July 14th, 2011
01:01 PM GMT
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Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - The skullduggery by the News of the World newspaper in Britain exposed an underbelly of phone taps and lies.

While the fall of the newspaper and the shenanigans of the Murdoch business empire are a compelling and continuing drama, we should be reminded that this sort of behavior is not limited to the tabloid muckraking press.

Underhand tactics, secrets and illegal tampering with private information is a growing and common problem in the corporate world. Call it what you may - industrial espionage, corporate hacking, commercial spying - the practice is widespread and deeply entrenched on a global scale.
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July 14th, 2011
08:16 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The latest Harry Potter movie has already broken box office records – and it hasn’t even opened yet.

Pre-ordered tickets for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” have brought in $25 million in the U.S. alone. The film is due for release this Friday.

Not exactly a surprise for a movie franchise that is already king of the box office. Raking in $6.37 billion worldwide, Harry Potter has banked more billions than any movie featuring Luke Skywalker, Frodo and James Bond. The Potter franchise has also made more money than the Matrix, Twilight and X-Men franchises combined.

Take a look at the highest worldwide grossing franchises and number of installments, according to box-office research website The Numbers.
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July 14th, 2011
07:00 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The personal and societal impact of February’s Christchurch earthquake may be nearly impossible to quantify. The economic impact is a different story. Today's data from Statistics New Zealand reveals the economy grew by a solid 0.8% in the first quarter, despite the earthquake.

"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place," national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said in a released statement.

Less than 1% of the nation’s commercial property was damaged in the disaster and few large businesses ceased operations. The overall GDP reading was higher than most analysts had expected.

The readings today out of New Zealand beg the question: What is the overall impact of a natural disaster on GDP growth?
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