etc...

AW, you SPOILED all our fun

After years of controversy, the very first euro finally has been accepted in trade. For such an historic occasion, you'd expect a photo op, with some high muckety-muck forking over the new single currency for, say, a souvenir with the European Union logo on it - right? Not in this case. In fact, the event couldn't have been humbler. The payee: a shop in Venlo, a small town in the Netherlands. The purchase: fish food. And the customer: someone who probably shouldn't even have had access to the bills yet, since they don't officially become legal tender until Jan. 1.

FIRST THINGS FIRST, OK?

Back when the Spice Girls were a top pop music act, audiences gladly waited for them to take the stage. To a degree, they still do. Geri Halliwell, the ex-Ginger Spice and now a solo act, was booked for a "morale-boosting" concert Saturday for British troops temporarily based in the desert of Oman. But then organizers realized that's also the date for the telecast of a critical World Cup soccer qualifying game between England and Greece. So she'll go on, all right, but not until after the final whistle.

What $9 billion loss? Gates clings to 'richest man' title

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates isn't as wealthy as he was a year ago, but he remains the richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine's list of wealthiest Americans just released on its website. Gates's net worth fell to $54 billion this year, from $63 billion last year, largely due to the overall decline in stock values. Investor Warren Buffett moved into second place, followed by the other Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen, and five relatives of deceased Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Forbes' list of the 10 wealthiest Americans and their net worth (in billions), as of Aug. 27:

1. William Gates III $54.0

2. Warren Buffett 33.2

3. Paul Allen 28.2

4. Lawrence Ellison 21.9

5. Walton family (Helen, Jim, Robson, Alice, John) 17.5 each

10. Steven Ballmer 15.1

- Associated Press

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