Stories from Quick Reads
The team of Coconuts TV went to south Sumatra in Indonesia to document the impact of the burning of peatlands and forests to make way for the expanding palm oil plantations. The burning of forests in Sumatra is causing the displacement of endangered species in the island; and it also creates a deadly haze that affects Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
A link from the official website of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia began circulating on social networks in early December 2014. The link led to 19 gigabytes of text files on the agency's site that revealed the personal information of over 5 million Serbian citizens who had registered for free stock of state-owned companies in 2008. The files included the full names of citizens who had registered, as well as their Unique Master Citizen Numbers (JMBG), a number given to each citizen from which a birth date, place of birth and other information can easily be deduced.
The link was caught on Twitter during the week of December 8, 2014, by the legal team of SHARE Defense, the think tank unit of local non-government organization SHARE Foundation that conducts research and offers legal aid in the realm of human and civic rights. The foundation's team analysed the documents and reported the issue to the office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Serbia. The links were removed from the agency's website in the afternoon hours of Friday, December 12, but it is impossible to know who downloaded the information in the meantime.
Citizens have started reacting on social networks, many calling this an “unforgivable” offense by a government agency. Twitter user Vladan Joler tweeted a common sentiment:
— Vladan Joler (@TheCreaturesLab) December 15, 2014
— Vladan Joler (@TheCreaturesLab) December 15, 2014
It remains unclear why the documents were published on the site, if by mistake or otherwise. The office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection took on the case immediately and it is expected that it will follow through with an investigation.
In the meantime, SHARE Foundation's legal think tank team has warned any and all who have downloaded the data that any use of part or all of the information in these files would represent a a criminal offense and has recommended that anyone who has retained a copy of any or all of the documents delete them permanently.
Although the focus was translation and interpretation of classic Chinese books, the necessity of learning a new language when studying a culture or being able to use the language in politics were also addressed. Two lecturers caught the interest of Ruiz, Alicia Relinque and Eduardo Daniel Oviedo. About their talks, Ruiz notes:
Relinque, nos explicó muy brevemente su experiencia personal como traductora y cómo a lo largo del tiempo ha ido cambiando su metodología en función de la obra a traducir e incluso a veces por los requisitos impuestos desde la editorial. Seguidamente expuso varios ejemplos de traducciones de otros autores
(Oviedo) trataba del papel que juega actualmente el chino como elemento integrador de la sociedad china, así como la lucha que tiene con otros idiomas para ser la lengua hegemónica a medida que crece el poder político y económico de la República Popular China, mientras expande su influencia a otras regiones del mundo de cara a la formación de una lengua global.
Relinque briefly explained us her personal experience as translator and how as time went by she has been changing her methodology according to the text to be translated and sometimes even according to the requirements by the publisher. She then talked about several translations by other authors
(Oviedo) addressed the role currently played by Chinese language as unifying element in Chinese society, as well as the struggle it has with other languages to be the hegemonic language as Popular Republic of China's political and economic power grows, as it expands its influence to other regions of the world in regards to the formation of a global language.
Now it's time to wait for the second edition on 2016 and the possibility for the Autonomous University of Barcelona to organize it. That hasn't been decided yet.
As an alternative event during the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20), with the aim of discussing solutions to reverse climate change, Lima, Peru will host another space for reflection about this issue: the Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change. Unlike COP20, this summit is made up of thousands of young people and individuals belonging to social organizations, trade unions, indigenous communities and rural groups.
The People's Summit on Climate Change defines this phenomenon as a direct consequence of the capitalist system, especially the role of providers of commodities the system has given Latin American countries.
Damián Profeta, an Argentinean journalist who is attending both events, sums up the approach of the People's Summit:
Para los participantes de la Cumbre de los Pueblos, el calentamiento global es intrínseco al sistema capitalista y la respuesta a ese problema debe ser cambiar los modos de producción y consumo. En variados discursos, los oradores apelaron a la “Madre Tierra”y repudiaron el extractivismo en los países latinoamericanos.
For People's Summit attendees, global warming is inherent to the capitalist system and the response to this problem should be changing the ways of producing and consuming. In several speeches, the lecturers appealed the “Mother Earth” and condemned the extractivie methods of the countries.
Where? Parque de la Exposición, Lima.
When? December 8-14, 2014.
For all those who won't be able to attend, you can follow the event on Facebook.
In early December 2014, the shortlist for a competition of the desing of the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki was announced. The bulk of the building of the new Finnish venue of the famed museum of modern and contemporary art will be financed by the government of Finland and the project is already causing controversy and disagreements in public opinion.
