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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 : 2014-01-19

Brazil worries about violent youth flashmobs

In this edition: in Brazil, favela youths find a unique way to protest in shopping centres; the selfie fashion reaches the farming sector; and a horrifying baby spreads terror in the streets of New York.


Hundreds of favela youths overrunning a stylish shopping centre in Sao Paulo… Since last month, these flash mobs have been increasing in number and are sparking controversy in Brazil. The events are organised on social networks, where participants are urged to go for a ‘rolezinho’, i.e. a trip with friends to window shop, sing songs and meet other young people.

But as these amateur images show, the gatherings can lead to clashes with security officers and are cause for concern for directors of these meccas of consumerism, who fear misbehaviour and theft. Some have even introduced security checks and deny access to non-accompanied minors, while the police have already stepped in on numerous occasions, making dozens of arrests in recent weeks.

And since the first arrests, the ‘rolezinhos’ have also turned into a form of protest against what is considered as racism and social segregation as these malls are usually the stomping ground of the middle classes and country’s white bourgeoisie.

The phenomenon is now slowly spreading to the rest of the country. On Facebook, almost 8,500 people have committed to taking part in a ‘rolezinho’ in a fashionable neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. A worrying contagion for the government who, after last year’s social unrest, fears a fresh wave of national protest just a few months before the football world cup.



Last month’s launch of a selfie competition for farming sector readers of the Irish newspaper, “Irish Farmers Journal” surely didn’t expect such a success. As seen on the weekly’s Facebook page, dozens of ‘felfies’, a contraction of the words farmer and selfies, were taken for the occasion. The snaps show farmers alongside some of their animals or in their fields, and were quick to be emulated around the globe.

From Canada to Australia and including France, ‘felfies’ are mushrooming on social networks. Often rather wacky, some net users have decided to collect and archive the pictures on line. This is the case for the creators of the sites and, which index hundreds of photos taken over the last few weeks by farmers, highlighting the extent of the current interest surrounding this viral fashion.

But while this practice allows farm workers to give a new perspective to their professions, it also gives them a chance to cast off the solitude which often goes hand in hand with their job. The initiative aims to end farmers’ isolation and is not the only one of its kind on the net. Since 2012, British farmers are invited to express the difficulties they face on Twitter using the key words #AgriChatUK.


#Forkgate is the hashtag many New York net users are using to poke fun at last week’s gaffe by their new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who dared to eat his pizza with a fork and not with his fingers as is the local tradition. A blunder that the dignitary justified by explaining that in Italy, the country of his ancestors, pizzas are often eaten with cutlery. It remains to be seen whether this will calm pizza fans, shocked by Blasio’s behaviour.



1.5 million… this is the number of pages taken from notebooks once belonging to British officers who fought on the front during the first world war, which will soon be made available to net users. 300,000 of these documents are already accessible, and allow users to better comprehend the conditions in which the soldiers lived. The initiative is managed by the British National Archives, which also call on volunteers to take part by indexing names, dates and other places mentioned in the notebooks to aid research using the documents.



A watermelon with blue flesh…According to a presentation diffused on social networks, this fruit known as ‘Moon Melon’ supposedly grows in Japan and can even temporarily change the eater’s perception of taste. The fruit is in fact the brainchild of a net user who simply altered a photo of a real slice of watermelon. The hoax has been circulating on the web for a few years but has resurfaced since “The Weird World” Twitter account diffused it this week to its 1.8 million followers.



To mark the US cinema release of the horror film, “Devil’s Due”, the film’s production team decided to spread panic in New York by guiding a radio controlled pram around the streets of the Big Apple with a monstrous looking mechanical baby inside. The little devil proceeded to scare the wits out of all those who were unlucky enough to bump into it as seen in this video currently diffused on YouTube.

By Electron Libre



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