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WORKPLACE ROMANCE LOSES SOME SPARK

Biz tidbits from surveys

Fewer people will be looking to a nearby cubicle for a valentine this year, according to a survey by recruiting and staffing company Spherion Corp.:

- About a third of U.S. workers have said they would consider having a workplace romance, a number that has declined from 42 percent three years ago.

- 30 percent were hesitant to date a co-worker for fear it would jeopardize their job security or advancement.

- About a third of those who reported having an office fling said they kept it a secret.

- Women were more likely to keep their romances under wraps - 35 percent compared with 25 percent of men.

- Corporate Cupid still has some success: Among those couples who found love at work, more than a third dated for several months and nearly a quarter resulted in marriage.

Americans will use rebate to pay debts

As Congress and the White House wrangle the specifics of the economic stimulus plan, many Americans said they are planning how to spend rebate checks. Those who are expecting the rebates, that is. The online poll of 1,500 American adults was conducted by e-Rewards Market Research on behalf of financial services company American Century Investments on Jan. 28:

- 9 percent of those surveyed said they didn't think they would wind up with cash.

- 36 percent, the largest group, were planning to use rebates to pay down debt.

-27 percent said they would spend the cash.

- 25 percent said they planned to save or invest the windfall.

-16 percent may be getting an unexpected surprise in the mail. They said they weren't even aware of rebate checks being part of an economic stimulus plan.

Europeans worry about data security

Franco Frattini, the European Union's top law enforcement official, said a recent poll shows people are concerned about the security of personal data on the Internet as regulators prepare a report on whether search engines' policies comply with EU privacy law:

- While three in four people worry about posting personal data, more than half said they trusted medical services, financial institutions, employers, police, social security, tax authorities and local government to handle their data.

- Europeans did support using private data to find terror suspects and fight crime, with almost 75 percent agreeing to phone tapping in some circumstances and almost 70 percent to monitoring credit card use.

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