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MAYBE IT RAN OUT OF GAS

For 35 minutes a robbery suspect led police in western England on a high-speed chase as he attempted a getaway from his target, a fast-food restaurant. Two cruisers and a helicopter pursued the unidentified man at speeds of up to 90 m.p.h. before he finally abandoned his vehicle (which, it was learned later, also had been stolen) in a small town in Dorset and was captured on foot. So what, you ask? Only that he was driving a three-wheeler - a 25-year-old Reliant Robin, widely considered one of the most unstable cars on the road. Said a police spokesman: "It's not the sort of thing you see every day."

For business/financial world, 2001 has been a tough year

In business, bad news often shapes the headlines. But in 2001, many of the top business and financial stories, as voted by subscribers to the Associated Press, were dictated by an even more urgent force - crisis. After a decade of expansion, many businesses and investors braced for a slowdown as the year began. No one, however, expected the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their repercussions, which threatened to push the US economy to the brink of freefall. The AP's top 10 business stories of 2001:

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1. Sept. 11 destruction of New York's World Trade Center

2. US slips into recession

3. Multiple cuts in interest rates by the Federal Reserve

4. Enron Corp. collapses

5. Airlines take a pounding from recession and terrorism

6. Justice Department vs. Microsoft

7. Record bankruptcy filings

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8. Electricity crisis in California

9. Ford and Firestone end their 95-year relationship

10. China finally admitted to the World Trade Organization


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