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April 1, 2009 -- 5:30 a.m.
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World Leaders Lay Out Tests for Obama
Obama arrived ahead of the G-20, eager to try his hand at statecraft, and world leaders appear just as eager to test a president with little international experience.

French Bosses Besieged as Worker Anger Rises
French workers besieged bosses, including luxury and retail tycoon François-Henri Pinault, as anger at proposed layoffs generated more forceful protests.

A Slate of G-20 Rivals Is Waiting in the Wings
The G-20 is emerging as the board of directors of the global economy. But the forum of industrialized and developing nations has plenty of potential rivals.

Merkel Pledges Backing for Opel
Abroad, GM Is Feast, Famine; Chrysler Has Small Footprint
New GM Chief Bends to U.S. Pressure

GM Will Replace at Least Six Others on Board
At least six directors of GM will soon join former CEO Rick Wagoner in heading out the door, replacing a majority of the auto maker's board.

Detroit's Fate Sealed in West Wing
Blame Is Put on Management, but Hourly Workers, Retirees Face More Pain
Intel Releases Chip for Server Systems
Dow Chemical's Debt Rating at Issue
Shire in Deal With Glaxo
EMI Takes a Chance On Deal for Lotteries
Genzyme Buys Rights To MS Drug
Abbott Considered Acquiring Wyeth
Kidney-Cancer Drug Approved

Global Slump Seen Deepening
The outlook for the global economy worsened on the eve of the G-20 summit, as two agencies warned that global output will fall in 2009 for the first time since World War II.

Dalai Lama Urges China To Let Media Into Tibet
The Dalai Lama challenged China to open Tibet to foreign journalists to determine whether residents are happy.

Fed Official Sees Economic Improvement Midyear
The U.S. economy should find its footing around midyear even after another "significant" contraction in the first quarter, Minneapolis Fed President Gary Stern said.

Netanyahu Sworn In as Israeli Leader
House Emissions Bill Postpones Decisions on Cost
Israel Central Bank Head Pushes Stimulus Plans
Drop in Home Prices Picked Up Speed in January
Senior U.S., Iranian Officials Meet at Afghanistan Conference
Pakistani Taliban Chief Threatens Washington Attack
The Obama Autoworks
At GM and Chrysler, politics is now Job One.

Kamikaze Spending
How much can a country spend before investors bolt and bankruptcy hits? Japan is going to find out.

Night of the Living Death Tax
Obama's budget quietly resurrects it in 2010.

Don't Come Up Short, G-20
By Marco Annunziata
The G-20 should use the London summit to prove that global leadership is finally coming of age.

Letters to the Editor
Trade Defense Is Not Protectionism
Obama Is Not Widening The Atlantic Ocean
Where Was Sweden's Liberalism?
Reagan, Obama and the Real Ground-Up Economics
A One-Way Route to Helping the Poor
By John Battle, Menzies Campbell, Michael Hastings, Peter Lilley and Clare Short
Unilateral trade liberalization would cost us little and boost them greatly.

The Stages of Anti-Semitism
An avant-garde play revives an ancient hatred.

NATO Can Do Better in Afghanistan
Now is no time to abandon the mission.

An Empowered IMF Faces Pivotal Test
Leaders Favor Domestic Companies, Despite Talk of Free Trade

The Latest in Mental Health:
Working Out at the 'Brain Gym'
Thousands of Americans are choosing to join a small, but growing, number of "brain gyms" -- centers that promise to keep minds sharp with cognitive training sessions.

Cool Trays Take the Heat Off Your Lap
Many laptops tend to run hot, making them uncomfortable and sometimes painful to use on your lap. Now, companies are selling trays and pads designed to cool hot laptops and, in turn, cool laps.

