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EcoMobility Gaining Ground, Step by Step

CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica) - Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.

Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility - mobility without private cars.

"EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key," Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.

The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.

"The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?" Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.

"Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?" added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities. MORE
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SKorean students ditch paper for digital books


GOESAN, South Korea (AP) — Outside the classroom a hot summer day beckons, but fourth-grade teacher Yeon Eun-jung's students are glued to their tablet PCs as they watch an animated boy and a girl squabble about whether water becomes heavier when frozen.

The small scene in this rural town is part of something big: South Korea is taking a $2 billion gamble that its students are ready to ditch paper textbooks in favor of tablet PCs as part of a vast digital scholastic network.

France, Singapore, Japan and others are racing to create classrooms where touch-screens provide instant access to millions of pieces of information. But South Korea — Asia's fourth-largest economy — believes it enjoys an advantage over these countries, with kids who are considered the world's savviest navigators of the digital universe.

A 2009 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-headquartered grouping of wealthy nations, found 15-year-olds in South Korea scored highest in their ability to absorb information from digital devices, beating runners-up New Zealand and Australia by a large margin.

At Sosu Elementary School in Goesan, principal Jo Yong-deuk speaks of a future in which his students interact in virtual reality with Ludwig van Beethoven and Abraham Lincoln. In the classroom, the children scribble answers in their tablet PCs with touchscreen pens as they watch the video clip explaining the scientific properties of frozen water.
"I liked this chapter, but my favorite clip is one where they show how flowers blossom and trees bear fruit in spring," 11-year-old Jeong Ho-seok said with a wide grin.

More than 60 primary, middle and high schools are now using digital textbooks as part of their curriculum, according to the state-run Korea Education and Research Information Service, which provides technical support for the program. Seoul believes it can finish the $2.1 billion program to build a single computer network packed with high-quality digital content by 2015. Replacing textbooks with tablet PCs will account for a quarter of that budget. MORE


Meantime we in the US like the jackasses we are, cut education to the bone and indulge in total fucking idiocy like NCLB and Race to the Top and whatever the hell Obama's got going. For the most powerful in the country in the world, we sure don't give much of a fuck about our future...
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Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

"The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor," Gundersen added. "TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."

Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive "hot spots" around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting.

"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."

...



"Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years," he said. "Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor."MORE
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I, for one, have been thoroughly confused about what to report about the ongoing nuclear crisis and dealing-with-other-aftereffects-of-the-tsumani-and-earthquake in Japan. I have seen lots of articles arguing across the spectrum that Western news articles have been very sensationalistic over the nuclear disaster and have ignored the tsunami victims and that Japanese news articles have been playing it down. So I had adopted a hands-off approach to the whole thing until some confusion cleared.


This is what I've seen so far:

TSUNAMI AND EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS

Al Jazeera People & Power - Aftermath of a disaster


People & Power looks at Miyako's citizens that survived Japan's devastating earthquake.



and Search for Japan tsunami victims continues: Thousands of troops conduct searches, with less than half those killed in disaster thought to have been found


Read more... )




Meantime Death toll reaches 13,116 from great quake, tsunami in Japan

Read more... )


NHK adds up the dead and missing and adds the prefectures that have confirmed their dead so far: 26,848 dead or missing in March 11th disaster

Read more... )

While sharp aftershocks that are pretty much mini-earthquakes in their own right keep killing people: Death toll from Japan aftershock rises to 3

Read more... )


And another that seems to have happened on Monday, April 11, left this result:Strong aftershock kills 4

Read more... )


Tsunami survivors move into temporary homes

Read more... )




NUCLEAR CRISIS


Radiation from Fukushima 10 pct that of Chernobyl-Japan official

Read more... )


Because 7 is the highest number on the map, and its apparently based on Chernobyl's clusterfuck, raising the situation to 7 elides the situation. There is one hell of a difference between Chernobyl and TEPCO's (the company who runs the plants) disaster, yet a pile of Western journalists are behaving as if they are the same thing. NO Forbes, it's NOT as bad as Chernobyl!!

