'Armani Communist' divides China

  • 6 February 2016
Male student with his mother attending a government meeting in China. Image copyright Chinanews.com
Image caption Liu Bo's mother said the suit was a gift from the organiser of a concert he performed at.

When Liu Bo attended a regional communist party event as the official ambassador of local students it wasn't his youthful demeanour which made the biggest impression.

Nor was it the remarks which the 14-year-old made to the Shenzhen People's Political Consultative Conference, calling for the greater use of non-exam based assessments in the Chinese education system.

What made people stare, and what rapidly become a major topic of conversation as photos of Liu spread across Chinese social media this week, was what he was wearing.

Around his neck was a red scarf of the type worn by Chairman Mao's Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution and now standard issue wear for the Communist Party Youth League. But Liu had paired that with what was taken to be an Armani suit, because of the lapel badge he was wearing with the distinctive logo of the Italian luxury brand.

In the eyes of many Chinese observers this was not so much a wardrobe malfunction as a clash of ideologies in a single outfit. Some on China's micro blogging platform Weibo dubbed Liu the "Armani Youngster" and attacked his choice of clothing.

Image copyright Weibo.com

Read full article 'Armani Communist' divides China

Madonna causes a commotion in Taiwan

  • 5 February 2016
Madonna post status on Facebook Image copyright Facebook/Madonna
Image caption For many Taiwanese the star design surrounding the singer is a symbol of historical oppression.

Madonna is no stranger to controversy, but her attempts to endear herself to both Taiwan and China could well be her most misjudged foray into Asia since starring in the movie Shanghai Surprise.

The singer has managed to alienate fans in both of the two rival nations by her use of symbols and flags on the latest stage of her 'Rebel Heart' tour.

Read full article Madonna causes a commotion in Taiwan

PM left red nosed by censorship protest

  • 3 February 2016
PM as clown Image copyright Facebook/GRUPA
Image caption A portrait that probably won't grace the walls of the prime minister's office

When Malaysian police warned activist and graphic designer Fahmi Reza that his Twitter account was under surveillance after he posted an image of the prime minister, Najib Razak, as a clown, they probably hoped such behaviour would stop.

But then members of an art collective, Grupa posted even more clownish images of the premier to express their solidarity with him and to champion the ideal of free speech.

Read full article PM left red nosed by censorship protest

Internet anger after former police brutality victim found dead in her cell

  • 3 February 2016
Security camera photo Image copyright Neumans
Image caption The PC who assaulted Ms Reed in 2012 was later dismissed from the Met

In 2012, Sarah Reed was the victim of an assault by a police officer. Her death in a prison cell last month has prompted a surge of online grief and anger, driven by black British Twitter users.

Sarah Reed, 30, lived a life punctuated by tragic events. Her newborn baby died in 2003, and she suffered from mental health problems and drug addiction. In November 2012, she was arrested, and ultimately convicted, for shoplifting in Regent Street in London. A CCTV video showed her being kicked, punched and being pinned to the ground by Metropolitan Police PC James Kiddie, 46. He was found guilty of common assault, given 150 hours of community service and dismissed from the force.

Image copyright Twitter/@Writersof Colour

Read full article Internet anger after former police brutality victim found dead in her cell

'We are very sorry but Denmark is not such a bad place'

  • 3 February 2016
Image of the Danish Queen smoking Image copyright Facebook/DR3
Image caption 'Our Queen smokes and her husband doesn't work.'

"Hello world, we are very sorry but Denmark is not such a bad place!"

So begins a satirical video created by the Danish state TV Channel DR3 with the aim of doing something about the country's recent "bad reputation". It follows widespread international condemnation of the Danish parliament's decision to pass a controversial bill which allows the government to confiscate some valuables from incoming refugees to cover the cost of housing and feeding them.

Read full article 'We are very sorry but Denmark is not such a bad place'

'Boycott death boats'

  • 1 February 2016
Boy held aloft from sea Image copyright Facebook/Nour Aleman
Image caption This photo was posted on the Facebook page on 25th January with a caption urging people not to attempt sea crossings until Summer

"Please, warn the migrants not to take to the sea between Greece and Turkey, there are swirls in the sea and high waves that can bring ships down and the temperatures are really low too...Those who have decided to migrate, wait for the Summer. Boycott death boats."

This was the message posted in Arabic on a Facebook page set up by Syrians to help other Syrians, who are contemplating making the treacherous sea journey to northern Europe. It accompanied a photo showing men desperately swimming around a perilously overloaded dinghy onboard which a child is being held aloft to keep them safe.

Read full article 'Boycott death boats'

Instagram imams are unlikely online hit

  • 1 February 2016
Photos of clergymen in public Image copyright Instagram/@talabehtoday

They shoot hoops with schoolgirls, pose with Christmas trees to wish seasons greetings to Christians and even make the tea. These are not images of Iranian clerics which the world is so used to seeing.

But an Instagram account that posts pictures of Islamic scholars in everyday situations has become a social media success in Iran and has more than 12,000 followers.

Read full article Instagram imams are unlikely online hit

Will 'Black Lives Matter' change America in an election year?

  • 30 January 2016
Child at a demo with a banner that says "Stop The Violence"

"They killed him for no reason, and they got every excuse in the world as to why they killed him."

These are the words of a grieving mother, Panzy Edwards, who I met on the South Side of Chicago, one of America's most iconic black neighbourhoods. It's a violent place - almost 50 people have been shot dead in Chicago just this year, many of them in this area.

Read full article Will 'Black Lives Matter' change America in an election year?

The polygamy hoax that spread from Iraq to Eritrea

  • 30 January 2016
Tweet Image copyright @asmali77 / Twitter
Image caption The hoax spawned a host of jokes online

A false rumour that men in Eritrea would be legally obliged to marry at least two women went viral this week. But it's a hoax that has hit at least four countries to date, and actually began in Iraq, where it wasn't as implausible as it seems.

When a far fetched story about enforced polygamy in Eritrea began circulating, it captured attention across the continent. But in fact similar stories - all of them false - have cropped up in a number of countries since the beginning of the year.

Read full article The polygamy hoax that spread from Iraq to Eritrea

5 things we learned from Kanye's epic Twitter meltdown

  • 29 January 2016
Kanye West Image copyright Getty Images

It may well go down in history as the most epic Twitter rant of all time.

Kanye West's rampage in response to criticism of the name of his upcoming album "Waves" by fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa is already the stuff of social media legend.

Read full article 5 things we learned from Kanye's epic Twitter meltdown