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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 : 2011-12-15

Kenyan army and Shebab rebels fight online

The Kenyan army and Somali Islamist insurgents in an online war of words. Mikhaïl Prokhorov announces Russian presidential candidacy; reactions online. And the Occupy Movement’s cutest protesters…

Kenyan army and Shebab rebels fight online

"Life has better to offer than stoning innocent girl" this is one of Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir’s recent tweets, directed at Somalia’s Shebab rebels. This particular post was in reference to an Amnesty International report claiming a 13 year old rape victim was executed by the extremist Islamist militant group in 2008 for committing adultery.

The Somali Islamist group set up a Twitter account last week, and has since been trading insults and accusations with the Kenyan army on the micro blogging platform. Two months ago Kenya sent in troops to fight Shebab rebels in southern Somalia following a spate of cross border kidnappings of Westerners.

And now the fighting has spread to the Internet. The Islamist militants are relaying news of victories against the African Union forces deployed in the country. They have also uploaded these photos of ID cards belonging to the Burundi soldiers killed in battle in Mogadishu.

But it would seem the information is often exaggerated. On Saturday a tweet was posted claiming the Kenyan army had bombed a Red Cross center, and scores of people had been injured or killed. The Red Cross later confirmed their center was hit, but there were no causalities because the center was empty at the time.

By tweeting in English, al-Shebab is ensuring its propaganda reaches a wider audience. In recent years the group has posted a number of videos like this one aimed at recruiting members from Western countries.


Mikhail Prokhorov announces Russian presidential candidacy

Russian business tycoon Mikhaïl Prokhorov is to run in Russia’s Presidential Elections scheduled for March 2012. He made the announcement on Monday, via his Twitter account. The move comes amid unprecedented protests in Russia, as for the past week, Russians have come out in their droves to protest parliamentary elections, widely seen as rigged in favour of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

Prokhorov’s presidential bid is being widely discussed on social media platforms. Many feel he is very brave to take on the country’s ‘strong man’, Vladimir Putin, and could well give the current Prime Minister a run for his money. Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm however: these web users are questioning the Russian billionaire’s motives and some think this sudden decision to run for president is in fact a Kremlin approved move to divert attention away from the growing protest movement in Russia.

Political observer Georgy Bovt thinks this might well be the case. In this online article he says that for the past 10 years, no independent candidate has been allowed to run in a Presidential election without it being more or less approved by the authorities.

And as these pieces of footage which have been doing the rounds on sharing sites suggest the protest movement is as strong as ever. Some of the videos, like this one filmed in St-Petersburg, show riot police using force to disperse rallies before going on to arrest protesters.

The Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, issued a statement on his Facebook page at the beginning of the week, saying an enquiry was to be launched into the electoral fraud allegations. Web users do not appear too reassured by his words however and have flooded Medvedev’s page with thousands of posts, criticizing the authorities for trying to repress the protest movement from the very outset.

 

Now trending on social networks

"# Stop cyberbullying" is currently trending heavily on social networks. This is partly down to American singer and teen idol, Miley Cyrus; a friend of hers was being attacked on Twitter and so she leapt to her defense. Cyber bullying is becoming increasingly prevalent and Miley Cyrus is urging other web users to join her and campaign to put an end to it. There has been a massive response so far with messages condemning cyber bullying pouring in online.


The Occupy movement’s cutest protesters

A dog moving his bones to a credit union, a cat proud to be one of the 99 ‘purr’ cent and a baby voicing his anger with the global financial system… the revolution is a serious affair, but this does not mean activists have to take themselves too seriously. This blog is full of photos of the Occupy movement’s cutest protesters, sent in by web users from all over the United States.


Video of the day

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and with its 8 million residents, the traffic never stops. British photographer Rob Whitworth has immortalized the constant stream of cars, trucks, boats and bikes in this video. It was made using the time lapse technique and is available to view on sharing sites.

By Electron Libre

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