I have just returned home from a wonderful holiday in Israel & Palestine & Jordan. I know this post has nothing really to do with media or research or infographics or whatsoever, but I thought to share some pictures of THE WALL without adding a lot of comments.....the pictures are self-explanatory...
Palestinian refugee camp 2 kilometers north of Bethlehem
There is a nice restaurant in front of this Wall where we had lunch with the locals. The owner of the restaurant was projecting Football matches on the Wall every night during the UEFA 2012. Brilliant Idea! There is a nice article about that here.
When I grew up in the country called USSR that still existed, I remember myself together with my grandfather watching only educational programs on the national television. There was an educational program of any type to satisfy all different tastes: documentaries, all soccer and ice-hockey matches, Nu Pogodi - the most popular Soviet cartoon, Budilnik (Alarm Clock) - 30 min educational morning program on a selected topic, Travelers' club, About Animals - a program that would tell children about different species, Master-Flamaster - a program that would teach you how to make different things manually, to sew, make good pictures etc., and Morning Post - educational talk program with music.
The last but no the least, the favourite program of all children brought up in the Soviet Union "Spokoinoi nochi, malishi" (Good night, little ones). This program aired since 1964 would gather ALL children in front the television every day at 20.30 p.m untill 21.00 p.m. The presenter, a well-known figure, accompanied by five puppet charachters Stepashka(a hare), Filya(a dog), Mishutka (a bear), Karkusha (a crow) and Khrusha(a piglet) would help the puppets to engage in a very good, from the educational point of view, activity like helping a stranger or cleaning one's own mess to teach them a moral lesson and show them an example of a good behaviour. After five minutes the presenter would introduce and show a short educational cartoon. After the cartoon, the presenter and the puppets would tell the audience "Good night, little ones...sleep tight" and would close the program with a lullaby "Spyat ystalie Igrushki..."(Tired toys are going to sleep) that every child would sing together with them before going to bed at 21.00 p.m.
For our second video practice week at Deutsche Welle, Abu-Bakarr Jalloh and myself went to meet Kristaps Grasis - a famous Latvian musician currently leaving in Bonn. Kristaps is a young and successful professional guitar player, teacher, director of the private musical school in Bonn and a very inspiring person. He was so kind to chat with us and tell us more about his interesting life.
Watch a 3 minute video to learn more about Kristaps and his thoughts of being a musician.
A few days ago Boris Nemtzov in his blog published a document called "Manifest of Free Russia" where he discussed how to get rid of Vladimir Putin and, in particular, Putinism system and what could be done after Putin era. The Manifesto will be presented and discussed during another oppositional protest on 12 June - a national holiday of the Russian Federation, celebrated since 1992.
Putin has just signed a severe anti-protests law that could easily weaken the opposition movement. People participating in protests where public order is violated, will be fined up to 300.000 rubles (about 9.000 $) and the organizers of such protests could end up with a fine of 600.000 up to 1 million rubles. Before the new law, the maximum fine was 5.000 rubles.
FREE RUSSIAN MANIFESTO
"Protests in Russia on June 12 will be an important event in anti-crime peaceful revolution started in December 2011.
The current supreme power in Russia is illegal. Putin and his team have usurped it on false and fraudulent elections. Being cynical usurpers, they are not able to solve any social or economic problems of the country: the extinction of the nation continues, there is no security of citizens, the gap between the rich and the poor grows, as grows the difference in living standards between Moscow and Russia. Keeping in the power Putin's group is fatal for the country. Degradation of the state, merging of business and government, illicit enrichment close to the ruling group of persons, the transformation of the country's raw materials as appendage of the West and China is a fact. Continuation of Putin's policies threaten civil confrontation, the collapse of the state and chaos.
According to the Constitution, the source of power in Russia lies in the people. The people have a legitimate right to peaceful mass protest to put pressure on the government and its shifts.
Protection of political freedom is, without doubt, linked with the fight for social and economic rights. The election fraud helps Putin's dictatorship to implement policies that are aimed against the interests of the majority. Therefore, we seek to change it at all levels - political, cultural, social, economic - changes in the interest of all citizens.
All forms of peaceful civil protest should be used: marches, rallies, strikes, civil disobedience campaign and peaceful pressure on the authorities. Building a peaceful protest, its mass will lead to permanent loss of confidence in the government and many people, now loyal to the regime of social groups, representatives of law enforcement, deputies, businessmen, experts and intellectuals will take sides with the people.
The responsibility for preparing and carrying out protest actions will be on the Coordinating Council, composed of representatives of various political forces and civil society, and elected by a transparent procedure of open voting. We call on all responsible citizens to take part in the vote.
The presence of our allies in elected bodies is important. And although, we can not change the power during Putin's election, elective procedures can play a significant role in the dismantling of the current flawed system.
Dialogue between the most important part of the ruling class and the masses must ensure a bloodless nature of the transition from dictatorship of thieves to democracy (including, as well, the mechanism of the Round Table). The current government and its elite must realize that the responsibility for another, inevitably catastrophic scenario for the country will fall on them.
