Editor's Picks 26 June 2013

Collection with 7 media items created by Editor's Picks

26 Jun 2013 08:00

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São Paulo Protests Turn Violent (18 o...
Sao Paulo, Brazil
By Juliana Spinola
19 Jun 2013

Violent clashes erupted when police arrested at least 200 demonstrators as they tried to break into the Mayor's Palace. In early June, thousands of residents peacefully marched against an increase in the price of a single bus fare. Police officers were accused of firing bullets and tear gas at protesters and assaulting some participants and bystanders. The attacks that emerged angered the residents and shifted their focus from rising transport costs to wider issues. Sao Paulo, June, 2013.

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Khufu Solar Boat Excavation (22 of 26)
Giza, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
26 Jun 2013

The solar boat museum and excavation site stands dwarfed next to the Great Pyramids. Inside, tourists are able to see the first solar boat extracted from beneath the pyramids. Archaeologists hope that in a few years, tourists will be able to the second, fully assembled boat.

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Life Along The Railway (3 of 11)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
20 Jun 2013

A man strolls on the railway track that lies between numerous makeshift homes in a slum in Bangladesh’s vibrant capital, Dakha. It is home to more than 10 million people, making it one of the world’s most populated cities. Hundreds of people live beside the railroad in the Kawran Bazar slum, where residents face dire conditions in the unsanitary environment. Dakha, Bangladesh, June, 2013.

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Tunisia's Tourism Sector Looks for Al...
Tunis, Tunisia
By Mohamed Haddad
14 May 2013

A Video Report Done By: Sarah Mersch & Mohamed Haddad

Tunisia has long been a favorite destination for Western tourists. Since the revolution, prices went down, but so did the number of visitors - a disaster for the vital sector of Tunisian economy. 400,000 of Tunisia’s 10.5 million inhabitants depend on tourism, which makes up seven percent of the country’s GDP. Despite this, tourism professionals are looking for alternatives, whether it be wellness, cultural or hiking trips.

This is an international version, voice over + original soundbites are on the left track, ambient sound on the right.

Sidi Bou Said, a picturesque village over the hills of Tunis. Once a must for every visitor of the country, the small town is feeling the decline in tourism since the political turnover.

Mohamed Ben Ameur still opens his little souvenir stall every day, but the craftsman struggles to make a living.

SOUNDBITE Mohamed Ben Ameur, craftsman [ar]

There is nobody. Look, it’s Saturday and it’s empty. As soon as the big cruise ships leave, the street gets empty again. That’s what the minister said as well, there are less reservations than last year.

Half a million Tunisians and almost 10% of national income depend directly on tourism. Since the revolution, reservations have gone down by almost 15%.

Hammamet, an hour south of Tunis. It once used to be the hotspot of beach tourism, but the Europeans looking for cheap sun have gone elsewhere. Even though a week of all inclusive sells at 200 Euros.

Many of the three and four star hotels haven’t been renovated in a long time and struggle to keep the standard up. A third of the establishments should close for the sector to rejuvenate, professionals tell us off the record.

For the 4 star hotel Le Sultan, the situation is difficult, but the manager Mehdi Allani tries to keep up a good service. 120 employees are taking care of one hundred clients. An investment for a better future the owner still believes in. Mehdi Allani wants the restaurant setting to be top notch, even though yesterday, only twenty people ate here.

SOUNDBITE Mehdi Allani, Vice-President, Le Sultan hotel [fr]

Today, we are living a crisis. The priority should be reactivity. But this means being very fast. But we still function slowly, we’re in the phase of ‘Ah, we don’t have the money. We should... or maybe not...’. rather than acting quickly. [...] Our competitors are very reactive. If we want to compete on eye level, we need a lot of communication, a lot of events and most of all, reactivity. We need to be hyper-creative and hyper-fast.

After the revolution, Tunisia’s authorities have realized that its prior focus on cheap beach tourism is long outdated and especially vulnerable to political instability.

But the sector is still waiting for concrete initiatives by the authorities, Mehdi Allani says. He voluntarily works in a group of officials and tourism professionals to improve the situation of the industry and promote new concepts.

SOUNDBITE Mehdi Allani, Vice President, Le Sultan hotel [fr]

If we speak about the fact that there was a revolution, it happened in Tunisia, but not at the Tunisian Tourism Office, nor at the ministry. They still need to work on changing the habits, being creative.

