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Is that you, Dad?

You know, Tony Abbott would sometimes think to himself as a sound technician was attaching a microphone to his lapel for news conferences, that young fellow looks a lot like me. But then Abbott, who is Australia's minister of health, would turn his attention to something else, and the moment would pass. Until recently, that is, when Daniel O'Connor, an employee of the Australian Broadcasting Corp., approached him privately and brought up the subject himself. So the two men arranged to sit down for a chat. And guess what? There's a good reason why they saw a resemblance in each other after essentially working side by side for the past three years. It turns out they are father and son. Abbott and the young man's mother gave him up for adoption in 1977, just five days after he was born, and all contact between them was lost. "I was flabbergasted," Abbott told journalists of their discovery. "Truth is stranger than fiction."

Ah, the country life! Rating the top rural areas in US

If you're looking for a pastoral retreat, a place to get away fom the hubbub of urban life, Fauquier County, Va., may deserve a look. Progressive Farmer magazine has selected it No. 1 in a list of the top 10 places to live in rural America. Fertile fields and close proximity to the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains are part of what make the county attractive, plus it's only a 45-minute drive west of Washington, D.C. But there's the rub: Fauquier County is growing pricier and more crowded. The average income of residents is $67,000, and the population of 62,992 grew by 11 percent between 2000 and 2003, making it one of the fastest-growing in the US. Progressive Farmer's choicest rural locales:

1. Fauquier County, Va.
2. Oconee County, Ga.
3. McPherson County, Kansas
4. Callaway County, Mo.
5. Grafton County, N.H.
6. Gillespie County, Texas
7. Sauk County, Wis.
8. Wilson County, Wis.
9. Eagle County, Colo.
10. Rankin County, Miss.
- Associated Press

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