Oh, grow up!

Speaking from the pinnacle of its authority, a government agency in communist Vietnam says it's worried that the nation's future generations may be - shall we say - vertically challenged. "The growth rates," lamented the director of the Physical Training and Sports Institute, "are much lower than those of other countries, like Japan and China." Indeed - at 5-feet, 5-inches - the average adult male Vietnamese born amid the rapid economic growth since the war with the US is barely two inches taller than his counterpart born before the war. Females? Their average height is not quite 5-feet, 1-inch. Nor does it matter that Vietnam's No. 1 icon, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, stands a mere 5 feet. So, what does the institute propose to do about the matter? Why, call for government action, of course. It seeks $40 million to spend on nutrition and exercise programs for children still in school to try to stimulate growth.

In select company: Fannie Mae is rated No. 1 citizen

For the fifth straight year, Business Ethics magazine has announced its choices for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. The winner, despite its current difficulty in explaining accounting irregularities: Fannie Mae, the federally sponsored mortgage lender. Procter & Gamble (No. 2) and Hewlett-Packard (No. 8) are the highest ranked of 29 companies that have made the list all five years. The ranking is based on quantitative measures of service in each of seven categories: customers, employees, shareholders, the community at large, the environment, overseas investors, and women and minorities. The top 10 companies from Business Ethics' 2004 list:

1. Fannie Mae

2. Procter & Gamble
3. Intel Corp.
4. St. Paul Companies
5. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.
6. Deere & Co.
7. Avon Products Inc.
8. Hewlett-Packard Co.
9. Agilent Technologies Inc.
10. Ecolab Inc.

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