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January 28 2014

INNOVATION: Containers as Student Housing at European Universities

“Containers” at DTU Campus Village in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark via wikipedia CC-BY-SA-3.0

In order to alleviate the lack of student housing available across Europe, a few universities in Denmark, Germany, France (Le Havre) [fr] and Spain have tried to turn containers into student dorms. Containers appear to be the structure of choice because they are less costly and readily adaptable to include the necessary amenities. However, a few associations have already raised a few issues [fr] regarding thermal isolation and safety in the containers. 

January 20 2014

European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

Website: MediaInitiative.eu. For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.

The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative - a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:

Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.

A short video presents the campaign:

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

November 05 2013

‘Women Should Be Submissive', and Other Google Autocomplete Suggestions

A series of ads by UN Women, revealed in late October, used the Google Autocomplete feature to uncover widespread negative attitudes toward women. Global Voices followed reactions to the UN Women campaign and conducted its own experiment in different languages. The results of searches conducted both within the UN Women campaign and Global Voices revealed popular attitudes not only about women’s social and professional roles, but also about their sexuality, appearance and relationships with men.

UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase

UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase “women shouldn't”

The creators of the UN Women ads used search phrases like “women cannot”, “women shouldn’t”, “women should” and “women need to” completed by genuine Google search terms to highlight overwhelmingly negative stereotypes, sexist and highly discriminatory views held about women by society globally. The ads quickly went viral and sparked a heated discussion online. Last week, creators have announced that they are planning to expand the campaign in response to the mass online reaction.

The auto-complete function for searches, according to Google, predicts users’ queries based on the search activity of all users of the web as well as the content of indexed pages. The predictions may also be influenced by past searches of the particular user if they are signed into their Google account.

Global Voices asked its contributors from around the world to carry out Google searches using the same or similar phrases as those used in the UN Women campaign, in their own languages. The searches done between October 19 and October 25, 2013, revealed attitudes about the roles women are expected to take in society, often demonstrating the same global prejudices, but sometimes showing contradictions in different countries. Below are searches in 12 languages from different countries and continents:

Spanish

Chile

“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Silvia Viñas. October 21, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not preach
Women should not work
Women should not talk in the congregation
Women should not drive

Peru

“Women cannot…” A screenshot by Juan Arellano. October 21, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot preach
Women cannot be pastors
Women cannot donate blood
Women cannot live without man

Puerto Rico

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle. October 21, 2013.

Women should…
Women should be submissive
Women should use the veil
Women should preach
Women should work

French

France

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Suzanne Lehn. October 21, 2013.

Women should…
women should stay at home
women should work
should women preach
women should wear skirts
women should be submissive
women should know
women should vote
women should stay at home
should women work
women should do the cooking

“Women don't know…”. A screen shot by Rayna St. October 21, 2013.

Women don’t know…
women don't know how to drive
women don't know what they want
women don't know how to be in love
women don't know how to read cards

Arabic

Egypt (similar results in Jordan)

“Woman cannot…”. A screenshot by Tarek Amr. October 21, 2013.

Woman cannot…
Woman cannot live without marriage
Woman cannot live without a man
Woman cannot keep a secret
Woman cannot interpret man's silence

Chinese

“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Gloria Wang. October 21, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot be too smart
Women can't drive
Women cannot give birth
10 topics women cannot discuss with their husbands

Romanian

“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Diana Lungu. October 21, 2013.

women should not…
women should be loved not understood
women should not be understood
women should not wear pants
what women should not do in bed

 Italian

Italy

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.

Women should…
Women should stay at home
should play hard to get
should stay in the kitchen
should be subdued

“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not be understood
should not work
should not be understood but loved
should not read

 German

Germany

“Woman should not…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.

Woman should not…
Woman should not teach
My wife should not work

“Woman can…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.

Woman can….
Woman cannot come
Woman cannot get pregnant
Woman cannot cook
Woman cannot get a baby

 Hebrew

“Women don't…”. A screenshot by
Gilad Lotan. October 21, 2013.

Women don't…
Women don't work
Women are not modest
Women don't know how to drive
Women don't want to have kids

 Hungarian

“A woman should be…”. A screenshot by Marietta Le.
October 21, 2013.

A woman should be…
a woman should be a chef in the kitchen
a woman should be pretty and ruthless

 Danish

“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Solana Larsen. October 20, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot drive
Women cannot control vagina
Women cannot be color blind
Women cannot barbecue

In Danish, the searches for “women cannot” and “women can” yielded the same results.

Russian
Russia

“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Veronica Khokhlova. October 19, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not be believed
Women should not lift heavy things
Women should not drink
Women should not be trusted

 English

The UK

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Annie Zaman. October 25, 2013.

Women should…
Women should be seen and not heard
Women should stay at home
Women should know their place

 Not all searches carried out by members of Global Voices community turned up negative terms. Nevertheless, the results of the experiment largely confirm UN Women’s worrying conclusion that a great deal of work still remains to be done in order to advance women’s rights and empowerment around the world.

