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Latest update : 2012-11-13

Popular rejection continues against Dominican fiscal reform

Public discontent is rowing over recently approved tax reforms in the Dominican Republic. Environmental activists protest the construction of a man-made beach in Hong Kong. And the Pope gets set to join the Twittersphere.

Popular rejection continues against Dominican fiscal reform

As we can see in these photos posted to Facebook, thousands of demonstrators returned to the streets of the Dominican Republic on Sunday to protest a tax reform approved by the Senate last week. The bill is expected to raise government revenue in an attempt to tackle budget deficit but the tax hikes on everyday consumer products have provoked widespread public anger.

Protests against the reform have already turned deadly; 21 year old medical student Willy Florian was fatally shot by a police officer last Thursday during a rally on a University campus in Santo Domingo. The shooting sparked a national outcry and has strengthened protesters’ resolve to continue their efforts.

The so called "Fiscal Justice" movement is being largely coordinated via the Internet, and features activists explaining why Dominicans reject these new taxes. In this online video for example, government spending and corruption of the political class are blamed for the current budget deficit.

There have been several scandals recently involving highly placed government officials. A criminal complaint has already been filed against former president Leonel Fernandez who has been accused of tax fraud. It’s unlikely it will be taken much further, which is why a group of NGOs are organizing an alternative ‘popular’ trial by a symbolic people’s court on November 21.

Hong Kong: green groups protest against man-made beach

In recent months, environmental activists in Hong Kong have been protesting against a project to build an artificial beach at Lung Mei, and with construction work due to commence shortly, the tide of anger is steadily growing.

As we can see from these shots recently posted to Facebook, thousands of demonstrators gathered around government buildings over the first weekend in November to urge the authorities to abandon the plans.

The main argument put forward by green groups and environmentalists: the site chosen to erect the manmade beach is the natural habitat for more than 200 plant and animal species, some of which are already endangered species.

And although much of the campaigning is taking place on the streets of Hong Kong, the protest movement has also moved online. Several Facebook pages have been set up condemning the project which activists say will have devastating consequences on the region’s biodiversity. The groups have drawn thousands of members, intent on convincing the government to change its mind.

But the powers that be seem reluctant to accept the environmentalists’ demands. The authorities posted a statement online last week, reiterating their intention to start building work on the artificial beach. Construction is set to get underway in the next few days and should be completed in 2014 before opening up to the public the following year.

Now trending on social networks

CIA director General Petraeus unexpectedly announced his resignation on Friday, after running the intelligence agency for the past year. The news has sparked lively debate online, with web users wondering what really prompted Petraeus to step down. Many feel having an extra marital affair does not warrant a resignation, yes some suspect there’s more to this than meets the eye…

Pope Benedict XVI to join Twitter by the end of 2012

The Vatican has announced the Pope will be joining the Twitter-sphere before the end of the year. Although Benedict XVI won’t write his own tweets the messages will be taken from his speeches and he will sign off on any posts written in his name. The announcement will no doubt be a great hit with the 5,500 or so web users already following the Pope’s page, launched back in spring. 

Video of the day

This video produced by Eran Amir is extremely effective; with black and white objects, painted in various shades of grey, turning to colour once they are handled. This original piece has a great poetic quality and you check it out in its entirety on all good video sharing platforms…

By Electron Libre

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