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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 : 2013-01-08

Japanese man vacations on Syrian front lines

A Japanese man vacations on the Syrian frontline. Meanwhile, American web users are petitioning for a Joe Biden reality show. And robots play hard rock.

Japanese man vacations on Syrian front lines

Instead of heading to a beautiful beach somewhere or hitting the ski slopes, 45-year-old Toshifumi Fujimoto has decided to vacation in Syria for a few weeks to see the situation in the war-torn country, first hand.

Armed with a camera and dressed in Japanese army fatigues, the unusual tourist is currently exploring the northern city of Aleppo, which has been a hotbed of opposition activity; he has been taking a lot of photos and posting them to Facebook. Astonishing images, like these ones, showing him posing alongside rebels he has met along the way, or seemingly carefree children he has passed in the street, photos in stark contrast with the scenes of violence generally captured in Aleppo which has been under siege by loyalist forces for close to six months now.

But Fujimoto’s photos also bear witness to the daily reality in Aleppo and the violent clashes between rebels and the regular army. He has also posted pictures to his Facebook page showing the damage and destruction caused to the city after months of fierce fighting, as well as opposition fighters and regime forces locked in battle, and the marches organized by locals calling upon President al-Assad to step down from power…

Given the current situation in Syria, his undertaking would seem extremely dangerous, and yet Fujimoto who is a trucker by trade says he does not fear for his life. In an interview with French news agency, the AFP, he explains that he runs little risk as a tourist, saying he is not a target for snipers, unlike journalists.

White House petition calls for Joe Biden reality show

This e-petition which has been submitted to the White House petitioning platform is drawing growing support from web users. They want a reality show for US vice president Joe Biden.

It comes after Joe Biden amped up the wit at a senate swearing in ceremony on Thursday. He is known for his jokey remarks, they have on occasion got him into trouble, and on this particular day the American vice-president was clearly in a playful mood. He joked around with members of congress and their families throughout the ceremony he even appeared to be turning on the charm with some of the senators’ mothers. And his high spirits have gone down a treat with American web users.

The author of the petition thinks a Joe Biden reality show will help give people a glimpse of the lighthearted side of American politics. The petition has drawn 1,500 signatures so far, and according to the White House petitioning guidelines, if this figure grows to 25,000 signatures in the next calendar month, the Obama administration will be obliged to officially consider the petition. But this isn’t always the case, particularly for the more unusual requests.

Petitions like this one, which asks the White House to consider building a space station based on the Death Star from the Star Wars film. It well exceeded the number of signatures required but has yet to receive a response from Washington.

"Hashtag" declared 2012’s word of the year

 

Twitter users are all too familiar with the term "Hashtag" and it’s been declared 2012’s word of the year by linguists from the very serious “American Dialect Society” and in doing so members of the institution acknowledge the influence of the micro blogging site on American society. On Twitter people use the hashtag symbol to mark keywords or topics in a tweet, as a way to categorize messages and it’s a word that will no doubt get a lot of usage in the months and years to come. 

Now trending on social networks

Twelve Macedonian women, regular Twitter users, have posed wearing next to nothing for a 2013 calendar. It was organized by an association in Macedonia to raise money for cancer research in the country. Called “Twitter calendar”, it is enjoying huge success on the local web and may well inspire other social networkers across the globe to also undress for charity… 

Video of the day

Compressorhead is not just any old hard rock group, because as we can see in this video which is currently doing the rounds online, it’s made up entirely of robots. These androids are veritable masters of their instruments, and could well give human musicians a run for their money in years to come…

By Electron Libre

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