The unmarried Pakistani woman who wrote about her sex life

  • 6 May 2016
Pakistani writer Zahra Haider Image copyright Zahra Haider
Image caption Zahra Haider's article on sex generated thousands of comments

When Pakistani writer Zahra Haider wrote about her pre-marital sexual encounters as a teenager in Islamabad for Vice magazine, social media - as you can imagine - had a lot to say.

Haider, now in her 20s, moved to Canada just before her 19th birthday. She wrote that she had used hotel rooms for her liaisons and that her parents "threw a completely irrational and melodramatic fit" when they found out about them.

Her story has been shared thousands of times and has generated a fierce debate. Some people took exception to her saying that Pakistan had one of the "highest porn-watching populations in the world" and that Pakistanis were "horny and desperate for sex". Others focused on her admission that she had sex with "almost a dozen people" as a teenager in Islamabad.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

In an open letter to Haider on Facebook, which itself was shared more than 6,000 times, journalist Ali Moeen Nawazish criticised her for passing "cultural judgements" on Pakistanis. Nawazish told Trending that there was no "evidence to back up (Haider's) assertion that Pakistan is the most porn-watching country in the world or that we are sexually repressed". He added that Haider's experience as one of Pakistan's "elite" is not indicative of that of other Pakistani women.

Some social media users in Pakistan were, however, supportive.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Read full article The unmarried Pakistani woman who wrote about her sex life

How India's 'tree hugger' is tackling forest fires

  • 5 May 2016
Ela Smetacek hugging a tree Image copyright Ela Smetacek

When more than 1,900 hectares of forest in India's northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand were destroyed by fires, one social media user took to Facebook to demand action from the government.

On Friday Ela Smetacek, who is a footwear designer and self-described "tree hugger", posted a gallery of photos on her Facebook page calling the fires "a national emergency". She wrote that several forests in Uttarakhand had been burning for days with "no media coverage whatsoever" and demanded that troops were sent to control the blazes. The fires began weeks ago, but intensified in recent days with more than 400 burning simultaneously at one point.

Read full article How India's 'tree hugger' is tackling forest fires

The Iranians flocking to social media for their comedy fix

  • 5 May 2016

As most social media platforms are banned in Iran, many young comedians have become stars on one of the few that is permitted by the authorities.

But as Instagram can only cope with videos of up to one minute, sketches have to be kept brief. So what does Iranian short form comedy look like?

Read full article The Iranians flocking to social media for their comedy fix

Iraqis deride politicians with show of ‘sofa pride’

  • 4 May 2016
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri looks at a stained white sofa Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The Iraqi government has been ridiculed by some for apparently showing more concern over damaged furniture than the weekend's violence.

Although dramatic scenes of hundreds of protestors busting into Iraq's parliamentary buildings were released on mainstream news outlets, it was a stained sofa which has become central to the conversation on social media about the country's ongoing political crisis.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri became targets of mocking memes, when images of them staring gravely at the apparently bloodstained couch went viral. The pictures were taken during the officials' tour inside the parliament offices to inspect damage following Saturday's protests.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption People shared images of themselves lamenting the state of their own sofas

Read full article Iraqis deride politicians with show of ‘sofa pride’

Solidarity on social media for refugee who set herself on fire

  • 3 May 2016
Australian teenager with friends Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Australians on Twitter have been showing solidarity with Somali refugee Hodan Yasi who is in critical condition

Australian Twitter users have been sharing photos of what they were doing at 19, in solidarity with an asylum seeker who set fire to herself on Monday, apparently in protest at how she was being treated at a detention centre.

Hodan Yasin from Somalia, who is actually 21 despite earlier reports that she was 19, is said to be in a critical condition at a hospital in Brisbane after she self-immolated at an immigration centre on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Read full article Solidarity on social media for refugee who set herself on fire

Superhero fans rally to keep The Flash's love interest black

  • 2 May 2016
Tweet: "#KeepIrisBlack because your white fave is never going to slay like this" Image copyright Twitter/@allysidia
Image caption Some fans want Candice Patton who plays Iris on TV to reprise the role for the big screen

DC Comics and Warner Bros have found themselves at the heart of Hollywood's latest debate about "whitewashing". But some are arguing that this campaign may not be justified.

The announcement that DC Comics and Warner Bros are to put comic book character The Flash on the big screen in two forthcoming movies was good news for many. There is already a successful TV series based on the character, and fans were expecting more of the same.

Read full article Superhero fans rally to keep The Flash's love interest black

The prank call crimewave

  • 30 April 2016
A fast food restaurant with smashed windows Image copyright Coon Rapids Police Force
Image caption The Burger King in Coon Rapids that was targeted by prank callers

Earlier this year a string of fast food restaurants across America were smashed up by their own employees - tricked into causing the damage by a team of prank callers. BBC Trending has traced the calls back to a little known web forum and spoken to some of its members to find out how things got so out of hand.

At the beginning of April, footage emerged online showing the employees of a Burger King in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, smashing the windows of their own restaurant. The video, filmed on a smartphone, picked up more than a million views, and the story became international news.

Read full article The prank call crimewave

Womancard - the card that gives you less

  • 28 April 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses supporters in Philadelphia. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hillary Clinton said she was proud to play the "woman card" if that meant standing up for the interests of women

How do you use your #womancard?

That's what some women have been asking each other on social media after Republican front-runner Donald Trump expressed the view that Hillary Clinton's only real electoral appeal as a presidential candidate was the "woman card."

Read full article Womancard - the card that gives you less

The fathers saying 'Dads don't babysit'

  • 27 April 2016
Man in t-shirt which bears a slogan: "Dads don't babysit. It's called parenting." Image copyright
Image caption The image that got people talking on Reddit about parenting stereotypes

"Aww, it's so nice of you to babysit and give mom a break."

"I guess you got stuck with the kids today."

Read full article The fathers saying 'Dads don't babysit'

How Vitaliy Klitschko's bike ride took an unexpected turn

  • 26 April 2016
Vitaliy Klitschko riding bike Image copyright Facebook

Remember Vitaliy Klitschko? He used to be a boxer - a heavyweight world champion no less - and is now mayor of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

It might not come as a surprise to hear that the former athlete has pledged to cycle around the city, instead of being driven in a limo. But not all of the city's residents have taken kindly to the announcement, with many using it as an opportunity to lambast their mayor for what they see as his many failings in office.

Read full article How Vitaliy Klitschko's bike ride took an unexpected turn