The Ugly: Modern Day Slavery

Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (Naptip) said officials visited Mali this month to follow up “horrendous reports” from victims, aid workers and clergy in Mali.

They said there were hundreds of brothels, each housing up to 200 girls, run by Nigerian “madams” who force them to work against their will and take their earnings.

“We are talking of thousands and thousands of girls,” Simon Egede, Executive Secretary of Naptip, told a news conference in Abuja.

“We are talking of certainly between 20,000 and about 40,000,” he said, but did not give details of how the figure had been reached.

In a statement, Mr Egede said girls were “held in bondage for the purposes of forced sexual exploitation and servitude or slavery-like practices”.

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From Scotland, sans Love: The Toxic Waste Blues

Tens of thousands of tonnes of toxic waste from Scotland are being illegally dumped in Africa and Asia every year with the help of organised criminal gangs, according to an investigation by the Scottish Government’s environmental watchdog.

Mountains of broken televisions, defunct microwaves, worn tyres, contaminated paper and other waste exported from Scottish homes and businesses end up threatening the environment and endangering the health of people in Nigeria, Zanzibar, Ghana, Indonesia, Pakistan, China and elsewhere.

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Meltwater Foundation: Starting Up the Start-ups

“Phase (1) of MEST is a rigorous two-year program where fully sponsored students, known as Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs), receive hands-on education in software development, basic business fundamentals and entrepreneurship” . . .

“In phase (2), the incubator stage, the MEST entrepreneurs get seed funding and incorporate their companies. Their main focus in the incubator is partly to develop a commercially viable go-to-market strategy and partly to further develop their prototype, therefore enabling it for a commercial launch.”

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In South Africa: Gaming, Meet Security

Says Sergey Golovanov, Malware Expert at Kaspersky Lab; “The gaming industry has become extremely lucrative and has evolved into a fully-fledged economy with well developed demand and specific customer requirements, as trading in-game objects is now considered an essential part of any game in itself. It therefore comes as no surprise that fraud and overtly deceiving online gamers has long since become popular among cybercriminals.” . . .

Cyber criminals are engaging with gamers in various ways, either luring or direct intrusion – stealing passwords to gain access to accounts, exploiting game vulnerabilities and making use of malware. One method used by cyber criminals is to enter a game or a forum on a game server and offer a bonus, or help in the game, in exchange for other players’ passwords. The cyber criminal who makes such an offer is not as naive as he may initially seem.

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20 Essential Works of Cyberpunk Literature

A portmanteau of uhhh “cyber” and “punk,” the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction takes readers to the fringes of mainstream society. In worlds where technologies both benevolent and malevolent reign supreme (not to mention the occasional multinational conglomerate with pervasive political clout and the hottest machinery), writers lovingly dissect a number of different themes that question humanity’s interactions with its inorganic creations. . .

Any readers hoping to gain a thorough understanding of what the subgenre entails should make an effort to understand the beginning, middle and end rather than heading straight for the purely “cyberpunk.”

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The radio show last night was brilliant. I read out my debut short story entitled ‘Virus!’ which is a heavily abridged version of the first chapter in my upcoming cyberpunk novel. The reading was broken up into three parts, but the host did a great job of bridging the parts with very incisive questions that added depth to the story. My fellow guest was an enthusiastic poet named Gabriel Amoh, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of his poetry, and even more by his explanations of their meanings. I’ve already received lots of positive feedback to the story here in Ghana, and I can’t wait to upload the podcast for those of you who missed the show, hopefully sometime this week. In the meantime, I have just published the short story on AfroCyberPunk for the first time. Enjoy…

Virus!

The portholes were set to un-shade as the airplane descended into heavy clouds and out of the blinding glare of the West African sun. The small plane trembled through the haze before breaking out to a panoramic view of the sprawling metropolis.

Accra stretched out to bridge the horizons, barely held in check at the southern coastline, where its hyperactive edge threatened to spill over into the Gulf of Guinea. From above, the city seemed without a plan; a vibrant mosaic of infrastructure, haphazardly diced and spliced to make use of every square foot of space. Ramshackle settlements jutted out into the ocean, perched above the water on nests of illegal support structures. Massive holographic logos hovered above the skyline in a brilliant display of optics, familiar corporate logos visible from miles away…

Read ‘Virus!’ on AfroCyberPunk…

I have quite unexpectedly been granted the privilege to appear as a guest on the Writers Project radio show, which airs this Sunday evening on Citi 97.3 FM, Ghana. The Writers Project of Ghana is an organization that promotes writing through workshops, public readings, and their radio show on Citi FM. I didn’t have any completed cyberpunk stories at the time I was contacted, so I have specially adapted the first chapter of my novel into a short story called ‘Virus!’

Those outside Ghana can listen to the show live on the Citi FM website from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM (GMT), so you can work out when exactly that is in your time zone. For those who are interested but can’t tune in for whatever reason, I intend to upload a podcast of the show sometime next week. While the full novel is still several months away from the bookshelf, this sneak preview should help to take a little edge off the long wait. This Sunday, I hope you all turn on, boot up, and jack in.