Online reports of irregularities during Burma’s parliamentary by-elections. Bulgarian students protest against a recently imposed night term curfew. And some heavy metal fans try to repaint a room, with their hair…
Fraud claims hit Burmese elections
Scenes of jubilation in Rangoon, after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party announced she had won a seat in Burma’s parliament. Her victory comes amid (and despite) allegations of fraud during these parliamentary by elections: an historic election widely seen as a test of the government’s nascent reforms.
So vigilance was the name of the game and according to numerous reports circulating online, in some polling stations wax had been put over the check box for NLD candidates, which could be rubbed off later to cancel the vote.
And in this video residents from Meiktila, in central Burma, claim they were unable to vote as their names did not appear on the electoral lists ; lists that have been at the center of much controversy during the electoral process, with reports of some voter lists containing names of deceased people or under age voters.
Information gleaned by local press which has made great use of social networks to provide coverage of these historic elections and gather observations from voters. This was the case for the weekly “7DayNews” for example, which has been particularly active on Facebook. National media uses the web as a means of bypassing government censorship, and so journalists have created all sorts of online initiatives surrounding the election, like the journalism school JSchool for example which set up a web site devoted entirely to the by-elections.
Bulgarian students protest against night-time curfew
Students from the Studentski Grad campus in Sofia, Bulgaria are protesting against the night time curfew imposed by the Education Ministry after a drunken student was killed back in February during a violent brawl on the way back to his dorm. It has since been forbidden to enter or leave student accommodation between 11 pm and 6 am the following morning. The system will be further tightened as of the 5th of April when all visitors will be prohibited from entering without identification.
Students have not taken kindly to these measures and are voicing their opposition. A Facebook page has been set up calling for protests against recent decisions and has already been joined by over 1,500 people. Comments from outraged web users are also flooding onto discussion forums. This web user says, somewhat ironically, that as an adult he has the right to vote, to become a father, but is not allowed to come home when he likes.
Blogger Anguel Igov says that a curfew is not going to solve the problem of violence on campus; he thinks it would make more sense to improve living conditions on campus and close down the many bars and nightclubs in the neighbourhood.
Activist Ivaylo Dinev points the finger at Bulgaria’s failing education system, and more specifically the low admission criteria which means universities can generate a lot of money through inscription fees. He thinks this does nothing to help develop responsible citizens, and calls for an awakening of national consciousness to break this vicious circle.
Nelson Mandela’s life digitally preserved
The Nelson Mandela Centre has teamed with Google to digitally preserve a record of Nelson Mandela’s life, and the archives are now available online. Thousands of documents ranging from family photos as a child to the calendar hanging in his prison cell during the apartheid era have been scanned and classified. It’s a unique way of looking back over the life of the now 93 year old former president of South Africa.
Now trending on social networks
Spanish net users are not happy and are turning to the web to make their feelings known, after fire ravaged the “Fragas do Eume” national park in north western Spain on Saturday. Social networkers have been busy airing their grievances, many using the Twitter hashtag “SOS Fragas do Eume”, saying the local authorities are largely responsible for the disaster, as they did not deploy the means necessary to avoid it. Others are saying that unfortunately one cannot predict this type of event, and due to recent budget cuts, there were simply not enough firefighters on hand.
Video of the day
In this video which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites, we see three heavy metal fans dipping their long hair in paint and then flinging it around… it’s a novel way to paint a room but we don’t think it’s going to catch on any time soon…