News In Brief

DOES THIS MEAN I'M HIRED?

Alberto Cupido was enjoying a performance of "Aida" from his seat at the opera house in Parma, Italy, when the tenor singing the lead role lost his voice. With the production in jeopardy - and in composer Giuseppe Verdi's hometown, of all places - Cupido was asked to come to the rescue. He'd never sung the part before, but since he's also a tenor, he agreed to help. In street clothes and holding a copy of the score, he finished the show - to a standing ovation.

BUTTE WAS ALREADY TAKEN

Next week, commissioners in a central-Montana community are due to consider changing the reasoning behind their city's name. Currently, it's a tribute to a frontier Army major. But since famous explorer Meriwether Lewis passed through the area in 1805, there's sentiment for honoring him instead. Either way, the city will remain ... Lewistown.

Hey, big spender! Lobbies with loosest purse strings

For the first half of 1999, interest groups and corporations spent $697 million lobbying members of Congress and federal agencies - often on opposite sides of the same issue. For example, the American Medical Association and the US Chamber of Commerce each invested more than $8 million in influencing positions on how much managed-care health organizations should be regulated, according to a report by FEC Info, an Internet data base that tracks such spending. The top 10 lobbies and what they spent (in millions) between January and July:

1. American Medical Association $8.8

2. Chamber of Commerce of the USA 8.4

3. Philip Morris Management Corp. 7.5

4. Edison Electric Institute 5.5

5. Boeing Co. 4.9

6. Sprint Corp. 4.6

7. National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare 4.2

8. Ford Motor Co. 4.2

9. General Electric Co. 4.1

10. American Hospital Association 4.0

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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