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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 : 2011-04-28

Ongoing debate over international intervention in Syria

Web users discuss military intervention in Syria. Online reactions to Wikileaks’ revelations on Guantanamo Bay prison. And the City of London encourages its residents to take action for a cleaner city.

Ongoing debate over international intervention in Syria

Should the international community intervene in Syria? The online debating has begun following the deployment of troops and armored vehicles by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in a crackdown on protesters, in Deraa in particular.

Although he feels the authorities have crossed the “red line” in their repression of the uprising, Leif Eriksson thinks that a UN military intervention is highly unlikely. As this former Swedish diplomat in Damascus explains, the Atlantic alliance is already in operation in Libya and in principle would not have support from the Arab League for intervention in Syria.

But can Washington sit back and do nothing if the army continues firing on civilians? This is the question American historian Walter Russell Mead is asking even if, in his opinion, conflict in Syria could spread to neighbouring Lebanon and plunge the region into chaos.

Cyber activists from the group « Youth Syria Freedom » are against military intervention from the International Community, which they would regard as foreign occupation. They are asking however for the UN to impose strong sanctions on Syrian leaders.

And female blogger Amina also refuses to accept any form of interference and is calling upon western countries to let the Syrian people fight their own battle for democracy. Ayham agrees and replies in the commentary section that any intervention or foreign sanctions will only strengthen the regime and harm the majority of the population.


Wikileaks releases Guantanamo files

Wikileaks is back in the headlines after starting to release confidential files on Sunday, which relate to the Guantanamo Bay prison, set up in Cuba by American authorities in January 2002.

On its web site, the organization, founded by Julian Assange, says that these documents will “shine the light of truth” on the prison, which has been highly criticized since the outset but remains open nonetheless despite President Obama’s promises that it would be shut down. And although the documents published in the « Guantanamo Files » are mainly composed of prisoners’ files, the information gives a better insight into the methods used to extract information from the prisoners.

The "New York Times" has compiled the information into an interactive page, which notably gives web users the chance to see pictures of more or less all the 779 men who have done time in Guantanamo since 2002. In one click you can find out how many prisoners were being held at such and such a period, how many were released to the authorities of another country, as well as how they were treated. We learn that 172 men are still locked up in the prison camp and some, like this Palestinian man, have been subjected to waterboarding.

"The Guardian" is also making the information contained in the "Guantanamo Files" more accessible. When web users’ click on the photo of a detainee, information on how that person was captured appears as well as why, according to the files, they ended up in Guantanamo.

And finally, the "Washington Post" has set up an interactive map providing a virtual tour of the detention camp. We learn that there are four buildings holding prisoners who are dividing up according to their cooperation with the authorities and their risk level.


London, clean city

The City of London is encouraging Londoners to denounce others on the web site "", in a bid to clean up the city. So residents can report on environmental crimes like graffiti, or fly tipping. They just have to take a photo of the offence and send it to the site, via their smart phone.


Mugshot of the day

Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, has chosen an original way of increasing his website traffic, by highlighting the work of his employees. He has set up an interactive section called « The mugshot of the day ». Web users can browse an online data base of mugs shots of people arrested for various crimes and vote daily on their favourite one. The often far from flattering winning picture is then prominently displayed on the site’s welcome page.


Video of the day

A compilation of impressive scooter moves … this is what Brendon Smith is proposing in this demonstration video in which he performs one amazing trick after another. Through the video clip he hopes to prove that when it comes to acrobatics, scooter champions are just as remarkable as skaters or rollerbladers.


By Electron Libre



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