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Economy Briefs: Armed thieves break into Appleā€™s flagship store

- - Tuesday, January 1, 2013

PARIS — Masked and armed thieves used the New Year's Eve fete to rob the flagship Apple store in Paris.

The French press reported that up to $1.3 million in goods were stolen at the store selling products such as Apple's iPhones and iPads behind the Paris Opera house, a figure police would not immediately confirm.

Police said Tuesday the theft occurred about 9 p.m. Monday, 3 hours after closing, while police were deployed around the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, where revelers traditionally gather on New Year's Eve.

Christophe Crepin of the Unsa police union said the "well-prepared" operation was carried out by four masked and armed individuals.

The daily Le Parisien reported the thieves entered the store by threatening a security guard at a back entrance.

ALASKA

No fuel spill detected from grounded rig

ANCHORAGE — An overnight Coast Guard flight over an Alaska drilling rig that ran aground in shallow water on New Year's Eve found no signs of a fuel spill.

But officials at a unified command center run by the Coast Guard, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, state responders and others said they would have to wait until daylight to know for sure what environmental impact the grounding might have caused.

Spokeswoman Darci Sinclair says the North Pacific storm that has caused problems for Shell's efforts to move the drill into place near Kodiak Island is expected to continue at a slightly milder intensity. The storm included winds near 70 mph and swells to 35 feet.

JAPAN

Sony no longer making PS2 consoles in Japan

TOKYO — Japanese electronics giant Sony said it has stopped producing its PlayStation 2 consoles in Japan, fueling online rumors a PlayStation 4 is in the pipeline.

Since launching in 2000, the PlayStation 2 (PS2), which has a Blu-ray player, has sold more than 150 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling console of all time and was so popular it outsold its replacement for the first three years.

Shipments have been "completed" for the hardware of PS2, the Japanese website of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said with no further comment. The firm did not say what its plans were for production in other parts of the world.

Software for the console is expected to continue being produced.

The announcement sent gamers posting messages online, with some surprised the PS2 was still being made.

The news has sparked rumors that embattled Sony, which has been hit by falling sales owing to the popularity of games on smartphones, is planning a PlayStation 4, more than six years since launching the PS3.

SUDAN

African nation opens floodgates of bigger dam

ROSEIRES — A torrent of water surged Tuesday into Sudan's Blue Nile River at the launch of the expanded Roseires dam, which officials say should help develop one of the country's poorest regions, where insurgents are fighting the government.

A strategically important structure, the 66-year-old dam is already a major power generator for a Sudan struggling with economic crisis since South Sudan separated last year with most of the country's oil production.

It is located on the Blue Nile near Ethiopia. The expansion has cost $460 million.

After four years of work and the resettlement of 20,000 families, Roseires dam now stands 33 feet higher, doubling its storage capacity to allow additional power generation and agricultural irrigation, officials said.

"The significance is very huge," Industry Minister Abdulwahab Mohammed Osman told Agence France-Presse on the sidelines of the ceremony held to mark the country's 57th independence day.

He said millions of acres of land will be irrigated or provided with additional water because of the project.

From wire dispatches and staff reports