Necessary reconstruction of the destroyed state institutions, the mechanisms of democracy, including the real parliament, controlled by the community executive power, which only obeys to the laws of courts, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. We strive to make the transition to a new state power smoothly and to avoid social upheaval. We believe it is necessary to dismantle the political system within the Constitution.
The following are the main measures to be taken to create the basic, fundamental political, legal and moral foundations of society and the state:
1. Resignation of Vladimir Putin as a symbol of the current system.
2. Draft of a new law on elections to Parliament, ensuring the election of the parliament in a fair, transparent, competitive elections. These projects must take into account the demands, made during the mass protests.
3. The adoption of this law by the Parliament. This will be its last and only function.
4. Under new legislation, new elections to Parliament.
5. The newly elected Parliament shall consider and submit to a referendum a draft of the new Russian Constitution, substantially limiting the powers and stay in the power of the President (one term of six years or two to four years) and broaden Parliament's powers in the formation of the government and the parliamentary investigations.
6. The newly elected Parliament passes new presidential election law and fixes the date of the elections. Laws passed to ensure local government and direct elections of governors.
7. The newly elected Parliament shall consider and adopt the law on the transformation of the court, prosecution, investigation and the police, involving purification of them from persons who committed crimes. It also adopts a new law on the referendum, significantly facilitating its procedure.
We hundreds of thousands of people, going to streets, turn to you, millions of people who are still silent. We - one nation, we are 99% - against 1 % of usurped power and property. We can only change our lives together.
For an honest government! For a free Russia!"
You can check the original text of the Manifesto here.
The film "Freedom of Expression" by Sergei Melnikof during one of the recent anti-Putin protests in Moscow. The film is in Russian, but no translation is really necessary.
BlogBooker is a nice free tool that creates a PDF book out of your personal blog. It is compatible with Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal. All you have to do is submit an export file provided by your blog to BlogBooker and wait 3-5 minutes until all the files are checked and all the images are fetched and your Blog Book is ready!
Ahead is a web-based application that helps you to create cool, zooming presentations like Prezi and to publish and share it with anyone online. I thought Prezi was the best ever, but now since I have discovered Ahead.....mmmm I do not really know. There are both free and paid versions of Ahead. It is a very easy to use tool with a friendly interface. Check it out!
Circos is an amazing visualization free software that visualizes your data (plain text) in a circular layout. I have just started to explore this software...so far so good! Here is a nice intro to the tool.
2 cool mind maps online applications that I use when I need to brainstorm an idea or a home work are Cacoo and WiseMapping. Both are free once you create an account. However, Cacoo charges 4,95$ a month if you wish to get additional functionality like editing history or export in various formats.
According to Transparency International, corruption in Russia has become much worse since Vladimir Putin became the president of Russia. According to their Report in 2010, Russia took 154 place out of 178 countries. The myth that Putin has done a lot to fight the corruption in the country remains a myth and the situation is deteriorating every year. Putin and his government often speak of corruption as a syndrome of the 90ies but the Transparency International Reports show the opposite.
Below is a graph that shows Russia's place according to the Corruption Index of Transparency International starting from 1996 (second presidential term of Eltsin).
Studying and living in Bonn means also adjusting to German food culture - at least a little bit. Two IMS students, a vegetarian/pescarian, being Evgenia and eat-pretty-much-all, being Inga, share their impressions of the food and dining in Germany.
Although German food has a rather bad reputation with intimidating Sauerkraut and Schweinbraten there are many things Evgenia and Inga appreciate in German cuisine.
Copious German bakeries and their fresh crispy bread and pastries
A marketplace next to old city hall of Bonn has a great choice of fresh vegetables and fruits. One simply cannot pass by and Inga always ends up buying something from the colorful and healthy choice. Both Inga and Evgenia enjoy eating salad and fresh vegetables.
Although Inga is equally delighted when savoring far unhealthy food like Thüringer Rostbratwurst. Evgenia avoids at the same time the Würstchenstand at any cost.
The choice in local supermarkets is reasonable. Outstanding is the selection of Italian food - you can find it everywhere. No German food store dares to ignore the Italian influence.
Evgenia loves to eat fish, but unfortunately there are not many places that sell fresh fish. And if there happens to be fresh seafood, it is most likely too expensive.
But every once in a while they check out some diners and restaurants. Surprisingly an overwhelming part of the restaurants serve Italian food. There are dozens of Italian restaurants in Bonn and Cologne - you can find one almost on every street! And even if it is not an Italian restaurant, there are hardly any places left that do not serve at least one Italian dish, such as, pasta.
Even the internationally successful German restaurant chain named Vapiano serves only Italian food!
Italian cuisine is prevailing everywhere you go. The most popular ice cream cafés in the region are Italian. Actually, there are only Italian ice cream cafés.
And even when it comes to coffee - most of cafés, even if not Italian, serve Italian coffee.