Friday

Poetry Fridays

The Journey....
I have toiled night and day, but have nothing to show....
I have wandered through the wilderness, but with nothing in sight....
I have beckoned to the Angels, but they are yet to be seen....
In my pain, I have wondered aloud and recoiled in despair....
But who am I to dismiss the path of glory....
For in my desolate peril, I am assured of a new beginning....
In my languished anguish, I see the dawn of a new day.... 
For I must go on, my senses tell me....
The journey has only begun, my conscience assures me....
For I must not worry, but must surely tarry....
For the journey, though began with a query....
Must end with the promise, the query beckons....
This is my life.... of the glory foretold....
For I must not die, but shall surely live....
And in living, I must be fulfilled....
And in fulfillment, I must be complete....
And in completion, the glory shall be revealed....
For I am the reason for the journey....
And the journey, the reason for my being....


© 2012 Boye Coker. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday

Hot Brew: Facebook's unproven business model continues to unnerve investors....


As Facebook shares fell another 9% on Tuesday, regulators said they may review the disclosure process to see if some investors got favourable access.
The SEC and regulatory body FINRA both said they would look into the matter.
Morgan Stanley, lead underwriter on the flotation, said it was "in compliance with all applicable regulations".
Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook's advisers may have revised their financial forecasts for the social networking company, but that only selected investors were told.
Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said "there are issues that we need to look at".
Richard Ketchum, chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), said there were "matters of regulatory concern".
But in a statement, Morgan Stanley spokesman, Pen Pendleton, said the bank had "followed the same procedures for the Facebook offering that it follows for all initial public offerings".
Also on Tuesday, a private investor issued a writ against the Nasdaq stock exchange over technical problems on Friday that disrupted Facebook's first trading day.
Phillip Goldberg, a Maryland resident, is seeking class-action status on behalf of all investors who say they lost money because of the technical problems.
Facebook's market debut was delayed by about half an hour, and orders to buy or sell shares were further disrupted. Mr Goldberg has filed a writ in the southern district court of New York.
Nasdaq chief executive Robert Greifeld has said that "clearly we had mistakes in the Facebook listing".
It has all taken the shine off one of the most anticipated flotations in history.
Facebook shares, launched at $38 each on Friday, fell 11% on Monday and a further 9% on Tuesday. The shares are now worth $31 each.
It is a remarkable turnaround from recent weeks, when the social network's share sale was over-subscribed and the eight-year-old firm was valued at $104 billion.
Much of the blame for the fall in share price is being pinned on lead underwriters Morgan Stanley and the Nasdaq exchange itself, with many commentators saying that the sale was over-priced.
"There must have been some sober second thoughts about this," said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research.
Mr Wieser thinks a fair price for such a young company without a proven business model is about $30.
But some analysts say the fall is of little consequence in the early days.
"Whether [Facebook] is worth $95 billion or $100 billion, it's immaterial," Jeremy Liew of investment company Lightspeed Venture Partners told Reuters.
The social networking site has transformed the way in which hundreds of millions of people around the world communicate. It is also transforming the way companies advertise to existing and potential customers.
But Facebook's 900 million users helped the company generate just $1billion in profit last year, and there are concerns about its ability to grow profits in the future. 

Friday

Poetry Fridays

Thoughts and Perspectives....
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they have ascribed unto themselves the dubious distinction of being all-knowing, and all-conquering…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because their greed and avarice has overtaken their sense of humanity, fairness and compassion…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they have killed their conscience and ultimately succeeded in shutting the window to their soul…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they do not have it in them to see ahead, and as such, they must continually look back…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they are conditioned to forever sell their souls to the devil…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they are devoid of even the slightest ounce of human decency and integrity…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because not only are they bereft of ideas, but more importantly, they are lacking in courage and a sense of devoir…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their penchant for obfuscating diatribes…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their inherent sense of inferiority feigned by a debilitating superiority complex…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because their antecedents tell you they are eternal rogues, liars and marauders…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their disposition to being not only deceitful, but also, exceedingly treacherous…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… but would rather dibble, dabble and dicker…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they would rather destroy than build…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because their very being serves to be, the manifestation of an anathema…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they have never known or felt the brunt of their misgivings and past misdeeds…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… but prefer to see themselves as victims, even though the overwhelming evidence, is to the contrary…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… but would rather engage in the art of "Water Power" all in a bid to fulfill their hidden agenda…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they will forever moan about their "plight", but conveniently forget, that you reap what you sow…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they will forever revel in the art of debauchery…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their jaundiced penchant for revisionist history…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their susceptibility to calculated miscalculations…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because of their disposition to selective encumbrances…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because rather than act as leaders, they see themselves as rulers…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because as Baruch Spinoza once stated, "their self-complacency has become pleasure accompanied by the idea of them as cause…"
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they do not know any better, but refuse to ask how to…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they know better, but prefer not to act accordingly…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they have lost their way and insist on remaining in a
State of flux…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because rather than look within, they would much rather look without…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they are as clueless as to the objectivity of sense, as they are to their sense of objectivity…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they spit in our faces and tell us it’s raining…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they tell us good morning although the sun has just set…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because you and I have never asked them why…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because you and I have never asked them how…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because you and I have never asked them when…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because you and I have never asked them where…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because you and I shed our blood to make them whole…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they underestimate our resolve and determination…
There are those…
Who will not let things be… because they do all these at their own peril…

