Italy’s populist 5-star movement holds its primaries online. Bahraini activists condemn the security siege on the village of Mahazza. And a music video relatesJohn McAfee’s time on the run and his subsequent arrest.
Italy’s 5-Star Movement holds online vote to pick candidates
Silvio Berlusconi’s return to Italian politics could well be a blessing for former comedian Beppe Grillo, who in 2009, set up the 5-Star Movement, a populist movement united under growing contempt for conventional political parties, discredited by ongoing corruption and scandals.
Transparency is indeed the watchword for this unusual movement which relies extensively on the Internet to communicate. And the group held an online vote to pick its candidates for parliament in Italy’s next general election in 2013, choosing from a pool of 1 400 activists who have been busy campaigning online, and via YouTube videos in particular.
Beppe Grillo announced the results on his blog. The comic, who did not run in these online primaries, states that around 95 000 electronic votes were registered and women feature strongly among the candidates for parliaments 945 elected seats.
But the online vote has been criticized by some activists, who have said, in the press, that there were no independent observers to monitor the ballot. Questions have been raised over the integrity of the electoral process whilst former members of the movement recently claimed leaders of the party were guilty of authoritarian tendencies.
But the 5-star movement which campaigns in particular for a referendum on Italy’s membership of Europe’s single currency, holds 19 % of voting intentions in latest polls, making it the country’s second most powerful political force.
Bahrain: Mahazza village still under siege
For almost a month now, the village of Mahazza in Bahrain has been under a security siege by the country’s Interior Ministry, that claims it is a hotbed of opposition activity against the regime; a situation that is facing growing condemnation online.
Opposition movement Al-Wefaq for example explains on its website that life has become unbearable for the besieged village. In just one month, 90 people have reportedly been arrested by the authorities for no valid reason and at least 330 suspected opponents have had their homes raided and ransacked by police.
Acts that have prompted residents to take to the streets on several occasions in recent weeks, to voice their anger. As we can see from this footage filmed at the end of November, the rallies often ended up being ruthlessly broken up by security forces, using tear gas amongst other things to disperse protesters.
But the many opposition activists in the village and their supporters across the country do not seem put off by the violence, and have taken to social networks to condemn the current situation in Mahazza. Numerous posters and other messages are circulating online urging support for the villagers and appealing to the international community to take action.
Activists are also sharing pictures of people arrested by the regime on social networks; with web users appealing to the authorities to release them immediately or at least let their families know where and how they are.
Now trending on social networks
Replace the messages written on homeless people’s signs with jokes: this is how French comedian Luigi Li hopes to help the homeless grab the attention of passersby. The photos have been posted to this blog entitled "Un sourire s’il vous plaît", meaning "a smile please" and are soon to be sold with all proceeds going to charity. The project has been met with mixed reactions online; some web users think it’s a great idea, whilst others have criticized it accusing the artist of using the homeless to boost his own reputation.
Map shows every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz
The web site "Bomb Sight" features an interactive map charting every German bomb dropped on London during the Blitz, from the 7th September 1940 to the 11th May 1941. Developed by the University of Portsmouth, the platform provides all sorts of information on the damage German planes inflicted on the British capital, along with photos taken during that period, so that web users can build a clearer picture of the violence of the bombing and just what a terrible predicament Londoners were in.
Video of the day
John McAfee, who created the anti-virus software company that bears his name and who went on the run after being named a suspect in the murder of his neighbour in Belize, has received a lot of media coverage. He also inspired the site ¨Pando Dolly” to create this video relating the incredible tale, poking fun at his obsession with his blog, that he continued to update until his recent arrest in Guatemala.