Ukrainian NGO launches programming courses in Moldova and Slovakia, more countries to join

BrainBasket Foundation, a Ukrainian NGO dedicated to IT education, has announced the expansion of its Technology Nation education program to two Slovakian cities — Bratislava and Kosice.

“Allowing people to learn basics of programming for free while getting a certificate from Harvard University is a great initiative, and I am happy to support BrainBasket Foundation in this initiative,” commented Dusan Duffek, partner and co-founder at 0100 Ventures.

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Ukraine’s first bitcoin ATM appears in Odessa

In late April, a two-way bitcoin ATM was installed in Odessa, Southern Ukraine. It is the first ATM of its kind in the country, reports local online publication Cryptocurrency.tech.

The device allows both selling and buying hryvnias and bitcoins. Users may withdraw amounts of at least 500 hryvnias or 0.1 bitcoin (around $20 at the current exchange rates).

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Contactless payments gain momentum in Ukraine’s public transport

As part of its global strategy to extend its reach and develop mobile ticketing services, Mastercard has just made available a new contactless payment service in the subway of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

The new technology, dubbed “MetroPass,” transforms bank cards into subway travel cards with pre-paid billing plans for a limited or unlimited number of rides and even discounts.

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Why Ukraine said ‘Nyet’ to Russian social networks

When Ukrainian government took the decision to ban the use of Russian internet services such as the Yandex search engine and the social network Vkontakte, it looked like another example of the country’s propensity to ape Russia’s own worst practices even while it talks about joining the European fold.

But the ban is part of a broader debate in the West about whether such platforms are media companies or impartial middlemen, writes Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg.

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Electric cars are getting more traction in Ukraine

The number of electric cars registered in Ukraine has surged significantly for the past year. As of March 31, 2017, there were 2,846 such vehicles, up from 693 in 2016, reports local online publication Epravda, citing data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Electric cars are mostly concentrated in the biggest Ukrainian cities and their surrounding areas.

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Auchan launches online sales in Ukraine

French retailer Auchan has started selling non-food goods via its Ukrainian online store launched last month. These include household, garden and pets goods, as well as apparel.

So far, delivery service is available in Kyiv (Kiev) and Kyiv region for 59 and 69 hryvnias ($2.2 and $2.6 respectively at the current exchange rate). Both cash and bank card payments are accepted.

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Ukraine bans leading Russian Internet sites

Confirming that the relations between Ukraine and Russia are currently at their lowest, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko yesterday signed a decree applying sanctions to 468 legal entities and 1,228 individuals from Russia.

Among the targeted organizations are the two leading Russian Internet groups — Yandex and Mail.Ru Group — the services of which will be made inaccessible from Ukraine.

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Drones, high-tech cars and a helicopter serve the Ukrainian police

For the first time in their history, Ukraine’s policemen can now use high-tech automobiles, drones and a helicopter in their everyday operations. The news was reported in early May by the National Police of Ukraine.

The new equipment helps police officers identify wrongdoings and send live video streams directly to the control centers.

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Kyiv event awards best Ukrainian e-commerce companies

The fifth edition of the Ukrainian E-commerce Awards, the annual ceremony to honor top Ukrainian e-commerce players, was held last month in Kyiv (Kiev).

Over 200 Internet projects participated in the contest. The winning companies were chosen by online vote by some 10,000 customers among a list of companies pre-selected by the jury.

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US-Ukrainian Grammarly secures $110 million from top international investors

Grammarly, a San Francisco-based startup with Ukrainian roots,  has just raised $110 million in growth equity funding at an undisclosed valuation. The round was led by General Catalyst with participation from Breyer Capital, IVP, SignalFire, and Spark Capital.

The company was founded in 2009 by Kyiv natives Aleksey Shevchenko and Maksim Litvin. Its AI-powered software helps people improve writing, monitoring errors in grammar and syntax, as well as incorrect speech constructions in real time.

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