Editor's Picks 10 July 2013

Collection with 7 media items created by Editor's Picks

10 Jul 2013 11:00

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Shark finning: A Cruel Dish is Disapp...
Hong Kong
By maltekol
30 Jun 2013

The trade in Shark Fins has declined in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is the world's shark fin capital, where about half of all fins are traded. But according to figures from the Hong Kong government imports last year of Shark fins dropped by a third.

For most Chinese, eating shark's fin still remains a status symbol. But as Malte Kollenberg reports young people are starting to view it differently.

This is how Shark fins are ‘harvested….
The fins are cut off a living shark and then the torso is thrown back into the ocean. Most of these fins from countries like Indonesia end up in Hong Kong.In 2008 around 10.000 tons of fins passed the city’s ports according to environmental organization Oceana.

INTV (English): Stanley Shea, Activist with French founded Bloom Association
“In Hong Kong in the old times they provided banquets which is all settled by the restaurant and the fin is always included in the banquet. So it leaves the customer, they actually have no choice to remove the dishes from the banquet set.”

But things started to change three years ago.
Under pressure from Environmental groups Governments in Hong Kong and Mainland China have stopped serving shark fins at official banquets. And big corporations as well as hotel chains are announcing they will take shark fin soup off their menus.

INTV (English): Stanley Shea, Activist with French founded Bloom Association
“We have been talking to corporate and also hotels and restaurants. And we found in Hong Kong now awareness has been increased and many hotels and restaurants now offer something alternative in the banquet menus so people can choose not to have it.”

According to the World Wildlife Fund, appetite for the fins and other shark-related products has led to some shark species falling in numbers by 60-70%.
But in March this year five more species of Shark were added to the Washington Convention, ensuring endangered species are not threatened by overfishing and trade.This means tradingof eightshark speciesis not possible without official documentation anymore.
Here is the Sheung Wan District …. Shark Fins are still openly being sold.

But small shops merchants say business lately is slow and they are reluctant to talk about shark fins on camera…it has become a sensitive topic.But not far away at restaurant Lin Heung Kui staff will still proudly tell you that shark fin soup is on the menu.

INTV(Cantonese): Unidentified employee in Restaurant
“We prepare and serve the fins in lots of ways - with a clear soup or with shredded chicken. It is definitely more popular at night. We offer an especially cheap deal at $88 at the moment, but sometimes people come to get more expensive dishes.”

Shark fin soup has been the food of the rich and wealthy for hundreds of years in China. Consumption of the fins is said to increase health.

But anthropologist Veronica Mak says generational change is taking place.

INTV (English): Veronica Mak, Anthropologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
“Not consuming shark fins becomes a signifier to show you are a social responsible person. In the past people made shark fins a signifier in a banquet, but nowadays this signifier changes.”

Activists believe that awareness and education is the key to change consumer behavior. And less demand for shark fins here will result in fewer sharks left for dead in the world’s oceans.

Video footage of fishermen "harvesting" fins is courtesy of Greenpeace. The footage was licensed from Greenpeace to be included into the video report.

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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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War Scars (13 of 23)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
09 Jul 2010

Family members mourn over their relatives' coffins in Potochari memorial center for the victims of Srebrenica's genocide. In 2010, more than 50,000 people attended the mass burial of 775 bodies in Potocari.

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Illustrating Streamline
Tucson, Arizona
By ST McNeil
10 Oct 2012

Operation Streamline is the U.S. Federal court system response to mass increases in immigration enforcement. Everyday in border cities like Tucson, Ariz., hundreds of migrants apprehended throughout the U.S. are sentenced en masse with scant legal procedures. Criticized as unconstitutional, Streamline sends people to jail or deportation daily.

Off-limits to cameras, journalists ST McNeil and Josh Morgan brought graphic artist Lawrence Gipe to the courtroom to witness and record the "assembly-line." His sketches are the first images ever detailing an opaque border enforcement system.

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Teaser: Behind the Tamorrod campaign ...
Cairo, Egypt
By andrewbossone
28 Jun 2013

The story follows Ahmed Abu Ghalaza, an Egyptian activist from the Tamorrod, or Rebel, campaign that collected 20 million signatures in the last three months calling for early elections. His friend and mentor who organized the local Tamarrod sit-in in his neighborhood starting June 28, was shot and killed weeks earlier. And after the largest day of protests, June 30, members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked the sit-in, killing a young girl and leading to armed clashes. Despite the conflict in his neighborhood and in the country, Ahmed believes the Egyptian people support the ouster of President Morsi, and remains hopeful that the next elections will better reflect their will.

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Uprising Preview
Cairo, Egypt
By f.stanton
16 Apr 2012

In January 2011, millions of Egyptians took to the streets in a spontaneous eruption against thirty years of oppression under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Communicating via Facebook and Twitter, the largely peaceful protesters braved tear gas, beatings, and live bullets in the hope of facing down security forces and overthrowing the government. Over eight hundred lost their lives, and several thousand were arrested and tortured by security forces.
“Uprising” tells the story of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of those who participated, their struggle for freedom against tremendous odds, their sacrifice, and the courage and ingenuity that allowed them to succeed. Using footage of the revolution as well as interviews with key organizers and participants, “Uprising” provides a behind-the scenes view of one of the most dramatic events of our generation. Many of those profiled were arrested, some were tortured, several were shot. All of them describe it as the most meaningful and rewarding event of their lives. The film explores the frustrations that had built for decades, the role of social media in unleashing the revolution, the youth and courage that changed a nation, and the implications for the future. Their success in forcing the downfall of the regime, one of the most significant foreign policy developments since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has changed the face of the Middle East and provided hope for millions of oppressed people across the world. The Egyptian revolution was unique, in its use of technology, in its youth, and in its scale, and it happened at the heart of a region that is especially important and fragile. Above all, it is a story of profound hope, of courage rewarded, of a people who in a spontaneous, peaceful eruption beat back a police state and threw off the shackles of decades of degradation and oppression.

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Egypt's Revolutionary Artist's Union
Cairo, Egypt
By Kevin McAfee
01 Jul 2011

A short produced video about a group of artists who occupy Tahrir Square to promote peaceful artwork about the Egyptian revolution.

Matching article with photo illustration can be found at: www.kevin-mcafee.com