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All posts tagged "Russia"

  • 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...

  • Russia pushing for tighter net control thanks to Snowden

    "I don’t want to live in a world where there is no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity," said former NSA employee Edward Snowden in an interview with The Guardian. It seems revealing the truth has more than one double-edged sword. Snowden, the world's most hunted whistle-blower, fled the United States because he did not want to live a country where individuals' data were monitored by the government. Now in Russia, where he says he will stay a while, as he seeks asylum from some 25 countries, the former NSA leaker's presence is prompting the Russian...

  • Mail.ru abandons Google, goes it alone with search engine

    Russian internet giant Mail.ru has announced that it's officially dropping Google and will now handle all search queries made by Search Mail.Ru users. The search engine is the third largest in Russia and lays claim to some 39.5-million monthly users worldwide, per comScore figures. Mail.ru says that it's been working on the search engine for the past few years, during which the search engine development team expanded from 15 to 200 professionals. Over the last six months, it says, "index volume has grown from 5 to 10 billion documents, and a few thousands of servers have been dedicated to query...

  • What on-demand TV needs to work in emerging markets

    Of the hundreds of channels from your cable or satellite provider, how many do you actually watch? I watch 21. On an exam, that would be a definitive fail. Variety is used to mask overpricing, and we the consumers are none the wiser. In a world where most things are DIY, why is it that television is stuck in the past? It’s the equivalent of being sold an expensive bag of stones and told there is a piece of silver somewhere in there. Why can’t you just get the silver? What’s on demand TV? On demand TV allows pay TV packages to...

  • Yandex’s new idea for search: take action from the results page

    Russian search giant Yandex might not be all that well-known in the West, but unlike many emerging market clones, it's capable of more than just copying Google. The latest innovation from Yandex is a feature that allows you to search entries on the results page. As TechCrunch Europe editor Mike Butcher notes, this means you could, for instance, see live prices and availability when you search hotel rooms. The new feature is rolling in out in Turkey, where Yandex has an on-the-ground operation, before it expands to the Russian market. Yandex completely dominates the Russian search market, with over...

  • Russia’s Yandex on the up and up: 42% profit increase in 2012

    Things are looking good for Russian search and internet services giant Yandex. The company, which controls around 60% of Russia's search market, posted some seriously solid financial results for 2012. Revenues for the year were US$947.1-million, up 44% year-on-year while profits were up 42% to US$270.7-million for the year. While that's not quite not quite as impressive as the growth it showed from 2010 to 2011, its worth bearing in mind that Yandex spent a lot of time in 2012 expanding into other markets and launching a host of new products. This year meanwhile, the company launched the...