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By Compiled from wire reports by staff / January 6, 2003



To protect and to be seen

Say you're driving in Sweden and violate local laws regulating the operation of motor vehicles. What's going to pull you over? It may not be a familiar blue-and-white police car, but one sporting a zippy blue-and-yellow design. The makeover, which at first will involve only a few vehicles, is aimed at avoiding collisions. In tests, "scientists have found that this combination gives maximum apprehension to the human eye," says police spokesman Per Waerdig. He dismisses any hint of nationalism in a color scheme that echoes the Swedish flag, noting that some British police districts also have blue-and-yellow cars.

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Bye to Cherie, hello Saddam

Whom would Britons most like to see leave the country? According to a BBC poll, it's none other than Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair. She's been embroiled in a scandal over business ties to a man convicted of fraud. The top choice for honorary citizenship, meanwhile, is opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (Myanmar). Iraq's Saddam Hussein placed fifth. "He will cause far less problems where we can keep an eye on him," said one voter.

Quote of the Day

'This roar became louder and louder and louder ... and I look out and there is a 747.'

- Honolulu high-rise resident Ana Marie Vaisanen, describing her close encounter with a China Airways Boeing 747 as it flew within 30 feet of her building on Saturday.

By wide margin, Texas leads states in capital punishment

Of the 38 states that permit capital punishment, 13 exercised the option in 2002. That's the lowest such tally since 1993, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. The group, which opposes capital punishment, said 71 inmates were executed last year, up from 66 in 2001. Texas carried out the most executions, with 33, while Maryland joined Illinois in imposing a moratorium on the practice. The states that carried out the death penalty in 2002, and their respective totals:

Texas 33
Oklahoma 7
Missouri 5
Georgia, Virginia 4
Ohio, South Carolina, Florida 3
Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi 2
California, Louisiana 1

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