Tag Archives: viral video

Belgium tourist boards latch on to cat craze on social media

Belgium’s tourist boards have latched onto a social media craze of cats that gave Brussels light relief during a tense five-day security lockdown in the wake of militant attacks in Paris.

Images of the city’s streets deserted as security forces hunted suspected Islamist militants have dealt a blow to Belgium’s tourism industry, with hotels reporting many cancellations.

When police on Sunday asked the public in Brussels not to share details of their operations on social media, Belgians took to tweeting each other pictures of their cats.

Capitalizing on the social media hit, Belgium’s three tourist authorities have now released a 20 second video film showing cats at Brussels’s landmarks such as the historic Grand Place or the Atomium, which they said was filmed at the height of the lockdown.

The video depicts cats dancing all over the city, some wearing black bowler hats or with green apples in front of their faces in a nod to paintings of the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte.

In the background, a saxophone is heard, an invention of the Belgian Adolphe Sax. The original trend drew a warm response on social media, and the tourist authorities said they wanted to show how proud they were of Brussels and its residents for their good-humored response to the crisis.

Belgium’s capital has been on maximum alert since Saturday over the threat of a possible Paris-style attack. A coordinated assault in which 130 people were killed in Paris on Nov. 13 was claimed by Islamic State.

Brussels, home to the European Commission, reopened its metro system and schools on Wednesday, albeit with armed police and soldiers still patrolling.

“Tourism Flanders, Visit Brussels and Wallonia-Brussels Tourism are proud of the people of Brussels and wanted to give them an extra boost,” they said. “Their winking cats evoked great sympathy at home and abroad.”

On the Web…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AB6K7rWlG4 

2 men reach plea deal in beating of gay couple, banned from Philadelphia’s downtown

Two men accused of beating a gay couple in a case helped solved by social media sleuths will avoid prison time under a plea agreement announced late last week that outraged members of the gay community.

Instead, prosecutors said, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan must stay away from downtown Philadelphia for several years, pay just under $1,000 in restitution and perform 200 hours of service at a facility serving the LGBT community.

In a tweet, gay writer and activist Dan Savage called the sentence “appalling.”

Williams, 24, and Harrigan, 26, apologized to the victims and the judge as they pleaded guilty to assault and conspiracy charges in the attack last year that left one victim with a broken jaw and cheekbones. They said the beating wasn’t motivated by the couple’s sexual orientation.

Prosecutors said the victims, Zachary Hesse and Andy Haught, had encouraged a resolution that avoided excessive punishment while sending a positive message about tolerance and understanding. Pennsylvania’s hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation.

“Today’s agreement is certainly about justice, but it is also about honoring the wishes of the victims to make sure they can continue to heal and gain closure,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.

A third defendant, Kathryn Knott, will go to trial.

Prosecutors say Williams and Harrigan, from the suburban communities of Warminster and Warrington, were part of a group that hurled gay slurs and profanity and beat Hesse and Haught near Philadelphia’s ritzy Rittenhouse Square on Sept. 11, 2014.

The case gained attention when police posted a video of the suspects, and online followers used social media sites to help identify them.

“This affected the sense of security for all people in Center City, particularly people who are gay and lesbian,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry said. The defendants, he said, damaged Philadelphia’s reputation as a safe, gay friendly city.

The plea deal further tarnished that reputation in the eyes of dozens of Twitter users who sent the district attorney’s office messages of outrage.

One of them, Sam Ritchie of the Innocence Project, wrote: “They didn’t even admit what they did And still they got a slap on the wrist. Shame on you (at)DASethWilliams! (hash)LGBT”.

Banning defendants from a certain part of the city isn’t common, Barry said.

It’s usually employed when defendants don’t have a connection to the area where the crime occurred, he said, like when a dealer sells drugs in a neighborhood far from where he lives.

Williams must stay away from downtown for the five years of his probation. Harrigan cannot return until his three years of probation are completed. Neither objected to the ban, which was also a condition of their bail, Barry said.

They could be granted temporary exemptions to attend necessary appointments, Barry said.

Williams and Harrigan’s whereabouts won’t be subject to electronic monitoring, but many downtown police officers are familiar with the case and know to be on the lookout, Barry said.

“It’s not the easiest thing to enforce,” he said.

Video shows police allow dogs to attack man, Amnesty seeks investigation

The Papua New Guinea authorities must carry out an independent investigation into alleged brutality by a police dog squad, after a graphic video depicted a seemingly defenseless man being repeatedly attacked, said Amnesty International. 

In the film, which has been shared on social media, the man is seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by officers holding three leashed dogs as they lunge and attack him.

While the footage has not yet been verified, it raises serious concerns about torture and other ill-treatment by police, said Amnesty in a statement to the press. Amnesty spokeswoman Rosean Rife said, “This appalling incident raises serious questions about police brutality.

