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Latest update : 2011-05-24

Saudi woman arrested after defying local driving ban

Saudi women continue their campaign for the right to drive. Fierce debate in Brazil over proposed reforms to the forest code. And YouTube has launched a platform for political debates in the US.

Saudi woman arrested after defying local driving ban

32 year old Saudi woman Manal al-Sharif, was arrested on Sunday for defying the local driving ban for women. Last Friday, she had uploaded a video of herself driving through the streets of Khobar in eastern Saudi Arabia.

This computer security consultant learnt to drive in the US and is behind the campaign mounted on social networks urging Saudi women to get behind the steering wheel on the 17th of June. The movement is called “Women 2 Drive” and is focusing notably on the fact that although the authorities do not issue women with driving licenses, there is actually no law in place which forbids them from driving.

The campaign’s Facebook page, which had near to 12 000 members, was deactivated the day after Manal al-Sharif was arrested. And whilst cyber activists are campaigning for her release, her combat for the right to drive continues to be relayed via the net.

Other substitute pages like this one were set up shortly afterwards and increasing numbers of videos of Saudi women driving have emerged on sharing sites over the past few days, to encourage women to fight for the right to drive.

This video blogger of French origin claims to have driven for several months, in the hope she would not be seen by police. She lives alone with her children in Jeddah and cannot afford a taxi to take them to school every day or to go shopping. For this woman, driving is a daily necessity.


Fierce debate in Brazil over forestry protection

Proposed reforms to a law regulating forestry have sparked lively debate in Brazil. A group of deputies in Congress want to relax the current legislation, in order to increase the amount of land it can use. Environmentalists are fiercely opposing this proposition and are using the web to gain citizens’ support.

Numerous environmental organizations have joined the campaign and denounce the proposed changes, which in their opinion, would have catastrophic consequences on the environment. A site called “SOS Florestas”, meaning “SOS Forests” has been set up, to inform people on the dangers of changing national environmental law, which is presented as one of the most developed in the world.

The campaign to protect nature is also taking place on Twitter where web users can use the key words "#SOSFlorestas" and "#SOSCodigoFlorestal" when coordinating activities to convince the authorities to leave the current forest code unchanged. They are circulating a link redirecting users of the micro blogging site to an online petition, signed by over 50 000 citizens, demanding the government continues to protect the forests.

And evidence that the message is reaching the people: numerous rallies have been organized in various cities across the country. The participants want to show Congress how committed they are to the current environmental policy.

Supporters of the proposed forest code reforms are also busy campaigning, and have set up this Twitter thread to convince locals of the legitimacy of their requests. The deputy Katia Abreu for example is stressing the important impact reforms will have on economy and farming in Brazil.

 

YouTube Town Hall

YouTube has launched a new platform called Town Hall, on which web users can watch virtual debates between members of US Congress on different political issues. This new service is particularly simple. Users just have to choose a question on a given theme, watch the replies from two politicians and then support the one they agree with the most. The aim of this interesting tool is to inform citizens in an objective manner, by providing competing ideas and a variety of political positions on one given issue.

 

British cup final fans to be tagged in giant panoramic photo

On Saturday the 14th of May during the FA Cup Final between Stoke and Manchester City, the photographer Jeffrey Martin shot a giant panoramic photo of London’s Wembley Stadium. The 360 ° picture was assembled from the one thousand photos he took during the football match. The 90 000 spectators present that day can tag themselves in this giant 10 giga pixel photograph via their Facebook profiles.

 

Video of the day

Sit down to a gourmet meal prepared by a quality chef … in the subway. Some of New York’s public transport users were lucky enough to be in the right carriage at the right time, as we can see here. A 6 course meal was served up by a team of professionals each time the train stopped in a station. The guests were no doubt won over by this original idea.

 

 


 

By Electron Libre

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