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Archive for June, 2009

Social media helps inform world of Iranian crisis

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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With the Iranian government clamping down on journalists and coverage, much of what we know about the situation has reached us via social media, something completely unheard of just a few years ago.

Social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube has been front and center in the Iran coverage.

It has helped Iranians communicate with each other and the entire outside world. It has also helped us all better understand what’s going on, despite the Iranian government’s attempts to silence the coverage.

Last weekend marked the bloodiest days in the Iran election crisis so far. Gory pictures and disturbing videos instantly spread around the internet.

A young Iranian woman was shot and killed for just standing on the street and talking with family and friends. Her death, captured on cell phone video, has ignited worldwide protest.

“You’re taking something that is obviously really raw and emotional and you’re turning that into a rallying cry. I mean that’s what people are doing now with that video is turning her into a figure that represents the whole struggle,” said UNCW professor Jeanne Persuit.

The graphic 40-second video uploaded on Youtube and several other social media outlets on Saturday quickly circulated internationally.

To the outside world, the video became the representation of the turmoil and frustrations Iranian protestors are facing.

The role social media like twitter and Youtube have played in the Iranian chaos exemplifies the importance and power social media can have on the fate of a country.

“You have people posting the cat posts on twitter you know this is what my cat did today, you know I ate cereal this morning and then you have people tweeting about the most serious thing you can think of,” Persuit said. “This is the highest purpose that social media can aspire to is bringing people freedom and giving people the opportunity to speak and be heard and engage in dialog and hopefully come to some sort of resolution to this issue.”

The killing of the young Iranian woman is reminiscent of the Kent State shootings in this country during the Vietnam War. Four students were killed during a peace demonstration in May of 1970 and some historians say that was the turning point in ending that war. But those pictures were broadcast on American television in a country where the media was free to report.

During the Iran election crisis, Twitter was supposed to temporarily shut down for procedural up-dates, but after a request from the U.S. Government, Twitter founders pushed back the scheduled downtime.

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videoWith the Iranian government clamping down on journalists and coverage, much of what we know about the situation has reached us via social media, something completely unheard of just a few years ago.

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Associated poll

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Keeping H1N1 out of summer camps

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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It’s summer camp time, and with so many kids being in such close quarters, camps are trying to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.

It’s been a healthy start to the summer at the YWCA in Wilmington.

Executive director Suesan Sullivan says there have been no reported incidents of kids sick with the swine flu there.

The New Hanover County Health Department sent out packets to 35 camps and 250 churches to help them prepare for tackling the flu in the summertime.

“We have been following those recommendations to the ‘T’, and we have it posted on our parent board as well so the parents can know exactly what we’re doing prevention-wise,” Sullivan said.

Kids do have a higher risk of catching an illness when they’re in large groups, like a camp.

If a child is experiencing flu symptoms, they’re asked to be kept home for seven days.

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It’s summer camp time, and with so many kids being in such close quarters, camps are trying to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.

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Associated poll

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NC Powerball winner redeems $88 million ticket

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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RALEIGH — Jeffrey Wilson says it’s been a long three days since a Powerball lottery drawing made him a millionaire.

The 27-year-old from Kings Mountain resident appeared in Raleigh on Tuesday to redeem the $88 million ticket that he purchased from a local gas station for Saturday’s drawing. He decided to take a lump-sum payment of about $42 million, or $29 million after taxes.

Wilson said he plans to buy a house, maybe a car and probably “some fast boats.” He considers himself an average guy with a close group of friends and close family, and said while the jackpot will change his life it won’t change who he is.

Wilson is North Carolina’s second Powerball winner. Jackie Alston of Halifax won a jackpot of $74 million in November 2006.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jeffrey Wilson says it’s been a long three days since a Powerball lottery drawing made him a millionaire.

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Associated poll

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Film incentives bill still moving through N.C. Senate

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

A bill in the state Senate that would increase North Carolina’s film incentive rebate from 15 percent to 25 percent passed its second reading Tuesday, 26 to 19.

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Senate Commerce Committee thrown for a loop

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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Senators put the brakes on some legislative sleight of hand that would have effectively stalled the Titan America cement plant in Wilmington.

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee thought they would be considering whether or not to allow people to replace hot water heaters in their homes without getting a permit.

Instead, the Associated Press reports that two coastal legislators inserted language that would force the proposed Titan American plant to undergo a potentially extensive environmental review.

Committee Chairman R.C. Soles said senators were blindsided by the change and postponed action.

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Senators put the brakes on some legislative sleight of hand that would have effectively stalled the Titan America cement plant in Wilmington.

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Associated poll

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