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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2011-08-03

Eyewitness accounts of the Syrian army’s crackdown in Hama

Eyewitness accounts of the Syrian army’s violent crackdown in Hama. Web users campaign for the death penalty to be reinstated in the UK. And a budding singer performs his version of the Harry Potter saga.

Syrians testify about the crackdown in Hama

After storming the opposition stronghold Hama at dawn on Sunday, the Syrian army continues its deadly crackdown, and opponents of the Bashar al-Assad regime have been sharing accounts of the violence inflicted on them on the web. The reports are difficult to verify but illustrate the scale of the current repression in Syria.

A number of videos like these ones have emerged online since Sunday, and show the different types of ammunition security forces reportedly used against Syrian protesters. The people who filmed these images say these high caliber bullets cause horrific wounds.

This amateur footage shows a hole the size of a fist in the wall of someone’s house. The web user who posted these pictures online says the person who lived here was shot and killed by a projectile. 

There are also many videos doing the rounds on sharing sites that illustrate the damage caused by fighting in Hama. Here we can see the marks left on a number of buildings and in particular, a mosque minaret which was riddled with bullets during clashes between troops and demonstrators.

One web user has set up a Twitter thread called « Ramadan Massacre » to try and follow events in the country and record eye witness accounts sent in by opponents. And to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Syria, users of the micro blogging site are being asked to display this avatar as their profile picture.

 

British online campaigners want death penalty reinstated

The death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1965. And now over 40 years later, with calls for it to be reinstated for child murderers and those who kill police officers, it has once again become a subject of public debate.

Last week a blogger known as Guido Fawkes launched a campaign to bring back the death penalty. The idea has been submitted to a new e-petition website set up by the British government. If over 100,000 signatures are collected, parliamentary proceedings will be initiated to review the subject.

The online debate is well under way. On Twitter, many web users are talking about social regression and right-wing political manipulation. This micro blogger on the other hand does not see why taxes should be spent on keeping child murderers alive.

The Conservative MP for Bury North, David Nuttall has declared his support for the initiative on his blog, and is thrilled that parliament will at long last take public opinion into account when debating the matter. The blogger Neil Monnery is expressing a very different point of view and is concerned about possible miscarriages of justice which would see innocent people sentenced to death.

According to this online poll which was carried out on the 28th of July, of the web users that took part in the survey, 75 % said they were against bringing back the death penalty to the UK. But the debating site “You Gov” thinks one should be wary of these figures because according to recent opinion polls, 51 % of British people support the death penalty.

 

Ibiza hotel connected to Facebook

You no longer need a telephone or a computer to make your friends green with envy: holiday makers at this hotel in Ibiza can buy a high tech wristband which allows them to add photos to Facebook, as well as automatically update their status on the social network. The special chip in the wristband means they don’t actually have to do anything; the information is automatically transferred for them.

 

Oxford University wants web users to help decipher ancient papyri

Oxford University is asking web users for help in cataloguing and deciphering hundreds of thousands of texts written on fragments of papyrus. The documents were recovered in the early 20th century from the Egyptian city el-Bahnasa and date back to around 2,000 years ago when the city was under Greek control, and so they are written in ancient Greek. Web users can help researchers decode the images which have gone on display on a web site which the University has set up specifically for this project.

 

Video of the day

In this song, a web user, who goes by the name of « Paint », sums up the entire Harry Potter saga in less than two minutes. The video has been hugely successful on the web: since it was uploaded mid-July, it has been viewed over two and a half million times.

By Electron Libre

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