The main sponsor of this promising project will be Finnish taxpayers, with the government willing to spend as much as 130 million Euro on the museum, which will carry the world-renowned Guggenheim name. In fact, the Finnish government will spend 30 million euros of this budget specifically on paying for the use of the Guggenheim brand. These expenses are already the cause of open outrage among local residents. For many locals, it seems particularly unfair to invest taxpayers’ money in a non-Finnish museum and brand. Many see it as sponsoring “someone else's trademark”.
Local and national media have been critical of the entire contest for the design of the museum and have called the entire project “a vanity project”.
The number of participants in the contest for the design of the new Helsinki Guggenheim was incredibly high, with more then 1700 proposals received from professional architects from more then 77 countries.
Authorities in the city have taken this and other elements as good signs and have explained that they expect the new museum to become the main tourist attraction in Helsinki, boosting tourism and the city's economy in general. Some representatives of the municipality have referenced the so-called “Bilbao effect”, describing the effect that the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain had on bringing in almost 4 million tourists to Bilbao in the first 3 years and boosting the local economy. Locals in Helsinki, however, fail to see the parallel between the two cities, as the Bilbao Guggenheim was part of a larger economic and cultural revitalization in the Spanish city.
In Finland, in response to the government's decision to collaborate with Guggenheim, an alternative competition was created for another project dubbed “The Next Helsinki”, where Finnish architects will be offering their own urban design solution for the city. On the project's official website the organizers of this effort call participants to:
“Help us seize this opportunity to highlight the city's singularity, and its residents’ appetite for social, environmental and cultural justice.”
Submissions for the “New Helsinki” contest will be open until March 2, 2015.
From Merida, Andres Mayorquín reflects on the sentimients of Mexicans once they have been part of the marches for the disappearance of student teachers. Some ot them are already tired and they wonder if ti's worth it to take the streets. The mistrustful ones want Mexicans stop protesting and use their time “to work harder, to stop giving bribes, to respect others’ liberty or be more productive, to stop the whining”.
The opposite is no longer enough in Mexico, concludes Marroquín. Three proposals to this question: “What shall we expect or do with all this movement unleashed after the disappearance of the teacher students that ended up representing all the disappeared, murdered, kidnapped and attacked of the country?”:
Primero que nada, negarnos radicalmente a la violencia… La mayoría no queremos más agresión, queremos paz, queremos encontrar mejores formas de relacionarnos unos con otros en nuestra sociedad diversa y queremos justicia, que respete la dignidad de cada uno de nosotros.
Tercero, desarrollar una propuesta concreta…una legislación sobre la revocación de mandato, la formación de una Comisión de la Verdad, hacer obligatorias y públicas las declaraciones patrimoniales de los servidores públicos y sus familiares, facilitar los requisitos de las candidaturas independientes, una regulación sobre los legisladores plurinominales.
First of all, we radically reject violence… Most of us don't want more aggression, we want peace, we want to look for better ways of relating with each other in our diverse society and we want justice, they the dignity each of use deserves might be respected.
Third, elaborate a concrete proposal… a legislation about power revocation, the formation of a Truth Commission, make wealth declarations mandatory and public for pubilc servants and their family members, make easier for independent candidates to run for office, a regulation about multi-member legislators.
Rough Studios, a small Swedish production company, has released the first episode of a documentary series about being transgender in Uganda:
We enter the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan transgender girl who was forced to flee to Kenya after being “outed” as homosexual in one of Uganda's major tabloids. It is a story about love, hate and being transgender, in one of the worlds most homophobic places.
Our goal with this film has always been to make a difference. Whether it is to change peoples hearts, their perception of a transgender person or the prejudice people have towards the LGBT community.
Uganda is a country which for long have been criticized for the discriminations against the LGBTI community.
President Barack Obama's announcement regarding migratory reform, introduced via executive action, generates, on one hand, relief within the Latino community. On the other hand, however, there are voices expressing discontent. Sonia Tejada explains that, although the measure grants undocumented migrants three-year working permits, that will benefiit five million people, it doesn't guarantees legalizing status nor citizneship. According to Tejada, the measure has created two types of undocumented migrants: those with conditions to be benefited and those who are still at the mercy of the immigration agency. To be benefited by the regulation:
[...] los inmigrantes deben haber residido en el país por cinco años, tener niños, sean ciudadanos estadounidenses o residentes legales, y, por supuesto, no haber delinquido.
