What’s Up World? #8

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 02.11.12

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


Facebook friend or foe?

So the word ‘friend’ has become a verb. These days, thanks to good old Facebook, we friend, unfriend/defriend, get friended and end up with a bunch of ‘friends’ that we may or may not actually know. But it’s not as harmless as we may think…

Stories are emerging from Indonesia of men randomly friending young girls on Facebook, before abducting, imprisoning, attacking and trafficking them into the sex trade. According to Indonesia’s National Commission for Child Protection, 27 of the 129 children reported missing this year are believed to have been abducted after meeting their captors on Facebook.

With nearly 50 million Facebook members, Indonesia is one of the world’s top users, but – like many of us – young Indonesians are unaware of the dangers of giving strangers access to their personal information, photos, home address, phone number, school and favourite hangouts online. In the UK last week an internet security chief from the government’s Cabinet Office sparked debate after advising internet users to give fake details to websites in order to protect their personal security.

Wash your hands

…with soap. I don’t mean to sound like your mum, but it is actually important.

It was Global Hand Washing Day the other week, and this kind of cool, kind of scary interactive video from UNICEF demonstrates just how easily germs are spread over the course of a day.

More than just good personal hygiene, hand washing with soap is the most effective way to prevent the two biggest killers of children, diarrhea and acute respiratory infections like pneumonia, which take the lives of millions of kids around the world every year.

The fight for land is on in Mumbai

Mumbai is India’s richest and most populated city. But more than half of its 20 million citizens live in slums, many without electricity or running water. Yet slums cover only 7% of the city’s land.

As India’s economy booms, property developers and the Indian government are demolishing large areas of the slums in order to make way for luxury apartments, shopping malls and skyscrapers. They’re bulldozing homes where people have lived for decades, often with 24 hours notice.

Simpreet Singh, an engineer and activist, has founded Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (Save Homes, Build Homes), an organisation fighting for the rights of Mumbai’s slum-dwellers, uncovering land scams and lobbying for the creation of homes from the city’s poor. You can watch a great documentary about Simpreet’s work here.

Swipe your fingers here

Advancements are being made in biometrics – that is, technology that uses human characteristics for identification.

A supermarket chain in France is trialing biometric payment methods at checkouts. Instead of swiping a credit card, shoppers can scan their fingerprints in order to pay for their groceries.

Next stop: scanning your eyeballs to order a pizza.

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