© 2012 Boye Coker. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday

Buhari's utterances again reflect a lack of leadership acumen

Rtd. General Muhammadu Buhari
By Remi DaCosta 


FORMER Military Dictator and Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has said unless transparency and justice characterized the conduct of the 2015 general elections, a bloody dispute might erupt within the country's political class.


Buhari, a strong proponent of Sharia Law, who has also built a reputation for making unguarded and often inflammatory statements, stated this when he received a delegation of CPC members from Niger State in his Kaduna office.

He stressed that only the election of credible politicians into public offices would rescue the nation from the current mess.

Buhari stated: "God willing by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go in a very violent and disgraceful way".

On the question of whether he would run in 2015 presidential election or not, Buhari said the CPC leaders should organise themselves first while he reconsidered his position as to whether he will contest or not.

"That was what I told those who have visited me in the past but the press wrote that I said I have changed my mind about re-contesting," the former Head of State added. 
Buhari also spoke on the security challenges in the country, noting: "The North is not silent. It only incapacitated because the North does not own the police, soldiers or Central Bank of Nigeria. Since the leaders now don't listen to anybody but do whatever they wish, there is nothing the North can do.

"I will like to quote Prof. Ango Abdullahi who said there are three Boko Harams, including the original one led by Muhammed Yusufu who was killed and his supporters tried to take revenge in attacking the law enforcement agencies and politicians. There is another developed Boko Haram of criminals who steal and kill while the biggest Boko Haram is the Federal Government".

The Presidential Candidate of the CPC in the April 2011 elections also spoke on the fuel subsidy probe in the country, saying that the current leadership of the country has destroyed the petroleum industry.

His words: "These things can only happen under Nigeria's current leadership. Nowhere in the world can such things happen now and nowhere in the world can government increase the cost of petroleum products with more than 120 per cent. It is most insensitive. Besides the air people breath, the next important thing to them is petroleum products."

"Unfortunately for me, I know more about the petroleum industry than others in government because I was there for over three years as a leader. We started with Port-Harcourt refinery producing 60,000 barrels per day, it was upgraded to 100,000 barrels per day. Another one was built there also in Port Harcourt producing over 150,000 barrels, making a total of 250,000 barrels per day strictly to refine Nigerian crude for local consumption."

Tuesday

ConocoPhillips looking to exit Nigeria?

ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) - U.S. oil group ConocoPhillips has hired BNP Paribas to help sell its Nigerian assets, including on-shore, off-shore oil and gas fields and a stake in its LNG Brass facility, according to sources.

The assets were expected to attract interest from Nigerian companies such as Conoil and Oando and Asian players including China's Sinopec, Indian company ONGC , and South Korean firm KNOC, the sources said on Tuesday.

They could help ConocoPhillips raise about $2.5 billion and possibly more if they were sold separately, which is the most likely route, according to the sources.

ConocoPhillips could not be reached for immediate comment.

The on-shore assets are already fully functional and are seen as the most valuable part of the operations, while the early-stage Brass project could prove more difficult to value, one of the sources said.

A Nigerian local content act passed in 2010 is likely to complicate any transaction as foreign suitors need to team up with a local indigenous player.

The government passed the law, intended to give local firms priority when assets are being sold and in tenders for new projects, and it is likely to push for local ownership of Conoco's assets.

The state-oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, is the majority shareholder in Conoco's on-shore and LNG assets and is seen as less likely to be among the interested parties, the sources said.

NNPC told Reuters on Tuesday it was not aware that Conoco was exiting the country.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, pumping more than 2 million barrels per day. The OPEC member also holds the world's seventh largest gas reserves, which are largely untapped.

Shell's recent disposals of on-shore oil fields in Nigeria have attracted interest from local firms, often through partnerships with established foreign companies.