Brixton's Test: Raising Cash
Member Nations Haggle Over Tax-Haven Roster
France Hints at Leaving G-20 Summit
Anarchists Organize to Spread the Word
Aso Sets Stimulus Spending Goals
 HEARD ON THE STREET: Fiat Sticks by Chrysler
 HEARD ON THE STREET: Record Bond Sales Show Risk Aversion
 HEARD ON THE STREET: M&S Doesn't Signal Retail Recovery
The Charming Mr. Piedrahita Finds Himself Caught in the Madoff Storm
Andrés Piedrahita, managing partner of Fairfield Greenwich, finds himself caught in a legal and financial storm following the collapse of Madoff's $50 billion scheme.

And the Winner for iShares ... CVC?
CVC Capital Partners emerged as the likely buyer of Barclays's prized iShares exchange-traded-funds unit, in a $4.3 billion deal.

Fortis Sale Hits Snag; Huge Loss
The planned sale of Fortis Bank to BNP Paribas hit another snag, as a Belgian court ruled recent investors as ineligible to vote on the deal.

Stocks Rise to End First Quarter
Bank Stocks Lead Rebound in Europe
 CREDIT MARKETS: Treasurys Post First Monthly Gain of the Year
 CURRENCY TRADING: Dollar Retreats on Euro Amid Rebound by Stocks
Retirements Hit Goldman
Merrill to Pay $40 Million in Refco Case
Activist Funds Exit Deutsche Börse Fight
Dutch Pension Targets Cash Level
Rakuten wants to sell back stake in Tokyo Broadcasting
SocGen Warns on Write-Downs
Abu Dhabi Energy Fund Increases Stake in Cepsa
Collardi to lead Julius Baer unit
Germany's LBBW posted loss for '08
Dislocation, Dislocation, Dislocation
Middle East Fee Shake-Up
Chrysler Plan Trims Fiat's Stake, Cuts Out Cerberus
 THE GAME: For GM Bondholders, Time Is a Weapon
Macquarie Fund Gets Offer
Google Begins China Music Service
Australia Seems Open to Chinese Investment
Nikkei Retreats, Ending Fiscal Year with 35% Loss
China's advantage is cheap financing
EU Aims to Open Energy Markets
Asia Looks 'Bleak,' ADB Says
Sakhalin won't boost LNG project

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mental_floss e-news: "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prank" - mentalfloss.com Issue 191 :: Wednesday, April 1, 2009

mental_floss newsletter

Issue 191 :: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Subscribe to our Magazine

Greetings, Flossers! by Mangesh - Wednesday, April 1, 2009
MBA Degree in a Box

I know some of you are at your computers experiencing Prankster's Block right now. You feel culturally pressured to celebrate April Fool's Day, and you desperately want to pull the wool over someone's eyes, but you don't know who to prank, or even what sort of wool to use (what if they're allergic?). Well, here are a few do's and don'ts, plucked from the mental_floss archives, that might spark some ideas.
DO: Be Prepared!
When Kevin Roose interviewed Jerry Falwell in the evangelist's last print interview, he learned some surprising things, including that the Moral Majority leader was a consummate prankster, ready to prank at every opportunity.  "He carried M-80 firecrackers in his pockets, had an extra-loud horn installed on his SUV, and learned to hotwire his associates' cars, drive them several blocks away, and leave them. When we spoke, Falwell admitted placing a stinkbomb under the chair leg of Bob Jones, Jr., then-president of Bob Jones University, at a conference of pastors. "When he sat down, the bomb broke," he said, laughing. "And in a crowded auditorium, it got pretty rank pretty quick. Everyone was choking for ten, fifteen minutes."
DON'T: Prank the Hussein Way
According to former flosser (and famous prankster) John Green:  "If you're looking for April Fool's pranks, don't bother taking a page from the late, hilarious prankster Uday Hussein. Between 1998 and 2000, Uday's newspaper published a different April Fool's Day story each year, including one that jokingly told the Iraqi people that their food ration would be increased to include bananas. The people were like, "Oh thank God, I'm so hungry," and then Uday was like, "Just kidding," and then the people were all like, "Oh, ha ha! That was a good one, Uday. It's nice to know that you're not too busy with your 1,200 automobiles to share a joke with the commoners now and again."
Of course, if you're looking to eschew all this foolishness, and simply want to get down to business, we can help you with that too. This week, we're releasing MBA Degree in a Box at the mental_floss store (the #1 Boxed Business School in the Country!). It's written by the hilarious-- and super-smart-- Ethan Trex, and it's a whole lot of fun. Click here to pick up your degree now. And don't forget all the great trivia below.

