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DSK Conspiracy Theory Du Jour: What About The Hotel Management?

With major doubts about the reliability of the alleged victim, France is buzzing again with conspiracy theories around the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. The latest focuses on the Sofitel hotel, site of alleged act.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Aid for Trade conference in 2009 (by the World Trade Organization)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Aid for Trade conference in 2009 (by the World Trade Organization)

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

Many theories have emerged about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal. For those convinced of the innocence of the former International Monetary Fund chief, suspicions abound that it was all a set-up. The latest such "complot" is focused on the apparent lack of cooperation from the Accor hotel chain, which owns the Manhattan Sofitel, where a chambermaid says Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.

The French-owned Accor Company has always refused any requests from Strauss-Kahn's lawyers Benjamin Brafman and Bill Taylor about the hotel staff's schedules and room-cleaning protocols.

This complete lack of cooperation has raised suspicion among some top members of the French Socialist party, for which Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender to run as the candidate to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for President. Some have questioned whether the company could have ties with Sarkozy's party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Claude Guéant, the French Interior Minister and close Sarkozy ally, recently responded to long-unanswered questions about the affair. He claims that he was informed about Strauss-Kahn's arrest by his own Chief of Staff, who had himself had been informed by Ange Mancini, the current Coordinator of Intelligence for President Nicolas Sarkozy. And therein lies the suspicion: Mancini had apparently been informed of the arrest by his friend René-Georges Querry, the Accor group Head of Security, also a former chief of the French Anti-Gang Brigades (BRI).

Accor group executives insist they "had nothing to do" with Strauss-Kahn's arrest. However, information like this still feeds conspiracy theories suggesting Strauss-Kahn might have been set up and that members of the Accor group were in touch with members of the French government.

Read the full story in French by Marie-France Etchegoin

Photo credit - World Trade Organization

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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