October 02 2012

Denmark: “Happy Divorces” with Big Banks

“Are you sure you want to take out money here?”

This question was posted across ATMs of the big banks in Denmark back in September. It was the warm-up for the ‘Bank Transfer Day’ that kicked off on Oct. 1.

The ‘Bank Transfer Day’ campaign [da] is a citizen initiative working to make the Danes reconsider where they keep their money – to consider if they can vouch for their bank. The goal of the campaign is to make the Danes dump the big banks and go to smaller savings banks and co-operative local banks instead.

“Break up with you bank,” they shout on FacebookPhoto by 401(K) 2012 on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

Price increases in loans and overdrafts may have helped push the initiative forward – either way, more and more Danes express dissatisfaction with their banks, and so far an unknown amount have even switched banks.

The Facebook page [da] of ‘Bank Transfer Day’ has over 6,000 ‘likes', and posts tick in with messages of “happy divorces” with old banks and recommendations for new ones.

Klaus Nørregaard [da] writes:

Just signed the papers and moved the household's activities to Arbejdernes Landsbank” [an unlisted shareholding bank]

Hatice Ucar [da] asks:

Which bank do you have? Do you recommend it and why?

It seems, however, that the day is only happy for the ones with sound financial circumstances. More people have commented on the wall that they were not allowed to change bank, as Ahu Perle Öztürk [da] comments:

Errrmmm, my bank won't break up with me?”

The ‘Bank Transfer Day’ initiative comes as a reaction to the banks’ jeopardizing behavior before and after the recession,, they explain on their Facebook page [da] and website [da].

The Danish initiative happens in the wake of similar international initiatives.

March 14 2012

Europe: Will ACTA Treaty Pass After Protests?

[All links forward to French articles unless stated otherwise.]

As of the end of the month of February 2012, the mobilization efforts of Internet users against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [en] were still going strong. In fact, they may have begun to bear fruit.

By including infringements against the author's rights in its scope, this international treaty, which addresses intellectual property rights, also affects Internet content.

The ratification debates which were placed on the European Parliament's agenda on February 29, were put on hold in expectation of the opinion of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The issue of the treaty's conformity with European Community law was brought before the court on 22 February by the European Commission.

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo by Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo by Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

Taurillon, the “magazine of young Europeans -France” describes “Europe's about-face on ACTA“:

Si l’avis est négatif, l’ACTA n’a plus aucune chance en Europe. Mais en cas d’avis positif, le recours à la CJUE représente le double avantage de redonner au traité une certaine crédibilité, et de repousser son adoption à une époque suffisamment lointaine pour que la polémique se soit tassée et que l’opinion publique regarde ailleurs.

If the opinion is negative, ACTA no longer stands a chance in Europe. However, if there is a positive opinion, appealing to the ECJ would mean a double advantage by giving the treaty a certain credibility, and also pushing back implementation to a time that is far enough away when public debate has settled down and the public's attention is focused elsewhere.

Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson for la Quadrature du Net urges on the European deputies:

Les eurodéputés doivent résister à la stratégie de la Commission européenne, qui cherche à gagner du temps et à transformer le débat en une simple discussion juridique, et pour cela continuer à travailler au rejet d’ACTA. ACTA vise à imposer une tendance pour une politique globale du droit d’auteur qui est toxique pour l’Internet libre et pour les libertés. Le Parlement européen est le dernier rempart : il doit agir et adopter une position claire et forte, faute de quoi il laissera le champ libre à la Commission pour imposer une répression inacceptable.

The Eurodeputies must resist the European Commission's strategy of attempting to gain time and turning the debate into a simple legal discussion, thereby continuing to work towards ACTA's rejection. ACTA aims to impose a tendency for a global policy of author's rights that is toxic for the free Internet and for freedom. The European Parliament is the last line of defense: it must act and adopt a firm and clear position, otherwise it will leave the field wide open for the commission to impose an unacceptable repression.

For trucbuntu, there is no question of remaining passive while waiting for the Court to adjudicate:

Les citoyens de toute l’Europe peuvent contacter leurs représentants dans les commissions Commerce International (INTA) et Industrie (ITRE), qui se réunissent cette semaine pour discuter d’ACTA, et leur demander de continuer à travailler au sein de leur commission pour le rejet d’ACTA.

Citizens of all of Europe were able to contact their representatives in the International Trade (INTA) and Industry (ITRE) Committees, who met on February 29 to discuss ACTA. Many citizens requested their representatives to reject the proposal.

The website of the European Parliament explains the procedure and the issues of the treaty [en] that are under scrutiny, and has published ‘What you should know about ACTA‘ [en], a page of questions and answers. The ACTA workshop of the European Parliament has been the object of a storify [en] made by the Parliamentary services (link via Global Voices contributor Asteris Masouras [en]).