[...] migrants should have been living in the country for five years, having children, be American citizens or legal residents and, of course, not having a criminal record.
Sonia also expresses her criticisms to Obama's speech, that she considers penalizes migration:
Obama habló incesantemente de que los EE. UU. es una nación de leyes, y de que los inmigrantes por haber cometido “el crimen” de entrar al país sin documentos ni autorización, deben expurgar su culpa.
Obama talked incessantly that U.S. is a nation of laws, and that migrants, having committed the “crime” of entering the country without documents nor authorization, must make amends.
The measure would be just an incomplete solution, as to be benefited by it, migrants will continue being undocumented, even though with a limited working permit now. Meanwhile, for six million undocumented migrants, uncertainty about their migratory status hasn't changed at all.
You can follow Sonia Tejada on Twitter
Indigenous people from the Munduruku ethnic group are fighting against the construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam will mean the flooding of 700,000 km2 in their homeland.
The Brazilian Federal Government plans to build up to five dams in the Tapajós River, where dozens of indigenous communities live. Together with São Luiz do Tapajós, the Jatobá dam was due to begin construction in 2015, but socio-environmental difficulties may have postponed that deadline to at least 2020. The two dams will cost together US$7 billion.
The Munduruku claim they have not been consulted about the project. For years, the Munduruku people from the Sawré Maybu community, which will be directly affected by the construction of São Luiz do Tapajós dam, have pressured the federal government to demarcate their lands. The demarcation would create a legal obstacle for the continuation of the dam's project.
A documentary about the issue was produced by videomaker Nayana Fernandez.
UPDATE 09/12/2014: Together with other organizations, Nayana Fernandez has launched a crowfunding campaign to help the Munduruku pressure the government to demarcate their territory, officialize two associations, build a website and translate and dub the documentary into their native language (most Mundurku people do not speak Portuguese). Supporters can contribute with a minimum of US$10.
Rut Abrain Sanchez on her blog Esturirafi defines and identifies legal and volunteer product labels. Among the latter we find ecologic labels, “so manufacturers show us they are abiding by a series of requirements and for the consumer to be able to identify products environmentally more sustainable”.
There are Type I, Semi-type I, Type II and Type III ecolables. Abrain Sanchez mentions the first two of them, the most common:
Ecoetiquetas (Tipo I). Son sistemas voluntarios de etiquetado ambiental que identifican y certifican de forma oficial que los productos que la llevan tienen un menor efecto sobre el medio ambiente.
Etiquetado semi-tipo I. Estas ecoetiquetas suelen pertenecer a organizaciones sociales, asociaciones sectoriales, agrupaciones de empresas fabricantes, etc. cuyo principal objetivo es conseguir que la mayor cantidad de productos posibles se certifiquen bajo su sistema, para lograr el mayor reconocimiento posible por parte de los consumidores.
Dentro de este tipo se encuentran las etiquetas de agricultura ecológica, pesca sostenible, consumo energético, uso de madera (FSC, PEFC), productos textiles… Las que solemos encontrar en muchos productos que compramos a diario. A partir de hoy te vas a fijar mucho más :-)
Ecolabels (Type I). a volunteer system of environmental labelling that officially identifies and certifiies that products bearing it have a lesser effect on the environment.
Semi-type I label. These ecolabels usually belong to social organizations, sectorial associations, groups of manufacturing firms, etc. with the aim of having the most possible products certified under this system, to achieve that most consumers recognize the products.
This type contains labels from ecologic farming, sustainable fishing, energetic use, wood (FSC, PEFC), textile products… We find these labels in many products we purchase on a daily basis. From now on, you'll sure look more in depth at labels :-)
Hungary's government monopolized the sale of tobacco goods in 2013, drawing criticism from all sides both for the monopoly and the restriction of the Freedom of Information Act that came with the secretive distribution of sales licenses for the goods. In a second round, Hungarian Parliament voted on Monday, December 15, 2014, to create a state-run national tobacco distributor. Trade unions protested against the law, arguing it would result in the loss of some 1600 jobs.
Ahead of the vote, a trade union group sent bars of chocolate to Hungarian members of Parliament with pictures of children and a message asking the MPs to vote against the parents of these children losing their jobs. Vastagbőr blog reported that Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also received a bar of chocolate, ate the chocolate, and then proceeded to vote in favor of creating the national tobacco distributor, which would leave hundreds of people unemployed. Photos of Prime Minister Orban consuming the chocolate bar before the deciding vote are included in the blog post and other local media.
