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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 : 2011-05-12

Russian blogger Alexei Navalny faces criminal investigation

Russia reopens a criminal probe on a blogger and activist, sparking lively reactions online. The United States and Memphis in particular, facing major floods. And an American soldier dancing on a tank.

Russian blogger Alexei Navalny faces criminal investigation

« Even the most corrupted court in the world would have difficulty bringing a verdict on such rubbish, made up by policemen ». These comments were made by Alexei Navalny on his blog after the Russian justice system reopened a criminal investigation on him. If convicted, this activist, a lawyer by trade, could face up to 5 years in prison. He is accused of inflicting damage by means of deceit in 2009 when he was an advisor to the governor of Kirov region, near to Moscow.

The 34 year old blogger, who made name for himself on the web by confronting corruption in large state-owned companies, says the accusation is a fabrication. At the end of 2010, he targeted the company Transneft accusing them of embezzling four billion dollars during construction of the East Siberia-Pacific pipeline.

It was Navalny who set up Rospil.info, a platform which works in a similar way to Wikileaks, on which web users can release information on government tenders they deem suspect. The site is financed by the public and claims to have received over six and a half million roubles from individuals, that’s over 230 000 dollars.

The donors were reportedly recently targeted after Yandex, a search engine which also offers a money transfer service, was forced to hand over their personal data to the authorities.

On their blogs, donors claim to have received telephone calls from so-called journalists asking why they gave money to Navalny’s site. Blogger Nikolayich has done some online investigation work and believes that one of the people behind these calls is a female activist from a pro-Kremlin youth movement: supporting theories this is a conspiracy against one of the country’s most famous cyber activists.

 

Major floods in the United States

Parts of the US are under water: following the torrential rains of recent weeks, the Mississippi river is now in spate. So, numerous cities along the river are now facing heavy flooding. This is notably the case for Memphis in Tennessee, where residents have made great use of the web to report on the situation.

Numerous videos and other images showing the rising water levels in this southern US city have been posted online: spectacular images in which we see the damage caused by the storms, like here where heavy rain has quite simply cut a road in two.

If this interactive map, available on the site Wunderground.com, is anything to by, the situation could quickly worsen. The map provides information on which zones are most at risk of flooding over the next few days. They are shown in green on the map and are all close to the banks of the Mississippi.

And the local Red Cross is on hand. In this video, representatives from the organization say they must prepare for a mass influx of disaster victims from Memphis. Victims of the flooding will be given food and shelter until things get back to normal. And the NGO has also uploaded this map showing different emergency shelter centers available for those in need.

And you can stay updated on the situation at the scene via Twitter. The thread #memflood has been set up especially to provide coverage of the flooding and contains all sorts of relevant information.

 

Video game depicting bin Laden’s death

A video game inspired by the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden led by US Special Forces. American editor Kuma Games has added a new mission to its flagship "Kuma War", a free online game which depicts real army missions. This new level recreates the Abbottabad raid in Pakistan, and will allow certain web users to let off steam on America’s former public enemy number one.


Real birds tweet on Twitter

A « tweet » is a message of no more than 140 characters posted on Twitter. But as a tweet is also the noise made by birds, Latvian web user Voldemars Dudum decided to let them express themselves on the micro blogging site by placing pieces of unsalted pork on keyboard keys. And so when they come to have a peck, the birds also post “tweets” which although they have no meaning, have attracted over 4000 followers.

 

Video of the day

This American soldier has become the latest Internet sensation. Here we see him dancing on a tank in the style of Carlton, a character from the 90s TV show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, as rockets fly behind him. The video is proving to be a huge hit on sharing sites, as it has already been viewed over 600 000 times since it was uploaded on the 6th of May.

 

 

By Electron Libre

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