An American NGO tracking sex crimes in Syria. Dmitry Medvedev’s cat sets Russia’s online community abuzz. And France’s National Audiovisual Institute to share content with YouTube.
US group using the Internet to track sex crimes in Syria
An interactive map showing cases of sexual assault and rape perpetrated by Syrian security forces; this project was launched on Wednesday by American NGO Women’s Media Center, to compile reports online to illustrate the scale of the problem, and gather evidence, with a view to filing official complaints for war crimes. Around twenty cases have been reported on the site so far.
Reports that are supported by interviews featured in international media and also, although difficult to verify, personal accounts that have been posted online. In this video a woman says five members of the security forces forced their way into her home in Homs back in May and raped her.
Another account, from the same city; this man who introduces himself as a volunteer for the Syrian army, says he was given the order to abduct women from the region, who were consequently put in prison where they were raped.
According to numerous reports from the UN or NGOs such as Amnesty International, these sexual attacks are widespread, particularly prevalent in Syrian jails and men being held by government forces are also victims. Up until now there has been little proof to support these accusations, victims are often too frightened to come forward. But the Women’s Media Center is now hoping to break the silence.
Looking for Medvedev’s cat
Where is Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s cat Dorofei? Speculation has been rife on the Russian web ever since rumours of the cat’s disappearance started appearing in the press on Tuesday. Web users are having a field day with the somewhat amusing story.
The cat has quickly become a popular trending topic on Russia’s social networks, with a flurry of messages referring to Dorofei’s alleged disappearance emerging online. Some are calling for a nationwide search to help bring the cat home safely as quickly as possible. Others are taking a more ironic tone, saying the feline has probably had enough of living in Russia and has asked for political asylum in the United States or the Netherlands.
The story has also inspired online artists like this cartoonist who has depicted Dmitry Medvedev as a little boy in tears over the loss of his pet.
And all sorts of equally wacky theories about the presidential cat’s fate are flying around. Some believe Dorofei has been kidnapped by political opponents; some are even accusing Barack Obama of taking it so he can blackmail the Russian head of state.
The rumours are as unlikely as they are unfounded, but have been so rampant that Dmitry Medvedev was forced to issue a statement via his Twitter page saying his cat had not actually gone missing. Russian web users have paid little attention to his declaration and continue to comment on the unusual story which they find highly amusing.
French television archives on YouTube
YouTube and France’s National Audiovisual Institute, INA, have announced they will soon be making 57 000 videos of archived TV content, coming directly from France’s official repository available online. Videos spanning 60 years of French TV, with sports, arts and also public interest programs, making France’s audiovisual heritage accessible to all. The project also hopes to promote French culture throughout the world.
Now trending on social networks
South African trade union ‘Solidarity’ has launched a massive campaign dubbed “Stop Absa” on social networks to protest plans for retrenchments at one of the country’s largest banking groups, Absa. The bank’s main shareholder, British group Barclays, has reportedly instructed Absa to cut its personnel costs, meaning hundreds of jobs are at risk. What makes the measures even more unwelcome is that the bank is currently making a profit. Many web users have been voicing their outrage, and are threatening to boycott Absa in protest.
Video of the day
Australian mountain bike champion Andrew Dickey decided to make Melbourne his playground. The sportsman took to the city center, defying the laws of gravity for this trial riding display, taking all sorts of unlikely routes.