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BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

The business news enterprise package planned through April 2. For comments or questions, call Joseph Pisani at 212-621-1975. For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636. Repeats of stories are available from http://apexchange.com or the Service Desk, 1-800-838-4616.

Eds: Adds FADING IDOL; LEGALIZING MARIJUANA-BARS; GAMES-GAME DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE; BULGARIA-BRIDAL MARKET; SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK, will be sent Wednesday for use anytime; OF MUTUAL INTEREST-MANAGING IRAs, will be sent Thursday for use anytime.

FADING IDOL

LOS ANGELES â¿¿ In the heyday of "American Idol," the notion that it could fall ratings victim to a zombie slugfest or standard crime drama would have been laughable. That was then. Fox's singing contest, now in its 12th season, has shed about 20 percent of its audience so far to hit new lows, and has been leapfrogged repeatedly in total viewers by procedurals such as "Person of Interest" and "NCIS." Nevertheless, "American Idol" has retained its status as TV's advertising leader among series and the loyalty of its biggest backers, including Ford and Coca-Cola. By Lynn Elber.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.

AP photos.

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA-BARS

TACOMA, Wash. â¿¿ John Connelly leans forward on his barstool, set his lips against a clear glass pipe and inhales a white cloud of marijuana vapor. A handful of people mill around him while three young women stand behind the bar, ready to assist with the preparation of the bongs, as the strains of a blues band playing downstairs sounded faintly off the exposed brick walls. Welcome to the Stonegate. It's one of a tiny number of bars, cafes and private clubs catering to the stoner class in Washington and Colorado since voters last fall made them the first states to legalize marijuana for adults over 21. By Gene Johnson.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.

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