Planet Business

This week: Uber protests, Putin T-shirts and Twitter ‘hashflags’

A T-shirt featuring Russian president Vladimir Putin on sale in Moscow. Photograph: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

A T-shirt featuring Russian president Vladimir Putin on sale in Moscow. Photograph: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 01:04

Image of the week: Fashion winners

Now that summer is finally here, why not update your wardrobe with this instant classic courtesy of a pop-up shop at the prestigious GUM department store in Moscow?

This statement tee featuring Russian president Vladimir Putin is sure to make heads – and possibly stomachs – turn this barbecue season and will set you back a modest 1,200 roubles (€26). The creators of the collection of 15 Putin-emblazoned pieces say they were inspired by “numerous victories on the international stage”, including Russia’s sporting triumphs at the Sochi winter Olympics and the annexation of Crimea. Another T-shirt features a cheerful Vladimir brandishing a cocktail below the words “Greetings from Crimea”. Welcome to international aggression: the merchandise years.

In Numbers

$17 billion

Valuation of Uber, the fast-expanding, regulation- bypassing US smartphone car-paging service that this week drew thousands of taxi drivers out in protest on the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and other European cities.

12,000

Number of taxis protesting in London on Wednesday, according to organisers. Transport authorities put the number at 4,000-5,000. Either way, that’s a lot of drivers angry about being undercut by competitors who haven’t even passed The Knowledge.

850

Percentage surge in downloads of the Uber app in the UK capital on Wednesday, as the San Francisco-based company gleefully gained massive brand traction from the ensuing traffic chaos. It’s enough to make you want to take up cycling.

 

The Lexicon: Hashflags Unlike, say, vuvuzelas, hashflags, or hashtag flags, were an instant hit during the 2010 armchair World Cup. And now they’re back, Twitter has announced. Throughout the tournament when fans tweet a “#” followed by a country’s three-letter abbreviation, the flag of that country will appear in the tweet. For example (and consider this a warning), if you happen to be commenting on England’s “Italian job” (copyright: all tabloid sports headline-writers) on Saturday night and you tweet “#ENG”, a little St George’s Cross flag will appear in the tweet.

How exciting. Indeed, expect people you follow on Twitter to be so concerned that a solo hashflag might look a little lonely that they will regularly stuff their tweets with as many of the blighters as possible. On the plus side, unlike, say, emoticons, hashflags are educational.

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