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Mexican Wal-Mart Under Fire for Allegedly Hosting In-Store Cockfight

walmart chickenIt’s going to take more than “clean up in aisle seven” to wash this one away.

Wal-Mart Mexico, or Walmex, has come under fire for allegedly hosting a cockfight in its Boca del Rio store in order to promote a soda company.

What happened to good old fashioned free samples?

If the allegations are proven true, the retailer could face fines of up to 96,000 pesos ($7,240), as cockfighting is illegal in Boca del Rio.

A Walmex spokesman, Antonio Ocaranza, said the the promotion was not actually a cockfight, as the roosters weren’t armed with blades, no betting took place, and none of the roosters were harmed.

“It wasn’t a cockfight,” Ocaranza told Bloomberg. “There wasn’t anything that would be in violation of any game regulations.”

Photos of the event (below) depict the penned roosters looking agitated and appearing to attack one another…so, there were cocks, and they fought, but it wasn’t technically a “cockfight” because the birds weren’t wielding weapons? Lovely, then. Read more

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Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons Takes a Stand for Scottish Independence

Willie_s Views On Scottish Independence | THE SIMPSONS | ANIMATION on FOX - YouTube

It’s common for celebrities to publicly back political candidates or openly support causes they care about, but no one ever asks fictional cartoon characters what they think, and as it turns out, they might just have a lot to say — The latest pop culture icon to release a statement urging his countrymen to vote a certain way is none other than the (highly) animated Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons.

The proud Scotsman has officially weighed in on the upcoming vote that will decide whether Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom.

“Now, both sides of this argument have valid points,” Willie amicably admits at the beginning of the video (below, after the jump), but his true opinions become clear when he goes on to describe those opposing sides as “the freedom-loving heirs of the highland tradition, and those who enjoy crawling like worms under British boots.”

Well then. Read more

Burger King Japan Brings Back the Strangely Popular Black Burger

BN-EM432_bkingj_D_20140911023522Well, if Dr. Seuss taught us anything, it’s that strangely-colored food just tastes better (and can be eaten on a on a train, in the rain, in a boat, with a goat…).

But it isn’t green eggs and ham that have won the hearts of Burger King Japan‘s customers — it’s a black burger, complete with black bun, black cheese and black sauce. And while we, personally, may think the sandwich more closely resembles industrial waste than a viable lunch option, we are in the minority.

The black burgers, now called The Kuro Pearl burger and Kuro Diamond burger (“kuro” meaning black), were first introduced for a limited time in 2012. They became so popular that they outsold all other new products the company offered that year. Due to high demand, the burgers were temporarily brought back again in 2013. Now, the burger chain is hoping for an equally-warm welcome the third time around. Read more

Now the Sultan of Brunei Has His Eye on The Plaza Hotel in New York

plaza hotelThe Sultan of Brunei is looking to expand his holdings with the possible purchase of The Plaza hotel in New York City. That hotel plus two others come with a price tag of $2.2 billion. The current owner,  Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara Group, would like to sell in order to get his hands on some cash to get out of prison. He was arrested in India earlier this year on money laundering charges.

Back in May, the Sultan — and by extension, the Beverly Hills Hotel — faced some high-profile protesters including Jay Leno, Richard Branson and Ellen DeGeneres because of Sharia laws he put in place in April. These laws promise to inflict harsh punishments such as incarceration, stonings and amputation for “crimes” such as homosexuality, abortion and adultery.

“Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible,” we wrote at the time. The Sultan’s investment agency owns the Dorchester Collection.

These big-name Hollywood celebs asked for a boycott and promised to keep away from events held at these hotels until there was change. It cost $2 million in business.

New York has its fair share of celebrities. But more than that, what New York has is a lot of business travel in addition to millions of tourists per year. And a lot of high-end hospitality competition. Criticism on the East coast could be just as, if not more, potent.

Read more

Downton Abbey’s Classy, Charitable Response to ‘Water Bottle-Gate’

By now, you’ve probably seen the promotional image for Downton Abbey that’s had fans, history purists, and the internet in general in a multi-day frenzy, but in case you haven’t, here it is — out-of-place plastic water bottle and all:

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In response to the media madness, the cast of the hit show has released another image, and this one is chock-full of water bottles. Only this time, their presence is intentional, and intended to refocus the public’s attention on a worthy issue.

A spokesperson for British TV network ITV explained, “After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity – WaterAid.”

