Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi issues decree to pardon ‘Arab Spring’ political prisoners. Four Americans who spent close to a month in Haiti living on one dollar a day. And cyber activists call for a chicken meat boycott in Saudi Arabia.
Egypt: president Morsi pardons protesters
In a post on his official Facebook page, Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi has announced an amnesty for crimes and misdemeanors committed quote “in support of the revolution”. The measure applies to anyone who has already been charged or convicted, all those awaiting trial, or being investigated over acts committed from the start of the uprising in January 2011 to June 2012 when the new head of state took office. The only exceptions will be those accused of murder.
Egyptian activists say 12,000 civilians were brought before military tribunals during the 16 months of military rule that followed the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. 5 000 of them are still reportedly behind bars.
Human rights activists have been campaigning for the presidential pardon for months and the news has been widely welcomed on social networks, although some feel the measure does not go far enough and that the wording in the decree can be interpreted in different ways. As Mona Seif specifies for example the amnesty will not apply to the many convicted by tribunal courts for acts not directly related to the revolution, and she calls for these cases to be brought before a civilian court.
Blogger Zenobia thinks Mohammed Morsi is using the presidential pardon to improve his reputation as there has been a mixed response to his first 100 days in office.
Egypt’s young revolutionaries are planning a demonstration, to take place on Friday in Tahrir Square, to maintain pressure on the Islamist president to honour the promises he made during his electoral campaign.
Living on one dollar a day in Haiti
After the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on January 12 2010, four young Americans decided to travel to Port-au-Prince, to live in a tent, with just one dollar per day for food. They wanted to give a true account of what life was actually like for Haitians, post-quake, and encourage their fellow Americans to get involved and understand what it means to live in poverty.
They videoed the 28 day experience and compiled the footage into a YouTube documentary which shows how the four friends were soon confronted with the harsh reality. They had to rely on the support of locals to help find food or to wash their clothes.
Ever since the video was posted online back in August it has been the object of much online criticism. This web user thinks it was insulting towards Haitians who had no other choice than to live in these conditions.
Freelance writer Tate Watkins has expressed a similar opinion on his blog. He is based in Port-au-Prince, and feels that despite the four Americans good intentions, the film conveys all sorts of stereotypes and does nothing to actually help the people of Haiti who are finding it extremely difficult to get back on their feet after the 2010 disaster.
The group is also working on other ventures however which have been deemed more constructive. The four friends run an NGO called “Poverty Resolutions” which supports several projects like the construction of a school and an orphanage in Haiti.
Pinterest's most wanted
Relay the police department’s “Most Wanted” list on social networks … this is what the local paper from the small town of Pottstown in the US has set out to do. The daily had already added an application to its web pages that allowed citizens to report incidents via Google Map, and it has now gone one step further by starting a Pinterest account to publish photos of criminals wanted by the local police. And these online tip offs are working with arrests reportedly on the rise, by 58 %.
Now trending on social networks
Web users in Saudi Arabia are using social media platforms to protest against a sudden rise in the cost of chicken meat, some prices have increased by 30 % over the past six months. There are no consumer associations in Saudi Arabia and the “Let it Rot” Twitter campaign, which was launched last week is enjoying growing success … the Saudi government meanwhile has imposed a chicken export ban in a bid to boost supplies.
Video of the day
Berlin as you have never seen it before … this video was made by a German design and communications agency. It required 6 days of shooting and four months of editing to complete, combining special effects and sequences reworked frame by frame … with remarkable results!