February 28, 2009

India attempts to retrieve Gandhi's possessions

Per the Times of India, an auction involving Mahatma Gandhi's glasses and other artifacts of his may go on as planned next week in New York, despite an uproar from Indian officials.

The developments struck a nerve for those in the south Asian nation.

@apnerve (Mumbai, India): those artifacts should not be sold in view of national honour and public sentiment. India is taking good steps.

@sumeet (Karwar, India): StopGANDHI items' auction in NY:Ind #news

Some twitterers poked fun at the news, while others were also disturbed.

@RaulJPena (Lawrenceville, Ga.): India called. They want Gandhi's glasses back lol

@neekomac (Hawaii): whoaaa. Ghandi's glasses are up for auction!? I want that!

@rapunzels_tears: Gandhi's glasses, pocketwatch, sandals, bowl, and plate should not be up for auction. I hope-but doubt-that the money goes to charity

For more on this story, an article in the Washington Post also describes Indians' reactions to the auction.


Australian fires force schools to close

Per BBC, "More than 200 schools have been closed in south-eastern Australia as the government warned of an intensified fire risk ahead of the weekend."

Two twitterers announce schools and childcare centers closing.

@pnbeck (Melbourne, Australia): Melbourne is baking, smoke haze is shrouding the city, schools & childcare centres have been evacuated as fires burn close to suburbia...

@philpeffect (Melbourne, Australia): Over 60 Victorian schools will be closed tomorrow due to bush fire threat

One twitterer says the fire's were overestimated, but is grateful for safety precautions.

@mr_billiam (Melbourne, Australia): Fire threat wasn't as bad as forecasted today, but I still think closing schools in fire threat areas was a good move. Safety first.

A local politician tweeted that he was surprised by some people's reaction to the news.

@PremierMikeRann (South Australia): @BeauGiles Can't believe criticism of closing schools after advice from CFS. Imagine the fuss if we had ignored that advice. Vic did same.

Others posted links to Australian fire news stories.

@AdventureMatt (Melbourne, Ausralia): 'Spike Day' closes Victorian schools as bush fire threat re-flares http://twurl.nl/qw78p4

@geelongaddy (Geelong, Australia): RED ALERT: Schools shut as fire threat looms: SCHOOLS and kindergartens have been closed and tourists have been.. http://tinyurl.com/cqytpv


Two Chilean students killed in Florida

Per Clarin.com, Nicolas Pablo Torres, 22, and Racine Balbontín, 23, both of Valparaíso, Chile, were killed by an American who, according to witnesses, hates immigrants.

The attacker used a shotgun to commit the acts, in a house that overlooks the beach in Pensacola, Florida, per the article. Clarin.com said the suspect of the crime is Dannie Baker, 60, who was identified by neighbors as a "racist" and had sent emails with threats to democratic politicians.

Many twitterers were shaken by the incident.

@KenjiFinster (Santiago, Chile): Still disturbed: 2 Chilean students slayed, 3 injured by a crazy guy in (where else?) Florida. http://tinyurl.com/bhpaja

@mansun79 (Tampa, Fla.): outraged at the murder of two Chileans in North Florida.

Journalist Jorge Garreton provided updates from Santiago, the capital of Chile, through Twitter.

@Garreton (Santiago, Chile): Pensacola Chilean Killings: Racine Balbontin, 22, was studying to become a chef; Nicolas Corp, 22, studied PhysEd both lived in Valparaiso

@Garreton: Family members of Chileans killed by Pensacola Fla man travel tonight to begin process of returning bodies and wounded.

@Garreton: I have posted musings on YouTube and my Blog: http://tinyurl.com/bu85sa

Some questioned the lack of coverage by CNN.

@HectorRojas: @ricksanchezcnn any reason why CNN not covering 5 chileans shot in Florida yesterday by xenofobe former Bush campaign worker in Florida?

@JanieAngus (Las Vegas, Nev.): RT @ricksanchezcnn any reason why CNN not covering 5 chileans shot in Florida yesterday by xenofobe former Bush campaign worker in Florida?

The CNN anchor has not yet responded to these questions, at least publicly.


A Day in Uganda

Conflict, disease and the outbreak of a major fire are some of the things happening in Uganda in the last 72 hours.

As for the fire, according to Global Voices, "A massive fire gutted Kampala's Owino Market early Wednesday." However, some are just finding out about the event now.

