How Spain was dragged into Nigeria's 'tomato emergency'

  • 25 May 2016
Man in tomatoes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Photos of Spain's annual tomato fight have irked Nigerians who have seen prices rocket as crops fail.

The streets of the eastern Spanish town of Bunol turn red and gooey every year on the last Wednesday of August, as tens of thousands of people gather to celebrate La Tomatina. It's not an event that has caused much of a stir on social media outside the country, but in the past few days Nigerians have been been distracting themselves from their own tomato crop crisis by making good-humoured jabs aimed at the European festival.

The topic of tomatoes - a staple of the Nigerian diet - is currently not a laughing matter outside the digital realm in Nigeria. A state of emergency has been declared in the tomato sector in Kaduna state, in the north of the country and farmers are said to have lost up to 80% of their tomato crop.

The culprit is a moth called Tuta Absoluta. The agriculture commissioner in Kaduna state said the price of a punnet has risen from $1.20USD to more than $40. Some reports said that in three local government areas, about 200 farmers lost 1 billion naira ($5.1 million) worth of their tomatoes.

Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, told local media that his office had commissioned experts to look at the issue as "ordinary pesticides cannot tackle the disease because the tomato moth multiplies so fast."

The situation is so bad that it was dubbed 'Tomato Ebola' and the term trended on Twitter for hours on Wednesday.

Read full article How Spain was dragged into Nigeria's 'tomato emergency'

Internet not much help finding Chechen leader's missing cat

  • 25 May 2016
Kadyrov holding cat Image copyright Instagram/kadyrov_95
Image caption Kadyrov wrote that his family were missing their unnamed pet.

In many ways it was very much like any other missing cat appeal you might find pasted up by a distraught owner seeking their neighbours' help to find a beloved pet.

"Our cat has vanished," it began. "Ten days ago, it disappeared. We all thought that it would turn up soon, since it is very much attached to the children, it loves to play with them... But now we are seriously worried. Perhaps it is staying with somebody in the neighbourhood...Therefore we would be grateful for the information if anybody knows anything. Thanks in advance."

Read full article Internet not much help finding Chechen leader's missing cat

A shared tragedy in Syria

  • 24 May 2016
Tartous bomb site Image copyright AFP

When it comes to the ongoing war in Syria, the media spotlight has generally focused on action in key cities, notably Damascus, Raqqa, Aleppo and Homs. On Monday, a series of bombings in the western Syrian coastal cities of Tartous and Jebleh, killed more than 100 people. The targets included a bus station and a hospital.

Eyewitnesses said they were 'shocked' because this particular part of Syria had not previously experienced the kind of violence and instability plaguing much of the country.

Read full article A shared tragedy in Syria

Do vegans have a beef with meat eaters?

  • 24 May 2016

A video which parodies the sort of things some vegans say to non vegans has been a huge social media hit. More than 50 million people have watched "If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans" which was created by American comedian JP Sears.

Opinions are divided online, but what do vegans make of it? BBC Trending headed to a vegan restaurant to find out if there's any truth in the stereotype.

Read full article Do vegans have a beef with meat eaters?

The men who are taking a stand against 'dude fests'

  • 23 May 2016
all male panel Image copyright Saara Särmä / TMBLR
Image caption A Tumblr page has been set up documenting all male panels in recent months (credit Saara Särmä)

You might have heard the term "mansplaining", but how much thought have you given to all-male panels of experts expressing their opinions on one subject or another? Possibly not all that much, if you're not a regular at such events, but in recent months increasing numbers of high-profile men have been speaking up against the all-male panel at conferences.

Earlier this month, some of Australia's most-booked male conference speakers criticised organisers for setting up "dude fests". They pledged to boycott panels that don't include women and set up a website called "No thanks, mate". That's not the only promised boycott. Over the Pacific in America, Sree Sreenivasan, the Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wrote a Facebook post promising that he will no longer take part in panels that are made up of all men.

Read full article The men who are taking a stand against 'dude fests'

Anti-Semitic statements of 'joy and peace' selfie star

  • 22 May 2016
Photo of Zakia Belkhiri taking a selfie with Vlaams Belang protesters in the background Image copyright Jurgen Augusteyns

The photo of a young Muslim woman called Zakia Belkhiri subtly undermining an anti-Islam demonstration by using the protesters as a backdrop for a selfie was one of the most striking images of the past week. But it's a story with a not so pleasant postscript.

The iconic picture above has been widely shared on social media over the last few days and reported on by BBC Trending and a host of other news outlets around the world. Many who saw it were charmed by Ms Belkhiri's stunt which seemed to use humour to defuse a potentially awkward confrontation outside a Muslim lifestyle exhibition in Belgium. Photos of the event showed that even some of the placard-carrying demonstrators from the far right Vlaams Belang group seemed to find it funny.

Read full article Anti-Semitic statements of 'joy and peace' selfie star

Fighting the curse of the blessers

  • 21 May 2016
tweeted photo of young female graduate Image copyright Twitter/Nkamogeleng
Image caption A graduate tweeted this photo to show what young women could achieve without a blesser

You may have heard of the hashtag #blessed, it's often seen on Instagram next to beautiful pictures of family, travel and shopping; used to show how lucky people think their lives are. But the phrase has recently taken on a very different meaning in South Africa.

After some women posted photos of gifts from partners claiming they were "blessed" people started asking who was "blessing" them. Soon "blesser" became a term for someone who gives money and gifts as part of a relationship - the sort of person traditionally referred to as a sugar daddy.

Image copyright Twitter/@Thularz_
Image caption This meme shows the sort of gift a blesser might leave for one of his blessees
Image copyright Twitter/@LeeRatoTwin
Image caption This cartoon shows how a blesser is judged by the cash that he flashes

Read full article Fighting the curse of the blessers

Mum in Chewbacca mask shatters Facebook Live record

  • 20 May 2016
Media captionChewbacca mask woman becomes a viral hit

A braying Chewbacca mask found "on clearance" has shot a Texas mother to internet stardom.

Candace Payne was not expecting to purchase the mask when she went to her local Kohls department store, just outside of Dallas, Texas. She doesn't even consider herself a huge Star Wars fan.

Read full article Mum in Chewbacca mask shatters Facebook Live record

Is this picture disgusting or beautiful?

  • 20 May 2016
Thomas in the shower with his son Fox Image copyright Heather Whitten

This photograph of a father holding his son in the shower has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook in the last fortnight. But over the same period it's also also been taken down by the social media platform more than once before ultimately being reinstated each time. Why?

In some ways the picture appears to show a fairly everyday scene. A dad cradling his severely sick child in his arms. Except in this instance, they are in the shower and both naked. The picture was posted on social media by the photographer Heather Whitten who lives in Arizona in the US. It shows her son Fox and her husband, the boy's father Thomas Whitten.

Read full article Is this picture disgusting or beautiful?

Osborne letter pledging to scrap tuition fees surfaces after 13 years

  • 19 May 2016
Chancellor of the Exchequer Image copyright Ben Pruchnie/ Getty
Image caption George Osborne wrote in 2003 that a future Tory government would scrap tuition fees.

It's not exactly breaking news. But 13 years after it was written a letter by George Osborne to one of his then constituents is being widely shared on social media.

In the letter Mr Osborne wrote passionately about his opposition to the £3,000 a year university tuition fees introduced by the Labour government of the day. "Very unfair" and a "tax on learning" were two of the phrases used by Mr Osborne - then only two years into his role as a Conservative MP for Tatton - to describe the charges.

Read full article Osborne letter pledging to scrap tuition fees surfaces after 13 years