News In Brief

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YOU"RE A NUISANCE ...

Geese may be beautiful to look at, but anyone who lives near them can tell you another story. They're known for slowly crossing busy roadways, and they can inflict heavy damage on cropland. But the Department of Agriculture has found a new weapon to chase the critters away: lasers. Its biologists shot beams across Pennsylvania's Lake Galena (pop. 17,000 geese), and virtually all of them cleared out - for a while, anyway. For you ethicists out there, the biologists swear the lasers only disrupt geese habits and pose "absolutely no harm" to the birds.

... BUT I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU

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And here's a tale - or should that be tail? - about another of nature's creatures: a blind cod that keeps ending up in the net of Norwegian fisherman Harald Hauso. "He's found out that it's an easy place to find food," Hauso says. Now, a marine park in Aalesund has offered the safety of an aquarium. "It'll be a good place for him," the fisherman says, "to be a pensioner."

Laughing off Y2K bug: Study finds most states coped well

Eleven states have earned a B+ or better on a biennial report card that rates how their governments have managed the information technology systems that deliver vital public services, despite alarm over potential Y2K computer problems. The grades are based on a survey by Governing magazine and the Government Performance Project at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. It found 23 states improved from the last time the survey was conducted, in 1999. Alabama brought up the rear. But its C- was an improvement over the D it was awarded previously. The states at the head of the class and their grades:

Michigan A-

Utah A-

Washington A-

Delaware B+

Iowa B+

Kentucky B+

Maryland B+

Missouri B+

Pennsylvania B+

South Carolina B+

Virginia B+

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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