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News In Brief

By Robert KilbornLance Carden, and Ross Atkin / December 27, 1999



RELAX. WE'RE ON THE CASE

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For months, the US and other governments have been trying to reassure people that their computer systems are adjusted for any glitches that the arrival of 2000 may bring. But the award for most imaginative technique may go to the government of Thailand. It's shipping professionally recorded jingles to radio stations in the hope they'll be aired as public service announcements. One, in part, goes: "It's Y2K, are you OK? It's Y2K, we're OK!" Program directors, no doubt, are finding time in their schedules as we speak.

THEN THEY'LL HAVE BREAKFAST

Speaking of Y2K, the very first people to see it in may be a parachute team. For charity, a US policewoman, a Scottish couple, and three New Zealanders plan to leap from a plane over the International Date Line at sunrise Jan. 1 - 4:34 a.m. They're to be pulled from the South Pacific by boats 12,000 feet below after a 15-minute descent. All are veteran skydivers, chosen from applicants around the world.

Nordic legislatures dominate in survey on gender equality

In Stockholm, women fill more than 42 percent of the seats in parliament, making Sweden No. 1 in a ranking of nations on the basis of their legislative gender equality at the end of the millennium. The list, based on a recent survey, was compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an association of national legislatures. With women holding 13.3 percent of seats in the House of Representatives, the US is No. 43 among reporting countries. The Top 10 as of December 1999 (with percentages of women in single-house parliaments or in the lower house of bicameral legislatures):

1. Sweden 42.7%

2. Denmark 37.4%

3. Finland 37.0%

4. Norway 36.4%

5. Netherlands 36.0%

6. Iceland 34.9%

7. Germany 30.9%

8. South Africa 30.0%

9. Cuba 27.6%

10. Vietnam 26.0

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society