etc...

THE SYSTEM SEEMS TO BE SHOT

In a hotel in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, last week a conference on alcohol abuse was plunged into darkness, without warning, and attendees could do little but take a break until power was restored. So what, you ask? Well, only that the reason for the loss of electricity was that a group of men returning from what must have been an unsuccessful hunting trip decided to use the ceramic insulators on Bishkek's high-voltage power lines for target practice. Yes, they had been consuming considerable quantities of adult beverages.

I GUESS THAT WAS DUMB, HUH?

Then there's the Ecuadorean immigrant whom firefighters rescued from a trash chute in his Stockholm apartment building. He was there in the first place because the basement collection bin was locked and he was desperate to retrieve a beloved sweater his wife had tossed out. Alas, he couldn't get close enough to reach it. Nor could he climb back up the chute, even using knotted bedsheets lowered to him. In the end, though, he got the garment back. How? The bin was unlocked for him.

Magazine names its choices of best US cities for women

Some are known for their universities, others have female mayors. Educational achievements and the presence of women in government were two of the criteria used by the Ladies' Home Journal in determining the 2002 edition of its annual "Best Cities for Women" list. Others: the quality of child care, crime and divorce rates, and commute times. The magazine's top five, for big and small cities:

Population above 300,000

1. Virginia Beach, Va.

2. Boston

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

4. Austin, Texas

5. Arlington, Texas

Fewer than 300,000

1. Madison, Wis.

2. Alexandria, Va.

3. Ann Arbor, Mich.

4. Stamford, Conn.

5. Irvine, Calif.

- PR Newswire

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