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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2012-02-16

Syria: Homs activists use pigeons to communicate

Syrian activists are now using carrier pigeons to communicate. Chinese web users campaigning against the bear bile business. And Nicolas Sarkozy makes his Twitter debut.

Syria: Homs activists use pigeons to communicate

"Activists in Baba Amr, please tell us what you need in terms of medical supplies and food". This is the type of message Omar has been sending via carrier pigeon to opposition activists around two kilometers away in the neighbourhood of Homs that has been the worst affected by the Syrian army’s latest onslaught. Water, electricity and telecommunications have been cut off in the besieged city. And although social networks played a vital role in launching the Syrian revolution, the residents of Homs now have to revert to this age old method of communicating with areas out of reach of their walkie-talkies.

In this other video we see one of Omar’s pigeons return from Baba Amr with a message attached to its foot. It reads “we need medical assistance and food. Long live Syria and down with Bashar al-Assad”. These images were apparently posted online via a satellite feed.

Because although Homs is virtually cut off from the outside world, activists from this hotbed of anti-government protests are managing to post amateur footage and pictures online, to denounce the repression by security forces.

On some occasions cyber activists have even succeeded in broadcasting live footage from Homs via the site Bambuser; images that often show billowing smoke over the city and that bear witness to the relentless and heavy shelling in Homs over the past ten days or so.


China: online campaign against the bear bile business

Online campaigning to end the bear bile business has intensified in China. Known for its therapeutic effects in Chinese medicine, in recent years bear bile has become a lucrative commodity for certain companies. Animal rights activists are committed to putting an end to this situation as quickly as possible.

A number of NGOs present in the country have launched online campaigns to raise public awareness. The “End Bear Farming” campaign is calling upon the authorities to ban farming bears for their bile and condemns the horrific methods used to extract this precious substance as well as the appalling conditions in which the bears are kept. The campaign is backed by actor Jackie Chan, amongst others, and in this video he urges people to lend their support by signing the appeal and help convince the government to stop this activity once and for all.

 

As this recent poll would suggest, more and more people in China are backing the movement. The survey was carried out on Chinese micro blogging platform Sina Weibo and found that 96 % of people asked said the bear bile business should be banned and that there is no reason to continue torturing the animals as many effective herbal alternatives now exist.

Numerous protests against the bear bile farming business have taken place in various towns and cities across China, an indication of the scale of the mobilization. And as a mark of their love for these animals and the need to protect them, some demonstrators even dressed up as bears.

 

Now trending on social networks

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy has made his Twitter debut, and has become a hot topic on the French web. Shortly after the launch of a new Facebook page, on Wednesday the head of state’s communication team set up an account on the micro blogging site. All tweets will be written by his advisors apart from those signed NS, which will be written by the President himself. It would appear the idea is going down very well because within several hours of its launch, the account had already drawn over 18 500 followers.

 

Lady Gaga launches her own social network

Lady Gaga, the American singer idolized by millions of teenagers all over the world, has launched her own social networking website, called “Little Monsters”, which is how she affectionately refers to her fans. Web users can use the site to share any content relating to the new Queen of Pop. She already has a huge online presence, with over 19 million Twitter followers and 47 million Facebook friends.

 

Video of the day

Bring a Van Gogh painting to life… Greek artist Petros Vrellis has created an animated version of the Dutch Master’s famous “Starry Night”. This astonishing video will draw you in to an enchanting and psychedelic world.

By Electron Libre

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