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News In Brief

DON'T BOTHER US ABOUT IT

Don't think of the staffers at New York City's Millennium Hilton Hotel as insensitive, but they really don't want to hear about your annoyance over unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers. A new state law established a registry for people who want their names removed from the lists that the callers use. But such requests must be made via a toll-free number that's almost identical to the hotel's reservations line. Result: at least 40 misdialed calls in the first two hours of Monday morning - on top of those that flooded the reservations office on Sunday, when the law went into effect.

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NEW CLAIM TO FAME

You probably didn't feel it move, but the population center of the US shifted between 1990 and last year, the Census Bureau says. Previously at Steelville, Mo., it's now 50 miles southwest, near Edgar Springs. This represents the point where a rigid map would balance if all US residents stood in place where they live and were of equal weight.

Energy and oil companies soar to top of Fortune 500

Exxon Mobil surpassed General Motors by rising from No. 3 to No. 1 in Fortune 500's annual ranking of the US's largest companies based on revenues. Exxon Mobil's revenues were the highest yet at $210 billion last year. GM, which held Fortune's top rank for 15 years, fell to No. 3 with revenues of $184.6 billion. Oil, gas, and other energy firms benefitted from high gas prices, falling supplies, and deregulation. Enron, for instance, rose from No. 18 to No. 7. The top 10 of Fortune 500's list of public US firms, ranked by 2000 revenues, in billions (with last year's rank in parentheses):

1. Exxon Mobil (3) $210.392

2. Wal-Mart (2) 193.295

3. GM (1) 184.632

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4. Ford (4) 180.598

5. GE (5) 129.853

6. Citigroup (7) 111.826

7. Enron Corp. (18) 100.789

8. IBM (6) 88.396

9. AT&T (8) 65.981

10. Verizon (33) 64.707

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor