News In Brief

THEY'RE CONTENT TO WAIT

Counting this one, there are three days 'til Christmas, right? Not for the people of Foula; they have 15. That's because the folks who inhabit the remote island off the north coast of Scotland still use the Julian calendar, which places the yule on Jan. 6. Not that it's much of a deal there. Foula has no stores in which to buy gifts. There's a church, but it has no pastor and none is expected from the mainland in January to conduct services. As for Y2K, it arrives Jan. 13. A few newer residents brought with them the tradition of celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve in December. But, said a just-as-happy-sounding oldtimer: "It hasn't caught on."

WE'll BE HERE FOR YOU

In Norfolk, England, Les Parrett's Christmas cards are on their way to the recipients - known crooks. No, he isn't a partner in crime; he's the police chief. The cards wish happy holidays, but not at the cost of any burglaries or car thefts. And, they say, the cops welcome any who'd like to inform on another wrong-doer.

'Stuart Little' towers over competition at box office

"Stuart Little," the film version of E.B. White's classic about a talking mouse adopted by a human family, topped the movie charts in its weekend debut. Family-themed films dominated the top 10, with "Toy Story 2" and "Bicentennial Man"also among the first five. Audiences are expected to continue to flood theaters through the year-end holidays, pushing annual box-office receipts beyond $7.5 billion, far above last year's record $6.9 billion. Movies reaping top grosses at North American theaters Dec. 17-20 (in millions):

1. "Stuart Little" $15.0

2. "The Green Mile" 12.6

3. "Toy Story 2" 12.1

4. "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" 8.3

5. "Bicentennial Man" 8.2

6. "Anna and the King" 5.2

7. "The World is Not Enough" 4.0

8. "End of Days" 3.0

(tie) "Sleepy Hollow" 3.0

10. "The Bone Collector" 1.0

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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