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NEXT, I'M HIRING SKYWRITERS

When last we looked in on the Turkmenistan President Sapar-murat Niyazov, his two-hour address to the nation - on the spiritual code that every citizen should live by - was being rebroadcast every Monday night on state TV and also was due out in book form. Well, it now appears to have found its way into yet another medium - and an unlikely one, at that. Thirty-nine women and one man recently completed a one-ton, 3,200-square-foot carpet into which were woven excerpts from Niyazov's opus.

GET RICH, QUICK

"When I looked at it later, I thought, 'That's not right,'" Susan Anderson said. What wasn't? Well, the check she was issued by Halifax Bank, from which she'd sought a billpayer loan. The Gloucestershire, England, resident wanted $5,700. What she got was $12.5 million. The bank's slogan: "Always giving you extra." Yes, a computer error was at fault. Still, the single mother told reporters: "In my head, I've been 'round the world 20 times spending it. I could do some serious damage to money of that kind."

US cities short on children: San Francisco leads the list

San Francisco was the only major US city over the past decade to add population overall while seeing a decline in the number of children, according to the Census Bureau. In the process, the City by the Bay passed Seattle as the least likely to have households with kids. Only 14.5 percent of San Francisco's population is under 18, compared with 25.7 percent of the US population as a whole. Major cities with the fewest children, and the percentage in each, according to the census:

1. San Francisco 14.5

2. Seattle 15.6

3. Boston 19.8

4. Washington 20.1

5. Portland, Ore. 21.1

6. Denver 22.0

7. Nashville, Tenn. 22.1

8. Austin, Texas 22.5

9. San Diego 24.0

10. Columbus, Ohio 24.2

- Associated Press

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