A Chinese web user raises suspicions over the watches worn by China’s highly placed officials. More and more Tunisian bloggers are joining the election race. And a site which helps you learn foreign languages by chatting with strangers.
Chinese blogger points to luxury watches as sign of corruption
A Chinese blogger has raised questions about the corruption amongst highly placed Chinese officials after spotting them wearing luxury wristwatches. Over the past few weeks, the web user, who goes under the name Daniel Wu, has been posting photos of the senior officials online stating the brand and value of the watches they are wearing.
Zhou Wenzhang, vice President of the China National School of Administration, has been snapped with what appears to be a Piaget watch, estimated at 100 000 Yuan, that’s over 11 000 euros. In China, this is more or less equivalent to the annual salary for an official of ministerial rank.
Daniel Wu started his investigation after looking at images from July’s Wenzhou rail disaster. He noticed the Railway Minister, Sheng Guangzu, was wearing an expensive Rolex. The cyber activist went on to discover that the minister owned an entire collection of watches and had been photographed wearing them for a number of public appearances.
The web user used an image search engine to carry out his investigation, using keywords like “party secretary” or “governor” or “head of department”. Whenever the photo featured a watch, he would try and identify it either through advanced online searches, or by looking in actually jewelry shops.
His revelations received considerable coverage on the web, but in no time at all, his account was blocked on Weibo, which is China’s equivalent to Twitter. The authorities are currently reinforcing their control over this micro blogging platform which is becoming increasing popular with civil society both as a campaigning tool and to denounce abuses of power.
Tunisian bloggers join the election race
Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly Election is scheduled for the 23rd October, when Tunisians will head to the polls to elect the 218 delegates who will be in charge of writing the country’s new constitution. And Tunisian bloggers have been joining the election race.
Amira Yahyaoui has set up an independent list called "Sawt Mostakel", meaning “an independent voice”. The 27 year old blogger lives in France, and made a name for herself by bypassing the censorship that existed under the Ben Ali regime. She explains on the website supporting her candidacy, that after years of active campaigning for the opposition, she wants to help rebuild a new Tunisia.
Mehdi Lamloum also wants to continue having an active involvement in the post Ben Ali Tunisia. He is an Internet expert and his blog Pink Lemon is well known and respected in the web marketing industry. The blogger has signed up to the independent election list submitted by candidate Youssef Seddik, an eminent Tunisian philosopher and anthropologist.
Riadh Guerfali, co-founder of the collective blog Nawaat, which was extremely active during the Tunisian uprising, has also decided to join the election race. Guerfali has a PhD in public law and used his blog Astrubal to denounce the former regime’s violations of national and international law. He is seen by many as the candidate with the necessary legal experience to develop a new Constitution.
The fact that figures from the online world are registering as candidates proves that Tunisians, many of whom are new technology enthusiasts, want to have their say in the country’s reconstruction process. Yassine Ayari, a very prominent cyber activist in Tunisia, sums it up well on his blog. He says he wants to be a politician who blogs and not a blogger who discusses politics!
Twitter reaches 100 million active users
Twitter recently announced that after five years in activity, it has reached the 100 million active users mark, active meaning signing in at least once a month. It should also be noted that the micro blogging platform generates around 230 million tweets per day!
Verbling, a Chatroulette for learning foreign languages
Chat with strangers via webcam and practice speaking a foreign language. The site Verbling had adopted the Chatroulette concept by matching web users with someone who speaks the language they are looking to perfect. Not many people have signed up as yet, so for the moment Verbling is only available in English and Spanish, but other languages like French and Arabic will soon also be part of the service.
Video of the day
This video called "Experience zero gravity" invites us into the world of base jumping, which consists of free falling from a mountain top or building. This magnificent clip was created using the slow motion technique which means we can admire every last detail…