Bizarro's website aims to provide support to “entrepreneur parents, with children and no time, this is, people who are responsible for their lives”. There is no age, gender, condition, let alone religion that may prevent someone to become an entrepreneur, claims the interviewee and discusses the advantages of online entrepreneurship:
La primera, como he adelantado en la primera pregunta, el coste: hace 15 años invertí 20.000€ e hipotequé mi vivienda ¡hoy no lo haría ni loca!
La segunda, el estilo de vida: con una simple conexión a internet y un ordenador puedo trabajar desde cualquier lugar ¡La bomba! Una herramienta vital para la conciliación laboral.
La tercera: el efecto palanca. Me explico, con un simple artículo puedes conseguir 1000 visitas en una semana, o incluso en un día. Eso era algo impensable en la era analógica. ¡¡Ni los mejores comerciales!!
The first one, as I've already mentioned on the first question, the cost: 15 years ago, I invested 20.000€ and got a mortgage on my house. Today, this wouldn't even cross my mind!
The second one, lifstyle: with a simple connection to the Internet and a computer, I can work from anywhere. Great! A vital tool for conciliation.
The third one: the lever effect. This is, with a simple piece, you can get 1000 views in a week, or even in a day. This was inconceivable in the analogic era. Not even the best commercials!!
On his personal blog Hbt, Olivera Herbert writes about a new district distribution (starting on October 2014) and the popular referendum about participatory budgeting 2015 (November 2014), that allowed us to assess and ellaborate a new Catalog of Colonies and Native Nations 2013 in Mexico City.
Herbert has prepared a chart of the 1,753 communities and 40 native nations and invites us to download it here, a *.kml file you can use on a free and open code SIG, such as QGIS. The author explains what a colony means geographically and the so called native nations:
De acuerdo a la Ley de Participación Ciudadana del D.F. la colonia es la división territorial del Distrito Federal y los pueblos originarios son asentamientos que mantienen la figura de autoridad tradicional de acuerdo a sus normas, procedimientos y prácticas tradicionales.
According to the Bill of Citizen Participation of Mexico City, colony is the territorial division of the Federal District and native nations are settlements that keep the figure of tradtional authority under its rules, procedures and traditional practices.
Herbert Olivera's account on Twitter is @oliveraherbert for further details.
The comet Churymov-Gerasimenko was discovered on 1969, the same year a mission landed on the Moon. Back then, no one would have imagined that 45 years later a small spacecraft called Rosetta transporting a landing module and the hopes of thousands would touch down on surface of a comet known as Chury.
Astrophysicist Ángel R. López shares on his blog that this interplanetary journey spanned 10 years and 64 billion kilometers. Furthermore, this marks the first time that human inventiveness has made it all the way to a comet.
But this long trip isn't important just for those reasons; it also intends to clear up such transcendental doubts as life on Earth, which could have arrived on board a comet, as several experts claim.
This blogger and astrophysicist also details the cost of the mission:
La misión Rosetta – Philae ha costado a los europeos 1400 millones de euros, repartidos en 20 años. Esto corresponde a solo 3'5 € por europeo a repartir en esos 20 años. Es decir, poco mas de 20 céntimos por año.
Mission Rosetta-Philae has cost European people 1,400 million euros, distributed over 20 years. This means 3.5 € per European citizen to be distributed in those 20 years. Little more than 20 cents per year, that is.
There are also some people that are opposed to this expense, but, as Ángel R.Lopez notes, it's worth it, as a deep and important issue for human beings, if we want to stop living in the past.
You can follow Ángel R.Lopez on Twitter: @El_Lobo_Rayado
Kurdish media outlets are abuzz with a photograph of a Peshmerga woman, sitting beside an automatic weapon, breastfeeding her child. The picture has been widely distributed on social networking sites, highlighting the strength of Kurdish women and the resilience of female combatants in the ongoing fight against ISIS.
In contrast to the contentiousness of breastfeeding in many Western countries (most recently in the United Kingdom), Kurdish media outlets have largely welcomed this Peshmerga woman breastfeeding her child, celebrating how the photograph captures her dual roles as a “warrior” and a “nurturer”.
Kurdish Internet users have also praised the Peshmerga woman, whose identity remains unknown. Kemal Taher from Erbil remarked, “I don’t know what to say about this lioness of Kurdistan, wishing them success on the battlefield, May God protect you all”. Shakar Sndy from Sulaymaniyah said, “An example that we’re proud of”.
