Mijalkov, who brought the defamation law suit against them.

AJM believes that the verdict is unfair and directed against critical journalism, which is essential for the functioning of Macedonian democracy.

Our colleagues are not able to pay the fee, therefore AJM appeals for mobilization and solidarity of the membership, the journalistic community and the public in Macedonia.

We believe that our support will be a contribution for the survival of free thought and criticism towards the ways the government is practicing power in the country.

Moreover, we believe that the support of the press and public will be a direct contribution to safeguarding the freedom of expression in Macedonia. Therefore we urge within your capabilities to donate to the following bank account:

AJM Solidarity Fund: 300000003296484
The Commercial Bank
Purpose of payment: Donation for the reporters from Focus

Mijalkov announced that, when Fokus staff paid the fine, he would donate the part of the money he receives to an orphanage. This, nevertheless, means endangering the survival of the magazine and the livelihood of its staff.

Other civic organizations also sounded alarms after hearing of the fine decided by a Skopje court. For instance, the National Network against Homophobia and Transphobia of Macedonia is organizing a fundraising event in Skopje Old Town on October 14, 2014, to aid Fokus in covering the defamation fine and cover court costs.

Join Us for a #GVMeetup in Tunis on November 1

gvMeetupTunis
We are pleased to announce that a Global Voices meetup is set to take place in Tunis on November 1, 2014 from 9am to 1pm, at 404 Lab an open innovation lab hosted by the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI).

Global Voices Meetups are local and small gatherings designed to help facilitate meaningful connections with our readers, potential authors or translators, and others that have shown an active interest in our work.

During the same period, other Global Voices meetups will also take place in Accra, Beirut, Dar Es Salaam, and Belgrade.

The Tunis gathering is an opportunity for us to introduce the mission and projects of Global Voices to our readers in Tunisia. In the meetup agenda also, a panel on the subject of alternative media in Tunisia and a keynote speech on personal data protection by Chawki Gaddas from the Faculty of Judicial, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis.

You can find the meetup's full agenda here.

If you are interested in taking part, please complete the following registration form. The event is open to all but seats are limited.

Here is a map to the event venue.

For more information, please contact: abrouafef [at] riseup [dot] net

Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution in Mathematical Formula

A high school test paper on the background of Hong Kong umbrella revolution. via Facebook OCLP's page

A high school test paper on the background of Hong Kong umbrella revolution. via Facebook OCLP's page

The above high school test paper has gone viral in Hong Kong social media in the past few days. The test question is: What are the factors that lead to the September 28 Umbrella Revolution?

The student answered with a mathematical formula: 64+71+101+689+3=928.

The teacher marked the paper 0 and told the student to correct the answer. The student decoded the formula:

64 = the June 4 Incident in 1989 in Beijing. After the crackdown, Hong Kong people hold annual candlelight vigil demanding the vindication of June 4.
71 = on July 1 1997, Hong Kong, the former colony of Britain was handover to Beijing. Since then, every year, pro-Beijing political groups celebrate the reunification in the morning, while the pro-democracy civic groups rally for democratic reform.
101 = the China national day is on October 1.
689 = is the total number of votes that the current Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying obtained in the election committee, which was composed of 1200 members.
3 = the reform trio, a short term for the three major government officials responsible for the consultation of the political reform. The three officials are the Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam, Secretary of Justice, Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam.

The sum of the above is 928, September 28, the day when the police deployed tear gas to peaceful protestors who resisted with their umbrellas.

Security Risks Exposed at Amusement Park in Dhaka

During the Eid holidays, Carnival Park at Jamuna Future park welcomed a large number of visitors. On October 7, 2014, one of its attractions, the 360-degree shuffle ride, stopped in the middle of a ride. Everyone on-board was stuck in their seats for about an hour. The ride had no emergency backup system, preventing a normal shutdown, delaying the release of its riders. Rescue workers had to free every individual manually, in a rather painstaking process.

Facebook user Sultanul Nahian Hasnat was present at the mishap and later uploaded to Facebook two videos (click her to watch the 1st and the 2nd), which went viral. These are now available on YouTube, also.

There was no mention of this incident in the local mainstream news.

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