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Latest update : 2012-06-25

Spanish coal miners protest against austerity cuts

Online reports of the coal miners’ protests in Spain. A Michigan Democrat Congresswoman at the center of lively debate in the US. And Facebook launches the official London Olympics page.

Spanish coal miners protest against austerity cuts

Barricades of tires, mattresses and bins, and protesters armed with home-made rocket launchers ready to attack the police … miners from northern Spain, like here in the village of Cinera, have been on strike for several weeks now in protest of government plans to slash subsidies to the coal sector by 63 %.

Protesters say this budget cut will put the region’s economy into jeopardy and tens of thousands of jobs are under threat. The conflict is gradually descending into violence. Clashes are erupting on a regular basis between anti-riot police and strikers who are blocking rail and road traffic to voice their outrage.

Protesters are backed by residents from across the region. A general strike was organized in the town of Langreo on Monday to show solidarity with miners.

The strikers’ wives went to the capital Madrid on Tuesday and gathered in front of the Senate to publicly condemn the plans to cut subsidies. Some of them even managed to enter the building to get their message across.

The movement looks set to continue on Friday. The main unions have called for a “Black March” with around 200 miners due to take part. Their 500 kilometer walk will culminate in a mass rally in the capital mid-July.


USA: Michigan congresswoman sparks controversy

"I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours…I am flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina, but no means no” This was part of the speech delivered by Michigan democrat congresswoman Lisa Brown last week, as she was speaking out against a proposed anti-abortion bill in this state that lies in the Great Lakes region. Her choice of words has sparked lively debate in the US.

Shocked by her use of the word « vagina », some members of the House of Representatives, most of them male Republicans, have since banned Lisa Brown from taking the floor. The democrat representative feels these measures are unacceptable and has openly slammed her male colleagues’ attitude, here she says they want to control not only women’s behaviour but also what they actually say.

 

The incident has been met with widespread reaction on social networks, with many web users speaking out in favour of Lisa Brown and condemning the Republicans for trying to silence her. Some, like the people behind this petition, are asking voters from Michigan to contact their representative to take action, as the situation is threatening freedom of expression. Others like actress Martha Plimpton feel that what is happening in Michigan could spell the beginning of a nightmare for women across the state.

In the meantime, it would appear that in the midst of all this scandal, Lisa Brown has managed to hold on to her sense of humour. On Saturday, to protest against being banned from speaking, she and a dozen or so female lawmakers read from “The Vagina Monologues” on the steps of the House of Representatives. The aim was to show that she would not give up until the censorship ban has been lifted.

 

Facebook launches official London Olympics page

Facebook has launched an official page for the London Olympics which will begin on July 27. The page is available in 22 different languages, and consists of accounts belonging to a dozen or so athletes, teams and disciplines, so that web users can follow all the latest from the games. But competitors will be restricted in what they are allowed to post, the International Olympics Committee has imposed strict rules on use of social networks.

 

Now trending on social networks

@EinAugenschmaus, meaning a "treat for the eyes": this is the Twitter pseudonym adopted by Julia Probst. The German blogger, who was born deaf, has been following her national team’s progress at Euro 2012 and relating, in real time, online, all the words and phrases she is able to lip-read from the players or the manager Joachim Löw. It’s one way of gaining an insight into the tactics used, and also any swearing or verbal attacks that may be uttered during the match. When the press asked Löw about it, he said, somewhat amused, that he would watch his language in the future.

 

Video of the day

McDonalds has decided to play the transparency card in this viral video recently released online. In this clip, the well-known fast food chain takes us behind the scenes at a photo shoot for the hamburgers that will be used in their advertising. It helps us understand just why the burger we order rarely looks the same as it does in the pictures.

By Electron Libre

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