The Canary

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Bugged out: The Canary has never believed the hype about the millennium bug. Computers never work as they are supposed to anyway. But it is surely bad news that Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve who no longer sees the Y2K as a major threat plans to print $50bn in currency in case there is a run on banks. John Koskinen, chairman of Council on Year 2000, says: "Elevators won't go haywire, planes won't fall from the sky, nuclear missiles won't launch inadvertently and there won't be major failures in the utility, telecoms and banking industries." So, why is my computer frozen?

From Bowie to Brown bonds: Little James Brown the legendary soul singer could make up to pounds 30m selling so-called "Bowie bonds" to investors. The bonds, named after David Bowie, first entertainer to issue them a couple of years ago, will be secured to future recording and publishing earnings. Although James Brown is no longer in the charts, his popularity is on the increase as rap musicians plunder his lyrics. The Brown bonds are expected to yield around 8 per cent per year. One fixed-income analyst told the Canary they are likely to do well. "If Iron Maiden can sell $30m worth of bonds, then James Brown, who has been around for 40 years, should pull it off without problems.

May the fourth be with you: Well, May the third anyway, which was when merchandise for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, went on sale in the US. Long queues waited at Toys `R' Us, Wall-Mart and Kmart stores across America, which will open 24 hours . Now and eToys have opened online shops. Analysts say sales of movie-linked merchandise could total $2bn this year, half of that from toys.

Pie chuckers: Latest wheeze from Sporting Index, the City's favourite bookmaker, is a chance to back your favourite party-sized cricketer. The "Who ate all the pies" index will score the performance of, say, Australia's Shane Warne, Pakistan's Inzaman-ul-Haq, England's Roger Twose and Sri Lanka's Ranatunga. Punters can buy or sell the index depending on how they think the large men will do in this summer's Cricket World Cup. For example, calling for a runner will be worth 10 points. Not emerging after tea will score 50 points. The idea is the brainchild of the former Kent player Graham Cowdrey, proud owner of a pie-sized physique.

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