That being said, the situation is really serious: (via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political) Japan raises nuke accident severity level to highest 7 from 5

Read more... )

April 11 TEPCO president apologizes, one month later

Read more... )


Here's an article focusing on the people who are on the frontlines trying to stop the leaks and clean up the mess.Heroes and realists found among the brave 'Fukushima 700'

Read more... )

from [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political Embattled TEPCO now facing a harsh public backlash Note the expressions of remorse. Some of that from the US lords of the universe and BP would be nice don'cha think? also: TEPCO and the Japanese gov't: BFFs no more



ECONOMY

Disaster devastates Japan farmland:Tsunami leaves behind toxic chemicals, making huge swathes of arable land unusable.

Read more... )

via [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political japan tag

Japan's 1st quake reconstruction budget, plus tourism is down lots and lots

Read more... )
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ISRAEL

Workers' Strikes and Protests in Israel
Read more... )



Israel – Social workers’ strike, confronting a privatized state

Read more... )


LIBERIA-COTE D' IVOIRE
LIBERIA-COTE D'IVOIRE Border Villages Sharing the Little They Have

Read more... )

HONDURAS

CODEMUH: Women's Resistance in Honduras


Read more... )

LIBYA

Something that I missed a couple of weeks ago

On March 10 : Libyan Women March In Support Of Rebellion
Read more... )

SYRIA

Syrian cabinet to resign next week: informed sources: Syria to announce constitutional reform: sources

Read more... )

BRITAIN <Do you remember Olive Morris? Red Chidgey reports on a collective of women using the internet to reactivate forgotten activist histories

Read more... )

br />
War on Want: Poverty is political:On the occasion of War on Want’s 60th anniversary, Sue Branford looks at the turbulent history of this uniquely left-wing charity

Read more... )




BANGLADESH

Laia Blanch spoke to Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation in Bangladesh

Read more... )

UNITED NATIONS

Patriarchy and Fundamentalism Two Sides of the Same Coin

Read more... )

PAKISTAN

Divided Between the Mullah and the Model

Read more... )

Pakistani Actress Defies Mullah Accusing Her of Immoral Behavior on an Indian Reality TV Show

Read more... )

CHINA

Death Sentence Looms for Filipino Drug Mules in China


Read more... )

BRAZIL

Women Workers Determined to Ride the Wave of Mechanisation

Read more... )















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BAHRAIN and SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi soldiers sent into Bahrain
Saudi troops and police from UAE deployed to Gulf neighbour to help protect government facilities after weeks of unrest.

Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there amid escalating protests against the government.

Bahrain television on Monday broadcast images of troops in armoured cars entering the Gulf state via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister.

The US, which counts both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among its allies, has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.MORE




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Japan Orders Evacuation Near 2nd Nuclear Plant

WASHINGTON — Japanese officials issued broad evacuation orders on Saturday for people living near two nuclear power plants whose cooling systems broke down as a result of the earthquake. The officials warned that small amounts of radioactive material were likely to leak from the plants.

The power plants, known as Daiichi and Daini and operated by Tokyo Electric Power, experienced critical failures of the cooling systems after the plants were shut down, as they were during the quake.

About 45,000 people were affected by the evacuation order at the Daiichi plant, where those living within a six-mile radius were told to leave. The evacuation of the second plant was for a one-mile radius because “there is no sign that radiation has been emitted outside,” an official said.MORE



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[personal profile] azuirehas links and commentary including ways to help.

Massive tsunami devastates Japan

Coastline swamped and hundreds dead as biggest quake in centuries sends wave crashing ashore and puts Pacific on alert.


Hundreds of people are dead after one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Japan, triggering a devastating 10-metre-high tsunami along parts of the country's northeastern coastline.

The massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck on Friday afternoon local time, creating gigantic waves which swept away cars, boats, homes and people as the surging water overwhelmed coastal barriers.

Widespread fires burned out of control and Japan's nuclear industry was on alert as reactors shut down automatically as a safety precaution. Millions are reported to be without electricity, airports are closed and public transport in Tokyo and other cities has come to a halt as Japan reels amid the twin devastations.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai where hundreds of buildings have collapsed. Japan's NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Police said another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.

