new technology

Every May, Israelis and Palestinians hold warring days of remembrance – one for the day their country was born, the other for the day their nation suffered a nakba, or "catastrophe." But amid all the waving of the Israeli flags this year, an Israeli NGO has launched a smartphone app to commemorate the more than 400 Palestinian villages depopulated or destroyed in the wake of Israel’s founding.  iNakba puts those villages back on the map, allowing users to upload photos, videos, stories, and other data to paint a picture of the former landscape. 

Internet, its online media sources and numerous digital services have become an essential part of international data exchange as well as a powerful instrument to influence public opinion worldwide. What countries are the most advanced users of the new digital tools? A research project conducted at Tel Aviv University's Department of Communications into the practice of "digital diplomacy" yielded rather unexpected results.

Dozens of women in Iran are flouting state-imposed dress rules with online, often anonymous photographs showing them dropping their headscarf for a moment.  In only 10 days, a Facebook page titled “Stealthy Freedoms of Women in Iran” has received more than 100 such photos and 146,000 expressions of support.  The page’s organizers say they want to fuel debate on the government-mandated hijab head-covering, which is often enforced by local militias with beatings or detention for women suspected of following loose Western ways.

Millions in South and Southeast Asia rely on these three wheelers -- known variously as rickshaws, tuk tuks or tricycles -- as an affordable mode of transportation.  But while beloved by many, the vehicles are also blamed for bottleneck congestion and pollution, spewing carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particle matters that become trapped inside the lungs.  As concerns over air pollution and fuel dependence grow, several Asian companies are vying to become the Tesla of motorbikes to bring zero-emission, light electric vehicles to the masses.

India's national election, which wrapped up this week, has divided Bollywood along political lines more sharply than any other race in years.  In the past month, Bollywood stars have taken to public forums and Twitter to show support for their preferred candidates or criticize their opponents. 

An upcoming game for Nintendo's handheld devices will let players enter a virtual world in which they make friends, flirt and can even get married and have kids.  But those romantic relationships can't be with characters of the same gender -- a fact a growing online movement hopes to change.

 Michelle Obama added her voice to worldwide calls for the safe return of over 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. The First Lady tweeted: 'Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It's time to #BringBackOurGirls." The tweet was signed "-mo," indicating that she sent it herself.

Dressed in a nun’s habit, with the crowd on its feet and a tattooed rap-star judge fighting back tears, Sister Cristina belts out a hip-shaking rendition of “No One,” by Alicia Keys, that brings down the house at auditions for Italy’s equivalent of The Voice.  Her performance quickly goes viral on the Internet, topping 47 million views on YouTube. Now, gossip magazines have splashed her on their covers in her habit and featured her in articles.