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Web Monitor

14:11 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Welcome to Web Monitor, a regular digest of the latest interesting stuff on the net.

Bjork• At a time when celebrities are falling over themselves to say they would run for election or at least condemn politicians and bankers, Bjork states very clearly in Interview Magazine that she wouldn't be interested in a life in politics:

"I'm not interested in politics. I lose interest the microsecond it ceases to be emotional, when something becomes a political movement. What I'm interested in is emotions."

• Catch-and-release fishing is on trial in Slate Magazine. Fisherman Michael Agger looks at the research to establish whether fish feel pain. The research has included attaching foil heaters and shooting bee venom into their lips. Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) want to rebrand fish as sea kittens, whilst Agger says he'll kill and eat the fish he catches in the future.

Liam GallagherLiam Gallagher tells the Manchester Evening News that he started a clothing range because he thinks people are looking too scruffy:

"These days, all the geezers in bands wanna look like women. Like, why's everyone in bands wearing braces? If you're gonna wear braces, try buying a pair of jeans that fit. The worst dressed band have got to be Coldplay. What are those uniforms about? My kids have got play outfits that are better than Coldplay's. I mean, if you're gonna win a Grammy Award, don't turn up looking like binmen! Disgraceful. Make a bit of effort, I say."

• Neil MacFarquhar, ex-Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, attempts in Foreign Policy Review to set the record straight about the word fatwa. Equated by many in the West with a death sentence, he explains it actually means a legal opinion drawn from religious law. His favourite fatwa provision was a dial-a-sheikh service he listened to in Saudi Arabia. People would call religious scholar Sheikh Guindi to ask for fatwas on anything from what a woman's reward would be in heaven to why smoking hashish is forbidden.

Michael Moore• Flint in Michigan was the birthplace of both Michael Moore and General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. Despite this link, Moore says in the Huffington Post that he is filled with joy at the collapse of the company:

"It is with sad irony that the company which invented 'planned obsolescence' - the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one - has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh, and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years."

Meanwhile, Matt Hardingree from car website Jalopnik picks out the 10 vehicle designs he thinks made GM bankrupt.

Oprah Winfrey• When Oprah Winfrey endorses a product on her show, sales rocket - unsurprising given her show is watched in the US by 40 million viewers a week. Newsweek asks if Winfrey is taking this responsibility seriously, and points towards endorsements it says are dubious. These included everything from an unchallenged link being made between autism and the MMR jab, and a hormone for youthfulness criticised by the medical establishment to supposed scientific backing for the self-help book The Secret, which teaches that vibrations of the universe can attract good luck.

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