American web giants campaigning against online piracy act. In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s supporters are using the web to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda. And builders in China construct a 30 story hotel in just 15 days.
USA: campaign against online piracy act
Wikipedia on strike… the collaborative online encyclopedia will black out its English edition for 24 hours this Wednesday in protest against two controversial online piracy acts currently under discussion in the US Congress.
So the fifth most visited site in the world is joining the strike action initiated by social sharing hub Reddit which is to shut down services for 12 hours. They hope the “blackout” will raise awareness on how, in their opinion, the proposed legislation threatens a free Internet.
The "Stop Online Piracy Act", or SOPA, and the "Protect Intellectual Property Act", or PIPA, are designed to block access to sites thought to contain unauthorized copyright material. The music and film industry have given the bills their backing, but the web giants are against the legislation and have said as much in an open letter to US Congress posted last month. Google, Facebook and also Twitter believe the proposed measures represent a serious threat to the web industry’s record of innovation.
The White House has expressed a similar sentiment and has officially responded to two petitions posted on its website. And with the PIPA up for a vote on the Senate floor next week, the Obama administration has in fact criticized the legislation, placing an emphasis on the need to combat piracy whilst protecting a free and open Internet.
Russia: Internet used to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda
With Russia’s presidential election scheduled for the 4th March, supporters of the heavy favourite, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, have taken to the web to take on his political adversaries. One of the main targets of these online attacks is Alexeï Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who has become one of the driving forces behind the opposition movement in the country.
This video, which is in very dubious taste, was posted to a pro-Putin blog last week. It’s around a minute long and compares Alexei Navalny’s gestures and intonations to those of Adolf Hitler, basically depicting the blogger as a fascist. The purpose of this smear campaign is to take away any credibility from one of the most well-known critics of the Prime Minister.
The people behind this cartoon which is aired on lifenews.ru, a news site with close ties to the Kremlin, share the same goal. Once again, Navalny is portrayed as a fascist, carrying out the Nazi salute, all day long, in a somewhat compulsive manner.
Navalny denies these allegations, and has always been open about his nationalist activities. This video for example was filmed in 2007 and has recently resurfaced. He says, amongst other things, that, just as fly swatters are used against insects, guns should be made available for use against law breakers like Islamist militants.
And with the presidential elections fast approaching, we are seeing more and more pro-Kremlin propaganda, but it does sometimes backfire. Putin supporters recently circulated this doctored photo online, which shows Alexeï Navalny with Boris Berezovski, a businessman who is wanted by the Russian authorities. Russian web users wasted no time in exposing the photo as a fake, a result of some pretty poor photo editing, and then went on to have a field day parodying the doctored photo, condemning the failed smear campaign.
North Korea’s communist paper launches English website
North Korea’s official newspaper the "Rodong Sinmun", now has its own website in English. An article on the new leader Kim Jong-Un visiting a building site in Pyongyang, a photo hailing the productivity of one of the capital’s coal mines… North Korea intends to use the portal to give its take on local and international news. The communist regime has made great use of social networks in recent years and continues to use the web as a tool to spread propaganda aimed essentially at foreign web users…
Now trending on social networks
Michelle Obama is planning on playing a key role in her husband’s campaign for re-election to the White House. And America’s First Lady has opened a Twitter account to do so. The idea is to use Mrs. Obama’s popularity to win over voters before voting day on the 6th November. And just like’s her husband, this new Twitter account will be largely run by the President’s communication and campaign teams. Any tweets written by Michelle Obama herself will be signed with her initials.
Video of the day
Chinese construction company Broad Group made a name for itself in 2010 when it built a 15 story hotel in just 6 days. And the firm is back making headlines with its latest exploit, erecting a 30 floor building in 15 days! You can see this amazing feat for yourself in this accelerated video which retraces the main steps in the construction of this hotel which has a total surface area of 17,000 m2.