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HOW MANY FLATS IN C MINOR?

In the US, music critics complain regularly about pop singers who are big on style but thin on substance. In Iran, on the other hand, they're actually doing something about it, according to the Tehran newspaper Entekhab. Cultural police in the Islamic country, already known for its government's opposition to rock, are giving pop-star wannabes a "two-stage test." To be examined: knowledge of music theory and - oh, yes - vocal ability. "Pop music must be reformed," the newspaper quotes Hossein Mojaradi of the "music evaluation center" as saying. "There are a lot of incompetent singers out there."

WE HAVE OUR PRIORITIES

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Japan lays claim to inventing all sorts of high-tech gadgets, including Walkman personal stereos and compact discs. But in a recent survey by the Fuji Research Institute, those products aren't close to what respondents picked as the nation's best exports of the 20th century. The winners? Instant noodles, followed by karaoke.

Ranking the most powerful people in the world of sports

For only the second time in putting together The Sporting News annual list of the most powerful sports figures, an active competitor has been ranked No. 1. The last active athlete on whom that status was conferred - pro basketball star Michael Jordan in 1997 - fell to No. 52 now that he's a team executive. The Sporting News top 10:

1. Tiger Woods, pro golfer

2. Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, NFL

3. Rupert Murdoch, chief, News Corp.

4. David Stern, commissioner, NBA

5. Philip Knight, chief, Nike Inc.

6. George Steinbrenner, owner, New York Yankees

7. Mark McCormack, chief, International Management Group

8. Bud Selig, commissioner, Major League Baseball

9. August Busch IV/Anthony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.

10. Dick Ebersol, chairman, NBC Sports

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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