News In Brief

YOU CAN TURN OFF THE METER

A taxi driver on I-70 in Kansas almost had a sheriff's deputy convinced nothing was amiss. Yes, the cab was from California, but his passenger had negotiated a $2,500 fare from Los Angeles to Cincinnati. But then, the deputy asked for a look at a TV set the passenger was transporting and found 10 pounds of marijuana hidden inside. The discovery landed the rider in jail - although the cabbie apparently was unaware of the cargo, so he was released with his impounded taxi later that day. No word on its next destination.

OH YEAH, FORGOT ABOUT THAT

At first, public officials in Ottawa County, Mich., were sure some of their 911 phone lines weren't working because they had been slammed. That is the term for switching service by a long-distance carrier without customer permission. But then, an investigation revealed that one of their own had made the swap in a move to cut costs. Fortunately, emergency dispatch operations weren't seriously affected.

Slaving over a hot dinner: Few bother to do it anymore

In today's up-tempo economy many Americans have little time in their schedules for meal preparation - at least Monday through Friday. Indeed, results of a new survey of 2,000 households by the Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, which specializes in consumer behavior research, show that 44 percent of weekday meals are fixed in 30 minutes or less. Because of such conveniences as micro-wave ovens, NPD found, this also has implications for devices used in meal preparation. Some examples of items common to kitchens last year as opposed to just three years before, in percentage terms:

1996 1999

Frying pan 97% 94%

Sauce pan 96 92

Roasting pan 62 57

Mixer 89 81%

Electric bread

baker 15 28%

Electric rice cooker 8 12%

Coffee grinder 18 22%

Espresso machine 6 9

- Business Wire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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