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From Nora Knight's perspective, the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken fiscal frugality too far. Like many other retirees, she was indignant at the meager $1.09 increase in her weekly state pension. So she reurned her check for that amount in protest. This week, she told a London newspaper it came back - cancelled. Someone in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's office had cashed it.

ITS ROOTS GO DEEP

Descendants of the famous often fall into obscurity. Case in point: a fixture on the campus of Washington State University at Tri-Cities. After years of going unnoticed, an offspring of the apple tree whose fruit reputedly inspired Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation in 1666 finally has been acknowledged with a historical marker. The "tree from a tree from a tree from a tree" as a spokesman put it, was grown from grafts of the original in Woolsthorpe, England, and was donated to the school in 1987.

Cities where there may be too much new construction

New office buildings often are a sign of a booming economy. But some people think there could be too much of a good thing. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., for one, has expressed concern that banks are loosening credit standards too much as they loan money for construction - which could mean being unprepared for losses if the economy stalls. In its latest quarterly report, the FDIC updated its list of metropolitan areas identified as at risk for overbuilding commercial properties. Those areas, in alphabetical order:

Atlanta

Charlotte, N.C.

Dallas

Denver

Fort Worth, Texas

Jacksonville, Fla.

Las Vegas

Orlando, Fla.

Phoenix

Portland, Ore.

Sacramento, Calif.

Salt Lake City

Seattle

-- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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