The organization AVAAZ submitted a petition to the European Parliament on 29 February with 2.4 million signatures against ACTA. The petition is still open:

Nous sommes vraiment proches de la victoire — notre pétition forte de 2,4 millions de signatures a ébranlé les responsables politiques partout en Europe et stoppé les censeurs. La Commission européenne est à présent en position de faiblesse et espère que la Cour de justice donnera son feu vert au traité ACTA en lui soumettant une question juridique très limitée qui recevra certainement une réponse positive.Mais si nous faisons résonner nos voix aujourd'hui, nous pouvons faire en sorte que la Cour examine tous les impacts légaux du traité ACTA et publie un avis qui fera toute la lumière sur cette attaque contre nos droits qu'est ACTA.

We are really close to victory — our petition, with 2.4 million signatures has shaken up those politicians in charge throughout Europe and stopped their censors. The European Commission is currently in a position of weakness and is hoping the Court of justice will green light the ACTA treaty by bringing before the court a very limited legal question, that will without doubt receive a positive response. But if we make our voices heard today, we will be able to get the court to examine all the legal implications of ACTA and publish an opinion that will bring to light the real attack against our rights that is ACTA.
No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

Anti-ACTA parties continue to  strengthen their resources. New protests were set for 10 March, and torrentnews gives a list, with this appeal:

La liste n’est pas exhaustive, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter pour la compléter ;)

si certains se sentent l’âme d’un reporter- photographe en herbe, nous recherchons également des personnes pour faire un petit article photo du déroulement de la manif, rien de bien compliqué, comme fait ici pour Nice, Marseille,Bordeaux et Strasbourg.

The list is not exhaustive, do not hesitate to contact us to complete it ;)

If any individuals see themselves as budding photojournalists we are also looking for people to do a small photo story on how the protest unfolds, nothing too complicated, as it happens in Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg.

For details on the elements of the debate, see also these linked articles from the Tribune on February 29, and Myeurop, on March 3. On Global Voices, see the laws SOPA/PIPA that set a precedent in the USA, here [en] and here [en]. Since the beginning of the protests, ACTA seems to have lost a lot of political momentum.

The title of this post is inspired by the end of the article “La liberté sur Internet : le filtrage de la discorde” which was published by the Institute of Research and Legal and Information studies and Communication (I.R.E.D.I.C.). It puts into perspective Internet blocking and debates the adoption of ACTA.

The original article in French was published on March 4. For background on the ACTA proposal, more articles can be found here [en].

February 01 2012

Global Voices Podcast: Occupy This!

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

Hello World!

Welcome to another edition of the Global Voices podcast. In this episode we talk through some of the ideas and issues surrounding the global Occupy movement and protests, as we listen to recordings from our team in different parts of the world.

My Greek Co-Host

AsterisIn this edition, I “occupy” the podcast with Asteris Masouras, Global Voices author and Global Voices in Greek editor.

Asteris has been monitoring the global #Occupy movement online since it all began. Who better to accompany us through this edition of the podcast?

We got together on Skype and discussed Greece, Europe, and the Occupy world, especially in regards to how the movement communicates with itself and others.

MariaOccupy Denmark

Global Voices in Danish co-editor, Maria Grabowski Kjær in Denmark, visits the Occupation there to find out what their methods and messages are. Though many seem to think the protesters are hippies, Thomas, who helped organise the movement in Denmark, aims to prove that this stereotype is not true at all.

Occupy Denmark

Thomas of Occupy Denmark talked to Maria Grabowski Kjier about the movement

London papers

Here in London, the Occupy movement at St Paul’s Cathedral is presented with a newspaper called The Occupied Times of London. I met with Steve Maclean, the editor of the paper, to find out how it works.

Occupy London and Steve

Occupy London, Steve Maclean, editor of The Occupied Times

A Camp in Maine

FrancesFrances Harlow is an independent radio producer, and friend of Global Voices. In Portland, Maine in the United States, she recorded at a local Occupy camp during her studies at the Salt Institute, after graduating from Brown University.

Frances’ report shows that it’s not always easy to consolidate a message among such passionate people. You can listen to more of Frances' brilliant audio work here.

What do you make of the global Occupy movement? Is there a camp near you or do you participate?

It’s not easy to fit the entire movement into a short podcast but it has been interesting to highlight the similarities and differences across borders. There’s a whole lot more you can read up on at the special coverage page about the global Occupy movement on Global Voices.

Music Credits
In the podcast you can hear lots of lovely Creative Commons music. Thanks to Mark Cotton for his fantastic creations and thanks also to all of the wonderful voice over performances and clips that help to glue the podcast together.

The Global Voices Podcast, the world is talking, we hope you’re listening!

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

January 01 2012

Global Voices Podcast: Brave New Year 2012

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

Hello World and welcome to 2012!

