Today on the net: the trial of Russian blogger and opposition leader Alexeï Navalny re-opens; conspiracy theorists are suggesting Boston bombings suspect Djokhar Tsarnaev is innocent; and a soap could help combat the spread of malaria in Africa.
Trial of Russian anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny reopens
The trial of Russian opposition activist Alexeï Navalny reopened on Wednesday after an initial hearing last week: the well-known blogger has been accused of embezzling 400 000 euros from a state run timber company back in 2009.
Navalny insists the story has been fabricated and is trying to defend himself via his website. He has uploaded a number of documents and financial reports to try and convince web users of his innocence.
He is also implicated in several other legal probes, and accuses the president Vladimir Putin of pulling strings and manipulating the legal system in a bid to silence him. A trained lawyer, Navalny made a name for himself when he began exposing corruption affairs via the web, and has become a leading opposition figure. A role he assumed after the wave of anti-Kremlin protests that swept the country after the ruling party won the parliamentary elections back in 2011.
Over the past few days, many of his supporters have been voicing their backing online. Dozens of web users have posted photos to this Facebook page – they are all holding a sign condemning the trial against Navalny.
Support for Boston bombing suspect spreads on social media sites
On Monday the American authorities officially charged Djokhar Tsarnaev for his involvement in the deadly double bombing attack in Boston, yet despite the evidence, a growing number of people have taken to the web to defend the 19 year old, concocting theories to challenge the accusations made against him.
Conspiracy theorists have been sharing their thoughts under the hashtag #FreeJahar, saying there are enough grey areas in this case to call Tsarnaev’s involvement in the Boston bombing into question. Some have produced photomontages saying the suspects’ backpack doesn’t match the one found at the bomb site, or that the backpack he was wearing was too small to be carrying a pressure cooker bomb.
Others like the person who posted this video to YouTube have taken conspiracy theory fever one step further, imaging all sorts, and accusing the FBI of manufacturing evidence and using Djokhar Tsarnaev and his brother as scape goats in the Boston marathon bombings. The clip suggests the American authorities edited at least one of the photos of the younger brother that was released to the public…
Additional online support for Djokhar Tsarnaev comes in the form of a petition started on the site Change.org - it says he should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, and demands a fair and equal hearing. It has already gathered over 9 500 signatures.
But many are uncomfortable with this online movement in favour of the suspect. Countless social networkers have been saying it is particularly inappropriate and have been openly criticizing anyone involved.
Online campaign to buy Dave Henneberry a new boat
It was when he went out into his garden in Watertown to smoke a cigarette that David Henneberry discovered Djokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat. The 66-year-old alerted the police immediately and they were able to apprehend the second suspect in the Boston marathon bombings. But in the gunfire that ensued Henneberry’s boat was riddled with bullets; and so web users have started an online appeal for donations to buy a new boat to express their gratitude to the man they now consider a hero.
Now trending on social networks
Bill Gates meeting with South Korean president Park Geun-Hye on Monday has certainly got social networkers talking. Many have criticized the Microsoft founder for his laid back attitude, when he greeted the head of state with a handshake he did so with the other hand in his pocket! Many found this to be disrespectful towards the South Korean president, and its sparked something of an avalanche of commentary on Twitter, with posts reminding Bill gates there is some kind of etiquette involved in this type of occasion…
Video of the day
A mosquito repellant soap to help combat the spread of malaria in Africa, where it is the leading cause of death. Developed by two students from the International higher education and research Institute for Water and Environmental engineering based in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, the “Faso soap” contrary to traditional anti-malaria products which are often too expensive for people living in poorer countries is much more affordable. You can get a more detailed overview in this presentation video produced by Check-in Films.