Mark Kaigwa, who declared “Twitter is going to change Kenya” in February 2010, describes the A to Z of Kenyan Twitter:
Kenyans on Twitter are the ones to be rallying behind a hashtag, making light work of creating a global trending topic. Be it to bringing CNN to apologise for a story, correcting misperceptions of the country with #SomeoneTellCNN or to celebrate the humour behind the national education and final examination system with examples such as #KCPE2010, #KCPE2012 and others.
In another fleeting moment they will wage virtual war on another African nation (be the reason sparked by football (Nigeria), politics (South Africa) or foreign policy (Botswana). Again the war cry of #SomeoneTell beckoning them. And #KOT won’t stop with just trading barbs and insults, they’ll take any misperception and stereotype they can find and using what seems to be a growing lexicon of African-made memes as when attacking Nigeria.
Korean Air Lines vice president has made numerous headlines, both locally and internationally, for her arrogant behavior on a recent flight out. She randomly accused a crew member of serving macadamia nuts ‘incorrectly’ and even she ordered a plane back to the gate to remove the crew member out of the plane. No wonder this sensational story has become one of the trending topics in social media. Among numerous internet jokes, parody photos and even a cartoon by Japanese users, one stood out most would be a game mocking the Airplane nuts fiasco. A Korean web developer, Tai-hwan Hah (@duecorda) made a simple game entitlted ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon’ [ko]. However you play, you get the same result of the crew member being yelled at and hearing the sentence ‘You! Get out of the plane!’ — the very word the vice president allegedly said to the crew.
On his blog Blucasendel, Argentinian journalist Wenceslao Bottaro explores new ways of linking with tourism and other ways for communication and promotion of touristic attractions. This time, he graphically shows what you can find in front of the Main Square of the colonial Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings), as Peruvian capital city Lima was originally known.
Apenas entrar, la primera impresión es deslumbrante. Hay mucho para ver y asombrarse: los muebles, las colecciones de objetos, las escaleras, las lámparas, el patio. Todo lo que es madera está trabajado obsesivamente en los detalles.
De las paredes cuelgan pinturas, en las vitrinas se exhiben piezas de vajilla, documentos genealógicos y de la época de la Independencia. Lámparas de todo tipo se combinan con la luz del sol generando una extraña atmósfera en las habitaciones.
The minute you get in, the first impression is dazzling. There is a lot to see and to be astonished: the furniture, the collections, the stairways, the lamps, the courtyard. Every wooden article is obsessively carved in every single detail.
Paintings hang from the walls, glass cabinets showcase dishes, genealogic documents and from Independence period. All kinds of lamps are combined with sunlight, generating a rare atmospohere in the rooms.
Bottaro has also written about other place that's worth to visit in Lima's historic downtown. For instance, “the guard change at Presidential Palace; the Inquisition Museum; the historic Bar Cordano, and, especially if you are with children, to have fun with the Magic Circuit of Water“.
— Kendra Desrosiers (@KD) December 6, 2014
Two recent court decisions in the US exonerating police officers who killed two black men — 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 43-year-old Eric Garner in New York — has sparked demonstrations across the country. The African American Youth Travel Program (AAYTP) organised a protest against police brutality, racism and injustice on December 6 in solidarity with the protests in the US and around the world.
One protest occurred in Tokyo.
Shooting a good photography isn't a chance result, dedication is necessary, and above all, getting connected with the location.
GV contributor Laura Schneider offers us ten tips for taking the best photographies on our trips. Here we have some of them:
1- No te olvides de llevar la cámara, cargada y con suficiente memoria adicional.
5- Toma nota de las fotografías
8- Ahora o nunca
1- Don't forget to take the camera, loaded and with enough additional memory.
5- Take note of the photographies
7- Wake up early
8- Now or never
Laura also shares one experience of hers:
Recuerdo cuando fui a Kibera en Kenia, la segunda villa o slum mas grande de África quería fotos naturales, no posadas. Quería que la gente no se esconda con la cámara. Así que me puse una camiseta de fútbol de Argentina. Los niños que había en el lugar se acercaban y me decían: Maradona o Messi y eso me permitía entrar en conversación.
I remember when I went to Kibera in Kenya, the second biggest slum in Africa, I wanted natural photos, not posed ones. I didn't want people hiding with the camera. So I wore an Argentinian football T-shirt. The children there approached me saying Maradona or Messi, and that allowed me to make conversation.
You can follow Laura on Twitter.