Satellite photos used to observe Sudan border clashes. Venezuelan authorities dispel online rumours about Hugo Chavez’s state of health. And Brazilian footballer Kaka is Twitter’s most popular sports star.
Satellite photos used to observe Sudan border clashes
These satellite pictures, taken on April 16th, show aircrafts from the Sudanese military stationed at the El Obeid air base, not far from the South Sudan border. The images were supplied by the company DigitalGlobe and analyzed by the NGO Sentinel Satellite Project, which was co-founded by American actor George Clooney, to detect and deter potential war crimes in this oil rich border region that both Sudan and South Sudan claim.
According to the NGO’s latest report, the conflict has become increasingly violent since the South Sudanese army seized Heglig on April 10th. Khartoum regained controlled of the area ten days later following fierce fighting. As we can see in these satellite pictures dating from April 15th, the region’s oil facilities have been badly hit; both sides blaming the other for the damage.
Other images from the region appear to bear witness to the shelling and destruction reportedly unleashed by Juba’s army in a Sudanese military base where it would seem entire buildings have been razed to the ground.
And the NGO continues to monitor, from space, army movements from both sides of the border. The aim is to protect civilians, and the system is already proving successful. Back in September, these satellite photos exposed columns of armored vehicles heading towards the town of Kurmuk near the Ethiopian border. The NGO was able to raise the alarm, meaning many residents were able to flee before the attack.
Chavez death rumors spread online
When Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba, went unusually quiet for ten days, the online rumour mill became rife with speculation over his state of health, sowing doubt as to whether he would be running in October’s presidential election. The authorities are trying to dispel the rumours and are largely turning to social networks to do so.
Venezuela’s Information Ministry posted five photos to its Facebook page at the beginning of the week ; showing the head of state wearing a tracksuit, walking around a garden in Havana with his Minister of Foreign Affairs. The shots were released to prove Hugo Chavez is in good health and there is absolutely no evidence to support the rumours circulating online claiming he’s on the brink of death.
Supporters of the Venezuelan president have been flooding social media platforms, and Twitter in particular, posting messages under hashtags like “Chavez is alive and well” or “Chavez will be around for a while”. Many have condemned his critics for spreading false information on the web, and some are even calling upon Chavez to make a public appearance as soon as possible to silence these prophets of doom.
On Monday the President himself finally decided to take action, he made a telephone call to the Venezuelan state television station and posted a statement on his official Twitter page. He wrote two messages for web users, telling them that he was feeling particularly well and that he would soon be back in the country.
The news will be of reassurance to the head of state’s fans, but does not appear to have gone down too well with his detractors, there has been a proliferation of tweets over the past few days, with critics voicing their grievances with Chavez and demanding he step down from power.
Now trending on social networks
British web users have been using the expression "#Double dip" to criticize their government, following the announcement the UK economy has officially returned to recession after having two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. The criticism is mainly aimed at the Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Finance Minister, George Osborne, who social networkers blame for implementing a drastic austerity plan which did nothing to boost the country’s economy.
Football player Kaka is the most popular athlete on Twitter
Brazilian soccer star, Kaka, who plays for Réal Madrid, has become the first athlete to hit the 10 million followers mark on Twitter. Also on the podium, Kaka’s team mate Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo who has a little under 9 million followers, and in third position former US basketball star Shaquille O’Neal who’s Twitter thread is followed by some five and half million web users.
Video of the day
Police in Geneva, Switzerland, have arrested the driver who posted this video online, filmed as he recklessly rode his motorbike through the city and along the motorway. Police were able to identify the foolhardy biker from the footage, and he has been charged with serious violation of the road traffic law and endangering others.