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News In Brief

By Robert Kilborn and Judy Nichols / July 5, 2000



OH, NO, IT COULDN'T HAVE!

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There are major security lapses, such as when US secrets disappear from a nuclear weapons lab. And then there's what happened to Bloomsbury PLC, publisher of the hugely popular Harry Potter childrens' series. Release of Book IV, set for Saturday, had been so closely guarded that senior staffers needed written permission even to look at an advance copy. Alas, it was all for naught. The Sunday Times of London reports two copies inadvertently were sold to a customer in a Washington suburb, one of which ended up as a gift for young Laura Cantwell. "I am," she says, "very lucky."

BESIDES THAT, IT WAS TIRING

By all accounts, Eddie McGettigan's dip in the Irish Sea was quite an ordeal. He encountered schools of jellyfish and severe drops in water temperature en route to the first reported 40-mile swim from County Wexford to Wales. Alas, he wore a wetsuit - a no-no as decreed by long-distance swimming authorities for consideration in setting a record.

And still the champ: Canada again rated best place to live

Canada isn't keeping quiet about its position atop the UN Human Development Report. In fact, the province of Ontario is using the nation's statistical rankings in commercials to attract business. But Canada, which has ranked No. 1 for seven consecutive years, isn't the only country with something to brag about in the 2000 report. Norway, for example, clinched the top spot in an accompanying "gender empowerment index," which measures opportunities for women. Following are the top countries in the overall survey, which ranked 174 nations according to income, healthcare, life expectancy, and educational levels:

1. Canada

2. Norway

3. US

4. Australia

5. Iceland

6. Sweden

7. Belgium

8. Netherlands

9. Japan

10. Britain

- Reuters

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society