Etc...

We expect to have a blast

Halloween is over, but here's a leftover story you may not have heard. In West Palm Beach, Fla., a United Airlines passenger was pulled off a flight to Chicago because his luggage set off an explosives detector. No, he wasn't trying to transport dynamite or nitroglycerine. But he did have the costumes that he and two friends planned to wear to a party: simulated "Ghostbuster suits" complete with plastic pipe, cellphones, batteries with wires attached, and distributor caps for their "proton packs." After a "polite" interrogation, our guy and the costumes were allowed onto another plane.

Tell me I didn't just do that

Jakob Buksti faces a hefty fine after police caught him driving 39 m.p.h. over the speed limit in Denmark last week. His plight is fraught with irony because he is the nation's former transportation minister and had openly criticized the new government's plan to permit faster travel on public roads.

Nations where it's toughest, easiest to run a business

Registering a new company takes 48 hours in Australia, but 152 days in Brazil - a major obstacle to business activity there, according to a recent World Bank report. The "Doing Business in 2004" survey concludes that countries with the least regulation foster the strongest economies. It compares 130 nations on five business-related activities: starting a company; going out of business; obtaining credit; hiring or firing employees; and enforcing a contract. The five countries identified by the World Bank study as putting the lightest and heaviest touch on business:

Least regulated
1. Australia
2. Canada
3. Denmark
4. Netherlands
5. New Zealand
Most regulated
1. Bolivia
2. Burkina Faso
3. Chad
4. Costa Rica
5. Guatemala - The Wall Street Journal, The Times (London)

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