Etc...

You'll pay for this!

Have you bought one of those pricey new high-definition TV sets yet? If so, you may be able to relate to Cai Ai-lan. She has taken the government of Hong Kong to small claims court because hers was destroyed by ... a monkey. Cai watched in horror as the critter invaded her apartment last September and knocked the unit to the floor, and now she wants $3,850 in compensation. So, what does this have to do with the government, you ask? Well, she alleges that animal-control officers, in trying to capture the monkey - one of hundreds that live in the wild on the Kowloon Peninsula but sometimes turn up in residential neighborhoods - chased it into her home instead. Should she lose her lawsuit, however, Cai is ready in case this happens again. She has replaced the HDTV set with a conventional, bulky, and much heavier, model.

Hailing a cab? Plan to pay the driver with a $20 bill

Taking a taxi in New York can be a cheap thrill. Not just because it can be roller-coaster scary riding one of the 12,187 cabs in the nation's most congested city, but also because the fare is a relative bargain. Do you doubt that? Check the list below of the highest rates in the US, as compiled by Schaller Consulting of Brooklyn, N.Y., which researches urban transportation issues. Notice what's missing? Yep, New York. Even after a 26 percent increase takes effect next month - the first in eight years - the Big Apple will move up only to sixth place, from the current 14th, with an average fare of $8.65. What a taxi ride costs these days in major US cities, based on a 2.8-mile trip that includes 4.77 minutes of waiting time while the meter runs (but not counting a tip to the driver):

1. San Francisco $10.85
2. Honolulu 10.58
3. Boston 10.18
4. Las Vegas 9.30
5. Los Angeles 9.19
6. Houston 8.40
7. Atlanta 8.08
8. Detroit 8.05
9. Miami 8.03
10. Chicago 7.77

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