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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2010-03-02

Support online for Haitians following the deadly flooding

In this edition: Support online for Haitians following the violent flooding in the country and the Pentagon authorises soldiers in the field to use Twitter and Facebook.


Haiti has been hit by violent flooding one and half months after the devastating earthquake. At least 10 people have been killed, victims of rising waters or the landslides provoked by heavy rain.
As with the earthquake, web users commented upon events as they happened, notably in the town of Les Cayes, via the micro blogging site Twitter. Messages of support for the Haitian people have multiplied on the platform, in the wake of this further catastrophe.
Yet with the traditional rainy season on it’s way, the flooding was to be expected.  This online report shows that some Haitians still living in refugee camps have been demonstrating for several weeks now, asking to be rehoused as soon as possible. Here a young mother gives her account.
NGOs are trying to find solutions as the rainy season seems to have begun earlier this year. Through his foundation, the American actor Sean Penn has launched an online campaign called “beat the rain”. The aim of the campaign is to raise money to help rehouse 75 000 homeless Haitians and avoid the spread of disease, like Typhoid and Malaria.
Finally, the web site ‘A home in Haiti’ is appealing for online donations to help buy 200 000 water proof tents and transport them to the island.
American soldiers will soon be back on Facebook. The Pentagon has announced it will lift the ban on social networks for it’s personnel. The US Military will be able to use Facebook and Twitter and update their blogs via the army’s computer network.
The decision was made after 7 months of consideration. The Pentagon feared use of social networks would reduce it’s capacities in terms of band width and could lead to the leaking of military secrets. The hierarchy reserves the right to momentarily block access to these networks in order to safeguard missions.
The new policy has been met with much delight from soldiers and their families.
Before the ban was imposed in 2007, many of the soldiers deployed abroad used the Internet to stay in contact with their loved ones. During his assignment in Iraq, this soldier related his day to day life on his blog. And in this last installment written before the ban, he talks of the good atmosphere within his battalion.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognizes that the web is an effective means of communicating with the public and young people in particular. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has his own twitter thread with over 16 OOO readers.
The army is using the Internet more and more, as a means of communicating information and debriefing field operations, whether they are in Afghanistan or South Korea.
The Italian collective Iocose has launched it’s new online competition: the “Notube contest”. The aim is to find the most “boring, vain and futile” videos on Youtube. Web users have until the 26th of March to submit their suggestions. The criteria for the winning video : it cannot be summarized, does not offer any keyword for searching purposes, and has no commentary. A special jury composed of a philosopher and a writer amongst others will decide which video is the most valueless.
Here’s the blog belonging to DJ Soulpusher, Frank Gossner’s pseudonym. He lived in Africa for three years and has begun a quest to find forgotten records. A recounts his journey on his blog “Voodoo Funk”. Franck has visited markets, places ads and put posters up all over West Africa to help him find these musical treasures – afro funk pieces from the 60s and 70s, unpublished and unobtainable in Europe.
To make the video clip for their latest track « Hologram », the French Rock Group « I am un chien » used the successful web site Chatroulette. A site on which you can chat via web cam with random web users the world over. The group gave a live concert on their side of the web cam and filmed web users’ reactions.





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