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Quick Reads

Media archive · 67472 posts

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Latest stories from Quick Reads

The New Government of Prime Minister Roger Kolo Announced in Madagascar

Tananews in Madagascar has published the full list of the 31 members of the new Malagasy government [fr]. Mitsangana Madagascar notes that the list includes 6 women and that 7 ministers were already part [fr] of  the previous transitional government. Former prime minister Beriziky wished the new government well on twitter :

Introducing Roger Kolo (@kolo_roger) as the new prime minister. Many thanks to all Malagasies #Madagascar 

87-Year Old Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dies

Colombia Nobel laureate author Gabriel García Márquez passed away on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Mexico City. He was 87 years old. Colombian network Caracol posted a chronology [es] of his life.

On Twitter, user Pepin Balongo expressed his sorrow:

There are no more a hundred years of solitude; from now on, it will be an eternity in solitude; goodbye Gabo [author's nickname].

Is Valparaíso's Wildfire Result of Neglect by Municipal Government?

incendio valparaiso

Photo of wildfire in Valparaíso by Flickr user Leonardo Maldonado, under license to CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).

A report [es] from Chile's Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIPER) has stirred up a story of neglect and corruption about how, since 2012, local authorities have been aware of the danger posed by the extensive growth of underbrush in the hills and ravines around Valparaíso as well as the proliferation of garbage dumps in these same areas —all of which contribute to a situation ripe for wildfires. But not even the blazes that ignited in 2013 provoked a reaction from local government. So now, the search for those responsible has begun. 

In the midst of the ravages left by the massive wildfire in Valparaiso, a new inquiry commission will be appointed by the Chamber of Deputies in the coming week. The goal: to determine the amounts and those responsible for this latest corruption scandal in the city's administration [...]. The investigation of this new regional scandal, which has once again focused its attention on another million dollars allegedly diverted to political campaigns, may turn out to be the one that paints the clearest picture of the extent to which corruption is entrenched in regional government and from which not a single party has escaped. 

Caribbean: Kids & Technology

Caribbean diaspora blogger Tobias Buckell says that the biggest surprise about living with five year olds is “their uptake of [tech] devices.”

9 Essentials Uncles You Need In Sri Lanka

Cerno opines that ordinary Sri Lankans need the right network of relationships with many ‘powerful uncles’ to survive properly.

Trinidad & Tobago: End of Traditional IT?

ICT Pulse, in reading the latest McKinsey survey, wonders if the IT department – as we know it – is on its way out.

Historical Overview of Cambodia's Land and Housing Problem

Hallam Goad analyzed the problems and issues that plagued Cambodia's urban development in the past two decades:

Phnom Penh has followed the clichéd patterns of newly emerging nations almost to the letter with the urban poor shouldering many of the downsides. What few people recognise is that most of it could have been avoided.

With over 150,000 residents displaced since 1990 the story has been far from positive and in many cases has compounded and exacerbated what was already a very precarious existence.

State of Political Blogging in Vietnam

Doan Trang observed that a growing number of Vietnamese bloggers have been tackling human rights and other political issues by

writing commentaries and analyses, even finding supplementary facts. Despite the emotional style which may sometimes reveal their non-professionalism, they filled the vacuum left by the mainstream media which in most cases would only report news without producing any in-depth analysis.

But only few are writing in English:

Though much progress has been made, alternative media in Vietnam still aims mostly at the Vietnamese audience. In other words, bloggers still “talk to themselves” or “write for their fellow citizens” only. News stories in English, if any, came as a result of the accidental attention by some foreign reporter about Vietnam's human rights situation via his/ her individual contact network.

Trinidad & Tobago: Lack of Accountability

The main issue now arising in relation to the Beetham Water Recycling Project…is the complete failure of our country’s system of Public Financial Management.

Afra Raymond takes on the government's “unpardonable failure to account for that mammoth sum of Public Money.”

AC/DC Call It a Night After 41 Years

Daryl Mason pays tribute at The Ostrahyun blog to iconic rock band AC/DC following reports that they will retire after 41 years.

More than a month ago, founding member, rhythm guitarist, co-producer and co-songwriter Malcolm Young had a stroke, which left a blood clot on his brain.

Confirmation may come at a media conference on Wednesday 16 April 2014. Fans can follow developments at the #acdcretire hashtag on twitter.

