Editor's Picks 12 July 2013

Collection with 9 media items created by Editor's Picks

12 Jul 2013 08:00

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West Bank Barrier (3 of 11)
West Bank, Israel
By Osie Greenway
13 Aug 2012

The Israeli West Bank barrier is a security and separation barrier under construction by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. This Bethlehem mural is of Leila Khaled holding her AK47, a female fighter and once poster girl for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, she hijacked her first plane in 1969 and became the international pinup for armed struggle.

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2 killed in motorcycle bomb blast in ...
Kohat, Pakistan
By Mumtaz Khan
11 Jul 2013

At least two people were killed and six injured in a motorbike bomb blast, in Kacha Pakha, district of Kohat, Pakistan.

The bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque. A four killogram explosive material was used in the bomb, according to DPO Kohat Police Dilawar Khan Bangash. Four shops and two motorcycles were also destroyed in the blast.

The injured were rushed to the Divisional Headquarter Hospital in Kohat. Kacha Pakha is a Shia majority area, a hub for militants where security operations is ongoing.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

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Food insecurity: Does South Korea hav...
Seoul, South Korea
By maltekol
12 Jul 2013

The World Health Organization warns that overpopulation and a lack of arable land contribute to global food insecurity. So scientists are developing new farming technology to offset potential food shortages. Researchers in South Korea are experimenting with vertical farms; gardens that instead of spreading out, go straight up.
Jason Strother and Malte Kollenberg report from Seoul.

Almost half of South Korea’s 50 millions citizens live here in the capital. And in a country with very limited agricultural land, feeding all of these people presents a challenge. Some observers say the nation faces increasing food insecurity.

Park Hwan-il is food security analyst at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI (English)
"The food self sufficiency rate in Korea is just about 26 percent. Which means three quarters of the food we consume is from the foreign countries. That means the Korean people’s health and nutrition depends on outside factors that we cannot control”

Park says that climate conditions or other instability in the international market makes importing food unpredictable. It’s not only a problem for Korea, but for many other countries too. But some scientists say there is a solution.

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“My name is Dickson Despommier: I teach at Columbia Universities Medical School and school of public health. The world would be a much better place, if we had vertical farming.”

Despommier says tower-like hydroponic farms could someday stand alongside skyscrapers as a key food source for billions of city dwellers

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“Here’s my vision of what a vertical farm might look like. My gold standard for this is the Apple Store in New York City on 5th Avenue. If you took that building and made it into a five-story building. Now in the building you have multiple floors of course, and inside each floor you have multiple layers of crops.”

Despommier says vertical farms could be a key solution for countries with a growing population or limited arable land. Like South Korea.

30-kilometers south of Seoul in Suwon, the government is trying to make Despommier’s vision a reality. The Rural Development Administration has built the prototype of a vertical farm.Inside this research facility a small team of scientists is working on turning this concept a marketable product.So far, their experiment is only 3-storeys high. But they hope that one day, the technology will expand and be capable of feeding the entire nation.

Agrarian scientist Choi Kyu-hong is still sorting out more basic challenges.

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“The plant factory requires a lot of energy, the light energy and the heating and cooling energy. So we provide the heating or cooling energy using geothermal systems. We adopted the solar cell system to provide light source energies, but we are still (only) provide 15 percent of the total energy”

Choi adds his team still faces many challenges:

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“We are still (in) the research state, its take some time to make a commercial plant factories. We are firstly trying to find out the optimum wavelength of light”

Choi says the problem is that different plants grow at different speeds, depending on the light’s color and wavelength.

But even though the government hasn’t perfected vertical farming technology yet, some in the private sector are already putting it to use. Inside this Lotte Mart, a supermarket franchise in Seoul, lettuce grows under the lights of this small vertical farm.

Store mangers say produce grown in this facility has extra benefits for customers.

Int: Kim Chang-jo, Lotte Mart
(Korean) “We are the first super market to install a vertical farm. We hope that it will draw attention to environmental concerns. The plants are affordable and no pesticides were used, so its healthier for our customers”

Kim says the vertical farm lettuce costs the same as lettuce grown the old fashioned way. But some analysts say that all the lights and heating systems required to operate a vertical farm is just too expensive to make it a viable solution for food insecurity.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI
(English) “Vertical farming costs too much. / Even though the productivity in vertical farming is very high, very good, but it does not have the merit in price or marketing advantage at all”

Back at the Suwon experimental vertical farm, scientists admit they still have a long way to go. The Rural Development Administration’s Lee Hye jin gives a rough time frame.

Int: Lee Hye-jin, RDA
(Korean) “It might take at least five more years of research to make progress on these obstacles. Then vertical farms might be ready for commercial use”

The South Korean scientists say that once all the problems are resolved, vertical farms won't just have to stop at three-stories. The sky is the limit.

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Egypt's Garbage Slums (11 of 14)
Cairo, Egypt
By Simon Letellier
22 May 2012

Space remains a luxury in Garbage City as the population continues to increase along with the amount of garbage there is to collect and recycle. Cairo, Egypt. May, 2012.

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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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Car Bomb Blast in Beirut
Lebanon Beirut
By Osie Greenway
07 Sep 2013

Tuesday morning’s explosion tore through the Dahiyeh neighborhood — a Hezbollah stronghold — in Beirut’s southern suburbs, leaving at least 53 injured and extensive damage in its wake. The reported 35kg bomb was planted under a car, leaving a crater in the parking lot of a grocery store.

The blast comes amid heightening sectarian tensions in Lebanon, as the spillover from the war in neighboring Syria continues to affect Lebanon. July 9, 2013.

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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

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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.