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Gays, Others See Better Benefits

More companies are offering employee health benefits to same-sex couples, including 22 organizations in Maryland, according to a <a href="http://www.hrc.org/pubs/SOW_execsumm2000.asp">Human Rights Campaign report</a> released yesterday.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Domestic partner health benefits are making life easier for both homosexual couples and unmarried heterosexual couples at Maryland companies like Discovery Channel Inc. and Marriott International, both based in Bethesda.

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Grateful Dead Isn’t Laid Back When It Comes to Fighting Music Pirates

The Grateful Dead’s communal spirit is part of rock ‘n’ roll lore, but the band is just as merciless as the next capitalist when a digital pirate tries to make money off its music.<@SM><@SM><TAB>“They have always been vehement about this: If someone is going to make money, it should be them,” said Eric Doney, the Dead’s attorney. “The music belongs to the creators, not someone else.”

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Ex-Sotheby’s Chief to Pay Bulk of $256M Settlement

The board of Sotheby’s has approved payment of its half of a $512 million settlement to resolve claims that it cheated buyers and sellers for years by fixing fees with rival auction house Christie’s.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Sotheby’s majority shareholder and former chairman A. Alfred Taubman will pay $156 million of the company’s $256 million portion, Sotheby’s said Sunday. In exchange, the company said, it settled all potential claims against him.

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Joke’s Over: Baltimore Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases

<br /><br />Once the brunt of a late-night parody, the city’s infection rates for sexually transmitted diseases are plummeting and now a source of pride for health officials.<br /><br />The city’s top health official said syphilis rates have plunged 66 percent in the last two years, a far cry from when “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno took shots at what was then the highest rate in the nation.

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Bush vs. Gore Prescription Plans

<TAB>The presidential candidates, Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, each have plans for adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Here are some questions and answers about how each proposal would affect the nation

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Planets Align to Send TV Executives Scurrying for Antacid R-E-L-I-E-F

<br /><br />It’s late September. The air is crisper, footballs are flying and after months of reruns, television viewers are finally rewarded with new shows and returning favorites.<br /><br />Well, at least two out of the three are true this year.<br /><br />Fall is arriving a little late in TV land. And between the Olympics, baseball and presidential debates, television executives are wondering if viewers will have much of a chance this season to settle into old habits and create new ones.

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Near Middle Age, Hard Rock Hopes Live Music Will Rejuvenate Business

<TAB>The Hard Rock Cafe made its name with music memorabilia, guitars and gold albums safely preserved behind display-case glass.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Now, after a decade of falling merchandise sales and the implosion of the themed restaurant industry, the granddaddy of theme restaurants hopes to bring in new business by taking the music down from the wall and onto the stage.

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Procter & Gamble Licenses Pampers Diaper Bags

<br /><br />Procter & Gamble Co. is licensing its Pampers trademark to Baby Boom Consumer Products Inc. to produce diaper bags for sale in North America.<br /><br />The diaper bags are to go on the market in the first half of 2001. They will be sold through mass merchandisers, specialty toy stores, and food and drug retailers, P&G officials said yesterday.

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