In this edition of the podcast we take a look back over the year 2011, consider the similarities and differences between mainstream and new media journalism, learn about an inspiring Rising Voices meeting in Bolivia to support the development of an ethnically and socially diverse blogosphere.

We also set off on a two-wheeled journey around the internet!

Considering 2011

For citizen journalists, bloggers and commentators everywhere, 2011 has been an extraordinary year. It’s hard to imagine a time before now when our friends and contributors faced threats, arrests or violence on such a scale. Nor has there been a year so far when we have seen such influence and change in the sphere of online citizen media. For many of our own writers and friends here on Global Voices, times are still difficult, but let's have hope for perseverance and better times ahead.

Looking back over a year of Global Voices Online is no mean feat! Our deputy editor, Emma Brewin, talks about jumping into a wild torrent of global news, and which stories stood out for her during an extraordinarily busy year.

From mainstream to new media

The Global Voices regional teams are made up of writers, bloggers and media makers of mant different types. Some, like Thiana Bondo, a Global Voices author and translator from Bahia, Brazil come from a journalistic background. Our managing editor, Solana Larsen chatted with Thiana, who is currently based in London, about the differences between being a daily newspaper journalist in Brazil, and writing for Global Voices.

Supporting the indigenous web in Bolivia

In December, Rising Voices hosted a three-day event in Cochabamba, Bolivia for bloggers in Bolivia. The goal was to support the development of a stronger, and more diverse blogosphere. There were workshops and presentations on both technical tools and organising strategies. The meeting was in Spanish, and was called Conectándonos (getting connected).

Maria Mercado is a student and a volunteer who works with indigenous communities. She went to the meeting and told us what she learned. If you'd like to hear more, there is a wonderful podcast of the whole event on Rising Voices by our managing director Georgia Poppellwell, and Rising Voices director Eduardo Avila.

Get on your bike with us!

You may think that we are separated by distance and only connected by the internet, but it seems that we also have some healthy habits in common. Ever prepared with her recording device, Solana Larsen discussed the wonders of getting around by bicycle with Global Voices executive director Ivan Sigal. As Ivan explains, the online cycling community is a vibrant one.

Naturally this meant that I had to ask our stunt-cyclist-audio-contributors to share with us their thoughts on two wheels.

Cyrus Farivar an American journalist currently living in Germany, and the author of “The Internet of Elsewhere” chatted with us about cycling - directly from the seat of a bicycle. In Denmark, Maria Grabowski Kjaer shared the sounds of the city where cycling is celebrated. Cycling for Maria is not just a mode of transport but a way of life.

Well, that wraps it up for our first podcast of the new year. We’ll be chasing audio and chatting about the world’s news and habits online throughout 2012, so do stay tuned and always let us know what you’d like to hear. For now, inspired by our two wheeled wonders, I’m off to try and learn how to ride my bike without being a danger to myself and others!

Music Credits
In the podcast you can hear lots of lovely Creative Commons music. Thanks to Mark Cotton for his fantastic creations and thanks also to all of the wonderful voice over performances and clips that help to glue the podcast together.

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

September 13 2011

Denmark: Turkish Flag on Right-Wing Candidate's “Sharia-Land” Ad

Amila Bosnae re-posts a parliamentary election campaign ad of “a candidate for the xenophobic (and powerful) Danish People’s Party” and explains: “The caption on top reads ‘Sharia-land or Sjælland?' – Sjælland is Zealand, the big island in the eastern part of Denmark with the capital Copenhagen. For some reason they chose to put the Turkish flag on the entire island… because we all know that they have sharia law in Turkey.”

September 11 2011

Denmark: No Voting Rights for Danes Abroad

Since many Danish citizens living abroad are not eligible to vote in the upcoming election in Denmark on September 15, 2011 the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DAGBO) hosted an informal online election poll for their members. Seventy percent of those questioned said loss of voting rights negatively affects their interest in Danish politics.

August 26 2011

Denmark: At Last, the Prime Minister Calls the Elections

Today the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has finally let the Danes out of suspense by calling the parliamentary elections: the big day is already in three weeks, on September 15.

The announcement was a relief to many. Already in the spring rumors started circulating that the election was just around the corner, and some of the Danish media even predicted that it would happen before the summer holidays (the Danish Parliament is officially on vacation from mid-June to the first Tuesday of October). This last week before the announcement of the election date has been characterized by impatience, and Danish netizens have expressed themselves through humorous online statements.

There Will Never Be Elections, Ever

The Tumblr page ‘therewillneverbeelectionsever!’ (derbliveraldrigvalgever.tumblr.com) [da] was launched a couple of weeks ago and is now filled with examples of manipulated commercials, pictures and audio, claiming in a sarcastic tone that the elections will never come. One of the popular pieces is the edited version of the Prime Minister’s New Year's speech: “We must have the elections. This is written in the Constitution. But I guarantee you…that it will never happen,” the Prime Minister says in a solemn voice. The Tumblr page now has nearly 3,700 “likes” on Facebook.

by Christian Panton

A screenshot of the Election Button

Another popular gadget, the ‘Election Button’ (valgknappen.dk) [da], was created by a computer science student Christian Panton earlier this week. It is a simple page with a single button and a short text: “27,152 Danes have already pressed the election button. Now we’re just waiting for Lars Løkke Rasmussen.”

