THE WEEK THAT WAS
WINNER: Belleview Biltmore
Historic hotel, on verge of being razed, is tentatively purchased by Coral Gables firm known for renovating landmark properties.
LOSER: Allegiant Air
Airline takes its nickel and dime policies to new heights, saying it will charge customers $35 for carry-on bags.
The U.S. Postal Service, which most often makes headlines for budget woes and service cutbacks, was among 20 such services in major world economies studied by the British firm Oxford Strategic Consulting. And get this: We're No. 1! "The USPS topped the ranking,'' the study said, "due to its high operating efficiency and public faith in its performance, measured over three years." On one key metric, the report found the agency delivers over five times more letters per full-time delivery employee than Germany's privatized provider, Deutsche Post, which ranked fifth. "If you could live anywhere in the world, and were sending a present to someone this Christmas,'' wrote one of the study's authors, "you'd want to be in the U.S., Japan or Australia." The USPS, which lost $5 billion last year, does not get tax dollars for its operations.