Allani wants to go ahead and give a good example. Next to the Sultan, he’s constructing a second, even fancier hotel. Looking for alternatives, some hotel owners are increasingly focusing on golf and spa tourists, a rich clientele that is willing to pay for good service.

At the Hasdrubal, one of the few 5 star hotels in the region, the situation is very much the same as at the rest of Hammamet. Less than 20% of the capacity of this hotel with more than 400 beds is used in late May. But the Hasdrubal features something special:

SOUNDBITE Talha Husseini, General Director, Hasdrubal Thalassa hotel [fr]

This presidential suite is the biggest of the world. It measures 1540 m², features an interior and an exterior swimming pool, five sleeping rooms,....

The Salambo suite, where stars, starlets and politicians once came and gone has been deserted since the political turnover. The hotel opens it up only for TV crews. Nobody sleeps here anymore for 5000 Euros a night, neither Bashar Al Assad, nor Algerian president Bouteflika or Mariah Carey. Talha Husseini is in a hurry to quickly lead us through the suite. Other clients are to arrive soon - at the normal hotel, which has become the Hasdrubal’s main business.

SOUNDBITE Talha Husseini, General Director, Hasdrubal Thalassa hotel [fr]

The kind of clients that use the presidential suite are really part of the upper class. And they prefer not to come as long as the political situation in Tunisia is not really stable. Honestly speaking, 2011 and 2012 weren’t great.

The days of glory of the Hasdrubal have passed. The suite is mentioned in the Guinness book as the biggest of the world. Even though the award features big on the website, it fails to attract the clients the hotel once had.

SOUNDBITE Talha Husseini, General Director, Hasdrubal Thalassa hotel [fr]

When the owner of the hotel was building it, everybody told him that he was crazy. There were no clients for this kind of luxury tourism in Tunisia at the time. So he had to develop the clientele.

The director remains silent about the exact number of guests currently visiting the hotel. Most have been shied away by bad press and security concerns. The few who come enjoy the calm and empty beaches.
This british tourist is on his first visit to Tunisia. He appreciates the increased security measures

SOUNDBITE British tourist [en]

This morning, there were policemen going along the beach in buggies. There is always a risk, wherever you go in the world. I think the Tunisian government has seen that there is an interest and a need to address any concerns and they have dealt with that.

As the Hasdrubal once brought a new category of visitors to Tunisia, tourism professionals today try to develop another new clientele. The Northern region of Kef, once the wheat chamber of the Romans: tourists
have always been a rare sight here. Today, there are even less than before the revolution. But the population tries to promote local initiatives and to attract new clients. A cave serves local painter Ammar Belghit as a workshop. It could be one stop on a tour that takes visitors around the region, from hot springs to Roman ruins and the historical city of Kef. For Ahmed Trabelsi, the revolution was a blessing.

SOUNDBITE Ahmed Trabelsi, [exact function / association]

We are a lot more flexible. There’s no police car anymore following us around to see who these people are and what they are doing at Ammar’s grotto.

Before the revolution, to organise even a small hiking tour with a group of foreigners, guides needed almost a dozen permits from local and national authorities. Now they are free to show the treasuries of a country with rich history, which has a lot more to offer than just beaches.

Conscious that alternative tourism will not save the whole industry, the locals hope to at least attract a customer base which is less vulnerable to political hiccups.

In the meantime, the beaches are awaiting another quiet summer.

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The Azerbaijani army today (17 of 20)
Agdam, Azerbaijan
By Tofik Babayev
18 Jun 2013

Soldiers dressed in proper uniform take their position in the military foothold. The Azerbaijani army celebrates the 95th anniversary of the formation of the National Army of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region of Agdam. The National Army of Azerbaijan was formed on June 26, 1918. Agdam, Azerbaijan, June, 2013.

