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By Compiled from wire reports by staff / December 19, 2002



Now, where to park it?

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Ninety feet: It's the distance from home plate to first base. And now, if you can imagine, it's also the measure of what may be history's longest bicycle. Last week in the Netherlands, mechanical engineering students Jan Bart Brink and Teije Meier displayed for a crowd the aluminum two-wheeler they built themselves. Then they hopped on and rode it more than 100 yards to qualify for a new listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. Four years ago, an Italian team rode the current standard-bearer: an 83-1/4- foot-long bike. But that one needed 40 people to pedal.

We're bound to get a few

Speaking of Guinness, the keeper of records has decided it's time to go looking for more of them in the place with perhaps the most untapped potential: China and its 1 billion people. The London-based institution has contracted with a Shenyang publisher to review applicants for future editions of its best-selling annual book. Already, one Chinese has served notice that he intends to be heard from. Oh, his category? Bungee-jumping from helicopters while in flight.

A pooled resource: ranking world's water-rich nations

When it comes to water, Finland is the world's "richest" country, according to a new ranking by the World Water Council, a nonprofit think tank based in Marseille, France. In preparation for a global forum in Japan next March, the group rated 147 nations on five hydro-criteria: resources, access, capacity, use, and environmental impact. The US ranked 32nd overall, but last in efficiency of use. The top and bottom five on the Water Poverty Index:

1. Finland
2. Canada
3. Iceland
4. Norway
5. Guyana
143. Malawi
144. Eritrea
145. Ethiopia
146. Niger
147. Haiti - Reuters

Quote of the day

'It's like a mad scientist's unfinished thesis.'

- An unidentified diplomat from one of the 10 nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council,

which received heavily redacted versions of Iraq's required report on its weapons programs.

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