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November 2003

November 26, 2003

Harrah's Entertainment Captures 564 Awards in Strictly Slots Readers' Poll
Casino operator grabs 244 1st place honors
posted by Rick Gagliano

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:HET) received 564 awards, including 244 first-place finishes, in "Best of Slots," an annual poll of Strictly Slots magazine readers.

Harrah's 25 casinos posted a 135 percent improvement in first-place awards over their 2002 performance, and a 54 percent increase in overall awards.

The company competed in 11 markets -- Atlantic City, Chicagoland, Iowa, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas Strip, Laughlin, Louisiana, Missouri, Native Southwest, Reno and Tunica -- and captured more than 53 percent of the first-place awards available in these markets.

"The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that Harrah's remains the gaming customer's casino of choice from coast-to-coast," said Gary Loveman, Harrah's President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is a tribute not only to the superior quality of our product, but the outstanding customer service efforts of our 42,000 employees."

Five Harrah's casinos were named Best Overall Gaming Resort in their markets: Harrah's Atlantic City, Harrah's Joliet, Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Harrah's Laughlin and Harrah's New Orleans. In addition, Harrah's Las Vegas was named Best Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, while Harrah's North Kansas City was tapped Best Casino in Missouri.

Total Rewards, Harrah's nationwide customer-loyalty program, was named Best Slot Club in all but one of the markets in which the company competed.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe turned in the most dominating performance of the annual poll, capturing all 43 first-place awards in the Lake Tahoe market. Sister property Harveys captured all 43 of Lake Tahoe's second-place awards.

Other strong performances by Harrah's properties included:

-- Harrah's Laughlin, which won 39 out of 41 first-place awards in its
-- Harrah's Las Vegas, which placed first in 22 of 41 categories on the
Las Vegas Strip;
-- And Harrah's Rincon, which won 41 awards, including 21 first-place
finishes, in its first full year in operation.

Founded 66 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. operates 25 casinos in the United States, primarily under the Harrah's brand name. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its valued customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

Additional information about Harrah's Entertainment is available at .

Source: Harrah's Entertainment

Harvard Health Letter Names Top Ten Health Stories of 2003
Fat wins top honors over SARS
posted by Rick Gagliano

BOSTON, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A look back over 2003's significant health stories gives insight into the state of America's health. The December issue of Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Letter discusses the top ten health issues of the year and examines their implications for the future.

Though the SARS epidemic was probably the leading health issue on people's minds, its threat was not nearly as serious as what the editors of the Harvard Health Letter identified as the number one health concern of 2003: obesity. Research conducted this year has made new connections to the severity of obesity's consequences while the number of Americans that are overweight or obese continues to increase.

The complete Harvard Health Letter top ten list is:

1) Obesity, like smoking, kills: Doctors and health care organizations are beginning to view obesity as a serious, pervasive, and yet preventable health risk.

2) SARS threat contained: The handling of the SARS threat is a model of how to confront an emerging health threat, especially an infectious disease.

3) Angioplasty is the best treatment for heart attacks: Two studies this year have helped to establish angioplasty as the preferred treatment for heart attack.

4) New blood pressure guidelines push old drug, new category: New government guidelines for high blood pressure prevention and treatment were released this year and featured changes that weren't at all minor.

5) Medical guidelines aren't being followed the way they should: A study this year uncovered a disturbing trend in the amount of times that recommendations for care and preventive services are actually being followed.

6) Being old is getting younger: A combination of health measures and medical advances as well as social and economic support for older people has turned back the aging clock by at least five years.

7) Yet another setback for hormone replacement therapy: An analysis of data from the Women's Health Initiative showed that the risk for dementia went up, not down, among women taking estrogen-plus-progestin pills.

8) High fives for low carbs: Two studies published this year showed positive results for a low-carbohydrate diet.

9) Post-tamoxifen drug halves risk for breast cancer recurrence: A study this year found that women who took letrozole, an anti-estrogen, for an average of 2.4 years after completing the usual five years of tamoxifen therapy had about half the recurrence rate of those given a placebo.

10) The bumpy ride to the genomic era: Experts envision a future of diagnosis and treatment tailored to your genes -- but many pitfalls still exist before we get there.

Although identifying this year's health stories celebrates the continued advances in medical research, the December issue encourages readers to consider ways to improve their health as they move into the New Year.

Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of the Harvard Medical School. You can subscribe to Harvard Health Letter for $32 per year at or by calling 1-877-649-9457 toll-free.

Source: Harvard Health Letter

Hiaasen Wins Runyon
Miami novelist/columnist joins all-star list of previous winners
posted by Rick Gagliano

DENVER, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Denver Press Club has selected author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen to receive the club's 10th Annual Damon Runyon Award.

Hiaasen will accept the award at a banquet in his honor at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Denver at 1750 Welton St.

Hiaasen began working at the Herald in 1976, first as a general assignment reporter and later as a member of the paper's prize-winning investigative team. There he worked on projects exposing dangerous doctors, crooked land deals and drug corruption in the Bahamas and the Keys. For the last 16 years, he has written an award-winning, twice-weekly column.

In the 1980s, Hiaasen turned to writing fiction. Since then, he has written nine best-selling novels: "Tourist Season," "Double Whammy," "Skin Tight," "Native Tongue," "Strip Tease," "Stormy Weather," "Lucky You," "Sick Puppy" and "Basket Case." He has also written a children's book, "Hoot."

