etc...

IT'S TIME FOR A NEW ONE

If there's a landmark anywhere in Britain whose preservation is assured - well, other than Stonehenge or Big Ben - you'd think it would be the Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford-upon-Avon theater, right? Not so. Despite its 3 million visitors a year - indeed, despite the fact that such acting legends as Sir Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud have performed there - its owners want it torn down. To "create a working theater for the 21st century." Yes, friends of the historic building are vowing a fight to keep it intact.

YOU LOOK FAMILIAR, BUT ..

It has happened again. As with singing legend Bob Dylan earlier this month in Oregon (cited in this space Oct. 17), golfer Tiger Woods was stopped by security guards as he and fellow pro Mark O'Meara headed for a dawn practice round before last weekend's National Car Rental Classic tournament at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Woods produced his driver's license. Not good enough; the guards demanded a tour badge, too. Woods wasn't carrying his, so O'Meara vouched for him. It worked. Moments later, they were allowed onto the first tee.

US is muscled aside as the most competitive economy

Finland has replaced the US as the world's economically most competitive nation, according to the Global Competitiveness Report. The annual exercise by Harvard University and the World Economic Forum aims to forecast rates of growth by weighing statistical data from 75 countries with the views of thousands of businesspeople. This year's top 10, with last year's rankings (in parentheses):

1. Finland (6)

2. US (1)

3. Canada (7)

4. Singapore (2)

5. Australia (12)

6. Norway (16)

7. Taiwan (11)

8. Netherlands (4)

9. Sweden (13)

10. New Zealand (20)

- Associated Press

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