What’s Up World? #13

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 16.01.13

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


Fight for your right to straddle

The women of Lhokseumawe in Indonesia’s Aceh province are being told to ride their motorbikes sidesaddle – or else.

The Islamic state, where various laws dictate what behaviour is or isn’t acceptable for its female citizens, is passing a new law whereby female passengers are not allowed to straddle motorbikes, unless in an emergency, and aren’t allowed to hold onto the bike’s driver.

According to the mayor of Lhokseumawe, it’s in the best interests of women to ride sidesaddle, because when they ride with their legs open they will provoke male drivers and are prone to break Shari‘a (Islamic) law. “We wish to honor women with this ban, because they are delicate creatures,” he said.

Errr, ever heard of “safety first”?

Happy birthday to me

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has mobilised aircraft to deliver one kilogram of sweets to every child across the country to celebrate his own birthday.

According to political analysts, the tradition, which was started by North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il-sung, aims to build up a “personality cult” around the young leader”. In a country currently facing chronic famine, I can definitely think of a few better things to airlift than giant bags of candy…

Bittersweet symphony

Ronald Braunstein, one of the world’s best classical music conductors, is using his art to address the stigma and discrimination that can be associated with bipolar disorder and other forms of mental illness.

Having experienced the highs and lows of bipolar for much of his career, Ronald has created the ME2 Orchestra in Vermont, USA, where musicians who are affected by mental illnesses can support and encourage one another and create music in an environment free from judgment or discrimination.

Sweden isn’t trashy enough

The industrious Swedes have come up with an ingenious way to reduce their environmental impact: burning trash to generate energy.

Using high-power incinerators to burn garbage on a national scale, Sweden have been successfully turning landfill contents into electricity for some time. But this ‘incineration-to-power technology’ has hit a bump in the road: the Swedes are so good at recycling that they have run out of junk to burn. So, in yet another environmental win, they have begun importing rubbish from neighbouring Norway in order to continue providing heat and energy to over 1 million homes via trash incineration. Everyone’s a winner!

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