Syrian activists report on the ongoing shelling in Homs. British web users mobilize to help a 9 year schoolgirl and her blog. And a paralyzed man who uses his eyes to tweet.
Syria: Homs province under heavy shelling
Smoke billows up into the sky whilst heavy gunfire rings out in the distance. This video is being circulated on the Internet and is said to have been filmed in Homs on Monday. Syrian activists say the army has intensified shelling attacks on this opposition stronghold.
It would appear the army is shelling with heavy artillery. This footage was posted online last week, and is thought to show government troops fire mortars from the outskirts of the city.
Homs has been under attack by forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime, for months now, and residents are now lacking water, food and medical supplies. This video was apparently filmed by an activist as he rode around the Juret Al Shayah neighbourhood on his moped, and stooped to help rescue an injured person from the devastation.
And Homs is not the only city being targeted by Syrian security forces. As these pieces of amateur video footage, which are difficult to verify, suggest, attacks have also been carried out in other towns across the province, like Rastan and Talbisseh. Pockets of armed resistance are managing to escape government control. Rebels from the Free Syrian Army have managed to resist attacks from government troops in these areas. But according to reports from activists, the clashes are becoming increasingly violent.
Twitter outcry helps get 9-year-old girl’s blog back online
At just nine years old Martha Payne is without a doubt one of the youngest food critics on the blogosphere. Over the past few months, the Scottish schoolgirl has been keeping a blog about the dinners served up in her school canteen. She publishes a photo with each blog post, just like a professional, and gives a short description of her meal along with two marks out of ten, rating the nutritional value and the gastronomic quality. Her blog was an instant hit with British web users but not to the taste of the school authorities…
To begin with the school voiced no objection to the blog, but when an article about Martha’s work appeared in the local press, which was highly critical of the quality of food being given to children, they asked her to shut down her blog. The reason they gave: the young girl had not fairly represented the choices available in the canteen.
But they were not expecting a backlash from Martha Payne’s online fans who leapt to her defense, demanding she be allowed to continue her culinary reviews. Most of the campaigning took place on Twitter, with notable support from well-known chef Jamie Oliver, who had been suitably impressed by the young blogger’s posts.
A spontaneous movement with a successful outcome: Martha’s school overturned its decision and she has been allowed to continue her blog. The little girl was overjoyed by the news and posted a short message on her blog, thanking all those who stood up for her. And to illustrate her undeniable maturity at such a young age, Martha has decided to use her growing popularity to help raise money for a charity that provides meals for those in need in Africa.
Paralyzed man uses his eyes to tweet
Tony Nicklinson is not just any old Twitter user. The 57 year old British man, who posted his first tweet on June 13 suffers from “locked-in syndrome”. He is almost completely paralyzed and can only communicate through small head movements and blinking his eyes, which is how he posts messages on the micro blogging site. Mr Nicklinson hopes to raise public awareness on his condition and campaign for the right to die in dignity. His account is already proving hugely popular as it has drawn near to 12 500 web users in less than one week.
Now trending on social networks
Lady Gaga is an expert in creating a buzz on social networks, and she’s done it again. On Friday she posted photos of the bottle for her first fragrance “Fame” on Twitter. The perfume is designed for women who aim to be just as unique as the American pop star because it is the first black coloured eau de perfume. It’s the latest in a line of merchandising launched by the outlandish singer and if the reaction from web users is anything to go by then it’s set to be a huge hit – many have been expressing their desire to get their hands on a bottle.
Video of the day
American Canadian singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright asked web users for help in creating his latest video clip. They were asked to send photos to Twitter to illustrate the song “Out of the Game”. The collaboration between the artist and his fans gives interesting results, and you can check out the clip in its entirety on video sharing platforms.