Egyptian revolutionaries calling for a boycott of the run-off presidential election. The economic crisis sees a rise in alternative local currencies. And Monmouth, in Wales, becomes the world’s first « Wikipedia » town.
Egypt: activists calling for boycott of the run-off election
Thousands of Egyptian activists returned to Tahrir Square on Monday following the official first round presidential election results. The revolutionaries who helped topple Hosni Mubarak now face what they see as an unacceptable choice as it has been announced former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood will be facing each other in the run off.
The campaign headquarters of Ahmed Shafiq who is widely considered as a vestige of the former regime, were set ablaze and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account was hacked into last weekend. The party’s logo was replaced by a photo of Khaled Saïd, an icon of the Egyptian revolution.
And calls for a boycott of the run-off election are multiplying on the micro blogging site. This web user for example says his vote represents choosing between a military dictatorship and a religious dictatorship.
Others like activist Tarek Shalaby had already boycotted the first round of voting. He explains on his blog that he refuses to be part of an electoral process that, in his opinion, is completely controlled by the ruling military, which has been running the country since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
The Tahrir Square protesters condemn the military for employing the same repressive measures as the former regime, which is why some intend to vote for the Islamist candidate if only to stand in the way of Ahmed Shafik, who served in the Egyptian army. This is what blogger Zeinobia is planning to do, but she has laid down her conditions. She says she will only give her vote to Mohammed Morsi if the Muslim Brotherhood commits to, amongst other things, establishing a coalition government with representatives from all the country’s political parties.
Micro-currencies on the rise as crisis swirls
The Sol, the Bogue, BerkShares or Chiemgauers, they may not mean anything to you yet, but these local and alternative currencies are on the rise and particularly so in Europe and the U.S. With the dollar, euro and pound sterling subject to stock market fluctuations, these parallel monetary systems promote an ethical economy of solidarity, and are limited to a certain town or region.
In France, the standard term is "Monnaie Locale Complémentaire", meaning "local complementary currency”, it does not replace official money and there are over 20 such currencies in use in France.
From Pézenas to Villeneuve-sur-Lot and Romans, all sorts of experiments are underway, each focusing on different aims: resolving the financial crisis, protecting the environment, supporting local businesses, creating social links… local currencies are also growing in popularity in the UK, Italy and Germany, with the same objectives and similar results.
Other systems are also flourishing, often web or smart phone based, with an array of websites and applications on offer. Bartering systems or time banking, which facilitate exchange of services, are enjoying great success in Greece and Spain.
And contrary to these very local initiatives, the Bitcoin, an electronic cash system launched in 2009. Anyone can acquire these cyber coins and spend them on the web, as they so choose.
Now trending on social networks
Two women from the United Arab Emirates have set up an Internet campaign encouraging foreigners to show more decency, and are using the keywords « UAE dress code », to spread the word. Expats do offend locals with their skimpy outfits and public displays of affection, so over the past few weeks web users have been campaigning for them to show greater respect to Islamic traditions and customs, even if the UAE is considered to be one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf.
Monmouth becomes world's first Wikipedia town
As of two weeks ago, visitors to the town of Monmouth in Wales have been able to use their smartphones to scan hundreds of bar codes at points of interest, which instantly bring up a Wikipedia page about the landmark on their phone. The "Monmouthpedia" project was six months in the making and may well be developed in other towns and cities across the globe.
Video of the day
Can anyone make music on a synth? This video was produced to promote the Swedish electronic music festival Volt, and has explored that very question by giving synthesizers to monkeys, lemurs, sloths and meerkats… the results were pretty mediocre, that is until a human got involved to remix their offerings…