"This comes round only every four years, so we can afford to be flexible," Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said. Hmmm, sounds important: What could he be talking about? Well, he was giving his blessing in case local Church of England parishes want to reschedule services Sunday so the faithful won't have to miss their country's World Cup soccer game against Sweden on TV. But Carey, who's also a fan, felt it prudent to add: "Worship comes first, of course."

Coming to checkout lines?

It sounds vaguely reminiscent of the late science-fiction humorist Douglas Adams, but SalesBot, a humanoid robot designed to "complement" or even "replace" human retail sales personnel is supposed to debut at the Internet World fair in Berlin next month. Promotional material from Robotic Marketing Devices Inc. touts SalesBot as being capable of expressing "more than 12 basic emotions and as having a sales vocabulary covering approximately 500 standard situations." You may decide for yourself whether that's an improvement on nonmechanical counter help.


Picking an 'all-star team' of the nation's stock analysts

At a time when many top Wall Street brokerages are under intense government scrutiny over possible links between their market research and investment banking arms, Fortune magazine has issued its annual list of "All-Star" analysts – those its evaluators consider outstanding, accurate, and honest stock pickers. Fortune's "All-star" analysts, and the firms they work for:

Mike Bruynesteyn, Prudential Financial
Alex Hittle and Craig West, A.G. Edwards
Alice Beebe Longley, Credit Suisse First Boston
Toni Sacconaghi, Sanford C. Bernstein
David Stumpf, A.G. Edwards
Jim Sullivan, Prudential Financial
Vadim Zlotnikov, Sanford C. Bernstein
Rich Bernstein, Merrill Lynch

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