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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 : 2013-07-02

Egypt: rising up against sexual harassment

Today on the net: activists battle against sexual harassment in Egypt; a Japanese official is suspended from duty over offensive remarks on Twitter; and American astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeting from space.

Egypt: rising up against sexual harassment

Thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday demanding the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi. Among the crowds at the rally, volunteers tasked with protecting women from sexual harassment, something which has become all too common at this type of gathering.

A number of groups have been started in recent months, seeking to combat this problem which could dissuade some women from taking part in demonstrations. Recognizable by their neon vests and hard hats, volunteers from the “Tahrir Bodyguard” group for example, patrol the rallies as a deterrent for potential aggressors, and to intervene should anyone be assaulted.

Sunday saw some 30 cases of reported assaults on women during the demonstrations in Cairo: 30 cases too many for these groups that also campaign against sexual harassment in general, in everyday life, not just at rallies. According to a recent study carried out by the UN, over 99% of Egyptian women polled say they have been a victim of sexual harassment in one form or another.

Some activist groups are hoping to combat this scourge by providing free self-defense lessons, and the classes are becoming increasingly popular amongst women in Egypt.

Film maker Khaled El Nabawy meanwhile has been running an awareness campaign on harassment. He has produced a series of video clips which are being aired on the television and on the Internet, to break the silence surrounding this problem which has for a long time been considered a taboo subject. 

Now trending on social networks

Turkish web users have been posting under the Twitter hashtag #Turkeywithtahrir, with shows of support for Egyptian protesters gathered in the epicenter of the 2011revoution that led to the ouster of the Hosni Mubarak. In Turkey, activists have been staging anti-government protests for over a month now and relate to the Egyptians anger: as some say, the two protest movements are united under a common goal, they are both out to combat the authoritarian tendencies of their respective governments. 

Japanese official suspended over offensive tweets

Hiding behind the pseudonym "Ninja Rider" Yasuhisa Mizuno would share his thoughts and feelings on Twitter. But the Japanese official, working for the Reconstruction Agency, in charge of rebuilding areas hit by the Fukushima power plant disaster, was suspended from duty on June 21st after being exposed by the website “Our Planet TV”.

And it was a tweet posted back in March that led to his downfall. The official wrote on his anonymous account that he was attending a conference with who he referred to as “leftists”, and went on to insult them in the same tweet. Journalists from “Our Planet TV” then made the connection with a meeting between the government and residents from the Fukushima region, who were demanding action be taken to protect locals from radiation fallout after the Fukushima nuclear reactor explosion.

And once Ninja Rider’s identity had been confirmed, his superior and Minister for Reconstruction, Takumi Nemoto, held a press conference to apologize to the people of Japan, saying the expert had been suspended for a month without pay.

Many web users feel he should have been dealt with more harshly, particularly as Yasuhisa Mizuno made a regular thing of letting off steam on this Twitter account, criticizing his colleagues and his political party, and doing it anonymously.

And it is not the first time a political figure has been slammed for offensive posts on social networks. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sparked lively debate last month, after posting a comment on Facebook which mocked protesters who had raised concerns over Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free-Trade Agreement negotiations with countries like the United States. 

Astronaut Karen Nyberg’s Pinterest pictures

Karen Nyberg has been on board the international space station for over a month now. And the American astronaut is remaining highly active on social networks throughout her mission, and particularly so on photo sharing service Pinterest. In addition to the magnificent pictures of earth taken from space, she posts all sorts of shots of her everyday life in orbit; this series for example shows what weightlessness does for your hair.

Video of the day

Inspired by the action films of the 80s one Japanese web user has produced a high speed chase using toy cars and plastic décor, complete with sound effects worthy of the big Hollywood blockbusters. A frame by frame animation which is proving hugely popular on YouTube.

By Electron Libre

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