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"At some point--one hopes sooner rather than later--the high-tech correction will abate" -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, meeting with economists in New York It's just steel beams and decking right now, but the $1.7 billion headquarters of this media-merger giant, due to open in 2004, will tower over a corner of New York's Central Park. Here are the details:

THE BUILDING

Twin towers of 55 floors, anchored to an 11-floor base; 2.1 million sq. ft.

WHAT'S INSIDE

Corporate headquarters, CNN's New York bureau, a five-star hotel, leased offices, condos, an upscale retail atrium, Jazz @ Lincoln Center.

WHO'LL BE WHERE

Corporate offices in the South Tower (floors 12-21), with execs to be allocated space later this year. Production and broadcast facilities on lower and base floors.

ARCHITECTURAL "WOWS"

-- CNN's 98,000-sq.-ft., glass-encased broadcast facility on the 8th floor will have 24-ft. ceilings and three-dimensional jutting windows.

-- A 150-ft.-tall building "prow" will showcase a sculpture.

-- Distinctive lanterns will top each tower.

-- A showcase 11th floor will stretch across the towers' base and include screening rooms and a conference center.

Data:: Related Companies, HLW International, AOL Time Warner Cyberslackers, beware! E-mail and Internet monitoring by employers is on the rise now that replacements for Internet abusers are plentiful in the soft labor market.

And that means firings on such grounds--mainly viewing porn sites, trading stocks, or posting to chat rooms--are up, too. Websense, a maker of Internet monitoring systems, found one out of three companies surveyed reported terminating someone for Net abuse, a 10% increase over last year. "Employers cannot overlook the impact on productivity," says report co-author David Greenfield, noting that 70% of Net surfing is done at work.

Since the downturn, companies including E*Trade and JDS Uniphase have become converts to monitoring software, says Websense's Ted Ladd. Many companies that had relied on managers to check monitors are now users. "We're trying to ensure a healthy workplace," says Frank Gillman of Los Angeles law firm Allen Matkins, which recently upgraded its system.

E-monitors scan for keywords and note when something questionable is sent or viewed. Says Rob Spence of Ireland's Baltimore Technologies: "If I want to screen every outgoing e-mail that has the word `resume'...I can do that." So think about who's watching before hitting "send." Serge Tchuruk, chairman of France's Alcatel, wasn't the only one disappointed when his talks to acquire Lucent Technologies broke down on May 29. Manhattan real estate agents were, too.

Tchuruk likely would have joined the invasion of Euro moguls relocating to New York to oversee their companies' U.S. expansions. In May, Andreas Schmidt, CEO of Bertelsmann's eCommerce Group moved to an Upper East Side apartment with his family. An even bigger media heavyweight, Jean-Marie Messier, CEO of France's Vivendi Universal, will soon move his wife and five kids into a $17.5 million Park Avenue duplex Vivendi bought for him. Messier says he wants to be closer to Wall Street and positioned between Vivendi's film and music properties in California and its TV and telecom operations in Europe.

Messier can get tips on where to buy croissants from his neighbor, retail tycoon Francois Pinault, who is spending more time in New York since buying Christie's auction house three years ago. For those worried about the health debate over whether mobile phones harm the brain, a Hong Kong researcher has good news. Tatia M.C. Lee, a University of Hong Kong psychology professor, can't say for sure whether they do or don't. But her team of researchers recently compared people who use cell phones with those who don't. And they found that the brains of cell-phone users seemed to be a bit, well, swifter than those of nonusers.

Lee's theory is that exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones may help people concentrate better. Moreover, people who spend a lot of time using cell phones are used to doing other things at the same time--and therefore may be better at multitasking as a result. Her study, published in the March edition of British journal NeuroReport, tested whether cell-phone users were more quick to match symbols or connect dots while coping with visual "interference," or distractions. One test measured how long it took respondents looking at the word "blue" printed in brown ink to say the word correctly. In another test involving connecting points with pencils, mobile-phone users showed significantly faster results--about six to nine seconds (or 17% to 19%) faster, on average, than the nonmobile-phone users, the NeuroReport study found. But, Lee points out: "People who are better able to divide their attention might use mobile phones more."

Lee studied 72 high school students, half of them cell-phone users--because in mobile-mad Hong Kong, "it's almost impossible to find nonmobile-phone users once people enter their 20s." While the study doesn't resolve the medical issue, it does show using a mobile phone may be a smart choice. India's crown jewel, the Taj Mahal, is about to get a corporate caretaker. In June, New Delhi--which has been enlisting the private sector to help maintain its more than 5,000 historical sites--will pick a company for the honor. The short list includes the Taj Group of Hotels--an arm of India's $8.4 billion Tata Group--which takes its name from the 17th century site.

Spruced up for Bill Clinton's visit last year, the Taj Mahal had been deteriorating because of pollution and neglect. Taj Group would spend $500,000 on restoration--and get only goodwill and publicity in return.

India, with an annual budget of $30 million for monument maintenance, needs at least 10 times that to do the job properly, says Abnash Grover, the Archeological Survey of India's conservation director. "We are inviting anyone who is willing to come forward now," he says. "Later on, we may become more choosy." With 12 monuments adopted so far and 4,988 to go, that may take a while. Could gasoline pass $3 a gallon this summer? For Fast-Ad, a sign maker in Santa Ana, Calif., that prospect has been good for business. President Guy Barnes says that since early May, gas stations have been ordering "3"-point signs--a large "3" followed by a decimal point, which allows the cents to fluctuate--priced at under $100. Fast-Ad, a small player in the $7 billion sign industry, has been in business for 37 years without ever fielding an order higher than a "1"-point. But after months of selling "2"-points, "3"-points are the order of the day. "We've sold hundreds of them," says Barnes.

Despite the new sales, Barnes isn't necessarily thrilled: "I drive an SUV, and it doesn't get very good mileage." The increase in the number of female CEOs at 500 top companies, 2001 vs. 1997: 100%. Actual number in 2001: 4

Data: Catalyst


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