Activism meets Web 2.0

Rethos.comSeems like activists are catching on to the power of web 2.0. I assume most of the readers here are familiar with Avaaz.org and their emails calling on people to sign petitions and send emails to representatives. Their method is rather conventional however and (dare I say) dated.

Good news. Rethos.com has opened up their beta to the public and aim to create a social environment for change, on a system that learns from its users. Users can read, post and share news articles, get organized, find jobs an opportunities, all in the name of change. Whether you care about ecology, human rights, freedom of speech or other issues, Rethos will let users work together for change on these points. I myself signed up because of them saying the following:

It is our duty to not let others turn a blind eye to pressing social and environmental issues. If enough people unite, change is inevitable.

This is exactly the way I felt when I was posting about Burma like 3 times a day (psst… the monks are protesting again). I hope this convinces you and you will sign up and come and add me as a friend. What really did it for me however, was their video. Have a look at it below.

So sign up now and visit my profile.

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What’s going on in Burma?

A selection from Burmanews‘ postings.

Posted 21 October

Reports say that Junta is arresting students and civilians, who were believed to be involved in International Campaigns against SPDC, on arrival at the Yangon Airport.

Posted 25 October

http://irrawaddy.org/protests/video/ngwekyaryan.php – Video of Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery after troops raided on Sept 27, 2007

Led by comedian Zarganar, who was recently released from prison, a group of Burmese artistes offered alms (food) to 80 monks and 30 nuns at Bar-Ga-Ya monastery. This monastery has been refusing all form of alms from the military junta. Zargarnar and his group of friends will continue to offer alms to all monasteries which refuse to accept anything from the military junta.

(note that the junta forbade people to offer alms to the monks!)

On 23rd Oct, more than 200 people carried out a peaceful protest in Kyar Inn Township of Karen State. They peacefully asked for the release of political prisoners, democracy for Burma and supported the 3-way discussion between DASSK, junta and UN. No action has been taken against them yet.

Posted 28 October

On 26th Oct, there were around 1000 people at Shwe Dagon Pagoda to celebrate the full moon festival. Though there were a lot of soldiers and police, people did not seem to be afraid of them. It seemed that burmese people are ready for another wave of events towards freedom for Burma.

Posted 30 October

The words, “Killer Than Shwe”, was written on the Pagoda Road near to a police station with white paints in ZeeGone Township (which is on Yangon-Pyay Highway), Bago Division. Papers with the words, “Killer Than Shwe”, was also found. Later, police took photo and destroyed the words.

Please take a second to Stumble this post and make sure to visit Burmanews and Stumble + Bookmark it. Keep the attention on this, if we don’t… the Burmese people will have suffered in vain!

This put a smile on my face…

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest
Sat, 10/27/2007 – 08:45

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

According to activists in France, who greeted Rumsfeld shouting “murderer” and “war criminal” at the breakfast meeting venue, US embassy officials remained tight-lipped about the former defense secretary’s whereabouts citing “security reasons”.

Anti-torture protesters in France believe that the defense secretary fled over the open border to Germany, where a war crimes case against Rumsfeld was dismissed by a federal court. But activist point out that under the Schengen agreement that ended border checkpoints across a large part of the European Union, French law enforcement agents are allowed to cross the border into Germany in pursuit of a fleeing fugitive.

“Rumsfeld must be feeling how Saddam Hussein felt when US forces were hunting him down,” activist Tanguy Richard said. “He may never end up being hanged like his old friend, but he must learn that in the civilized world, war crime doesn’t pay.”

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) filed the complaint on Thursday after learning that Rumsfeld was scheduled to visit Paris.

From: wor.ldne.ws

Great to see achievements popping up left and right through activism. “The time is always right to do what’s right” – MLK

Burmese not backing down

In Mawlamyaing, SPDC (government) asked the people to show support for their national reconciliation by making it compulsory for each household to send someone to attend. During the event, it started to rain and the people (mainly teachers) refused to go down to field arena and continued sitting at their seats. They also refused to say out the propaganda slogans. Soon after the event started, many people left the event and even threw away the flags on their way out.

From: Burmanews

Good to read this. Don’t forget people! Media attention is declining. Keep your eyes on the situation. Inform yourself! Keep other people’s attention on it. If we don’t forget, governments around the world will be forced to make a decision.

Dutch minister of health to ban “magic mushrooms”

After discussing the item for months, minister Klink (member of the Christian-Democrat party) has decided to ban the sale of magic mushrooms.

