Will Obama Bring 'Change'? - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

I know this is a big moment when I'm getting texts of the news from my family from here to Canada, Mauritius to France (yes, my fam is vast and scattered somewhat, as is the support for the new president). I've never seen so much excitement about something political from so many, well, usually unpolitical people. It's no bad thing at all, but I had to wonder, with little knowledge of how US President Barack Obama will actually decide to use his position of great power, is it all a bit too much balloons and confetti too soon...? My colleague Ben Anderson and I took this issue to the general public for Ctrl.Alt.Shift:

Vox Pops: Obama-rama
Over two million people were there (and millions more around the world tuned in) to witness the inauguration, the start of a new age, ready to rejoice as the 44th US president officially parked his backside in the White House. So long Bush. Obama - the world is your oyster.

But what will change? Most are optimistic, but dare I say is it too early to assume a better, exciting, promising new era is upon Obama and the world's horizon?

False promises, lies, scandals are all part and package of the politics game. From Bush Sr. to Bush Jr. it has always been questioned whether the big boss in the White House works for the people, or for the corporate divisions, or even worse - himself. So bearing in mind today's global atrocities (including two wars, a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the credit crisis and climate change), Obama will have to address one way or another, we asked the general public:

How do feel about 'Obama, President of the United States of America'?
Will he run the system, or will the system eventually run him?
What could Obama's reign mean for the relationship between the US and the UK?
And, how will Obama handle and/or influence the situation in Gaza/Iraq?

Sami, 21
"I feel good about Obama being elected as President - he will at least be better than Bush. While I'm not sure how much power he will realistically have, he should be able to run the system better than previous presidents. The relationship between UK and US has always been good and I don't expect that to change, hopefully he will make more of a positive change on other foreign relationships like Gaza, Iraq and Iran. In terms of Gaza, we need a ceasefire, however America is in support of Israel so it is difficult to see too much of a change. In Iraq however, things seem to be moving along well and it is a good opportunity for Obama and the US to change their stance."

Read the full list of comments here


Cycle Tanzania 2009 - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

Are you a cycle freak? Prefer to beat the traffic on two wheels? Dream of long gorgeous roads and tranquil scenary, whilst properly pushing the pedals to the metal...? If so, read my Cycle Tanzania 2009 report below for Ctrl.Alt.Shift. I know it sounds like I'm a shameless salesman, waffling on about a holiday-type-thing, but the opportunity to embrace African/Tanzanian culture, cycling on the dusty roads with a crew, visiting villages and the people... it even made my motor-head consider leaving the car keys at home:

Feature: Cycle Tanzania 2009
Say goodbye to another year of failing to tone those abs, goodbye to another year of unsatisfying self-indulgence. This time it's got to be different - International Childcare Trust's Cycle Tanzania 2009 offers a priceless opportunity to assure that you leave your mark on this year.

ICT is a small dynamic UK registered charity working in direct partnership with local organisations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and India that protect children's rights to education and to a healthy, happy childhood.

With Cycle Tanzania 2009, the organisation have laid out a life-changing experience that could help you to get those muscles pumping again whilst giving something back to those who need it the most.

Seyi Kolade, who did the ICT's Cycle India 2008 said: "The trip surpassed my expectations which I thought it would, however the sense of accomplishment, experience, and conversations I had with people and feelings I had, made it a trip of a lifetime."

Get on your bike and join the team of around forty riders on their next mission to fundraise for and aid the children in Tanzania, with the included gift of exploring the sights and beauty of the country - far away from the doom and gloom of London life...

Read the full article here


Your 2009 Resolutions? - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

It's a typical question that begs to be asked at this time of year. I hit the streets with Ctrl.Alt.Shift to ask the general public what they had on their 2009 agenda, and questioned if resolutions should be less about losing that holiday weight, and more catered towards addressing social and global issues - just as we do at Ctrl.Alt.Shift HQ! Here's the feedback:

Vox Pops: New Year's Resolutions
So what's your New Year's resolution? Quit the fags? Lose those love handles? Or perhaps you're planning to jump on the wagon for a little while to give your liver a break from all that mulled wine.

Regardless of what the resolution is, most of us are starting the year deep in thought about ways in which we can improve our often unhealthy or unpromising lifestyles.

Meanwhile in Gaza, people are more concerned with staying out of the way of dropping bombs than planning for the future. They have to take each minute as it comes, aware that at any moment their school or house could be reduced to rubble by the Israeli jets circling overhead. In a country where self-survival is more of an issue than self-improvement, wondering whether or not they'd get enough use out of a gym membership is the least of their concerns.

This week sees a run of daily protests in which normal regular people have decided to kick off 2009 by braving the sub-zero weather and biting winds to stand up for what they believe in, showing resilience and unity and saying that what's going on in Gaza cannot continue.

So Ctrl.Alt.Shift hit the streets to see what the general public thought of this in retrospective of their resolutions, as we asked them the following questions:

What's your New Years resolution for 2009?
How clued up are you about the recent dramas and going-ons in Gaza?
How do you feel about the scale of the current protests against Isreal, which has seen a demonstration planned for every day of the current week?
And finally, in a week that has seen thousands of people kicking off 2009 by standing out in the freezing cold, speaking up for something they believe in - do you think New Year's resolutions should be more of a personal lifestyle change or should they be focused moreso on the wider issues that are facing the world today?

Diego, 16:
"I was thinking of one, but I never got round to actually making one up - probably to cut down on smoking skunk if I'm honest. I've heard a lot about Gaza in the news, however I haven't paid too much attention to it, but from what I gather the situation is bleak. Though I think it's positive that there are people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. I also agree that resolutions should be more about wider issues, but everyone has problems and I think you need to look after yourself too."

Read the full list of comments here