Girl Power

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has appointed Wilma Smelcer CEO of its Chicago operations, according to the

Chicago Sun Times

. Her appointment comes amid questions about the company's dedication to hiring female executives; the paper writes that "when the company began to implement its merger with the former


, 11 female executives either resigned or were demoted."

Who's wearing the pants around here, anyway? The

Dallas Morning News

reports that menswear maker



"said Thursday that it is acquiring


, a Dallas-based women's apparel maker, in what could be the start of an aggressive growth strategy."

No personal power for you! The

Seattle Times

reports that "a federal judge has set aside a $655,000 judgment awarded to

Wade Cook

in a copyright-infringement trial that pitted Cook against rival seminar guru

Tony Robbins

." Cook alleged that Robbins stole such phrases as including "meter drop" and "rolling stock" from his book

Wall Street Money Machine


Ouch. A report by the London's

Economist Intelligence Unit

projects that Canada's 1999 per-capita gross domestic product will be lower than Ireland's, according to the

Globe and Mail

. The paper also quotes the Paris-based

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

as claiming that "unless Canada does something to change the course it is on, it will sink from being an above-par developed country to a below-par one."

Labor negotiations, Chinese-style: "Domestic helpers willing to take a pay cut will be showcased today by Provisional Urban Councilor Jennifer Chow Kit-bing, according to the

South China Morning Post

. The councilor thinks maids' wages need to be reduced by 20% in order to help them keep their jobs, and so far has collected 10 maids willing to take the pay cut.

No, really, I


the watch. The

Electronic Telegraph

reports that the London staff of

Union Bank of Switzerland

has received watches while their Swiss "counterparts have received three mini-gold bars worth 178 pounds to celebrate the first anniversary of the bank's merger between

Swiss Bank


Union Bank of Switzerland

." London employees claim they are quite happy with their gifts.

Daddy Warble-bucks? Billionaire

Warren Buffett

, the chairman of

Berkshire Hathaway


, donned a bald cap for a rousing, slightly off-key rendition of "Tomorrow" during a performance of


to raise funds for a children's theatre in Nebraska, according to another report in the

South China Morning Post


One leading Canadian retailer is singing "Rudolph the Red-Faced Reindeer" this holiday season: The

Sydney Morning Herald

reports that

Canadian Tyre

has removed singing


figurines from store shelves after complaints that the song they sing is an obscene version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".