A woman casts her early vote for the upcoming Thai election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 17, 2019 (REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)
March 21, 2019
Millions of people are weighing up how they’ll vote in Thailand’s first election since the military took power in a 2014 coup. About seven million people will vote for the first time in an election contested by 81 political parties. Yet while younger people are newly-energised about the poll, there are concerns that a new constitution authored by the military-led National Council for Peace and Order has ensured that the army will directly appoint members of the upper house - effectively acting as the arbiter of who holds a majority in the combined parliament. The pro-army Phalang Pracharat stands to benefit most from the new constitutional rules at the expense of major parties Pheu Thai and Future Forward.
Meanwhile, Thai authorities are zealously policing online speech for violations of laws governing campaigning – which democracy and free speech advocates say effectively cracks down on criticism and dissent. We’ll look at some of the major issues at stake as Sunday’s vote draws near.
Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi says as many as 1,000 people may have died due to Cyclone Idai. Parts of central Mozambique have been devastated by flash floods and high winds brought by the cyclone, with the central port city of Beira virtually destroyed. Malawi and Zimbabwe were also badly hit by storm rains. Hundreds of people are missing across the region as a result of the storm.
As government agencies and relief organisations attempt to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone, we’ll look at the scale of the task ahead.
Myspace: the grand deletion
In the mid 2000s 'Tom' wanted everyone to be his friend – and through the Myspace platform he could count on being mates with millions of users who shared photos, music and memes. As co-founder of one of the world’s biggest social networking websites, the image of Tom Anderson's smiling face was the first users would see each and every time they logged in.
'Tom' and Myspace have long since passed into the annals of internet history, supplanted by the ubiquitous Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet this week Myspace was back in the headlines after it emerged the long-since deserted platform has lost all content uploaded before 2016 – amounting to millions of songs, video and photos. It blamed a faulty server migration for the loss.
The huge deletion of content has raised questions over whether major media companies can be truly trusted to manage users’ data, particularly as internet fashions change over the years and disruptors became dinosaurs. We’ll discuss the challenges of managing vast digital troves and the importance of preserving memories stored online for future generations.
A new political party in Thailand, led by an atheltic billionaire, rattles ruling junta - Washington Post
Cyclone Idai’s destruction shows how vulnerable low-lying African cities are to extreme weather - Quartz
The Internet Is Not Your Friend: MySpace and the Loss of Memories - Rolling Stone
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