News In Brief

OOPS DID I DO THAT?

In a quiet way, it may have been as disconcerting an experience as any that a world leader has ever had. The scene: Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, where visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder was paying the customary solemn tribute to Jewish victims of World War II. He was to turn a handle that would make the monument's eternal flame burn higher. Instead, it went out. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak stepped up to help, but to no avail. The moment was saved by a technician, who used a gas lighter to reignite the flame.

OK, WE'LL GET RIGHT ON IT

Speaking of visiting world figures, "everyone here was on panic alert," said a source at St. James's Palace in London. Why? Because of a phone call from the Czech Republic, where Britain's Prince Charles was "in a bit of a tizzy." It seems his hosts couldn't find a jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise for his favorite egg sandwiches. He wanted one flown over immediately. It was.

Hong Kong leads ranking of world's freest economies

For the sixth time in seven years, Hong Kong has won the claim to "world's freest economy" in a report by The Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation. Overall, the analysis found, 70 countries expanded economic liberties during the past year while 52 others imposed new restrictions. The biggest gain was by Thailand, which climbed to 27th place from 46. But the report revealed there's still plenty of room for improvement, with 81 economies designated as "mostly unfree" or "repressed." The places or nations awarded a "free" ranking:

1. Hong Kong

2. Singapore

3. Ireland

4. New Zealand

5. Luxembourg

(tie) US

7. United Kingdom

8. Netherlands

9. Australia

(tie) Bahrain

(tie) Switzerland

12. El Salvador

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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