Monday, October 12, 2009

No-confidence vote in East Timor

AFP reported that "Lawmakers in East Timor [Timor Leste] shouted jibes at each other Monday in a fiery censure debate over a government decision to free an Indonesian militia leader accused of crimes against humanity."

The opposition party accused the government of Prime Minister Xanana of breaking the law when it allowed the release of militia leader Martenus Bere.

Matt,  Lost Boy, Censure debate underway
OK screw it. I’m going to back to parliament.

Almost 8 pm and the lawmakers are really going for it now. Lots of back and forth and everyone is getting involved. .... It’s rowdy in there. I don’t know if anyone really expects this censure motion to be passed, but stranger things have happened. ...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Earthquake in Padang, Sumatra

Al Jazeera (via BM) reports: 

"Rescuers are continuing to dig through the rubble of collapsed buildings on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, several days after a deadly earthquake struck the region, but officials say hopes of finding survivors alive are rapidly diminishing."

"Only a handful of survivors had been pulled from the rubble by Saturday, three days since the 7.6 magnitude quake toppled tens of thousands of buildings in the coastal town of Padang and surrounding villages.

"Up to 4,000 people are believed to be trapped under the rubble following Wednesday's earthquake, the United Nations estimates.

"Villages wiped out...."

Bob McKerrow, Wayfarer (text, photos)

Bob, a New Zealander,  is head of the Indonesia delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.  He writes,  "I am a wayfarer whose life is packed with disasters, mountains, family, work, writing and books. Currently I am working in the Tsunami and earthquake operation in Indonesia...."   A Wikipedia article provides more background.

Some quotes from his most recent posts:

 The quake is very bad in Sumatra !, October 1, 2009:

Wayne Ulrich returned one and a half hours ago from a seven hour aerial assessment of the remote parts of the earthquake affected region. An experienced campaigner who has seen many civil wars in Africa for MSF, the Tsunami for CARE described what he saw today in the remote hills and valleys of the greater Padang area as like seeing the effects of an Atomic bomb being dropped on a huge region. He reported houses, mosques, clinics and schools flattened, and on hilly spurs, villages wiped out by landslides. When they landed in villages people walked about dazed not knowing whether to laugh or cry. No medical help visible as being walked about injured or sick.

A long day in the field,, October 3, 2009:

"Flew with Colin Tuck and PMI colleagues to inspect affected villages. What devastation ! I spend time with one elderly woman with a broken back and a large gash in her arm. Tuckey went back to the helicopter and got the firs aid kit and we dresses her room. I will write about that later. Came back after 3 hours and then two planes with shelter materials arrived from Australia. We are moving relief supplies out quickly and the medical and rescue teams continue their work."


"It's almost 2 am on Sunday morning. Yesterday, Saturday 3 October is one of those days etched in my life and brain forever.

"I nabbed 4 hours sleep last night and woke up restless thinking of all those people trapped under buildings in Padang, perhaps 2000 of them. who knows. I awoke about 5.30 am, had breakfast with Pak Irman from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and then went walkabout alone. . . . .

"I WALK FOR AN HOUR SEEING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. THANK GOD THE SWISS RED CROSS/GOVERNMENT TEAM HAVE WORKED THROUGH THE NIGHT WITH THEIR LOCATER DOGS AND SEEM OPTIMISTIC. Red Cross people from 8 countries have come to help. We are starting to get on top of the relief phase but a huge task ahead of us. I have ordered another helicopter today so the PMI medical people can get out to those villages cut off and make sure people don't die of injuries and infection. Juggling priorities is difficult."

Philip Proctor moved to Padang from Scarborough with his wife and daughter at the beginning of September. His intention was to teach English there. BBC

"We live about four or five miles from the centre of Padang. Our house was built around 1975. Older houses like this are much stronger and the amount of structural damage where we are is minimal. It's the newer buildings in town that have had the biggest damage."

Dorian Bell manages the office of a surfing charter company in Padang. He says he is still in a state of shock.  BBC

"In the whole of Padang, 30% of the houses were completely destroyed and of those still standing 80% are damaged and may have to be demolished later on.

"Our building was still standing, though it was tilted over to one side. There was no electricity and I found a complete mess inside. I grabbed some clothes and other essentials and went back to the car.

"I wanted to spend the night in a hotel, but most hotels were destroyed. The biggest one was still standing, but it was closed. That was lucky, because that same hotel collapsed during the aftershock today."