Thousands of people living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture were ordered to evacuate after the reactor developing a cooling fault. Officials said the move was a precaution and there was no evidence of leaking radiation.

Meanwhile, countries around the Pacific basin are on tsunami alert amid warnings that a wall of water could completely wash over low-lying islands.MORE


Why Japan is prone to earthquakes

Al Jazeera's senior meteorologist Steff Gaulter gives insight into why earthquakes and tsunamis strike the island nation of Japan:

To put the effects of the latest earthquake in Japan in context, it could help to compare it to other recent quakes: the Haiti earthquake was 7.0 magnitude; the Chile one was 8.8 and the New Zealand one was 6.3.

"So, this as an 8.9, bigger than any of those. It is the seventh-most powerful earthquake that has ever been recorded. So we are talking about a massive earthquake there.

The reason for this activity is because of where Japan is situated, on the joint of four different plates.

"So we have got the Pacific plate and the Philippine plate to the east; and to the west, we have got the North America plate and the Eurasian plate. And what is happening is that the Philippine plate and the Pacific plate are heading towards the west; they are going underneath the other two plates and that is what is causing all the problems.MORE
Video too at link


From California to Chile, residents prepare for waves


Nicaragua: The government issued a green alert for the Pacific area, which makes up 427 coastal kilometers and is home to 100,000 people early this morning. The Chief of Civil Defense, Mario Perezcassar mobilized units to the area, though he has not yet ordered evacuation.

(More on TIME.com: See stunning video of the Japan quake)

Ecuador: President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency and ordered evacuation of the entire coastal region as well as the Galápagos Islands, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach. “If nothing happens, then that's great, but we can't take any risks,” Correa told reporters. Ecuador's heavy crude oil pipeline operator suspended oil shipments.

Colombia: Issued an alert, though no evacuation was ordered. Luz Amanda Pulido, the director of the National System for Disaster Attention and Prevention had a higher alert for the four Pacific coastal regions of Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.


MORE
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On wednesday: 7.9 earthquake hits japan

Japan was struck by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, shaking buildings in Tokyo for several minutes and prompting a tsunami warning.

Japan's meteorological agency warned that a tsunami as high as 20 feet (6 meters) could strike the coast near Miyagi prefecture, closest to the epicenter. Smaller tsunamis of up to 50 centimeters reached some coastal communities, the agency said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and U.S. state of Hawaii.MORE



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CôTE D'IVOIR. (guys? how do I get that punctuation mark on the "o" in Côte d'Ivoire?)

Côte d'Ivoire: The Difficult Legacy of Houphouët-Boigny

In order to better understand the origins of the current political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, it is necessary to place recent events within the context of the post-colonial era.

Post-Colonial Politics

Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Côte d'Ivoire from its independence in 1960 to his death in 1993. Henri Konan Bédié, president of the national assembly succeeded the deceased president in accordance with the Ivorian constitution. In 1995, Henri Konan Bédié remained in power, having been elected with 96.44% of the vote.

Politician Laurent Koudou Gbagbo called a boycott of this presidential election due to reforms that had been implemented to the electoral code. He was elected as a member of parliament in his constituency after his party, the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), won five of the eight seats in the elections.

General Robert Guéï overthrew President Bédié on December 24, 1999, after the latter attempted to change the constitution in his favor.

Presidential elections were then held in 2000 and Guéï was beaten by Laurent Koudou Gbagbo. The elections were marred however, by the elimination of several candidates by the Supreme Court including former president Bédié and politican Alassane Ouattarabecause of ”dubious nationality”, forgery and use of a false identity. During Ouattara's prime ministerial rule under President Houphouët-Boigny, Gbagbo was imprisoned as a political opponent in1992 and sentenced to two years in jail, although he was released after seven months.

The result of the contest was strongly contested by Guéï and some clashes marred this period; he eventually recognized the legitimacy of Gbagbo, thus winning FPI a majority of 91 seats in parliament (against 70 and 16 to the opposition).

