What’s Up World? #5

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 10.10.12

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


Rapping for Arab Unity

Admittedly, I am a white girl who knows nothing about hip-hop. But I do know that this is cool:

Amid tight censorship laws, government oppression, controversy, threats and the chaos of the Arab Spring, Egypt’s most prominent hip-hop group Arabian Knightz have independently released their debut album four years after they originally intended.

Formed in 2005 outside a hip-hop club in Cairo, Arabian Knightz weren’t deterred by the red tape and setbacks that appeared along the journey to the album’s release, but spent the time gathering other musical dissidents from across the Middle East to collaborate with them, forming the Arab League collective.

The end product, Uknighted State of Arabia, features more than 30 contributing artists from countries including Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine, including several female rappers and singers. Its socio-politically fuelled lyrics promote freedom, justice, tolerance and gender equality.

Here are some images and videos of the Uknighted State of Arabia album launch last week.

NYPD Bust Gangs on Facebook

The New York Police Department is doubling the size of its investigative gang unit, Operation Crew Cut, who trawl through social media platforms looking for admissions of guilt and plans for future crimes from gang members online.

According to the NYPD, a new generation of street crews are taking tough and publicizing their crimes online, using YouTube and Facebook to boast about shootings, drug deals and other escapades in public posts, complete with photos and real names. Bright huh? Never mind security settings – the police are infiltrating their ranks by creating phony aliases and becoming ‘friends’ with suspects, or using profiles of former gang members who have become informants. Like!

The Reef is Shrinking

Massive, spikey, hungry starfish are demolishing the world’s largest coral reef system at an incredible pace.

Most widely known for being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and for featuring in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, Australia’s magnificent Great Barrier Reef is under threat, having halved in size since 1985.

The world heritage-listed reef, which is visible from space (#factoftheday) is rapidly shrinking due to a combination of extreme weather conditions (ie. climate change), heavy maritime traffic of coal and gas shipments and plague proportions of crown-of-thorns starfish. At this rate, say the experts, the reef’s coral cover could halve again by 2022.

I Want To Ride My Bicicletta

It may be the home of Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini, but last year bicycles outsold cars in Italy for the first time since World War 2.

Factors such as the Euro crisis, increasing petrol prices and unemployment encouraged Italians to buy 1. 75 million bikes last year – that’s 2000 more than the number of new cars registered. It’s a major change for the car-mad country, which has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world: an average of 60 for every 100 people.

Bike sharing schemes are have become increasingly popular in Italy in recent years, as they have in many cities across Europe and around the world, as citizens become more eco-conscious and less reliant on public transport systems.

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