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WE CREAMED 'EM

In Syracuse, N.Y., at least, Federal Express no longer has any competition. Not in the package delivery business, where there are formidable rivals such as United Parcel Service. No, we're talking copyright infringement here. It seems Fed Ex finally has triumphed in its three-year legal battle against a local coffee shop. First, the latter called itself Federal Espresso. Forced into a change, the owners then came up with Ex-Federal Espresso. The shipping giant still wasn't amused. Now, the two have reached a settlement, and the java business will adopt the name Freedom of Espresso.

THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES

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Even Vice president Al Gore pokes fun at himself for being, in the words of caricaturists, as wooden as a tree. Since the same can't be said of his GOP presidential rival, George W. Bush, maverick filmmaker Michael Moore is attempting the next best thing. Moore spearheads Ficus 2000, a tongue-in-cheek campaign that offers potted trees to oppose Republican congressional candidates in 13 states.

Asia, Africa, leading the charge in population growth

World population, already at 6 billion, will hit 9 billion by 2050, according to the projections of the private Washington-based Population Reference Bureau. Less-developed countries, it found, account for 99 percent of global growth. Whereas women in, say, Eastern Europe, average only 1.2 children in their lifetimes, the average soars to 5.8 in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the fastest-growing major region in the world. The Population Reference Bureau's projected list of the 10 most populous countries over the next half-century:

1. India 1.6 billion

2. China 1.3 billion

3. US 404 million

4. Indonesia 312 million

5. Nigeria 304 million

6. Pakistan 285 million

7. Brazil 244 million

8. Bangladesh 211 million

9. Ethiopia 188 million

10. Democratic Republic

of the Congo 182 million

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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