While Gbagbo was abroad in September 2002, soldiers made an attempt to overthrow him. During the coup, several assassination attempts took place against political figures including Alassane Ouattara, and several difficult years in Ivorian politics ensued.

Bitter Context for 2010 Elections

It is within this context that elections were organized by the international community in December 2010.

MORE



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How a Tiny Town Sent an International Water Giant Packing:In the fight for water independence, Felton, California has become a symbol of what can be achieved.


In 2008, weeks after communities all over the United States celebrated the Fourth of July, the tiny town of Felton, Calif., marked its own holiday: Water Independence Day. With barbecue, music, and dancing, residents marked the end of Felton’s six-year battle to gain control of its water system. The fight, like the festivities, was a grassroots effort. For when a large, private corporation bought Felton’s water utility and immediately raised rates, residents organized, leading what was ultimately a successful campaign for public ownership and inspiring other communities nationwide.MORE


World's Water Supply: Here Are the Haves and Have Nots

British-based risk consultancy Maplecroft has released a new report showing which countries have the most precarious and stable water supplies. The report is intended to help guide investors, underscoring just how serious water supply is getting when it comes to the world economy. From farming to manufacturing, investors in various industries are starting to seriously weigh where they put their money based on how secure water supplies are or will be, and companies with interests in areas with unstable water supplies are having to put water efficiency in a place of priority. Though it focuses on areas of risk, the report also reveals whole new areas in water where investors may want to pile in funds.
Reuters reports, "African nations led by Somalia, Mauritania and Sudan have the most precarious water supplies in the world while Iceland has the best, according to a survey on Thursday that aims to alert companies to investment risks... A "water security risk index" of 165 nations found African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable supplies, judged by factors including access to drinking water, per capita demand and dependence on rivers that first flow through other nations."MORE


The Price of Water: A Comparison of Water Rates, Usage in 30 U.S. Cities

A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.

The survey, conducted by Circle of Blue over the last several months, also found that average daily residential water use ranged from a low of 41 gallons per person in Boston to a high of 211 gallons per person in Fresno, Calif.MORE


Philippines: Manila Water Crisis

Metro Manila, the national capital region of the Philippines, is now experiencing a water shortage crisis with millions enduring water supply rationing. Desperate for a bath, disgruntled residents have taken to breaking a water pipe in Malabon City. Filipino bloggers try to make sense of the crisis. Blackshama's blog finds the fact this rationing is done during the rainy season worrisome.
August is historically the wettest month. Unless weather patterns change, next month may be the driest August. September is the last month of the wet season and then the dry begins. The only thing to be done is to lessen water use.
MORE


Will Drinking Water for Millions be Devastated by Natural Gas Drilling?

The ordinary tap water available to 12 million residents in the New York Metropolitan area has been reliably clean and flavorful since 1842, when an aqueduct was built to bring pristine water from upstate to the city. For years the prideful city's water is a consistent winner in blind taste tests. Easy to take for granted, it comes as a shock to learn it is now endangered by natural gas drilling.

For a couple of years there have been media reports from Pennsylvania to Texas of drinking water so tainted that folks are able to light the water from their kitchen tap on fire. There have been more than 300 instances of contaminated water in Colorado since 2003, and more than 700 instances in New Mexico, according to Bruce Baizel, senior staff attorney with Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. In West Virginia a once lushly forested area has been transformed into a dead zoneMORE


Community Water Solutions in Action in Laos

XIENG NGEUN, Laos -- With just 13.4 percent of the country’s 6.3 million people having access to piped water at present, Lao authorities would have to work more than double time if the rest of the population are to have clean and safe water within a decade.

Here in Xieng Ngeun however, no one is waiting for the government alone to provide the townspeople with their water needs.

Located 25 kilometres south of the World Heritage City of Luang Prabang and part of the province of the same name, Xieng Ngeun boasts of having Laos’s first water-supply and sanitation project in which the community has taken part in all its stages, from planning to implementation.
MORE


One Year After Ontario Ban: Over 80 Percent Decline of Pesticides in Surface Waters

In April 2009, it became illegal to sell or apply pesticides for cosmetic lawncare in Ontario, Canada. It seems like a no-brainer risk versus benefits analysis: the benefit is ...hmmm, just cosmetic...while the risks are real, documented, and pervasive. But somehow the allure of a green, weed-free lawn keeps conquering rationality. A year later, does the preliminary data on the effectiveness of Ontario's cosmetic pesticide ban prove it is a good idea?

