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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 : 2012-01-16

Ongoing crackdown in Syria

Web users continue to report on the ongoing crackdown in Syria. Debris from the Japanese tsunami is starting to wash up on North American shores, reactions online. And a Canadian man has used Facebook statuses to compose a song about winter ailments.

Ongoing crackdown in Syria

With Syrian president Bashar al-Assad still clinging on to power, the NGO “Reporters without Borders” has posted this video online condemning the situation in the country. It’s a satirical clip featuring the new iPhone voice app. When the user asks how many people were killed in the Syrian city of Homs yesterday, the telephone replies ‘the information you request has been controlled, disapproved and deleted permanently. I will forward your number to the security services’. The video clip concludes with the following slogan: Syria, the country where censorship is an application for all.

The international awareness campaign comes amid the ongoing crackdown ordered by the Syrian regime. These pieces of amateur video footage are difficult to verify but suggest members of the Arab League delegation (which has been monitoring the situation in Syria for over two weeks now) are the latest targets for al-Assad loyalists. These images were apparently filmed on Monday in the city of Latakia, we see supporters of the Syrian president attack a car transporting observers, and then we see the damage caused to the vehicle.

And civilians have also been caught up in the crackdown. Syrian cyber activists continue to report on the violence and repression across the country, by uploading and circulating videos online, on a daily basis. We are shown, for example, how when protesters throw stones, loyalist forces retaliate by firing live ammunition, we also see images of the on-going bombardment of residential areas in the flash point city of Homs.

 

Tsunami debris from Japan hits American shores

Plastic bottles, sandals, pieces of wood inscribed with Japanese lettering. These objects recently washed up on the shores of Tofino on the Canadian west coast. Surfer Jean-Paul Froment has detailed them on his blog; he says it’s not uncommon that objects from the other side of the Pacific make their way over to the Canadian coasts, but it is visibly a more common occurrence this year.

The debris was most probably washed out to sea when the tsunami struck Japan on March 11th last year, and is now starting to wash up North American shores. John Anderson lives near to Forks in the United States, and he says he found floats used by Japanese fisherman before the disaster hit.

Scientists estimate the tsunami washed millions of tons of debris out to sea, which has been swept along with the ocean currents and is now threatening coasts across Canada and the United States. According to forecasts from federal agency Noaa, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the debris could soon hit the island of Hawaii before reaching the American coastlines next year.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer is following the phenomenon very closely. The retired oceanographer from Seattle has posted an article on his blog urging people to handle the debris with care because it could be radioactive, and also to treat it with respect as many of the objects could turn out to be mementoes for those who lost loved ones in the disaster.

 

China’s online railway ticket sale goes berserk

The online platform selling Chinese rail tickets was visited over a billion times per day last week. It’s the first time the national railway service has sold tickets online. With the Chinese New Year holidays starting at the end of January, these tickets are highly sought after and the web site crashed the same day it was launched due to the unprecedented number of visitors. During the Chinese New Year an estimated number of two billion trips are made for family get-togethers.

 

Now trending on social networks

"It’s more fun in the Philippines", this is the latest online campaign dreamt up the country’s tourism authority. The aim is to attract foreign visitors to this island group which despite the beautiful landscapes, is far behind its neighbours in South East Asia when it comes to tourism. The campaign slogan is meant to be used to promote the Philippines but many local web users have been playing around with it to poke fun at or denounce the social problems in the country like unemployment and poverty.

 

Video of the day

Winters in Quebec are harsh with often subzero temperatures. And over the past few weeks there has been a proliferation of Facebook statuses where people are complaining of colds. This was inspiration enough for the person behind this video, who has composed a song comprising all these statuses and the budding musician has come up with a pretty amusing ditty…


 

By Electron Libre

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