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China: Irate Customers Pelt Beijing Apple Store with Eggs After Failing to Get iPhone 4S

Unruly Crowd Behaviour
© Minyanville
Three's a crowd!

Amidst all the controversy about the poor working conditions at the Shenzhen factory that produces its iPhones, Apple officially launched the iPhone 4S at its five mainland China stores Friday morning... only to meet with more controversy.

Like everywhere else in the world, Apple is hugely popular in China, and its stores there "are routinely mobbed for the release of new products," as the Associated Press describes. So, when more than a thousand people turned up to queue outside Apple's flagship store in Beijing for the launch of the iPhone 4S, the company was ordered by the police not to open its store to prevent unrest from breaking up.

Well, that only enraged the crowd, many of whom had waited overnight in freezing weather. When the store did not open on schedule at 7am, some in the irate crowd began pelting the store's trademark clear glass walls with eggs while others mouthed off at employees through the windows, the New York Times reports.

Worth noting is that many of the hundreds who had queued overnight were migrant workers. They were hired by scalpers, who aimed to purchase the coveted phones to resell at jacked-up prices. For a pee of 100 yuan (or $16), migrant workers were bused in to the Beijing store the night before to stand in line.

When the police instructed Apple not to open the store and cordoned off the area with yellow tape, these workers were especially frustrated, because they would now only get a food allowance of 10 yuan after waiting overnight in harsh conditions.


North Carolina, US: Gunman Kills 3, Injures 1 at Lumber Company

© Unknown
Star - A man described by witnesses as a disgruntled worker opened fire Friday at a central North Carolina lumber company, killing three people and injuring one before shooting himself, local media reported.

Montgomery County Sheriff Dempsey Owens told WXII 12 that deputies were called to the McBride Lumber Company just after 6 a.m.

He said deputies found four people shot inside the business, three of whom died. One worker was airlifted to a hospital.

The suspect, who fled the scene, was identified by workers at the firm, allowing deputies to track him to his house, WFMY-TV reported.

Owens told WXII that the suspect had shot himself and was airlifted to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

Witnesses reported that the gunman was a disgruntled employee, the sheriff told WXII.

Owens said the the shooter left a note, but did not give the details of its contents, according to WFMY.

A man who answered the phone at the company confirmed that there was a shooting but would not give details, according to NBC News.

McBride Lumber Company is a second-generation family-owned business that was started in the 1950s, according to its website. The company specializes in the manufacture of custom pallets for a variety of businesses, including furniture, automotive, masonry and textile.

This is a developing news story.


Mario Monti warns Germany it must show more support for austerity measures or face increased hostility from Italy

Italy's Premier Mario Monti has warned his country is becoming increasingly hostile to Germany because painful austerity measures it has adopted are not being recognised.

Mr Monti, who met in Berlin today for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Italy's economic reforms do not receive the recognition they deserve.

And he warned Italians could turn their back on Germany and the rest of the EU if they do not see austerity measures lead to progress in the country's financial situation.
© Unknown
Disgruntled: Italian PM Mario Monti is given a military honour guard as he meets Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this morning

German Support
© Rueters
Support: Mr Monti told Die Welt newspaper Italian would become increasingly hostile to Germans if painful austerity measures were not recognised


Parties unite to fight Scots independence

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband join forces against Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond
© Unknown
A deal to head off a constitutional crisis over plans for a referendum on Scottish independence was emerging last night as the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats joined forces to oppose the break-up of the United Kingdom. The Government may allow Alex Salmond, the First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), to hold a referendum on independence at his preferred time of autumn 2014 in exchange for a straight Yes or No question on the ballot paper.

Mr Salmond would be forced to drop his planned third option which would allow for the devolution of all powers, except foreign and defence policy, from London to Edinburgh. Known as "devo max", it is seen as an insurance policy if full independence is rejected by the Scottish people. In London, ministers said the devo max question was a "red line" they would not cross. They will insist on a ballot in which Scots would choose between independence and remaining in the Union, even if this means a protracted legal wrangle which may have to be resolved by the Supreme Court in London.

One government source said last night: "You can't have a 'maybe' on the ballot paper. It could be a recipe for chaos. What happens if 51 per cent of Scots vote for full independence but 71 per cent back more devolution?"

Although pro-Union politicians would prefer to see the referendum held next year to end the uncertainty about Scotland's future, ministers are ready to show flexibility over the date if Mr Salmond abandons the devo max option. Senior Labour and Liberal Democrat figures believe David Cameron was "inept" at the weekend in the way he demanded a vote "sooner or later", thereby allowing Mr Salmond to accuse London of trying to hijack the process.

