Online reports of the growing number of Syrian army officers defecting to the opposition. In the US, Mitt Romney slams Barack Obama’s job record. And Google’s bid to save languages in danger of extinction;
Defections of high-ranking Syrian army officers
This video was broadcast via the Internet last week; it features four high ranking Syrian military officers, two brigadier generals and two colonels, announcing their defection; positioned in Aleppo in the north of the country, they say they are defecting, to join the FSA, the Free Syrian Army.
There is widespread popular support for the Syrian rebellion, with the rebel movement growing in numbers and becoming better coordinated every day. Men introducing themselves as soldiers have been posting messages online, announcing their intention to join the ranks of the armed opposition.
It would appear that the deserters are starting to come from higher and higher ranks within the military. One general and two colonels recently defected to Turkey, a few days later a fighter pilot landed his jet in Jordan, where he asked for political asylum. In this video Reva Bhalla, an analyst for private intelligence agency STRATFOR does specify however that most deserters are Sunni, and the army is mostly made up of Alawites.
It would seem that so far, it has been extremely rare for an officer belonging to the same Alawi minority as the president, Bashar al-Assad, to defect from the army. The growing number of Sunni soldiers joining the FSA accentuates the sectarian dimension of the Syrian conflict which has descended into escalating violence.
USA: Mitt Romney slams Barack Obama’s jobs record
With less than six months to go before the US presidential election, both candidates are in full campaigning mode. And although the two men are running neck and neck in the polls, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney appears to be the busiest when it comes to denigrating his democrat rival.
The Republican presidential nominee has just had four campaign ads produced; they are to be aired in the key states needed to claim victory in November’s election: Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa. The clips are virtually identical, available to view on Romney’s website, and present the important measures he will undertake in his first 100 days in office and the immediate benefits for the people of America, and in particular those looking for work.
The Mormon candidate has focused a great deal of his campaign on the president’s job creation record, which is described as disastrous. In these smear videos that are circulating online, Romney emphasizes the fact that during Obama’s first term in office, professional activity levels reached an all-time low, and then when the president says, as he did again recently, that the US economy is doing well, it shows just how out of touch he is with the daily reality for workers in the US.
Republican attacks on the current White House occupant are growing, and according to Obama’s campaign team, this will only intensify over the coming months. In a communiqué posted on Obama’s official re-election campaign web site, Stephanie Cutter, the outgoing president’s deputy campaign manager, says from now until the end of June, his political rivals will be investing no less than 20 million dollars in negative advertising. A colossal sum, she says, something she hopes will motivate Obama’s supporters to join the battle, by, amongst other things, making donations to help finance counter attacks on these attempts to destabilize the Democrat campaign.
Google project aims to preserve endangered languages
Koro from northern India, Navajo spoken by American Indians and Spain’s Aragonese … Google has launched a new site aimed at preserving endangered languages like these. Audio and video recordings of over 3 000 languages have already been catalogued on the site, the running of which will soon be taken over by researchers, including those from Michigan University.
Now trending on social networks
Natalie Westerman is a 22 year old British woman; her Twitter pseudonym is "Natwest"; this had never been a problem up until now. The National Westminster Bank, which is also known as “Natwest”, was recently hit by a computer bug, leaving millions of clients unable to access their online banking. Ms. Westerman has received hundreds of complaints from web users, who had mistaken her account for that of the bank. She took the avalanche of tweets with a pinch of salt, saying she had never felt so popular.
Video of the day
This web user who goes under the online pseudonym « Flippy Cat » likes paintings and dominos. He has decided to marry the two in this video in which we see him recreate Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” from just over 7 000 dominoes. Painstaking work, it took him 11 hours to build, and the likeness to the original painting is pretty impressive…