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iPad mini?!
'Exciting' Sept. could see Apple intro new iPhone, iPad 'mini' -- Apple is gearing up for what is expected to be an "exciting" September, where the company could launch both its next-generation iPhone, as well as smaller iPad, according to people in the Taiwanese supply chain. Analyst Brian White with Topeka Capital Markets is in Taipei this week, meeting with local contacts in the supply chain, and attending the 2012 Computex Show that is expected to see 120,000 visitors. While speaking with his supply chain sources, he picked up word that Apple is set to have an "exciting" September. Specifically, he expects Apple's next-generation iPhone is more likely to launch in the month of September, rather than October. Last year, the iPhone 4S debuted in October, which was a few months later than the iPhone launch window that Apple had utilized in prior years.

Food distribution in Australia.
Long-haul food could deliver a national crisis -- AUSTRALIANS' growing reliance on food transported long distances on drum-tight distribution schedules has heightened the risk of food shortages in the event of crises such as floods, bushfires and pandemics, a federal government study has found. The Department of Agriculture report identifies the concentration and lengthening of Australia's supply chain as a food security risk, as communities are increasingly dependent on deliveries of perishable food such as milk, meat, fruit and vegetables, from thousands of kilometres away. ''The key question is whether, following a natural disaster or other major disruptive event, Australians in affected regions would go hungry. The risk that this could happen is growing, especially if separate events in Australia's eastern states were to coincide,'' says the report, Resilience in the Australian Food Supply Chain.

In China, Only Sportwear Makers Can Compete With Global Apparel Leaders, Anta Boss Asserts -- China has a lot of brands seeking to compete in the international apparel and clothing business today, but it's only the country's sportswear companies that have the ability to go head-to-head with global apparel-industry heavyweights. So says Ding Shizhong, chairman of Anta Sports, one of the country's most successful sports footwear and apparel brands. When it comes to obtaining endorsements, shops, and supply-chain management, "domestic brands are basically on the same level with international brands," according to Ding, who ranked at No. 179 on the 2011 Forbes China Rich List with wealth of $885 million. "I dare to say, in China's apparel and clothing industries, only sports products are truly able to compete with the world's big crocodiles," Ding said in an interview published today in the 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese daily newspaper. 21st Century is partly owned by Fosun Group; Fosun Media is a licensing partner of Forbes Media.

Google gets sneaky.
Google to Alert Users to Chinese Censorship -- Google has quietly upped the ante in a long-running dispute with the Chinese authorities over censorship, adding a software twist to its search page that warns users when they type a search term whose results are likely to be blocked in China. The change, announced without publicity on Thursday on one of Google's corporate blogs, is described as an improvement in the search experience for users in mainland China, who can be disconnected from Google without explanation when they try to open a Web page that was found using a censored search term. But it also seems likely to irritate Chinese officials, who have already employed an array of techniques to punish the company since a clash over censorship led Google to move its servers to Hong Kong in January 2010.

- Sheena Moore

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