Bahrain authorities criticized for extensive use of tear gas. Online debate over civil marriage in Lebanon. And a London based modeling agency focusing on unusual looking people.
Bahrain authorities criticized for extensive use of tear gas
The government of Bahrain is under fire from activists for its extensive use of tear gas against protesters across the country. Such criticism has intensified following the death of 8 year old Qassim Habib on the 26th of January. According to regime opponents, the little boy died from exposure to gas a few days after the authorities launched an attack on his village Karbadad; an assault filmed and posted online by an opposition group, as we can see here.
The government has been quick to refute these allegations. Bahrain’s public prosecutor said in a statement that the boy’s death had been investigated and he died from complications relating to severe pneumonia, and not from exposure to tear gas.
Explanations that appear to absolve the security forces from all responsibility, but government critics are not convinced, far from it. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain claims many protesters have been wounded by the authorities’ extensive use of tear gas and thirty or so demonstrators have actually died. The NGO says these figures highlight the need to open up an independent enquiry to shed more light on Qassim Habib’s death.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights wholeheartedly agrees and says on its website that the little boy isn’t the only person in the kingdom to have died from tear gas inhalation this month. The organization is stalking about Habeeb Ebrahim, an 87 year old man who reportedly died on the 12th of January after breathing in a significant dose of gas.
Online debate over civil marriage in Lebanon
Nidal and Kholoud recently tied the knot. But for this Sunni-Shiite couple, their civil marriage is not recognized by the Lebanese state. In Lebanon each of the 18 different religious authorities are responsible for the marriages within their community; and so with mixed faith couples, one of the spouses has to convert to the other’s religion in order to officially marry.
But a civil marriage is recognized however if it is performed abroad. And so many Lebanese people are now getting married outside their country, in Cyprus in particular, as we can see from this Facebook group started by couples campaigning for the legalization if civil marriage in Lebanon.
The matter has divided the local political class. The Christian president Michel Suleiman has taken to Twitter to speak in favour of legislation that would allow civil marriages in Lebanon.
But the Sunni Prime Minister Najib Mikati has also posted on the micro blogging site; he is more reticent and feels it’s a matter for national consensus.
The Grand Mufti of Lebanon Mohammed Rashid Qabbani has voiced his firm opposition to such a change in legislation and has issued a fatwa condemning anyone who supports the bill.
And with the matter sparking lively debate online, supporters of civil marriage are busy campaigning. On Facebook, activists are urging people to join a rally in Beirut on Monday to appeal to lawmakers to address the problem.
Now trending on social networks
After France back in October, it’s now Mexico’s turn to be hit by a wave of anti-Semitic messages on Twitter. Last week one of the country’s most popular hash tags was« #Es de Judios », which means « It’s Jewish to …” the torrent of tasteless jokes has been condemned by numerous outraged micro-bloggers. A complaint may indeed be lodged, as has been the case in France, where a court has ordered Twitter to assist in the identification of authors of litigious tweets in order to start legal proceedings against them.
"Ugly Models" agency focuses on unusual-looking people
London based « Ugly models » is a somewhat unusual modeling agency. As it says on its website it only deals with models that have an unusual physique or extravagant look. Tattoos, deformities, extremely tall, exceptionally short, all the artists are recruited for their unconventional and unique appearance. And although they don’t necessarily correspond to the modern day perception of beauty, a number of them have worked for the world’s leading fashion houses.
Video of the day
Is man faster than the Parisian subway? The people behind this video set themselves the unlikely task of answering this all important question; the experiment involved getting off at a station, running to the next station and trying to get there in time to board the same train. A very physical task, filmed on several cameras along the way, which you can check out in this very dynamic final edit.