ConocoPhillips recently completed the spin-off of its refining activities into Phillips 66, a newly created independent U.S. company.

Friday

Ex-World Bank staff and leading economists support Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala for top job

Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala 
A group of former World Bank officials has written a letter backing Nigeria's Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be its next president. Traditionally the post is given to the candidate put forward by the US, which this time is Dr Jim Yong Kim. But in an open letter, 35 former economists and managers said the Bank should choose the next chief on merit.
Another group of economists this week signed a petition backing Colombia's Jose Antonio Ocampo.
This is the first time the World Bank has had to choose between candidates since its creation more than 60 years ago.
The executive board of the Bank has to choose between Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former finance minister of Colombia, and Jim Yong Kim, a public health expert and president of Dartmouth College in the US.
The Bank is holding interviews next week and plans to select the successor to outgoing president Robert Zoellick by 20 April, when it starts its spring meetings with the IMF.
The three-way fight is attracting increasingly passionate comment from candidates' supporters. It has also shone a light on the way the World Bank chooses its head.
The US, which is the Bank's largest shareholder, has always picked the Bank's president. It, Europe and Japan have 54% of the votes.
Under an informal arrangement, in return, Europe appoints a European as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is the Bank's sister institution. It is currently run by Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde.
Emerging economies have become increasingly unhappy with this system and are pushing for change.
The leaders of Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa recently called for a review of that weighted voting system.
The nations, sometimes referred to as the Brics countries, are working to chose a joint candidate, according to the Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega.
Speaking after a meeting with the US-nominated Jim Yong Kim, he said Brazil has not yet made up its mind who to promote.
"By late next week Brazil should have a position on the matter and I will talk with the other Brics."
He said Dr Kim had vast experience with the developing world, but he would wait until he had met the other candidates before making up his mind.
The letter in support of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, which is signed by high-ranking managers and economists, including Tunisia's central bank chief, Mustapha Nabli, criticised some aspects of the selection process.
It said that it still involves nomination by governments, based in part on nationality, and without an agreed list of qualifying criteria.
It called for the process to be made in "an open, transparent, merit-based, and competitive manner rather than simply appointed in line with understandings that no longer reflect the world as it is today".
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala herself has called for a televised debate between the three candidates.
Her supporters said: "We believe that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has outstanding qualifications across the full range of relevant criteria."
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala "would bring the combination of her experience as finance and foreign minister of a large and complex African country with her wide experience of working at all levels of the Bank's hierarchy in different parts of the world, from agricultural economist to managing director".
It says "she would be the outstanding World Bank president the times call for" and pointed out that should would be the institution's first female leader.
They said they cared too much about the institution not to speak out.
The petition is support of Mr Ocampo was signed by economists from countries including China, India and Brazil, as well as two former governors of the Chilean central bank.
It pointed to his background working for UN agencies where "his intellectual leadership and commitment to development led to significant improvements in these institutions contribution to development thinking and to development policy design".
He has also been setting out his views of the future shape of the World Bank.
Writing in the Financial Times newspaper, he said the Bank's core mandate must remain that of reducing poverty, addressing growing inequalities that have appeared in recent decades and eliminating gender inequalities.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has also been outlining what she thinks should be the Bank's main goal.
She said that it should be creating jobs, in both developing and developed countries, with a particular focus on youth unemployment because of the knock-on social problems it caused.
Dr Kim, who once did a turn as a rap artist at a social event at Dartmouth College, has the support of Canada, Japan and South Korea, where he was born, as well as the US.
He has not yet given an interview about his views on the role at the World Bank, but has described it in a statement as "one of the most critical institutions fighting poverty and providing assistance to developing countries in the world today".


Monday

Clueless Ecowas leaders impose sanctions on Mali junta.... to the delight of advancing (Al-Qaeda backed) rebels

West African states are imposing immediate sanctions on Mali, Ivory Coast's president has announced.

Alassane Ouattara, current head of regional body Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States), said it had closed borders to trade and frozen Mali's access to bank accounts.

The group had given the leaders of the country's military coup until today (Monday) to step down.

Coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo said he has "taken note" of the Ecowas sanctions.

In a statement, he said the military junta was open to "mediation to find solutions out of the crisis" but that its priority remained "recovering the country's territorial integrity faced with the crisis in the north".

Tuareg rebels (former Muammar Gaddafi fighters in Libya) have made rapid advances in the north of the country over the last few days.

Correspondents say that Mali, a poor, landlocked country, would struggle to survive an economic blockade.

