That bubbly you toast with on New Year’s Eve (or any toastable occasion, like finishing a work week without crying more than four times) could be in danger: France is reporting its lowest champagne harvest in 40 years, after vineyards were severely damaged by hailstorms, wet weather and fungus. [More]
A new vending machine just hit the streets of Paris dispensing freshly baked baguettes. [More]
This summer, Abe went on a trip through Europe this summer with his wife and kids. One night, he made a hotel reservation using the Expedia iPhone app. But when he arrived at the place, it was already past check-in time and no one was around. When he called Expedia for a refund, they said no, because the check-in time was disclosed on their website, even though that information was not available through the iPhone app at all. [More]
A group of French tourists refused to leave the plane for four hours after it landed in protest of how they were treated. [More]
The “rogue trader” who cost his former employer, French bank SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale, $7.1 billion through a series of high-stakes bets that leveraged fictitious transactions outside his trading limit was sentenced today to 3 years in prison and a “symbolic” $6.7 billion fine. [More]
When McDonald’s recently began airing a TV spot in France that not only admitted the existence of homosexual men, but also that they eat at — and are welcome at — the fast food eateries, it received many plaudits from gay rights advocacy groups on this side of the pond. But now that bigwigs out of Oak Brook have made it clear the ad, or nothing like it, will air stateside anytime soon, the tide has turned against the golden arches. [More]
Have you ever secretly wished that the subway platform you were waiting on could be transformed into a comfy living room? Or at least a living room furnished by IKEA? For another week, you can experience just that in four stops on Paris’s MÃ©tro system. Instead of molded plastic seats, have a seat on an Ektorp couch! [More]
The French arm of McDonald’s may no longer be the target of local farmers and gastronomes who attacked it in decades past. But next month, the chain will ask the French if they’d like frites with their Mona Lisa, as it prepares to open a branch at what could be called Ground Zero of French culture: the Louvre. As one art historian said, the move represents “the pinnacle of exhausting consumerism, deficient gastronomy and very unpleasant odours in the context of a museum.”
Jean-Jacques Dulugat learned yesterday why you should never let an unlicensed cabbie give you a lift from the airport. Police tried to stop Dulugat and his family as they got into a van driven by a pair of known solicitors, but the duo took off and led cops on a high-speed chase through Brooklyn…
That headline is the good news. The bad news is the $61 million in damages ordered by a French court isn’t meant for regular shoppers who have been defrauded when shopping on eBay. Instead, it’s been awarded to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods company behind Louis Vuitton purses (among other fancy things, as you can see from their name). LVMH argued that “90 percent of the Louis Vuitton bags and Dior perfumes sold on eBay are fakes,” and that eBay profited off the sales without doing enough to stop them. EBay can appeal the decision, or simply click the “Pay It Now!” button.
The French bank Societe Generale has announced that a trader “concealed massive trading positions built up over 2007 and 2008 through ‘a scheme of elaborate fictitious transactions,’” which ended up losing the bank 7.1 billion dollars. That’s as much damage by a single employee as the subprime-related losses the bank reported in the past two months. Oops.
Marketers in France are planning to beam location-specific ads to your phone via Bluetooth, the common short-range wireless transfer technology that’s now included in nearly every new cellphone, reports Reuters. Currently under consideration is just what sort of ad would be compelling enough to tempt consumers to opt in on such messages, since there’s no way advertisers can force you to accept Bluetooth communications.
In the U.S., teens blithely record movie clips; in France, they produce “near professional” translations. A 16-year-old French kid translated the final Harry Potter book and posted it online within days of its late July release, and now could face a heavy fine as well as charges for violating intellectual property rights. Police are also questioning other minors who may have helped.
House of Representative Republicans will just have to choke down the greasy taste of semantic defeat: the ludicrous ‘Freedom Fries’ debacle is over.
Liberte, Egalite, no DRM? The French are voting on legislation that would restrict iTunes and its ilk from from limiting upon which devices the music can be played or how the songs can be shared. [Photo from recent student demonstrations outside the Sorbonne, just imagine the mattress represents a giant iPod and we're good to go.]