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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 : 2014-08-05

Online campaigns to raise money for military operations

In this edition: crowdfunding campaigns aim to raise money for soldiers in Gaza or Ukraine; outrage as a couple abandons a baby with Down's Syndrome; and a mountain bike champ in an impressive display.

Support Israel's Operation Protective Edge or “helping our soldiers” … there are a number of online crowdfunding campaigns now underway, launched early on during the Gaza conflict, raising money for Israeli soldiers. The campaigns were started by Israeli citizens or by members of the army, to help pay for equipment and food for troops on the front line.

Generally speaking they are raising between 2,000 and 5,000 dollars, but some are proving extremely popular. These two fundraising campaigns on the Tilt platform for example have generated some 22,000 and 48,000 dollars respectively. Impressive amounts of money which will be used to give the Israeli soldiers the best resources possible …

They may be somewhat out of the ordinary campaigns but as the “Business Insider” website points out in this article, they don`t break the terms of use for most crowdfunding platforms. The piece explains how there is no law in the US that forbids fundraising for Israel and its defense forces.

And the IDF isn`t the first regular army to benefit from web users` generosity. There have been a number of campaigns in Ukraine over the past few months raising money to help the military resist the pro-Russia separatists. Citizens can make donations to purpose built sites, like "" and "The People`s project". The platforms have been extremely successful raising tens of thousands of dollars for Ukrainian soldiers. 


An Australian couple who were unable to conceive naturally, called on a Thai surrogate mother so they could have children of their own. She gave birth to twins in December but the couple only adopted one of the babies. They didn’t want the other one, named Gammy, because he has Down`s Syndrome and severe heart problems. The story has generated widespread outrage and commentary online. 

Thousands of people have taken to social networks slamming the Australian couple, saying they are shameful and cowardly, and heartless. Web users are saying they shouldn’t be allowed to have children, and many are saying they should be taken to court and deserve harsh punishment. 

And people are also concerned about little Gammy`s health and have started raising money to cover his medical fees. The fundraising campaign, called “Hope for Gammy” has been started on the GoFundMe platform and is garnering strong support with over 216,000 dollars pledged in under two weeks. 

And while the story has generated an outpouring of support for Gammy, it also highlights how far too many people with Down Syndrome have to face discrimination, stereotyping and rejection. As the Down Syndrome Australia association points out it illustrates just how much work still needs to be done so people with Down Syndrome can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else in the community.


The @Albert100ans Twitter handle was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and will feature letters written by a French soldier on the front line. His descendants have given the documents to a story teller who will relate the 625 letters written by Albert between 1914 and 1918 over the next five years. The feed will also feature photos taken by the soldier, giving web users a unique perspective on World War One. 


Ice cream was created in China in 618 AD, hamburgers originated from nineteenth century Germany and chocolate was first consumed in Central America by the Mayans and the Aztecs. This infographic was put together by Canadian airfare comparator Cheap Flights, and looks at the history behind some of our favorite foods. It also destroys a few myths and preconceived ideas; did you know for example, the pizza was actually invented in Greece. 


Find the soundtrack to your youth in just a few clicks. This interactive platform is called "The Nostalgia Machine". It was developed by two American students and is very easy to use, you just have to select a year to access all the popular tracks of the time. It’s a free online tool and its catalogue goes from 1960 right up to 2013. 


British mountain bike champ Sam Pilgrim can pull off sorts of amazing stunts and tricks. And here he is in action; the video is entitled “Homeland” and is available to view in its entirety on the athletes YouTube channel.

By Electron Libre



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