Dave, Dave's landslide blog,  Emerging news of landslides triggered by the Sumatra earthquake

"It is interesting to note that in all three of the large earthquakes upon which I have worked (1999 Taiwan, 2005 Pakistan, 2008 China), the media has tended to initially focus their coverage upon urban areas, whilst the real story has actually been in the rural hinterland. . . .  the main reason is of course that in upland rural areas landslides kill large numbers of people whilst also destroying communications links and power infrastructure. Thus, the disaster in these areas goes unreported for some time; even the government is often unaware of this situation. As I tell my students, in this case no news is definitely bad news - if no information is coming out about these upland rural areas then the situation is probably dire."

Carolina Rumuat of Global Voices   Indonesia: Strong earthquake hit West Sumatra,
Includes videos of the earthquake, reactions from Indonesian bloggers. 

Mong Palatino, also of Global VoicesIndonesia: Thousands still trapped under rubble
Links to reactions from Indonesian bloggers, and some twitter users.  Discussion of recover efforts now underway:

    Human chain protest in Kerala against ASEAN-India FTA

    "Hundreds of thousands of Left activists stood in a row at 5pm yesterday, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, holding their hands aloft in a human chain from Kerala’s northern district of Kasargod to the State capital of Thiruvananthapuram, asking the Central Government to revoke the free trade agreement signed with ASEAN....

    "CPM estimated around 3 million people joined the human chain. The CPM in Kerala perhaps holds the patent for Indian version of human chain protest. On August 15, 1987, DYFI organized the first human chain in the country.  (Peninsula, Qatar)

    Vishwajith, Human Dignity "Today was completely awestruck because of the Human chain by the comrades of Kerala including my Father. From southern tip to Northern tip of Kerala, comrades took part with heavenly attitude, great brethren ship and unending enthusiasm to make the slogan 'ASEAN AGREEMENT IN ARABIAN SEA'. As usual the normal traffic was blocked, the party vehicles were in a rampaging mood and all the traffic rules were as the slogan, in Arabian Sea. I was stuck in a block for nearly half an hour."

    Another Indian blogger, not associated with the chain, Keralamnlo, dissents: 

    "Yesterday there was a human chain in Kerala, from Kasaragode in the north to the gates of the Rajbhavan in Thiruvananthapuram. Some say it was 777 km long. With only some gaps, one at Changanachery where the Nair Service Society is located, a usual ill omen that, another nearby at Thiruvalla. This chain apparaently was to protest against the recent Free Trade Agreement (FTA) arrived at between the ASEAN nations by the Governmment of India, why the point of end was the Rajbhavan, rekindling the memmories of the British Raj. Deep down it was a desperate attempt to white wash the darkened image of the Communist OParty in the state, which is waiting for the worst in the next elections. The concept of fighting neo-colonialism is fine, but ASEAN is no WTO and this is even a small way of challenging the western hegemony, some how the comrades did not realize that. Good nevertheless, any movement of the people against the vulpine global order is welcome"

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Samoan tsunami

    pogpog28's "first person view" of tsunami devastated Pago Pago Village in Samoa:

    Jodatoa05.  Drive by of the devastation of Leone village on Southwest coast of American Samoa.

    Juliana Rincón Parra, Global VoicesAsia and Oceania: Videos of Natural Disaster Aftermath
    More videos showing the devastation caused by the tsunami.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Pittsburgh G20 summit protests

    A lot of people live-blogged the protests in Pittsburgh: there are dozens of videos, thousands of tweets.   I am going to prioritize the posting written accounts, such as Emily's.   (If you come across others I should include here, please leave a comment).

    Emily Tanner, The Bleeding Heart Capitalist, This is what democracy looks like:

    "I just got home from a wild night of observing the G20 protests. I'm going to start by saying, I was an observer rather than a protester in this situation....

    "Seconds after we get there, police begin to advance without warning. They march at students who begin to run, while taking pictures. Riot police begin to surround the students but no action is taken. This crowd is mainly students, NOT protesters. Students are yelling Kent State, Kent State....

    "At one point, an office jumped onto the sidewalk with his stick out. I immediately threw my hands up and continued walking, and he said to me, "Yeah, keep your hands up, you're the fucking problem." 

    Martial Law on Pitt Campus  (In this post, Emily reposts excerpts from an anonymous individual's twitter feed. Emily comments ) "This is a twitter feed from last night. Earlier this kid declared that he wanted the g20 protesters out of his town - he's just a student, clearly not trying to riot or to protest."
    •  I'm back in my dorm room, which is filled with tear gas from a crack in the window. Getting videos and photos off of my camera. from Tweetie ...

