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News In Brief

By Compiled from wire service reportsRobert Kilborn and Stephanie Cook / May 14, 2001



BUT, HEY, IT WASN'T LOADED

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Lots of things can land a small-town police chief in hot water, but you wouldn't think running a lonely hearts-type ad would be one of them, right? Wrong, at least in Fred Nichols's case. He heads the force in Shickshinny, Pa., but works long hours, is single, and would like a "caring" relationship with someone of the opposite sex. So he posted his wishes on the Internet. Alas, he included an old photo of himself posing with a personal firearm. The matter now is before the town council for possible disciplinary action. But the ad has been effective. To date, Nichols has had at least 300 responses.

AND CATCH US IN 'SWAN LAKE'

Speaking of weapons, four ballerinas from the Macedonian National Theatre performed last week at an arms-trade fair in the capital, Skopje. But not in tutus. They wore fatigue uniforms and camouflage paint and pirouetted behind a razor-wire fence brandishing pistols and assault rifles. The idea, said their choreographer, "is to advertise guns."

Countries where freedom of press is most threatened

More than one-third of the world's people live in countries where there is no press freedom, the Paris-based Reporters without Borders says. The group compiled a list of 30 nations in which freedom of information is threatened by governments, guerrilla groups, and the like. Selected countries or leaders on the list:

China: President Jiang Zemin's regime has jailed more journalists than any other country.

Iran: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has prodded the courts to close 30 newspapers.

Cuba: Fidel Castro's regime has detained reporters and monitors their telephone calls.

Zimbabwe: Journalists have been murdered or tortured. Bomb attacks twice damaged the independent Daily News.

Russia: A government corporation took over the only independent national TV station; a Moscow daily was shut down.

Malaysia: Media outlets are controlled by the prime minister's allies.

- Agence France-Presse

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor