Amateur photographers in Syria are capturing life in war-torn Homs. Cardinals will be banned from tweeting for the duration of the conclave. And we discover life through the eyes of Super Mario.
Syria: amateur photographers capture life inside war-torn Homs
A mosque ravaged by bombing, a hospital destroyed after months of fierce fighting and entire neighbourhoods reduced to rubble. These photos have been posted to this Facebook page called “Lense of a young Homsi”: administered by a group of young amateur photographers based in Homs, in central Syria: images testifying to the destruction in and around this hotbed of opposition activity caused by heavy shelling from Bashar al-Assad’s army.
In this video members of the group say they are also responding to requests from former residents who have fled the violence. Refugees have asked them, amongst other things; to upload photos of the street where they used to live to see if their house is still standing.
And these amateur photographers aren’t just focusing on gutted buildings and debris ridden roads. They have also posted numerous pictures of locals. Scenes of everyday life that illustrate the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria: civilians have been facing shortages of bread, medical supplies and fuel for months now. And of course children are the most vulnerable; even if for them life appears to be carrying on as normal.
Cardinals will not be allowed to tweet during the conclave
Benedict XVI will be officially stepping down on the 28th February, the conclave will then convene to elect his successor and the cardinals have been forbidden from using Twitter during the procedure to avoid the name of the future Pope being leaked before the formal announcement... although Twitter is only really an issue for a very small handful of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote.
Yes, there are very few active tweeters among them. One of them is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, he’s something of an online celebrity with around 83,000 followers. Micro blogging since May 2012, he only follows one account, the Pope’s, he tweets almost on a daily basis, doing his upmost to spread the word of God, and has even been known to add a touch of humour; here for example with this Batman comparison.
Another cardinal who has proved prolific on Twitter: Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture who some consider to be a possible candidate for pope. He has 39,000 web users following his regular tweets in Italian and also in Latin.
And although they do not have the same level of online popularity as Timothy Dolan and Gianfranco Ravasi, several other cardinals are boasting thousands of fans on the web. Cardinal Odilo Scherer for example, the archbishop of Sao Paulo who has around 24,000 Twitter followers and then there’s Cardinal Angelo Scola, who’s tweets are read by over 18,000 fans.
Men of the church with a firm grasp on social networking who will however be forced to put their online activity to one side throughout the duration of the conclave.
Now trending on social networks
Launched in December 2012, the Pope’s official Twitter account @pontifex which exists in various languages, collectively followed by around 3 million web users from all over the world, will be put on hold on the 28 February at 8pm when Benedict XVI officially steps down. The Pope had learnt to embrace Twitter as a way of communicating with followers of the Catholic faith and which according to the Radio Vatican website, will resume service once Benedict XVI’s successor has been appointed. Will the future Pope be equally aware of the qualities of social communication? Watch this space.
Homeless man gets huge reward for returning engagement ring
When Sarah Darling handed over her spare change to Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man in Kansas City, she didn’t notice that she had also given him her diamond studded engagement ring which she had been keeping in her purse. But instead of selling it, the homeless man waiting for her the next day, in the same place, to give her back her precious ring. To reward him for his honesty, Sarah’s husband launched on online appeal for donations to help get the man’s life back on track, which will now be possible as over 140,000 dollars has been raised so far.
Video of the day
Freddie Wong has made quite a name for himself on YouTube with his special effects-packed videos honouring the world of video games. Here’s his latest offering, which shows life thought the eye of the most famous plumber in the world Super Mario. A three dimensional clip that involved a great deal of work but totally worth it as the end result is pretty impressive indeed.