News In Brief

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

From Norwich, England, comes word that one of the oldest grievances in organized labor history was settled this week - 236 years after being filed. It seems the Careful Society of Lamp-lighters - what passed for a union in those days - demanded a bonus of one farthing each for keeping the streets lit over Christmas 1765. And didn't get it. So the General Municipal & Boilermakers (GMB), the union that today represents the nation's four remaining "lamp attendants," pressed the claim with British Gas. The payment, adjusted for inflation: $6.12 per man. Said a GMB spokesman: "It's a bit of fun, not a serious industrial dispute."

SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE

Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" alone attracts 5 million visitors a year to the Louvre in Paris. Too many, officials have concluded, to give each of them enough time to fully contemplate her enigmatic smile. Thus, the museum has decided to build a separate room just for the 500-year-old masterpiece.

Pennsylvania tops ranking of energy deregulation plans

California's power crisis, which has been going on for weeks now, is blamed in part on a flawed deregulation plan. Even so, the state ranked 13th - up from 16th - in the nation (counting the District of Columbia) in establishing a competitive electric industry. The retail energy deregulation index, released by the not-for-profit Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets of Burke, Va., puts Pennsylvania at No. 1 for the third consecutive time. The states at the top and bottom of the index:

Best

1. Pennsylvania

2. New York

3. Maine

4. Maryland

5. New Jersey

Worst

51. Alabama

(tie) Louisiana

(tie) Minnesota

(tie) Mississippi

(tie) Nebraska

- Reuters

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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