The current government took office in 2001 and was re-elected for its third term in the last elections in 2007.

August 12 2011

Shepard Fairey beaten up after spat over controversial Danish mural

Artist best known for the posters that helped elect Barack Obama is accused of peddling pro-government propaganda

When graffiti artist Shepard Fairey turned his talents to US politics, his reward was international acclaim and a letter of thanks from Barack Obama. When he employed a similar tactic in Denmark, however, the response proved altogether less edifying.

Last weekend, Fairey – creator of the famous "Hope" poster that came to encapsulate Obama's 2008 presidential campaign – was beaten up after the opening of his exhibition at a Copenhagen gallery.

Earlier this month he was involved with a controversial mural that has enraged leftwing anarchists throughout the city.

"I have a black eye and a bruised rib," Fairey told the Guardian.

According to reports, 41-year-old Fairey and his colleague Romeo Trinidad were punched and kicked by at least two men outside the Kodboderne 18 nightclub in the early hours of last Saturday morning. Fairey claims the men called him "Obama illuminati" and ordered him to "go back to America".

The LA-based artist believes the attack was sparked by a misunderstanding over his mural commemorating the demolition of the legendary "Ungdomshuset" (youth house) at Jagtvej 69. The building, a long-term base for Copenhagen's leftwing community, was controversially demolished in 2007. In the intervening years it has become a potent symbol of the standoff between the establishment in Copenhagen and its radical fringe.

Fairey's installation, painted on a building adjacent to the vacant site, depicted a dove in flight above the word "peace" and the figure "69". But the mural appeared to reopen old wounds, with critics accusing Fairey of peddling government-funded propaganda.

"The city council is using the painting – directly or indirectly – to decorate the crater-like lot at Jagtvej 69," said local activist Eskil Andreas Halberg in a letter to Modkraft, a leftwing news website. "The art is being used politically to end the conflict in a certain way: 'we're all friends now, right?'"

Within a day of completion, the mural was vandalised by protesters, with graffiti sending messages of "no peace" and "go home, Yankee hipster". Fairey subsequently collaborated with former members of the 69 youth house to redecorate the lower half of the installation. His new version contains images of riot police and explosions, together with a new, more combative slogan: "Nothing forgotten, nothing forgiven".

Fairey explained that the original mural was organised by his Copenhagen gallery, V1, and was never intended as propaganda. "The media reported that it was commissioned by the city, which wasn't true," he told the Guardian.

"It looked to the people at 69 like I was cooperating with the authorities, making a propaganda piece to smooth over the wound." He added that he did not believe his attackers were affiliated to the 69 youth house.

Born to a middle-class family in Charleston, South Carolina, Fairey began his career within the skateboarding scene, designing boards and T-shirts before finding wider fame with his "Obey Giant" sticker campaign. In 2008 his unofficial Barack Obama campaign poster was hailed by the New Yorker's art critic Peter Schjeldahl as "the most efficacious American political illustration since 'Uncle Sam Wants You'."

While the Hope poster was never publicly endorsed by the Obama campaign, its subject sent Fairey a letter. "I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign," Obama wrote. "Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign. I am privileged to be a part of your artwork and proud to have your support." Fairey's work now hangs in the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. These days, he admitted, he has grown used to defending himself against accusations of selling out. "I think there are a lot of people who think that if you've done well, you've done a deal with the devil," he said.

The artist said he had not filed a police report following the attack in Copenhagen. "I did not know any of the people or get a great look at them, so it seemed pointless," he said.

"I'm not a huge fan of the cops anyway. The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like 'street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can't hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops'."


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


July 04 2011

Denmark: Two Months of Rain in Two Hours

From an allotment garden in Copenhagen, Denmark, garden enthusiast and journalist Dan Larsen posts a humorously dramatic video on YouTube of extensive flooding after two months worth of rain fell in just two hours on July 2, 2011.

May 25 2011

World Economy: Women Weigh in on Poverty, Work and Debt

The International Museum of Women's online exhibit on women and the economy, features slideshows, podcasts, videos and essays on women from countries such as Sudan, Denmark, Philippines, USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and how they view issues such as poverty, business, family, rights, money and much more.

Economica, IMOW's online interactive exhibit sets out to explore women's contribution in the global economy. Picturing Power and Potential, was a juried photography exhibit showing different ways in which women participate in the economy and are agents of change.

