Week in Review – Putin re-elected, Facebook Data Breach and Toys’R’Us

Putin was re-elected as Russian President

Vladimir Putin was elected for a new six-year term as Russian president. Even though a few world leaders sent their best wishes no Western leader has responded to his victory yet. According to official results Putin got more than 76% of the votes. Putin took over the office as president from Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 and has ruled the country as either president or prime minister since 1999. The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Amongst the countries that congratulated Putin were Kazakhstan, Belarus, Venezuale and Bolivia. China also sent its wishes and praised their current relationship as at the best level in history. On the other hand, tensions between Russia and the Western countered have deepened due to recent events surrounding a Russian ex-spy in Britain. The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said we want to remain in dialogue with Russia but it still is a difficult partner.

The outcome of the election had been widely predicted beforehand. Furthermore, there are a lot of rumours about the election – video recordings showed irregularities in a number of cities across Russia. For example, election officials were seen stuffing boxes with ballot papers or covering cameras just before counting the votes. The head of the Central Electoral Commission, however, stated that the violations weren’t serious.

The Western world is expecting more cyber-attacks and attempts to disrupt elections in the future with Putin as president. It will be interesting to see if Putin will continue as president after the current term. He is supposed to step down in 2024 but he might change the rules to eliminate term limits.

main (meɪn) – Haupt –
opposition leader (ˈɒpəˈzɪʃənˈli:dəʳ) – der/die Oppositionsführer/in
to bar (bɑ:ʳ) – etw verbieten, blockieren, nicht zulassen
race (reɪs) – das Rennen, Wahlkampf
amongst (əˈmʌŋ) – unter, zwischen, inmitten
to congratulate (kənˈgrætʃʊleɪt) – jdm gratulieren, beglückwünschen
current (ˈkʌrənt) – jetzig, aktuell, gegenwärtig
history (ˈhɪstəri) – Geschichte, Vergangenheit
tension (ten(t)ʃən) – die Spannung
recent (ˈri:sənt) – kürzlich, jüngst
to remain (rɪˈmeɪn) – verbleiben
outcome (aʊt kʌm) – das Ergebnis, Ausgang, Resultat
to predict (prɪˈdɪkt) – etw vorhersagen, prophezeien
video recording (ˈvɪdiəʊ rɪˈkɔ:dɪŋ) – die Videoaufnahme, der Mitschnitt
irregularity (ɪˌregjəˈlærəti) – die Unregelmäßigkeit, Ungleichheit
ballot paper (ˈbælət ˈpeɪpəʳ) – der Wahlzettel, Stimmzettel
to cover (ˈkʌvəʳ) – etw abdecken, bedecken
violation (ˌvaɪəˈleɪʃən) – der Verstoß, Verletzung
serious (ˈsɪəriəs) – ernst, schwerwiegend
attempt (əˈtem(p)t) – der Versuch, Anlauf
to disrupt (dɪsˈrʌpt) – etw stören, unterbrechen
to continue (kənˈtɪnju) – etw fortsetzen, weiterführen

Facebook Scandal – Information Tapped Unauthorized

According to media reports the data company Cambridge Analytica has tapped information from 50 million Facebook users without permission to develop a software to predict and influence voter decisions. The campaign of Donald Trump is supposed to have benefited from it.

The scandal began with the passing on of data from millions of Facebook profiles by the British scientist Aleksandr Kogan. He had started a survey for a scientific study using a quiz app on Facebook. After that, Kogan passed on the information about the users and their friends to Cambridge Analytica. As he told the BCC, he acted in good faith. The New York-based company is a specialist in big data analytics. Their focus is to extract concrete conclusions from the data sets about the political attitudes of people and predictions of possible behavior.

After days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has now apologized. In a CNN interview he said that it was a great breach of trust against the users. If necessary, Zuckerberg will testify to the scandal in front of the US congress and he already announced reforms on the social platform. The founder of Facebook was accused by several sides for having known about the problem for years.
The minister of justice Katharina Barley (SPD) will talk with representatives of Facebook Europe to clarify whether Facebook users from Germany are also affected by the scandal.

unauthorized (ʌnˈɔːθəraɪzd) – unerlaubt
tapped (tæpt) – abgegriffen
without permission (wɪˈðaʊt pəˈmɪʃən) – ohne Erlaubnis
predict (prɪˈdɪkt) – voraussagen
influence (ˈɪnfluəns) – beeinflussen
benefited (ˈbɛnəˌfɪtɪd) – begünstigt
passing on (ˈpæsɪŋ ɑn) – weitergeben
scientist (ˈsaɪəntɪst) – Wissenschaftler
survey (ˈsɜrˌveɪ) – Umfrage
acted in good faith (ˈæktəd ɪn gʊd feɪθ) – in gutem Glauben gehandelt
extract (ˈɛkˌstrækt) – entnehmen
conclusions (kənˈkluʒən) – Schlussfolgerungen
attitude (ˈætəˌtud) – Einstellung
behavior (bɪˈheɪvjər) – Verhalten
apologized (əˈpɑləˌʤaɪzd) – entschuldigt
breach (briʧ) – Bruch
testify (ˈtɛstəˌfaɪ) – aussagen
accused (əˈkjuzd) – beschuldigt
clarify (ˈklɛrəˌfaɪ) – klären
affected (əˈfɛktəd) – betroffen

The Death of a Company and its Founder

Charles Lazarus the founder of ‘Toys R Us’ has died at the age of 94, just a week after the famous toy company announced it was going to close its doors for good.

Toys R Us was founded in 1957, it first began by selling toys to large supermarket-style shops in America right after Lazarus returned from his military service in World War II.

Lazarus once explained in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine in 2008 that what inspired him to open his business were his military friends, they were all planning on returning to the US and start families after the war, which gave Lazarus the idea of starting a children’s furniture store. After returning to his family home in 1948 Lazarus turned his father’s bicycle shop into his furniture business and called it ‘Children’s Supermart’, with the letter ‘R’ spelled backwards, the same way the ‘R’ in Toys R Us is turned backwards. He later explained the reason behind it was to make it look like a child had written it.

Lazarus later moved on to selling toys, which completely changed the future of the toy industry.

Lazarus died due to ‘declining health’ only a week after the company announced that it would be closing its doors due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’, and it will proceed to close all the remaining locations it has in the US and UK.

founder (faʊndər) – der Gründer
announced (aˈnaʊnst) – bekannt geben
founded (‘faʊndəd) – gegründet
military service (ˈmɪləˌtɛri ˈsɜrvəs) – der Militärdienst
inspired (ɪnˈspaɪərd)  – inspiriert
furniture (ˈfɜrnɪʧər) – die Möbel
backwards (ˈbækwərdz) – rückwärts
industry (‘ɪndəstri) – die Branche
declining (dɪˈklaɪnɪŋ) – rückläufig
unforeseen circumstances (ʌnfɔrˈsin ˈsɜrkəmˌstænsəz) – unvorhergesehene Umstände
proceed (prəˈsid) – verfahren
locations (loʊˈkeɪʃənz) – die Orte