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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 : 2012-03-06

Asma al-Assad, a dictator’s wife

Bashar al Assad’s wife taken to task by Syrian cyber activists. Mustached Americans seeking a tax break. And Vladimir Putin’s election victory; a popular trending topic on social networks.

Asma al-Assad, a dictator’s wife

As pictures of the Syrian regime’s relentless shelling of Homs are aired on screen, Asma al-Assad asks "This is the 21st century, where in the world could this happen?" This online video would lead us to believe the First Lady is denouncing the brutal and bloody crackdown in Syria. But the alleged CNN news clip is in fact a fake and an edited version of a 2009 interview with the wife of President Bashar al-Assad, in which she condemns the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the Gaza strip.

The video montage was made as a critical response to Asma al-Assad’s silence over the brutal assault government forces have waged against the people of Syria. Up until a year ago, the British born First Lady was a darling of the Western media; she represented a symbol of modernity in a country that had for a long time remained isolated from the rest of the world.

But this was before her husband sought to quell the Syrian uprising with ruthless slaughter. She has now been dubbed the “Marie Antoinette of Damascus” and opponents see her as an accomplice to the crimes committed by the Syrian regime. Last months, activists set up a fake official website; a statement on the hoax site read “I am the wife of a vicious war criminal”.

The outrage felt by Syrian activists is fueled by the fact Asma al-Assad’s family hails from Homs, and she appears indifferent to the plight of the people living there; the city has been under attack by the Syrian army for months now.



Moustached Americans seek tax break for grooming products

A 250 dollar annual tax refund to help cover facial hair care costs … this is the crazy, yet totally serious request made by the “American Mustache Institute”, the AMI, which has launched a huge online campaign to try and win over public support.

Much of the campaigning is very tongue in cheek. Numerous viral videos have been released to encourage the people of the United States to join their mustached fellow citizens in their fight. Clips that feature the president of the AMI, who is leading the avant-gardist campaign, claiming men with mustaches, are quite simply better looking than clean shaven men and so the tax break proposal will benefit the entire country.

Though launched not a long ago, the initiative has already drawn strong support. Over 100 000 web users have expressed their support via Facebook, backing what is described as an important national cause.

And for the instigators of the project; this is just the beginning. They are planning a march in Washington on the 1st April. They are seeking to bring together 1 million mustached Americans to the streets of the capital to lobby the authorities and obtain the proposed tax break.

An original and somewhat wacky project, but it also has a charitable side. A taxation consultancy supporting the campaign has said that for every individual that participates, either via the web or in the march itself, it will make a donation to the NGO “Millions from one”, which provides clean drinking water to those in need. As the organizers say, it’s another good reason to get involved.

 

Now trending on social networks

One of the most popular trending topics on social networks at the moment is Vladimir Putin’s victory in Sunday’s Russian presidential election, winning around 60 % of votes. Some web users have been congratulating the former Prime Minister, but the vast majority of comments have taken on a sarcastic tone, saying everybody already knew what the outcome would be and that numerous election observers across the country reported cases of electoral fraud and irregularities in polling stations. Some are mockingly saying the overwhelming victory means Putin will soon be changing his official title to the Tsar or Emperor of Russia.

 

Make YouTube videos Oscar-worthy with the "Artistifier"

Nicely timed to coincide with the phenomenal success of the Oscar winning film “The Artist”, this website enables users to turn any YouTube video into a 1930s style black and white silent film. It’s great fun and will give a new lease of life to all sorts of online clips.

 

Video of the day

Former American footballer Joe Ayoob has set a new world record for throwing paper airplanes. He threw the plane 69 meters, taking him into the Guinness Book of World Records. You can see the record breaking moment for yourself in this video currently doing the rounds on sharing sites.

 

By Electron Libre

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