News In Brief

AW, WE FORGOT THE CRUMPETS

On a blanket at the edge of a meadow ... with a few friends on the patio - people hold tea parties in all sorts of places. But atop a hot-air balloon 500 feet off the ground? Yes, if the party-goers are Rob Oliver, Ross Taylor, and Julian Saunders. In a stunt for the Tetley Group at Melbourne, Australia, the veteran rock climbers sat lashed to chairs on a platform, sipping the sponsor's brand as photographers recorded the event. It is being submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for confirmation as a first.

I'M READY FOR A HOT SHOWER

Then there are the two Canadian couples who've just ended a year-long experiment to see if they could carve out and maintain a homestead on the Manitoba prairie under conditions as they'd have been in 1875. They did, for $65,000 in prize money from a TV show. Now they're back among their cars, running water, and other modern trappings. But, said one: "It doesn't smell the same."

Tracking the population loss in midsize American cities

Hartford, Conn., experienced the US's biggest population drop over the past decade, according to 2000 Census Bureau figures of cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Several cities with big declines simply lost residents to the suburbs. Cities that had the greatest percentage declines in 10 years (with current populations in paratheses):

1. Hartford, Conn. (121,578) - 13%

2. St. Louis (348,189) - 12.2%

3. Gary, Ind. (102,746) - 11.9%

4. Baltimore (651,154) - 11.5%

5. Flint, Mich. (124,943) - 11.2%

6. Buffalo, N.Y. (292,648) - 10.8%

7. Norfolk, Va. (234,403) - 10.3%

8. Syracuse, N.Y. (147,306) - 10.1%

9. Pittsburgh (334,563) - 9.5%

10. Cincinnati (331,285) - 9.0 %

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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