h/t Peter Kaminski
Whole SJ Mercury News front page today is a nice word cloud/graphic on Obama’s first 100 days: http://is.gd/vnZL #tagcloud #bho100Peter Kaminski
The standoff between the U.S. Navy and pirates off the coast of Somalia has generated a fury of debates within the Obama administration over policy toward the Horn of Africa nation.
What the Somali politicians, warlords and religious fundamentalists could not achieve for years, a rag tag bunch of pirates did …. make the world realize that Somalia is OUR problem too …
P.S/ Boston.com does a great picture essay on the Pirates of Somalia
India will hold general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in 5 phases on April 16, April 22, April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 13, 2009. The results of the election will be announced in single phase on May 16, 2009.
After less than 10 days of incredible behind the scene’s work by some wonderful volunteers, technologists and bloggers, we are proud to introduce VoteReport India – a crowd-sourced collaborative election monitoring platform for the 2009 Indian general elections.
The timing for VoteReport India could not have been better given that the Ushahidi team had spent a weekend geeking about what the next iteration of Ushahidi should look like. Ushahidi, has come quite a way’s since its intial response to track the post election violence in Kenya. Since then it has been launched independently in hosted instance such as the DRC, and through partnerships like the one with Al Jazeera during the Gaza conflict.
The VoteReport India instance is particularly interesting given the complexity and magnitude of the Indian election landscape. Ushahidi’s strength has always been to put the right tools to keep OUR elections honest in the hands of the common man. A citizen with access to the web or at the very least a mobile phone, is empowered to report any improper election conduct and these would cluster on the map. Crowds can do wonderful things when given access to the right tools as seen after the November 26 Mumbai attacks that brought a flood of concerned citizens fourth flooding channels like twitter.
The Ushahidi team has been actively thinking of how a to validate and collate information in near real time — or as Erik Hersman puts it, crowd-source the filter. We are calling this mix of machine analytics + crowdsourcing initiative “Swift River” — and VoteReport India is the first instance where it will be implemented. The Indian Genereal Elections will be a first for the this initiative.
How can you help this effort? Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂
STEP 1: EVANGELIZE IT
Help us get the word out, Here is where we are on
STEP 2: USE IT
The next step is to actually use the Vote Report India platform. Here is how you can send in reports:
STEP 3: VOLUNTEER
Please participate in this initiative and help us ensure a free, fair and transparent election process in India. To help out contact Vote Report India.
Nadir Gullu, chef and baklava master of Karakoy Gulluoglu, shows off his portrait of President Obama made of baklava, also known as the Baracklava.
Turks rejoiced when Barack Obama was elected president last November, and he remains a popular figure in predominantly Muslim Turkey. But sentiment has been mixed in Istanbul, as the president winds up his European trip there this weekend.
It’s Obama’s first visit to a Muslim country since his election and perhaps the sweetest expression of Turkey’s attitude toward Obama comes from Istanbul’s famed bakery, Karakoy Gulluoglu. Bakers there have created a portrait of the president out of baklava. Owner Nadir Gullu said it took five chefs working for two days straight to create the pastry portrait, which they’ve taken to calling — yes — Baracklava.
For children – and for many adults – art plays a vital role in helping them to express feelings and difficulties that they aren’t otherwise able to articulate. Its importance is never greater than in post-conflict conditions. Of course, water, food, and first aid are essential during a crisis, but none of these things can restore human dignity to a person dying from disease or help a rape victim to cope with their outrage.
To suggest that the only things that maintain our humanity are those that serve our biological needs seems to me palpably incorrect. We are not just what we eat. We are also what we feel, what we fear, what we love and what we hate. Unexpressed tensions find their strength in violence.
For children in conflict nations, “art is not an adjunct to life but can transform it. It has an educative, restorative, reorienting power, not despite but precisely because of their desperate circumstances”, Danny suggests.
Mr. Obama will tap Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, a Swahili-speaking retired Air Force officer who grew up in Africa as the son of missionaries, to take on one of the most delicate diplomatic missions of his presidency, according to three administration officials, who were not authorized to discuss the selection before the official announcement on Wednesday.
