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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 : 2014-04-17

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

In this edition: online mobilization in Chile to help victims of the Valparaiso fire; the selfie craze spreads to drivers; and DC Comics releases a video celebrating 75 years of Batman.


The forest and hilltop homes in Valparaiso covered in huge flames and thick black smoke. This amateur footage filmed over the weekend bears witness to the scale of the deadly fire raging through Chile’s historic port city since Saturday. It has caused widespread damage, thousands of families have been forces to flee their homes and have been living in shelters over the past few days.

A number of flyers have been posted to Twitter under the #FuerzaValpo hashtag, explaining most of these displaced residents have lost everything and are in urgent need of food, water and clothing. Information shared by charities and organizations that are making online appeals for donations and volunteers.

And as we can see from these photos people have responded to the pleas for aid. The shots were taken during operation #TwitterosSolidarios, a basic necessities drive for victims organized by a Valparaiso based web user on Sunday.

Google has set up a site providing real time updates for those affected, a platform that web users can also contribute to. It features a map locating collection centres and emergency shelters in Valparaiso and also the capital Santiago. 


Taking a selfie while driving… it’s very dangerous and is currently proving extremely popular on social networks; drivers posing for slightly staged of spur of the moment shots and then posting their pic to Instagram or Twitter, generally under the #drivingselfie hashtag. Public authorities and road user associations, in the UK and US in particular, have voiced strong concerns and are urging motorists to be more responsible and cautious when behind the wheel.

As the “Daily Mail” reports on its website, one in 14 drivers in Britain has admitted to taking a selfie while driving. Basing its figures a recent survey conducted by the site, the British daily says the craze is particularly popular among 18 to 24 year olds, with 11 % saying they have taken a photo of themselves whilst on the road.

Car manufacturer Ford has produced this video, posted to Facebook last week, to show these selfie devotees that what they are doing is just as dangerous as talking on the phone while driving, and urges young drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

A number of police officers have also taken to the web, urging caution. In this ad produced last month, a cop from the Florida Police Department says taking a selfie while driving can have terrible consequences. A growing trend which she says is extremely reckless and should be severely punished.


A Dutch teenager, identified only as “Sarah” posted this tweet on Sunday, as a joke, to American Airlines: “hello my name`s Ibrahim and I`m from Afghanistan. I`m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I`m gonna do something really big bye”. But the airline did not find it funny at all and replied moments later saying it was taking the threat very seriously and will forward her IP address to security and the FBI. Local authorities have said the 14 year old could be facing prosecution. 


Using one`s cat as a musical instrument… the somewhat offbeat #catband trend is currently all the rage on social networks, and on Instagram in particular. It sees people playing their cats as guitars, pianos, violins, even bagpipes! And then posting the often hilarious videos online


NASA has released a comprehensive online catalogue of software code for about 1,000 projects developed over the past 50 years. So web users can visit the purpose built website and access code for example running the Apollo 11 guidance computer when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to walk on the moon on July 21st 1969. The resources are available as an open source project so researchers can use all the data available to develop new applications. 


As part of Batman`s 75th anniversary celebrations this year, DC Comics has released this animation short featuring the caped crusader. Produced by Bruce Timm, “Batman : Strange Days” is available to view on YouTube and pays tribute to the earlier adventures of our superhero, back in the 1940s.

By Electron Libre



2014-12-17 India

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2014-12-16 Bangladesh

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In this edition: reactions to the oil spill in Bangladesh; Justin Bieber's fans mourn the death of his dog; and one man’s cunning ploy to get Christmas kisses.

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2014-12-15 USA

USA: Web users expose soldier impersonators

In this edition: Web users in the US exposing frauds impersonating soldiers; an Indian actress pens an open letter denouncing sexual violence; and a farmer using music to herd...

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2014-12-13 France

Teaching in the digital age

We're at a middle school maths lesson at the Collège International in the suburbs of Paris, and students are using a computer rather than an exercise book. The establishment...

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2014-12-12 Hong Kong

Hong Kong police dismantles protest camp

In this edition: authorities in Hong Kong send in police to dismantle pro-democracy protest camps; Irish artists campaign against a new government imposed water tax; and American...

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