Here's a chronicle of tweets either from the nation or about it, posted in the last 24 hours, giving a glimpse into life today in Uganda:

@Nagadya (Kampala, Uganda): What is going on in KLA? First Owino burns down and now a building collapses in Nakasero!!!

@rebekahredux (New York via Uganda/KS): Just now hearing about the fire at Kampala's Owino Market yesterday. Blogren, everyone okay? #owinofire

@Peter_Biro (Uganda): Posting a photo essay from Uganda: http://tinyurl.com/am3uqy

@schooley84 (Uganda): just went inside a store located in a parking garage that sells a $500 pair of shoes... Only in Uganda!

@KGrepin is saddened that polio has returned to Uganda http://tinyurl.com/b5toj4

@tayari: @imagineatrium here are the pics from uganda i was telling you about. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tayarijones/sets/72157612656030812/


February 27, 2009

Canada PM concerned by "aggressive" Russia

Per Reuters, "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking after it emerged that a Russian bomber had flown toward Canada before U.S. President Barack Obama visited last week, said on Friday he was deeply worried about Moscow's 'increasingly aggressive' actions."

A Russian bomber neared Canadian airspace less than 24 hours before Obama's visit, but it did turn back when it was asked to, according to the article.

Russian News and Information Agency Novosti published a story today noting that a government source in Russia was astonished by the accusation, adding that it was nothing more than a "routine flight."

Twitter users in Canada were buzzing about the story.

@carlospdiaz (Toronto, Ontario): The Russians are coming?: Canadian jets scrambled to intercept Russian bomber before Obama visit http://bit.ly/DzTsc

@LifeofJames (Alberta): So Russia sent a bomber into our airspace on Obama's visit. We intercepted it with F18's and sent it home. Shades of the Cold War much?

@shawndearn (Ottawa, Ontario): Jets scrambled to intercept Russian bomber in arctic. Memo to Russia: COLD WAR IS OVER. http://bit.ly/2R8Mu

The Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado tweeted confirmation of an incident of some kind just a few hours ago.

@noradnorthcom (Colorado Springs, Col.): Canada's MND, during Gen Renuart's Ottawa visit, confirmed intercept of 2 Russia bombers by NORAD CF-18 fighters before Obama Feb. 19 visit

American twitterers also took note of the story.

@mwmeadows (Dallas, Texas): What if Russia launched an attack on Canada?

@Topher_Campbell (Boston, Mass.): Russian bomber neared Canada before Obama visit - http://tinyurl.com/cf3fql. Interesting to see Russia test US and Canada.

@rob_k_84 (Minnesota): Whoa, Russia tried to bomb Canada?

No tweets about this developing story could be found in Russia as of this post, in English or Russian, except for a tweet from the media outlet mentioned earlier (@RIA_Novosti) which linked to the story on its Web site.


Panel urges Obama to re-establish ties with Cuba

Per CNN, a Washington think tank has suggested that President Barack Obama re-establish relations with Cuba. The group—made up of 19 academics, opinion leaders and diplomats—proposed lifting travel restrictions to Cuba, allowing U.S. residents to send money to people in Cuba and enabling Cubans to travel in the U.S. under certain requirements, according to the article.

Twitter users commented:

kristinquintas (Miami, Florida): Think tank urges Obama to ease U.S. policy on Cuba..http://tinyurl.com/aq43ls (expand) What are ur views

josephchez (California): We've had a 50 yr ecomomic boycot on Cuba, while doing bussiness with other communist countries. President Obama, tear down the wall!

MMHollywood (Austin, TX): Do it OBAMA ... http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/27/us.cuba.relations/index.html


Airline plans charge for mile high bathroom breaks

Per RTE, Irish-based low-cost airline Ryanair is considering charging passengers to use on-board toilets. The potential move comes as the airline looks at new ways to cut costs and generate extra revenue. Last week, Ryanair announced it would close all traditional check-in desks, making passengers check-in online or at airport kiosks instead.

Twitter users have been quick to deride the plan. In searches on Friday, comments in favor of charging to use toilets on Ryanair flights could not easily be found.

@99luftaballoons (Rio de Janeiro) Will Ryan Air start charging for use of a defibrillator as well?

