Today on the net, reestablishing communications in the Philippines; a Washington Post columnist sparks controversy in the US; and a novel promotional video from the city of Lausanne, in Switzerland.
Setting up communication systems in the Philippines
One of the missions undertaken by the NGO "Telecoms without Borders" is to reestablish an Internet connection at the hospital in the city of Tacloban, the city worst hit by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, so that medical teams can communicate with doctors on the ground.
The organization which is based in Pau, France, deploys teams to disaster stricken areas to restore telecommunications services, a vital tool in coordinating humanitarian relief efforts. And so they have set up emergency centers using satellite communications equipment that can be used by the Philippines government, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations working at the scene.
Telecoms without Borders is also working with local telecommunications companies, like Smart Communications, to set up free calling locations in the hardest hit areas left cut off from the rest of the world. A service that should help thousands of survivors contact their loved ones and recharge their mobile phones.
Telecoms operators in the Philippines are working with foreign groups to try and get mobile phone networks up and running in the most devastated areas. As was the case last year when the Philippines was hit by Typoon Bopha, the Vodafone foundation has deployed pop-up portable mobile networks to help get communication services back in action.
USA: Washington Post columnist sparks online controversy
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen in under fire from American web users over a piece he penned on November 12. He wrote "People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York – a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children”: comments that have sparked lively reaction online.
Thousands have taken to social networks to slam the article, accusing Richard Cohen of racism. Outraged web users are saying he has overstepped the mark and should be disciplined. Others like those who have signed this online petition, say the journalist should be fired immediately.
And whilst many have openly expressed their anger over the remarks made by the Washington Post columnist, posting fiery messages online, others have taken a more original route when voicing their outrage. Scores of interracial families have posted photos online, challenging Richard Cohen over his “gag reflex” comment…
Richard Cohen sprang to his own defense in an online interview given to the Huffington Post: he rejects the racism allegations made against him and says he was simply expressing the views of sections of US society, and this doesn’t mean he agrees with them.
Now trending on social networks
Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia have been posting under the #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia Twitter hashtag to condemn the Saudi Arabian authorities’ treatment of illegal immigrants: a crackdown that descended into riots and violence in Riyadh last weekend, leaving at least three Ethiopian immigrants dead. Web users have since taken to social networks in their droves, slamming the methods used by Saudi police, and the use of force and violence against African workers in the Gulf Kingdom.
Internet Archive website appeals for donations
A fire at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco last week destroyed digitization equipment, and so the organization, which is dedicated to building the most comprehensive Internet library possible is appealing for online donations, to help raise the 600,000 dollars the Internet Archive needs to resume activity.
Video of the day
The Tourist office in Lausanne, Switzerland, has signed up trial bike champ Hazlitt Thonney to help promote its wide range of sporting and cultural activities. Web users can join the two-wheeler whizz on a ride around Lausanne, providing a whole new take on the Swiss city…