The scope of the pesticide ban is described on the News Ontario website:

Pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards. There are no exceptions for pest infestations (insects, fungi or weeds) in these areas, as lower risk pesticides, biopesticides and alternatives to pesticides exist. More than 250 pesticide products are banned for sale and over 95 pesticide ingredients are banned for cosmetic uses.


If you are a World Cup fan or a golf player, you might be asking yourself: but what about a perfectly groomed playing field? The Ontario ban provides for the continued use of some banned pesticides for special applications, under strict oversight of the Ministry of the Environment. Other exceptions include combatting poisonous plants or disease-carrying insects.MORE



In New Mexico, Ancient Traditions Keep Desert Waters Flowing

New Mexico has a spiritual power emanating from the landscape -- its rios, mesas, llanos, sierras -- that informs our traditional cultures.

Native Americans live each day in a vibrant relationship with everything around them. For them, New Mexico is not just a place to live. It is a way to live.

Similarly, Indo-Hispanos have created an intimate relationship with the landscape over the past three or four centuries. They built acequias -- communal irrigation systems—not only to sustain an agricultural lifestyle, but also to caress and sustain the Earth and its natural creatures.

Acequias evolved over 10,000 years in the deserts of the Middle East and were introduced into southern Spain by the Moors during their nearly 800-year occupation. Spanish colonizers took acequias to the New World. Acequias included specific governance over water distribution, water scarcity plans, and all other matters pertaining to what was viewed as a communal resource. The mayordomo, or watermaster, of the acequia made decisions about water distribution among community members, with the consent and advice of the acequia members.

This communal system of irrigating was a response to the scarcity of water in arid regions and was key to the survival of agricultural communities. In many instances, the acequia governance system was also used to settle other community conflicts, especially in areas like New Mexico, located far from the seat of government in Mexico City. The irrigation system that evolved over centuries and that was implemented in New Mexico was created to ensure a formal civil process to resolve water-rights issues, especially in dry times. Each irrigator had one vote to elect the mayordomo. The mayordomo had ultimate authority over water disputes and his word was final. He derived his authority from the communal power vested in him by all of the irrigators.MORE



Ugandans Return Home to a Demolished Water Infrastructure

AUSTRAILIA: The Biggest Dry is Global Warning of Water Scarcity

The Price of Hydropower Pursuits in Patagonia

War on Water: A Clash Over Oil, Power and Poverty in the Niger Delta

The Himalayas, A Special Report

Links

Apr. 9th, 2010 08:54 pm
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Collateral Murder Uncut Version



April 03, 2010 — Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad. They are apparently assumed to be insurgents. After the initial shooting, an unarmed group of adults and children in a minivan arrives on the scene and attempts to transport the wounded. They are fired upon as well. The official statement on this incident initially listed all adults as insurgents and claimed the US military did not know how the deaths ocurred. Wikileaks released this video with transcripts and a package of supporting documents on April 5th 2010 on http://collateralmurder.com





Global Vocies:Kyrgyzstan: The “Archived” Revolution

The roots of the present revolution are various: South vs. North clash (Bakiev is from the South, the rebels are from the North), corruption and suppressive government (in recent years Kyrgyz people witnessed all forms of oppression from closings of the newspapers [ENG] to independent journalists' murders [EN]), Russia's Great Game interest, Ortega-y-Gasset'ian “revolt of the masses” etc). Whatever the real reasons of the Kyrgyz revolution of 2010 are it is important to note that it was overwhelmingly immediate, furious, bloody and… well-documented.

