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Iranian Photojournalist Arrested Alongside Washington Post Reporter Is Released

An unidentified female Iranian-American photojournalist was released on Thursday Aug. 21 after being held in police custody at an unidentified location since July 22. The photojournalist had official accreditation from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and was arrested alongside her husband and on the same day that Iranian-American Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi were arrested. Since then, the husband of the photojournalist has been released. Rezaian and Salehi remain in the custody of the Iranian Judiciary in an unknown location and have yet to be issued formal charges. 

Words From a Patient Who Got a Second Chance

Mamografía

“Mammograms hurt, but not having them hurts more.” Image on Flickr by user Zumaques (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Some months ago, on her blog Anchas Alamedas, blogger Solentiname started to share the different stages she's gone through, since the moment she found a lump in her breast. On her latest blogpost, she writes to someone she calls Mimí and she tells her how she felt after the surgery she experienced few weeks ago. She tells Mimi about her feelings, doubts, pains and joys:

No te preocupés porque no me ha dolido nada. Ha sido incómodo, pero cuando uno se salva de una cosa de esas, entrega endosado el derecho de quejarse, ¿verdad? Me siento casi obligada a la felicidad absoluta, a la perspectiva, al esto es preferible a un cáncer. [...] Y resulta, además, que yo no sé bien cómo sentirme. No me siento sobreviviente de cáncer, no siento que tengo derecho a ese título. [...] He pensado en tomarle la palabra a todas las personas que me han dicho que les dejara saber si podían hacer algo por mí y decirles que sÍ: que le paguen a todas sus empleadas una mamografía, que hagan una campaña, que salven así aunque sea una vida.

Don't worry, this didn't hurt at all. It has been uncomfortable, but when you manage to overcome something like this, you give up the right to complain, right? I feel almost forced to absolute happiness, to perspective, to the this is better than cancer. [...] And besides that, I don't know how to feel anymore. I don't feel as if I survived cancer, I don't feel entitled to the label of survivor. [...] I've thought of taking at their word to everyone that asked me to let them know if they could do something for me and I will tell them yes: pay a mammogram to each of your female workers, make a campaign, save at least one life.

She ends up saying:

No sobreviví a nada Mimí. No siento que la vida me esté dando una segunda oportunidad de nada. No me siento con una misión en la vida. No me siento especial, diferente, escogida. No me siento distinta.

I am not survivor at all, Mimí. I don't feel life is giving me a second chance of anything. I don't feel I have a mission in life. I don't feel special, different nor chosen. I don't feel I'm distinct.

Cubans Join Authorised Users of Google Chrome

Google Chrome finally becomes “legal” in Cuba and blogger Yoani Sanchez says that she gleans great satisfaction from “knowing that the opinions of citizens interested in the free flow of information and technology influenced the elimination of this prohibition.”

Movement Calls for Review of Imprisonment of Cameroon's Former Chief of Staff

Marafa Watch is:

A U.S.-based, grassroots movement for appropriate international review of the politically motivated conviction and corresponding imprisonment of former Secretary-General (Chief of Staff) at the Presidency, Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya of the Republic of Cameroon.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2012 on corruption charges linked to a deal to buy a presidential plane.

Safety Measures Against Ebola in Cuba

Thus far, no-one in Cuba has contracted the deadly Ebola virus and the government wants to keep it that way. Havana Times reports on “increased control measures to prevent the possible introduction of Ebola into Cuba”, adding that The Ministry of Public Health and other supporting agencies are being extra vigilant with monitoring any visitors arriving from high-risk countries.

Sex, Censorship, and the Internet: Take the EROTICS Survey

EROTICS logo APC

The Association for Progressive Communications is asking LGBT activists, women's rights activists, queer bloggers and anyone with an active voice on issues of gender and sexuality on the Internet to participate in their 2014 EROTICS survey. APC explains that the survey seeks to help advocates “understand how sexual rights activists (from a variety of focuses and countries) use the internet to advance their work, what sort of risks, harassment, content regulation, or censorship they deal with, and how they respond to them.” The organization plans to use this information to help increase access to digital security for sexual rights activists and advocate for gender and sexuality issues among Internet rights activists. At a deeper level, they hope to:

…expose the connection between the regulation of sexual speech and content on the Internet and provide evidence that will help sexual rights activists explain the impact of such regulation on their lives and their work.

