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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2013-04-28

Syria’s cultural heritage is under attack

Today on the net, as fighting continues, online reports of the damage caused to Syria’s cultural heritage; Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been hitting the online headlines; and the magical experience of swimming with dolphins.

Syria’s cultural heritage is under attack

This is where the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in the heart of Aleppo’s walled Old City, a UNESCO World heritage site, used to stand. But as we can see from these pictures circulating online, it has been reduced to rubble. This landmark mosque and precious piece of Syria’s heritage was destroyed on Wednesday after being hit by shelling as fighting continues between regime forces and rebels.

And with both sides trading blame, archeologists who have worked in Syria and have been concerned about protecting its rich cultural heritage, have condemned the destruction and loss. On this Facebook page, one group of researchers has been documenting the cultural sites across Syria that have been damaged or are under threat, their findings are largely based on images uploaded by local activists.

According to UNESCO, five of Syria’s six world heritage sites have been damaged since the start of the conflict. These videos which are being shared on social networks suggest the archeological site of Palmyra has also suffered heavy damage.

One of the world’s best preserved crusader castles, the Krak des Chevaliers, has become a battleground for fighting in recent months, with government troops and armed opposition forces, trying to gain control of this strategic location in the region of Homs.

And experts are also worried about looting and illegal digging at major archaeological sites in Syria, like here at the Doura Europas synagogue. Several organizations are involved in recovering artefacts and treasures that have been stolen from museums and historical sites.


Ramzan Kadyrov "punishes" sports minister in boxing ring

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is a big fan of social networks and Instagram in particular: he regularly posts snapshots from his personal life to the photo sharing platform and on Tuesday he uploaded a series of pictures showing him squaring off with another man in the boxing ring. The scene was also filmed by a Russian television station, and could appear somewhat insignificant given he‘s rather fond of posting photos of himself playing sport: but what makes this particular story different is that his opponent here is none other than the Sports Minister Salembek Ismailov.



As the head of the Chechen Republic explains in the comments that accompany these photos, he wanted to punish the official due to the latter’s unsatisfactory work and the current state of repair works in the building of the Chechen Physical Culture and Sports Ministry. Kadyrov believes it is a good way of reminding ministers of their duties, and of reprimanding them should they fail to complete their tasks adequately. He even joked about it saying he didn’t go as far as to knock the minister out, as he had work to do the following day.

The scenes have since been shared across the globe, sparking lively reactions online. Whilst the majority of web users have been voicing astonishment, even disapproval, over the punishment, some think it’s a pretty funny way of keeping government official’s inline, and hope their country will adopt similar methods.


Now trending on social networks

Former democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner has returned to Twitter. He was forced to resign back in 2011 when he used the micro-blogging site to share a sexually suggestive picture of himself with a woman, but inadvertently posted it to all his “followers”. His online comeback could spell a return to the political scene for this former rising star among democrats. Anthony Weiner is indeed hoping to re-launch his career and could well have his sights on running for Mayor of New York City. His recent tweets have been promoting his public policy ideas…


A journal of insomnia

The National Film Board of Canada launched its collective, interactive and social experiment: “A Journal of Insomnia” last summer, collating accounts from insomniacs the world over. Over 2,000 sleep deprived web users were asked how the disorder, which affects one in three people across the globe, affects them. The project has been featured at New York’s prestigious Tribeca Film festival, and is available to view online: but you have to register via the site and you can only watch it at night.

Video of the day

Swimming with dolphins: this magnificent video produced by Mark Peters takes you along for that unique and magical ride. Filmed along the coasts of California, with a Go Pro camera, this will no doubt prove hugely popular with nature lovers everywhere.

By Electron Libre




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