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BUT THAT'S MY FINAL OFFER

Ever wanted an item so badly that you'd give anything to have it? Harvey Flexman did. The Stamshaw, England, youth, a hard-core Pokmon fan, heard a rare holographic Vaporeon card advertised on a local radio "swap shop" program. So he called and was offerring everything he had for it - including his baby sister - until his horrified mother intervened. He finally got the card in a trade with someone else.

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ALL OTHERS PAY CASH

Is your name - your last name, that is - Ryan? If so, and you can prove it, you're eligible for a free airline flight. And you may bring a friend along at no charge as well. What's the catch? Well, you'll have to travel between Thursday and May 24. The deal covers travel only between two destinations: Shannon, Ireland, and Stanstead, England. It's a special promotion of Dublin-based Ryanair, a low-fare carrier competing for market share with Britain's Virgin Express. Virgin has made a similar offer, but it runs out 10 days sooner.

IPOs: Stock markets' unease over them didn't stop AT&T

Not long ago, initial public offerings - especially for Internet start-ups - were all the rage on Wall Street. But then came the recent stock-market turbulence, and suddenly many companies were putting the brakes on planned IPOs. Not AT&T, however. Last week the long-distance operator announced it was selling 360 million shares of its wireless business for a total of $10.62 billion, making it the biggest IPO by far in US history. In fact, all the blockbuster IPOs in the US have come in just the past 18 months; the previous record was set last November by United Parcel Service. The five biggest IPOs, with the date for each and its value (in billions):

1. AT&T Wireless April 2000 $10.62

2. United Parcel Service November 1999 $5.47

3. Conoco October 1998 $4.40

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4. The Goldman Sachs Group May 1999 $3.66

5. Charter Communications November 1999 $3.23

Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society