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CARRY ON; I'LL BE BACK SOON

You've seen those TV commercials in which a stuck-in-traffic business person whips out a cellphone to work on what he or she can't get to the office to do? That wouldn't have helped a substitute controller last Wednesday at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's busiest. As we pick up the story, the stand-in was getting nowhere fast en route from home when the only controller on duty needed to take a break, leaving the tower unattended. Incoming flights were forced to circle for about half an hour, although officials insisted no one was in danger.

WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME

Recommended: Default

Also on Wednesday, in the Italian Riviera town of Ventimiglia, a fellow whom we'll call Alfredo earned his driver's license. So what, you ask? Well, only that he did so on what was to be his final try. In 15 years, he failed more than 60 tests, forcing him to get around via motor scooter. Alfredo said he told the examiner beforehand: "If it goes wrong again, I'm used to it by now."

Americans no longer quite so upbeat, Monitor poll finds

Americans are feeling increasingly pessimistic about their quality of life, presidential leadership, and the US's economic situation, results of a new Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll show. The national outlook index, which measures views of the country in six areas, slipped 9 percent from 56 in February and March to 51 in April. A reading above 50 is considered an optimistic view, while below 50 is pessimistic. The index is based on a nationwide survey of 949 adults between April 6 and 10, with a 3.2 percent margin of error. Measurements in the six key areas in the poll:

Mar. Apr.

Presidential leadership 65 56

Direction of country 59 52

US standing in the world 56 49

Quality of life 63 59

Economic optimism 54 52

Morals and ethics 38 37

- The Christian Science Monitor/ TIPP; TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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