News In Brief

THINK THAT'S FUNNY, HUH?

George W. Bush may have thought he hit home when he spoke the language of farm country at a Republican presidential debate in Iowa last month. But pig farmers weren't amused with this one-liner: "To get rid of pork, quit feeding the hog." In fact, the National Pork Producers Council, whose headquarters just happens to be in Des Moines, is - well - fed up with its product being used as a synonym for the federal largess that Bush proposes to rein in if elected. "Call it waste, call it excess, call it unnecessary spending," the group scolded him in a letter, "just don't call it pork."

DO ROAMING CHARGES APPLY?

Two brothers may take the prize for using a mobile phone in the most unusual circumstances. Trudging through snow in eastern Turkey, they found themselves surrounded by wolves, news reports say. Thinking quickly, they clambered up a nearby telegraph pole. From there one of them fired up his high-tech wonder, summoning help. All ended happily when police arrived and dispersed the predators with gunshots.

Books, recorded music are top picks for Web shoppers

Despite some widely publicized glitches during the Christmas buying period, 90 percent of online buyers responding to a national survey reported their experiences met or exceeded expectations. Eighty percent said they plan to increase spending via the Web this year, according to research by Cognitative Inc., a San Francisco-based e-business consultant. While products that consumers prefer to touch, smell, or try on before buying are off to a slow start in cyber commerce, books, music, toys, and software especially have flourished. The best-selling products and the percentage of respondents who said they bought them for Christmas 1999:

Books 57%

Music 42%

Apparel 41%

Toys 40%

Software 34%

Electronics 28%

- Business Wire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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