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All posts tagged "Russia"

  • Thought #SONA2017 was bad? Watch these international political brawls

    Viewers across South Africa endured what is quickly becoming an annual (yet dramatic) farce in the form of last night's #SONA2017 State of the Nation Address. From a heavy security presence by the ruling party to the EFF's hectoring of President Jacob Zuma, things only went downhill from there. The low point of the night was marked by the EFF's removal from the chamber, making for shocking scenes on television. But, believe it or not, this sort of violence takes place around the world as well -- we look at a few notable videos. Also, be sure to find the bulk...

  • Facebook blocks Russia’s RT prior to Trump inauguration

    Both Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg aren't having the best of weeks. While Zuck is out in Hawaii settling land disputes, Facebook has looked due East, blocking an influential Russian media network. Kremlin-funded RT revealed yesterday that it was briefly blocked from posting multimedia and articles to Facebook. "RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page," the network announced on its website. "The ban, according to the Facebook bot, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time (2:55pm EST) and will extend across US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration." According to the company, a live stream rights issue caused the ban...

  • This novel Russian app wants to be the Uber of the afterlife

    If you didn't know how to market your startup in 2016, there's an easy formula to use. Define your target market, and call your business the Uber of said market. It works, and often gets quoted hundreds of times by us journalists and investors. But an incoming Russian app might've taken this marketing quip a little too far. Named Umer, this app aims to be the Uber of funerals. According to a Russian website, Umer (which literally means "died") will allow people to seamlessly and easily organise funeral arrangements on the fly -- all from the comfort of an app. To...

  • Questions raised over Ukraine artillery hacking

    A cybersecurity expert has questioned claims that Russian intelligence hacked Ukrainian artillery units with malware to track their location. Security firm Crowdstrike issued a report last month, finding that malware had infected Ukrainian artillery units who used an application called POPR-D30. The artillery operators used the Android app to calculate firing corrections for the D30 howitzer. Crowdstrike's report found that an infected version of the app was floating around, adding that the infected version was sending the artillery units' location to Russian intelligence. The report added that Russia may have used the malware to get a fix on Ukrainian artillery emplacements and destroy...

  • Russia tests ‘anti-satellite’ missile

    Russia has conducted a successful test of an anti-satellite missile, it has been reported. According to the Washington Free Beacon, it was the third successful test of the PL-19 Nudol missile out of five tests in total. The missile was launched from a base in central Russia on 16 December and was monitored by the USA, the publication added. According to CNN, US intelligence didn't track any debris, suggesting that a target wasn't destroyed during the test. Russia purportedly says that the missile is intended for defence against ballistic missiles. An anti-satellite missile could wreak havoc on a military's capabilities, targeting communications and spy satellites as well...

  • Russia launches campaign to warn citizens of high-risk, deadly selfies

    Have you ever attempted to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train? What about hanging from a roof or in front of a wild mountain lion? No? Well, apparently a lot of people are doing it these days. It even prompted the Russian government to launch a campaign raising awareness on the dangers of taking photographs of yourself. "A cool selfie could cost you your life. A selfie with a weapon kills," the Guardian reports the Russian interior minister saying. While the statements might seem out of this world (or at least something of an April Fool's joke), these warnings...

  • Apple halts online sales in Russia over ruble fluctuations

    Apple has halted online sales on all off its products in Russia due to fluctuations in that country's currency. This is one of the clearest signs sign of how the currency’s swings are having an effect on international businesses. The Ruble has been in free-fall over the past few days with the currency down by as much as 19% just today, with a surprise interest rate increase failing to stem a run on the currency. That in turn saw Apple stop sales from its web store. “Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely,...

  • Russia blocks sites of Putin’s fiercest critics, including Garry Kasparov

    Russia has reportedly blocked a number of news sites as well as those of individuals critical of Vladimir Putin. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the sites blocked include those of news site Grani and the livejournal of Alexei Navalny, a popular anti-corruption fighter and chess master Garry Kasparov's opposition information site kasparov.ru. That the sites are blocked has been confirmed by Russia's Prosecutor General, which says on its site that the "sites contain incitement to illegal activity and participation in public events held in violation of the established order" (Google Translate). Kasparov took to Twitter to express his...

  • #Sochi2014 by Twitter: hotel curtains are a luxury, toilets have instructions

    So Russia is popular this week. The world turned its attention to the country as the Winter Olympics kicks off, but the news coming out of Sochi hasn't been very sports-focused. Instead, most of the attention's been on the good (well not really) time journalists have been having in their hotels. Russia has some pretty hectic rules and most them have to do with their bathrooms, water and just general hotel hospitality. Journalists have been tweeting some of the appalling conditions they've found in their hotel rooms. These include a distinct lack of the basics and no access to...

  • Google’s Winter Olympics doodle protests Russian anti-gay laws

    Go onto the Google homepage today and you'll see a doodle marking the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. That's not really all that surprising, given that the internet giant marks pretty much every big event with some form of artwork on its front page. This doodle though is a little different. Look below it, and you'll see the following quote: "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of...

  • Smartphones and emerging markets: where we’re headed in 2014

    There are few emerging market countries that are particularly mature in terms of their cellphone and smartphone usage and buying patterns (China, in particular stands out); but there is a large contingent of emerging markets who are not as mature in this regard. What are some of the factors that have held back smartphone adoption in these markets and further to that; what is being done to accelerate the adoption rates? In 2008; smartphone sales accounted for just nine percent of all phone sales in China. In 2012; that number skyrocketed to 59% of all phones being sold in China...

  • It’s a blue world: Facebook’s empire grows in latest map of social networks

    Facebook may or may not be dead to teenagers. If it is, it could certainly be an issue in the future but right now, the world's largest social network is on top in all but a few countries. The latest world map of social networks from Vinco shows that Facebook is dominant in 127 of the 137 countries analysed. That's as many as it laid claim to when the last map was released in June 2013, but there has been a bit of shuffling. According to the blog's creator Vincenzo Consenza, Facebook lost Kyrgyzstan, but managed to take...

  • Snowden denies ever helping out foreign secret agents

    Whistleblower Edward Snowden remains adamant that Russian and Chinese intelligence officials did not compromise any classified documents he took with him when he fled from the US. In an extensive interview with the New York Times, Snowden says that the reason he's able to make this claim is because he taught “cyber-counterintelligence” to NSA agents, specialising in defence against threats from the Chinese. “There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” he says in the interview. Another reason, he says, is that he gave over all the copies of classified documents in...

  • On Her Majesty’s cyber service: UK spends big on online army

    The UK is looking to seriously bolster its cyber army with the recruitment of hundreds of experts into what will be called a "Joint Cyber Reserve". According to Reuters, the unit will concentrate on defending the country's own networks as well as launching attacks of its own. Speaking at the Conservative Party annual conference, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that Britain was spending increasing amounts of its defence budget on cyber intelligence and surveillance. "Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government's secure internet alone, so the threat is real," he...

  • 9 huge investments Koos Bekker could make if he cashed in his Naspers shares

    Here at Memeburn we have massive respect for Naspers CEO Koos Bekker. Aside from the fact that he heads up a multi-billion dollar media company with investments around the globe, he clearly understands the value of tech. Under Bekker, Naspers has made seriously clever investments in the likes of Russia's Mail.ru, China's Tencent and Argentinian online classifieds platform OLX. While other companies would've stuck with what they know -- in Naspers' case publishing and television -- Bekker's made sure his company is always looking toward the next big thing. It's paid off too. The company's combined internet properties made...