For example, the exhibit's Community Choice Award winner was Brenda Paik Suno, a third generation Korean-American who took pictures of a Jeju Granny of the Sea, a woman who is part of the tradition of female divers of the Jeju Islands who have harvested the sea for generations.

Female divers of the Jeju Islands. Image by Brenda Paik Suno.

Female divers of the Jeju Islands. Image by Brenda Paik Suno.

Focusing on Latin America brings us perspectives on how the crisis affected the women in three different countries of the region: Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina, and how they are facing the new challenges brought by the rising participation of their countries in the world's economy.

Version in Spanish here.

Young Women Speaking the Economy asked women from four different countries to send in their thoughts on diverse economic issues.

Ally Zeifman tackled the subject of relative poverty through an audio interview. First she started by asking people in Denmark to answer if they thought there was poverty in Denmark, and then by interviewing a woman who believes that she is one of the invisible Danish poor. On her project page, you can hear the audio and read an introduction to the subject and see a picture slideshow with quotes from the interview illustrating what being poor in Denmark looks like.

Some of the quotes such as “I graduated from the university, but  I am unemployed”,  ”My son really wanted to play football, but I cannot afford all the shoes and equipment, so in the end i decided it's better to just get some food on the table” and “I know I am not poor like in Africa, but I have to say no a lot” might ring bells with anyone who has been in a tight financial situation.

Valeene Salanga of Philippines reflects on how even a college education is no guarantee to a brighter future, when getting that first job seems to be a path riddled with obstacles for which she, a recent graduate, felt unprepared:

In this video, uploaded on the IMOW's YouTube channel, we learn about the hardships a certain group of women are facing in India. These are the women whose husbands have committed suicide due to agricultural debt and now they are left alone to fend for themselves, pay of debt and provide for their families in a society where they were already at an economic disadvantage:

There is much more to see, read and listen in Economica, and women can also participate and submit their own creative work focusing on the economy.

May 16 2011

Denmark: Controversial Law Re-Introduces Border Control

Danish nationalist right wing party, The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti/DF), recently announced the re-introduction of controls at the country's borders with Germany and Sweden. The centre-right minority government in Copenhagen capitulated and the proposal went through.

The Danish decision came as a surprise to many because it was taken only few hours before an emergency European Union (EU) meeting focused on immigration and the Schengen Agreement. The treaty was signed in 1985 and in 2001 Denmark decommissioned its border control at the German border.

Borderline between Sweden and Denmark on the Øresunds Bridge. Image by Flickr user mollenborg.com (CC BY 2.0).

Borderline between Sweden and Denmark on the Øresunds Bridge. Image by Flickr user mollenborg.com (CC BY 2.0).

The border-free region counts more than 22 EU countries plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. It goes from Portugal to Russia's borders on the Baltic, and from Reykjavik to Turkey's border with Greece.

There were calls in the European Parliament to cut Denmark out of the Schengen regime in light of the new border policy. But the Danish government has promised that border and customs checks will not extend to passport controls, and that this remains compliant with Schengen.

The European Commission is now working to find out whether Denmark complies with international law. Meanwhile the German government has protested that the open border should not be sacrificed for domestic political reasons [da] and Sweden has called it a scandal.

Tight anti-immigration policy

Logo from the Facebook page ‘What about shutting your ass instead of shutting the borders’.

Logo from the Facebook page ‘What about shutting your ass instead of shutting the borders’.

Denmark has developed extremely tight anti-immigration laws within the last ten years and this increasing far-right discourse seem to have spread across the EU - to Italy, France and the Netherlands.

It might also have been triggered by a fear for the migrant consequences of the Arab Spring protests earlier this year.

A Facebook group called ‘Border Police Back in Denmark’  (Grænsepoliti tilbage i DK) [da] has 2,324 members and has supported the DF border initiative with comments such as “Now we can sleep soundly a night”.

What about shutting your ass instead of shutting the borders’  (Hvad med at lukke røven i stedet for at lukke grænserne) [da] is the name of another Facebook group - one against the proposal - which has 6,263 members and counting.

Here is some of the unsatisfied comments from Facebook and Twitter:

Lars Rosgaard: Symbolpolitik er desværre den eneste form for politik, der i øjeblikket praktiseres i DK

Lars Rosgaard: Symbolic politics is the only politics in Denmark at the moment

Lena Olsen: Valgflæsk for DF (…). Jeg er bare så træt af de tosser

Lena Olsen: A sop to the electors from DF (…). I’m so sick of those idiots

Jakob Ellekjær: Det der ødelægger det her land, er dem der styrer det.

Jakob Ellekjær: What ruins this country is those ruling it

@trinemaria: @umbraco Det er SÅ dumt med den grænsekontrol at jeg seriøst overvejer ikke at vende tilbage, hvis jeg slipper igennem!

@trinemaria: @umbraco It is so STUPID with that border control that I'm seriously considering not coming back if I get through!

