Egyptian cyber activists say police are using US made tear gas on demonstrators. Morocco is preparing for the parliamentary elections scheduled for the 25 November. And Google moves into the online music business.
Egyptian police use US made tear gas against protesters
Cairo’s Tahrir Square has been covered in a haze of tear gas since Saturday. Riot police in Egypt have been using the gas day and night to disperse protests against the ruling military; tear gas irritates the eyes and throat and burns the skin.
A number of photos have been posted on social networks, suggesting the tear gas cartridges were made in the United States. The canisters are branded with the name and address of Combined Systems, a company based in the state of Pennsylvania. Some appear to have exceeded their expiry date, sometimes by several years, and this has raised concerns over potential health risks for protesters.
Because according to reports from cyber activists the gas used by police over the past few days is more powerful than the gas used during the popular uprising which led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February. Doctors are saying that vinegar is now proving to be less effective when dealing with the effects of tear gas.
But protesters have found alternative means of protection. This activist recommends spraying the face with a water and yeast solution to counter the effects of tear gas. The video has been viewed over 100 000 times in just a few days and has been widely relayed by Egyptian bloggers.
And although it is not prohibited to export it, the fact that US manufactured tear gas is being used to repress protests in Tahrir Square could prove highly embarrassing for the Obama administration.
Moroccan parliamentary elections
With the Moroccan parliamentary elections scheduled for the 25th November, there are all sorts of online initiatives emerging urging people to vote and also to ensure the ballot runs smoothly.
The « Génération Libre » group has posted this video online it features national stars and is aimed at convincing voters to go to the polls and encourage them to make their voices heard. The group also wants to explain the importance of these historic elections, saying they will help consolidate the rule of law in the kingdom.
Hit Radio and the Moroccan short film festival in Rabat have joined forces to launch a different sort of campaign urging people to cast their vote. This online competition is inviting the people of Morocco to make short video clips like this one to encourage fellow citizens to register to vote. The project has proved hugely successful.
Morocco’s Interior Ministry has set up this site full of information on the upcoming elections and the voting system. Moroccans can also use the site to check they have successfully registered to vote.
The Moroccan Organization for Human Rights has created this online observatory, it provides information on the elections but more importantly the people of Morocco can use it as a platform to report any incidents or suspected irregularities during the electoral process.
Google unveils Google Music service
Google is moving into the online music business with its latest service “Google Music” currently only available in the United States. The Mountain View firm is seeking to compete with the major players in the digital market, Apple and Amazon. Three record labels, Universal, EMI and Sony, have signed an agreement which gives Google access to over 8 million tracks. Independent artists can also showcase their work on Google Music. For a 25 dollar fee they can set up a page on which to sell their music, and Google will take a 30 % commission on each sale.
Now trending on social networks
On Monday British actor Hugh Grant testified at the Leveson enquiry into the UK’s phone hacking scandal. His testimony which was broadcast live on television has sparked an avalanche of comments and sympathy from web users and in particular his fans. He described various bad experiences with the paparazzi and tabloid newspapers, and accused the Mail on Sunday of hacking his phone. This is the first time a tabloid not owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been implicated in the affair.
Video of the day
In the village of Donje Ljubinje in Kosovo, it is traditional for the future bride to have very elaborate make up, so as to protect the marriage from bad luck. This video which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites takes us through the painstaking process, and the end result is pretty amazing. Once the traditional ceremony is over women from the groom’s family will remove the bride’s make-up.