Today on the net: a series of scandals involving officials from Russia’s ruling party; celebrities campaigning against fracking in the US; and the photo of a curvy shop window mannequin which has set the web abuzz.
Russian bloggers expose lavish lifestyles of Putin loyalists
Jet setting lifestyles, luxury apartments, children educated abroad …. Over the past few weeks in Russia, opponents of Vladimir Putin have been exposing a series of scandals involving officials from the ruling United Russia party.
MP Vladimir Pekhtin was forced to resign amid revelations concerning assets. Last month blogger Andrey Zaiakine aka Doct-Z had published documents online alleging the MP owned two sea front apartments in Florida, but hadn’t declared them to parliament.
More recently, the website for weekly The New Times published findings from an investigation into Irina Yarovaya, another MP for Vladimir Putin’s party. The document accuses the chairperson of the State Duma anti-corruption committee of living in an apartment worth around 3 million dollars. Property she did not mention in her annual declaration on income, as it belonged to her daughter, who was 17 at the time of purchase.
One of Russia’s leading opposition figures, Anti-corruption blogger Alexey Navalny, has turned his attention to senator Vitaly Malkin, publishing documents that suggest the business oligarch has failed to declare ownership of 111 properties in Toronto.
And the vice speaker of the Russian Duma, Sergey Zheleznyak became embroiled in scandal after web users revealed his daughters were attending schools in Switzerland and the UK. Which is somewhat surprising given his ardent support for “patriotic education’ lessons across Russia
Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon’s anti-fracking protest song
This music video is called « Don’t frack my mother »; the protest song was posted online by a group of artists founded by Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon. The video features a bunch of American celebrities, with a message for the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, calling for him to ban hydraulic fracturing for gas.
This drilling technique, known as fracking, is already used to extract shale gas from the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania. And as local resident Vera Scroggins says it is having a disastrous impact on the environment. The activist regularly posts videos to YouTube, denouncing the exploitation of this gas which is expected to help the US reduce its energy dependence.
But a number of environmental organizations like "Earth Justice" are concerned about the chemical agents added to the water and sand mixture used to wrench open rock deep beneath the earth’s surface: chemicals that could well contaminate groundwater tables… This interactive map has been created to highlight the dangers of fracking, and is seeking to pinpoint all fracking related incidents across the United States, from water contamination to air emission and also well explosions.
“Veronica Mars” film a go thanks to crowdfunding
American scriptwriter Rob Thomas managed to raise over 3,5 million dollars via crowdfunding site Kickstarter in just five days. He told potential backers he wanted to make a feature length film based on the “Veronica Mars” TV series which stopped airing in 2007 and followed the adventures of a high school student come detective. This record breaking effort has convinced Warner Bros, which owns the rights to the show, of its immense popularity. Filming is due to start in the summer and the movie will hit cinema screen sometime next year.
Now trending on social networks
And what if from now on the mannequins on display in shop windows were more size 12-14 than size 6-8? This photo said to have been taken in an H & M clothing store in Sweden has been doing the rounds on social networks, with many taking to Twitter to praise the initiative. H & M however say the image is not from one of their stores, and it turns out the photo was in fact taken back in 2010 for Swedish clothing line Åhléns. In view of the overwhelming positive response H & M is now considering using more curvy mannequins in the future.
Video of the day
Professional wingsuit flyers, Frenchman Ludovic Woerth and Norwegian Jokke Sommer have a taste for danger… Without any prior authorization, they embarked on a free fall over Rio de Janeiro… the high point of this fall which involved no safety net: the moment they fell between two skyscrapers before landing safely on Brazilian tarmac…