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Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Big data: 4 predictions for 2014
The Guardian
"One could look back at 2013 and consider it the breakthrough year for big data, not in terms of innovation but rather in awareness. The increasing interest in big data meant it received more mainstream attention than ever before. Indeed, the likes of Google, IBM, Facebook and Twitter all acquired companies in the big data space. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden also revealed that intelligence agencies have been collecting big data in the form of metadata and, amongst other things, information from social media profiles for a decade." READ MORE

The rise of civil society groups in Africa
Africa Renewal
"Under the glaring sun of a recent Monday, an unusual group of protesters marched on the streets of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, all dressed in black “to mourn the loss of Uganda’s public money through corruption,” as some of them pointedly explained to reporters. “Return our money and resign,” read one of the slogans they brandished. Since November 2012, on the first Monday of each month, the Black Monday Movement—a coalition of local NGOs and civil society groups—has taken to the streets to highlight the effects of corruption in Uganda and to press public officials to act."  READ MORE

Sympathy for the Migrant
Project Syndicate
"The tragic fate of the several hundred Africans who drowned near the Italian island of Lampedusa in October made international headlines, leading to a rare moment of compassion and reflection about the dangers facing many migrants. But the only exceptional aspect of this disaster was the magnitude of the death toll. For Lampedusa’s residents, shipwrecks involving refugees and migrants are a common occurrence: a week later, a boat carrying Syrian and Palestinian refugees capsized off the shores of the island, leaving more than 30 people dead." READ MORE

Disability issues must be part of development agenda, say aid experts
The Guardian
"The Department for International Development (DfID) should produce an overarching strategy on disability as it would send an important message to its staff and other organisations that it was taking disability seriously, aid experts have said. Bob McMullan, former Australian minister for international development, told MPs on the international development committee that such a step would be the most important thing DfID could do to put disability on the agenda. Making disability a priority would incur extra costs, he said, but less than expected. "Some things will be more expensive, such as low-rise buses," he added. "I don't want to pretend there is no cost, but it was less than we feared.'" READ MORE

6 Ways Cell Phones Are Changing the World (Beyond the Ways You're Probably Thinking)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In a world where more people have access to a cell phone than a toilet, we have to ask: what are all those phones doing? And are they really making a difference? Here are six ways cell phones really are making life better for billions of people. READ MORE

Thailand Protests Are Captured in Social Media and Onstage
The New York Times
"In the boldest move in two months of demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Bangkok’s central commercial district has been swarmed by antigovernment protesters, and on Tuesday, the second day of the so-called “shutdown” of the city and its consequences were widely tracked on social media. Along with noisy, whistle-blowing protesters at the gatherings, Bangkok residents and others using #BangkokShutdown shared images of an unusual sight: relatively empty streets as traffic was diverted, or as drivers simply kept away." READ MORE

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