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Net users react to the resignation of Obama's adviser


Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-09-08

In this edition: Obama's advisor Van Jones whose ideas were denounced by some web users has been forced to resign; Chinese Government takes steps against syringe attacks; and America’s first lady opens the White House to net users.

Van Jones Resignation

On Sunday, the White House announced the resignation of Anthony Van Jones, a special advisor on environmental issues. For several days previously the latter had been subject to attacks from conservative net users due to his radical past involvements.

The scandal began on line. On Thursday a conservative blogger from New York revealed that in 2004 the former civil rights activist signed an online petition accusing the Bush Government of having a role in the 9-11 attacks.

Two videos (watch video 1, video 2), posted on Youtube, further tarnished the image of this man who was only recently appointed to the White House. In one clip we see Van Jones describing George Bush as a drug addict hooked on oil, and insulting the Republicans.

The scandal was quickly broadcast by conservative bloggers. On Saturday a Republican senator even requested Van Jones’ resignation via Twitter.

Since his departure, many delighted Republican video bloggers have posted messages on Youtube (watch video 1, video 2).

Others express their dismay, like this American man who criticises the Republican’s relentless attacks.

And there are many initiatives in defence of Obama’s advisor. A support site for the Democrat has been especially created. On his fans’ Facebook page and also on Twitter, messages of support are flooding in. Finally, a petition is circulating online to defend Van Jones.

China: syringe attacks

The authorities in Xinjiang province, China, have announced heavy prison sentences for anyone carrying out syringe attacks or spreading rumours about them. The attacks, blamed on Uyghur separatists who are thought to be targeting the Han majority, are spreading panic in the provincial capital, Urumqi - currently racked by ethnic tensions - and also on the web.

Although there is still no internet access in the region, this blogger still managed to publish messages and photos on his Twitter link. They show a city totally occupied by security forces.

This net user recounts that Urumqi’s inhabitants are currently living in terror. He fears fresh attacks as the People’s Republic prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its foundation on October 1.

For this second blogger, the syringe attacks represent a form of terrorism requiring radical action.

The methods employed by the province’s Governor are deemed too soft by many net users, who are demanding his resignation. However, this blogger feels that turning the Governor into a scapegoat for the ethnic disputes which recently rocked the region will only momentarily postpone the problem. (Watch the video)

As China waits for the trial of rioters, arrested n July, several surveillance videos which are to be used as evidentiary items against them have appeared online. The images show extreme violence and further stir up the ethnic tension that reigns in the region.

Here is ImHalal. This Islamic search engine, created by a Dutch company, filters search results according to religious criteria. The site informs the user if she/he is in contact with subversive or immoral content. It aims to become a reference for Muslim households worldwide.

A day without cats

A US comedy site is calling on people to make Wednesday September 9, 2009 the first day without cats on the web. The feline is an endless source of inspiration for net users, so to have a break, the site is asking users to refrain from sending in photos and video of cats on September 9. Net users can also designate an animal they would prefer to speak about on this day: the choice includes chickens, goats and horses. (Watch video)

Video of the Day

Michelle Obama is opening the doors to the White House garden to net users. In this video, available on the official Youtube channel, the US first lady recalls the garden’s history, as well as the changes made to it. Although this has not always been the case, the garden now produces a large quantity of fruit and vegetables used daily by the White House chef to prepare the Obama family meals. Michelle Obama insists in particular on the importance of a healthy diet.

Date created : 2009-09-08