Iranian blogger dies in custody
An Iranian blogger has died in detention after being arrested by the authorities. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s online popularity wanes following his defeat in the US presidential election. And web users are asked to help fund the preservation of French heritage sites.
Iranian blogger dies after arrest
Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti died in detention on Tuesday, and according to his sister, in an interview for opposition site Kaleme, the prison authorities broke the news to his family with the following words: "buy a grave and come and collect his body".
The 35-year-old worker had been arrested 6 days early by Iran’s cyber police for “propaganda against the regime”. The political activist had written posts and articles on Facebook and his blog denouncing amongst other things the corruption and human rights violations in his country. In his final post published on October 29 he said he had received death threats over his anti-government blogging activity.
And it has been suggested that Beheshti was tortured to death by his jailers. The blogger was being interrogated in a special wing for political prisoners in northern Tehran’s notorious Evin prison; he had written an official complaint alleging ill treatment during his first days in detention.
The NGO Human Rights Watch claims torture is common place in Iranian prisons, saying that since 2009; at least 15 political prisoners have died in detention.
Several governments including Paris and Washington have issued appeals to Tehran to clarify the circumstances surrounding Beheshti’s death. On Sunday, the Iranian parliament also announced it had opened an enquiry.
Mitt Romney is losing thousands of Facebook friends
Since his defeat in the US Presidential Election, Mitt Romney has been losing thousands of Facebook friends by the day. In less than a week over 66 000 web users have defriended the former Republican candidate on the social network. This article on the “San Francisco Chronicle” blog reports that his popularity started to wane as soon as Barack Obama was declared the winner and with the GOP politician notably absent on the web the phenomenon looks set to continue in the coming weeks.
Romney made great use of social networks throughout his presidential campaign in a bid to win over as many voters as possible, but since November 6 his online communication has been virtually nonexistent. Once the results were officially confirmed, the former governor for Massachusetts simply posted this photo to Facebook thanking his supporters. Nothing more, and his last tweets date to Election Day itself urging voters to go to the polls, ever since, Twitter silence.
This is all in stark contrast to Barack Obama who has always been and continues to be highly active online. The re-elected president has stepped up his tweeting and Facebook posts since his victory: a strong online presence that has won him around one million additional fans on the social network since November 6.
Facebook profile picture exhibition
A couple of London based artists are spearheading a project to get Facebook profile pictures hanging in prestigious museums round the globe. The Louvre in Paris and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art are among establishments to have expressed interest, but under one condition: the project’s Facebook page must first reach one million members. For the moment, just 6,000 people have joined the group, but the duo behind the project are optimistic and are already planning a mini exhibition featuring the first one thousand members.
Crowdfunding the preservation of French heritage sites
The French National Monuments centre is asking web users for donations to help fund building and restoration work on the Mont Saint Michel in Normandy and the Panthéon in Paris. The project has been launched in collaboration with crowd funding site “My Major Company” which up until now specialized in music. Four sites have already been shortlisted for the operation, and depending on the amount of money invested, sponsors could see their names or even their photos on display at the monument they helped renovate.
Video of the day
This time-lapse video entitled "NYC Dark" shows New York City during the blackout following hurricane Sandy at the end of October; entire neighbourhoods of the Big Apple without power … nothing looks the way it should, the city that never sleeps in total darkness…