News In Brief

WELL, THAT DESSERT BOMBED

It's not yet known how brisk the sales of traditional Christmas pudding were in Britain this year, but if they tailed off at the end, blame The Sun, London's colorful tabloid newspaper. Why? Because it warned in last Thursday's edition that the sugar, water, and fruit constituting most of the ingredients in the treat can react violently, explode, and cause a fire if warmed too long in a microwave oven. Said a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: "It seems comical, but they could ... leave a big hole in the festivities."

I JUST HAD TO FIND OUT

There are foolish people, and then there's the teenager in Belfort, France, who didn't quite trust the dealer from whom he'd just bought a stash of marijuana. The buy went down outside a supermarket, so the youth walked in and carefully emptied the stuff onto a scale in the produce department to determine whether he had been shortchanged. An alert clerk watched him, then telephoned the police. Yes, there was an arrest.

American attitudes vary in giving, receiving holiday gifts

Gift-buying is an inexact science. Tastes vary; so do spending practices. Example: according to results of a survey conducted prior to Christmas by mass retailer JCPenney, 11 percent of women shoppers acknowledged planning to spend more money on presents for their pets than for their spouses. The department store chain asked 300 women ages 25 to 54 about their ideas on buying, giving, and receiving. Selected questions from the survey, and the percentage of respondents who said they agreed with each:

I'll start shopping earlier next year 50%

I'll spend more on my pet(s) than on my spouse 11

I will return an unwanted gift as soon as possible. 31%

I probably will keep an unwanted gift. 48%

I will recycle an unwanted gift by giving it to someone else 36%

I would like a sports car as a gift 17%

PRNewswire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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