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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 : 2012-12-10

Nigerian president urged to tackle lead poisoning

The Nigerian authorities are urged to tackle a lead poisoning epidemic. Austrian farmers condemn "milking", the latest craze to take the web by storm. And the White House is petitioned to build a Star Wars-inspired space station.

Nigerian president urged to tackle lead poisoning

Hundreds of web users have been visiting the Facebook page of Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in recent days, urging him to honour his promise to release funds to clean up the contaminated north western village of Bagega where residents have been suffering from lead poisoning for several years now.

The social media campaign was launched by Human Rights Watch, the NGO reports that the health crisis is a direct result of illegal gold mining operations across the region. Primitive methods are used to process the raw ore in these artisanal mines, and gold is mingled with veins of lead, with disastrous consequences on the environment and the health of locals. Over 400 children have reportedly died from lead poisoning since 2010, and hundreds of others continue to be exposed.

Their lives are in danger and time is running out. But according to the organization Doctors without Borders, as long as the polluted sites remain contaminated, the medical treatment serves no purpose.

And so activists have taken to the web demanding the cleanup operation begins immediately, condemning the government’s inaction, urging the authorities to release the funds promised back in May in order to remove the lead in the land and water reserves in the village of Bagega. 

Austrian farmers dip into Internet "milking" craze

A new phenomenon has hit the web in recent weeks: milking. It was initiated by a group of students from Newcastle in the UK and as we can see here involves pouring a carton or bottle of milk over your head, preferably in public, and then act all natural, as if nothing unusual has just taken place, as bemused passersby look on. The video clip was uploaded by the British youths at the end of November has since been viewed over 570,000 times, but it appears this new craze is not to everyone’s taste…

One group of Austrian milk farmers for example has decided to retaliate against what they see as a purely wasteful practice. The farmers have produced this YouTube video, demonstrating what they describe as “real milking”. It also involves lifting up the carton of milk but the difference is they actually drink the milk in one go and don’t pour it over their heads. Their aim is to show consumers that farmers and breeders work very hard to produce quality milk, and that is it quite simply ridiculous to throw it away for mere amusement.

So will the Austrian farmers’ wakeup call end up hitting home with the growing number of milking enthusiasts across the globe? Well, perhaps not quite yet, as video sharing platforms remain inundated with “milking” videos, each as wacky as the next, suggesting this new phenomenon is not about to disappear anytime soon.

Sharing your washing machine with your neighbors

With the site "La machine du voisin" meaning « the neighbour’s washing machine » you can do your laundry for just a few euros by using somebody else’s washing machine. This practical service which also promotes good neighborliness was dreamt up by four students from Lille in France who were all too aware of the hassles of going to the launderette. The platform was launched back in February and is enjoying great success, with now over 2,000 washing machines across France on its books.

White House petitioned to build "Death Star" space station

Over 3,000 web users have signed a petition on the White House’s dedicated petitioning website calling for the US government to begin construction on a space station based on the Death Star from the Star Wars film franchise by 2016. The campaign’s founders believe the project will help the US boost its national security and also help create jobs. And as the platform states if the petition gains over 25,000 signatures in less than a month then it will be guaranteed assessment by the President’s staff.

Video of the day

American video maker Andy Blalock returned from his trip to Cambodia with these spectacular images of the city of Phnom-Penh in all its glory. The video montage is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites and features a wealth of stunning photos…

By Electron Libre

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