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

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Latest update : 2010-03-05

Iraqi's general election mobilises online community

In this edition: As the general glection in Iraq draws nearer, we take a look back at the online campaign; the city of Topeka in Kansas has renamed itself Google in a bid to win the company’s support; and the American rock group « Ok Go » are back with a crazy new video.

 IRAQ GENERAL ELECTIONS

Iraq will be going to the polls on Sunday in the country’s parliamentary elections, which will decide how the next government will be formed. Security forces, prisoners and the sick already cast their vote on Thursday, while the country is in danger of being hit by a wave of violence.


So it’s in a tense atmosphere that the electoral campaign is coming to an end. The different parties made use of the web to win over electors during the campaign. Web sites, profiles on social networks and music videos on Youtube, these online initiatives have particularly struck a chord with Iraqis living abroad. In fact, in a country where power cuts are a regular occurrence, the Internet is a luxury which only about 1 % of the population has access to.

This ballot which is crucial to the country’s future is being covered by several bloggers and online journalists who are among those lucky enough to have Internet access. One of them conducted this series of interviews during a meeting organized by Iyad Allawi’s coalition party, the main opposition to the current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When asked what he’s hoping for, this 55 year old unemployed man replies that he just wants to find a job so that he can take care of his family.

This blogger is under no illusions. She thinks the electoral process has already been marred by serious irregularities. Like in the South of the country where candidates buy votes and give people gifts in exchange for their vote.

 

GOOGLE, KANSAS

Topeka, the capital of Kansas, is now called Google. This US city which has a little over 100 000 residents has decided to rename itself Google during the month of March. The local authorities hope this will grab the attention of the American giant.

Google had announced it’s plans to build high speed one gigabyte per second networks, that’s 100 times faster than the average US network. The company is looking for communities to take part in the experiment, and will make it’s decision at the end of the year.

Topeka wants to be involved. On the town’s Facebook page, commentary from supporters is flooding in.


As soon as Google made their announcement, a local group called Think Big Topeka started their campaign to encourage local politicians to lend their support and to appeal to the community to work together. They have advised citizens to contact council representatives, join the Facebook group and also make videos expressing their support.


Here’s the director of Topeka University singing.


And this web user wasted no time in taking his shirt off for the occasion.

Finally, in this video, a resident of Topeka explains why he thinks Google should choose the city. He says it will make Topeka the world’s fastest town in terms of Internet connection and hence one of the most dynamic.

 

A SHORT FILM ABOUT WAR


A Short Film About War, is an original documentary made entirely from amateur documents found on the web. We see two screens, on the left is the documentary, a slideshow of images from war torn countries, and on the right there is a script which explains, in real time, where all the material has come from Flickr and countless blogs.


AIRBORNE CATS

Photos of dozens of cats in action. In her collection “Airbourne Cats”, which is available to view online on Flickr, the Japanese photographer Junka has captured images of cats in midair. Original and captivating pictures.


VIDEO DU JOUR


The American Rock group “Ok Go” have made a strong come back on the web with their new video clip. It took a month of work with a collective from Los Angeles to create this sequence shot. The group had already caused a sensation in 2006 with the video “Here It Goes Again” which had 46 million visitors on YouTube.
 

 

 

By Electron Libre

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