March 18, 2009

Massive strikes expected in France

Per the International Herald Tribune, France is bracing for massive strikes tomorrow nationwide due to the poor economy. It will mark the second day of widespread protests in France in the last two months.

French twitterers were buzzing about the prospect on Wednesday.

@jeremy345 (Paris, France): Juste pour la journée de grève de demain : VIVE LE SCOOTER ! Ça risque d'être mouvementé :) (Just for one day strike tomorrow: ENJOY THE SCOOTER! It may be hectic:))

@davidbosman (Paris, France): bon allez, moi aussi je me met en grève. Jusque demain matin ;-) (Good going, me too I shall strike. Until tomorrow morning ;-))

@d2thelhurst (Normandy, France): Not very surprised that strikes are going on in France again this thursday. Trains, schools, universities, buses, subways... will all halt

@melkxx (Undisclosed): En grève demain (On strike tomorrow)

One tweet offered a preview of Twitter activity.

@Pathien (Undisclosed): Allez demain la grève en direct sur Twitter! (Go on strike tomorrow live on Twitter!)


Rajoelina becomes president of Madagascar

Per United Press International, Andry Rajoelina was officially named the new president of Madagascar on Wednesday after increasing political pressure on former president Marc Ravalomanana forced him to resign Tuesday.

Twitter users in Madagascar documented events as they happened.

@ariniaina (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar TGV protesters are in Antaninarenina now 02pm to put Andry Rajoelina at "his new office"- Ambohitsirohitra

@thierry_ratsiz (Antananarivo, Madagascar): General (management board member) have signed a new order granting full powers to Andry Rajoelina (src Antsiva) #madagascar

@re_hita (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar generals sign the order transferring the power to Andry Rajoelina in leadership Ratsirahonana

The news also generated international discussion.

@angusprune (Barnet, U.K.): @bastardgirl @norabean So what is your opinion on Rajoelina? I have some hope, but have nothing to base this on.

@streetrover (New York City, N.Y.): I think that the world shld reject Rajoelina insurrectl govt in #madagascar : it's a src of instability & hotbed for terrorism in the region

@solofo (Nation, Ile-de-France, France): @re_hita #Madagascar Yep, we expected it from the beginning. Andry Rajoelina made a COUP, still it is and will be forever.!

@afrodissident (South Africa): Sanctions should be put in place against the Rajoelina thug who has taken #Madagascar by coercion and force. The army should be ashamed.

On March 14, Breaking Tweets wrote a related story, "Tensions resurface in Madagascar."


Featured TwitPic: Ancient Tea House in Guiyang

"Exploring GuiYang's river walk & spotting 300 yr old tea house on river island" (Posted by @sdweathers, Guiyang, China, March 18, 2009)


North Korea blocks U.S. food aid

Per BBC: The U.S. state department reported North Korea has refused to accept any further food aid supplies.

Five aid groups are being forced to leave the North in the next two weeks, the U.S. state department and aid groups said.

The UN World Food Program estimates that nearly nine million North Koreans are in need of food aid and supplies provided by these humanitarian groups, reported by BBC World News.

Graph courtesy of BBC World News

Twitter users express concern and question North Korea's actions:

@ctreit:(New York, NY) North Koreans leaders want their people to starve rather than accept food from the US. So crazy.

Retroplex_74:(Colorado) : North Korea refusing US food aid. Bad news for an already starving populace, though most was diverted to the military to begin with.

lamanyana:(Portland, OR) What's w/ countries kicking out aid groups?

MichelleABrock: (Undisclosed) North Korea kicking out food aid groups while facing a famine...are they NUTS?

agbullet:(Undisclosed) Remind me again why the world is supplying aid to N Korea?

GoGod:(England) Pray for North Korea where maybe 9 million ppl have too little food and aid agencies are being ejected. Pls RT.