India blocks hundreds of web pages following threats of inter-ethnic violence. In the US, Republican congressman Todd Akin continues to face strong criticism online. And a 5 foot 6 high-school basketball player becomes the latest web sensation.
India cracks down on Internet after communal violence
India has blocked access to hundreds of web pages thought to contain threats against ethnic minorities from the state of Assam in the north east of the country.
The messages, sent via text message or Internet postings, apparently stated these indigenous people would be attacked by Muslims at the end of Ramadan, in retaliation for interethnic violence that has claimed dozens of lives in this remote area of India in recent weeks.
The threats sowed panic across the country; as we can see in these images aired on a local television channel, thousands of students and migrant workers fled cities like Mumbai and Bangalore to return home to the state of Assam, to avoid being brutally beaten.
According to the authorities, the threats were sent from neighbouring Pakistan. And to put an end to these rumours, the government has imposed restrictions on SMS communications and censored websites believed to fuel intercommunity tensions. Web giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter have been asked to cooperate by deleting any messages deemed to be inciting violence.
The measures have been widely condemned by web users, denouncing censorship under the hashtag « Emergency 2012 ». India has been accused of trying to tighten its control over the web in recent months by trying to force social networks to toe their line.
USA: fury continues over Todd Akin’s rape comment
‘Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize … ‘The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims.
Last weekend Todd Akin sparked outrage when he said it was rare for a woman to become pregnant after a “legitimate rape”, and in view of the backlash, the Republican representative for Missouri in the U.S. Senate, ended up apologizing, in this short video posted to YouTube on Tuesday. It was hoped the clip would put an end to the uproar surrounding the Republican politician, but has not necessarily had the desired effect.
Despite his apology, many American web users continue to voice their anger over Todd Akin’s comments on social networks, poking fun at his initial remarks on “legitimate rape”, questioning the Republican’s integrity, as critics say he will do anything to secure his place in the Senate. A satirical Tumblr blog has been set up, hosting dozens of photomontages, giving a new twist to the representative’s words on sexual attacks and the effects they have on victims. 29
But despite mounting calls for him to withdraw from November’s elections, Akin continues his bid for senate. The Republican has posted a series of messages to his official Twitter page, slamming the attitude of the elite and liberal media, saying in spite of his apology, they continue to do everything in their power to force him to withdraw his candidacy. He calls upon his supporters not to take this lying down by signing an online petition in his favour and also by making donations to help fund his electoral campaign.
Now trending on social networks
To the long list of things that have now become taboo in the Gu Kailai case, you can now add the words « Body double » ; the term has been blocked on the Chinese web. The wife of former Communist Party official Bo Xilai was given a suspended death sentence on Monday after being guilty of the murder of a British businessman. Many web users feel she was given preferential treatment. And some, after comparing recent television footage with old photos of Gu Kailai, are even saying she used a stand in during her murder trial. The authorities were keen to quell these rumours as quickly as possible.
Terms of service; Didn’t read
Most web users don’t read the long and somewhat tiresome terms of service they are asked to accept before subscribing to an online service, and so the website “Terms of service; didn’t read” offers a short résumé of all these legal regulations we all so easily agree to. The extremely useful site is not yet complete but tells you, in just a few clicks, which web companies are the most respectful of users’ rights and personal information and which are less scrupulous.
Video of the day
At just 5 foot 6, Aquille Carr is an amazing basketball player. He is still at high school in the United States but as become the latest sensation on sharing sites with this clip showcasing his exceptional talent. We see his dazzling dribbling and incredible dunks as he faces off to his much taller opponents. For recruiters from the American basketball league, he’s certainly someone to watch…