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15 more minutes of fame?

You're forgiven if the name Mark McGowan doesn't ring any bells. But as serious trivia buffs know, he's the performance artist who made headlines two years ago by pushing a nut with his nose through the streets of London to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's residence - in an appeal for restoration of government grants to people in debt. That, however, was a mere warm-up for his latest stunt . McGowan says he is upset that people are breaking the law by helping themselves to rocks from Britain's beaches to decorate their home gardens. So he has begun a 57-mile protest from the seaside resort of Brighton to London. No pushing nuts this time, though. Instead, he's turning cartwheels ... with 12 pounds of rocks strapped to his ankles. No word on where he got them.

Wal-Mart unmatched at keeping registers humming

When it comes to sales, Wal-Mart is in a league of its own. The world's largest retail chain has no serious challengers to its supremacy based on figures compiled by Triversity, a software provider for STORES, the magazine of the National Retail Federation. Wal-Mart's $288.2 billion in 2004 gross sales were almost four times more than those of Home Depot, the No. 2 US retailer. The leading US retail chains, from Triversity's Top 100, with the home office of each and its 2004 sales (in billions):

1. Wal-Mart $288.2 Bentonville, Ark.
2. Home Depot 73.1 Atlanta
3. Kroger 56.4 Cincinnati
4. Costco 47.1 Issaquah, Wash.
5. Target 46.8 Minneapolis
6. Albertsons 39.9 Boise, Idaho
7. Walgreens 37.5 Deerfield, Ill.
8. Lowe's 36.5 Mooresville, N.C.
9. Sears 36.1 Hoffman Estates, Ill.
10. Safeway 35.8 Pleasanton, Calif.

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