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WaterAid is a charitable organization that has spent decades bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it’s needed most.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: Read more

Q&A: Top Firms Expanding into the Asia Pacific Region

World Map

It’s not exactly news that the Asia Pacific region is one of the biggest opportunities for international firms looking to expand and serve a more global audience. Allison + Partners recently opened an office in Singapore while firms like Edelman and Ogilvy have maintained a presence in China for some time.

Still, much of the market remains untapped by top Western firms, and the act of reaching the billions of consumers living in the Asia Pacific region presents significant challenges for many US-based organizations.

Siegel+Gale recently announced a partnership with Gramco, Japan’s largest branding firm, in the interest of better serving the Chinese public.

We spoke to Jason Cieslak, president of Siegel+Gale’s Pacific Rim operations, to get his take on the trend.

Read more

Google Removes ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game from App Store After Backlash

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What could possibly be offensive about a mobile game that makes light of the bloody and ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict by encouraging bored Android and tablet users to drop animated explosives on Gaza, where over 1,800 real, human Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting? Oh, that’s right — everything.

To make matters worse, the game, titled “Bomb Gaza,” released by developer PLAYFTW, had a “low” maturity rating, meaning children were given the green light to play it. Excellent.

Angry and disgusted complaints flooded the game’s (now-deleted) comments section, and while some comments were political and defended one side of the conflict or the other, the overwhelming sentiment of the outraged objections can be pretty-well summed up by this simple, straight-forward one (heads-up for some swearing):

“WTF There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it. That’s fucked up.”

Read more

Celestial Couture: Premiere Catwalk at One World Trade Center

WTC Fashion Show Poster JMA“Having friends in high places” is often considered to be a ticket to business and personal success. For model turned entrepreneur Jessica Minh Ahn, it’s all about fashion in high places. She’s staged catwalk events worldwide in spots like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, London’s Tower Bridge and sky-high settings in the Middle East and Asia.

On Wednesday evening Minh Ahn assembled a global cast of designers for a first-ever catwalk event at One World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. She was undaunted by the ongoing construction at the tallest building in the western hemisphere and hosted the show on the 63rd floor. The runway was a mix of 8 brands, comprising haute couture, premium ready-to-wear and active wear. Each designer debuted a signature collection based on the landmark locale.

“Fashion is the international language and there are no more boundaries now”, said participating designer Diego Cortizas of Chula. Indeed, the show reflected a veritable World Cup of fashion. Here’s a selection of brands and images in the WTC spotlight.

Read more

Kim Jong Un Officially Condemns Seth Rogen and James Franco’s New Film

The Interview | official trailer US (2014) Seth Rogen - YouTube

We can’t say we’re surprised that North Korea’s Supreme Leader is unamused by a film about his own assassination (we’re pretty sure even the US wouldn’t terribly appreciate a foreign country making a comedy about our president’s demise), but we do think Kim Jong Un‘s official condemnation of “The Interview” might be the best advertising the movie could ask for. What that says about the state of politics in our sick, sad world or what it says about our society’s need to “laugh so we don’t cry” is a post for a different sort of blog.

The plot of the new comedy follows Seth Rogen and James Franco as the less-than-dynamic duo attempts to take out North Korea’s infamous leader. In an interview with The Telegraph, Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and an unofficial spokesman for the country’s political regime, makes it quite clear that North Korea is not laughing.

“There is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the US government and American society…A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine…And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy – Americans.

Ouch. Read more

Brazil’s Image Shifts As Protests Surge During World Cup’s First Day

brazil world cup street artRight now on Univision, Brazil and Croatia are on the pitch, kicking off the first day of action for the World Cup 2014. Out in the streets near the stadium, the scene was much less jovial with protesters expressing their anger. According to The New York Timespolice were on the scene using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Protesters, who numbered in the hundreds, seemed “stunned” by the force used to quiet the crowd. “Several protesters and journalists were injured in the tumult, including a producer for CNN,” the NYT says. Last year, a crowd that was reported to be in the millions came out to push for better public services. Images of the swarms of people traveled around the globe.

Protests and worker strikes have been taking place in Brazil over the fact that the country has spent $11 billion over seven years on a sporting event while people struggle.

At this point, much like in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics, we’ve also heard stories about the last-minute preparations for the games, with a scramble to finish public transportation channels and stadiums.

If that isn’t enough, you have Brazilians who would like to see a match but say the sky-high prices make it cost-prohibitive.

This is much different from the usual pictures of care-free, samba-dancing, beautiful people on beautiful beaches that we’re all accustomed to seeing out Brazil.

Read more

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