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Shriners Coming to City

Picture Pratt Street filled with 30,000 marching men, all wearing tall red fezzes, tassels swinging in the breeze from the harbor.<@SM><@SM><TAB>That will be the one of the images in 2005, when Baltimore hosts the Shriners

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Bar the Mother

A proposal considered by a state task force yesterday would make Maryland the first state in the nation to bar lobbyists from giving direct contributions to legislators and candidates for statewide office.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The proposed ban is an effort to set distinct guidelines for the relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers in Annapolis, said task force chairman Donald B. Robertson, a former House majority leader.

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Conseco Finance Owes $20 Million

Conseco Finance Inc. should pay $20.1 million to South Carolina customers for not telling them they could choose their own lawyers and insurance companies when getting loans, an arbitrator says.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The case affects 3,739 South Carolina customers with home improvement or mobile home loans from what was then Green Tree Financial Corp. beginning in May 1993, said Brad Simpson, one of the lawyers representing those who sued.

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Federal Judge Approves Swiss Bank Settlement With Holocaust Survivors

A federal judge in New York yesterday approved a historic $1.25 billion settlement between Swiss banks and more than a half-million plaintiffs who alleged the banks hoarded money deposited by Holocaust victims.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The long-anticipated ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman brings Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide a step closer to collecting claims against the banks.

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Concorde’s Value: Corporate Prestige

Although the Concorde earns money for the two airlines that use it, the plane’s matchless speed and elegant, dart-like silhouette have made it even more valuable as a source of corporate prestige, analysts said yesterday.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The supersonic aircraft has carved a firm market niche among celebrities and executives in a hurry since making its first commercial flight in 1976. But its biggest impact has been as an emblem of luxury and technological prowess — something aviation observers suggest is likely to outlast Tuesday’s deadly crash of an Air France Concorde in the Paris suburb of Gonesse.

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‘Ravens’ Name Nevermore

Can a simple name have far-reaching financial consequences&ne;<@SM><@SM><TAB>Just ask PSINet, the dot-com company that’s forking out more than $100 million to have its corporate logo plastered all over the stadium where the Baltimore Ravens play.<@SM><@SM><TAB>PSINet officials said they started seeing some of that investment going down the drain last year when CBS television deliberately avoided using the corporate name in its broadcasts because PSINet didn’t advertise on the network. CBS referred instead to the arena as “Ravens Stadium” for much of the season.

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The Place to Be

AROUND TOWN Showcase of Nations — Hispanic FestivalAug. 12 and 13, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Patterson Park, Eastern Avenue and South Linwood Street. Enjoy ethnic cuisine, listen to music and watch dances from Colombia, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, ...

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