Startled motorists and bystand-ers watched last Sunday as police in India's Rajasthan state chased a man in a Jeep along the national highway before collaring and hustling him off to a local precinct house. There, he was questioned for hours as word spread and a crowd gathered outside. So, had he been breaking the speed limit? Driving while intoxicated? Perhaps he'd left the scene of an accident? None of the above, actually, and the authorities ended up red-faced over the whole thing. Reason: In turban and flowing beard, the fellow was an Osama bin Laden look-alike. But he turned out to be the son of an employee of an American company.
Remember how, during the Gulf war, the name of choice for boy babies in parts of the Middle East was Scud, after the missiles used by Iraq? Now, from Turkey comes word that the Interior Ministry has been asked to decide whether officials in the city of Trabzon were overzealous in refusing to let two local couples name their newborn sons Osama. Turkey, although predominantly Muslim, is a member of NATO and a backer of the US-led campaign against terrorism.
For the third straight year, the Honda Insight, a gas-electric hybrid, is ranked the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the road, averaging 64 miles per gallon, according to the Environmental Protection Agency/Department of Energy study of 2002 vehicles. But despite such efficiency, American drivers are still opting for SUVs and minivans, causing the overall fuel mileage in 2001 to fall to 20.4 miles per gallon, the lowest in 20 years. The most fuel-efficient cars, followed by their average miles per gallon:
Honda Insight 64
Toyota Prius 48
Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta Wagon, Golf, New Beetle 45 each
Honda Civic HX 39
Toyota Echo 37
Toyota Corolla 36
Honda Civic 36