It is almost entirely dependent on its Ecowas neighbours for trade. Mali also shares its currency with seven other regional countries - and other members of the CFA franc zone have said they will cut transfers to Mali's banks.

President Ouattara said: "All diplomatic, economic, financial measures and others are applicable from today (Monday) and will not be lifted until the re-establishment of constitutional order."

He added that Ecowas' military force had been put on standby.

Mali's neighbours are keen for order to be restored in the country.

"The situation in Mali is extremely serious, it is a blow to democracy and an attack on the territorial integrity of this country," Mr Ouattara said.

The army said it had staged its coup because the campaign against the Tuareg rebels - who are fighting for an autonomous region in the north of Mali - had been poorly run.

But the Tuareg took advantage of the political situation over the weekend by seizing the key towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

The UN Security Council (notorious for the Libya fiasco and its unintended consequences) will hold an emergency meeting on the crisis in Mali on Tuesday, sources quoted a US mission spokesman as saying.

France initially called for the meeting because it is increasingly concerned about gains made by Tuareg rebels in the north since the junta overthrew Mali's government, the agency adds.

Capt Sanogo has said the army is not leaving power, but has promised to consult local political forces to set up a transition body "with the aim of organising peaceful, free, open and democratic elections in which we will not take part".

The coup and Tuareg rebellion have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in Mali and some neighbouring countries, with aid agencies warning that 13 million people need food aid.

Strauss-Kahn's legal troubles far from over

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (pictured left) was charged on Monday with involvement in an organized vice ring that procured prostitutes for top-class clients, lawyers said.
Prosecutors said the 62-year-old former Socialist finance minister and one-time presidential favorite had been released on 100,000 euros ($135,000) bail after the charges on “aggravated pimping as part of an organized gang.”
Strauss-Kahn was called in by investigating magistrates in the northern French city of Lille two days earlier than expected and charged with an offense that could carry 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
“He firmly declares that he is not guilty of these acts and never had the least inkling that the women he met could have been prostitutes,” said Richard Malka, one of Strauss-Kahn’s counsel.
“Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under judicial control and was forbidden from contacting defendants, civil plaintiffs, witnesses and the press regarding the procedures,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers immediately said they would appeal the charge.
“It goes without saying that we will ask for the cancellation of this decision,” said one of his lawyers, Henri Leclerc.
Strauss-Kahn “has never broken the law,” Malka said. “Through this prosecution they are trying to create a new crime punishing clients of prostitution where the law does not provide for this.”
He also suggested that Strauss-Kahn was being pursued because of his high profile and links to France’s Socialist party in the midst of a heated campaign for France’s April-May presidential election.
“As a result of behavior that is purely his own business, Mr Strauss-Kahn has found himself—largely because of his fame—thrown to the wolves, by coincidence less than a month before a major election,” Malka said.
Strauss-Kahn’s name came up as police were investigating a pimping operation that saw sex workers from brothels over the Belgian border being brought to France for orgies in high-class hotels in Lille and Paris.
Strauss-Kahn admits that he took part in some of these parties, one of which was said to involve women being flown to Washington to entertain him while he was still managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
But, through his lawyers, he has denied knowing the escorts were paid.
Using prostitutes is not illegal in France, but prosecutors are seeking proof that Strauss-Kahn was aware the parties were arranged by an organized pimping ring and paid for by other guests misusing company funds.
Several Lille-based businessmen and policemen have been accused of taking part in the ring. Strauss-Kahn told police he did not suspect the women were prostitutes because he was introduced to them by senior police officers.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers will also be in court on Wednesday in New York for the first hearing in a civil case brought against him by Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel maid who alleges he sexually assaulted her.
Judge Douglas McKeon will be asked to rule on a motion by Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers urging him to dismiss the case on the grounds that, at the time of the alleged attack in May last year, their client had diplomatic immunity.
McKeon has said he will give a written judgment on whether the case can go forward within a few weeks. If he accepts the motion, Strauss-Kahn’s U.S. legal woes may be over. If not, Diallo’s case for damages will go forward.
These two cases are the most serious threats facing Strauss-Kahn after the dismissal of two earlier criminal investigations that were brought against him in the United States and in France after his spectacular fall from grace.
First, criminal charges relating to 32-year-old Diallo’s complaint that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in his suite in a New York Sofitel hotel on May 15 were dropped after prosecutors came to doubt the reliability of her testimony.
After that case fell apart, Strauss-Kahn, who had resigned from his post at the IMF in Washington, returned to France, only to face an accusation from 32-year-old author Tristane Banon that he had tried to rape her in 2002.
French investigating magistrates questioned Strauss-Kahn and his accuser and concluded that, while there was prima facie evidence of a sexual assault, the alleged attack had occurred too long ago to be prosecuted.
Strauss-Kahn admits having a “sexual encounter” with Diallo during the nine minutes she spent in his suite, and told French police that he had tried to kiss Banon, but strenuously denies he used violence in either case.
Until the scandals erupted, Strauss-Kahn was considered the favorite to become the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate and the frontrunner to defeat incumbent right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in next month’s election.

