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Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

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Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

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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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WEB NEWS

Latest update : 2012-05-29

Syrian bombardment of Hama

Syrian cyber activists report on the latest attack on the city of Hama. A video of a Saudi woman defying the religious police sparks online debate. And protesters from Spain’s « indignants » movement seeking to bring bankers to justice.

Syrian bombardment of Hama


The bloodshed continues in Syria, despite international outrage over the massacre in Houla. Activists have posted numerous pieces of video footage on the Internet which suggest that at the very moment the UN Security Council met on Sunday to condemn the killings, the city of Hama was bombarded by forces loyal to the Damascus regime. Areas of the city used as bases for rebels from the Free Syrian Army were apparently the worst hit.

According to reports from opposition groups at the scene, at least 41 people were killed in the shelling, including 8 children. In this video, filmed in a field hospital, a man expresses his anger and pain, saying he lost two brothers in the attack.

Numerous activists have been voicing their distress and dismay online. Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled anti-Assad activist, has criticized the UN Observer mission on his blog, calling it a total failure, bearing in mind the level of violence across Syria over the past few days.

But despite recent attacks, and as this footage said to have been filmed on Monday morning would suggest, the movement against the Bashar al-Assad regime is showing no signs of waning in the region of Hama.

 

Saudi woman defies religious police over nail polish

The incident apparently took place in a shopping centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last week. A young woman was stopped by the religious police, responsible for enforcing Sharia law in public places: her crime: she was wearing nail varnish. They told her to leave the mall but she defied their orders, saying they were harassing her. She filmed the altercation on her mobile phone and posted the video online; it has already been viewed over a million times and has sparked lively debate on the role of the religious police.

And although certain web users have criticized the actions of the young woman, who has not been identified, most have expressed support. In this article female blogger Eman Al Nafjan talks about how the religious police terrorize people and often make mistakes.

According to reports from local media, an official enquiry has been opened and the woman may end up being prosecuted. The government commission that employs the religious police says it is in fact forbidden to film officers as they carry out their duties.

And this would not be the first time a Saudi woman has found herself in trouble with the police for posting a video on the Internet. Last year, Manal Al Sharif spent over a week in prison for filming herself driving a car as part of her campaign for women in Saudi Arabia to be given the right to drive.


Now trending on social networks

Protesters from Spain’s « indignants » movement are intent on finding those responsible for the current financial crisis across Europe. And they have been campaigning on Twitter under the hashtag “Nuremberg financiero", meaning a “financial Nuremberg”. They want certain business bankers from the large commercial banks to stand trial, saying they are guilty of committing an “Estafa”; fraud on a global level. Among those they would like to see in the dock: Rodrigo Rato, former managing director of Bankia, whose resignation sparked this campaign.


Sounds from a construction site

The Paris Philharmonic Concert Hall is currently under construction and should be completed by 2014. In the meantime, musicians and composers can have a bit of fun composing pieces using the sounds recorded from the construction site… so a melody of saws, cranes, steam rollers, and pneumatic drills…


Video of the day

Fall in love, have children, watch them grow up, get older and… win at bingo! This video, part of an advertising campaign, was produced using photographs from the Getty Images Agency. The editors Sophie Schoenburg and Marcus Kotlhar, sifted through 5 000 unknown photos, over a six month period, before choosing the 873 shots for the video. Posted online last week, it has already received 1.7 million hits on YouTube.

By Electron Libre

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