Eye 1

US: Magazine Editorial Reveals Shocking Disparity Between Sizes of Models and Real Women

Plus Size and Standard Model
© nsfw
The high fashion model on the left looks like an inmate of a concentration camp.
A size 6 is now plus size in the fashion world, and most runway models meet the physical criteria for anorexia, according to a report that offers shocking insight into the disparity between models and the real-life women they are purporting to represent.

In the January issue of PLUS Model Magazine, plus size model Katya Zharkova and a straight size model are seen in the nude in an attempt to "open the minds of the fashion industry," which is stepping further away from reality, according to PLUS founder and editor-in-chief, Madeline Figueroa Jones.

The magazine reveals that some of today's plus size models are wearing the same size as models Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova and Cindy Crawford at the height of their fame in the 1990s. Zharkova, 28, wears a size 14.

The photos appear alongside statistics about today's sometimes dangerously thin straight size models and the continuously shrinking frames of plus size models. Among the revelations: "Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23 percent less" and "most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia."

Heart - Black

Children 'dumped in streets by Greek parents who can't afford to look after them any more'

© Alamy
Abandoned: Children are being dumped on Greece's streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more
  • Youngsters abandoned as parents struggle
  • 4-year-old found clutching note: 'I can't afford her'
  • Country also running out of medicine
  • Aspirin stocks low as austerity measures bite
Children are being abandoned on Greece's streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

It comes as pharmacists revealed the country had almost run out of aspirin, as multi-billion euro austerity measures filter their way through society.


Mexico police ticket 6-year-old boy, impound his toy motorcycle after crash with SUV

Gael Santiago, 6, watches with his mother Karla Noriega, after receiving a traffic ticket for hitting an SUV with his toy motorcycle.
Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.

The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.

Noriega decided to go to the media and make the case public after finding out she would have to pay what she called a "ridiculous" $183 in fines to recover the toy motorbike.

City council Secretary Hector Arceluz said Thursday that authorities had dropped the fines, released the motorbike and would punish the police officers for having acted improperly.

Noriega's son Gael was happy to get his minibike back, but said it no longer works after the accident.

Source: The Canadian Press


French Parents Win Case Over Son's 'Demonic' Name

© unknown
A court in France on Thursday rejected a prosecutors' request for a couple to be barred from naming their son Daemon after a character in television series The Vampire Diaries.

Prosecutors had brought Lionel and Blandine Defontaine, from Busigny in northern France, to court under a French law that prevents parents from giving names that would be "contrary to the interests of a child".

The parents, both fans of the series, had chosen to name their son, born on November 3, after the vampire character Damon -- adding the "e" to produce a French version of the name.

They said they simply liked the sound of the name and denied it had any Satanic connotation.

The same law had previously been used in 1999 to try to prevent parents Alain and Sophia Renaud from naming their daughter Megane, with prosecutors saying the name sounded too much like that of a popular French car, the Renault Megane.

An appeals court in 2000 allowed the girl to keep her name.

Heart - Black

US: Millionaire CEO breaks waiter's finger for "bad service"

© yupedia.com

Excuse me, waiter. There is a fractured proximal phalanx bone in my soup.

A wealthy CEO is finding himself in hot water after he allegedly snapped at his waiter while dining at a swanky Florida county club - and then snapped the server's finger until it broke.

John Castle, the 76-year-old CEO of the Castle Harlan equity firm, could be facing charges after a waiter at the posh Palm Beach, Florida establishment Club Colette made claims that Castle went berserk after he brought him the check.

Bizarro Earth

US: Parents Furious Over Apparent Use Of 'Scream Rooms' Inside Elementary School

Farm Hill Elementary School
© CBS 2
Farm Hill Elementary School
Middletown, Conn. - Parents in a Connecticut suburb are outraged over disturbing disciplinary actions at a local elementary school.

They claim students are being locked in unsupervised "scream rooms," where some children have harmed themselves, reports CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

The Middleton School District is on the hot seat as furious parents are demanding to know what's going on behind closed doors at Farm Hill Elementary School.

"My daughter is telling me that there's kids being taken out in ambulances, by stretcher," parent Sean Archer told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday.

Disturbing allegations have surfaced of teachers locking students in closet-sized concrete "scream rooms" for punishment.

"Kids come home and they cry, because they're afraid to go to school. And it's often," parent Brian Robillard said.