Uh-Oh, Brace Yourself

In fiction, intelligent cars are nothing new - from "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang" to chatty Kitt from the 1980s TV series "Knight Rider." But one automotive reporter says it was "spookily strange" test-driving a vehicle that senses danger - and reacts on its own. The latest safety feature from Toyota Motor Corp. has a radar in its front grille about the size of a wallet. When it detects an imminent collision, the car automatically tightens seat belts and adds braking force. The new system will be available next month on a luxury-model Lexus, but only in Japan.

Had You Fooled, Didn't I?

The scene was heart-rending: police in a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark, taking aim and blasting away with their guns at ... a teddy bear. No, they weren't being sadistic. The toy had been left on the steps of a Jehovah's Witness hall, bearing a note: "If you touch me, I will blow up. I am a bomb." So the place was evacuated, the area was closed to traffic, and a disposal robot was sent for. But first, the test shots. No explosion, of course; it was all a hoax. And now the search is on for the person or persons responsible.

Quote of the day

'I absolutely deny that and I challenge Bush ... to produce any evidence.'

- Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, responding on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" to the president's claim that the Baghdad government has ties to Al Qaeda.

Scandals aside, US firms are still world's most respected

US corporations dominate an annual list of the world's most admired by London's Financial Times newspaper and accounting and advisory giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. To draw up the list, they surveyed chief executives of 1,000 companies in 20 nations, along with fund managers, nongovernmental organizations, and media commentators. The 10 most- respected companies and their home countries:

1. General Electric, US
2. Microsoft, US
3. IBM, US
4. Coca-Cola, US
5. Toyota, Japan
6. Sony, Japan
7. General Motors, US
8. Wal-Mart, US
9. 3M, US
10. Dell Computer, US - Business Wire

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