A Saudi Arabian blogger facing the death penalty for blasphemy. Barack Obama continues his re-election campaign. And the State of West Bengal in India has released a tourism video made using shadow puppetry.
Malaysia deports Saudi blogger
Saudi Arabian blogger Hamza Kashgari could be facing the death penalty for three messages he posted on Twitter: it all began on the 4th of February. The 23 year old tweeted his doubts about Mohammed on the Prophet’s birthday, including a post in which he said he would not bow to the Prophet, worship him. Comments deemed insulting and that have triggered an avalanche of reactions and also threats.
The Saudi Minister of Information has announced all of the country’s publications have been banned from publishing any articles by the columnist. And a prominent cleric, Sheikh Nasser al-Omar appeared on the television, weeping, condemning the comments which he considers to be blasphemous. He even asked for Hamza Kashgari to be executed.
The blogger apologized for his comments and deleted the offending tweets, but this did little to calm the storm. So he decided to flee the country and head to New Zealand, but he was arrested by local authorities on Thursday when he stopped over in Malaysia, and the Malaysian government extradited him back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
The online community has since become very vocal in its concern for the blogger who could be facing the death penalty. Web users from all over the world have joined this Facebook group, calling for his release. Human Rights groups are also being extremely active. Amnesty International considers Hamza Kashgari as a prisoner of conscience since he is being detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Barack Obama continues his re-election campaign
With the republican candidates still vying for the GOP nomination to take on Barack Obama in November’s presidential election, the current President continues his reelection campaign, and the majority of his campaigning is taking place on the web.
The White House communications team has posted this video online, looking back over key stages of Barack Obama’s time in power, from his early speeches during the Democrat primaries to his election in November 2008. The video concludes by saying that his work is not yet completed, so Obama should be re-elected so he can finish what he started.
As was the case in 2008, Barack Obama is counting on his vast network of grassroots campaigners to help lead him to victory in November. He has released a number of campaign ads like this one, in which he urges supporters to start campaigning now, by, for example, organizing local meetings to persuade voters to grant him a second term in office.
And Obama’s campaign team has also decided to respond to the countless attacks from the Republican camp. This video was recently posted online and slams their attitude, saying they are so obsessed with defeating Barack Obama that they have not actually come up with a political program to get the country back on track.
And the American President is targeting Mitt Romney in particular. Barack Obama has just launched an online fundraising initiative to fund his re-election campaign. It is in reality a direct response to this site set up by Romney which has the sole objective of stopping Obama from another four years at the White House.
Barack Obama’s playlist
Rock, country and soul. These are the musical genres dominating Barack Obama’s official playlist. The web site Spotify has released a list of the 28 tracks which will accompany the American president’s re-election campaign. And no sooner were they published, than they were analyzed. An article on the web site for The Atlantic magazine says this list of songs gives an indication of the different categories of voters Barack Obama is hoping to win over in the coming months.
Now trending on social networks
The European Space Agency successfully launched its new rocket Vega on Monday, and has since become a popular trending topic on social networks. Space exploration enthusiasts’ watched Vega blast off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guyana as it was broadcast live on the Internet. The rockets main mission will be to take multiple small satellites into orbit. The event received a great deal of online coverage and has been hailed by web users as a great success for the European Space Agency.
Video of the day
The state of West Bengal in North-eastern India has released this tourism commercial made entirely using shadow puppetry. The ad is called “Let Calcutta surprise you” and hopes to attract visitors to the region, and more specifically to the capital Calcutta, by conveying the riches and delights it has to offer.