Etc...

What's the buzz about?

Would you say snap-on covers for cellphones belong in a high-tech trade fair? No? Well, neither did the authorities in Sydney, Australia. They ousted Corporate Phone Covers from a fair two weeks ago because some of its stock was scented with marijuana smoke. And it was selling faster than, say, the rose- and chocolate-scented covers. Just another way of promoting drug use, the officials claimed. Not so, argued company chief Robert Punch, adding, "You wouldn't go buy a big block of chocolate after smelling the chocolate one."

Well, they also served

Elsewhere in Sydney, plans are under way for a new war memorial. Not for Australians who fought in Iraq, however. You'll recall that their mission wasn't politically popular at home. No, the $214,000 monument will be dedicated to the thousands of horses, mules, dogs, camels, and carrier pigeons that died in all the campaigns in which Australians have been involved. Work on it is expected to begin before the year is over.

Who has happiest new-car owners? Toyota, survey says

Toyota Motor Sales USA retained its top spot in an annual (and closely watched) initial quality study by J.D. Power & Associates. The marketing-information firm's survey of more than 52,000 owners of new cars and trucks found Toyotas had, on average, 115 problems per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days - and for its Lexus brand there were just 76 - compared with an industry average of 133 complaints. The 2003 models rated highest in the initial quality study, in selected categories:

Compact car: Toyota Prius
Entry midsize: Chevrolet Malibu
Full-size: Ford Crown Victoria
Premium luxury: Lexus LS 430
Sporty: Mazda Miata
Premium sports car: Mercedes-Benz SLK Class
Full-size pickup: Ford F-Series
Entry SUV: Honda CR-V
Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander
Full-size SUV: Chevrolet Suburban - Associated Press

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