Today on the net: anti-government protests in Sudan; a website showing how French funds are being used to rebuild Mali; and a video showcasing a new extreme sport…
Anti-government protests in Sudan
The president of Sudan Omar al-Bashir promised to raise the minimum wage on Sunday in a bid to placate demonstrators who have been protesting for the past week, slamming the dramatic rise in fuel prices prompted by the government’s decision to lift gasoline subsidies.
As we can see in these photos posted online by pro-democracy activist group Girifna, the rallies were violently repressed by police. The authorities, who are said to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of protesters since the start of the movement, claim the pictures have been staged.
The government maintains tight control over local media, but according to analysis from the team at Renesys, there was also a 24 hour Internet blackout on Wednesday. The outage in Sudan could well have been orchestrated by the authorities to stop demonstrators from coordinating protests or sharing reports from the scene on social networks.
So facing total censorship, computer specialists have set up this interactive map using the Ushahidi software. Citizens can submit reports of rallies, protests that have turned violent, arrests and other events via SMS and they will then be pegged to the crowd mapping platform.
The protest movement began after the country’s separation from South Sudan in 2011 left the nation facing a financial crisis, which has now taken a political turn. Protesters have taken to the streets and to the web calling for the ouster of Omar al-Bashir and a change in government.
Website shows how French funds are used to rebuild Mali
At the international donors’ conference “Together For a New Mali” held in Brussels back in May, France pledged to donate 280 million euros over two years to help fund development projects in Mali. The French government wants to be transparent about how the funds will be used and so has set up a website to document just that.
The platform is hosted on the website of the French Embassy in Bamako, and catalogues all the projects on an interactive map. Infrastructure works in the water or electricity sectors, humanitarian aid for displaced people, and also the funding of educational projects: any program that costs over 100 000 euros is detailed on this summary table which is regularly updated so that web users can follow the projects’ development.
The public can also get involved by reporting any anomalies. If visitors to the site notice an irregularity in one of the projects there is a contact form or telephone number available so they can report their concern via email or SMS.
As the Deputy Minister for Development Pascal Canfin explained in an interview for French daily “20 minutes”, the aim is to maximize the efficiency of French aid and protect against the misuse of public funds. If the project proves effective then it could be rolled out to cover other countries receiving aid from France.
Now trending on social networks
The final episode of the series Breaking Bad was aired on Sunday in the US, setting the web abuzz. Numerous companies have tried to cash in on the phenomenal success of the show that follows a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer, by posting Breaking Bad related and inspired ads on Twitter. And it’s not just the brand names trying to capitalize on the popularity of the series. The two main US political parties have also got in on the act, as we can see from the Republican and Democrat Twitter accounts…
Explore CERN with Google Street View
Take a look around the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, from the comfort of your own home. It’s now possible thanks to Google Street View. Web users can explore the labs, the control centers and the huge advanced particle accelerators over one hundred meters below ground. A fascinating project that will no doubt prove hugely popular with budding scientists everywhere…
Video of the day
Here’s a video for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies… it’s a new extreme sport, and it’s called jetsurf. As we can see in these spectacular images, the motorized surfboard takes jet-surfers through the water at an astonishing pace as they pull off some pretty impressive moves along the way…