The EROTICS survey is available in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Take the EROTICS survey here and visit the project website to learn more about the study.

Should Women Starve Their Babies for Fear of Public Breastfeeding?

Olivia Kidula explains why breastfeeding in public should not stop:

A friend of mine recently gave birth to her first baby girl and is still getting the hang of motherhood. I began to notice she breastfeeds only when no men (besides her husband or father are around) and when she can “comfortably” hide away in a small space. When I mentioned to her that there should be no shame in feeding and nourishing her child in front of anyone, she responded,

“society would rather she starves than look at my breasts.”

The more I thought about the implications of her words the more upset I became. Who would want a child to starve? Who would truly want to deny a child nourishment and comfort at the chest of his mother?

VIDEO: Is the IDF Glorifying Its Air Bombings of Gaza?

Israeli blogger Elizabeth Tsurkov challenges the IDF to make an English version of a video it had released in Hebrew, which she describes as “glorifying air bombings of Gaza.”

She tweets:

At least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, more than 10,000 injured, and 450,000 displaced since Israel launched a massive offensive called Protective Edge against the 40-kilometer-long coastal strip on July 8.

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

Yasmine: Brunei's First Feature Film

The film Yasmine is notable because it is Brunei's first feature film. It is about a young woman who wanted to be a champion of silat, an indigenous martial arts from Brunei. The film has been well-received in various international film festivals.

Trinidad & Tobago: Is Education Really About Learning?

Why, oh why, did I fail what is clearly a basic english class?

The easy answer – I didn’t try hard enough [...] The more complicated answer lies in a system so rigid that I am required to take freshman english despite all proof and indications to the contrary.

Trinidad diaspora blogger CunningLinguist laments the failings of the modern education system, as he comes to realisation that “higher education is not about learning, it’s about about checking boxes”.

Beatriz’s War: East Timor's First Feature Film

From Facebook page of East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

From Facebook page of East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

A Guerra da Beatriz (Beatriz’s War) is the first feature film from East Timor. It is about Indonesia's occupation of East Timor from 1975 to 1999 and its impact on the Timorese society.

According to the producers of the film, it was “made guerrilla style by the men and
women who fought in the armed resistance and the clandestine movement” against Indonesia's occupation.

Bahamian Women Battling for Equal Rights

You would think that a nation which spent so much of the 20th century doggedly pursing equality would be united today over equal rights for women to pass on citizenship to their children and spouses. You would think that a constitutional provision to prevent discrimination against more than half the population would be entirely non-controversial.

But you would be wrong.

Blogging at Bahama Pundit, Larry Smith says that “the main point is simply that Bahamian women and men should have the same rights under the law.”

Crisis Data at Your Fingertips

CrisisNET is a Ushahidi initiative that puts crisis data at your fingertips:

CrisisNET finds, formats and exposes crisis data in a simple, intuitive structure that’s accessible anywhere. Now developers, journalists and analysts can skip the days of tedious data processing and get to work in minutes with only a few lines of code.

Demanding Gender Equality in the Bahamas

Lynn Sweeting, blogging at Womanish Words, wants equality for women in the Bahamas and pens a poem in that regard.

Clashes After an Attempted Theft of 450 Cattle Leaves 15 Dead in Madagascar

Armed forces and dahalos (highwaymen in Malagasy) clashed in Amboasary Sud in the southern region of Madagascar on Aug. 15 over a theft of humped cattle (Zebus), a type of domestic cattle with a fleshy hump on their shoulders. Thirteen Dahalos and two members of the armed forces died during the clashes. Official reports states that 450 Zebus were stolen by about 90 armed thieves when authorities intervened.