Happy Pranking,
E-mail Jason and Mangesh, here.

Beat Our Facts Our weekly attempt to stock our newsletter readers' closets (and bookshelves) with mental_floss paraphernalia!

 Bill Gates

Our insanely interesting fact:
Bill Gates outranks Chairman Mao as a teen idol in China according to a 2002 survey by the City University of Hong Kong.  

Email Us A Fact Can you out-trivia us?

Send in your fascinating one-sentence submissions, along with your full name and address to beatourfacts@gmail.com. This week's winners will receive T-shirts from the mental_floss store.

Last Issue's Theme was "ORIGINS". The winners (and their facts) are:
1) Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken was actually born in Indiana.
-Michael Hans
2) The term "bug" originated in 1945 when a computer at Harvard malfunctioned and Grace Hopper (who was working on the computer) found a moth in one of the circuits and removed it.
-Shara Attales
3) The Bronx was actually named after Jonas Bronck (not Bronx).  It was known as "Bronck's Land" which later became "The Bronx".
 -Dan Melinger
Congratulations to all of you... you should be receiving your T-shirts by Pony Express any day now!
Oh, and even if your fact doesn't win you some swag, it could win you some fame! The best user-submitted facts will go into our Amazing Fact Generator.

Blogger Spotlight

Ethan Trex 

After four years in a doctoral program at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Ethan Trex walked away knowing he had no desire to become a research economist. Instead, he spends his days writing about sports and business. He has now co-authored three humorous books with needlessly long titles, including 'Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Improving Yourself.'
He also contributes to ESPN The Magazine  and co-created Straight Cash, Homey, the Internet's undisputed top source for pictures of people in Ryan Leaf jerseys. And on top of all that, Ethan is a weekly contributor to mental_floss.
Ethan's Archive:

4 Delicious Facts about Doughnuts

By Stacy Conradt

1) Adolph Levitt invented the doughnut machine in 1920.  Before that, doughnuts were made one by one in a frying pan. His machine dropped dough rings into fat, browned them, flipped them and cooled them. He called it the Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine. It took him and an engineer 12 tries to perfect, but once he did, they sold like hotcakes - er, doughnuts - and the industry hasn't been the same since. 2) There is a National Dunking Association, and used to be a big deal.  Actress Mae Murray is said to have started the whole dunking craze when she accidentally dropped her doughnut into her coffee and raved about the results. It just goes to show you that things haven't really changed in the past 80 years - a celebrity does something and it sweeps the nation. Card-carrying (seriously... there were membership cards) celebrity members included Johnny Carson, Zero Mostel, Pearl Buck, and Martha Graham. Jimmy Durante even ran for president of the association.

3) Washington Irving of Sleepy Hollow legend may have coined the term "doughnut."  The earliest reference anyone can find of that exact word is in a short story of his dated 1808, except he was probably talking about what we call the doughnut holes today. 4) Renee Zellweger said she ate 20 doughnuts a day in order to go from a size six to a size 14 in just three months so she could portray Bridget Jones.  I wonder if she means mini-doughnuts... surely 20 full-sized doughnuts a day would have you gaining several sizes faster than three months, since doughnuts can be up to 25% fat (they absorb a lot of the fat they are fried in because they are so porous). But that's not going to stop me from eating them.

Need More Trivia?
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Daily Lunch Quizzes | All our Most Popular Lists
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