Dried mushrooms were already illegal to sell and own and were considered harddrugs. With the ban of sales, minister Klink is also consulting minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, if they could declare all mushrooms as harddrugs. This discussion leading up to this decision was mainly caused and influenced by incidents involving tourists whose irresponsible behaviour amounted to a lot of fear in the eyes of the public. Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam, already proposed a way to decrease spontaneous purchases of mushrooms by tourists, by giving them a certain waiting time before they could get the mushrooms. During this time they could inform themselves about the effects.

It’s a very bold move by the minister and although the majority of the parliament is for a ban, it still comes unexpected to many. Previous research into mushrooms has shown that the risks when taking mushrooms in a responsible way are very minimal. The Dutch organisation for smartshops have warned the government repeatedly of the risks involved of people buying mushrooms in an underground market.

It is expected that many groups will contest and protest the decision, since some view the mushroom as an entheogen and see the plant as capable of invoking very powerful spiritual and philosophical experiences.

Also see:
“Klink gaat paddo’s verbieden” – nu.nl (Dutch article)

DailyMe Launches Public Beta

Looks like I won’t be giving out invitations after all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 12:05 AM
I’m pleased to announce the launch of the DailyMe public Beta. This means our DailyMe news platform is now available to everyone.We’ve been working hard to be able to make this day happen. I’d like to thank all of our early Beta testers for their commitment, feedback and patience over the past months. Much of the DailyMe experience we are launching today is a direct result of the feedback that we have compiled from our initial Beta test group.

For those new to DailyMe, all you need to do to experience DailyMe is create an account and select your DailyMe preferences. It’s a short process that just takes a few minutes.

Briefly, DailyMe creates a personalized news digest based on your own preferences, using choices of news categories, keywords, individual news sources and pre-configured “picks.” You can choose to have DailyMe delivered on the web, sent via email or automatically output from your personal computer printer at a specified time of day.

Feel free to sign up and give DailyMe a try.

Lastly, one request. As you use and enjoy this Beta version of DailyMe, if you have any suggestions for the site, encounter any technical issues, or come across anything that is not 100% clear, please let us know so we can address it. We’ve set up a link on the sidebar where you can reach us directly.

Thanks for your interest in DailyMe.

-Eduardo

Try it out people. I’ve been using it for a little bit now and it’s quite a nice system. Really has to separate itself from other personalized news pages though, when it comes to the web service that is. The options that you can automatically get it emailed, or printed are very cool. Besides that, Eduardo announced some cool stuff that will be available in the future:

As a result of such feedback, we’ll be:
– Looking into improvements and better explanations for the process of selecting content (step 2 of the sign-up process)
– Adding an open RSS reader to allow DailyMe users to add their preferred RSS feeds
– Offering more display options for your news page
– Adding more licensed sources

Sweet stuff, right?

One thing I don’t really get however, is the social bookmarking links at the bottom of articles on DailyMe. Thing is, I doubt that you can view any content without signing up, so what’s the point in SOCIAL bookmarking it?

If you’re interested, go check out the sign-up page now!

Soon you’ll be able to receive DailyMe throughout the day, where, when and how you’d like. Have your 9:00am DailyMe via email at your desk and your 6:00pm DailyMe printed automatically, easy for the grab and go commute.

The future of news. Share it.

DailyMe

StumbleThisPost!

Just received the following email. Sounds very interesting and definitely something I’ll be participating in in the future.

Thanks for your interest in DailyMe.

DailyMe delivers your daily fill of news, information, blogs, articles, columns, and all the other stuff that you read each day, just the way you like it. We let you decide what’s most important to you when customizing the content and subject matter that you read. Whether you choose by category, keyword, profile, source or a combination of these methods…you are in control.

Every day we import hundreds of thousands of real-time articles and stories, from thousands of top-tier sources, in their entirety – so you won’t need to click on lots of links to other sites to finish what you are reading.

And there’s more…you set your delivery preferences and viewing format based on what works best for you. (Email, web view and print versions are available and coming soon a mobile/wireless version) We’ve even developed a proprietary software application that enables you to print your DailyMe automatically to a designated printer per your delivery schedule – no manual prompting, no user intervention.

Did we mention DailyMe is FREE?

So what we are is kind of a newspaper meets the internet combined with a social/community feel all in one – but you’d really need to experience DailyMe to see this for yourself.

Currently DailyMe is undergoing a final minor facelift before we open the doors for our public debut. More info to come, as we approach the big launch date…

Sincerely,

Eduardo Hauser
Founder & CEO
www.DailyMe.com


I suppose it will be a bit like Google News, but more web 2.0-ish. Plus the biggest competitive advantage is the personalized web feed. Definitely looking forward to the launch of this service.