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Battle over US health-care reform rages online


Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-08-13

In this edition: the battle surrounding US health-care reform rages online; Taiwanese Net users mobilise to assist victims of Typhoon Morakot; and an exercise bike for surfing the Web while keeping in shape.

US health-care reform

The debate surrounding health-care reform in the United States is becoming ever more heated. To combat tactics used by reform’s adversaries, the Obama administration has just launched this site hosting several videos and aimed at correcting misinformation about the reform.

This video denounces a rumour saying that the proposed legislation encourages euthanasia for the elderly.

Conservatives continue to broadcast anti-reform videos. This video accuses the reform of preparing medicine rationing, while another presents supporters of the law as "susceptible socialists".

And on Twitter, an activist even called on fellow detractors to take to arms to ‘‘seriously’’ injure reform’s supporters during local debates. The encouragement of violence led Twitter to block the account in question.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are counter-attacking with online videos. This one mocks Republican representatives who have expressed their opposition to the reform.

This advert virulently condemns the breaches of peace caused by the bill’s adversaries at public meetings. By showing images of Republican leaders, it suggests that protesters have been manipulated by the GOP.

Taiwan typhoon's aftermath

In Taiwan, the amount of damage and number of victims left in the wake of Typhoon Morakot continue to rise, a catastrophe testified to by local bloggers. Several videos like this one quickly appeared on video sites, showing the typhoon’s strength and the extent of the damage left in its wake.

On Twitter, many users are expressing solidarity with the Taiwanese people and calling on Net users not to forget the storm’s victims. Others pay tribute to the work carried out by rescue workers, in particular those who, like this helicopter pilot, died during rescue missions.

Rescuers and volunteers used Flickr to post photos of the camps set up by the authorities to accommodate disaster victims and offer them first aid.

The government has also used Twitter to provide an information source, allowing users to follow developments, an initiative used in particular to coordinate action on the ground.

Finally, calls for donations to aid disaster victims are also multiplying online. Actor and singer Andy Lau explains on his site that a concert will be organised to collect funds, while several organisations like these are urging net users to send in money via the Net.

General Motors on Ebay

Ebay is about to become General Motors’ newest dealer. The Detroit giant is hoping to boost sales by teaming up with the famous auction site. 20,000 new vehicles will be on sale via the Net in a  trial that will run until September 8 but only involve California.

Underwater painting

Malvina Berguglian, a French painter, exhibits her under-water paintings with photos and videos of the world’s seas, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic and including the Red Sea.

Video of the day

Two young Brits have invented the Webcycle, an exercise bike to which they hooked up a Net-connected computer and rigged to make Internet speed vary depending on pedalling speed.

Date created : 2009-08-13