Rabu, 10 Desember 2008

Google tells us what we look for

They are all on the list of the top ten fastest rising queries on Google during 2008.

The search engine has published its year-end Zeitgeist, the tool which reveals what internet users are searching for.

The most searched term for Google users in the UK was Facebook while the BBC came second and its iPlayer service was the fastest rising query.

The list also reveals what global preoccupations are and this year the US election candidates and the Beijing Olympics figure high.

The things people around the globe have in common are a strong interest in socialising and politics, according to Marissa Mayer, vice president of search at Google.

"Social networks compromised four out of the top ten global fastest-rising queries while the US election held everyone's interest around the globe," she wrote on Google's official blog.

Popular politicians

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Chinese exports drop

China has reported a fall in exports for the first time in seven years.

Chinese exports declined in November from the same period a year ago for the first time since June 2001, data shows.

But China still reported a record monthly trade surplus of $40.1bn (£26.7bn), as the fall in imports was even bigger than the fall in exports.

Exports dropped by 2.2%, while imports shrank by a massive 17.9% as Chinese consumer spending slumped - a sign of the impact of the global downturn.

October had seen China's exports rise by 19.1% and analysts had expected further growth of at least 13% in November.

However, they failed to anticipate a dramatic decline in foreign demand.

China is expected to show growth of about 9% this year. However, the World Bank has cut its China growth forecast for 2009 from 9.2% to 7.5%, the lowest since 1990.

Economists have been watching China closely, amid worries that global growth could be hit further if China follows the US into the downturn.

Weakening demand

In November, China announced a huge investment plan to kick-start its slowing economy.

About $586bn is to go into housing, infrastructure and post-earthquake reconstruction in China over the next two years.

However, it is unclear whether it will be enough to have an impact, while analysts see tough times ahead.

"It's just a start. Exports and imports will continue to fall in the coming months, probably until next June," said Zhang Shiyuan at Southwest Securities in Beijing.

"China's export sector will begin to show signs of stabilisation only with global recovery," said Jing Ulrich at JP Morgan.

The trade surplus in the 12 months till the end of November rose to $278.7bn from $265bn in a year to the end of October.

Meanwhile, Chinese aviation authorities are urging local airlines to postpone or cancel 2009 plane deliveries amid falling demand for air travel.

The move could hurt aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus, which have hoped to weather weakening demand in their home markets by relying on growth in emerging markets, such as China.

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Tanzania fear over albino killing

Tanzania's Albino Society has accused the government of turning a blind eye to the killing of albinos, after four deaths in the past three months.

An albino spokesman said there was a belief that the condition was the result of a curse put on the family.

Some witch-doctors also say they can use albino body parts in a potion to make people rich.

A teacher in the northern town of Arusha has been arrested for killing his own child, who was albino.

As well as the four killings, the body of an albino has also been exhumed. It was found with its limbs cut off.

The BBC's Vicky Ntetma in Dar es Salaam says there is now fear in the albino community there.

Christopher Dadenekeye from the TAS said the witch-doctors must also be arrested.

Some people in Tanzania think albinos are a kind of ghost-like creature.

"We need to clear out all these beliefs," Mr Dadenekeye said.

There are more than 8,000 registered albinos in Tanzania.

Old women with red eyes have been killed in parts of Tanzania in the past, after being accused of witchcraft but our correspondent says this is the first time that albinos have been targeted in ritual killings.

TAS also wants more help for albinos and says the condition should be treated as a disability.