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San Francisco Chronicle

spotlights the 50th state today with a look at its new high-tech edge and its


bargain allure in the wake of Asian turmoil.

In other Aloha State news, the

Mauna Loa Macadamia Partners


had a "55.6% drop in fourth-quarter income and warned that the current drought on the Big Island could significantly reduce macadamia nut production this year." In the

Honolulu Star Bulletin



Washington Post

reports that Indonesia's

President Suharto

TheStreet Recommends

has told

President Clinton

that the

International Monetary Fund

is failing to stem his country's financial crisis -- and that's why he needs to make drastic changes to Indonesia's monetary system. (wink, wink)

Japan's parliament enacted a bank stabilization bill, but a widening banking scandal could be problematic. Also in the

Washington Post


"You stay home. I go to work," Susan informed her younger sister, Carolyn, who had the role of



"But that's not fair!" wailed Carolyn.

"You got downsized, silly. Downsized means you lost your job."

"But I don't want to be downed," the younger child said.

"It's not downed. It's downsized," Susan said. "And there's nothing you can do about it. Anyway, that's what happened to Daddy, remember?"

Carolyn paused. "Is that why he's home more?"

"Yup, and it's why Mommy's going to get another car, and Daddy's in school sometimes, and why we get to play with him."

"Oh," brightened Carolyn. "OK."


Boston Globe

looks at how


and Ken may live in a Dream House, but reflect '90s reality.

It's not just for little girls anymore. The

Chicago Tribune

reports on the big business of figure skating.

Business Abroad



reports that



Kwik Save

have disclosed that they are in merger talks.

They are Texans after all...

Texas Utilities


is trying to top



offer for

The Energy Group

. Also in the



In other energy news, the

Times of London

reports that






have "joined forces to develop their energy interests in the Caspian Sea region."

Norsk Hydro


, Norway's biggest quoted company, and


, the state-owned electricity transmission group, along with

National Grid

(NGGPY:Nasdaq ADR), are studying a the feasability of an electricity cable from Britain to Norway to either export or import power. In the



Personally, I am convinced that Norwegians can do anything after watching the

Discovery Channel's

Mega Machines:Skyscraper at Sea

, a documentary about the


, the world's largest oil rig. Check it out: Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. EST.

Ooh, the

Spice Girls

must really be a sore spot. The

Times of London

reports that Mike Metcalf, chief executive of




THRNY ADR) since its ill-fated demerger from


, resigned yesterday as the company issued its third profits warning.

Who knew they had Hoyts in Australia? In other entertainment news, the

Sydney Morning Herald

reports that the success of


has boosted

Hoyts Cinemas'

annual profit after it posted a 25.2% jump in net earnings for the December half.

Ye of Little Faith


Times of London

reports that Helmut Hofer, 56, a German businessman condemned to death by stoning for allegedly making love to an Iranian medical student, might be spared if he can prove that he was a Muslim at the time. Herr Hofer's defense team argues that the Hamburg man had converted to Islam and that he is only guilty of kissing an unmarried 27-year-old woman.

First it's the


, now it's the Queen's religion! The

Sydney Morning Herald

reports that attendance at Anglican churches is at an all-time low and that Anglican priests are suffering from immense stress. But, it seems that the

Rev. Tony Galea

, former electrical contractor, rock musician and at one time aspiring Eastern Suburbs rugby league player, has found the answer and some divine inspiration by dressing as a clown and riding a bike down the aisle as an opening gambit for the children's talk.