In this edition: Afghan hip-hop artists promoting voter turnout; the UK's controversial ban on sending books to prisoners; and a base jump off New York City's tallest skyscraper.
AFGHAN HIP-HOP ARTISTS URGE VOTER TURNOUT
"It's your duty to vote, a responsibility, a way of moving Afghanistan forward". This rap track available on YouTube was written and performed by Yaaghi to help encourage young Afghans to participate in the upcoming presidential election, with the first round scheduled for April 5th.
It was produced for the Sola.af competition aimed at maximizing voter turnout. Contestants were asked to write their own lyrics, sing them over pre-made tracks downloaded from the competition website and send in their recordings. The lyrics had to be written in one of Afghanistan’s two official languages, Pashto and Dari, and there could be no mention of any candidate or political party.
The jury chose two winners from the dozens of entries, and they will both receive 1,000 dollars. The men's category winners were duo, Sami and Shahed, here they are reaching out to young voters.
And Sonita won the women's category with this video which will be aired on Afghanistan's leading television channel and event partner, in the hope it will prompt more Afghans to cast their vote. Just one in three voters participated in the previous presidential election back in 2009.
UK: BAN ON SENDING BOOKS TO PRISONERS
A new UK Ministry of Justice regulation is banning prisoners being sent books. The move is part of the government's incentives and earned privileges scheme and also aims to counter the trafficking of illegal goods, but it has been met with widespread criticism.
Frances Crook, the chief executive of NGO the Howard League for Penal Reform slams the ban in an article on Politics.co.uk. She describes it as an “irrational punishment regime” which damages a prisoner's education and rehabilitation.
And eminent writers and scholars agree: scores have signed this open letter. They are urging the authorities to rethink these new rules that ban prisoners from receiving parcels containing books and also basic essentials. There is also a petition addressed to the secretary of state for justice, Chris Grayling, and it has garnered some 18,000 signatures in just three days.
The Minister has responded on the government's website, depending the policy and explaining that prisoners will still have access to libraries within their detention facilities. But he has failed to appease critics, who have nicknamed him “The Book Thief”.
REAL-TIME HEATMAP OF INSTAGRAM PHOTOS
The site “Instant Peeping” shows web users, in real time, the posting habits of Instagram users in five of the world`s biggest cities: New York, Stockholm, London, Paris and Tokyo. The platform which was launched recently by a team of Swedish developers also delivers an analysis of the data; so we learn for example that the Louvre museum, the Sacré-Cœur and the Eiffel Tower are the three most photographed places in the French capital.
INFOGRAPHIE DU JOUR
Some web users type in “How do I use Google?” or “How do I google something?” into… Google. This infographic put together by Australian agency Search Factory, features a selection of some of the oddest questions entered to the search engine. Queries such as “Why did I get married?” which comes up 40,000 times per month, or more alarming inquiries like “How to hide a dead body” or “how to get away with murder”.
NOW TRENDING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
A new social media trend has emerged in the UK: the "sellotape selfie" or the “sellofie”. And as its name suggests people are wrapping their faces in the sticky tape, sometimes attaching items, and posting the photo to Facebook. The new craze was started by a college student last week who said she was inspired by Jim Carrey in the film “Yes Man”. Thousands of others have since followed suit and the Sellotape selfie Facebook page now has over 166,000 likes.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Back in September, base-jumper James Brady and two accomplices launched themselves off New York City's Freedom Tower. And the footage is now available on YouTube. The trio leaped off the tallest sky scraper in the United States, which stands at 417 meters. A staggering feat, but totally illegal and the daredevils are now facing criminal charges.