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The World This Week - 29 August 2014

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Latest update : 2012-01-17

Syria: ongoing crackdown in Zabadani

Syrian cyber activists report on the ongoing crackdown in the town of Zabadani. An online campaign pushing for a ‘Bald Barbie’ for cancer victims. And an interactive map showing weird nature observations across Europe.

Syria: ongoing crackdown in Zabadani

This video was posted online on Friday by Syrian cyber activists who say it shows pro-regime militias chasing protesters through the streets of Zabadani. Former soldiers who have defected to the opposition have apparently been seeking refuge in this small town near to the Lebanese border, which has been under siege by security forces for several days now.

Sunday saw the highly anticipated visit from the Arab league delegation, and as this amateur footage suggests, the five observers were given a heroes welcome from the thousands of protesters calling for an end to the al-Assad regime. The monitors left the same day, after talking with numerous residents who described the violent repression against the civilian population.

But as soon as the observers left, attacks from government troops reportedly resumed. According to a number of online reports, armored vehicles were soon back on the streets and in this video, we can hear heavy gun fire and what appears to be shelling ring out in the distance.

Electricity has apparently been cut off in the area, where there is also a severe lack of drinking water. But this has not discouraged residents of Zabadani; as soon it got dark they returned to the streets chanting slogans attacking Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

 

A bald Barbie for cancer victims

The people behind this Facebook page are asking toy company Mattel to manufacture a bald Barbie for children suffering from cancer or know someone who is. One of the aims is to restore the self -confidence of little girls dealing with chemotherapy induced hair loss.

And the initiative is gaining ground on the web. Over 120 000 web users have already expressed their support for the Facebook campaign. An online petition has also been started urging Mattel to help sick children. And the idea of manufacturing a bald doll on a commercial scale appears to be spreading to social networks, where some are calling for the creation of a GI JOE soldier doll, for boys suffering from cancer.

And although many hope the project will eventually go through, some appear concerned that the toy manufacturer will use the situation to their advantage and turn it into a purely money making operation. And so in the past few days there has been a proliferation of posts on social networks, urging Mattel to release the bald dolls in stores and to give the proceeds, or most of the proceeds, to cancer charities.

This is not the first time the famous Barbie doll has been used to champion a good cause on the web. Environmental organization Greenpeace recently used Barbie and her boyfriend Ken in a campaign exposing Mattel for using products from a pulp and paper company notorious for destroying Indonesian rainforests. The campaign went viral, was successful, and the toy manufacturer stopped using the offending products.

 

Mapping weird nature observations

Flowers in bloom mid-winter in south England, bees buzzing around a park in London … Juliette Jowit is a journalist for The Guardian and has asked readers of the British daily to report any early spring sightings. The observations are then transposed on to this interactive map; and as we can see Europe is enjoying a particularly mild winter.

 

Now trending on social networks

On Sunday French actor Jean Dujardin won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical film for his role in “The Artist”, making him a hot topic on social networks. Messages from his fans have been pouring in online, saying the award is more than deserved and congratulating Dujardin on his exceptional performance. Some feel the critically acclaimed actor is now inline for a best actor Oscar. And they will find out in a month and half’s time at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

 

Video of the day

Last week American prank collective "Improv Everywhere" held the “No Pants Subway Ride” in New York, for the eleventh year running. The 2012 ride was extremely successful, over 4 000 people took part and the wacky project went down very well with other public transport users.

 


 

By Electron Libre

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