What’s Up World? #1

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 11.09.12

What’s Up World?
Between the cracks of the world’s news headlines


One McAloo Tikki Happy Meal please

US fast food powerhouse McDonald’s are planning to expand their giant, red and gold footprint further across the globe with the opening of the first vegetarian restaurants in their chain in India next year. The first is set to open near the Golden Temple of Amritsar in Punjab, the holiest shrine in Sikhism, and the second close to the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Kashmir, one of the most visited Hindu temples in the world.

Meanwhile, American fast food seems to be going down a treat in downtown Baghdad, where, thanks to a recent ‘burger boom’, locals now have the choice between Florida Fried Chicken, Pizza Boat and Burger Friends and KFG.

Ever wanted to disappear? Watch what you wish for…

As you may or may not know, 30 August was International Day for the Disappeared, our annual reminder that thousands of people are missing due to conflicts and violence around the world. Hard as it may be to believe, enforced disappearances still occur in many countries – that is, people are abducted or imprisoned by state authorities and their whereabouts is kept secret from their families and loved ones.

This year, Facebook users in the Philippines marked the International Day for the Disappeared with an online campaign encouraging people to remove their profile pictures in order to raise awareness and seek justice for victims of enforced disappearances.

Transplanting criminal minds (well, organs)

Would you be keen to inherit the heart of a serial killer, the hands of a burglar or the kidney of a conman? What if you life depended on it? Well, organs from the bodies of executed criminals have been used for medical transplants in China for some time. I know, right?!

But a new book investigating organ harvesting in China has raised questions surrounding the criminality of donors, suggesting that many of them are in fact prisoners of conscience – ie. people in prison for having different political or religious views to those of the government. Hmmmm.. Conspiracy theory or actually entirely possible? Well, the (kind of) good news is that the Chinese government have vowed to halt organ harvesting from criminals… within the next three to five years.

What do you think about organ harvesting from criminals? Can we be sure that they’re actually guilty of a crime or if the government really has their permission? Should the government be making money from organ sales? Would changing the system increase the illegal organ trade?

Check out my camel

The world’s very first camel club (like a pony club, but with camels) is being planned to open in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Camel rearing and racing is incredibly popular in the Middle East, as are camel beauty contests. With almost 1.5 million camels residing across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman alone, the club will bring together owners and fans of the one and two humped wonders to share their mutual love for the animals and exchange camel-related information and ideas.

Something brewing in your part of the world? We want to know about it. Tweet @its_alicia or @mtvvoices using the hashtag #WhatsUpWorld