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Web heaps praise on Bill Clinton after Pyongyang trip

Latest update : 2009-08-06

In this edition: the Web comments on Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea during which he secured the release of two American journalists. In Italy, the Moses project to protect Venice from high tides continues to fuel debate on the Net.



"Thank you Bill Clinton" is the message that has flooded the microblogging platform Twitter after the surprise visit of former US President to North Korea. A visit during which he secured the release of Laura Ling and Lee Euna, two journalists who had been sentenced to 12 years' hard labour for having illegally entered the country. 



So net users who had been rallying support for them in recent weeks, welcomed the news with great relief. 


Consequently many US net users sent messages to the two journalists to wish them well for their return to the country via the website for Current TV, the channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore for which they worked at the time of their arrest.


Others, however, were more sceptical. This videoblogger, for example, wondered what concessions the former president had to make on behalf of the United States for Kim Jong-il to pardon the two reporters.


Meanwhile, analysts of the website think that this visit to North Korea by Bill Clinton, who knows the case very well, could mark the beginning of a new era in relations between Washington and Pyongyang.


A fact that led this professor at Boston University to highlight the important role played by former presidents in American diplomacy. He cites the examples of the visit by Jimmy Carter to North Korea in 1994, sent by Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1989 at the request of the Bush administration to ease relations with Beijing after the Tiananmen massacre. 




Code Name: Mose in Italian or Moïse in French. Objective: find a solution to “acqua alta”, the phenomenon of high tides in Venice, which regularly threaten to make Venice disappear underwater. Major construction work started in 2001, which is widely followed and commented on by the blogosphere.


Several videos posted online by the Italian ministry of infrastructure, available on share sites, explain how the Moses project should protect Venice. Huge mobile dams will be installed under water, which can be raised when there’s a high tide to avoid the city being flooded. 


Other sites like these remind us that these improvements must be made urgently because Venice is increasingly at threat of disappearing underwater. Sites full of information on work in progress as well as completed work, inviting people to make donations to help the city’s reconstruction.


Yet, for some people, especially the "No Moses" group, this project is odd. This video explains that the initiative has a huge cost associated, estimated at over 4 billion euros and that there is no guarantee that the system will really work.


This blogger argues that the Moses project could cause a pollution problem. Indeed, she explains that Venice currently has the advantage of a light current to clean the canals. A current that may, in her view, be altered with the installation of the new dams, and the city could soon become a real dump.


A view that is not shared by all members of the Facebook group who feel that the project, due to be completed in 2014, is by far the best solution for the survival of Venice.


In Germany, Net users block a government bill to ban violent video games. The petition launched on the Bundestag site has collected nearly 70,000 signatures. The government proposed this law following a tragedy in the country last March when a teenager, who regularly played this type of game shot dead 15 people before turning the gun on himself. 


Lascaux, as you've never seen it! The Ministry of Culture has launched a website which offers a virtual tour of the Palaeolithic cave, room by room. High-definition photos of cave paintings with a detailed description of each figure gives life to these works of art in human history, dating back over 15 thousand years. A particularly interesting initiative because the real Lascaux cave has been officially closed to the public since 1963, and visitors have only had access to a reconstruction.




Here is the video that is creating the latest online buzz, and is also creating great controversy in the Canadian blogosphere. It depicts a 7-year-old child driving a car traveling at 40 kilometers per hour, filmed by his father in the passenger seat, with the rest of the family quietly sitting in the back of the vehicle. Shocking images that prompted local authorities to start investigations to trace the identity of the family concerned and punish the parents for their recklessness.


Date created : 2009-08-06