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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2014-01-12

French Senate approves "anti-Amazon" bill

In this edition : the French senate approves the so called « anti-Amazon » bill; Americans conducting scientific experiments during the cold wave; and a double-leg amputee from Brazil wowing the skateboarding world.


On Wednesday, the French Senate unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting book sellers in France from online competition. The bill, which will now go back to the National Assembly for a second reading before being formally adopted, will restrict online vendors from offering free delivery to customers on top of a maximum 5 percent discount on books.

It has been dubbed the "anti-Amazon" bill because it is mainly targeting the American online shopping giant which has been accused by French publishers of what they call “dumping”, dispatching books free of charge without a minimum purchase amount.

And although some consumers have criticized the law as it will mean they’ll be paying more for books they order online, it has been extremely well received and highly anticipated among traditional book sellers. Small businesses that have been trying to respond to the competition served up by Amazon by offering online consumers an alternative. for example has some 1,000 stores pooling their stock.

And the delivery charge isn’t the only controversial issue. Amazon has also been accused of tax evasion as it registers profit in Luxembourg. So the group doesn’t pay taxes in France or in the UK where NGO “Ethical Consumer” is campaigning for an Amazon boycott, denouncing the company’s tax arrangements.


Despite the polar blast currently gripping parts of North America and the authorities recommending people stay snug and cozy indoors, some have decided to brave the icy temperatures to conduct ‘interesting’ experiments. We’ve selected some of the best science demonstrations doing the rounds on the web…

As illustrated by the scores of photos and videos posted to social networks over the past few days, one of the most popular experiments involves blowing bubbles outside at below zero temperatures. As we can see here the bubbles crystalize and turn hard in just a few seconds…

And here’s another experiment that has got North Americans defying the intense cold: throwing boiling water into the freezing air. It creates a vapour cloud, freezing into tiny ice crystals almost instantaneously.

And finally some wanted to find out what happens when you leave wet clothes outside : well t-shirts totally freeze and become as hard as stone, set rigidly in shape: a dramatic demonstration that gives us an idea of just how cold it has been in North America.



Nepalese web users have been posting under the #StopMonsantoInNepal hashtag for some months now, urging their government to ban the use of genetically modified seeds. And the online campaigning appears to have paid off because on Wednesday the Supreme Court of Nepal gave an interim order to ban the importation of GMOs until further notice. The ruling means that food processing multinationals like Monsanto won’t be able to sell their products to Nepal, a move that has been warmly welcomed by the country’s web users…


Globally speaking, the average life expectancy at birth currently stands at 71 years old and has progressively grown in recent decades. This infographic was produced by Chilean graphic designer Marcelo Duhalde and shows us that at this moment in time, you can expect to live longest in the Principality of Monaco where the average age at death is 90 years old. Japan, Singapore and Macao are just behind at 84 years. On the other end of the scale we have Chad and South Africa where the average life expectancy stands at 49 years old.



Steve Venegas came up with the somewhat wacky idea of dressing exactly the same as certain clothes store mannequins and striking a pose right next to them… He’s documented it all in photos on his Tumblr blog “The Gap Mannequin Project”. It’s one way for him to pass the time when he goes shopping with his girlfriend…



Italo Romano rom Brazil lost both his legs at the age if thirteen. But this hasn’t stopped him from practicing his favourite activity: skateboarding. And as we can see in this video recently posted online: he’s extremely good at it, pulling off one impressive move or trick after another. You can see the video in its entirety on YouTube.

By Electron Libre



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