News In Brief

TAKING A BABY STEP

What critics call the feminization of the armed forces is well under way in Sweden. As part of a general introduction of new uniforms for the services there, a maternity tunic will be provided for pregnant women in the officer corps. Sweden has 352 women officers; it's not known how many of them are expecting. It would seem an obvious point, but the military specifies that the maternity uniform is not meant to be worn "in action."

HEY, WHO ARE YOU CALLIN' BIG?

Speaking of women's clothes, an academician has managed to anger females across the north of England with his fashion survey for the famous retailer Marks & Spencer. Prof. Stephen Gray of Nottingham Trent University found "there are more sales opportunities for very large women in the north" than in London, where there's more "peer pressure to be slim." Letters to the newspaper reporting the study - at least those that could be printed - called Gray's remarks "insulting" and "outrageous."

Cartoon characters that score with young TV-viewers

Scooby-Doo is the coolest character on the Cartoon Network. That's the finding of "Cartoon Campaign 2000," in which a whopping 800,000 kids voted for their favorite animated figures from a field of 50 candidates. Viewers, who voted via toll-free numbers and an online polling station, also liked characters original to the cable channel, like the Powerpuff Girls. But it's worth noting that the kids didn't get to choose Disney heavyweights like Mickey Mouse, who don't have air time on the Cartoon Network. The top picks:

* Scooby-Doo

*The Powerpuff Girls

* Bugs Bunny

* Dexter (of "Dexter's Laboratory")

* Space Ghost (of "Space Ghost Coast to Coast")

* Courage (of "Courage the Cowardly Dog")

* Ed, Edd 'n Eddy (of cartoon of the same name)

*Sylvester & Tweety

* Tom & Jerry

* The Flintstones

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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