It's been a good week for ...


An app that "translates" newspapers for children has been developed in Japan and its inventors claim it could "create a future for the old-media newspaper".

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The Tokyo Shimbun, one of the country's biggest daily titles, has worked with advertising firm Dentsu to create the AR News software. It allows children to hold a smartphone over the newspaper to see a child-friendly version of the text.

In a promotional video, Dentsu said: "If newspapers become readable to children, they will contribute to family communication and child's education."

The video shows a father laying a newspaper out as his son holds a smartphone over the page. Cartoon characters appear on the screen, explaining stories and drawing attention to important words.

"Difficult articles, social problems, economy and politics became interesting subjects for children," Dentsu said.

This is good news in an age in which attracting a new generation of readers is the holy grail of newspapers. Even better, it harnesses digital technology – that nemesis of newsprint – and uses it to promote the printed word.

There's just one problem: give a kid a smartphone and I fear they don't want to catch up on the latest EU budget cuts. No, they'll be playing games instead.

It's been a bad week for ... skirts

The French government has overturned a 200-year-old ban on women wearing trousers. The Minister of Women's Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said the law, which dates back to 1800, was incompatible with modern French values. According to the law – which was intended to prevent females from holding certain jobs – women needed to have police permission if they wanted to "dress like a man" and wear trousers. It was modified in 1892 and 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were "holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse".

Happily, the law has been ignored for decades.

I imagine it takes more than mere legislation to come between a French woman and fashion.