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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 : 2012-07-13

Fighting corruption in Indonesia

A website naming and shaming Indonesia’s corrupt civil servants. Chinese web users becoming increasingly vigilant over food safety. And an abandoned Italian village is up for sale on an online auction site.

Fighting corruption in Indonesia

A site aimed at fighting corruption in Indonesia. Launched June 19, Korupedia.org has proved to be an immediate success; it in its first week it has drawn near to 2 million visitors. The portal displays the name and photo of a hundred or so people convicted of corruption along with details of the case, like the sentences received or how much money they took in bribes.

The people behind the project hope that by archiving this data and making it available to the public, the site could act as a deterrent, by imposing “social sanctions” on public servants found guilty of corruption.

According to NGO Transparency International, Indonesia is one of the country’s worst hit by this phenomenon, so it’s perhaps not surprising the project has been met with some opposition. Hackers have apparently been trying to infiltrate Korupedia.com on a daily basis to wipe the data.

But the site’s success does reflect a desire within civil society to put an end to this graft culture and corruption within all levels of the civil service. When parliament recently refused to allocate more budget to Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, the KPK, a group of associations decided to lend their support.

They are asking the general public for donations to help finance this organization which needs, in particular, new headquarters. To play their part and do their bit in the fight against corruption, millions of street vendors have committed, via their trade union, to contribute 1,000 rupiahs each, that’s around 10 euro cents.

 

China’s food safety activists

Over the past week Chinese dairy company Bright Dairy has been recalling hundreds of milk cartons in the region of Shanghai. The milk has been contaminated with detergent used to clean factory machines. The issue came to light after a web user used the contaminated milk in a recipe and went on to alert fellow citizens through a series of online posts.

Pesticides in ravioli, pork containing anabolic steroids, and formalin-laced cabbage: over the past few years there have been all sorts of food scandals across China, and residents are becoming increasingly alarmed.

 

But government measures to eliminate the problem have done little to reassure some members of the population who have decided to take matters into their own hands. Shanghai based student Wu Heng has created this web site called “To be thrown out of the window”: the aim is to catalogue all food scares and scandals across the country and inform web users of what they need to watch out for in super markets.

One software company has developed a smart phone application based on the same concept. It acts as a search engine for contaminated food, and has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps in China.

But it is a sensitive issue and these platforms only include data relayed by local media which is strictly controlled by the authorities. So whether it’s in the press or on social media platforms, censorship often interferes with reporting on food safety.

 

Entire village in Tuscany up for sale on eBay

For just two and half million euros, an entire village in Tuscany, Italy could be yours: yes it’s up for sale on eBay. The little hamlet is located forty or so kilometers outside of Florence and has around 25 cottages which are included in the deal. The only drawback is most of the dwellings are in ruins and will need a lot of renovation work. The sale is part of recent austerity measures adopted by the Italian government which is making every attempt to generate extra revenue.

 

Now trending on social networks

Over 16 million tweets were sent during the final of the EURO 2012 football championship, in which Spain beat Italy 4 goals to zero. A peak of 15 358 messages was recorded just after the fourth goal was scored. And the stats released by Twitter suggest we have reached new records for a sporting event. Millions of football fans around the world turned to the micro blogging platform to comment on matches throughout the duration of the tournament, with many congratulating Spain, the current world champions and now winners of two consecutive European championships.

 

Video of the day

Every day Dean Peterson takes the subway at Brooklyn’s 36th street in New York City, and upon leaving the station he has noticed that one of the subway stairs is slightly higher than all of the others… and as you can see in this video he recorded last week, that’s all it takes to trip up passengers. The short film soon went viral and has prompted the subway authorities to make the necessary repairs.

By Electron Libre

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