Launching on Friday!


APPLE chief executive Steve Jobs says one million new iPhones have been sold in just three days.

“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” Mr Jobs said in his first statement since taking medical leave in January.

The iPhone 3GS went on sale in the US last Friday, and Mr Jobs said the one million mark was hit by Sunday.

The new handset goes on sale in Australia this Friday.

Mr Jobs also said six million customers had downloaded new iPhone 3.0 software in the first five days since its release.

“With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever,” Mr Jobs said.

The two-sentence statement from the iconic Apple chief executive came two days after The Wall Street Journal reported he had received a liver transplant about two months ago in Tennessee.

The Journal said Mr Jobs has been recovering well from the liver transplant and was expected to return to work on schedule later this month, but may initially work part-time.

Mr Jobs’s health has been the source of intense speculation over the past year, often causing swings in the price of Apple stocks.

Apple has been secretive about Mr Jobs’s health since he underwent an operation in 2004 for pancreatic cancer but has been adamant he is returning to the company’s helm at the end of June.
Apple vice-president of marketing Phil Schiller took the place of Mr Jobs this month at a developers conference presentation and unveiled the iPhone 3GS, the first model to have video camera capabilities.

Apple’s fortunes have been uniquely linked to Mr Jobs, a visionary co-founder who returned to the company in 1997 after a 12-year absence to turn around the flagging tech giant with innovative and wildly successful products like the iPod and iPhone.

With the announcement of an alleged blueprint for a breakaway Formula One race schedule, which has been leaked to the media, and Melbourne is nowhere to be seen, raises the question: is this all an elaborate con by Bernie Ecclestone to keep Formula One alive during times of economic crises (and to get rid of Max Mosely) or is it for real?

The unverified list for the 2010 series – dubbed the ‘New Formula’ – lists Adelaide as the main race track option in Australia and Surfers Paradise as a reserve track.


[Ferrari – at the centre of the intrigue]

There is no mention of Melbourne, which currently hosts the F1 championship race at Albert Park.

According to the calendar, the rebel championship proposed by eight of the 10 Formula One teams, including Ferrari, would start the season in Buenos Aires and end in November at Adelaide, reports.

However, industry experts have cast doubt on the veracity of the document, which is believed to have been leaked to a German journalist.

“Not surprisingly Adelaide because it was very, very popular when it had Formula One,” Motor racing consultant Mike Drewer told ABC Online.

“Adelaide’s been listed on a theoretical calendar but it’s a bit like trying to work out who might be the members of a cabinet if there was a change in government.”

Former F1 venues including Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Jerez, Imola, Montreal, Indianapolis, Silverstone, Magny Cours and Adelaide are also listed on the theoretical calendar, published by the German news agency SID.

Current tracks including Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Suzuka have also been included.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Britain’s Daily Star newspaper on Sunday he feared the breakaway rebels would destroy the sport.

“I would hate to see any kind of takeover happen because it would be badly managed. They can’t even run their own teams. They can’t agree on anything. If the teams owned it they would destroy it,” he said.

He scoffed at the leaked FOTA calendar and said the breakaway group could not afford to set up a rival championship.

To quote the venerable doyen Chris Savage “it will become apparent”.



A grab which shows that even the venerable Beeb is flogging ads. The recession continues to bite – no green shoots here.



A well-sourced rumour is that David Jones are mightily displeased that their advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi dumped them in it by making pre-teen girls in its ads look s-xy — and being careless enough to put it in writing. DJ’s marketing head, Damien Eales (brother of ex rugby captain John) swore blind his company would never do such a thing, and is embarrassed by the Saatchi document uncovered through FoI that proves the opposite. DJs are now looking for a new advertiser, one that will respect the ‘family friendly’ brand. DJs was one of Saatchi’s biggest accounts, and heads are expected to roll.

Naughty, naughty.


This article is published as a Public Service.

Beware of trying to enter Broken Britain. The UK Border Agency sent this memo to British consulates worldwide:

“Important requirements if you want to study in the UK from 31 March 2009, or visit as a tourist or on business from 1st July 2009:

Important changes to visa requirements will affect:
Taiwanese passport holders South African passport holders

Jamaican passport holders Bolivian passport holders

Venezuelan passport holders Lesotho and Swaziland passport

Most migrants come to the United Kingdom legally, make a positive contribution to our society, and leave when their time is due. There are migrants, however, that have entered the country illegally, broken our laws or failed to leave when their visa or permission to stay has run out.

Our enforcement priority is to tackle the most harmful illegal migrants: those who pose a threat to national security and those responsible for serious or violent crime or people trafficking.

Over the past year we have widened our enforcement operations to focus on illegal workers and foreign national prisoners. We successfully deported more than 4,000 foreign national prisoners in 2007.”

Heavy stuff.

However, to those holders of the above-mentioned passports this can create major problems and involve a huge expense if you wish to:

a) use Heathrow airport as a transit hub to change planes to another destination

b) land at Heathrow airport from, for example, Cape Town, and then travel by bus/train/taxi to Gatwick to connect to a European destination

The UK Border Agency makes no distinction between a so-called illegal worker, foreign national prisoner or simple tourist. Fact.

