Etc...

It's not like I'm a terrorist

For 40 years, Richard Albert has been attending church services on Sundays in the next town up the road from his home. Now, he finds out, being so faithful could cost him $10,000. Why? Well, it seems Albert lives in rural northern Maine, 30 yards from the border with Canada. In fact, his house stands beside a US Customs station - and therein lies the problem. The station is unstaffed on Sundays ... except for a video camera. Twice last month it caught him returning from St. Pamphile, Quebec, home to his church, relatives he enjoys visiting, and the stores where he shops. But reentering through closed checkpoints is no longer allowed under federal policy, and he has been notified by mail that he owes a $5,000 fine for each violation. "You feel ... Big Brother is controlling you, and you can do nothing about it," the lumber company employee told journalists. He has appealed to US Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine for help and has been told to expect a final decision in his case within 60 days.

If you never care to go home again, think Australia

If people choose not to live in their own countries, then where are the best places for to take up residence? Well, how about Australia? A survey by the business information arm of Britain's Economist magazine, which ranks 130 urban areas around the world acording to such criteria as safety, health, culture, and infrastructure, lists no fewer than five Australian cities among its top 10. The highest-rated US city: Honolulu (19th). The list:

1. Melbourne, Australia (tie) Vancouver, British Columbia (tie) Vienna
4. Perth, Australia
5. Geneva
6. Adelaide, Australia (tie) Brisbane, Australia (tie) Copenhagen, Denmark (tie) Montreal (tie) Olso, Norway (tie) Sydney, Australia (tie) Zurich, Switzerland

- Economist Intelligence Unit

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