The London Observer has praised Hiaasen as "America's finest satirical novelist." Cosmopolitan described his fiction as "unbelievably funny -- tears-running-down-your-cheek funny in spite of some pretty weighty themes like the destruction of the environment." Fellow author Tony Hillerman has called Hiaasen, "the Mark Twain of the crime novel."

Each spring, the Denver Press Club presents the Runyon award to a journalist whose work best exemplifies the vivid style of Damon Runyon, an early member of the club in 1906-07.

Runyon wrote for The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News before going on to fame, glory (and sobriety) in New York City as one of the best-read columnists of his day. His collection of short stories, "Guys and Dolls," later became the basis for the famous Broadway musical.

"Carl is a perfect choice for the Runyon," said Press Club President John Ensslin. "The south Florida characters in his novels are just as vivid and memorable as the gangsters and street people who populated Runyon's Great White Way -- Broadway of New York City in the 1920s."

Previous recipients of the Runyon include Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, Molly Ivins, Herb Caen, Pete Hamill, Ted Turner, Maureen Dowd, Tom Brokaw, David Halberstam and Ed Bradley.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Press Club's renovation fund and scholarships for five college journalists.

Founded in November 1877, the Denver Press Club is one of the oldest press benevolent associations in the nation. It has approximately 550 members.

Tickets for the banquet cost $100 for the public and $75 for club members. For ticket information, call 303-571-5260 or visit the club's website at

Paying Less But Paying Longer for Cars in USA
Average Monthly Car Payments Falling as Loan Terms Extend to Record Lengths, According to
posted by Rick Gagliano

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The average monthly new car payment dropped from $466 per month for cars sold in October 2002 to $447 per month for cars sold in October 2003, according to (, the premier online resource for automotive information.

"Ironically, this trend does not reflect lower transaction prices or lower loan amounts, both of which rose during the last year," stated Dr. Jane Liu, Executive Director of Data Analysis for "Instead, the lower payments came about because the average financing has stretched from 59.6 months last year to over 62 months this year. Over 38% of last month's new car buyers took out loans for terms exceeding 60 months, as compared to only 24% of car buyers in October 2002."

In October 2003, the average car loan amount was $23,801, an increase of 0.9% from last October's $23,656. And the average finance rate rose from 5.46% in October 2002 to 5.63% in October 2003. So, taking into the increased term lengths this year's new car buyers will pay an average of $285 more in interest.

New car prices are rising from month to month as well. From September to October 2003 the New Vehicle Price Index rose a remarkable 1.68% to 99.8% (base = 100 set in January 2002), which corresponds to an annual rate of over 22%.

This data was released today with the Edmunds Price Index for new vehicles (EPI-N), which reflects price shifts for the industry as a whole, and can be analyzed by different market segmentation. Similar to the Consumer Price Index, the EPI-N measures the average changes in retail prices for a fixed basket of new vehicles with fixed options over time for the purpose of trend analysis. This index takes into account all of the manufacturers' various United States incentives programs, including subvented interest rates and lease programs as well as cash rebates to consumers and dealers. also analyzes transaction prices and net prices by country of origin, manufacturer, make and model, reflecting manufacturer-to-consumer rebates, including low APR and special lease programs.

About, Inc. ( is the premier online resource for automotive information. Its comprehensive set of data, tools and services, including True Market Value(R) pricing, is generated by Edmunds Data Services and is licensed to third parties. For example, the company supplies over 800,000 pages of content for AOL's auto channel and's auto section and delivers monthly data reports to Wall Street analysts. was named "best car research" site by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "most useful Web site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Study(SM), and was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California and maintains a satellite office in Troy, Michigan.

NPR Selects Sprint to Connect Reporters, News Bureaus
Multiyear Deal Includes All Voice, Plus Spam- and Virus-Stopping Services For Renowned Radio Network
posted by Rick Gagliano

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Nov. 25 -- With 22 million weekly listeners, hundreds of reporters, an international network of 36 offices and bureaus and the need to communicate from virtually any location at almost any time, NPR (National Public Radio) relies heavily on its ability to communicate. Now, NPR is relying on Sprint (NYSE:FON) (NYSE:PCS) . Sprint has been selected by NPR to deliver these vital connections through a wide range of voice services and new anti-spam, anti-virus email protection software.

Through a new multiyear agreement, Sprint becomes the primary voice carrier for NPR, which distributes its award-winning programming to a global audience over more than 750 public radio stations. NPR is also implementing Sprint Email Protection Services to reduce the threat of viruses and significantly cut down on spam emails that can clog its servers, distract its program producers and make it difficult for the opinions of listeners to break through a cluttered email system.

The new agreement also includes all of NPR's voice services. NPR reporters domestically and worldwide will use the Sprint network to deliver stories. For special news events, Sprint will set up temporary connections so reporters can deliver the latest news from virtually any location. Additionally, news bureaus across the United States and the world will use Sprint to connect to NPR headquarters.

"NPR has grown into a large operation with dozens of offices around the world and hundreds of local member stations," said John Keator, NPR's director of telecommunications. "Millions of listeners rely on NPR to present them with the details of the events that shape our world, and Sprint is playing a critical role in helping our journalists deliver those stories, more efficiently than ever before Sprint's technology, reach, and highly responsive service will make a real difference in the way NPR operates."
Sprint Email Protection Services is a network-based solution that is designed to maintain the integrity of corporate messages before they ever enter a company's network infrastructure. Features of the service include virus protection; spam filtering; store and forward; content and policy screening; and 24x7 online reporting. Additionally, the service requires no hardware or software to purchase, install, manage, upgrade or fix. For more information on a special trial offer for Sprint Email Protection Services, visit

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