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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 : 2013-11-18

Reactions to China’s reform roadmap

Today on the net: reactions to China’s reform roadmap; controversy over a new Lebanese new bank note marking 70 years of independence; and a photographer mocking some of the bizarre laws still in force in the US.

Reactions to China’s reform roadmap

A 60-point roadmap detailing plans ranging from opening up the banking sector to reducing the number of crimes subject to the death penalty … the Chinese government announced the ambitious economic and social reforms at the end of the Communist Party’s third plenum, setting social networks abuzz.

One of the measures drawing the most commentary: the loosening of the one child policy. Couples in which one member is an only child will be allowed to have two children. But a lot of web users are saying they would not be able to afford to bring up an additional child because of the growing cost of living in big cities.

Another top talking point: the abolition of the "re-education through labour" detention system. News which has raised high hopes for human rights activists who have been campaigning for years to convince the government to scrap these camps. Some are less enthusiastic however and point out that there are still other arbitrary detention centers in use in China.

Chinese bloggers are also worried about Beijing’s announcement of tighter government control over the Internet which it sees as a threat to the country’s stability. Since taking office, Xi Jinping and his new Chinese government have been stepping up measures to tighten the reins on the web’s opinion leaders.

And the latest victim of censorship: Zhang Qianfan, a constitutional law professor at Beijing university. His blogs and social network accounts were shut down after he published an article urging the government to speed up the democratic process.

Lebanese banknote celebrates independence but cannot spell it

Lebanon is to issue 50,000 commemorative 50,000 pound notes, which will go into circulation on November 22 to mark its 70 years of independence. The new notes were unveiled to the public last week, but soon became the subject of much ridicule. Why? Well there’s a spelling mistake… The French language face of the bank note spells independence as it is written in English, so with an ‘E’ rather than an ‘A’…

People across Lebanon have taken to social networks in their droves, stunned at such a slip up. Some like this Twitter user have posted comical commentary: this post imagines what Lebanon’s new 100,000 pound note will look like, with a somewhat sloppy spelling of: ‘banque’ the French word for bank…

So whilst some Lebanese web users find the blunder amusing, others are less than impressed and can’t make light of it. The author of this article published on Libnanews.com slams what she describes as an unacceptable error, wondering how no-one spotted the spelling mistake before the bank note went to print. This blogger shares a similar point of view and urges the Bank of Lebanon to print new notes before the country’s anniversary of independence on November 22.

But it’s highly unlikely this will happen; the central bank’s governor Riad Salameh recently announced the famous bank notes would be going into circulation regardless. He thinks the spelling mistake will make them all the more popular, with currency collectors in particular.

Website details recovered art treasures stolen by Nazis

The German government started unveiling a new website, LostArt.de last Monday, a platform that will provide detailed descriptions of over 1400 art treasures stolen by Nazis and recovered in Munich last year. Twenty pieces, including paintings from Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse have been catalogued so far, and others will soon follow. The aim is to speed up the investigation process and return the works to their rightful owners. 

Photographer mocks bizarre laws in the United States

American photographer Olivia Locher has produced a collection of photos called "I fought the law" to poke fun at some of the ridiculous laws still in place in various US states. In Alabama for example it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket … and in California, riding a bicycle in a swimming pool is strictly forbidden… you can check out the entire collection on the artist’s website. 

Video of the day

Traffic on a highway, planes and helicopters at an airport, skiers on a mountain … this is a study of movement, of comings and goings, and it’s all produced in paper … it’s the work of Danish artist Pingo van der Brinkloev who has become a master in the art of paper folding. The video entitled “It’s paper” is available to view on Vimeo.

By Electron Libre

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