from The Great Debate UK:

A social media vox populi experiment

IMG01877-20100318-1751The BBC World Service tested its capacity to produce large-scale social media events by hosting an ambitious global conversation in multiple languages from Shoreditch Town Hall in London on Thursday.

For the six-hour event, billed as "Superpower Nation Day", the public broadcaster used television, radio and the Web to connect with people around the world.

Contributors answered the question "Is the Internet a right or a luxury? by typing into a social media platform that used Google's translating tool to interpret comments.

Other events included live music and a reading of scenes from William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" in multiple languages.

Mark Sandell, the editor of  "World Have Your Say", spoke to Reuters about the event.

Islamic Banking & Finance set to attract more attention in 2010

Islamic banking is one of the world’s fastest growing financial sectors, according to industry estimates. It has attracted more attention in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as investors are increasingly looking for alternative, ethical ways of investing. This has also intensified a debate within the industry on whether it should move further away from conventional banking, designing products based more directly on Islamic principles. Global issuance of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, is expected to fall this year from 2009 levels, a recent Reuters poll showed, as the Dubai debt crisis and an expected rise in borrowing costs weigh on market sentiment. In the Gulf Arab region, a funding crunch at Bahrain-based Islamic investment house Gulf Finance House shows that the financial crisis is far from over in the region and that the industry urgently needs to develop new products and business lines to generate revenues. CEOs and other top names will discuss these and other topics in a series of closed on-the-record interviews at the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit, to be held in Dubai, Manama, Kuala Lumpur, London, Geneva and Jakarta on February 15-18, 2010.