News In Brief

NOBODY OFFERED HIM A RIDE

For police in Engelen, a town in the southern Netherlands, caution was in order as they crept toward the large, furry figure curled up alongside a road, apparently asleep. It gave every appearance of being a bear. What would it do if provoked? Daring to come closer, they discovered the figure was, indeed, snoozing but wasn't actually a bear. Instead, it turned out to be a 20-something in costume who was hiking home from a party when weariness induced by the consumption of alcohol overtook him.

GO EASIER NEXT TIME, OK?

In York, England, firefighters responding to an alarm raced to a Travelodge hotel, evacuated about 100 people, and searched in vain for flames, or at least smoke. Finally, the cause of the alarm turned up: "over-exuberant use of body spray" in one of the guest rooms, which the wall-mounted detector took as an indication of fire. Said a hotel official: "This is the first time we've come across this problem."

Mid-size cities are leaders in adjusting to information age

The San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, are the US cities best fitted to the knowledge-based "new economy," researchers for Case Western Reserve University and the Progressive Policy Institute have determined. They examined 16 factors, such as the number of patents issued and dotcom domain names - weighing them on a 100-point scale - to determine which areas had best made the transition from a manufacturing economy to one reliant on ideas and information. Medium-size cities scored higher than the largest, such as New York and Los Angeles. The top 10 and their scores:

1. San Francisco 95.6

2. Austin, Texas 77.9

3. Seattle 68.0

4. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. 61.4

5. San Diego 61.4

6. Washington 60.6

7. Denver 58.1

8. Boston 54.0

9. Salt Lake City 49.8

10. Minneapolis 49.0

- Reuters

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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