The US Ambassador to Syria condemns the ongoing crackdown on protesters. Yahoo accused of censoring emails. And a video looking at the recent developments in the music industry.
US Ambassador to Syria condemns crackdown on protesters
The US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, has told The Huffington Post that the Syrian opposition movement is becoming increasingly tempted to resort to violence in the face of the government’s bloody repression. During the interview he reminds the protesters that one of the main reasons they have the support of the international community is because of the peaceful nature of their movement.
The diplomat states that he has angered the Bashar al-Assad regime with his open support of the Syrian opposition movement which began around 6 months ago. He started his unorthodox diplomatic campaign in July when, with his French counterpart Eric Chevalier, he visited Hama, which was under siege by security forces.
At the end of August he was harassed by a group of Assad loyalists in Damascus where he was attending a rally led by lawyers. Amateur footage of the incident was then widely broadcast on state television, which accused him of inciting an anti-government protest in the capital.
Robert Ford has responded to criticism in this statement posted on the US Embassy Damascus Facebook page which he uses to interact with the people of Syria. He condemns the government’s brutal repression and says it is provoking retaliatory violence.
His most recent appearance was less than two weeks ago when he attended the funeral of Giyath Mattar, an activist who was tortured and killed in custody. According to reports from Syrian activists, after he left the ceremony, security forces attacked mourners, leaving at least one person dead.
Yahoo accused of censoring Occupy Wall Street emails
Web giant Yahoo has been accused of trying to stop American web users sending email messages about the “Occupy Wall Street” protests at the beginning of the week. The movement was launched by American activists on Saturday to protest against a financial system which in their opinion favours the rich to the detriment of ordinary citizens. And Yahoo’s alleged attempt at censoring emails has been strongly criticized on the web.
Users of Yahoo’s messaging service have been posting videos like these ones online, showing how emails containing the words “occupy wall street” or the website address could not be sent. An error message followed the blocked emails, saying suspicious activity had been detected and so the message could not be sent.
News of the blocked emails quickly spread to social networks where other web users tried to send similar emails and saw for themselves that Yahoo was in fact blocking them; a wave of criticism followed. “Think Progress.org” says this is not the first time the American firm has been accused of political censorship and has been in the spotlight on regular occasions for collaborating with authoritarian regimes, and China in particular, to monitor cyber dissidents.
In view of the outcry, Yahoo issued an online apology, saying it was an unintentional error and had been resolved.
And in spite of this online scandal, campaigning continues on the ground. A peaceful movement and yet there’s a heavy police presence in Manhattan’s financial district. As we can see in these videos filmed by protesters, a number of arrests were made on Tuesday.
Celebrity Star Wars
Gandhi, American rapper Snoop Dogg, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie … these are just some of the well-known figures who have been turned into heroes from the George Lucas Star Wars films with the help of some photo editing software. And you can check out the entire gallery on the site “worth 1000”.
Shalom Amigos is a web documentary on the thousands of German and Austrian Jews that fled to the Dominican Republic during the Second World War. In 1938 Roosevelt organized the Evian conference, to ask representatives from 32 countries to grant refuge to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. Only the Dominican Republic accepted. And with the help of the Dominican Republic Settlement Association over 2 500 Jews were saved. This web documentary tells the story of these refugees, their journey, their integration, their future generations…
Video of the day
The Evolution of Music … in figures… this video provides a bunch of statistics related to record sales before and after the advent of online download platforms, as well as all sorts of other interesting stats. In 2002 for example, 43 million CDs were sold in the UK and by 2009 this figure had fallen to just 2 million. And did you know that 70 % of the world’s music is sold by one of four companies.