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Red shirts protest in Bangkok and Chang Mai, yellow shirts head for Thai-Cambodian border

    On Saturday, the third anniversary of the royalist-backed army coup of September 19 that deposed Prime Minister Thaksin, pro-Thaksin supporters held a large rally in the northern city of Chang Mai (photos) where 26,000 listened to Thaksin speak to them by video.   Back in Bangkok red shirts tried to march on the house of Prem, who heads the HM the King's Privy Council.  Red shirts blame Prem for the 2006 coup.  Apparently the red marchers were first obstructed by security but later 20,000 managed to stage a protest there.  Meanwhile, members of the anti-Thaksin royalist faction -- the yellow shirts -- tried to invade a temple on the Thai-Cambodia border.. . . (continued at JOTMAN.COM)

    Newley of live-blogged rain-soaked red shirts protesting in Bangkok (6 photos and 2 video)

    TPP (Thai Political Prisoners) live-blogged media reports of Saturday's events in Thailand.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Dam disaster in Western Siberia

    It has hardly been reported in the Western news media, but some are calling it the "Chernobyl of Hydro." There was a major disaster at Russia's largest hydroelectric station in Western Siberia on Monday August 17 -- and the fallout seems to be expanding. The cause appears to have been related to a failure of the power turbines.

    A citizen reporter was there live and captured the event.

    Anonymous YouTube user (video posted below).

    ikoge, Youtube channel. Collection of various videos Sayano Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station after the explosion.

    Sanjuro forwarded explosion footage by an anonymous bystander, and describes and translates it.

    Sanjuro informs ThereLive by email:
    This footage appeared on the Youtube almost immediately after the accident, but was removed yesterday, and this is a repost by another user [ikoge].

    The conversation in Russian is something like:

    "Shall we run already? (nervous giggle) ... (another blast) ... (another blast) ... Whatever... better be somewhere else ... This is the end...").

    You can imagine how scared the person filming the video must have been-- given their proximity to the dam!

    The dam is on the Yenisei
    , the largest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Sanjuro comments:
    The social commentary to this on Russian blogs and discussion rooms was that it has again demonstrated that the country's infrastructure is in ruins, and that the government had better work on real issues, than confront the West over political chimeras.
    Reuters - Russian Dam disaster, Telegraph - Dozens missing and dead in Russian power-station accident, Moscow Times article, Russia Today video news report in English

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Bombing of Jakarta Ritz-Carlton and Marriott

    Steven Kasuma - CNN i report, aftermath of explosion, concerns Ritz Carlton

    Jill Cleret - CNN i report, concerns Marriott

    hydevilist (Twitter) In the morning 7.49 when I took a cab, I could see smokes but the security guard and taxi driver said that it was caused by a fire.


    Jotman, reflections on security at Ritz Carlton, Jotman is familiar with the hotel

    Related on Twitter (distance/location or

    Wikipedia, 2009 Jakarta bombings

    Photo: Twitpic

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Honduras coup

    The origins of the crisis:
    The ongoing 2009 Honduran political crisis resulted from a non-binding referendum on changing the constitution proposed by President Manuel Zelaya but ruled illegal by the country's Supreme Court, attorney general, top electoral body, and human-rights ombudsman. Zelaya nonetheless asked the Army to distribute ballots in accordance with its role in conducting elections. After Army chief Romeo Vásquez Velásquez refused to distribute ballots, Zelaya dismissed him from office. The dismissal was declared illegal by courts and the parliament. On June 28 2009, shortly before polls were due to open for the referendum, the armed forces deposed Zelaya. [Wikipedia]
    There Live Bloggers:

    Dario, Honduras: What's really going on, IKN (text)*
    I want to tell you that the situation is still precarious and that the repression from this de facto government led by dinosaurs is getting bigger. Last night (Tuesday night) and a few minutes ago the red dinosaur Michelleti and his cavemen subalterns addressed the nation on all TV and radio stations, giving out totally false information. Of course we know, those of us who are here know the true story. We have no access to communications and the only information presented is that which helps the coupmongers.

    I inform you that in communities such as El Progreso, department of Yoro they have ordered forced military recruitment aimed mostly at youths (to use them as a barricade in any confrontation). Also, in the department of Olancho (the biggest in the country and the home territory of Zelaya) they have repressed people who were travelling to the capital in buses, beating them and forcing them off the buses and shooting through the bus tires.

    In San Pedro Sula, the place where I live, they have given an order to depose the mayor of the city (who was one of the mayors allied to Zelaya) and have issued an arrest warrant for him. They are trying to replace him with one William Hall (strangely the cousin of Michelleti).

    rbreve, rbreve's photostream, Flickr (20 photos with captions)
    • this was a very scary moment, military was firing their guns, I had to run, my camera settings were not properly set so this images are overexposed (photo)
    La Gringa, Honduran views on Mel Zelaya and the current events, La Gringa's Blogicito
    In my opinion, too many people are only willing to believe what they read in English (no matter where it comes from) and choose to ignore ALL of the Honduran media reports and what the majority of people of Honduras are saying. Just because something is done in a manner that it wouldn't have been done in the US does not automatically make it wrong. This is Honduras!