@_sivanath (Silcon Valley, USA) I wudn't want to fly long distance on Ryan Air bit.ly/dpwz3 But love to see how they handle folks who don't want to spend extra -:)

@julescyprus (Cyprus) Ryan air charging a pound for a penny??? IF i ever flew them... NOT.. Y NOT book a seat in the loo for journey!! yes a (cheap airfare)

@dpkamoen (Los Angeles, USA) just read that Ryan Air wants to charge passengers 1 Euro for each visit to the toilet on flights. How much for a barf bag?

@stuartridout (Milton Keynes, England) Ryan Air can't be far off putting chip & pin machines on oxygen masks @tinyurl.com/cr56mk

@pkiss (Hamburg, Germany) starting to collect 1-€-coins, even if I'm not a Ryan Air customer: tinyurl.com/cdkapc

@llsand Paris, France Ryan Air want their customers to pay 1£ to go the bathroom on their planes ??? Cheap bastards !

@XdentalXtremist (NYC, USA) Not flying Ryan Air anytime soon: tinyurl.com/dyj9lt


Students warned against spring break in Mexico

Per CBS News, tens of thousands of high school and college-age Americans looking forward to spring break may have to postpone their travel plans. Schools and universities across the nation are urging their student bodies not to travel to Mexico due to the escalating violence among the nation's drug cartels.

Per the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, a travel alert for U.S. citizens going Mexico was issued on Feb. 20. The alert expires in August.

@HannaSoltys: Hoping to talk the brother out of the Spring Break trip to Rocky Point, Mexico next weekend. Would like to remain alive.

Those students near the Texas border are anxious about travel plans:

@hkhacker (Dallas, Texas): Any TX universities warning students not to go to Mexico for spring break?

Behind the cynicism of some Twitterers, there are legit concerns for violence.

@desertpenquin (Sun City, Ariz.): March Madness coming, in the gambling mood? What is the over/under on the number of US kids killed or kidnapped in Mexico over spring break?

@chakabrown: The drug war in mexico is ramping up, just in time for spring break, tequila and margaritas along with columbian neck ties and beheading.

The Twitter community is working together to seek and give advice to others for spring break plans in Mexico:

@jessedcaron (Fresno, CA): Were considering canceling our Mexico Spring Break Mission Trip because of increasing danger. I would appreciate thoughts.

@Chanchoy (Miami, FL): Jamaica is a good alternative to Mexico for spring break, cheap flights available and everthing thats available in Mexico.


Broke bank chief in pension stand-off

Per BBC Scotland, the former chief of the Royal Bank of Scotland Sir Fred Goodwin is refusing to give up his £16 million ($22.6 million) pension, despite his company posting record losses of £24 billion ($34 billion) and receiving a multi-billion dollar bailout from the British Government.

The story is headline news at all the Scottish newspaper websites. Edinburgh's The Scotsman reports that the former bank boss is "defiant" about giving up any of his pension. Meanwhile The Glasgow Herald uses video interviews to tell the story and Aberdeen's Press & Journal claims that Sir Fred is "furious" details of his pension plan have been leaked to the media.

Here's what Twitter users have to say on the subject - including news that Sir Fred Goodwin might himself be on Twitter:

@handlewithcare (Shoreditch, London) Surprised that Fred Goodwin's £16m pension makes the front page when the govt's £300bn bet on RBS gets shunted to page 6

@DavidTurner1 (Yorkshire, UK) Hands up who expected RBS's Fred Goodwin to give up his pension? He's a banker - if they gave a damn, they'd be social workers.

@LesArmitage (Rufford, England) Hey I bank at the RBS too. Will they dump my toxic debt with theirs :)

@Jimble1 (Swindon, England) Can you believe Sir Fred Goodwin is unwilling to give up any of his pension even though he has manged to lead RBS to failure

@GillyLiz (London, England) I think they should give the RBS boss a big chinese burn until he coughs up his pension

@foshjedi2004 (Swansea, Wales) thinks a 600k pension to the RBS guy is wrong - he should be forced to have a state pension! Its not as if he isn't already a millionaire..

@ryanajarrett (Kent, England) Apparently ex-RBS boss Fred Goodwin is on Twitter - is this for real? Either way, I wonder how much abuse he'll get! http://bit.ly/yqUtJ

However, the @sirfredgoodwin account does not appear to be authentic. Its first updates only came hours ago, and as a breaking news story develops, that is often a red flag for an impostor.