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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 : 2013-10-31

China: despite censorship, web users comment on Tiananmen car crash

Today on the net, web users in China bypass censorship to comment on the Tiananmen Square car crash. Growing opposition to shale gas fracking in Canada. And an incredible display of rope-skipping.

China: despite censorship, web users comment on Tiananmen car crash

A car ploughed through a crowd of people in Tiananmen Square, in China, on Monday; a deadly car blaze that left five dead. China’s censors are blocking photos and reports of the incident, but countless web users across the country are trying to bypass the government imposed blackout to comment on the situation.

All posts and other images relating to the crash were soon removed from social network Sina Weibo and official media agencies simply alluded to a “mysterious road traffic accident”’, but dozens of web users have turned to micro blogging platform Twitter, which is not subjected to censorship, to circulate videos and photos taken by witnesses. The pictures show a thick cloud of smoke covering Tiananmen Square and also the burning vehicle, just below Mao’s portrait…

Web users, many foreign correspondents, have also shared photos illustrating how quickly the Chinese authorities cleared away any traces of the incident. These amateur documents appear to show how just several hours after the collision and despite a heavy police presence, everything went back to normal in Tiananmen Square and tourists were already back on the scene.

And with widespread speculation over the exact circumstances of the incident, some are drawing a disturbing parallel with a similar accident in Tiananmen Square back in 1982. As we can see from these archive photos that have been widely circulated online since Monday, a car ploughed through dozens of people at the same place 31 years ago, also leaving five people dead …

Growing opposition to fracking in Canada

Opposition to Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has intensified in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. This method of natural gas extraction known as fracking has been hotly contested in Elsipogtog, where activists, concerned over the impact it will have on their natural resources, set up camp a few weeks ago and erected barricades to stop a gas exploration company from carrying out their seismic testing.

As we can see from these online images, several of the police interventions at the makeshift encampment have descended into clashes, and sometimes even riots. Activists have been busy relaying the amateur documents online to denounce what they see as excessive use of force by the police.

The escalating violence has prompted a wave of solidarity from all over Canada, with many staging demonstrations in support of the activists. The movement is being widely coordinated via social networks where Canadian netizens have been posting under the #ElsipogtogSolidarity hashtag, applauding the protesters and urging their fellow citizens to sign this online petition calling for the police to refrain from using violence against anti-fracking protesters.

Members of hacker group Anonymous has also joined the campaign, launching operation « Frack Off » through which they pledge support to protesters and demand the New Brunswick government hold a referendum on the very sensitive matter of shale gas extraction.

Is Google building a floating data center?

American website Cnet has been investigating something big and mysterious being built in San Francisco Bay and wondering if Google is building a floating data center, reminding readers the web giant had already patented the idea: a revolutionary concept with sea water cooling units. Google remains tight lipped however, further fueling the mystery surrounding the barge floating on San Francisco’s Treasure Island.

Banedad, the meanest dad on the Internet

Inspired by the videos regularly uploaded to Vine by BatDad, in which a dad wears the caped crusader’s mask and maintains order and justice in his minivan and home, American comedian Anthony Apruzzese came up with the character of BaneDad, in reference to Batman’s arch enemy in Christopher Nolan’s latest movie: a super villain who contrary to BatDad is out to wreak havoc and make mischief.

Video of the day

In this video we see nine-time world rope-skipping champion Tori Boggs from America showcase her talents. This is highly skilled stuff indeed and will no doubt impress anyone who used to skip rope in the playground as a kid.

By Electron Libre

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