Trinidad & Tobago: Bocas Lit Fest Embraces Audio Technology

Technology is permeating even literature festivals! The Bocas Lit Fest blog announces the debut of Festival Radio, which will bring the festival experience to a global audience via a live audio stream, an on-demand audio magazine and archival material available through SoundCloud.

Indians in the Caribbean

Active Voice reviews Gaiutra Bahadur’s book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture and wonders whether “banning words or proscribing them ever achieves the desired outcome”:

Should we be trying to sanitize history or recording it in all its ugliness for the benefit of future generations? Can we ever liberate the word ‘Coolie’ from the unbearable weight of its history if its contemporary namesakes continue to work under the backbreaking conditions they do? These are hard questions for hard times.

The State Of Women In The Present Indian Society

Transhuman Collective (THC), a brainchild of Soham Sarcar & Snehali Shah, is a multidisciplinary collaborative project based on the philosophy of Transhumanism. In this moving video created and uploded to YouTube by Transhumanism.in it is revealed that there is lack of basic respect for women in Indian patriarchal society. To add to this media plays a pivotal role in shaping the mindset and attitude of the Indian Society.

The Last Place of Cultural Dynamism in Luanda is No More

Marissa Moorman writes about the destruction of Elinga Theatre, the centre of cultural life in Luanda, Angola:

Since 1988, Elinga Theater, has anchored cultural life in the Angolan capital. On March 22, 2014 José Mena Abrantes, director of Elinga Theater, as well as poet, dramaturge, journalist, and communications consultant (read: sometimes speechwriter) for Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, announced the impending destruction of Elinga’s historic space.

This comes after the theater group was told in January this year to vacate by the end of last month.

Come April 1, fear turned to action. Central Angola launched a campaign on Facebook to get bodies in front of Elinga and stall the destruction. A petition began circulating on April 2 (online and at Luanda schools), after Ângela Mingas, professor of Architecture at Lusíada University, suggested that 1,000 signatures delivered to the National Assembly on April 18, UNESCO’s international day for monuments and sites, would pack symbolic punch.

On 15 October, 2014, Global Voices Online wrote an article the theatre titled “Angola: Elinga Theatre, from Glory to Oblivion.”

Macedonia 2014 Elections Quick Reference Guide

April 2014 is election season in Macedonia. On Sunday, April 13, Macedonians began casting votes for a new president and a new parliament.

As is the case with the electoral process in many countries in the age of the Internet, much of the information related to these elections will be readily available online. Global Voices has collected a list of some of the resources Internet users can use to follow the elections in Macedonia, as well as a quick calendar of the voting dates.

Macedonia elections 2014. Photo by Global Voices. CC-BY.

Voter with a branded thumb holding election information leaflet issued by SEC. CC-BY.

Macedonia 2014 elections calendar:

Day Activity
April 12, Saturday Electoral silence begins
April 13, Sunday First Round of Presidential Elections
April 26, Saturday Electoral silence begins
April 27, Sunday Second Round of Presidential Elections
Early Parliamentary Elections

Key websites to follow:

Twitter hashtags:

Websites and Twitter accounts of the presidential candidates and their political parties (numbers reflect the order of candidates on the ballot):

  1. Gjorge Ivanov from VMRO-DPMNE (@timmakedonija, #Иванов – affirmative, and #Хорхе i.e. Jorge – critical).
    Slogan: “The State Above Everything Else.”
  2. Iljaz Halimi from DPA (@gurrapdsh).
    Slogan: “For an [ethnic] Albanian President.”
  3. Stevo Pendarovski from SDSM (@spendarovski, #Стево i.e. Stevo – affirmative, and #промени – changes).
    Slogan: “Macedonia Deserves a President. Stevo, my President.”
  4. Zoran Popovski from GROM (@PopovskiZ).
    Slogan: “Bravely for Macedonia. A brave man – a proud state.”

Komunikacii blog has published a concise and interesting analysis of the slogans [mk], while a Balkanist article “Elections in Macedonia: The Land of Promises” neatly sums up some of the major issues.

The early parliamentary elections in Macedonia have the same general cast as in 2011.

“Blogs are the Vinyl Records of the Internet”

An article in Washington Post talks about “the decline of Iran's blogestan”.

Several bloggers tweeted the last sentence of this article:

Read more here.

Baidu Censors New Citizens Movement Website

After Chinese court affirms Chinese lawyer and activist Xu Zhiyong’s conviction of four-year sentence in prison for assembling a crowd to disrupt order in public places, New Citizens Movement website, of which Xu was one of the founders, disappeared from Baidu search results. 

