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I JUST CALL 'EM AS I SEE 'EM

The bill being considered in Britain's House of Commons already was controversial when Conservative Party legislator Graham Brady rose to add his voice to the debate. And, politics aside, he wasn't far from the truth when he quipped, "I smell a rat in this legislation." It turns out he'd just spotted such a rodent scurrying across the floor. The rat quickly became the center of attention, dodging would-be captors before it headed for the basement. Parliament has long experienced problems with invading vermin from the nearby River Thames.

OH, GO AHEAD; HELP YOURSELF

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It may be awhile before Canary Islands officials try their next tourism promotion in Madrid. This week's was a smash, but hardly a success. They brought along tons of bananas to build a pyramid in the main square, then offered them free to the public. But as they watched, aghast, the takers lost patience waiting for the giveaway to start. Hundreds broke ranks, toppling the pyramid and squashing much of the fruit before order could be restored.

Much of the world is upbeat about 2000, survey finds

More than folks anywhere else, Nigerians think 2000 will be better for them economically than 1999, a global survey by GIA, a London-based group of market researchers, found. But as a region, the Americas were the most bullish, with four countries from the Western Hemisphere finishing in the top 10, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch of Horsham, Pa., which helped conduct and release the study in the US. The nations most optimistic about 2000 and the percentage of respondents in each who thought so:

1. Nigeria 85%

2. Venezuela 76%

3. Malaysia 70%

4. Chile 66%

5. Panama 65%

6. US 62%

7. Georgia 60%

(tie) Hong Kong 60%

(tie) Thailand 60%

10. Pakistan 59%

- PR Newswire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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