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Americas

Obama's healthcare reform receives a boost online

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-09-09

In this edition: while Barack Obama defends his healthcare reform before Congress, his supporters rally online. Suspicion of vote rigging in Afghanistan gains ground online, as testimonies multiply on the Web.

Obama's health care reform
 

On Wednesday before the US Congress, Barack Obama will defend his proposal to establish a public health insurance system. The aim being to supply heath care access to the 47 million Americans without it. Net users in favour of the project have mobilised in support, but the task is turning out to be ever-more difficult.

 

On the frontline backing the bill is Joe Biden. In this video sent to Democrat activists, and posted on Youtube, the US Vice President calls on citizens to send in messages of support via the web. This is a call that has been heeded, as hundreds of replies have been posted by net users.

 
Meanwhile, MoveOn activists decided to post this photo montage of themselves. Members of this progressive association testify to the negative effects of the current US healthcare system on their group.
 
And many net users have chosen to look for testimonies about different healthcare systems abroad, wherever a public health system exists. This female blogger posted accounts from Canadian citizens online, who have a state-funded system. All defend their system in the video.
 

Finally, this video created by independent net users, employs educational methods. It attempts to explain the benefits of public health insurance. This animation has become one of the top 10 most watched videos in the US.

 

However, it was immediately used and manipulated by conservative net users. In this parody, the demonstration is mocked step by step.

 

Afghanistan: poll fraud

In Afghanistan, suspicions of rigging at the August 20 Presidential elections are being circulating. The electoral commission has already discarded 200,000 fraudulent ballots. And President Hamid Karzai, who is credited with 50% of the votes, is suspected of having benefitted from thousands of fictitious ballots. On the web, accounts that verify this suspicion are multiplying.
 

Vote buying, fake electoral cards and ballot stuffing. Many citizens have reported irregularities - via the web or text message - to this interactive map set up by independent journalists.

 

An anonymous net user has posted online this series of videos which are thought to have been filmed the day of the vote in Ghazni province, which is in the south of the country. In this one, managers of a polling station are seemingly filling in ballots themselves.


This second video seems to show them ballot stuffing. In some regions, fraud was on such a large scale that civil servants didn’t even bother removing ballots from their counterfoil books.

 

This man affirms that he could have voted as many times as he wanted as the ink used to mark voters’ fingers could easily be wiped off.
 
Finally, this blogger cites the pressure exerted on electors, and points out that democracy in his country is in its early days. He considers that the vote remains a success- taking into account the conditions in which it was organised.
 
Monopoly city streets
 

If you’ve always dreamed of building a property empire - get ready. Here is Monopoly City Street, the fruit of collaboration between games giant, Hasbro, and Google Maps. Net users can now buy and construct on thousands of streets around the world. The game’s online version also introduces new buildings. Stadia, castles, sky-scrapers, but also dumps and prisons, which can be constructed on other players’ streets, thus reducing their worth. The game, launched online on September 9, is available on the web for just four months.
 

People of Walmart

This blog, launched in the US by two brothers, has been creating a buzz for several days. Photos of the wackiest clients of the American supermarket giant, Walmart, are being posted. The initiative of the two brothers, who did not expect such a response, was quickly broadcast online. Hundreds of net users then began sending in their own photos of zany clients. A joke that doesn’t go down well with everyone, but which offers Walmart free advertising.

 
Video of the day
 
The anti influenza A rap by Dr Clarke is getting net users rocking. This video is one of the finalists of a video competition, launched by the US department of health. The aim being to pass on messages of prevention. The results of the competition will be revealed on September 16. Meanwhile, it’s over to net users to decide.

Date created : 2009-09-09

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