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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 : 2011-03-30

Afghanistan: atrocities committed by US Army

Photos portraying abuse committed by US troops serving in Afghanistan spark lively reaction online. Web users’ express concern over the disappearance in Libya of Eman Al-Obeidy. And a web site is trying to identify the children who survived the Holocaust.

Afghanistan: atrocities committed by US Army

The US army is once again facing criticism after German weekly Der Spiegel published shocking photos last week. The photos show atrocities committed by US soldiers on civilians in Afghanistan. These images, which are available online, notably show several soldiers taking it in turns to pose next to a corpse, lifting the dead man’s head up by the hair, like a trophy. These revelations are all the more embarrassing for the Pentagon as they coincide with the conviction of Jeremy Murlock, one of 5 men accused of taking part in these barbaric acts. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison after admitting to killing Afghans for pleasure.

Web users, like Craig Murray, a former British ambassador who now works in the humanitarian sector, responded quickly to these macabre images. He shares his disgust and also says these types of atrocities are sadly common place in Afghanistan and the photos which have been made public are just the tip of the ice berg.

The "Afghanistan Study Group" thinks these images are likely to have a negative impact on the already tense relationship between the US and Afghan governments. The organization explains that local authorities could accuse the Americans of not actually protecting civilians and the people could end up turning against the US army.

American Rolling Stone magazine has also published an additional enquiry on its site, looking in to atrocities carried out by a group known as the “Kill Team”. There is an article, as well as photos and also two “souvenir” videos filmed by GI’s in Afghanistan. This one shows two soldiers firing at two men on motorbikes in Kandahar province.

 

Libya: where is Eman Al Obeidy?

Ever since this footage was posted online on Saturday, the blogosphere is wondering about the whereabouts of Eman Al-Obeidy. The images were filmed at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli where numerous foreign journalists covering the situation in Libya are staying. Eman Al Obeidy, a Libyan woman from the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, burst into the hotel lobby telling witnesses she had been raped by 15 or so pro-Gaddafi soldiers over a two day period. She was interrupted by security forces who forced her into a car. This scene has been widely relayed on sharing sites and online mobilization to find out what has become of this young woman is gaining momentum.

The movement is essentially taking place via Twitter. Using the key words « Free Eman » or « Where is Eman Al Obeidy », web users can obtain the latest information and rumours concerning her fate. Some users believe she has been held in prison since Saturday, and that the authorities are trying to buy her silence, the government denies this. Others say Libyan State media have been attempting to smear her name over the past few days.

And there has also been mass campaigning on Facebook. Over 5 000 members have joined this group demanding the authorities explain what has happened to Al-Obeidy and free her immediately.

And other web users are carrying out a veritable online investigation into the security services employees who took the young woman from the hotel by force. Web users are being asked to identify the three people present in these shots which are currently circulating on social networks. The individuals are presented as Gaddafi henchmen who could provide new information on what has happened to Al-Obeidy.


Follow a mailman on his round

With this web documentary web users can accompany postman Gilles Loriot on his rounds in the Burgundy region, where he grew up. Every day he travels around 90 km delivering mail to residents; this daily round provides a great insight into rural life.

 

Displaced children of the Holocaust

What happened to the hundreds of children who were deported during the Second World War? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is asking for help in identifying the 1 100 children who survived Nazism. Their photographs have been posted online, taken in the refugee camps they were sent to across Europe at the end of the war. Objective: find out what happened to them and perhaps reunite them with their families.

 

Video of the day

Here the airplane safety instructions are presented by a fitness instructor… this wacky disco themed video will be shown to passengers onboard a New Zealand airline from May onwards. It’s an original way of livening up the often boring procedure.


 

By Electron Libre

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