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Asia-pacific

The Web mourns Iranian blogger Omid

Latest update : 2009-03-24

In this edition: An Iranian blogger's death makes waves on the Net, the Indian diamond industry is hit by crisis, and more.

Iranian blogger dies in prison

The blogosphere is in shock after the death of Omid Mirayafi, an Iranian blogger and journalist,  in Evin prison. He had been sentenced to two-and-half years in jail after having allegedly offended religious leaders on his blog.

The 29-year-old man posted many poems online in which he expressed his commitment to freedom of expression. Net users honoured him via videos such as this one on YouTube.

A doctor also imprisoned in Evin witnessed his final moments. According to his account reported on www.hrairan.org, the prison authorities simply let him die.

Many bloggers have mobilized to denounce the circumstances of his death. A campaign has also been launched on Facebook to demand that authorities be held responsible for his death.

A video by film school students from Vancouver says that despite the fate reserved for cyber-dissidents imprisoned in Iran, the Net continues to be considered the preferred space for free speech by the 60,000 bloggers in the country.


Crisis in India's diamond industry

The economic crisis has hit India's diamond industry hard. Polishers in Gujarat have been dismissed by the thousands. A number of them have committed suicide. The Net echoes this drama.

A video posted by Indian students explains that many factories have closed. About 50% of the diamond cutters and polishers have been put out of work while others are redirected towards industries for which they have no skills.

On a blog hosted by the Hindustan Times, a journalist reminds us that often whole families work in the same sector and risk losing all their sources of income.

A post on the site Pragoti.org speaks of 71 suicides due to the crisis, and the writer criticizes the traders who continue to lead a high lifestyle.

Several on-line documentaries have explained the meticulous work involved in the cutting of the raw stone. One video shows a young trainee polisher working on his very first diamond after a three-month unpaid apprenticeship.


Sheep art

A viral ad campaign, created by a brand of electronic products, is creating a buzz on the Web. We see shepherds transforming the hills of Wales into areas of artistic expression. Having equipped their flock with light-emitting diodes, they drive their animals to form pictures, original and spectacular.


Online credit-card scams

YouTube is being accused of being a promotion channel for cyber-criminals. According to F-Secure, publishers of security software, they use the site to post videos praising the merits of their products and services. Videos offer access to pirated credit-card numbers via "credit card generators" and passwords to access bank accounts.

Date created : 2009-03-24

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