The web comments on the crackdown on protesters in Bahrain. Internet giants are mobilizing to aid Japan’s quake victims. And social network Facebook is moving into the movie rental business.
Bahrain crackdown on protestors
Helicopters patrolling the skies and armored vehicles parked in the streets. Martial law is in force in Bahrain where the Sunni authorities appear determined to suppress the protest movement led by the nation’s Shiite majority which began last month.
Police have forced out demonstrators who were occupying Pearl Square, in the centre of the capital Manama. This amateur footage shows protesters’ dispersing as tear gas is fired and thick smoke from burning tents rises up into the air.
According to numerous Twitter users, during the violent intervention, communications were cut off and Internet connections disrupted.
Videos denouncing this brutal crackdown have already emerged on the web nonetheless. These images show an anti-riot police unit assaulting a demonstrator before leaving the scene and leaving him wounded on the ground.
Several people have been killed and many others wounded in these clashes, as we see in these photos taken in a hospital in Manama. And according to a number of online videos, medical staff have also been targeted by security forces.
According to numerous accounts on social networks, backed up with photographs, security forces have even surrounded the city’s main hospitals to stop the emergency services from bringing in victims.
Web solidarity for Japan
Messages of support for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan last Friday continue to pour in online from all over the world. Internet giants are also expressing their solidarity and initiatives to help the disaster victims and encourage web users to make donations are multiplying online.
Google was one of the first to take action by setting up a people finder service for web users. The people of Japan have made great use of this tool as near to 200 000 messages have been left on the site by people seeking news of loved ones. And the Mountain View Company has also set up a page devoted to the catastrophe, providing regularly updated information and urging web users to make donations to the Red Cross.
Twitter has also got involved. On their blog, the micro blogging pioneer says it is their duty to do whatever they can to help those in need during these difficult times. And to do this, Twitter is notably, relaying donation appeals and suggesting reliable accounts for following the latest earthquake related news.
Facebook has teamed up with online games developer Zynga to encourage web users to buy virtual products in games like Farmville. The money raised will be given to a fund for child victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
Certain companies have apparently tried to benefit from this solidarity movement. This is what numerous web users are accusing Microsoft of doing. Just several hours after the earthquake, the Seattle based company promised to donate one dollar every time its support message was quoted on Twitter. Many felt this was this was a marketing ploy, in very bad taste, and it was met with harsh criticism online. The company has since apologized and announced it will donate 100 000 dollars to the victims fund.
Movies on Facebook
It will soon be possible to rent or buy a movie and watch it on Facebook. Hollywood studio Warner Bros recently announced it will begin distributing films on the famous social network. This new service is currently being tested in the United States and for the moment Americans only have access to the latest Batman film “The Dark Night”. It costs 30 Facebook credits, that is around 3 dollars, to rent the film for a 48 hour period.
3D royal wedding procession
Visualize the route Prince William and Kate Middleton will take for the royal wedding procession on the 29th of April via this 3D animation created by web giant Google. The procession will begin in Westminster and will take the lovebirds around the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and end at Buckingham Palace. 21
Video of the day
David Darg and Bryan Mooser are two film makers who work in the humanitarian sector, and are currently posted in Haiti. They decided to show two young survivors of the earthquake that devastated the island in 2010, footage of the tsunami in Japan. At first the youngsters are lost for words; they then go onto to express their solidarity with the victims. In this poignant video we see that despite the difficulties they have to face on a daily basis, these two boys are genuinely very upset about the situation in Japan. 28