April 07 2011

Hungary: Fear of Pushing Copyright Term Extension Proposal

Written by Marietta Le

Kluwer Copyright Blog writes: “According to an official press release, the Danish government has changed its position and now endorses the European Commission’s proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings. Since Denmark was part of a fragile blocking minority in the European Council, there is a danger now that the EU Presidency (Hungary) will try to push through the proposal within a matter of weeks.”

February 11 2011

Denmark: Taking Facebook to the Streets in 2010

Written by Maria Grabowski Kjær

Facebook came to life on Denmark's streets in 2010 through a number of events and groups organised via the social networking site.

Creativity characterised Facebook in ‘real life', whilst motives have been both political and benevolent, and supporters enthusiastic.

Denmark's Top 3 Real Life Facebook Events

  1. Love Demonstration (Kærlighedsdemonstration)
  2. An initiative called ‘Love Without Limits’ (Kærlighed uden grænser) arranged a demonstration on 8 December, 2010, against a new law to further restrict Danish immigration policy. International couples - of Danish and foreign origin - now face various legal challenges against sharing a life together in Denmark.

    The ‘Love Without Limits' Facebook page [da] has around 17,000 supporters, and more than 7,000 people took to the streets [da] to show their frustrations regarding the policy.

  3. Make a Lasagne for the Homeless (Lav en lasagne til de hjemløse)
  4. Christmas is freezing cold in Denmark and an extremely hard time for the country's homeless. This Facebook event [da] gathered 572 activists to share a lasagne they had made with a homeless person.

    This unusual initiative certainly made at least one Copenhagen street corner smell - and feel - a little better than usual.

  5. Send a Lemon Cake to the Danish People’s Party (Send en citronmåne til Dansk folkeparti)
  6. On 16 November, 2010, the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti - DF) political group received more than 400 lemon cakes as part of a Facebook event [da].

    At the time of writing, 17,273 people had chosen to virtually ‘attend' or support the event, which was organised to protest the Party's intention to remove complimentary cake and lemonade from hospital and doctors' waiting rooms, due to the large appetite and number of immigrants using the services [da].

The Danish People's Party took delivery of over 400 lemon cakes as part of a Facebook protest. Image supplied with permission by Dancake.

The Danish People's Party took delivery of over 400 lemon cakes as part of a Facebook protest. Image supplied with permission by Dancake.

Let Them (Not) Eat Cake

The Danish People’s Party is a right wing, nationalist and anti-immigration party with great influence as a result of the existing coalition with the ruling Liberal Party of Denmark.

The cake in question is not just any cake; the ‘Lemon Moon' (Citronmåne) is a sponge cake manufactured by Danish company Dan Cake, which has been a familiar fixture on the shelves of Northern European convenience stores since the 1960s. In Danish homes it is a longstanding accompaniment to a cup of coffee.

The Dan Cake marketing department calls the Lemon Moon a “national symbol” [da], a Facebook fan calls it the “taste of her childhood” [da], and in the UK it has been nicknamed ‘caravan cake’ due to its perennial presence on camping holidays.

The cake is also emblematic of police officers; it was used in both online [da] and offline [da] protests back in 2007, when an underground venue and communal space that had played host to young left-wing groups since 1982, was torn down in Copenhagen [da].

Regarding the cake's recent use against the Danish People's Party, European online magazine cafebabel.com finds it ironic that “the crescent shape of the ‘lemon half-moon’ is also a [M]uslim symbol – a perfect gift on the eve of Ramadan?”. The site also offers a recipe for readers to bake their own Lemon Moon and send it to their local far-right politician.

Danish hospital director Ib Steen Mikkelsen explains that immigrant families do often have more visitors when hospitalised compared to other Danish patients, but that the only remarkable thing is that it is nice for the patient to have more guests.

Blogger Mina on atherosclerosis meanwhile, is puzzled by the Party’s policy; she has worked in hospitals in Denmark and does not recall any cakes.

Call for Action

Unfounded or not, supporters of the Lemon Moon Facebook event found the Danish People's Party’s cake policy resentful and petty, which resulted in the call for action.

The Party is however, no stranger to controversy and some commentators have suggested the Facebook event may have had the opposite effect to the one intended, by raising the political group's profile. Twitter user @idabrixtofte, used the hash tag #ignorerdemdog, meaning “just ignore them”.

@idabrixtofte writes via Twitter:

projekt citronmåne er vand på DF's mølle, og bliver sandsynligvis spinnet til egen vinding i sidste ende #ignorererdemdog #saftgate

Project Lemon Moon is water for DF’s [Danish People's Party's] mill, and will probably be used for [the Party's] own gains in the end

@jakobandresen, a journalist student, tweeted:

finder det morsomt, at citronmåne-aktivisterne intetanende hjælper #DF med at profilere sig som partiet med humor og overskud. #Selvmål!