This is not the first time that information relating to Xu Zhiyong has disappeared from Baidu and other China-based web sites. 

Expat Life in China: A Review Of Unsavory Elements

Unsavory Elements is an anthology of true stories about foreigners “on the loose” in China. Through their stories, the authors and journalists from the book also explore illegality and ethics in China. As China Law Blog describes: 

Ranging from transactions and deeds that would raise the eyebrows of those enforcing America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to stints in prison for drug dealing to flagrant violations of prostitution laws, what results is 300 pages of business and law school case studies written not in legalese but in literary prose, and what a read it is.

Myanmar's First Digital Library for Higher Education

Myanmar's Ministry of Education and the Open Society Foundation have teamed up to establish the country's first digital library. Oleksandr Shtokvych, Senior Manager at the Open Society Foundations’ Higher Education Support Programme, explained the importance of the project:

It will also mean including their students and scholars (of the University of Yangon and the University of Mandalay) as active participants in the production of new knowledge and critical thinking, and bringing the unique and rich legacy and current developments in Myanmar into the limelight of international scholarship.

20-40% of Water Sector Finances Are Lost to Corruption in Africa

Access to water is a human right; Source: actionaid.org with permission

Mustapha Sesay, West Africa Water Integrity Ambassador wrote about corruption in the water sector on the West Africa WASH Journalists Network :

The issue of accessing pure and affordable water is a fundamental human right but this is not given the much needed attention. Corruption in the water sector is ripe and involves all classes of people ranging from the ordinary man, politicians, Heads of Water Institutions and even Non-Governmental organizations working in this sector.Report on “Corruption in the water sector” by Water Integrity Network in a book titled “Training Manual on Water Integrity” states that in the sub-Sahara Africa, forty-four percent (44 %) of the countries are unlikely to attain the Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water eighty-five percent (85%) are unlikely to attain the sanitation aspect. Estimate by the World Bank report suggests that twenty –forty percent (20 – 40% ) of water sector finances are being lost to dishonest practices.

South Korea: Samsung Sues Newspaper Over Negative Report

South Korean tech giant Samsung has launched a lawsuit against a local IT newspaper for publishing an unfavorable report. Marmot's Hole blog wrote about how things developed and the repercussion of Samsung's response to negative press coverage. Some of the highlights read;

I’d caution Samsung that in terms of PR, lawsuits of this sort often cause more harm than good[...] To make matters worse, a story at AppleInsider compares the Korean electronics giant rather unfavorably to the Cupertino Fruit Company, which—assuming the report is true—almost never sues newspapers/blogs despite the countless groundless rumors that accompany the release of just about every iPhone model.

Trinidad & Tobago: Lessons from a Health Scare

Trinidadian diaspora blogger Afrobella shares her mammogram diary in hopes that her experience can help other women.

Bermuda: Go Fly a Kite!

In Bermuda, kites plays an important role in the island’s cultural heritage.

Repeating Islands says that Bermudians are gearing up for the 2014 Kite Fest.

Venezuela Decoded, Making Sense of Conflicting Accounts

Back in February 2014, Venezuelan journalists Mary Avilés, Ana María Carrano and Martín Quiroga, currently living in Silicon Valley, were frustrated with trying to find out what was really happening back home. After first protests that month, Twitter had become the last independent channel for information and everyone was using it — the government, the opposition officials, journalists and citizens. At the rate of 1,000 tweets per hour, their contradictory reports parrying on cell phone screens and it was hard to figure out who to believe.

Avilés, Carrano and Quiroga are or have been John S. Knight Foundation fellows. Along with Douglas Gómez, Ana María Carrano's husband, after intense weeks, and having recruited some additional team members, they rapidly built and launched Venezuela Decoded, an online platform to help people make sense of conflicting accounts about that country’s ongoing civil unrest that have been flooding social media:

What I hope for Venezuela Decoded is to became a reference site for international audience and media about the Venezuelan conflict, a kind of a landing page,” Aviles said. [...] “I believe we can contribute leveraging the power of social media in journalism.”

Inspired by Syria Deeply, the team recently applied for a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant to help fund their efforts. You can see their proposal here.

