News In Brief

GO AHEAD: GET TOUGH ON US

Next time you're in Bangor, Maine, pay particular attention to the taxis. Why? Because if Steve Klimas has his way, they'll be the nicest around. On grounds that it takes only one or two "beat up" cabs to give visitors a poor impression, Klimas is asking City Council to ban those with dents larger than six inches across, rust spots more than an inch long, missing trim or hubcaps, and cracked windshields. Oh, yes, and loose debris in "the passenger area." And he owns a cab company. But the measure is up against some stiff opposition. The restrictions are stricter than those on vehicles in the city's own motor pool.

PAINT HAS DRIED FASTER

Alas, if you've never been to Boissevain, Manitoba, for the Canadian International Turtle Derby, it's our sad duty to inform you that you just missed the last one. After 30 years and hundreds of races, the Derby was terminated last weekend. For the record, the fastest champion in pageant history burned up the 25-foot track in 16 seconds.

How US's major cities rank as engines of commerce

Economic vitality may not end at the city limits, but cities surely have played a significant role in America's recent prosperity, and mayors have the numbers to prove it. According to a US Conference of Mayors report, the country's 319 largest metro areas accounted for 85 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) and 84 percent of jobs during the 1990s. New York's economy alone was the 14th largest in the world - bigger even than Australia's. Top US cities, according to their GDP, or value of goods and services, in billions of dollars:

1. New York $437.8

2. Los Angeles/ Long Beach, Calif. 363.7

3. Chicago 332.8

4. Boston 238.8

5. Washington 217.0

6. Philadelphia 182.4

7. Houston 177.5

8. Atlanta 164.2

9. Dallas 160.0

10. Detroit 156.3

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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