Find it funny that Lemon Moon-activists are unsuspectedly helping #DF [Danish People's Party] to profile themselves as a party of humour and energy

Less concerned Twitter observers chose to see the funny side. Danish Parliamentary candidate @EmilDyred wrote:

klukker af grin over Send en citronmåne til Dansk Folkeparti! og håber, at appetitten er god på DF's gang på Christiansborg.

Chuckling with laughter over Send a Lemon Moon to the ‘Danish People’s Party! Hope that appetites are good at DF’s [Danish People's Party] office in Christiansborg [the seat of the Danish parliament]

@KasinoKamilla tweeted:

Har grineren på over kageindsamlingen til Dansk Folkeparti. Kunne være jeg selv skulle smutte forbi med en citronmåne. De har fortjent den

Laughing about the cake collection for the Danish People's Party. If I could I would have stopped by with a Lemon Moon. They deserved it

The Party itself states on its website:

Dansk Folkeparti tager kageaktionen med et smil og sætter pris på, at danskerne heldigvis har så meget humor, så man stadig kan føre demonstrationer med noget så harmløst som citronmåner.

The Danish People's Party takes the cake action with a smile, and appreciates that the Danes have such a great sense of humour that one can lead demonstrations with something as harmless as Lemon Moons.

They go on to explain their intention to hand out the many cakes received to homeless people or nursing homes. The party also added an ‘online scratch card' game (now offline) to their website's response, whereby readers could win two cinema tickets if they got three Lemon Moons on their card.

The producer of the Lemon Moon, Dan Cake, appreciated the publicity generated by the Facebook event, with its marketing department commenting that the cake had now reached the proper status it deserved.

This post was proofread in English by Emma Brewin.

January 23 2011

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Grundtvig's Church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Grundtvig's Church (Danish: Grundtvigs Kirke) is located in the Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a rare example of expressionist church architecture. Due to its unusual appearance, it is one of the best known churches in the city.

Contents

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02mydafsoup-01

December 30 2010

Tunisia: The Cry of Protestors Echoes Around the World

By Amira Al Hussaini

The cries of Tunisians, protesting against corruption and joblessness, is gathering momentum on the World Wide Web. Netizens from around the world are rallying behind them and echoing their calls.

It all started two weeks ago, when an unemployed man set himself on fire in protest against his unemployment in Sidi Bouzid. According to the Los Angeles Times:

The death triggered violent clashes between young demonstrators and
police forces that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old after
National Guard members opened fire on angry protesters in a nearby town
two days later. 

Further marches and protests later spread to the capital and the cities of Sfax, Sousse and Meknassi.

From India, Anja Kovacs hits the nail on the head. She tweets:

Tunisia's seen a genuine revolt over last few weeks, but outside of Middle East, it's hardly reported. Why?

She adds:

To know more abt what is happening in & get continuous updates, good people to follow are @ , @, @

Egyptian Wael Nofal poses a similar question in this tweet:

@ Are you following what's going on in ؟It's odd why western media turned face away, unlike last year

And DanersB, who splits her time between Beirut, Dubai and Montreal, notes:

Ever the optimist! @: Heavyhandedness from 's despot, , may well set the tone for the world's next decade

From the US, HarvardDr brings up yet another reference to Iran - this time referring to the end of the Shah's era. He writes (Ar):

مثل شاه ايران اسياده تخلوا عنه: فرنسا تقول: بن على فقد الاتصال بالواقع! تونس حرة السراق برة تونس حرة ليلي برة
Just like the Shah of Iran, whose masters ditched him: France says: Ben Ali lost contact with reality! Tunisia is free! The thief should leave! Tunisia is free! Layla (in reference to Ben Ali's wife) should leave!

From Washington DC, Priyanka Joseph is stunned by the wall of silence. She writes:

Someone's channeling Kundera. Shit's going down in , not a word of it on the news here (no surprise) nor on TTrends/my timeline.

Anne Eksten, from Denmark, notes:

Government respond to peaceful protest by Live Ammunition, Security Siege, Violence /@ @

And from the Netherlands, Mark adds:

“We are unhappy with the policies in Tunisia, we are unhappy with everything - it is not just unemployment.”

Egyptian writer Mona Eltahawy urges her colleagues in the media to make a stand:

Friends, esp those with media connections, please tweet and RT and . Let's stand with Tunisians fighting oppression.

And Hisham Kassem, also from Egypt, is baffled:

رئيس إسرائيل السابق ادين منذ قليل بتهمة التحرش بموظفه في مكتبه وزين العابدين بيتحرش بتونس كلها وماحدش قادر يحاسبه
A few moments ago, the former Israeli Prime Minister was charged with harassing a female employee in his office and Zainalabdeen has been harassing the whole of Tunisia and no one is able to hold him accountable

Meanwhile, from Portnoy, from Taiwan, is left wondering:

What's happening in Tunisia?

For more tweets on Tunisia, check the hashtags #Tunisia and #sidibouzid

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