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Vietnam will hand out fines of 100 million dong ($4,740) to anyone criticizing the government on social media, under a new law announced this week, the latest measure in a widening crackdown on dissent by the country's communist rulers. Vietnam has repeatedly drawn fire for the harsh treatment and lengthy jail terms it has given to bloggers who criticized its one-party regime. Internet penetration is soaring in a country of an estimated 90 million people, a third of whom use the internet and about 20 million of whom have Facebook accounts, a report published at a seminar on information technology in Ho Chi Minh City in September showed. Rights groups and foreign governments have come down hard on Vietnam over its draconian cyber laws, including the United States, which has urged Vietnam to improve its human rights record to strengthen its case for stronger trade ties.
Attention, shoppers: If you just decided to join the Black Friday shopping crunch but didn't prepare well, don't despair: Just pick up your smartphone. It can help you find out what other consumers think of a product before you buy it - or figure out where to buy that hot toy on the biggest shopping day of the year. "Information is power," says Jeff Goldstein, president of PriceGrabber, a web service (with app) that collects pricing from about 4,000 retailers. Retailmenot, CouponCabin and CouponSherpa all deliver discount coupons, and many of which can now be simply flashed at the cash register, where the bar code can be scanned from your phone.
In Britain, the country where e-commerce is most popular, about 13 percent of people do all or most of their grocery shopping online. Nearly all sales are from stores, though online made up 0.9 percent this year, up from 0.6 percent in 2008.
Chinese internet users are calling for tough measures to enforce China's new airspace defense zone over waters disputed with Japan, with many saying only war will teach Japan not to mess with Chinese sovereignty. China published coordinates for an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone over the weekend and warned it would take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in the airspace. Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers on a training mission flew over the disputed waters on Monday night EST without informing Beijing while Japan's two biggest airlines also flew through the zone on Wednesday. The area, about two thirds the size of Britain, covers the skies over uninhabited islands at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between China and close U.S. ally Japan.
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida woman has filed a $1.5 billion class-action lawsuit against online dating site Match.com, alleging the website allowed photos of her and thousands of others to be used illegally to create phony profiles intended to dupe romantic hopefuls out of money. The website "conspired with criminals operating from locations including Internet cafes in Nigeria, Ghana and Russia" who created fake profiles for romance "scams," according to the lawsuit which was filed last week. The suit also says that Match.com, owned by media mogul Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, was aware of the fake profiles as the company approves, edits and posts each profile. "We're confident that our legal system is as adept as we are at detecting scammers and will dismiss this case in short order." Match.com is one of a stable of dating websites owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which also owns content hubs like Vimeo.com.
By Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - The rise of social media in China will lead to liberalization, and as more and more people go online China's government will be powerless to halt the changes, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc, said on Monday. Speaking at a conference in London, Schmidt recalled a meeting with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang this month, just weeks after China passed tough regulations on social media.
Having just won best female R&B/Soul artist and the first Icon Award at the American Music Awards (AMAs), Rihanna tops Starcount's global social media chart for the week of November 18-24. Rihanna is the Queen of Social Media this week. Her YouTube channel gained more views than anyone else, racking up 47 million views. She was also by far the most popular celebrity on Google+ with 13,000 adding her to circles.
By Mahmoud Habboush and Sylvia Westall DUBAI/KUWAIT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt. Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended. In Kuwait, which has a relatively open political system compared to other Gulf Arab states, the authorities have resumed the monitoring of sermons, pulled a television preacher off the air and deported a foreign imam. The developments in the two monarchies follow the dramatic rise and fall in Egypt of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which offers a populist religious alternative to dynastic rule and has supporters in the Gulf.