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I NEED TWO FRONT-ROW SEATS

Some employers offer generous benefits packages to their workers. And then there's UBS, the giant Swiss banking corporation. To reduce stress for its staffers in Britain, the company now provides a "lifestyle service." So what, you ask? Don't scoff. Say you're one of them and want someone to reserve a table for dinner at a trendy restaurant. Or find a new day-care center for the kids. Or wait at your home for a plumber when you can't. Or ... well, you get the idea: The service takes care of it. Said a UBS spokesman: "We realized the most precious resource [our] staff has is time."

IT'S YOUR PROBLEM NOW

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By all accounts, the Charles Upham, a supply ship built for New Zealand's Navy, has been the seagoing equivalent of a defective new car. So much so, in fact, that the service itself branded the vessel "a lemon." And that was after $2.9 million in modifications - on top of the $5.7 million purchase price. So this week the Navy sold it ... to a company that hauls citrus fruit.

Italian cities among 'World's Best,' magazine poll finds

Florence, Italy, earned "top city" honors for the first time, while New York edged out perennial favorite San Francisco as the most popular city in North America, according to Travel + Leisure magazine's sixth annual World's Best Awards. The winners, which appear in the magazine's August issue, were picked through a survey of readers. Readers also rated Maui and Kauai, Hawaii; Canada's Vancouver Island; and the islands of Australia's Great Barrier Reef as the best for romantic getaways. The world's top cities, according to Travel + Leisure's poll:

1. Florence, Italy

2. Rome

3. Paris

4. New York

5. San Francisco

6. Venice, Italy

7. London

8. Sydney, Australia

9. Hong Kong

10. Vienna

- PR Newswire

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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