etc...

AND CAN YOU DO IT BY JULY?

Drawing on all his persuasive talents, Joshua Lipshaw stood before the Oakland County (Mich.) Board of Trustees and said: "This is an old law, so I think you should look at it again." The appeal seems to have worked: The solons voted unanimously to draft an amendment to the existing ordinance and ordered a police report on the safety implications of complying with the petitioner's request. Oh, in case you were wondering, Joshua is 9, and he wants to lift a 50-year ban that keeps ice cream trucks off local streets.

THANKS, YOU'VE BEEN TERRIFIC

In North Korea last week, an official ceremony was held to celebrate the newest Hero of the Republic. It featured the presentation of a "gold star medal" and the "order of the national flag - first class," according to the official state news agency. So who exactly joined the pantheon led by the late Kim Il Sung, the communist state's founding father? Wrong question. Instead of a human, the hero is a 15-ton stamping machine at the July 15 Railway Factory. For 30 years it has helped to produce "many parts necessary for the industrialization of the country."

Countries with highest and lowest life-expectancy rates

The Japanese have the world's highest "healthy life" expectancy rate, at 73.8 years, according to new figures released by the UN's World Health Organization. Average healthy life expectancy in the US was 67.2 years. But war-wracked Sierra Leone fell to the bottom of the list with an average of 29.5 years. Nations with the lowest and highest rates of healthy life expectancy, followed by the number of years the average person expects to live:

Highest

Japan 73.8

Switzerland 72.1

San Marino 72.0

Andorra 71.8

Lowest

Sierra Leone 29.5

Malawi 30.9

Mozambique 31.3

Rwanda 31.9

- Associated Press

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