Russia is Putin its foot down about gay emojis

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Everybody loves emoji. Even the weird ones.
Emojis are the new subliminal messaging.
Photo: Technewz

When iOS 8.3 introduced new gay-friendly emojis, one person no doubt responding with a :( sad face was Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s not taking it lying down, however. According to Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor, the President has requested a full pro-Kremlin group investigation and crackdown on same sex emojis, concerned that they violate the country’s ban on “gay propaganda.”

Because if there’s one thing proven to make you trade girlfriends for boyfriends, it’s someone sending you a picture of two male smiley faces holding hands.

Russia wants to stop your next selfie being your last

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In Soviet Russia, some selfies take people.
In Soviet Russia, some selfies take people.
Photo: Quartz

From electrocution while trying to get the perfect background, to accidentally shooting oneself while posing with a pistol, Russian selfies seem to be pretty dangerous things — with more than 100 leading to serious injuries in the country in the pas year alone.

With that kind of track record, it’s no wonder that Russia’s police force wants to do something about it — which they’ve apparently done by issuing a brochure packed with handy graphics showing how to take selfies without risking potentially fatal injuries.

Russian minister accuses Apple of distributing gay porn to minors

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Won't someone think of the Russian children? Photo:
Here's a complaint we've not heard before about last year's U2 album giveaway. Photo: Island Records

Some people just won’t let go, will they?

Still upset about Apple’s much-maligned U2 album giveaway last year, Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov has come up with a new complaint we’ve not heard before: That by gifting Songs of Innocence to millions of iTunes customers around the world, Apple was knowingly distributing gay pornography.

If found guilty, Apple could be forced to cease operations in Russia for 90 days, or pay 1 million roubles in fines.

Did ‘bug’ cause Russian Siri to be homophobic?

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Photo: Jackee Chang / Twitter
Apple's Russian virtual assistant had some Siri-ously outdated views. Photo: Jackee Chang/Twitter

Apple’s Russian version of Siri launched earlier this month, and while the presence of the virtual assistant in Russia is certainly welcome, its early bigoted views were not.

According to one YouTube user, Siri not only refused to answer questions about gay bars but went a step further, providing downright homophobic responses. In the video, Siri supposedly claims to be embarrassed by the topic, suggesting that gay marriage is a bit of a downer.

Apple Maps error covers up sad truth about disappearing Aral Sea

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Apple's Aral Sea on left, NASA latest image on right. Photo: Cult of Mac
Apple's Aral Sea on left, NASA latest image on right. Photo: Cult of Mac

You may have never heard of the Aral Sea, even though it was the fourth largest lake in the world as recently as the 1960’s.

The once-gigantic body of water which rests on the border of Uzbekistan has shrunk to less than 10% of its former size over the last half century. It’s been dubbed one of the worst environmental disasters ever, but looking at Apple Maps you’d never even know the Russians drained the mighty lake dry, destroyed its robust fishing industry, and left behind a wasteland of salt, pollution, and toxic dust storms.

Apple increases Dev Program membership prices in Europe

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You now have to pay more to become an App Store developer. Photo: Apple
You now have to pay more to become an App Store developer. Photo: Apple

Apple has today increased the annual subscription cost of its Mac and iOS Developer Programs in several countries across Europe. While the prices remain the same at $99 in the U.S., Europeans can now expect to pay anything from $96 to $121, depending on where they live.

Apple Putin up prices in its Russian online store

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Photo: Apple
Russia's latest woe: iPhones now cost more than ever. Photo: Apple

Apple has re-opened its online store in Russia after temporarily closing it last week following “extreme” fluctuations in the valuation of the country’s currency, the ruble.

But while that’s good news for people wanting to order Apple goods over the holidays, it’s not likely to go over well with the majority of customers — since prices have dramatically increased.

The cost of an iPhone 6, for instance, has risen 35 percent: with a 16GB iPhone 6 selling for 34,990 rubles before the shutdown, and 53,990 rubles now. That means a base level iPhone costs $980 in Russia.

Apple halts Russian sales due to ruble’s ‘extreme’ fluctuations

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The iPhone 6s is selling like hotcakes.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple fans in Russia can no longer buy new iPhones or Macs, reports Bloomberg. The company has stopped all sales in the country due to ‘extreme’ Ruble fluctuations.

All Apple products were pulled temporarily from the online store in Russia this morning, and Apple’s not saying when they’ll be coming back.

Russia is selling its banned Steve Jobs tribute statue

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Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti
Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti

The abandoned Steve Jobs monument previously erected in St. Petersburg, Russia is to be auctioned off, according to a new report.

The 6-foot-tall iPhone-looking slab was designed by local Russian sculptor Gleb Tarasov and named “Sunny QR Code.” It was assembled in the wake of Steve Jobs’ 2011 death, but removed earlier this year — reportedly as a result of Russia’s anti-gay laws after Tim Cook outed himself in an open letter.

The statue is being sold off by owners the Russian Holdings Company, with a starting price of 5 million rubles (around $95,000). Money from the sale will go to Russian tech developers.

Steve Jobs monument removed by homophobic Russians

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Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti
The Steve Jobs monument at its public unveiling. Photo: RIA Novosti

A monument to Steve Jobs has been removed from St. Petersburg in the aftermath of Tim Cook publicly coming out as gay.

While Cook’s eloquent and poignant essay was largely greeted by celebrations online, in Russia it prompted bigoted comments from politician Vitaly Milonov, whose government has now insisted the Jobs statue be removed as further punishment.