Counting the Cost

The Russian-European deadlock

Sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis are mounting, but how are they affecting Europe’s economy?

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has sparked fears of a new Cold War. But the weapons in this war are not just fighter jets or rocket launchers.
Sanctions are taking a big toll on Russia’s already stagnating economy: Lower oil prices put the country on the brink of recession; the ruble plunged to record lows; and the Bank of Russia projected investors would yank $128bn out of the country in 2014 – which is more than double the amount they took out the year before.

But that is not necessarily what all of Europe wants, even though Putin’s treatment at the recent G20 summit in Brisbane would suggest otherwise: he was snubbed by a slew of world leaders.
But there are parts of Europe which can see the sense in talking to Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had the longest meeting of anyone with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit and there is a belief she could be the key to unlocking some sort of strategy to deal with Russia.

Germany is the nation with the most to lose: 350,000 jobs in Germany are linked to trade with Russia; trade between Russia and Germany trade stands at around $104bn; more than 6,000 German companies have registered offices in Russia with a combined turnover of $50bn and employment of 270,000 people; and German companies have invested around $27bn in Russia itself.
So what is next for Russia? Are we at the brink of a new Cold War? Or can Germany unlock the crisis over Ukraine?

Ali Velshi from Al Jazeera America has this report from Gdansk, and Sarosh Zaiwalla from Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors joined the programme.

Internet: Is your government spying on you?

A group of human rights and technology organisations have launched a tool called Detekt which scans for spyware often missed by anti-virus programmes.

Governments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide are said to be spying on everyday computer users. There is mounting evidence the practice is being used, by some countries, to target political dissidents, journalists and human rights advocates.
Bahraini opposition activist Saeed Shehabi is one of its victims. Campaigning against human rights abuses in Bahrain, he not only endured a series of attacks on his home and his colleagues, but also on his computer in the UK. 

Julie MacDonald reports how victims of cyber spying can fight back. 

Rocket internet

A company called Rocket Internet is taking on the world’s big online retailers. It is esentially repurposing and retooling ideas for different markets.

Dr Eyad Alkassars, the co-founder of Rocket’s Middle East joint venture, called the Middle East Internet Group joined Counting the Cost to talk about their mission to become the world’s largest internet platform outside the US and China.