Coming up in this edition: controversy in the Philippines over efforts to rehouse victims of typhoon Haiyan; athletes worldwide take to the web in the run up to the Winter Olympics; and Stormtroopers in a pretty polished dance routine.
PHILIPPINES: TYPHOON HAIYAN VICTIMS COMPLAIN ABOUT SHELTERS
It’s now been over two months since the deadly super typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, and the city of Tacloban is barely beginning to recover. The natural disaster left millions of people homeless and they have yet to find permanent accommodation.
And whilst they wait for new housing to be constructed, something which could take at least two years, victims have been living in temporary shelters built by the government. Shelters that have sparked controversy. They were originally divided up into nine square meter bedrooms but were deemed too small to accommodate an entire family of five, on average, so the authorities have been forced to rethink plans and double the surface area.
Some of these wooden bunkhouses are still empty, and are widely considered to be substandard. These photos that have been doing the rounds on Facebook show a recently constructed temporary shelter that has already been ruined by rain.
Something which has prompted local media to investigate the funding of these emergency shelters. Certain politicians have been accused of inflating the construction costs and taking kickbacks on reconstructions projects.
Victims of the typhoon are naturally concerned by these allegations of government corruption. One group of people living in the Tacloban region has started a petition on Change.org urging international donors to convince Manila to show greater transparency over how the rehabilitation funds are being used.
ATHLETES USE INTERNET TO CONNECT WITH FANS AHEAD OF OLYMPICS
Olympic athletes have been busy connecting with fans ahead of the Sochi Winter Games which will run from the 7th to the 23rd February. Yes, with less than three weeks to go, the Jamaican bobsleigh team for example, which only just qualified for the competition on Sunday, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, because it doesn’t actually have enough money to get to Russia. It has raised over 35,000 dollars and counting in just two days, although Jamaica’s Olympic committee has since said it will cover all the costs.
America’s first ever free-skiing Olympic team, has released this mini documentary which focusses on training. The film was put together by extreme sport production company Teton Gravity Research and shows how these young hopefuls are working very hard to give themselves every opportunity of taking home a medal in this new Olympic sport.
Individual athletes have also personally taken to social networks, sharing details of their Olympic preparation. Super G alpine skier Samir Azzimani from Morocco for example has posted photos to his Facebook page so fans can see his somewhat unusual training sessions… crossing south Morocco in skis on wheels…
Norwegian competitor Anders Jacobsen has posted a video to YouTube, where he is ‘ski-flying’ with a GoPro camera attached to his helmet, giving fans a real insiders glimpse of what’s to come in Sochi…
The official Olympics YouTube channel is airing all sorts of videos showcasing the athletes competing. Check out Indian athlete Shiva Keshavan who will be competing in luge for example; here he is braving the Himalayas in preparation for the Winter Games.
RUMOR HAS IT…
Pollution in China is now so bad that people living in Beijing have to watch the sun come up… on a giant screen. Various international media outlets have reported on this over the past few days and web users have been sharing this photo to attest to the veracity of the information… But as the site Tech in Asia points out, the shot in question is actually a still from an ad aired regularly in Beijing to remind people that although pollution levels are high, you can still actually see the morning sun rise.
NOW TRENDING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
Residents from Northville in the US have been posting under the #LetTimPlay hashtag in support of high school student Tim Monette who has a rare form of cancer and wants to play for his school basketball team. His request was initially denied as the school authorities felt he had missed too many classes to be able to take part in sporting competitions. Countless web users have condemned their stance and started campaigning on behalf of Tim – and it’s paid off because a week ago he was finally allowed back onto the court.
PORTRAITS OF UNRELATED LOOK-ALIKES
Over the past few years, Canadian artist François Brunelle has been photographing people around the world who look extremely similar but are in no way related. The doppelganger project is called “I’m not a lookalike", it’s pretty astonishing stuff indeed and available to view on francoisbrunelle.com. 20
VIDEO OF THE DAY
What do the elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader’s storm troopers, get up to when they have a bit of free time? Well, if this video produced by Scott DW is anything to go by, then they get together and practice new dance routines. You can of course check it out in its entirety on YouTube.