Category: Viral Five

Viral news outside the traditional scope of TFC.

Hot for Teacher: What you really need to know about #TeacherBae and Atlanta’s schools

Georgia’s schools are a disaster. 127 of them could be taken over by a new initiative from the governor’s office for “chronically failing.” In Atlanta, more than a quarter of students didn’t graduate last year, and that’s the best graduation rate on record. In 2014, 4 out of 10 didn’t graduate. Instead of focusing on that, Atlanta Public Schools are concerned with an educator who is apparently too pretty to teach.

Patrice Brown was recently named “Educator of the Month”. She’s a graduate of Alabama State University. She teaches 4th graders in Atlanta. Now, she’s being reprimanded by the district after her fashion choices went viral under the hashtag #teacherbae. Some of the clothing she’s seen sporting at school is tight fitting, but she’s a curvy woman.

4 Reflections on Podemos and the Spanish Elections

The European left can’t catch a break. There is more sad news from Spain. After the December 2015 elections shattered the traditional two-party system, and six months of failed negotiations detonated a call for re-elections, the new left coalition, Unidos Podemos, has failed to meet the number of seats that all polls had lined up for them. Last night, Pablo Iglesias’s plan to ‘take the heavens by storm’ has suffered a major setback since Podemos’s meteoric rise began two years ago.

1. Great expectations, mediocre results.

The polls didn’t even get the voter turnout right, which remained higher than assumed (69%). But the real problem came in estimating the vote transfers of left-wing voters.

For weeks, polls were suggesting a low mobilisation of centre-ground parties and a sharp polarisation on both ends of the ideological spectrum. The 7.30pm exit polls confirmed these expectations and projected a whopping 95 seats for Unidos Podemos (up from a combined 71 in December), overtaking centre-left rival PSOE (the party of old social democracy) – the main objective of these re-elections. Three hours later, as results started coming in, this didn’t happen: Unidos Podemos had stagnated at 71 seats and lost over a million votes. Against all odds, PSOE has somehow resisted the encroachment of the anti-austerity radicals and defended the throne of the parliamentary left.

Five of the Most Repressive Countries for the War on Drugs

Rodrigo Duterte, the new president-elect of the Philippines, is making headlines with calls for the vigilante killing of drug-offenders, as well as the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Earlier this month, Duterte – known as “The Punisher” – told the public how to respond if they encounter a drug offender, saying: “please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support”.

His proposed repressive practices and harsh strongman rhetoric are bound to have serious consequences once he takes office on June 30, particularly if he is successful in reinstating capital punishment. However, in the global landscape of drug policy, Duterte is not alone with his approach to drugs.

5 Things You Need to Know About Indonesia’s Occupation of West Papua

The Indonesian president, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo, recently finished his tour of the EU, signing five cooperation agreements with the UK during his stop in London. The protest that confronted Jokowi’s visit fractured his attempt to keep hidden one of Indonesia’s dark secrets: the 50 year war in its easternmost provinces. Here are five things you should know about Indonesian rule in West Papua:

1. It is one of the world’s longest-running military occupations.

Indonesia seized West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea, in 1963, shortly after the Dutch colonists pulled out. Political parties were immediately banned, nascent Papuan nationalism crushed, and tens of thousands of troops, police and special forces flooded in. In 1969 a UN-supervised sham referendum was held, and just over a thousand hand-picked representatives were bribed, cajoled and threatened into voting in favour of Indonesian rule.

A police state has shackled the vast region ever since, battling a low-level tribal insurgency and suppressing independence aspirations with such vigour that raising the Papuan national flag can land you 15 years in prison.

Further Proof That Aliens Are Definitely Out There

Are we alone? It is, perhaps, one of the most significant questions human beings have ever asked—right up there with “Why are we here?” and “How did it all begin?”

Indeed, as soon as we understood that the universe was not circumscribed by the Earth’s horizons, but extended outward for unfathomable distances and contained within its compass innumerable worlds like our own, we began to wonder whether we are unique and alone, or if there might not be others out there—like us, and yet very unlike us.

The famous “Drake equation,” formulated by astronomer Frank Drake in 1961, sought to establish a mathematical, probabilistic framework to understand the question of whether or not humanity ia really alone in the cosmos; it used a number of ingenious terms to estimate the number of technological civilizations in our galaxy.

A Student’s Death Exposes the Chaos of China’s Medical System, Exacerbated by Baidu Search Engine

“I do not want to die. I haven’t seen the result after 21 years of struggle and effort, and I still dream of seeing this world,” Wei Zexi said in a short video before his death. “I cannot imagine how my parents would carry on with their lives, if I were to die.”

Wei, a 21-year-old college student in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, had for years suffered from synovial sarcoma and both chemotherapy and surgery had failed.

In desperation, Wei and his parents searched on Baidu, the dominant Internet search engine in China, and found the website of the Second Armed Police Hospital in Beijing. Eventually Wei spent 200,000 yuan (the equivalent of 30,900 US dollars) for a phony treatment that, in the end, only exacerbated his condition.

‘Kill! Kill! Kill!’ – Chinese Army Releases First Hip-Hop Recruitment Video

In an effort to increase its recruitment levels of Chinese youth, the People’s Liberation Army has released a new ad using hip-hop-style music and visuals that could rival a trailer for the latest Michael Bay movie.

“There are always missions in soldiers’ minds, enemies in their eyes, responsibilities on their shoulders, and passions in their hearts,” the video’s voiceover says, opening on an image of young PLA soldier in uniform.