Reactions to the death of Whitney Houston. The Syrian city of Douma under siege. And China tightens control of micro blogs by ending online anonymity.
Reactions to Whitney Houston’s death
American singer Whitney Houston died on Saturday, sparking an avalanche of commentary on social networks. Fans and fellow artists have been paying tribute to the diva. Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler and Mariah Carey are just some of the many celebrities who have posted messages of condolence online, sharing their grief and hailing her as one of the greatest singers of all time.
Syria: city of Douma is under siege
Men in Syrian army uniforms open fire in broad daylight… This footage was apparently filmed on Saturday in Douma in the suburbs of Damascus. Army deserters briefly seized Douma last month, but the dissident groups withdrew from the city and it has since been under siege by loyalist forces.
Members of the anti-government movement have been posting a lot of video footage online, suggesting armored vehicles have been deployed en masse to the streets of Douma, which has been deserted by residents. It would appear security forces even resorted to bombarding buildings using anti-aircraft canons, causing considerable damage to these residential areas.
The local Syria revolution coordination committee has posted a statement online which is being relayed on social networks, describing the situation at the scene. Water, electricity, and means of communication are regularly cut off in the city, and the army is apparently stopping people from entering or leaving Douma.
But the anti-government movement continues, despite the repression. As we can see in this video which is being circulated online, once night falls, rebels gather in the streets to protest the rule of Bashar al-Assad. This tactic of protesting at night has been implemented across the country, complicating matters for security forces.
China tightens control of microblogs
Micro bloggers in China will soon be stripped of their right to anonymity. From the 16th March onwards they will no longer be able to use a pseudonym and will have to use their real names if they want to post messages on Twitter like sites. Twitter itself is blocked in China.
Over 330 million people in China currently use micro blogs; the dazzling progress and rise in popularity of these services is partly down to the advent of mobile Internet. It’s a rapidly growing market, and has prompted Beijing to tighten control over micro blogging sites in China, for fear of the impact they may have on protest movements, as was recently the case in Dalian. Residents took part in mass protests, which were coordinated via mobile phones, to demand the closure of a chemical plant in this city in Northern China. Their demands were heard.
With micro blogs web users in China can in some ways bypass the censorship by relaying information which has not been monitored by the authorities, in a very short period of time. These sites proved their effectiveness in influencing public opinion back in July following the deadly train accident in southern China. Numerous web users took to social networks to voice their criticism of the Ministry of Railways.
And the latest story dominating discussion on Chinese micro blogs; the mysterious disappearance of Wang Lijun, former police chief and deputy mayor of the city of Chongqing, last seen at the American consulate, the official line is that he is on ‘stress leave’. Was he seeking asylum in the US? All sorts of theories are circulating on the blogosphere…
Old photos turned into super heroes trading cards
New York based artist Alex Gross came up with this idea of revamping old pictures by transforming photographs from the 19th century into pictures of superheroes, monsters and other science fiction characters and then posting them online…
Video of the day
Here’s a man you should avoid in a pool hall… as we can see in this video which is currently enjoying huge success online, he can pull off all sorts of amazing trick shots. It’s a stunning display and required hours of training to perfect.