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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 : 2012-04-05

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist under surveillance

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei draws attention to his constant surveillance by the state. 30 years on, the Falklands War debate continues on social networks. And an interactive map looking at climate change, those responsible and those that suffer…

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist under surveillance


Ai Weiwei eating in front of his computer, Ai Weiwei with his cat, Ai Weiwei sleeping… For 24 hours, over Tuesday and Wednesday, web users were able to follow the Chinese dissident and artist’s every move. He set up web cams around his Beijing home and broadcast a live feed over the Internet. By turning the cameras on himself, he denounced his constant surveillance by the state since his release back in June.

A well-known artist and outspoken critic of the government, Ai Weiwei was arrested a year ago and held in secret for three months. A regular user of social networks, he knows all too well the web’s ability to mobilize public opinion. When he was being investigated on pornography charges, for publishing nude photos, web users showed their support by posing naked themselves, and the shots were compiled on this blog.

Fan also helped out financially when Ai Weiwei was also accused of tax evasion and served with a fine of around 1,7 million euros. His many supporters believe the fine was an attempt to silence him and they raised over half the sum through an Internet campaign. The donations, which he vowed to pay back, meant he was able to pay the guarantee needed to challenge the charge. Without success, his appeal was rejected last week.

 

Falklands war goes viral

On Monday, the UK and Argentina marked the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War which saw the two countries enter into a 74 day armed conflict between April and June 1982. The question of who owns the islands located 500 kilometers east of the Patagonian coast, remains a source of tension between London and Buenos Aires. The simmering dispute has moved online in recent months with web users from both countries defending the position of their respective governments.

With the official commemorations underway, many both known and anonymous Brits posted comments on social networks explaining the Falklands, the British name for the islands, are and will always be a British Overseas territory. Some also say that the vast majority of the islands’ inhabitants wish to remain British.

Argentine web users were quick to respond. Social networkers using their local name for the islands “Malvinas”, have flooded sites with messages emphasizing the islands’ geographical proximity to Argentina.

 

It would appear the online debate has done little to calm down some residents of Buenos Aires, intent on seeing the Falklands returned to Argentine sovereignty. As we can see in these pieces of amateur video footage which have been posted online, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the Argentine capital’s British embassy on Monday, chanting anti-UK slogans. There were several confrontations with police when some protesters tried to force their way into the diplomatic mission offices.

 

Interactive carbon map

British daily "The Guardian" has published this interactive map on its website, looking at climate change, the offenders and also the victims. The project maps the world to show each continent’s annual consumption and emission of fossil fuels and the impact of climate change across the globe. This data is every detailed, and shows us that the strongest demographic growth occurs in the poorest countries which also have the lowest emissions of carbon dioxide.

 

Now trending on social networks

American actor Ashton Kutcher is at the center of much online debate ever since web users found out he was to take on the role of Steve Jobs, in a film about the late Apple co-founder who died back in October. Some think he is a great choice, and have added photos, to show the uncanny physical resemblance between the actor and the computer genius, whilst others feel Kutcher and Jobs have entirely different personalities and there could have been a better casting choice.

 

Video of the day

With the Google Art Project you can already take a virtual tour around over 150 museums in 40 different countries, and discover the artworks on display … and its now also possible to visit the White House from the comfort of your own home, and admire, amongst other things, the paintings and other ornaments exhibited in rooms accessible to the general public. The First Lady herself, Michelle Obama, is taking care of the promotional side of things, as we can see in this video available to view on the official presidential website. The stated aim of the project is to make this mythical residence, which is also known as “the people’s house”, accessible to all.

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