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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 : 2013-02-07

USA: Trayvon Martin's birthday remembered online

American web users commemorate Trayvon Martin’s birthday. A photo of Barack Obama with a shotgun sparks controversy in the US. And a two-year-old boy demonstrates amazing basketball skills.

USA: Trayvon Martin’s birthday remembered online

A group of demonstrators gathered in front of a Florida court house on Tuesday to remember Trayvon Martin. The black teenager, who was shot dead nearly a year ago under circumstances that remain unclear, would have celebrated his 18th birthday on February 5th.

Tributes and messages were also posted to social networks, throughout the day, with some web users posing in hooded sweatshirts, like the one Trayvon Martin was wearing the day he died. Others have posted photos of packets of sweets, the same ones the high school student had gone out to buy before crossing paths with the man who murdered him. A memorial march is also being planned in Miami on Saturday.

Trayvon Martin was killed on the 26th February 2012 by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic American who was conducting a neighbourhood watch patrol at the time. The teen’s death sparked a wave of emotion and public anger across America, with the African-American community calling it a racially motivated crime. Outrage was further fuelled when Zimmerman was not charged immediately, by claiming he was acting in self-defense. An online petition demanding the killer stand trial gathered over 2 million signatures.

And over a month later, George Zimmerman was finally charged with second degree murder, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. His trial is due to open on June 10th. 

Barack Obama’s skeet shooting photo stirs controversy

This photo, apparently taken back in August for Barack Obama’s 51st birthday, and published on the official White House Flickr account on February 1st has sparked controversy on the American web. The picture shows the president with a shotgun, shooting clay targets, and has been released as he is working on toughening up gun laws in the US. Numerous web users have criticized the photo, calling it a vulgar marketing ploy aimed at winning support from gun control opponents.

Numerous Twitter users have condemned Obama for releasing this photo saying it is hypocritical. Web users say he is trying to pass himself off as gun enthusiast, when in actual fact over the past few weeks, he has been advocating tighter measures and controls on fire arm sales in the US.

And with many taking to the net to slate what they consider to be an ill thought out communication strategy, a great many others think the photo is a fake. Scores of web users are saying it’s an online conspiracy and that the president was never actually photographed holding a shotgun and the controversial picture has been doctored to win over his opponents by suggesting the president understands gun culture.

And although these allegations have been denied by the Obama camp, they have inspired online comedians, and all sorts of parodies of the famous shot have started emerging on the web: hilarious photomontages that depict the head of state in all sorts of wacky and unlikely scenarios. 

Now trending on social networks

Launched at the beginning of December, Benedict XVI’s 9 official multilingual Twitter accounts, now collectively have over two and a half million followers and the one hundred or so messages posted by the Pope have generated over 270,000 tweets. These findings are part of a study carried out by Italian Jesuit magazine Popoli which also reports that 10% of comments posted by web users on the Pope’s various accounts have been positive and 8 % negative. The detailed results are displayed in this infographic available on the magazine’s website.

What urban night skies would look like without pollution

The New York Times has published a collection of photos on its website showing what urban night skies would look like without the atmospheric and light pollution that often veils the stars. A haunting series of shots from French photographer Thierry Cohen, which show New York City, Shanghai and Paris for example in an entirely different light.

Video of the day

At just two years old, American tot Titus can’t dunk like Kobe Bryant but as we can see in this video currently doing the rounds on sharing sites, he can shoot hoops! He can do all sorts of trick and long distance shots, and could well be the next Michael Jordan.

By Electron Libre

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