» This on top of a long arrest earlier this year: Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail on tax evasion charges, but claims all authorities wanted to talk about was his pro-democracy record. The fine Ai has been forced to pay is more than three times the size of his tax bill — and he needs help paying. The surprising part is that he actually got said help. “It’s surprising; it has really changed my perspective on people,” he said, noting that people traveled long distances to give him financial help — in person. Ai prefers to think of the payments as loans, and turned down a $157,000 payment from a businessman, saying he preferred smaller loans.
Social media have lowered the barriers of entry into political discourse everywhere. But that’s particularly significant in Singapore because here the barriers to entry into political discourse and the accompanying risks have been so high.Nanyang Technological University professor Mark Cenite • Discussing the recent changes that Singapore has made to its internet policy, allowing for a larger amount of freedom of speech online. The country, well-known for basically banning any sort of political dissent and creating incredibly harsh punishments for those who break the rules, could prove a breaking point for smaller parties that don’t have the money or influence that the leading People’s Action Party does. It’s already proven itself in the form of large crowds at some opposition rallies. But the real question: Will it translate to actual votes? source (via • follow)
I want to tell every mother and every father of the people who died, I am so sorry, I swear to God it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of the people who are in charge of the country and don’t want to leave their positions.Egyptian protest figurehead Wael Ghonim • Talking on Egyptian television about the people who were injured and killed while he was held in captivity for days. Ghonim’s statements, which were very teary-eyed and heart-wrenching, have proven inspiring to protesters today, who are reportedly showing renewed vigor on the streets this morning. “I’ve been following since it started, but after last night I realized I couldn’t stay away any more,” says Ahmed Osman, who was inspired to join the protests in Cairo based on Ghonim’s statements. “Our demands are simple, and they haven’t been met.” source (via • follow)
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They told us they’ll probably bring him to us, and that he will likely be escorted by security.Egyptian Hazem Ghonim • Discussing the fate of his brother, Wael Ghonim, who will reportedly be released from Egyptian custody tomorrow. Wael, a Google executive, quickly became a lightning rod for the pro-democracy movement after his unexplained disappearance over a week ago. Turns out that Egypt targeted and arrested him. They had good reason – he was one of the catalysts for the Egyptian protests. “I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some Friends made fun of me :),” he wrote on Facebook not long before his disappearance. Wael was one of the administrators for a key fan page used to organize the movement. But he’s one of many who have been arrested so far – the count is around 1,275, although most have been released. Hopefully, Wael will join them tomorrow – and be able to tell his story. source (via • follow)
China wants to stamp out “unauthorized” VOIP services. The country’s Ministry of Information and Industry Technology said as much in a statement a couple of weeks ago – pointing out that the only services that could run VOIP services were China’s big telecom companies. Skype, still inexplicably partly owned by eBay for some reason, has been gaining major popularity in China lately. Which suggests that, while not explicitly stating it, that the Ministry’s statement was targeted at Skype, with the possibility of lawsuits. Skype, by the way, is on track to make $1 billion from an IPO next year, or more money than God. source