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News In Brief

By Compiled from wire service reportsRobert Kilborn and Judy Nichols / February 22, 2001



MAYBE HE WASN'T HUNGRY

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Police in Omaha, Neb., are investigating - you should pardon the expression - a meaty mystery: What sort of thief would steal a whole truckload of ground beef when all he may have wanted was the tractor? A possible answer: One who soon discovered his booty wasn't prime steaks. A rig loaded with 43,334 pounds of the stuff disappeared from a packing company last Sunday afternoon. Not 24 hours later, the $25,000 cargo and the $44,000 trailer it was in were found abandoned behind an auto body shop. The search is on for the culprit and for the tractor, which may be worth more than the two combined.

BUT HOLD THE PICKLES, OK?

Then there's the Burger King outlet in Cranbrook, British Columbia, whose 35-pound inflatable rooftop Whopper disappeared a week ago - at a loss of $2,600. It, too, has turned up, but only after the owner offered a year's supply of free burgers to whoever provided information on where to find it. The two people who did directed that the prize go to local schools.

Inventors keep US No. 1 in filing for patents, study finds

A whopping 38,171 applications for patents were filed last year by inventors in the US, maintaining what has become an annual lead over the rest of the globe, according to a new report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an arm of the UN. In fact, for each of the past 10 years, the top three filing nations have been the US, Germany, and Japan, the report by the 109-member group said. The top 10 for 2000, the number of patent applications filed from each, and its percentage of the world's total, according to the WIPO:

1. US 38, 171 42.0%

2. Germany 12,039 13.2

3. Japan 9,402 10.3

4. Britain 5,538 6.1

5. France 3,601 4.0

6. Sweden 3,071 3.4

7. Netherlands 2,587 2.8

8. Switzerland/Liechtenstein 1,701 1.9

9. Australia 1,627 1.8

10. Canada 1,600 1.0

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society