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Latest update : 2012-01-10

Smear attempt against Russian protest leader backfires

Pro-Kremlin activists try, and fail, to smear an opposition figure’s reputation. Protesters in Germany are calling for President Christian Wulff’s resignation. And the Israeli authorities are using Facebook to advertise an anti-drug campaign.

Smear attempt against Russian protest leader backfires

This photo suggest that blogger and one of Russia’s leading opposition figures Alexei Navalny has close ties with a man wanted by the police in Russia, exiled billionaire Boris Berezovski. It was published in a newspaper distributed on Saturday by a pro-Kremlin group at an ice sculpture festival in Yekaterinburg, around 1 400 kilometers east of Moscow.

But it turns out the photo has been altered. The person who took the original photo, Alexei Yushenkov came forward almost immediately and posted the original series of photos on his blog. We see that Navalny was in fact in the company of businessman and candidate in March’s presidential election, Mikhaïl Prokhorov.

Once the photo had been revealed as a fake, a flurry of parodies appeared on the web, poking fun at this very out of date practice of airbrushing photos: we see Navalny with Napoleon Bonaparte, an extraterrestrial and also Stalin, who in his time also made great use of altered photos for political propaganda purposes.

So the pro-Kremlin activists’ smear campaign against Navalny has backfired, and has worked in the anti-corruption blogger’s favour. He has become a pivotal figure in recent weeks leading protests against Vladimir Putin. The New York Times says the affair demonstrates how the web and social media platforms are transforming Russian politics.


Shoe protesters urge German president to quit

Anger is brewing in Germany with protests against the president Christian Wulff who is currently involved in a suspicious private loan scandal. Wulff allegedly tried to hush up the affair by exerting pressure on daily newspaper Bild, asking them not to run the story. His behavior has triggered lively reactions across the country, with protesters now calling for his resignation.

As we can see in this amateur video footage filmed on Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the Presidential palace in Berlin, demanding the man in office step down. Demonstrators waved shoes in a protest modeled on what one might see in the Arab World where waving one shoes is a sign of anger and disrespect.

 

The rally was largely coordinated via the web and social networks. A Facebook page had been set up urging the people of Germany to join Saturday’s demonstration. And there had been an avalanche of Twitter posts encouraging participants to bring shoes to the rally to display their contempt for the president.

And thanks to the Internet those unable to travel to Berlin on Saturday could also get involved in the movement. Many web users participated by posting photos of their shoes online as a sign of their opposition to Christian Wulff.

And although the atmosphere at the rally was pretty friendly and lighthearted, this Twitter user says it is a bad omen for the President. He says this is the first rally against a German President in the history of the state, and the unprecedented opposition could well force him to hand in his resignation.

 

Israel: Facebook Timeline used to advertise anti-drug campaign

The Israeli anti-drug authority is using Facebook’s new “Timeline” feature to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. A profile has been created for the fictional “Adam Barak” illustrating the two different paths Barak’s life could have taken in 2011 with the left hand side of the screen depicting his life “on drugs” and on the right hand side his life “without drugs”. It’s a novel way of illustrating the damage caused by regular drug taking.


Now trending on social networks

"Occupy Nigeria" is trending heavily at the moment on social networks. Inspired by the ‘Occupy’ movement in the US, the people of Nigeria have been taking to social networks for several days, urging fellow citizens to protest against the authorities’ recent announcement they would be scraping fuel subsidies. Fuel prices have since soared, prompting Nigerians to take to the streets and the web to urge the government to change its mind.


Vidéo du jour

This video is called "Time is nothing" and was made by photographer Kien Lam from shots he took on a recent trip around the world during which he travelled to 17 different countries. The clip contains over 6 200 photos, and will take you around the world in under 5 minutes, discovering the beauty of the landscapes in Jordan, Indonesia and also Peru, from the comfort of your own home.

By Electron Libre

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