The role of the new media changed slightly this time compared to other dramatic events (like the protests in Moldova or Iran). Blogs and Twitter didn't serve as serious means of public mobilization since the Internet penetration rate is relatively small in Kyrgyzstan ( just 15 percent in 2009). However, new media were agile enough to cover all the main events giving detailed footage of initial protests in Talas, rampage in Bishkek and looting that followed. At the same time, new media were efficiently used by the opposition attracting the attention of international community and shifting public opinion to the side of the protesters. The opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva (@otunbaeva), for instance, registered her account as soon as she became the head of the provisional government. On the other day, son of president Bakiev, Maxim opened a LiveJournal account to express the pro-government point of view.

As Gregory Asmolov concluded [RUS], it was not “journalists 2.0″ who were the most efficient in covering Kyrgyz events but the “editors 2.0″. Bloggers who both knew the region and were outside the country to see the big picture and collected the photographs, videos and Twitter confessions. Two most informed bloggers in this situation were people outside the country: US-based Yelena Skochilo (a.k.a. LJ user morrire) and Kazakhstan-based Vyacheslav Firsov (a.k.a. lord_fame). They managed to assemble the most complete collections of photos, videos and timelines


Trinidad & Tobago: Election Fever

With one action, the prorogation of Parliament, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister thrust the country into election mode. (The constitution of the twin island republic states that from the moment Parliament is dissolved, a general election must be held in no fewer than 35 days and no more than 90). As the news broke, the blogosphere was rife with speculation that the move was made to pre-empt a no-confidence motion against Manning that had been scheduled for debate today in the House of Representatives, as well as to avoid the fallout over the report of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector, which was critical of the modus operandi of the state-owned Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCOTT) - which is not to say that bloggers are not asking other critical questions, some even as basic as “When?

Trinidad and Tobago girls, politics, sports, technology, carnival, and lifestyle, however, starts with the “Why?”:

Why now? Why would the Prime Minister risk losing Government with not even 3 years of his five-year term behind him?
Why? Why when the country can still call on record revenue and a commanding majority in Parliament?

The analysts are pinning it on the no-confidence motion; or Calder Hart. But as Chris Rock asked when speaking on the Columbine shootings, “Whatever happened to crazy?”
It's quite possible Manning is just a nut. A lunatic.


MORE


RIGHTS-US: Love Without Borders – Or Papers

Cuba:Old Havana reaches out to the hearing impaired

Peru: Ongoing Mining Strike

Palestinian Christians barred from Jerusalem for Easter

Our Bodies are shaking now: Rape follows Earthquake in Haiti

Bolivia: Polarization persists:Regional elections confirm political split between the western highlands and eastern lowlands

Guatemala: Despite change to Penal Code, poor, indigenous Guatemalans lack resources to bring discrimination cases to trial.

South Korea insists it atomic program is for energy only



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Road to Hajj-Japan Part One


Al Jazeera meets the man making Hajj possible for Japan's small Muslim community


Road to Hajj - Japan - 26 Nov 09 - Pt 2


The road to Hajj - Azerbaijan - 25 Nov 09 - Pt 1


Al Jazeera follows pilgrims from this former Soviet state as they prepare for Hajj.


The road to Hajj - Azerbaijan - 25 Nov 09 - Pt 2
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Sri Lankan livelihoods on the line - 19 Oct 09


Thousands of jobs in Sri Lanka's garment industry could be under threat because of the country's human rights record.
The European Union is meeting this week to consider changes to special privileges for the country's textile industry.
With 250,000 people still displaced by the fighting between the army and Tamil Tigers earlier this year, the EU says Colombo is not meeting its obligations on human rights.


Okinawa base future uncertain - 20 Oct 09 US troops in Japan


The US defence secretary Robert Gates is visiting Japan as its new government signals it wants to review military ties with Washington.
While Tokyo says it is committed to the strategic alliance, Japan's newly-elected prime minister has said he wants a "more equal" relationship.
One of the key issues is the future of a major US military base on the island of Okinawa.
From there, Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett takes a look at what's at stake.


Civilians caught up South Waziristan fighting - 20 Oct 09


Al Jazeera has evidence that civilians are increasingly being caught up in Pakistan's attempts to crush the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Exclusive pictures we have received show that those villagers who haven't fled the area, can't escape the shells and bullets.
Imran Khan reports.

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