RIA Novosti reported last week that 90% of the automatic rifles in the world based on Mikhail Kalashnikov's Model 1947 are unlicensed copies, according to the CEO of the Izhmash firm that owns the patent. While this isn't exactly breaking news, as a worldwide cultural phenominon it's interesting because the Kalashnikov "is symbolically reflected in the national coats of arms of six states" (I'm not sure if this estimate includes the flag of Hezbollah, the Shi'a militia that controls southern Lebanon).
To explain why the Kalashnikov is the most successful assault rifle of all time, Nicholas Cage's character in the movie Lord of War describes shooting an AK-47 by saying, "It's so easy a child can use it. And they do." According to Wikipedia, the nickname for the African boys who carry guns in that continent's numerous regional conflicts is "kalash".
Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov next to his portrait
St. Petersburg Times announces the launch of Kalashnikov brand vodka
AK in service with the new Iraqi Army
GIs in Iraq with captured AKs
MosNews reports that Venezuela will purchase 100,000 examples of the genuine article.