Source: AFP

Apple claims it sold over 3 million iPad units over the weekend....

In a news release, Apple marketing Sr. Vice-President Phil Schiller claims the technology giant sold over 3 million units of the new iPad this past weekend.

He was quoted as saying further that:

"The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold―the strongest iPad launch yet ... Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday."

It was indeed surprising that Apple decided to release the sales figures after all.

While Apple did not announce sales last year (hence no way to do year-by-year comparison), analysts and speculators believe that the released figures portend a very good sign for the new iPad as Apple continues to consolidate its market share in the technology gadgets and accesories space.

It will be interesting to see how and where the numbers trend from here.


Source: TechnologyInsider

Friday

Mad rush expected for Apple's latest iPad

The customary storefront crowds are expected to gather as Apple's latest iPad goes on sale Friday. Long lines are likely even though customers could have ordered the new tablet computer ahead of time for first-day home delivery.
The third version of Apple's iPad will be available in the U.S. and nine other countries beginning at 8 a.m. local time. The new model comes with a faster processor and a much sharper screen. It also boasts an improved camera, similar to that of the latest iPhone.
For many customers, visiting a store in person — instead of having one shipped — offers consumers a chance to mingle with die-hard Apple fans.
Two years after the debut of the first iPad, the device's launch has become the second-biggest "gadget event" of the year, after the annual iPhone release. A year ago, thousands lined up outside the flagship Apple store on New York's Fifth Avenue. The device sold out on launch day, even though it didn't go on sale until 5 p.m.
Apple does its part to encourage a party atmosphere. In past years, the company's retail employees have provided bottled water, coffee, bagels and even cupcakes to people in line. They've cheered and clapped as customers entered and left. Some customers bring lawn chairs and sleeping bags. Others dress as iPhones and iPads.
Although Apple's product releases have become a cultural phenomenon, the cult-like crowds that line up outside of its stores have made the company vulnerable to gentle ribbing from its competitors.
Television ads for Samsung's Galaxy line of phones routinely poke fun at people who are camped out in line for what appears to be an Apple product release.
The spots, in heavy rotation since December, portray Apple fans as clueless drones who think they're too cool to buy gadgets made by companies other than Apple. In one of the commercials, a bearded hipster says he could never buy a Samsung phone because he's "creative." A bystander observes: "Dude, you're a barista."
For some customers, standing in line will offer the only chance to get a new iPad on Friday. Apple quickly ran out of supplies it set aside for advance orders. The company was telling customers Thursday to expect a two- to three-week wait for orders placed through its online stores.
The new iPad is called just that: "the new iPad." Apple declined to give it a name like "iPad 3" or "iPad HD." That is consistent with its naming practice for iPods, MacBooks and iMacs, but a break with the way iPhone models are named.
In the U.S., the new iPad starts at $499, the same as the previous model, the iPad 2, when it debuted a year ago. The iPad 2 remains in stock, for $100 less.
Despite competition from cheaper tablet computers such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire, the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its debut in 2010, including some 40 million last year. Researchers estimate that the iPad has more than 60 percent of the market for tablets.
The iPad's accomplishments have contributed to the company's success on Wall Street. Apple's stock touched $600 briefly for the first time on Thursday. Apple is the world's most valuable company, with a market capitalization of nearly $555 billion. It topped $500 billion for the first time in late February, a market value peak where few companies have ventured.
Apple's retail stores are likely to draw the biggest crowds because they usually have the largest launch-day supplies, but the tablet will also be sold at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, Target and Walmart.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless will also sell iPads, but only models with built-in cellular broadband modems. Those models use the companies' latest high-speed wireless networks, based on so-called "4G LTE" technology. They'll be the first Apple devices with that capability built in.
The cellular-capable models cost $130 more than Wi-Fi-only versions. There's a separate monthly data fee, but none of the long-term contract requirements typical with phones. The priciest iPad goes for $829; it comes with cellular access and four times the storage capacity of the basic, $499 model.
Apart from the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the device goes on sale the same day in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
A week later, another 25 countries will get the device, altogether making for an unusually fast product roll-out for Apple.

Source: AP News