Something bothering you?

Wherever people work for a living, they find something to complain about. If not the broken photocopier then perhaps how poorly the home team played last night . Most employers tolerate the kvetching, even if they don't like it. But not Nutzwerk Ltd., an information technology group in Leipzig, Germany. (Yes, the sector that was behind the communist wall of separation and remains less well off than the rest of the nation.) If staffers are irritated, the boss doesn't want to hear it. In fact, as a condition of employment new hires must agree to "think positively" or stay home until they can. "Mood is an important factor in productivity," Thomas Kuwatsch said, "and everyone here works hard and is happy." As you might expect, the policy has its critics. Sniffed one: "I'm not sure if being a sourpuss is enough reason to fire somebody."

Americans are generous to charities, new data say

Giving to the 400 largest US charities increased by 11.6 percent last year, according to data released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The United Way of America led the fundraising charge, with $3.9 billion in donations, followed by the Salvation Army, with $1.5 billion. Preliminary 2005 reports from 80 charities show that donations have risen 7.3 percent as Americans dig deep to help with tsunami and hurricane relief. The 10 leading charities, with the amount donated to each in 2004, from the Chronicle's report:
1. United Way of America $3.9 billion
2. Salvation Army $1.5 billion
3. Feed the Children $888 million
4. American Cancer Society $868 million
5. AmeriCares Foundation $801 million
6. YMCA $773 million
7. Gifts in Kind International $750 million
8. Lutheran Services in America $723 million
9. Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund $683 million
10. Catholic Charities USA $581 million

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