etc.

AND IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY

Would you buy a rusty old car that had been locked in a wooden shed for 42 years and needs a complete restoration? Someone did last weekend in an estate auction near London. The previous owner died, and his heirs apparently had no idea of the vehicle's value. Which was? A cool $1.54 million. The car is a rare 1932 Alfa Romeo Corto Spider Corsa that illustrious Italian designer- builder Enzo Ferrari was commissioned to prepare for European racetracks. It's believed to be the first to which he affixed his famous prancing horse medallion.

CERTIFIED CHECK ONLY, PLEASE

Do you doubt that China's economy is booming? Then consider this: In November the Mission Hills Golf Club at Guanlan is importing Tiger Woods for two days of exhibitions. On the second, he'll play a round against 18 sets of amateurs - four per hole. No word on his fee, but each of the 72 "opponents" will pay $80,000 for the privilege of teeing it up with the famous pro.

Black vs. white in ownership of homes: lots of disparities

Over the past decade, blacks in the South continued to lag behind whites in homeownership - with Census Bureau data showing the rate among whites rose 2.7 percent compared with 1.2 percent for blacks. In its evaluation of the 16 Southern states, the bureau also found 74.9 percent of whites owned homes in 2000 while only 51.2 percent of blacks did. The overall US rate: 66.2 percent. Not all Southern states saw the same trend, however. Blacks increased their rate of homeownership at a faster pace than whites in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee. States that saw the biggest gaps in homeownership rates of whites and blacks between 1990 and 2000 (with their respective percentage of increase or decrease):

Blacks Whites

West Virginia -4.6% 1.5%

Oklahoma -3.4 1.4%

Arkansas -2.9 1.0%

Kentucky -1.7 1.9%

Delaware 2.0 4.9%

Texas 1.2 4.0

Associated Press

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