“The Papua New Guinea authorities must act on this shocking footage and immediately initiate an independent investigation. Torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible must be brought to justice. The seriousness of this incident is highlighted by this man’s humiliation and his screams of pain. It is difficult to watch.”

A marked police vehicle and officers in uniforms are clearly visible in the video.

At the end of the film, the man manages to escape and runs off into the distance.

“It is unknown what injuries the man sustained, if he received any medical treatment after the ordeal, or if he was subsequently taken into custody,” Rife added.

The organization is calling for public assurances and actions to back it up by the Papua New Guinea government that torture and other ill-treatment by military, police or prison officers will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

On the Web: The video, with a warning about the images, is here.

Miss Utah botches answer to equal pay question, video goes viral

Miss Utah Marissa Powell is the latest beauty queen to trip on national television, not over her gown, but during the interview segment.

Asked about income inequality at the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas on June 16, the 21-year-old Salt Lake City resident gave a rambling, awkwardly-worded answer that included several long pauses and the phrase “create education better.”

The cringe-inducing response was getting lots of buzz on June 17. As a video of the episode racked up hundreds of thousands of views, pageant co-owner Donald Trump scolded the haters on Twitter, saying anyone can lose their train of thought.

The question was a bit of a head scratcher: “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?” asked NeNe Leakes of the reality series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Undaunted by the three-in-one prompt, Powell started: “I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive … to …,” she said, before appearing to lose her way.

She picked up after a long pause: “… figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think, especially the men are … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to . create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

Despite the stammering answer, she came in third runner-up.

Miss Utah is not the only pageant contestant to mangle the interview. Face palm answers are part of the appeal of the live show and hers was certainly not the worst recorded in a pageant.

Miss South Carolina took that crown with her 2007 “such as”-filled response to a question about why Americans can’t find their own country on a map.

That word soup answer managed to include South Africa, Iraq, nation building and an allusion to a map shortage in the United States.

Miss California 2009 brought the phrase “opposite marriage” into the mainstream when she told gay blogger Perez Hilton she opposed same-sex marriage.

Last December, Miss Venezuela became the talk of the Internet after she attempted to answer a question in English during the Miss Universe contest in Las Vegas. Her answer was unintelligible at times, and fans said it cost her the competition. But at least she had a language barrier to blame.

Miss Utah, who was still trending on Twitter a day after her flub, was keeping quiet amid the fallout.

But she did have this to say on her Miss USA page, “It’s not all about winning. It’s about examining yourself, improving and striving to showcase your individuality.”

On the Web …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlgqWeuhJj4

‘Gangnam Style’ most watched YouTube video ever

South Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” has become YouTube’s most viewed video of all time.

YouTube says in a posting on its Trends blog that “Gangnam Style” had been viewed 805 million times as of Saturday afternoon, surpassing Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which has had 803 million views.

The blog says the “velocity of popularity for PSY’s outlandish video is unprecedented.”

PSY’s video featuring his horse-riding dance was posted on YouTube in July, while “Baby” was uploaded in February 2010.

PSY’s video has become a global sensation, with many people around the world mimicking his “Gangnam Style” dance. In their October meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean, joked that he had to relinquish his title as “the most famous Korean,” and tried a few of PSY’s dance moves.

On the Web… 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9bZkp7q19f0

Video of Missouri pastor’s speech on gay rights ordinance with surprise ending going viral

During a hearing in late August of the Springfield, Mo., City Council, a minister delivered a speech sounding very much like a sermon against a proposed ordinance banning bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Rev. Phil Snider of the Brentwood Christian Church said “special rights for gays and lesbians” is “inviting the judgment of God upon our land.”

He refered to the Bible, he spoke about morality, he then began to read from his paper about the “right of segregation.” He stumbled over the words …  And then, the surprise…

The Springfield measure was put on hold, but earlier this fall two more Missouri cities – Ferguson and Maplewood – adopted amended nondiscrimination ordinances.

On the Web…

The video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8JsRx2lois&feature=player_embedded

Learn about the Springfield ordinance:

http://promoonline.org/action-alerts/springfield-nondiscrimination.html 

Kappa Alpha Psi’s gay wedding video goes viral

A video of a Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother marrying his partner is approaching a million views at various sources.

The video, “Robert + Nathanael 9.8.12,” has more than 1,400 “likes” and just 65 “dislikes.”

Published by Robert Brown, the intro to the video says, “Our wedding at The Mansion at Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky. Photography by Todd Pellowe toddpellowe.com. Follow us on Twitter @younglegend3 @nateg10451. Visit our wedding website www.naterob.com”

Find the video of the crimson-and-cream wedding of Brown and husband Nathanael on YouTube.