Balance Sheet

Assets

Rich and Richer. The number of U.S. millionaires grows at 16 percent each year, according to Spectrem Group. Last year 7.2 million people topped the seven-figure mark in liquid assets, up from 3.4 million five years before. Meanwhile, the number worth over $5 million grew at a 46 percent annual clip.

Radio Free Harare. Two days after a police raid, Zimbabwe's first private radio station was back on the air, thanks to a ruling by the country's top court. An earlier ruling had overturned the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's monopoly over the airwaves. Capitol Radio then went on the air.

The Gauntlet. A San Jose federal jury finds that Clint Eastwood did not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act by refusing to make modifications to his Carmel, California, hotel. A woman with muscular dystrophy sued Eastwood in 1996, claiming his property did not comply with the law. Eastwood refused a settlement offer and went to trial rather than pay $500,000 in legal fees to the plaintiff.

Fueling Around. Europeans revolt against high fuel taxes. In the U.K., site of shutdown and gridlock, drivers pay the equivalent of $3.46 per gallon in taxes. The U.S. is spared as only truckers protest still-high U.S. levies.

Going Dutch. The Netherlands lifts an 88-year-old ban on brothels, which had been tolerated in the country but were still illegal. Prostitution itself was already legal. The new law means, however, that the brothel owners will have to pay taxes and obey work rules.

Sunshine State. A Florida appeals court resuscitates the state's school voucher program. The panel overturns a March decision
by declaring that vouchers do not violate the state constitution. Opponents of the plan will appeal.

Liabilities

Low Blow. The German Cartel Office orders Wal-Mart and two German rivals to raise prices because other stores may not be able to match them. Loss leaders are verboten in the heavily regulated world of German retailing.

COPPA Plea. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act kicks in and Web sites respond by going out-of business. Sites remove content intended for young children rather than spend thousands complying with COPPA's rules, which include written permission from parents for some features.

Alternative Lifestyles. The alternative minimum tax goes unreformed, despite bipartisan support for change. The unindexed levy will catch millions of taxpayers next year, even though it was designed for the super-wealthy and not middle-class families with lots of deductions.

Filter Clog. Sherrill Babcock is forced to register with BlackPlanet.com as Babpenis and Babdildo because her last name wouldn't pass censorware. The Web site operator says, Sorry, but the filters have to stay to keep the site "civil."

In Dock. The U.S. Navy delays a multibillion-dollar computer outsourcing contract after Congress complains. The holdup has all the earmarks of politicians trying to steer the contract to a favored source. It is expected to be worth between $6 billion and $12 billion during the next five to eight years.

Drug Kingpins. A 74-year-old Wisconsin farmer and his 80-year-old brother are charged with running a marijuana farm after pot worth $598,000 is seized. David and Eugene Burmesch could each face up to 30 years in prison. David said he grew the pot because he needed money to support a disabled son and had done so for the past 20 to 25 years.

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