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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 : 2011-04-19

Tornadoes hit southern United States

American web users share accounts of the powerful tornadoes in the south. In Bahrain, a female blogger is on hunger strike to free her jailed family. And a composer presents a virtual choir.

Tornadoes hit southern United States

Entire towns torn apart, buildings destroyed, overturned trucks … the tornadoes that have struck the US over the past few days have left a trail of destruction behind them, as we can see in these numerous online videos filmed in Oklahoma and North Carolina. This astonishing footage bears witness to the scale of the damage caused by this weekend’s powerful storms in which dozens of people lost their lives.

Many people actually managed to capture these deadly tornados on film. Videos of dark clouds forming on the horizon as well as the violent storms themselves are multiplying on sharing sites and give an idea of just what people living in the affected states were experiencing.

And to illustrate that the south of the US was well and truly hit by the elements, one web user has posted this shot online showing the size of the hailstones which fell during the storm in Atoka, Oklahoma.

The site ‘storyful’ has teamed up with Google maps to set up this interactive map, cataloguing a large proportion of the videos of April’s tornados, made by residents from the South. At this time of year, this type of climatic phenomenon is not uncommon in the region.

There has been a great show of online solidarity. Messages asking for web users’ help, either directly with victims or by making a donation, are multiplying on social networks and on Twitter in particular. Others, like the Sanford entrepreneurs in North Carolina, are offering their services to the community via Facebook.

 

Bahraini woman on hunger strike for family's freedom

In view of the repression of activists in Bahrain, one female blogger is making a desperate cry for help. Last week Zainab al-Khawaja posted an open letter addressed to Barack Obama on her blog, begging the US President to withdraw support for the Al Khalifa monarchy, as under their regime four members of her family have found themselves behind bars.

In the document, the 27 year old also states that she will be on hunger strike until the Bahraini authorities release her husband, her brother-in-law, her uncle and her father, who is Abdoulhadi Al-Khawaja, a highly active blogger in the country.

Former President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights her 50 year old father was at the forefront of demonstrations organized by the Kingdom’s Shiite majority, to demand more political rights and freedom. In this video, we see him delivering a speech in Pearl Square, the epicenter of the anti-regime demonstrations, a movement quashed by the repression.

And now his daughter has taken over from him and is discussing her hunger strike and her battle against the Bahraini regime on Twitter, incurring the wrath of pro-government web users. She says she has received messages from other Twitter users describing what they are eating at each meal. And a fake account has been set up in her name with a hamburger as background display, denouncing her actions.

But the young woman can count on the support of hundreds of other web users. This Facebook group, called “We are all with Zainab al-Khawaja”, now has over one thousand members.

 

Virtual choir

1 700 singers from 58 different countries brought together in a virtual choir. American composer Eric Whitacre dreamt up this project and invited web users the world over to sing one of his compositions ‘sleep’ into their web cam. He then undertook the painstaking task of harmonizing the hundreds of voices, and here’s the result


Interview Project Germany

The Second World War as told by Alfred, aged 73, and also the German reunification through the eye of Luci. The first part of “The Interview project” looked at the US, and now it’s focusing on Germany through accounts from 50 Germans from the ages of 19 to 93. The interviews were carried out by American film maker David Lynch and his son Austin during a trip to the country.

 

Video of the day

Web users have been showing a great interest in “Trick Shots” videos lately, and to poke fun at this recent trend, the American site “Slate” has uploaded this trick shot video filmed in a doctor’s surgery. This satirical clip shows that even doctors have these sharp shooting skills…

 

By Electron Libre

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