Today on the net: Barack Obama defending his healthcare reform; a press freedom campaign in Syria; and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s mayoral campaign poster.
Obama defends healthcare reform
Barack Obama assures citizens the healthcare reform website is now working properly. The US government had set a deadline for last Saturday to repair and overhaul the Healthcare.gov platform, used by Americans to register for subsidized healthcare insurance. Ever since it was launched two months ago, the federal site has been plagued with all sorts of technical problems fueling criticism of the so called Obamacare.
But although there are still some ongoing glitches in the system with some social networkers reporting they are still unable to access the portal or complete their application, the Obama administration claims to be very happy with the improvements made. The developers of the site say it should now be able to handle 50 000 people using it at the same time, and that there were one million connections on Monday alone.
So for Washington the technical bugs on Healthcare.gov are now a thing of the past and they must now make up for lost time. The authorities have been posting messages to social networks aiming to convince as many Americans as possible to sign up before the December 23 deadline to start receiving coverage from January 1st.
Press freedom campaign in Syria
20 media outlets in Syria have united to launch a press freedom campaign in the country. They have posted a statement on their “Free Press for Syria” website; explaining how the media is intimidated, threatened and abused by Jihadi armed groups and the Syrian regime, and they are seeking improved working conditions.
They have also started a petition demanding an end to the crimes and abuses against journalists and media professionals and urge the international community to stand with them and take action for the safety of journalists and freedom of speech in Syria.
The abuses against the press are detailed in a recent report released by Reporters without Borders which considers Syria to be the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. The NGO reports that 110 news providers have been killed in Syria since March 2011, killed in targeted attacks or collateral damage of the fighting between rebels and the regular army. Journalists are also facing the growing threat of abduction, 60 or so are currently believed to be detained, held hostage or missing.
16 of them are foreign journalists, there are several French and American journalists held by Islamist groups or the Syrian authorities, some have been detained for over a year. Their support networks have set up dedicated Facebook groups and pages, to share news, campaigning actions, and petitions for their release.
Now trending on social networks
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been in China on an official visit, and taken the opportunity to join Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter which is blocked in the country. His account drew over 200,000 followers in just a few days; with some web users still unable to forgive him for meeting with the Dalai Lama last year, something that significantly cooled relations between London and Beijing, whilst others criticize him for failing to approach the issue of human rights during the trip which has focused on trade.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s mayoral campaign poster
UMP politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is running to become the next mayor of Paris, and she’s letting web users choose her campaign poster. About the city, surrounded by supporters or a simple snapshot, voters will decide which poster they want to see plastered around the streets of Paris. The contest is being organized in collaboration with “My Photo Agency” and it’s not a first for them. Last summer the photo agency ran a similar initiative, with netizens choosing a photo to be hung in the office of Minister Delegate Fleur Pellerin.
Video of the day
It’s not a photo, or a painting, this portrait of actor Morgan Freeman was drawn on a tablet and is extremely realistic. It’s the work of British artist Kyle Lambert and available to view in a video on his website promoting his software. And the fact it took over 200 hours and 285 000 brushstrokes to complete, makes it all the more impressive.