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Internet throttling, blocked websites mark Kazakhstan’s new political era

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In a year filled with elections, Europe gears up for massive cross-country cyberattacks
Massive cyberattacks with real-world consequences are no longer unthinkable. Time to get prepared, says Europe.

May 9 is an important date in contemporary history: it was the day the Third Reich was finally defeated in 1945. As a result, with their 26 million dead from World War II, most countries from the former Soviet Union treat Victory Day with the utmost respect.

Yet it also represents an opportunity for people in many post-Soviet Union nations, dealing with democratic transition from their traditional political systems, to raise concerns and express dissatisfaction with governments and authorities.

Over the weekend, Kazakhstan held its first democratic elections. After being at the helm for almost three decades, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his decision two months ago to step down as ruler of the central Asian, energy-rich, post-Soviet republic, which has a population of 18 million.

SEE: Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here’s why it might take 20 years (TechRepublic cover story) | Download the PDF version

During his rule, the 78-year-old governed with an iron fist and zero tolerance for demonstrations, cracking down on even the most peaceful protests.

That recent shift has encouraged a lot of young Kazakh people to take a political stance when it comes to the future of the country, participating in various protests and demonstrations.

On Victory Day, Kazakh authorities didn’t want anyone to rain on their parade, so they took measures – blocking media outlets that usually cover protests and demonstrations and the issues behind them.

For the presidential elections, the ruling Democratic People’s Party, Nur Otan, nominated current Interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Critics argue that Tokayev has not only taken over the reins from his predecessor but also Nazarbayev’s hard-line attitude to anyone who opposes him.

In the event, Nazarbayev’s hand-picked successor has been elected with more than 70 percent of Sunday’s vote, according to electoral authorities.

A total of 10 websites, including the Kazakh edition of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, were blocked for the entire day on May 9 and could be accessed in the country only through a VPN or proxy servers.

One of those websites is The Village Kazakhstan, a news outlet that covers topics from Kazakhstan’s cultural and social life, business, and entertainment scene.

The site occasionally reports about demonstrations and social movements held across the country, its founder, Kazakh journalist and entrepreneur Aisana Ashim, tells ZDNet.

“On May 9, in the morning, we noticed the website wasn’t working. We’ve never been blocked before, although we’ve been writing about various issues related to the authorities for almost two years now,” she says.

“We didn’t receive any warning. Technically, the site could be accessed only from users outside Kazakhstan, or using VPN services.”

Kazakh officials later explained that the websites were restricted due to “technical issues”. According to media reports, even popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in Kazakhstan “either work slowly or not at all” during evenings, with internet restrictions apparently one of the main tools in dealing with social unrest.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to GDPR compliance (free PDF)

Website restrictions weren’t all that marked on the Victory Day anniversary. Several protests were still held in the capital of Astana, named Nursultan after Nazarbayev announced his resignation, and in the country’s largest city, Almaty. As a result of those demonstrations, activists and protesters were detained.

A couple of days earlier, Aslan Sagutdinov, a 22-year-old blogger from the city of Uralsk, wanted to test the patience of local authorities by protesting with an empty banner.

As shown in a YouTube video of the protest, the activist was arrested within minutes of arriving at the city’s central square.

Sagutdinov was later released and said he wanted to show that “the absurdity in Kazakhstan has got so strong that the police detained him, even though there were no inscriptions, slogans, chanting or him saying anything at all.”

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Today’s Wordle Answer #472 – October 4, 2022 Solution And Hints

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The answer to today’s Wordle puzzle (#472 – October 4, 2022) is bough, which is what you call a branch, especially the main branch, of a tree. The word bough has roots (no pun intended) in the Old English word “bōg,” which means shoulder, similar to Old High German’s “buog,” which means the same thing (via Etymonline). There’s a popular Roman myth about the Golden Bough, which is a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the trojan hero Aeneas to travel safely through the land of the dead. 

We solved the puzzle in three tries today, kicking things off with an expert-endorsed starter word, slate. We tried the word brush next, which turned out to be a really lucky guess with three green tiles. The answer was apparent by the third guess, and since we also solved the puzzle in three guesses yesterday, that begins a three-try streak that we hope we can continue tomorrow!

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How To Display iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island On Any Android Device

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You can also choose whether to display the cutout at the center of the display (for hole-punch cameras on the center of the display) or on the left for cameras placed in the corner. Remember that as you increase or decrease the cutout size, the icons shown in it will also scale to match. Thankfully, the app gives you a preview of the cutout when you are changing the settings.

You can also modify gestures such as single tap or long press. Dynamic Spot also allows you to change the default time, after which the pop-up automatically disappears. Additionally, you can fiddle with a lot of appearance-related settings, such as the animation when the Dynamic Island clone pops up or unfolds.

Just as on the iPhone 14 Pro, the Dynamic Spot on your Android app will show the app icon when a new notification arrives. You may selectively choose which apps display the notifications or allow all apps of them. You can also tap on the app’s icon to open the notification or long-press the icon to preview the notification.

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The 10 Wildest Features Of The Mercedes Maybach Off-Roader

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Sustainability is a word on every car manufacturer’s radar right now, with more focus being given to the idea of eco-friendly vehicles than ever before. The Off-Roader plays into that theme by featuring a prominent set of solar panels mounted on its hood, which could be used to generate power to extend the range of the car. It’s worth pointing out that this is all hypothetical, as the show car is non-functional, and has no drivetrain. Mercedes is keen to stress, though, that if the car did have a drivetrain, it would be all-electric, although no detail is given on the power or range that would be available to drivers.

The solar panels are interwoven with yet more Maybach logos, and their tinted finish makes them blend in almost seamlessly with the rest of the hood. It’s been pointed out by industry analysts that adding solar panels to cars is not always as environmentally friendly as it might seem, as the panels are only able to generate a very small amount of power. That power can easily be consumed by the added A/C strain caused by parking a car out in the sun all day to charge it. Car-mounted solar panels might be a flawed idea in practice, but even so, it’s interesting to see how Abloh was able to inconspicuously add them in without compromising the overall look of the car.

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