Noisy birds to holograms, eight curious property rights debates in 2019

Maurice the rooster, with owner Corinne Fesseau at Saint-Pierre-d’Oleron in La Rochelle in western France, won court support against pesky human neighbors opposed to his dawn crowing. (AFP)
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Updated 27 December 2019

Noisy birds to holograms, eight curious property rights debates in 2019

  • A French court ruled that Maurice the rooster could continue his dawn crowing despite complaints from neighbors
  • A holyman who is on the run after charges of abduction and rape in India, has declared the creation of a new country for Hindus

BANGKOK: Fights over property rights extended to pavements, space, the sea, data, dead people’s images, and even noises and smells in 2019, with governments scrambling to define and legislate emerging areas of concern.
Here is a look at eight property rights disputes that broke new ground in 2019:
 

1. River rights: In February, voters in Ohio approved the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to amend the Toledo city charter to state that Lake Erie had the right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve” and to do so free of violation.
It is part of a growing global movement as environmentalists try new legal routes to protect the planet — vesting rivers, reefs and threatened habitats with “rights of nature” that override the long-held human right to harm.

2. Floating homes: In April, Thai authorities threatened death sentences for a couple who had set up an offshore home near a Thai island.
But even that failed to damp the “seasteading” movement that claims the right to floating settlements that advocates say are more sustainable than land reclamation.
With 90 percent of the world’s largest cities vulnerable to flooding, a United Nations-backed partnership earlier said it would study the prospect of floating cities.

3. Rooster rules: In September, a French court ruled that Maurice the rooster could continue his dawn crowing despite complaints from neighbors, in a case cast as a battle between the old rural way of life and modern values creeping in from the city.
It also highlighted the increasing fights among property owners over sights, sounds, and smells they find disturbing.

4. Face off: Also in September, California’s legislature passed a three-year ban on state and local law enforcement from using body cameras with facial recognition software, a sign of the growing backlash against the technology that human rights campaigners say poses a threat to civil liberties.
San Francisco and Oakland voted earlier to ban city personnel from using the technology.

5. Space jam: Hotels, insurance, advertising billboards, and in-space manufacturing are among the business opportunities firms are exploring amid a boom in commercial space activity.
Billionaires Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are pouring cash into cutting-edge private spacecraft, even as astronomers complained that the 120 satellites Musk’s SpaceX launched this year are jeopardizing space research. Thousands more are due to be launched.

6. Sidewalk squeeze: The fight for sidewalk space is getting more heated, with pedestrians in Singapore winning the battle in November after a fatality led to a ban on electric scooters on pavements. Countries such as France, Germany and Britain earlier imposed similar bans.

7. Hologram stars: Ethical and practical questions swirled over who owns the intellectual property rights of dead celebrities being resurrected with computer generated images and holograms.
Six-time Grammy winner Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011, was to be featured in a holographic show slated to launch at the end of 2019. It was postponed after the producer said it had run into some “unique challenges and sensitivities.”
A Whitney Houston hologram tour featuring the late singer’s image accompanied by her original backing band is also planned.
Iconic actor James Dean, who died in a car crash in 1955, is to star in a new movie, where he will be recreated through a mixture of old photos and footage, along with computer generated creations. A different actor will lend his voice.

8. Cosmic country: Private villages, private islands and private countries raised questions about rights and privilege.
In Spain, thousands of empty villages are up for sale, some for less than €100,000 ($113,000).
Meanwhile, a holyman who is on the run after charges of abduction and rape in India, has declared the creation of a new country for Hindus, Kailaasa https://kailaasa.org, with its own flag, government and passport.


Fans praise Syrian vlogger as he cooks kabsa for Taal victims in the Philippines

Updated 19 January 2020

Fans praise Syrian vlogger as he cooks kabsa for Taal victims in the Philippines

  • He drove around the province to give away packed meals, including a 1000 chicken wings and Arabic dish kabsa
  • Around 80,000 people have been displaced since the eruption covered nearby towns with thick charcoal-like ash

DUBAI: A Syrian vlogger has visited communities in the Philippines who were affected by the recent volcanic eruption, giving out care packages and packed meals.

Philippines-based Basel Manadil, also known online as the “The Hungry Syrian Wanderer,” posted a video on YouTube of his recent trip to rescue centers around Taal Volcano, which erupted last week.

“When I first saw the news about Taal eruption, I immediately thought of the people who will be affected and will be needing immediate help,” the social media personality said on his YouTube account that has over 1.5 million subscribers.

Manadil, who has been living the Philippines for more than five years, distributed boxes of donations that included medical supplies.

Watch the vlog here:

He drove around the province to give away packed meals, including a 1000 chicken wings and Arabic dish kabsa, which he said he prepared for more than 10 hours.

“I never cooked before I left Syria, so my mom would be so proud once she sees this,” Manadil wrote on Facebook.

The Philippines remained on high alert days after the devastating eruption of the Taal Volcano, a famous tourist spot just 50 kilometers north of the capital Manila.

Around 80,000 people have been displaced since the eruption covered nearby towns with thick charcoal-like ash.