October 9, 2007

Google Sputnik logo sets off conservative critics

That cute little logo that Google dresses up for special occasions is just a harmless bit of frivolity right? Like last week when they drew a little sputnik satellite in their logo to honor this Russian scientific achievement. Well not if you are a neoconservative. As the L.A. Times reported:

The Mountain View, Calif., company bathes its logo in stars and stripes every Independence Day, but last week’s decision to honor the 50th anniversary of the Sputnik launch — the second “g” in Google was replaced with a drawing of the Soviet satellite — is being blasted by some conservatives. Not only did Google honor an achievement by a totalitarian regime that was our Cold War enemy, they griped, but it did so without having ever altered its logo to commemorate U.S. military personnel on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

A Google spokeswoman said that Google’s special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature “We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day.” More on this silly controversy can be found in the L.A. Times report.

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, Media and Entertainment, Russia by

April 9, 2007

Cisco Announces Venture Capital Initiative in Russia

“Cisco Systems today announced a venture capital initiative targeting the technology industry in Russia. Cisco will pursue direct investment opportunities into technology-related start-ups as well as investments into local venture capital teams targeting the technology industry. Last year, in anticipation of this investment initiative, Cisco hired a full-time investment manager based in Moscow. To launch the initiative, Cisco also announced that it has made an investment in a leading Russian e-commerce site, Ozon. With tens of thousands of book, movie and music titles on offer, Ozon is helping to shape the future of consumer e-commerce in Russia. ‘While Russia has low Internet penetration in terms of percentage of its overall population, in absolute terms it has as many Internet users as some Western European countries,’ said Bob Agee, vice president, Cisco Russia. ‘The amount of technical talent in Russia shows that the country is ready to become more technologically advanced. Increased investment in communications infrastructure can help improve productivity, diversify the economy and increase the standard of living across the country.’

‘Our venture investment in Russia is a continuation of a global strategy that we’ve implemented in Europe, Israel, China and India, which is to invest in local start-ups and venture teams and help promote the growth of a local innovation economy,’ said Hilton Romanski, director, global corporate business development. ‘Ozon is the first in what we hope will be an expanding venture relationship between Cisco and Russian entrepreneurs and investment partners’.”

Filed under Russia, Venture Capital by

March 27, 2007

State Controller wants review of Chevron, BP because of Russia risks

“California’s State Controller is calling for Calpers, the huge Californian state pension fund, to review its investments in Chevron and BP over their potential participation in the sell-off of Yukos, the now bankrupt Russian oil major whose owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has been jailed. John Chiang, also a Calpers board member, said in a letter dated March 22 to the fund he was concerned about the legal risks attached to Chevron’s possible participation in the Yukos auctions, which Yukos’ owners have slammed as the biggest expropriation in history.”

Filed under California Government, Energy Industry, Russia by

March 8, 2007

Mother, daughter return to L.A. after being poisoned in Moscow

Los Angeles Times: “A physician and her adult daughter returned to Los Angeles Wednesday after being poisoned during a trip to Moscow, the latest in a string of Russian poisoning cases that have sparked international intrigue… Marina Kovalevsky, a 49-year-old internist well known in L.A.’s Russian community, and her daughter Yana, 26, were sickened 12 days ago by thallium, an odorless, colorless, toxic chemical element initially suspected in the death of a former Russian spy in London last year. Their plight has roiled the large local community of expatriates from Russia and other former Soviet republics, many of whom say it is difficult to imagine any motive for an attack on the popular doctor or her daughter. ‘Everybody is upset. Everybody is talking about it,’ said West Hollywood resident Irina Mermel, 69, who has known the family more than a decade. At the same time, some familiar with Russian crime said it was hard to think that the poisoning was accidental”

Filed under Legal and Criminal Issues, Russia by

February 20, 2007

Groups identifies countries lacking in IP protection

“Advocates for intellectual property rights have identified 60 countries that are lagging in IP protection for creative works, including computer software. China and Russia lead the list. The Business Software Alliance, which includes many Silicon Valley companies, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance have filed their findings with U.S. officials to include in an annual report identifying countries that fail to provide effective IP protection. China and Russia were also listed in 2006 as the two countries that are of the greatest concern in copyright protection. Other countries on the priority watch list for 2007 are Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.”

Filed under China, Legal and Criminal Issues, Russia by

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