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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 : 2012-06-13

Children used as human shields by Syrian army

Evidence of children being used as human shields by the Syrian army. Celebrities in the US endorse Barack Obamaís re-election campaign. And men in Brazil can now play the guitar as they pee.

Children used as human shields by Syrian army

Children in Hama protesting against the Syrian regime; these images were posted and relayed online by activists: the footage is apparently from May 31 and illustrates how children have their part to play in the uprising and they have not been spared in the ruthless and bloody repression ordered by the authorities. The international community was shocked when some 50 children were killed in the Houla massacre.

The UN published a report this Tuesday, claiming the Syrian army has tortured and executed children, and also used some as "human shields" during clashes with rebels.

Human Rights Watch had already highlighted the practice, which is strongly condemned under international law, back in March. The NGO had interviewed several activists who claimed they saw security forces using civilians, including women and children, to protect them in the event of attacks by armed anti-government activists.

But the organization has also expressed concerns that the Free Syrian Army is recruiting children. The UN has received eye witness reports claiming children are being enrolled by the rebels, to carry out various duties, but in particular provide medical assistance on the front line.

So children are also victims in Syriaís devastating conflict. According to the Syria Violations Documentation Centre, which is run by opposition activists, at least 1183 children have been killed since the start of the uprising back in March 2011.


USA: celebrities endorse Barack Obama for re-election

As was the case for his first presidential campaign in 2008, the current White House occupant, Barack Obama, can once again count on the support of many of the big names from show business in his bid for re-election in November. Celebrities are turning to the web to urge the people of America to vote the US president in for a second term in office.

Well-known figures like actress Sarah Jessica Parker or the editor in chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour feature in videos available on Obamaís campaign website, explaining why they will be voting for the current president of the United States, and how he has, in their opinions, brought positive change to the country.

 

Stars from the Hispanic community have also stepped up in the run up to the presidential election. Actress Eva Longoria and singer Marc Anthony recently recorded these video messages targeting Latino-American voters, reminding them their vote is crucial if Barack Obama is to be re-elected and emphasizing that he is the most apt of the candidates when it comes to defending their interests.

Other public figures like rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers or singer Janelle Monae have taken less traditional routes when becoming involved in Obamaís 2012 campaign. They recently organized free concerts to thank the volunteers that campaign on behalf of the democrat candidate and raise money to help fund the presidentís campaign for a second term in office.


Sean Parker launches Aitime, a new video chat service

Last week, Napster founder Sean Parker, who was also involved in the development of Facebook and Spotify launched Airtime, a new video chat service aimed at connecting users sharing similar tastes and interests. The application has been described as a more secure version of Chatroulette, the site which inspired the American serial entrepreneur, and which (after becoming a victim if its own dazzling success) quickly became the favourite haunt for numerous online exhibitionists.


Now trending on social networks

Two members of Australiaísí swimming squad, Nick DíArcy and Kenrick Monk, have been forbidden from posting on social networks during the London Olympic Games. They have also been banned from attending the closing ceremony. Australiaís Olympic Committee is punishing them for posting a photo online in which we see them posing with fire arms in a gun shop in the United States. The measures will back up decisions made by other Olympic committees that have imposed restrictions on their athletes, limiting their use of social media platforms throughout the competition.

 

Video of the day

Play the guitar, whilst having a pee... Yes, guitar urinals are now available in a number of bars across Sao Paulo in Brazil. The idea came from music magazine Billboard, and these unusual urinals are enjoying huge success. Users can even record an MP3 file of their toilet break ëperformanceí onto their mobile phones. Itís a fun gadget and could soon catch on in other bars across the world.

By Electron Libre

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