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And in 'Other' Business News: Orangutans Are iPad Fans in 'Apps for Apes' Project


Plus, you can no longer get horsemeat at Burger King restaurants in the British Isles.

Apple Branches Out in the Animal Kingdom

While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have reduced growth prospects for the year, the maker of the iPhone has found a new group of iPad fans in a dozen zoos: orangutans.

The group Orangutan Outreach started the program Apps for Apes with the goal of creating a more stimulating experience for the Indonesian natives housed in zoos while raising awareness about the primates' endangered status in the wild. Zookeepers have been allowing the animals to play with apps on iPads for limited periods of time to see how they react. According to Orangutan Outreach, orangutans need to be engaged mentally, or the animals will begin to suffer from boredom and depression.

The Smithsonian National Zoo has been participating in the Apps for Apes program since last year and released a statement earlier this week on the status of the project. Currently, zookeepers there use 10 apps on the iPads -- such as ones involving musical instruments, cognitive games, and drawing programs -- and the apps have been popular with the orangutans.

Source:Apps for Apes

Sorry, No More Horsemeat

Burger King (NYSE:BKW) ended its food sourcing partnership with ABP Food Group based in County Monaghan, Ireland, after the Food and Safety Authority of Ireland, or FSAI, found traces of horsemeat in burger patties produced by ABP Food Group subsidiaries Dalepak and Silvercrest. In once instance, horsemeat constituted 29% of the meat content in the burger. Of the 27 burger products analyzed by the FSAI, 10 contained traces of horse DNA and 23 contained traces of pig DNA.

The horsemeat posed no health risks according to the FSAI, and the burgers have been removed.

Law Enforcement Officials Ask for More Private Data

Private data on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn't that private in the eyes of the law.

Google releases a Transparency Report twice a year to disclose how often it complies with requests for private data from government agencies and similar groups. During the second half of 2012, Google complied with 88% of the 8,438 US government requests for data. The requests mostly came in the form of subpoenas and warrants, which represented 68% and 22% of the total, respectively. Frequently, the revealing of data doesn't even need a judge's signature.

The number of requests grew 33% from 2011, when the government made 6,321 data requests.

God's Representative on Twitter

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Catholics to become missionaries on Twitter in his 2013 World Communications Day message today.

The pontiff himself has eight Twitter accounts, including one with posts in Latin, followed by approximately 2.5 million people. Yesterday, the Vatican released the Pope App, which provides live streaming of papal events and video feeds from the Vatican's six webcams.

The Catholic Church's leadership in Rome has made a push to gain more visibility in the social media space after research showed the Catholic Church lacked a notable presence online.

The push by the Vatican should help Twitter as the Catholic Church represents the largest religious institution in the world by membership.

Email Hasn't Killed Junk Mail

Snail mail sent by individuals in the US has decreased by 33% over the past decade, but junk mail still finds its way into people's mailboxes in large quantities. Since 2009, direct-mail expenditures as a percentage of total marketing spending has remained relatively constant at 13.6%. In total dollar amounts, though, marketing mail spending has increased from $46.8 billion to $50.4 billion, according to Publicis Groupe's (EPA:PUB) ZenithOptimedia. Compared to other forms of snail mail, junk mail represented 56% of the total mail in 2011 versus 45% ten years earlier.

Analytical software allows direct marketers to sift through hundreds of public and private sources of demographic and marketing information, and marketers can plan efficient direct mailing campaigns. The decline of snail mail will likely catch up with junk mail by 2015, though, according to ZenithOptimedia.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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