News In Brief

SORRY, NEVER HEARD OF YOU

You've seen Luciano Pavarotti on TV, right - or at least in pictures? Heavy-set fellow. Round face. Short, black beard. It's not as though the world-famous opera star is easy to miss. Unless, that is, you're a desk clerk at the Sheraton hotel in Padua, Italy, the tenor's homeland. Pavarotti was in town to collect an award for his work and believed he had a room booked. But he couldn't produce an ID, was turned away, and had to seek accommodations elsewhere. Said a Sheraton executive: "Unfortunately, we are required by law to ask patrons for ... valid identification."

IN THE NEXT BLOCK, MAYBE?

Then there's Johannes Rau, who was not recognized by a boy on the street in a neighborhood in Berlin. But because the German president looked friendly, the youngster asked if he could provide directions to the nearest public rest room. Rau, who was arriving for a meeting, said he was sorry he couldn't. But he did give the lad his autograph.

Ranking states that are the most hospitable to women

For women, there are no better states in which to earn a living, enjoy full health and well-being, participate in the political process, or have their reproductive rights safeguarded than Vermont and Connecticut, results of a new annual study suggest. The nonprofit, Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, which began measuring social and economic indicators in 1996 as they apply to females, surveyed all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Bringing up the rear: Mississippi, although the report maintains "women have not achieved equality with men in any state...." The top finishers as rated by the institute, an affiliate of George Washington University:

1. Connecticut

(tie) Vermont

3. Washington State

4. Hawaii

5. Colorado

(tie) Minnesota

(tie) New Hampshire

8. Alaska

Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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