Apple’s first French store opens in Louvre Carrousel

Computer giant Apple will open its first French store beneath the Louvre museum on Saturday…

Apple’s French expansion will take place against an uncertain economic background, with consumer spending in France still volatile and supported by government measures such as the car scrappage scheme.

But spending on must-have gadgets such as the Apple iPhone has proven robust. France Telecom has sold 1.3 million iPhones between November 2007 and September 2009, while new entrants SFR and Bouygues Telecom have sold around 200,000 iPhones since France Telecom lost exclusivity in spring.

We are highly confident in the French consumer,” Apple’s head of retail, Ron Johnson, told Reuters at an event in Paris to launch the store.

Microsoft opened a Cafe a few weeks earlier. They sell snacks and drinks and you can try Windows 7 – but they don’t actually offer any hardware or software for sale.

Olympic-class condoms to be auctioned

When the Olympics hosted by Beijing ended, a collector snapped up the 5,000 condoms left over from the 100,000 distributed free to athletes.

The collection has now been put up for a one-off auction, with a starting price of one yuan 15¢ each.

Each condom wrapper carries the motto of the Beijing Games – faster, higher, stronger – in English and Chinese.

The entire lot of 5,000 must be purchased by one buyer at the Exceptional Auction of China Sport Collection on 29 November…

Condoms have been handed out to Olympic athletes since Barcelona hosted the Games in 1992.

“Faster, higher, stronger” – include “bigger” and you have the makings of a successful infomercial.

Somali woman will be stoned to death – after she has her baby


To serve and protest – in Somalia
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Islamists in southern Somalia have stoned a man to death for adultery but spared his pregnant girlfriend until she gives birth.

Abas Hussein Abdirahman, 33, was killed in front of a crowd of some 300 people in the port town of Merka.

An official from the al-Shabab group said the woman would be killed after she has had her baby.

This is the third time Islamists have stoned a person to death for adultery in the past year.

“He was screaming and blood was pouring from his head during the stoning. After seven minutes he stopped moving,” an eyewitness told the BBC.

Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has accused al-Shabab of spoiling the image of Islam by killing people and harassing women. “Their actions have nothing to do with Islam,” said the moderate Islamist during a ceremony at which he nominated a new administration for the capital, Mogadishu.

A 13-year-old girl was stoned to death for adultery in the southern town of Kismayo last year.

Human rights groups said she had been raped.

The poor buggers who live there are faced with an array of religious nutballs, each claiming to have the correct version of superstititious tyranny over their daily lives.

UPDATE: The baby was stillborn. She was then stoned to death. No being worthy of the name “human” can rationalize away such cruelty.

Not-so-secret report says Iran tested nuclear warhead design


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The UN’s nuclear watchdog has asked Iran to explain evidence suggesting that Iranian scientists have experimented with an advanced nuclear warhead design.

The very existence of the technology, known as a “two-point implosion” device, is officially secret in both the US and Britain, but according to previously unpublished documentation in a dossier compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian scientists may have tested high-explosive components of the design. The development was today described by nuclear experts as “breathtaking” and has added urgency to the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.

If you have all the components including weaponized uranium.

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Scared of flying? There’s an App for that.

People scared of flying can now press a button on their iPhone to help them deal with their panic.

Long-haul airline Virgin Atlantic Airways has launched an application, or app, for its Flying Without Fear course which boasts a success rate of over 98 percent…

The airline said in a statement that this app was designed to help people overcome fear, be it of the unfamiliar aircraft, the strange noises a plane makes, or of losing control.

“Our first iPhone app will bring the benefits of our successful Flying Without Fear course to millions of people around the world who are now using mobile technology to make their lives better,” Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic, said in a statement.

The app will put many travelers at ease and enable them to prepare for their first Virgin Atlantic flight.”

I wonder what happens if and when you set foot on a different airline?

CEO of the Decade = Steve Jobs, says Fortune Magazine

First and foremost, Steve Jobs is an entrepreneur. And that is how history will long remember him. Not primarily as a fiduciary or an institution builder or an administrator (though he has worn all those hats), but rather as an individual who relentlessly pursued new opportunities.

From the first Apple computers to the breakthrough innovations of the past eight years — the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and his Apple stores — he has chased new possibilities without being deterred by whatever obstacles he encountered.

Over and over again he has turned his eye and his energy — and at times, it has seemed, his entire being — to what might be gained by creating a new offering or taking an unorthodox strategic path.

That puts him in the company of other great entrepreneurs of the past two centuries, men and women such as Josiah Wedgwood, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Estée Lauder.

Each of these people — and especially Steve Jobs — has been defined by the intense drive, unflagging curiosity, and keen commercial imagination that have allowed them to see products and industries and possibilities that might be. Each of these individuals has also been extremely hardworking, demanding of themselves and others. All have been compelled more by the significance of their own vision than by their doubts.

If you’ve been around through the length of the Information Revolution, if you have wandered through the challenging halls of national and international commerce – and can see beyond the petty hurts and huzzahs of fanboize and anti-fanboize – you should find this article one of the most readable of the dozens being cranked out to greet the award.

Japanese Railways try “Blue Light Special” to curb suicides


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Alarmed by an increase in the number of people jumping to their deaths in front of trains, some Japanese railway operators are installing special blue lights above station platforms that they hope will have a soothing effect and reduce suicides.

The East Japan Railway Company has put blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in all 29 stations on Tokyo’s central train loop, the Yamanote line, which is used by eight million passengers daily.

There is no scientific proof that the lights actually help to reduce the number of suicides, and some experts are skeptical that they will have any effect. But other experts say that the color blue does have a calming effect on people.

“We associate the color with the sky and the sea,” said Mizuki Takahashi, a therapist at the Japan Institute of Color Psychology, a private research center that was not involved in the lighting project. “It has a calming effect on agitated people, or people obsessed with one particular thing, which in this case is committing suicide…”

Last year, nearly 2,000 people committed suicide in Japan by jumping in front of a train. They accounted for about 6 percent of suicides nationwide…

The suicides are causing additional train delays, with conductors describing them over public address systems as “human accidents.”

“Human accidents” – sounds like something the Pentagon or Karl Rove would come up with.