New resolve

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New Year's resolution: After standing on the sidelines throughout 1998, mesmerized and dumfounded, as commissions were reduced and technological innovations polarized the industry, as suppliers embraced and encouraged change, as retailers struggled with to cope with it... I resolve to make sense of this wacky business once and for all in 1999, no matter how much it hurts my brain.

Carlson Wagonlit's Tanner, NCL'S Golteus, Premier's Rood and Matheisen, Avis' Hoenshell... The last time there was an exodus of this magnitude, it was chronicled in the Bible.

A group of investors led by former TWA chairman Carl Icahn plans to sink $100 million into renovating the Stratosphere, the lavish Las Vegas property that opened in 1996 and went bankrupt the following year. With refit costs like that, the resort is aptly named.

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