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Russia: Giant iPhone statue removed amid 'gay' row

By News from Elsewhere... reports from around the world, found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightReuters
image captionMan-sized memorial: Slightly more cumbersome than a standard iPhone

A Russian company that put up a giant iPhone statue in memory of Steve Jobs has taken it down again, after the new head of Apple came out as gay, according to local media.

A Western European Financial Union (ZEFS) press release accuses Apple CEO Tim Cook of "promoting homosexuality", the Ekho Moskvy news website reports. The 2m (6ft 6in) interactive installation allowed users to learn about the life of Mr Jobs, who died in 2011. But as it stood in the courtyard of an IT university in St Petersburg, the ZEFS statement says it could violate a recent Russian law banning the "advocacy of lifestyles contrary to traditional family values among minors". ZEFS founder Maxim Dolgopolov also alleges that the US security services can use Apple technology to monitor private communications worldwide. If the giant iPhone is reinstalled, he says in the statement, it will let passers-by use the interactive feature to "send a message direct to the US National Security Agency and Apple HQ, saying they are refusing to use technology that spies on its subscribers".

Despite Mr Dolgopolov's statement being widely reported in the media, there is some uncertainty over the story. The National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, where the monument stood, tells state news agency Tass that ZEFS had contacted it before Tim Cook's announcement, to say it was taking the iPhone down to carry out repairs.

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