Chinese bloggers expose more corruption. Syrian activists highlight the problem of forced marriages in refugee camps. And a British DIY enthusiast has developed the world’s fastest pram…
Chinese bloggers expose more corruption
A sumptuous three story villa, several apartments in well to do neighbourhoods across the southern city of Canton, not to mention boutiques, factories and parking spaces… a web user posted these photos and official documents online last week claiming all these properties belong to local government official Cai Bin. 21 properties with an estimated value of 40 million Yuan, that’s around 5 million euros.
These revelations were soon relayed online, sparking outrage among Chinese web users. Social networkers have been wondering how the urban management official who earns in the region of 10 000 Yuan per month can afford such luxury homes.
Given the scale of the scandal and suspicions of corruption the Canton authorities have suspended Cai Bin from his post whilst they carry out an investigation. He has been accused, amongst other things, of concealing much of his real estate portfolio.
A victory for cyber activists who have been going through property assets belonging to their government officials with a fine tooth comb, looking for anomalies. A list of China’s flushest officials has found its way online in recent days. And at the top we find a local communist party official who owns no less than 84 properties.
This isn’t the first time web users have exposed the luxurious tastes of corrupt politicians. A high ranking official from Fujian province was recently named and shamed on social networks after reportedly blocking a newspaper from printing an article about him. The story featured these photos showing him wearing a designer watch and belt, an image that has since been widely relayed online.
Syrian refugees forced into marrying off their daughters
Syrian activists have launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign with the tag line “Refugees not captives”… some Syrian refugee families are indeed being forced to marry off their daughters to wealthy men from Libya, Jordan and other countries across the region. It’s becoming increasingly common practice, and web users are highly concerned.
As this Egyptian blogger explains, what makes it particularly alarming is that the main victims are underage girls who are bought for paltry sums of money by men with no scruples, exploiting the financial distress of families living in refugee camps. She says it’s obscene and must be stopped immediately.
And although most of this human trafficking is taking place directly in the camps, according to the people behind this Facebook page, social networks also have a part to play…. And to illustrate the extent of the problem, they have published some of the many messages posted online by foreign men looking for a Syrian wife.
More and more people are now taking to the web to post signs and photos expressing solidarity with the young women living in the refugee camps. Here for example, Syrian men are holding placards slamming these forced marriages. But although campaigning is intensifying, the situation looks set to worsen over the coming months. The United Nations estimates that there will be over 700 000 Syrian refugees in camps across the region by the end of the year, and three quarters of them will be women and children.
Connected vest gives hugs for Facebook likes
This vest was developed by Melissa Chow, a researcher at the prestigious M.I.T. Media Lab. Each time one of your Facebook friends “likes” your photo, video or status update, the vest inflates, to squeeze you, and makes you feel like you’re getting a hug. It’s one way of adding a more human touch to social networking.
Imitating Lana Del Rey
On this Facebook group called “Your face Del Rey” web users are asked to try and imitate Lana Del Rey’s various pouts! And the idea is taking off, as we can see from the numerous photos posted to the said page, illustrating once again that the American singer is a popular target for ridicule.
Video of the day
This is without a doubt, the world’s fastest pram, complete with an engine and gear stick, reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h. It was invented by wacky British DIY enthusiast Colin Furze, who may have some difficulty persuading parents, as in this unusual pram, the ride for baby is anything but smooth…