Etc...

Got any made of steel?

Some folks say they can't live without a cellphone, but Naoaki Miyazaki means it. The supermarket employee in Nagoya, central Japan, and two colleagues were robbed of $90,000 one night. They chased the thief, who opened fire, striking Miyazaki. His cellphone caught the bullet, and he caught the gunman.

Pigeons put on a diet

The battle over the pigeons of London's Trafalgar Square looked set for a peaceful solution after the city's mayor announced a plan for a gradual reduction in feeding the birds. City officials have agreed with animal rights campaigners to introduce a phased feeding program to reduce their numbers. Under this plan the public will be banned from giving the pigeons large amounts of food.

City authorities had banned vendors of bird seed from the square and last fall, Mayor Ken Livingstone even sent in falconers to scare the birds off. But campaigners accused him of condemning the pigeons to death by starvation and said they must stay because they are a big tourist attraction.

Quote of the day

'Our capital [punishment] system is haunted by ... error in determining guilt, and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die.'

- Gov. George Ryan (R) of Illinois, on commuting the sentences of all 167 of the state's death-row inmates.

A tough year for arts as states face budget crises

Hawaii is the most generous state when it comes to arts spending per capita, alloting more than four times the national average of $1.22. Colorado and Texas spend the least, according to a study by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Many states, facing deepening deficits, have slashed funding, with more cuts expected. The top and bottom five states in arts funding per capita for fiscal 2002-'03:

1. Hawaii $5.14
2. Connecticut 2.97
3. New York 2.71
4. Minnesota 2.53
5. Michigan 2.37
46. Tennessee 0.41
47. Montana 0.37
48. Oregon 0.32
49. Texas 0.26
(tie) Colorado - Denver Post

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