The Overlooked Crisis in Burundi

While neighboring Rwanda is making news with the commemoration of the 1994 genocide and the increased tension with France, Burundi is marred in an overlooked political crisis and surge of violence that opposes, again, Hutus and Tutsis.  Tshitenge Lubabu in Burundi opines that the roots of the crisis [fr] are the current political leaders:

 La plupart de nos dirigeants, bien ou mal élus, malgré de longues années de pouvoir, se sont illustrés par leur impéritie [..] Tous les mensonges sont bons pour confisquer le pouvoir. Quand leurs mandats, limités par la Constitution, arrivent à terme, des courtisans zélés, jamais repus, les supplient de ne pas partir. Comme si, sans eux, le soleil risquait de ne plus apparaître 

Most of our leaders, properly elected or not, despite long years in power, stand out by their incompetence [..] Any lies are good to seize or stay in power. When their mandates come to an end as stipulated in the Constitution, their overzealous entourage, never sated, beg them not to leave power. As if without them, the sun might not rise tomorrow. 

Censorship Forces Navalny to Abandon LiveJournal

Images remixed by Andrey Tselikov.

Images remixed by Andrey Tselikov.

Russia's most famous blogger (or as he describes himself: “corruption fighter, son, husband, father”) has been forced to move away from LiveJournal, the popular blogging platform that launched him to fame in the first place. As a result of government mandated censorship [Global Voices report], and notwithstanding attempts to counteract such censorship [Global Voices report], Alexey Navalny's team has started a new standalone blog, navalny.com [ru]. Because Navalny is still under house arrest, the blog is technically run by his wife. According to the first post [ru], this blog is an attempt to create a clean slate with Russia's Internet regulators, who claim that Navalny's old blog contains calls for unlawful rallies. At this point, Navalny's LiveJournal account [ru] has stopped updating with original content — it simply links to new posts on navalny.com.

6.2 Earthquake Hits Nicaragua

A powerful 6,1 earthquake hit Nicaragua on Thursday, April 10, 2014. There were reports [es] of injured people and collapsing of houses as a result of the movement.

The epicenter was located at 20 kilometers North of the capital city Managua, close to Apoyeque volcano, at 10 kilometers depth. In Twitter, users reported aftersocks and suspension of school activities:

Five aftershocks after powerful 6,2 earthquake in Nicaragua: MANAGUA, Nicaragua.- At least…

Schools activities suspended in Managua and León due to the earthquake.

Trinidad & Tobago Water Recycling Project Not “Crystal Clear”

Despite the attributes presented by this project, there are grounds for serious concern as to the process adopted and the actions of the various public officials involved.

Afra Raymond has concerns about the plan by the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, in conjunction with the National Gas Company, to design, build, operate and maintain a water recycling plant.

Jamaica: Social Art

It can only create a healthier cultural environment if multiple independent spaces, encouraging social interaction and supporting creative practice were operating.

ART:Jamaica blogs about the importance of social art spaces.

Russia Intends to Clean Up “Internet Pollution”

The Russian government is drafting a new project that would redefine the “principles of state cultural policy.” In a concept paper shared with the press this week, a working group led by Sergei Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, declared Russia's need to preserve its unique “state-civilization” and moral foundation in the face of globalization. Russia must “open up to the world” without “dissolving in it,” the paper argues.

The Ministry of Culture's plans could have a profound impact on Russia's regulation of the Internet, if future legislation adopts the language that now appears in the working group's recommendations, which likens “information quality controls” to environmental protection:

Сегодня в киберпространстве все, кто имеет доступ к компьютер и Интернету, что-то создают и распространяют вне зависимости от образования, кругозора, жизненного опыта, знания предмета, психического здоровья и их истинных намерений. В результате информационное пространство загрязнено, и воздействие на нас этих загрязнений пока еще плохо осознается, но их уже можно сравнивать с загрязнением воздуха, которым мы дышим и воды, которую мы пьем.

Today in cyberspace, everyone who has access to a computer and the Internet is creating and distributing something, regardless of their education, worldview, life experience, expertise, mental health, or true intentions. As a result, the information space is polluted. It is still early and we cannot say what impact this has on us, but we can already compare this to pollution of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Equating “Internet pollution” with carbon emissions and water contamination would vastly expand the state's ability to regulate online activity. Lawmakers discussed the working paper in the Duma today, but no one addressed its potential application to Internet policy. Before the plan emerges as legislation, state officials have several wrinkles to iron out—particularly those concerning funding.

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