News In Brief

the burger kings?

let's say you're in the hamburger business and calculate that you'll sell 2 million in a weekend. But demand turns out to be twice that. That's great, right? Not for McDonald's Corp. To mark its 25th year in England, the fast-food chain offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal on Big Macs. Company officials, however, seriously underestimated the appetite of customers, and at least 50 outlets couldn't honor the commitment. Long lines of people left empty-handed and unhappy. In some cases, police had to keep order. Now McDonald's is offering something else: profuse apologies in full-page newspaper ads all over the country.


So far, each time high-profile British transportation tycoon Richard Branson has attempt-ed the first nonstop round-the-world flight in a hot-air balloon, he has come up short - most recently on Christmas Day, when he landed in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii. Indeed, that may have set the tone for the rail service his company operates back home. Virgin Trains has apologized and offered compensation to riders who were left 88 miles shy of their destination on a trip from Newcastle to Bristol when the locomotive ran out of fuel.

California projected to lose white majority by mid-2001

California will have no racial or ethnic majority by mid-2001, according to projections released late last month by the state Department of Finance. The forecast showed Caucasians making up 49.7 percent of the population by July 2001, compared with about 51.5 percent last year. Looking even further into the future, the agency said that by 2040 whites would no longer even be the state's biggest group. Hispanics will then make up nearly half of the population, followed by Caucasians at 31.3 percent. The agency's population forecast for various groups in July 2001:

Caucasians 49.7%

Hispanics 31.3

Asians/Pacific islanders 11.7

Blacks 6.7

Native Americans 0.6

- Reuters

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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