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Carla Buzasi

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What You Missed This Week

Posted: 24/01/2014 16:15

While the rich and famous debated all that's important for the future of the planet in Davos this week, on UK soil there were some startling reports showing we still have a lot to solve in the present.

Fifteen years ago, the landmark Macpherson report was set up to look at the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence back in 1993. To mark the anniversary, a new study was published this week, which showed there have been nearly 100 people killed in race-related attacks in this country since the original report. A bitter statistic made all the more difficult to swallow by the report authors' notes, showing only 84% of the murders ended in prosecution, and of those only a quarter accepted and prosecuted the allegation of racism.

From racism to sexism, the ugly trolling following Olympic athlete Beth Tweddle's appearance on Sky Sports News' Sportswomen programme proved we have a long way to go when it comes to women in the public eye, and how they're treated by small, but nonetheless vocal, pockets of society. The presenter of that show, Vicky Gomersall, blogged for us shortly after promising that the incident would only motivate her and her colleagues to "continue with our commitment to cover and promote the achievements of sportswomen and perhaps even help to change attitudes along the way".

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In the US, positive body image was given a boost this week with the release of lingerie brand Aerie's new campaign, featuring no supermodels, no retouching, just lots of gorgeous girls in gorgeous underwear. It might not be the first time, real women get their face in an ad campaign - Dove after all are the leaders in this field - but with a fanbase of 15-21-year-olds, it's something to be celebrated whichever country you live in.

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As someone who, it often feels, lives and breathes (not to mention works) online, the surfacing this week of a 1981 TV report about 'the internet' raised more than a few smiles.

I am reliably informed by my Tech Ed that the resurfacing of the video isn't new, he'd seen the clip last summer, but there's another great thing about the web: the best bits go round and round again.

Thankfully, despite the trolls, it is definitely okay to be charmed by the World Wide Web this week, even the Pope agrees. In a statement to mark World Communications Day, Pope Francis called the Internet "a gift from God" and a place that "offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity". However, he also cautioned that "the speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for balance and proper forms of self-expression".

There are of course those who really do know how to use the Internet to self-express. Witness 17-year-old Savannah Brown's slam poetry. Posted in response to a crass YouTube video called 'What Guys Look For In Girls', Savannah's response is the definition of self-empowerment.

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Excerpts of beauty were in plentiful supply this week. Witness New Orleans-based artist Heather Hansen's 'Emptied Gestures' masterpiece, the photographs taken by ESA spacecraft Rosetta of the Earth from 400,000 miles away, or the swirling paths of hundreds of starlings in flight as part of the 'Small Brains of Mass' video project.

And where there is beauty, laughs surely follow. If this video of a sheep getting his kicks from a run-in with a fisherman, doesn't make you smile, then the Internet has failed us all! Who knows, maybe sheep are the new cats?

 

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