March, 18th 2008 – New York Times
According to the NYTimes, President Obama plans to appoint Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, a retired general and a close adviser as his Special Envoy to Sudan as the administration turns up the pressures on the Government in Khartoum. This is especially significant given that the International Criminal Court (ICC), issued an arrest warrant for Omar Hassan al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. President al-Bashir responded by expulsion of aid groups.
What makes Major Gration an interesting choice is his past. Beyond just being a Swahili Speaker he has been in a similar situation thrice in his life, according to his Wikipedia entry
This also reminds me of a much discussed piece on twitter that was featured in the Huffington Post by Mona Gable on “Why Obama Needs A Special Envoy to Africa (& not just George Clooney)” http://bit.ly/1SooZn
Hopefully, an envoy to Sudan is a begining for a more engaged Africa policy from this administration … and in more areas than just conflict resolution and into areas such as balanced trade, renewable energy and education initiatives.
She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”
Glory’s Story, TweetLuck.com
This story is about a little 10yr old girl in Tanzania called Glory, a wonderful lady called Stacey …. and how their little story should matter to all of us.
Glory, is a bright young girl who attends Shepherd Primary school in Tanzania. One fine morning Glory decided she could no longer go to school when she realized that her only pair of shoes had a sole missing. While this might seem like a non-issue for most, Glory like many of her peers at Shepherds primary, lives in meager circumstances with her sister, aunt and grandmother given both her parents had passed away.
So how does Luck have a part to play in this story? Shepherd Primary school is a very lucky school. In 2003, Mama Lucy collected her savings selling chickens, and decided to rent a plot of land adjacent to her home to start a primary school. As Luck would have it, a local developer bought the land in 2007 and forced her to close down. Luckily Stacey, who had visited Shepherds Primary as a volunteer that year decided that she had to quit her job in the U.S and help Mamy Lucy rebuild. Since that day, with the help of the teachers, parents and several generous donors, Stacey and Mama Lucy have been able to rebuild the school, purchase a refurbished school bus and double the number of student to over 300. As a matter of fact, in November 2008, Shepherds Junior participated in national exams for the first time. The school ranked #1 out of 117 participating schools in the Arusha district. The kids beamed with pride and so did Stacey.
Oh and what happened to the little girl Glory? That evening after school Glory’s teacher Rachel went over to her house to further investigate — and on finding out the issue, she went door to door in the village looking for a pair of shoes for Glory to borrow for the day. The next morning, teacher Rachel returned with Glory to school … and by the end of the week Mama Lucy had bought Glory a shiny new pair of her own. That week, Stacey received thank you notes from the kids, including Glory’s that seemed a little different — She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”
That’s where we all come in. What if the Luckiest people aren’t the people with the most money, the most comfort or determined by where in the world they live? What if luck had little to do with all this — what if it Luck had everything do with what you share? Stacey, Glory and Mama Lucy share a little of their Luck every day with everyone they meet. Let’s help Mama Lucy, Glory and Stacey’s organization Epic Change spread the *Luck* by joining their TweetLuck campaign …
Techcruch carried an interesting note on how you can create a book by importing wikipedia pages. What is great is that you can create a book on any topic, sort information by chapters and PediaPress takes care of typesetting, printing and shipping. PediaPress allows you to download the PDF or OpenDocument format free of charge.
This harps back a conversation on Jon’s Appfrica blog about how we must think beyond just the net to truly democratize information. We have to think of new ways to get it into the hands of people who need it most. Perhaps PediaPress is an step in this direction.
Did you know that you can assemble your own wiki pages from Wikipedia and print them out in book form? You can, for a while now, thanks to a partnership between Wikimedia Foundation and a German startup called PediaPress.
Last week, the wiki-to-print feature was activated for six more languages besides German but as of yesterday the functionality is also being tested on the regular English Wikipedia (restricted to logged-on users only for now).
You can check it out here .
Today’s top stories from the BBC’s Africa section. Don’t we deserve better from our leadership …