How the Merger of Two of its Largest Providers May Transform the French Telco Market

The recent merger between French telcos SFR and Numericable is but another example of the broader trend that dominates  today’s telecommunications market: operators are seeking to integrate their products in order to respond to their business clients’ growing desire for streamlined communications solutions. This merger also threatens the dominance of Orange, which – until now- has enjoyed a privileged position among corporate and business clients. 

The merger is a major operation which is poised to radically transform the corporate telecommunications market. Each of the 2 companies already has a significant individual market presence and there have been no comparable upheavals since 2005, when Cegetel and Neuf Telecom merged to form Neuf Cegetel (which then became a subsidiary of SFR). Since 2010, many players have been ‘merged out’ of the telco market (the Club Internet, AOL, Telecom Italia and Cegetel brands, for example, have all been retired). This has been the market's way of responding to operators’ growing desire to at once be present in both the fixed-line and the mobile markets. The merger between SFR and Numericable falls neatly in line with this trend – it would appear that the companies are trying to merge in order to meet consumer expectations concerning price and simplicity.

This market pattern has also been driven by the fact that operators need to invest heavily in new infrastructure to maintain their quality of service. The SFR-Numericable merger, for example, will help both of the merging companies to meet their needs in this field.  Lionnel Piar, Telecommunications vice-president at CGI Consulting stated :  

Industriellement, ce qui est intéressant dans le rapprochement, c’est qu’on a d’un côté un SFR qui a plutôt des offres mobiles, et de l’autre un Numericable plus sur la partie câble. Avec ce rapprochement, on est plus dans la notion d’opérateur global qui va être capable de proposer l’ensemble des services à une entreprise. 

From an industry perspective, the interesting thing about this merger is that, on the one hand, you have SFR which offers mainly mobile products; and, on the other hand, you have Numericable which is more about cable. With this merger, we are moving towards the notion of a unified operator which can single-handedly offer corporate clients a full suite of services.

And it is precisely this new notion that threatens the hegemonic dominance that Orange currently enjoys on the B-to-B market . Orange currently holds a 70% market share and, while SFR and Numericable currently hold 20% between them, the newly merged entity is hoping to attain 30%.

Zed Blog Social Media Awards

Zed Blog Social Media Awards identify and celebrate the best in blogging and social media in Zambia:

Meet our Judges| Bwalya Chileya or @MissBwalya as she is known by most is founder of the twitter based chats ‘Insaka’ which can be described as targeted at discussing cultural and societal issues in Zambia. Bwalya is also a freelance writer who has penned articles for Voices of Africa. She is also a blogger.

Meet our Judges| Merushka Govender is a travel blogger, social media strategist and freelance writer. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 Travel bloggers in South Africa. She has been handpicked by brands like Samsung to test their products, as well as selected for numerous blogger campaigns, including a recent #GoToReunion trip.

Derailed Train Exposed Inefficient Philippine Mass Transport System

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

Scores were injured when a train overshot its stop at a busy intersection in south Manila. The crash ignited an intense discussion about the weak and inefficient mass transportation system in the Philippines. Authorities vowed to improve train service amid rising public anger over the incident.

12 Deaths and 27,000 Displaced Nigeriens Because of Floods

Flooding in Niamey in Niger - Public Domain

Flooding in Niamey in Niger – Public Domain

Heavy rains and flooding in Niger have killed 12 people and left thousands without homes. Rivers in Niamey and the extended regions have risen and destroyed thousands of houses. In the region, land degradation and cultivation of marginal land increase the risk that extreme events can develop into natural disasters. Some solutions for flood preparedness were being implemented by national authorities :

ANADIA Niger aims to develop methodologies and tools to assess flood risk, to support planning at different decision making levels, to increase the resilience of local communities and to develop a greater capacity for forecasting and response. In this context, the development of a floods database will contribute to a more effective decision-making. 

 

Jamaica: #Ferguson & #Gaza

Jamaica-based blogger Annie Paul republishes a compilation of tweets that show the similarities between the standoff in #Gaza and in #Ferguson, where yet another unarmed black man was gunned down by the police. The response to the resulting protests by U.S. law enforcement has been so brutal that netizens are comparing the small Missouri town to a war zone.

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