Cuba dogs dollar
After a decade as the dominant currency to buy everything from shampoo to canned food to furniture, the U.S. dollar no longer is accepted in Cuba.
Cubans and tourists visiting the island now must use a local currency tied to the dollar to buy goods at previously named "dollar-only stores" that sell food and personal-hygiene products. The dollar also is being rejected at restaurants, art markets, hotels and other businesses.
The move by Cuba's communist government prompted thousands of Cubans to flood banks and exchange houses to turn in their dollars for Cuban convertible pesos. It also convinced a Cuban street artist to train his dog "Pillo," above, to recognize Cuban pesos.
Westar profits rise
Westar Energy Inc. reported earnings Monday of $60.1 million for the third quarter, bouncing back from a loss in the same period of 2003.
Profits in the three months ending Sept. 30 amounted to 70 cents per share, compared with the overall loss of $81.3 million, or $1.12 per share, in the same period last year.
Last year's third-quarter performance reflected a $161.7 million loss from discontinued operations -- specifically Protection One Inc., the monitored security business that is moving this month from Topeka to Lawrence and whose value Westar had written down while trying to sell it.
Shares of Westar on the New York Stock Exchange rose 42 cents Monday to close at $21.77, setting a 52-week closing high.
Westar is Kansas' largest electric company, with about 654,000 customers.
IBM supercomputer now world's fastest
Big Blue has brought the title of the world's fastest supercomputer back to the United States for the first time in three years.
International Business Machine Corp.'s still incomplete Blue Gene/L system officially was named the fastest in the world Monday by the Top500 project, an independent group of university computer scientists who release supercomputer rankings every six months.
The system was clocked at 70.72 trillion calculations per second, almost double the performance of the reigning leader -- Japan's Earth Simulator.
Blue Gene/L will be installed next year at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where its research will include the nation's nuclear stockpile.
Blue Gene/L's expected electric bill: $1 million a year.
Microsoft settles lawsuit
Microsoft Corp. opened its wallet again Monday to clear more of its courtroom problems, paying $536 million to rival Novell Inc. and an undisclosed smaller amount to a trade group that had backed antitrust complaints by the U.S. government and the European Union.
Novell said despite the huge payoff it intended to file an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft this week over damage to its once-popular WordPerfect business software.