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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2012-08-27

Chinese turn to microblogs for donations

Micro blogs are becoming an increasingly popular option for charitable giving in China. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama courting the Latino vote in the US. And a cat’s online campaign for a seat in the US senate.

Chinese turn to microblogs for donations

Rui is two and a half years old and has a congenital heart defect. His parents come from a modest background and did not have enough money to pay for surgery. And so, with the support of an NGO, they launched a fundraising appeal via social networks. In just 10 days they raised 10,000 Yuan, that’s around 1 200 euros; and so the little boy received the vital treatment last week.

There has been proliferation of similar shows of solidarity on the Chinese web in recent months. China’s Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo has even set up a dedicated platform.

One of the most successful initiatives to date was launched last year by former journalist Deng Fei. His “Free Lunch for Children” movement uses online micro donations to provide lunches for impoverished children in rural schools. The campaign has raised around 5 million euros so far and the NGO asks the schools to post the lunchtime menu on the Internet every day, along with expense reports, to prove the money is being spent as intended.

And at a time when people are becoming increasingly wary of state controlled charitable organizations and projects, this transparency-based model works. A year ago the Red Cross Society of China was brought into disrepute when web users came across a blog kept by Guo Meimei, who identified herself as working for the organization, and on which she boasted of her lavish lifestyle. The blog sparked suspicions of corruption, a significant drop in donations followed and ever since the people of China have been finding other ways to do their bit for charity.


USA: Obama and Romney courting Latino vote

With the US Presidential election fast approaching, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have now turned their attention to the Latino electorate, as their vote could play a decisive role in November’s election. And the candidates are using the Internet to drum up support.

According to online market researchers Usamp, Latino Americans are great fans of new technologies and social networks. The report tells us that they make extensive use of the online tools available to read up on the candidates ahead of voting day in less than three months’ time.



And so with this in mind Romney and Obama have decided to step up their online campaigning, in their bids to win over as many Hispanic voters as possible. The US president has launched a Facebook page and Twitter account specifically geared towards the Latin American community. The current occupant of the White House is also releasing more and more videos in Spanish, criticizing his Republican rival’s political program and asking for their vote in November.

Mitt Romney meanwhile has also been producing videos in Spanish slamming Barack Obama’s first term in office, claiming the Hispanic community has been the first to suffer. The Mormon candidate’s son also features in one of the clips, talking in Spanish, he tells voters that his father is the only candidate capable of getting the country back on track …the former governor for Massachusetts has also created a page called “Juntos con Romney” on his campaign website, to attract Hispanic support.

Hank the cat runs for Senate

Hank the Cat is running as an independent candidate for the U.S. senate seat in Virginia and has a website, Facebook page and Twitter account to boost campaigning ahead of the elections in November. Hank is already proving to be highly popular, with over 25,000 fans on Facebook and around 2,000 Twitter followers.


Online campaign to create a museum honoring Nikola Tesla

This is an online campaign to save the last remaining laboratory of Nikola Tesla and transform it into a tribute to the electricity pioneer and futuristic inventor. The lab is up for sale and fans of the scientist do not want it to fall into the wrong hands, and so they launched a fundraising appeal on the Indiegogo website, with over 900 000 dollars being pledged so far.


Video of the day

The scientific community was extremely excited when CERN researchers discovered the famous and long sought Higgs Boson back in July. And in honour of this historic development, a physics student has produced this parody of “Rolling in the Deep” by British singer Adele to try and explain to non-scientists, why this discovery is such an important step forward for scientific research...

By Electron Libre



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