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Transition (Part 1 of 2)
Moscow, Russia
By Marina Fonda
03 Apr 2013

PART 2: http://transterramedia.com/media/18536

Wissam is a Journalism student in Moscow and former Syrian Army officer. After being forbidden by his advisor teacher of writing his final paper on the farce of Russian coverage of the conflicts on Syria, a brainwashing aimed to make Russians stand by Bashar al Assad and the Russian government protecting him, he decides to head back to his homeland to make a film and show Russians what's really going on in his country. The film depicts Wissam's entrance in Syria by a Free Syrian Army controled border, citizens running from snipers and their stations working mode, temporary hospitals, refugees crossing the border with Turkey, destroyed Suni mosques, schools, residential buildings by government army's bombs and contains interviews with refugees (internal and fleeing abroad), injured, FSA soldiers etc.
This is a 26 min, full-HD documentary film.


(VO) My name is Wissam and I'm from Syria, I'm a student of Journalism in my final year ...In Moscow The reason why I came to study in a country that lacks freedom of press is that Russia was the only country to give me a visa after I resigned. Oh, I forgot to tell you... I was an officer in the Syrian army

(VO) After the Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad's death, his son Bashar inherited the power for that, the Constitution was amended, in the world's fastest assembly. The former Constitution demanded that the minimum age for being president should be 40 years of age. They've changed it for 34, the age of Bashar at the time I realized it was about time to write my resignation letter and leave Syria I didn't see my mom for the last 8 years I was afraid of visiting my family in Syria since an old friend from the army told me I was wanted by the Syrian intelligence they've received a report from the embassy in Moscow saying I was against the regime I remembered my father at that point When I was a kid, he used to say: “The walls have ears” By that time, I didn't understand He lived 79 years in fear. When I was in the army, he advised me not to speak about the regime in front of other officers I used to find it funny, him worried about me, and then he told me: “These people are criminals, you didn't see what I saw” Once, he told me about an event so that I could understand his uncommon fear of the regime He told me how the army came and took one person from each house during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, in 1980, in Aleppo They took around 100 people, among them children and elderly. It was a very difficult moment for my father, when he saw his childhood friends lined against the wall and get executed These crimes were called Al Mashariqa Massacre, named after the neighborhood where it occurred That's how Hafez al-Assad controlled the country for 3 decades, committing the worse massacres of these times The most famous of them was the Hama Massacre In this city, he killed dozens of thousands of civilians through shelling and artillery in 1982

(VO) In March 2011, the revolution began in Syria I realized then that the blood series started again The dictator inherited from his father not only the country, but also his criminality The difference this time was the will of the people, which had already changed with the generations The dictator used all means of intimidation, such as executions, torture and rape to eliminate the peaceful protests He counts on the support of loyal states, such as Iran and Russia, which provide him with weapons and hinder international resolutions against him But with the continuous bloodshed, people decided to take up arms and defend themselves After the liberation of wide areas in Aleppo, I decided to go back there where I grew up and from where I was away for a long time

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Montreal, Canada
By SpiralDragon
31 Oct 2012

Ensglish follows

Réalisé de façon indépendante sans aucune contribution financière, le film Dérives est le résultat de plus de trente heures d'entretiens réalisés avec des citoyennes et des citoyens témoins et victimes d'abus policiers.

Le film est partagé gratuitement depuis le 13 février dernier sur Internet à partir du site web du collectif (www.99media.org), avec l'objectif de nourrir le débat public sur la question de l'exercice de la répression et ses conséquences sociales. Une répression qui fut banalisée - voire encouragée - à la fois par les sphères politiques et médiatiques québécoises.

En un mois, le total des visionnements pour Dérives a atteint la somme de 50 000. Le film a également été diffusé plusieurs fois devant public et sera projeté le samedi 16 mars 2013 dans le cadre du festival Hors Cadre. Il s’agit d’un succès qui dépasse toute espérance pour un film qui n'a fait l'objet d'aucune mention par les médias traditionnels et qui prouve que les créateurs des médias émergents pourront désormais s'affranchir de la nécessité d'une attention médiatique.


Produced independently without any financial aid, Dérives is the result of more than thirty hours of interview with citizen witnesses, and victims, of police brutality.

The film has been available online for free since February 13th on the collective's website (www.99media.org), with the goal of contributing to the public debate on the issue of repression and its social consequences... repression that has been banalised, even encouraged, by Quebec's political and media spheres.

A month after its release, Dérives has been seen more than 50 000 times. The film has also been screened publicly a number of times and will be featured on Saturday, March 16th 2013 at the Hors Cadre festival. This is an unprecedented success for a Quebec documentary without any traditional media mention, proving the emerging media scene can now overcome the need of mainstream media attention.