etc...

WELL, IT WOULDN'T BE!

In Los Angeles, more than 200 readers participated in a survey conducted by the Daily News for suggested names, should voters in the San Fernando Valley opt in a November referendum to secede from the city and become autonomous. The most common: San Fernando Valley. But at least one clever respondent proposed Nottelay. Nottelay ... get it?

I DIDN'T SEE ANY THAIS IN HERE

How happy are Europeans with their new single currency, the euro? That depends on whom you ask. Consider, for example, Alejandro Diaz, an unhappy tavern manager in Mollet, Spain. He was emptying a vending machine the other day when he discovered five baht, the coin of Thailand, where euros should have been. A 10-baht piece is almost exactly the same size and weight as the two-euro coin (they even look similar), but it's worth only a fraction as much.

Despite tough times, some employers are still generous

At a time when layoffs and other cutbacks are de rigeur, Fortune magazine notes some companies have chosen a different route, earning kudos in the process. Example: Edward Jones, a division of St. Louis-based Jones Financial Companies LLP, refused job cuts and even gave out early bonuses to employees. Fortune's top 10 best places to work in 2002 and their industries (in parenthesis):

1. Edward Jones, St. Louis (brokerage network)

2. Container Store, Dallas (retailer)

3. SAS Institute, Cary, N.C. (software developer)

4. TDIndustries, Dallas (construction)

5. Synovus Financial Corp., Columbus, Ga. (bank holding company)

6. Xilinx, San Jose, Calif. (programmable logic chips)

7. Plante & Moran, Southfield, Mich. (accounting)

8. Qualcomm, San Diego (digital and wireless technology)

9. Alston & Byrd, Atlanta (law firm)

10. Baptist Health Care, Pensacola, Fla.

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