News In Brief

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THANKS. NOW GO HOME

ever been to a middle-school concert whose musicians puff or saw away - energetically but off-key - on their instruments? Still, even with the last jarring notes ringing in your ears, you feel bound to beam and applaud. That's more than organizers of the World Youth Cup soccer championships in Lagos, Nigeria, were willing to do. After enduring barely recognizable renditions by an Army band of the various teams' national anthems, they excused the musicians for the rest of the tournament and replaced them with a tape deck.

POLE POSITION

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It was touch-and-go for a while when an unidentified Russian decided to go for a walk in open country 450 miles east of Moscow. Well into his hike along a railroad track, he saw a pack of wolves approaching - with nothing to offer protection except a signal post. He ran to it, climbed, and hung on until inspectors, who'd been alerted because of interference with a monitoring device, arrived to chase the predators away.

School shootings rank high among news stories of '90s

A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which has measured US public attentiveness to news stories since January 1990, indicates the school shootings in Littleton, Colo., have evoked extraordinary interest. The center's most recent poll of this kind, taken shortly after the shootings, found the percentage of respondents following the tragedy "very closely" (68 percent) only slightly smaller than the percentage that paid similar attention to the Rodney King verdict and subsequent riots in Los Angeles in 1992 (70 percent). The top 10 stories of the '90s, as reflected in the surveys:

1. Rodney King verdict 1992

2. TWA Flight 800 crash 1996

3. Colorado school shootings 1999

4. End of Gulf War 1991

5. Iraq invades Kuwait 1990

6. Hurricane Andrew 1992

7. Floods in the Midwest 1993

8. California earthquake 1994

9. Iraq occupies Kuwait 1990

10. Increase in gas prices 1990

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