News In Brief

KEEP A SHARP EYE OUT

At what must be no small expense, two Britons are preparing a serious research study in the remote South Atlantic that, they hope, will answer one of the intriguing questions of our time: Do penguins topple over backward while watching aircraft fly above them? Scientists reportedly are skeptical, but military pilots with experience in the region swear it happens. The study is to be conducted on South Georgia Island near Antarctica, home of perhaps 400,000 of the flightless birds. Losing balance could be a problem if they land on nests of incubating eggs.

ONE IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER

A suburban Chicago couple plans to keep a new Ford Explorer they're being awarded even though they'd just bought one. No, they're not greedy. It seems they took the original, purchased from a rental agency, in for service because the windows were stuck. Mechanics discovered the door panels were stuffed with packages of narcotics. The SUV was impounded as evidence.

Luxury models score best in vehicle dependability survey

If you don't want to spend a lot on car repairs down the road, you may have to buy a pricey vehicle. In effect, that's what an annual survey by J.D. Power & Associates found. The market researcher studied what 28,415 drivers of 1996 models had to say about problems they've experienced with their vehicles. Lexus scored as needing the fewest repairs - as it had for the five previous years. Among the 10 makes that rated the best, seven are luxury makes. The top rankings, part of J.D. Power's 2000 Vehicle Dependability Study, along with the number of problems per 100 vehicles for each manufacturer:

1. Lexus 216

2. Porsche 220

3. Infiniti 245

4. Toyota 299

5. Acura 304

6. Jaguar 308 (tie) Mercedes-Benz 308

8. Honda 318

9. Lincoln 337

10. Buick 340

- Business Wire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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