News In Brief

OOPS, DID I DO THAT?

When a two-ton elephant seal - we'll call him Homer - took up residence recently on a boat ramp in Gisborne, New Zealand, he became an instant tourist attraction. But now Homer is proving less attractive by the day. Lumbering around a parking lot above the ramp, he's approached empty cars, reared up, and crashed down on fenders, bumpers, and mirrors - all, it seems, in an effort to scratch an itch that just won't go away. Other casualties: a trash can, two boat trailers, and a tree. Despite the havoc, it doesn't look like the massive creature will get the boot soon: Nobody has been willing to try to move him.

STILL, IT'S BEST NOT TO CHEAT

The Internal Revenue Service audits mostly wealthy taxpayers, right? Wrong. The audit rate for persons reporting $100,000 or more income in fiscal 1999: 1.15 percent. But for those earning $25,000 or less it was 1.36. Reason: a congressional mandate to chase fraud among the poor seeking federal Earned Income Tax Credit payments, the IRS says.

Newsroom staffs reflect US ethnic mix, but not by much

Daily newspapers in the US now employ more than triple the number of people from ethnic-minority backgrounds than they did in 1978, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) reports. But because the minority population in the US has grown rapidly since then, their numbers relative to their proportion in society at large have improved only slightly, the ASNE found in a survey of almost 1,000 dailies. Minorities make up about 12 percent of news staffs, but more than 28 percent of the population. Some other findings and the percentage for each:

Blacks working in newsrooms 5.3%

Asian-Americans 2.3

Hispanics 3.7

Percentage of minority employees who are supervisors 19.0

Percentage who are reporters 50.0

Percentage who are photographers 14.0

Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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