Etc...

I'm José, and this is Maria

Are you and your spouse planning to spend Christmas in London? If so, and if you'll be staying in a hotel, you might be interested to learn that one night - Dec. 24 - could be on the house. Well, OK, there's a catch. You must have a reservation at the Covent Garden Travelodge. And your names must be ... Mary and Joseph. Plus, you'll be asked for identification to verify that you're who you claim to be. "We are trying to make up for the hotel industry not having any rooms left on Christmas Eve 2004 years ago," manager Sandy Leckie said. "I just hope," he added, "they don't bring their donkey."

You don't inspire us, either

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore didn't fare well in trying to persuade Americans not to reelect President Bush. And now comes another setback: The effort has helped to earn him the No. 1 ranking on the online movie magazine FilmThreat.com's "Frigid 50" list of Hollywood personalities who "leave audiences cold."

To beat the crowds, get that visit to China in early

When China stages the 2008 Summer Olympics, millions of people - both spectators and viewers - will get their first taste of the People's Republic and its capital, Beijing. That is expected to catapult China into a tourism powerhouse. The state-run Shanghai Daily newspaper reports that China anticipates becoming the world's No. 1 tourist destination by 2020. Already it ranks fifth, according to the World Tourism Organization. The top 10 destinations, based on international arrivals (in millions) as of 2002, the latest year for which statistics are available:

1. France 77.0
2. Spain 51.7
3. United States 41.9
4. Italy 39.8
5. China 36.8
6. Britain 24.2
7. Canada 20.1
8. Mexico 19.7
9. Austria 18.2
10. Germany 18.0
- World Tourism Organization/ Associated Press

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