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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 : 2011-08-18

Female Egyptian blogger facing military tribunal for insulting army

A female Egyptian blogger is facing a military tribunal for insulting the army. Chinese protesters succeed in getting a chemical plant closed down. And, a video featuring a very talented little dog.

Egypt activist to be tried for insulting military

Egyptian blogger and activist Asmaa Mahfouz was arrested on Sunday and released later that day having paid 20 000 Egyptian pounds which is equivalent to around 2 300 euros bail. She is accused of using Facebook and Twitter to defame the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been ruling the country since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. She is to be tried before a military tribunal and there has been widespread reaction on the web. 

Asmaa Mahfouz has been highly active on her blog but even more so on Twitter where she has over 41 000 followers. She recently posted a message expressing her concerns about the actions of the military government, and warning the armed forces that the absence of an independent justice system will push Egypt to the edge of an abyss.

The Egyptian army did not appreciate her comments. Amnesty International is saying the military wants to make an example of Mahfouz. The NGO is calling for all charges against the blogger to be dropped and at the same time condemns the growing number of military tribunals for civilians since the fall of Mubarak. Over 10 000 people have reportedly been tried before a military court since February’s popular uprising.

Web users have also been sharing their thoughts on the arrest. Some question the army’s motives and the apparent differences in the way in which civilians and former high ranking government officials are treated. In spite of the crimes he is accused of committing, Hosni Mubarak, for example, is appearing before a criminal court. This situation has prompted a number of Egyptians, such as the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, to ask the authorities to drop the charges against the activist.


Protests in China against chemical plant

Over 12 000 residents in Dalian in north east China took part in a protest on Sunday demanding the closure of a chemical plant on the coast of the port town that produces paraxylene, a carcinogenic and highly flammable chemical.

The people of Dalian feared an environmental disaster after typhoon Muifa broke the dyke around the plant last week. Citizens launched a number of appeals on social networks over the weekend, and in particular on Weibo, China’s most popular micro blogging platform.

Demonstrators have been using sharing sites to relay pictures of the movement and also to share accounts of the minor scuffles with riot police, which, as we can see in these shots, had been deployed en masse to keep things in order.

Many bloggers believe that the authorities are now trying to hush up these eye witness accounts, videos and photos from the protests as many have quite simply disappeared from a number of Chinese web sites. Some are even saying that no results are coming up when you type the key word 'Dalian' into local search engines.

It would appear however that despite the censorship, the campaign has been successful. According to an official announcement, the plant is to be closed down immediately. In the online edition of the South China Morning Post, readers are urged to not get too excited because there are dozens of similar petrochemical plants in the same industrial zone that also represent an environmental risk.


Social media propaganda posters

If Facebook, Google and Twitter had been created in the 1920s, then perhaps the streets would have been adorned with posters like these. An American artist who calls himself “Just One Scarf” has created social media propaganda posters, in the style of the political parties from one hundred years ago. It is possible to buy these posters online.


California: Facebook removes inmate profiles

California prison inmates are now longer allowed on Facebook. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations has asked the social network to remove all profiles belonging to inmates in this US state. The decision was made after a number of cases of criminal abuse of social networks were reported along with complaints from victims who were contacted via Facebook from behind bars.


Video of the day

Ever since his owners posted videos of his exploits on sharing sites, Jesse the Jack Russell has become a veritable online sensation. In this latest clip, the little dog shows once again just how useful he is around the house. He can make toast, get the shopping out of the car and also fold towels and put them away. In just one week, the video has already been viewed over 700 000 times.


By Electron Libre



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