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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 : 2011-09-09

Activists mock the Syrian regime

On today’s show, Syrian activists mock Bashar al-Assad, a Swiss NGO launches an online campaign targeting Nestlé’s Nespresso brand and a look at how to move house – the fast way.

Activists mock the Syrian regime

Bashar al-Assad is on the phone with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He nervously admits, “the people don’t love me anymore”. The Syrian leader is then invited to Tehran. Assad is then taken to a cave to meets Ayatollah Khamenei, who advises him to suppress the protest movement in Syria by using force and lies.

This satirical cartoon, which denounces Tehran’s support of the Syrian regime, is the first episode in a new online series called “The People’s Palace” - a reference to one of Bashar al-Assad’s residences. These videos were produced and then broadcast on the Internet by the website, Wikisham. They poke fun at the Syrian president, as well as at his brother Maher, who is head of the Republican Guard, and his cousin Rami Makhlouf , who controls a large portion of the country's economy.

Syrian activists have somehow managed to hold on to their sense of humour, despite the brutal repression. Satire appears to have become their new weapon, and they are not afraid to use it. In another web series, “Freedom Wobas”, two comedians make fun of the official lines relayed by state media.

Three weeks ago, this masked woman also launched a satirical online show. Her first video has already been viewed over 190,000 times. The unidentified presenter criticises Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, by slamming his strong support of the Syrian regime. She says that she and her fellow citizens would be more than happy to  give Nasrallah up to Assad and his cronies, but jokes that they have a policy of no returns or exchanges.

Online campaign against Nespresso

This video is a parody of the famous Nespresso ad and features a George Clooney look-a-like (the face of the company’s advertising campaign), getting hit by a Nespresso shop sign. It’s part of an online campaign launched by the NGO “Solidar Suisse” to urge Nestlé, which owns the Nespresso brand, to include fair trade coffee in its range of products.

The campaign asks for web users to help force the Swiss food company to rethink its practices. Citizens from anywhere in the world can send an email to George Clooney, via the NGO’s web site, asking him to pressure Nestlé into creating a range of fair trade coffee. The scheme appears to be a successful one as, in the space of a few days, 16,000 messages have already been posted online.

Solidar Suisse’s campaign is also being backed by the online community via other platforms. The official Nespresso Facebook page has been inundated with these fair trade coffee messages, and the multi-national company appears to be taking these demands seriously by replying to each message, reminding social networkers of the company’s commitment to fair trade and bringing their attention to its Ecolaboration programme.

This is a positive reaction and in stark contrast to the attitude adopted by the company in March 2010, when Greenpeace started a viral campaign to put pressure on Nestlé to stop using palm oil in certain chocolate bars, as it has been documented as a source of deforestation in Indonesia. The food giant’s reaction generated widespread criticism on the blogosphere.

Alternate histories

What if huge monsters had walked the earth in the 18th century? Where would we be now if aliens had invaded in 1871? Or if we had fallen to zombies during the 1930s... American artist Matthew Buchholz has used these alternative histories as inspiration, and added a touch of science fiction to this collection of old postcards.

White House unveils online petition tool

The US Government will soon be launching "We the people", an online petition portal hosted by the White House website. US citizens will be able to use it to create grassroots campaigns on issues that are important to them.  President Barack Obama’s team has promised it will consider any petition which gathers 500 signatures in less than 30 days. Numerous NGOs are already planning to use this tool to raise awareness on diverse matters, from animal rights to the closure of Guantanamo prison.

Video of the day

This incredible scene was captured on video in the suburbs of Lyon, France on Sunday. In it we see all sorts of objects piling up in the street after a man, obviously in a very distressed state, decided to throw out the entire contents of his apartment through the window! He continues to hurl things into the street as his neighbours look on dumbfounded, and does not stop until the police arrive several hours later.

By Electron Libre

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