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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 : 2011-09-14

Syrian activist dies in detention after being tortured

Cyber activists are denouncing the Syrian regime’s use of torture against protesters. An online video game sparks lively debate in the US. And Orthodox Jews now have their very own social network.

Syrian activist dies in detention after being tortured

26 year old Syrian activist Ghiyath Matar was arrested on the 6th September and died in detention. His body was returned to his family last weekend, and as this online video suggests, there were signs of torture.

Opposition sources say Ghiyath Matar was a member of the Local coordination committee in in Daraya, in the suburbs of Damascus and will be remembered, in particular, for getting demonstrators to wave flowers when approached by security forces, as we can see in this footage which was apparently filmed on the 22nd July. It was a way of emphasizing the peaceful nature of the uprising.

Syrian activists are appalled by his death and tributes have poured onto social media platforms; he was about to become a father for the first time.

And an increasing number of videos are emerging on the Internet which seem to testify to the ill treatment of detained protesters. Although difficult to verify, this one appears to show a prisoner being tortured by men in uniform in what appears to be a school building.

A recent Amnesty International report revealed that at least 88 people are believed to have died in detention since the uprising began 6 months ago, and that in at least 52 of these cases there is evidence of ill treatment or torture.

And the repression continues. These images were uploaded on Saturday, and apparently show soldiers carrying out arrests in the Deraa region, pushing a number of women out of their way.


USA: online video game sparks controversy

This new online video game called "Tea Party Zombies Must Die" has sparked controversy in the United States. It was designed by “Starving Eyes”, a company that specializes in marketing through video games, and players have to attack or kill members of the ultra-conservative American political movement, who are portrayed as zombies, and include Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, and also political commentators with close ties to the Tea Party like Glenn Beck. The idea has been condemned by conservative bloggers across the country.

Reactions from shocked web users have been flooding on to American websites in recent days. Bryan Preston has written an article for the site “Pajamas Media”, saying it is quite simply nauseating. He sees no difference between this video game and the anti-Semitic propaganda films produced in Europe in the 1930s. He adds that he would not be surprised if some easily influenced individuals carry out actual attacks on the Conservative party’s members in the weeks to come.

Shane Wikfors says that although the game’s developers have the constitutional right to express their opinions freely, the idea is in very poor taste. He also wonders how the Democrats would have felt if the aim of the game was to kill the President of the United States.

The site NYmag states that certain Republicans already resorted to doubtful ways of denigrating their political opponents. In November 2010 for example, Sarah Palin had posted a map onto her Facebook page along with a list of democrat candidates depicted as targets. One of them, Gabrielle Gifford, was caught up in and hit during a shooting in January 2011.

 

University course is latest Groupon deal

The latest deal from Group coupon website Groupon is tuition! The company has teamed with National Louis University, a private institution in Chicago, to offer students looking for a career in teaching one year tuition for 950 dollars, so a 57 % reduction on the original price. The move highlights the fierce competition in the US between Higher education establishments.


FaceGlat: a new social networking site for Orthodox Jews

Religious social networks are very popular at the moment, Mormon.org, and its 30 000 members being a great example. And now a network has been created for Orthodox Jews. It’s called Faceglat.com, Face as in Facebook and glatt which means “highly kosher”, and already has over 2 000 members. It differs from Facebook in that men and women are strictly separated, like they would be in a synagogue.

 

Video of the day

Bashir Sultani is not your everyday artist … he creates his pieces using coloured salt … It’s painstaking work and the results are amazing. You can check out some examples of Bashir’s work on the dozens of videos, like these ones, currently doing the rounds on sharing sites.


 

By Electron Libre

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