News In Brief

OH, WERE YOU IN A HURRY? Criticism of China's human rights record so far hasn't extended to the commercial aviation industry. But for the folks aboard a flight from Shanghai to Beijing last month, perhaps it should. As we pick up the story, 252 passengers aboard the plane have been kept waiting at the gate for two hours. They inquire about the delay and are told the Air China jet cannot take off without certain government officials who happen to be running late. When the bureaucrats finally show up, they're booed off the plane. But for spite, they order their drivers to block it from leaving, extending the delay by another half-hour.

HIGH OVERHEAD Scotland's new Parliament, it turns out, will come with an extra cost: added staff for Balmoral Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II says she'll need to spend more time. She's asking for a pay hike of $4.9 million a year beginning in 2001 to offer the new employees competitive wages. Her compensation last year: $70 million.

More US cities file lawsuits against gunmakers, dealers St. Louis and Detroit are the latest US cities to file lawsuits against gunmakers, gun sellers, or their related trade associations in an effort to recover municipal costs of investigations, prosecutions, or other activities relating to the misuse of firearms. In addition, the City Council in Cincinnati, Ohio, voted late last month to follow in their footsteps. Some municipal officials blame the industry for routinely violating laws against selling weapons to minors and to individuals with felony records. In St. Louis, Mayor Clarence Harmon says gunmakers should build into their products some safety measures that would reduce gun violence. The first eight cities to file such suits (in alphabetical order):

Albany, N.Y.

Bridgeport, Conn.





New Orleans

St. Louis - Reuters

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