A spoof video showing Vladimir Putin behind bars becomes Russia’s latest Internet sensation. Dog lovers across America campaigning against Republican nomination candidate Mitt Romney. And a group of French streets artists paint graffiti using ketchup.
Russia: Putin seen behind bars in spoof video
Vladimir Putin behind bars, in a Moscow courtroom… This video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday and has since been viewed over 3 million times. It is of course the result of some nifty video editing, and has been done in the style of a news report for Russia’s state news channel. The voice over tells us that Vladimir Putin has been charged with “embezzling state funds”, “abuse of power”, “financial machinations” and “assisting in the preparation of acts of terrorism”.
The video was made using footage from a documentary by German filmmaker Cyril Tuschi about former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovski who has been in prison since 2003. He was found guilty of theft and money laundering; a detractor of the Russian regime, he is considered by many as a political prisoner.
Lancelot, the production company behind the fake news report is apparently using it as a viral advertising campaign for one of their documentaries called “The Assassination of Russia” in which the security services are accused of orchestrating a series of bombings in Russia in 1999 to justify another war with Chechnya and help Vladimir Putin secure his grip on power as he looked to stay in office for a second term.
The success of this fake report showing the Prime Minister in the cage-like enclosure for defendants reflects his recent drop in popularity. With the presidential elections scheduled for the 4th of March, his critics are more determined than ever to stop him returning to the Kremlin. An appeal has been launched on social networks urging Moscow drivers to once again cover their cars in white and take part in fresh protests against Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Dogs against Mitt Romney
Still in the running to win the Republican nomination for the US presidential elections this November, Mitt Romney has incurred the wrath of a rather specific category of the population; dog owners. They are reproaching the conservative candidate for abusing his Irish Setter around 30 years ago by putting it in a dog carrier and attaching it to the roof of his car for a long road trip. Up until now, the incident had gone more or less unnoticed, but with campaigning in full swing, it has now come back to haunt him.
A group called "Dogs against Romney" has been set up on Facebook and has already drawn over 27,000 members. Web users say in no way is this a partisan initiative, and the only problem they have with Romney is that he does not like animals.
Some have even decided to take things a step further. These protesters marched through the streets of New York, voicing their anger with Mitt Romney. Most of them were accompanied by their four legged friends as we can see in this report from online newspaper “The Huffington Post”. Demonstrators believe the way the former governor for Massachusetts treated his animal is indicative of his personality and a man that can be so cruel to his dog is not fit to be President.
It could appear trivial but the incident has actually turned out to be a godsend for Mitt Romney’s adversaries, who have wasted no time in using it to their advantage. In this campaign ad, one of his competitors for the Republican Nomination Newt Gingrich says this affair shows the Mormon candidate in a very poor light and if Romney wins the republican nomination, Barack Obama will use it against him during the presidential campaign.
Now trending on social networks
Barack Obama has asked American web users "what does 40 dollars mean to you?". The idea is to mobilize public opinion to promote the extension of the payroll tax cut that currently benefits 160 million Americans and is up for renewal at the end of the month. Many web users have been saying what they would do with the extra 40 dollars per fortnight the legislation will bring. The White House launched a similar campaign back in December, prompting congress to vote in favour of a two month extension.
Petitions on the Paris city hall website
« Prenez la main ! » or in English “take control”. This is the slogan adopted by Paris City Hall to get residents of the capital more involved in its e-petitions system in place since 2009. Although this type of service has already proved highly popular in English speaking countries, this tool for local democracy is having trouble taking off in France. The principle is actually quite simple: anyone living in Paris has the right to start a petition, if 1 % of the city’s population signs it, then it will be debated by a meeting of the City Council.
Video of the day
“Lyon bombing” a group of street artists from Lyon, France recently came up with idea of replacing their aerosol cans with tomato ketchup… and you can see what they got up to in this video. It’s actually part of an online competition run by a well-known American ketchup brand and may well inspire graffiti artists the world over.