Myanmar: A Brighter Future Sparkling On The Horizon?

AUNG SAN SUU KYI. PHOTO: BURMA DEMOCRATIC CONCERN (BDC). FLICKR

The spotlights of the international world are fully shining on Myanmar, or Burma, because of some major breakthroughs. The country has been under military rule for almost fifty years, but last year signalled a great change as the first nominally civilian government was installed. As recent as two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that both countries will exchange ambassadors again in response to the release of hundreds of political prisoners in Myanmar, which started with the release of Nobel Peace Laureate and long time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010. Are these the hopeful glimpses of a more democratic Myanmar?

Femen: ‘Come, Get Topless And Win’

THE FEMEN MOVEMENT PROTESTS. PHOTO: FEMEN WOMEN’S MOVEMENT. WIKIMEDIA

How does one imagine a feminist movement? Traditionally feminist movements have been about campaigning for reproductive rights, equal pay, women’s suffrage, protesting to increase awareness of sexual harassment, domestic violence and many other issues affecting women’s lives. Yet, in Ukraine this has taken on a new form – topless protest.

Freedom on the Internet

SOPA/PIPA PROTEST IN NYC JANUARY 18, 2012. PHOTO: PHOTO GALLERY. FLICKRDissecting the SOPA and PIPA bills.

 
Except for fame, what do celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have in common? Well, alongside with the Sony Corporation, all four have officially been made targets by a hacktivist group, Anonymous, a global and loosely linked network of hackers, for approving of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). However, the hackers linked to Anonymous are far from the only ones opposing these new pieces of legislation which, if enacted, will enable American enforcement agencies to prosecute and shut down so-called rogue web sites, which are sites containing pirated material. Most importantly, and what has caused the strongest reactions, are clauses giving the US government the power to make US internet providers block access to infringing domains. In addition, the government will also be able to sue US-based search engines and directories as well as blogs and forums, forcing them to remove links to such rogue websites. In other words, the sites themselves will be held accountable for what their users upload through the use of their service, creating a delicate situation where censorship might be the only option. 

War Criminals and the “Hague Hilton”

PRISON GATES, SCHEVENINGEN, THE HAGUE. PHOTO: TED SWEDENBURG. FLICKR
Charles Taylor, Ratko Mladić and Ante Gotovina are just a few who are detained by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands. ICC has the authority to investigate and prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so. Important to mention is that the death penalty is excluded so the Court’s highest sentence can only be imprisonment.