    Dig deeper, please! Pro-Zelaya supporters are naturally angry and upset, but there is a lot more celebration going on in Honduras among those who feared what Zelaya was doing to Honduras. To disregard all of those opinions as being from ignorant peasants who don't understand what is going on in their own country or from the rich who benefit from the status quo is damned insulting!
    Media-Live Bloggers

    INK, INK - Honduras, INK (photos, text - English)
    Includes translations of material from Spanish sources

    Honduras Frente Al Golpe De Estado /Honduras Confronts the Coup D'Etat. (13 photos, text - Spanish)

    Rick B, Honduras Coup Just Got Chile, Ten percent


    Wikipedia, Honduran political crisis

    Honduras - twazzup twitter - "Crowdsourcing meets citizen journalism meets twitter." Aggregates news concerning the crisis in Honduras

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Bassij crackdown against protesters in Tehran

    This report is a continuation of "Iran Protest," which contains a more comprehensive list of live bloggers, citizen journalists, and other resources.

    There Live:

    Dabalatarin, dabalatarin channel, YouTube (2 videos)

    Media Live:

    Andrew Sullivan, Live-blogging Day 8, Daily Dish
    Good parsing of important new information coming in from the twitter feeds.

    Twitter feed hashtags:

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Iran protest

    Protesters are challenging the results of the recent election.

    Iran has instituted restrictions on news media coverage of the protests on the streets of Tehran, making there-live reports indispensable to knowing what is happening.

    Persiankiwi on Twitter.
    Here are some of Persiankiwi's most recent tweets:

      Shahinkazemi, YouTube

      AmirAA, Ireport. Concerning the six day of protests, video-blogger AmirAA blogs (video):
      For the 6th day, protesters had a great rally in Tehran’s “Khomeini” square. The silent rally began on 4 PM and at 5:30 “Moosavi” appeared at one corner of this large square on his car. After a few words, the crowd moved to “Enghelab” square in a distance of 9 kilometers. I believe that there were more than 1 million in this rally and this is really great when you notice that it is the 6th day, protesters have no media, there are certain threats and attacks from the governments and there is no hope for a change in governments’ behavior. The Rally ended at 8 PM as there were fears of paramilitary attacks at the darkness of night. The protesters were mostly wearing black for the mourning of those who got killed in the past days. Many of them had candles with them. For tomorrow, all of us will have a holiday! The next rally would be on Saturday, beginning from “Enghelab” square towards “freedom” square.
      ShervingzS, Ireport (video)

      DigitalNegar, Ireport (video)

      Amir (freelance photographer), Amirpix channel, Peaceful Demonstration after 2 Days Clash in Tehran, YouTube (several videos)

      After 2 days hard clash between election results protestors and police and anti-riot, today hundreds of thousands of people jammed the streets of Irans capital city Monday to show support for defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi. 2009/6/15

      Hard to know whether each of these video posters actually took the videos (locations may be disguised to foil censors):

      Irandoost09, irandoost09 channel, YouTube (9 videos)
      One of the most popular channels in Australia by a 39-year-old shows: Iranians protesting election results in Isfahan Abbasi Square; Basij Militia shooting Iranian people; police and people uniting in Tehran; Iranian ambulances carry the injured; Isfahan university attack on students; Tehran IRIB stage silent protest.

      Mehrdad Oulyaei, MehrdadOulyaei, YouTube (9 videos)
      From Mehrdad, Iran.

      Saeid, saeidkermanshah channel, YouTube (9 videos)
      An Dutch electrical engineer from Kermanshah, Iran shares his video collection.

      iranriggedelect, iranriggedelect channel, YouTube (5 videos)
      Canadian channel, very graphic images of injured protesters (warning)

      Freeboydj, Freeboydj channel, YouTube (5 videos)

      ahriman, ahriman46 channel, YouTube (5 videos)

      Mousavi, Mousavi1388 channel, YouTube (5 videos)
      Mousavi1388's videos are among the most viewed. Two have logged over 300,000 views apiece.

      esfahanlive1, esfahanlive1 channel, Youtube (9 videos)
      age 25, UK. Appears to include a 15 part series.

      Media-live bloggers

      D. Nasaw, Guardian News Blog

      Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices

      Nico Pitney, Live-blogging Iran election protests, Huffington Post

      Andrew Sullivan, Daily Dish

      Spirit of Man, Spirit of Man

      Photo collections
      Twitter feeds


      Protest information
      Overview of coverage
      Daniel Bennett, Iran election: links on media coverage part 1 and part 2