March 18, 2014, 4:23 p.m.
Ukraine: The government of Crimea has signed a treaty of accession with the Russian government. The treaty recognizes the Republic of Crimea as a federal subject of the Russian Federation and makes the city of Sevastopol a federal city. Once the document is approved by the Russian constitutional court and ratified by the Russian and Crimean parliaments, the Russian government will officially recognize Crimea’s population as Russian citizens. This move comes after the referendum held in Crimea and Sevastopol on 16 March in which over 96% of residents voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Western leaders have denounced the referendum and accession treaty as illegitimate and condemn Russia’s use of force in the region. The United States, Canada, and the European Union have passed limited sanctions against officials determined to be most responsible for the current crisis, including key officials in Russia, Crimea, and Ukraine proper. Meanwhile, tensions continue to mount in Crimea as reports surface of Russian or pro-Russian military forces shooting dead a junior Ukrainian officer. Ukraine has now authorized its military personnel to use force in self-defense with interim Prime Minister Arseniy YATSENYUK claiming “the conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage.”
India: 23 million Indians registered to vote in the upcoming general elections are aged 18 and 19 (almost 90,000 voters in each constituency will be first-time voters) and 37% of registered voters in urban areas have regular access to the internet. Political parties and candidates are beginning to acknowledge the electoral potential of these young, urban, tech-savvy voters and utilizing technology and social media to reach them. For example, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has invited its supporters to text their voting registration numbers in exchange for information about how to vote. These supporters are then ranked based on how many how many of their friends and relatives have subscribed. Supporters of Indian National Congress candidate and founder of Infosys Nandan NILEKANI utilize the WhatsApp application to organize campaign efforts. BJP’s leading candidate Narendra MODI used the Indian holiday of Holi as an opportunity to send his millions of supporters a greeting card via Twitter. As India’s population becomes younger and more urban over coming years, these social technologies will become increasingly influential in mobilizing voters to participate in the democratic process.
(Image Credit: mashable.com)
 Note: Examples from “India election: four more intriguing uses of social media”