News In Brief

IT WAS A BANG-UP TIME

If you haven't heard, July 4 turned out to be a real blast for a Kansas City resident and some friends. As we pick up the story, their early start on the holiday was annoying neighbors, who asked police to restore order. To hide from the cops the fireworks that they hadn't yet set off, one in the group stuffed them in the oven. There they remained, forgotten, until the homeowner decided to warm some lasagna - since everyone by now had worked up an appetite. You can see where this is going, right? Right. The resulting explosion shattered the kitchen. Yes, adult beverages were involved.

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ANALYZE THIS

Eyebrows went up - way up - when Britain's prestigious Cambridge University drew not on Shakespeare's "King Lear," or "Othello" or "Hamlet" in assigning a senior-year final exam on tragedy, but on The Bee Gees pop group. Students had to probe the meaning of such lyrics from a 1979 hit as "It's tragedy ... when you lose control and you got no soul."

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Diplomats or scofflaws? A new crackdown in New York

In 1997, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) almost caused an international incident by vowing to pull the driving privileges of foreign diplomats who owed the city for parking tickets they hadn't paid. Ultimately, in the face of UN intervention, he backed down. But now, as his term nears its end, Giuliani issued a new threat aimed at consular officials rather than those attached to the UN: the seizure and auctioning of vehicles accumulating at least $230 in fines each over the past two years. This, despite State Department warnings that if the city follows through with the plan, US diplomats abroad could face retaliation. These consulates owe New York more than $500,000 each:

Brazil

Egypt

Indonesia

Kuwait

Morocco

Nigeria

Russia

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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