Let’s take the example of someone who has landed in Heathrow during June 2009, connected to Gatwick, flown to Marseille and is returning to Cape Town via Gatwick/Heathrow in mid-July (ie after the deadline).

A ‘Transit Visa’ is necessary. This entails visiting the UK Visa Agency office in Marseilles armed with pictures, Euros (plenty), a 30 page form all completed (colour of underpants mandatory), copies of bank statements to denote you have the funds to connect on a 60 minute bus journey, a signed document stating you will “NOT SIGHTSEE or SHOP WHILE IN TRANSIT” – and make an on-line appointment to see an immigration officer.

Once you have waited three and a half hours after your appointment time has come and gone, you are interviewed, and then handed back a letter and a sealed envelope. “Go to the Post Office, post it to Paris and wait!”

26 Euros later your envelope (including your Passport and precious Schengen visa) is in the hands of La Poste and you wait, and wait. Our example is travelling to Paris in a weeks time to collect the visa.

Ironically, this weekend the English newspapers are full of brochures and supplements marketing Britain to the British – alongside corrupt politicians, disaffected citizens, a Speakerless House of Parliament (they fired him for being useless) and thousands of centimetres on how good the British Lions are.

They need to market Britain to the British – no self-respecting visitor needs go near Heathrow ever again.


[Big Ben – visit it in a picture, not in person. Anyway, it’ll probably not be working soon]


This week we’ve seen Charles and Marguerite trip off down the SNCF rail track to Hyeres and the house has been taken over by the young brigade.

Charging up the hill in Stephanie’s taxi and one of Avis’ finest, came a well-known English rugby player and his injured shoulder, and MBE, and a clutch of mates/partners and, of course, Sam.

A movement schedule became necessary to track the comings and goings and duvets have been dispensed with and replaced by casual quilted bed throws (the washing machines – note plural – are tired.)

Beer supplies have disappeared faster than the Auchan and LeClerq supermarket chains could re-stock so a trip to the Luberon Cave (Co-op) redeemed the situation with 20 litres of fine rose. At the time of writing, it seems stocks should make the end of the weekend but Monday will be replenishment day.


[replenishing stocks – and they received a FREE bottle of wine from the delectable blonde behind the counter for being ‘tres gentil’]

The mercury has soared well into the 30s and with this, Jose and his merry band have become quite lethargic as we make the finishing touches to the Pool House and allow Giles in to do the final landscaping.

A site meeting was chaired by Jean-Pierre who declared to the team: “Until we have finished, you will find that Monsieur and Madame Burrow’s money has ‘gone to sleep’. If you come with the papers – the money is asleep. Finish the job and the money will wake up again”.

Voila! The plumbing is now connected, the fountain has been finished and pavers come to complete the pathway and staircase within the next two days.

IMG 5029

[Manu, the electrician, plumber and general trogladite finds time to smile as he drill through and connects the plumbing]

IMG 5028

[Manu’s rather large drill bit used to pierce ancient concrete – and hopefully, for him, to make the money wake up again]

A bientot

Simon and Lovonne

With all the visitors coming to France this summer, I though it relevant to confront the vexing issue:

How many kisses do you give? What side of the cheek do you start on?

Research has been conducted by Gilles Debunne into how many times a French person kisses the other’s cheeks, by departement. He produced a map giving the geographical explanation for how many cheek kisses (bises) should be administered. The map was developed from a poll Debunne conducted with over 18,000 French people.


The results of the poll showed:

One kiss is only common in two departements: Finistere in far west Brittany and Deux-Sevres in Poitou-Charentes.

Two kisses is the most frequently occurring custom throughout most of the rest of France except for where:

Three kisses are the norm in the south east (especially, Vaucluse!) as well as other Poitou Charentes departments (Vienne, Charente).

Four kisses are preferred in a large area of northeastern France as well as in the north east arrondissement of Paris.

And what side to start? Ah! That is the problem. No-one knows (or cares). It’s part of the fun as you begin and the person who makes the first move, chooses the side. The recipient has to be quick otherwise there is a clash of heads – can be painful and definitely embarrassing.

                                                                         Hot on the heels of my thoughts about where the hell does one look at the morality of what’s happening, comes this story from the EU:

THE European Union’s refusal to grant visas to ministers from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party that would allow them to accompany Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to Brussels today has deepened the rifts in Harare’s unity government.
The EU is refusing Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa entry because he is one of scores of Zanu- PF members and allies barred by sanctions going back years.
Sources in Zimbabwe’s Cabinet said Mugabe yesterday ordered that the trip be aborted if Chinamasa were refused entry.
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, a leading member of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s faction of the MDC, said he would not attend the Brussels meetings unless the EU relented and gave his Zanu-PF colleague a visa.

Double standards, anyone? or: Just desserts?

This story from IOL challenges the mind, ethics, morality, political persuasion, in fact – what the hell do you say?


Zimbabwe’s once-deserted supermarkets are full again, after the country reined in its world-record hyperinflation. But there’s no wait at the tills – most people simply can’t afford to buy anything.

“It a luxury for those who have money to buy,” said Marian Chituku, a 36-year-old mother of three, holding a loaf of bread as she walked out of a supermarket in the working-class suburb of Chitungwiza, outside the capital.

“The shops are full, but to us there is no difference because we cannot afford the goods. They are as good as non-existent. We only see them on the shelves.” Chituku said her family has tea — without milk — in the late morning, skips lunch and then eat dinner as their only meal in order to stretch her income from a vegetable stall in the township.

But in Harare’s leafy suburbs, supermarkets are a shopper’s paradise for the select few deciding between imported haddock fillets or full-shell mussels.

“You can get everything you want here,” Josephine Marucchi, a housewife from the posh suburb of Mount Pleasant, said pausing to choose from the various brands of cheese before completing the sentence: “as long as you have money.

“It’s completely different from last year when people had money and the shops were empty,” she added.

The centre of the shop looked like a gym, stocked with modern exercise gadgets, where an assistant explained to a customer how to operate a treadmill.

Last year supermarkets across Zimbabwe resembled empty sheds as local manufacturers either pulled down the shutters or operated at less than half their capacity because of hyperinflation, which rendered the local currency unusable.

The shortages were exacerbated after the government launched a blitz ordering businesses to slash prices, with long-ruling President Robert Mugabe accusing some businesses of colluding with his western foes to try to topple him.

Things improved after Mugabe and his one-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government in February. The local currency has been abandoned and import restrictions lifted, which has erased the hyperinflation estimated in multiples of billions last year.

Now prices, all in US dollars or South African rands, are actually declining, but more than half the population still depends on international food aid.

“The major challenge is affordability,” Harare-based economist Prosper Chatambara told AFP.

“The majority of workers are earning 100 US dollars a month, and yet the poverty datum line is put conservatively at 437 dollars, so there is a deficit of nearly 350 dollars.

“Most families have to reprioritise their needs. In most cases basic have become luxuries.” Zimbabwe’s biggest employer is the government, which is paying workers only 100 dollars a month while it tries to win international support for its plan to revive the economy and the civil service, including schools and hospitals.

Until the government finds a way of increasing wages, the gap between rich and poor is unlikely to change. The painfully obvious disparities have become a fact of life, seeping even into local music.

“Some die from over-eating,” goes a hit song by Chiwoniso Mararire. “Others die of hunger.”

Comment: Interesting that prices are now in ZAR – perhaps Cecil John Rhodes’ ghost is coming back – what was that about colouring Cape to Cairo in red? Looking and listening, the good old South African (black,white and indifferent) are doing their thing in the only way they know how: survive and prosper. Come back all emigrants, all is forgiven. Your country needs you. Africa is a BIG place, and needs all the old farts to come and help them to stand up and take on the world.


AIR France revealed today a jet heading for Paris was sabotaged just three days after the crash which killed 228 people.
The pilot of the short-haul flight aborted the take-off from Dusseldorf, Germany, after finding a fault with a smoke detector.

When technicians inspected the plane, they discovered wires to the device in the luggage hold had been severed with a cutter.

Air France have described it as a ‘malicious act”.

But they later cleared the Airbus A318 jet for take-off because the fault was not enough to ground the plane.

The airline said it had made a complaint to France’s air transport police for ‘suspected sabotage’.

An Air France spokesman said: “On June 4, a pilot discovered a fault in a smoke detector before heading from Dusseldorf to Paris.

“It was later found that wires had been deliberately sliced in what appears to have been a malicious act, and a complaint has been made to the authorities.”

The discovery came just three days after flight AF447 plunged into the Atlantic on route from Rio to Paris.

More than 400 pieces of debris and 50 bodies have been plucked from the ocean 700 miles off the coast of Brazil.

But the black box flight recorders that could hold the key to the disaster are still missing – and will only emit a radio signal to help salvage teams find them for another two weeks.

Paul-Louis Arslanian, head of the French air accident investigation agency BEA, said: “As more debris is discovered, we are becoming more optimistic about what caused the crash.

“But finding the black boxes is crucial to discovering the real cause of this disaster.”

Since the crash on June 1, Air France has replaced speed sensors on its entire fleet of long-haul jets, after experts said they could have iced up and given dangerously false readings to cockpit computers in a thunderstorm.

They suspect the failure of the external speed monitors – called pitot tubes – meant the pilot received an inaccurate speed reading, causing the jet to stall or nosedive at 30,000ft.

New pitot tubes were urgently fitted to all of Air France’s 34 A330 and A340 long haul jets after pilots unions threatened to stop flying unless urgent changes were made.

SNPL pilots’ union spokesman Erick Derivry said: “The whole fleet has now been equipped since the end of last week with the newer Thales’ BA sensors.

“Their performance may have been in question, but today it should still be stressed that it is not proven or established that the AA model probes are at the origin of the accident.”

Among the 228 victims of the disaster were five Brits, 72 French, 59 Brazilians and 26 Germans, among a total of 32 different nationalities.

Brazilian army Brigadier Ramon Cardoso has said the search operation will continue until at least Friday, though that deadline may be extended.

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