News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols and Noel Paul

SO GIVE HIM AN A-MINUS

If you were among those concerned about Askar Akayev's bid for reelection as president of Kyrgyzstan, you can relax now. The ex-Soviet republic's elections commission has announced that Akayev can, in fact, read and speak Kyrgyz, the official national language. The commission subjected him to a 2-1/2-hour exam to determine whether he met that new constitutional requirement to seek the office. In other former republics, the political leaders still speak only Russian nine years after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Akayev did make "a few" punctuation and spelling mistakes, however.

HEY, PUMP UP THE VOLUME!

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Last weekend's concert by Def Leppard at the Oregon State Fair wasn't meant to be free. But it turned out that way for 700 fans who paid their way into a hall in Salem. Because of a noise ordinance, the heavy metal band was forced to play at too quiet a level for most in the crowd to hear. The band and fair split the $14,000 cost of refunded admissions.

Companies rated as the friendliest to working moms

For the 15 years that Working Mother magazine has published a list of the top 100 employers for moms, IBM has been a constant. And all but twice, it's also been among the magazine's 10 "standout" choices. This year, once again it's on that select list because the number of female executives who work at the company worldwide has almost tripled - from 185 to 540. In addition, IBM recently announced a $50 million global fund for so-called "work-life programs" in communities where employees live. The standout list (in alphabetical order), published in the magazine's October issue, which hit newsstands Tuesday:

Allstate Insurance

Bank of America

Eli Lilly

Fannie Mae

IBM

Lincoln Financial Group

Life Technologies

Merrill Lynch

Novant Health

Prudential Financial Services

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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