March 20, 2009

Jailed blogger dies in Iran

Per BBC, Omid Mirsayafi, a blogger jailed for insulting the country's ruling clerics, died in Evin prison in Tehran. Mirsayafi was 29 years old.

His lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, said prison officials told him his client committed suicide. The Committe to Protect Jounalist (CPJ) joined Dakhah in requesting an immediate inquiry; Iranian officials have not yet commented.

At least five Iranian journalists are incarcerated, according to CPJ, as well as Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi and Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan. In 2003 Iranian-Canadian photojournalist died after three weeks in Evin prison, which is notorious for its numerous political and journalistic inmates.

The Twittersphere responded with emotions from gratitude to outrage to worry.

@harisn (Lahore, Pakistan): RT @guppu: Bloggers in free countries be happy you have freedom of speech, "Iran blogger dies in Evin prison" so sad

@LMDeaton (Cincinnati, OH): A reminder we shouldn't take for granted our right to free speech. RT @KarenRussell: Blogger jailed in Iran is dead

@writepudding (Los Angeles, CA): Glad my parents packed up & moved out of Iran before I could talk. Can't imagine being a journalist in a country where bloggers are jailed.

@EditorJacquie (New Jersey): Blogger dead in jail in Iran. We should be much more outraged by this than we are.

@ourworldoursay (Brighton, UK): Hold Iran Responsible for Death of Blogger Mirsayafi in Prison -

@KathrinOutLoud (Philadelphia, PA): RT @RachelSterne: Jailed Blogger in Iran DEAD. Not Hossein 'Hoder' Derakhshan, but at first I was terrified. Where is he?

Meanwhile, Roxana Saberi's family and her home state of North Dakota pushed for her release.

@frontlineblog (Paddington, London, UK): Parents of Roxana Saberi, journalist arrested in Iran, write open letter to Iranian leaders -

@Journalism_info: ND House appeals for release of Fargo journalist imprisoned in Iran - Minneapolis Star Tribune: ND House appeals..


Featured TwitPic: Smog in Santiago

"Hay mucho smog hoy... :-(" There is much smog today... :-(
(Posted by @jmartinezv, Santiago, Chile, March 20, 2009)


A Day in Johannesburg

Twitter users in Johannesburg, South Africa, tweeted about an intense rain, hail and thunderstorm that swept through the city this morning.

@AndrewCrawford (Johannesburg, South Africa): Jeez! That was one insane storm! My lawn is white. Rose bushes are bare. Gutters bocked. My ears itchy. Madness!

@pauljacobson (Johannesburg, South Africa): Our little downpour via Qik: - you can hear one of our puppies crying in the background. They were not happy.

@LudwigK (Johannesburg, South Africa): It's gloomy outside, with rain gently pattering on the roof. Do you have *any* idea how hard it was to get out of bed?

@mylifescape (Johannesburg, South Africa): - Hail stones - eek. Most hectic storm I've ever been in!

@rubyletters (Johannesburg, South Africa): in what world do you have a hail storm with golfball size hail at 8 in the morning????


Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan

Per the Times of India, U.S. president Barack Obama plans to expand the number of troops in Afghanistan to 400,000 in an effort to promote stability to the nation.

Breaking Tweets found twitterers in the U.S. had mainly negative things to say about the idea.

NYMACGirl (Las Vegas, Nevada): New Surge of troops in Afghanistan? I hope not.

ranggrol (Florida): 400,000 troops??? While I agree that we (America) broke it (Afghanistan), I passionately oppose Obama's plan to buy it. (LBJ anyone??)

rbaer (San Francisco, CA): @iava what about the recall? Troops being out a year getting recalled and going back to iraq and Afghanistan for 18 months

tiffyness (Oceanside, CA): @iamdiddy i wouldn't demand anything bt my hope is tht he pulls our troops out of Afghanistan asap. how many more kids have to die for Bush?