News In Brief

HEY, KEEP YOUR MITTS OFF

Ever been in a restaurant and overheard a loud argument between the couple at the next table? Now the results of a new survey may help you understand what probably led to the hard words. Ready for this? It's the filching of French fries by the woman from her male partner's plate. Said a spokeswoman for the study published in London's Daily Mirror: "I suspect men will never understand" why women choose not to order the crisp potato strips but then help themselves unbidden to those served to their companions. Women, as she put it, "just want to dip in and out."

WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?

A carpenter from Cardiff, Wales, is miffed at the British transportation/entertainment/ construction conglomerate Virgin Group. The company wrote to Roger Virgin, insisting he stop calling his one-man business Virgin Building Services. They've compromised - he'll change his advertising to "R. Virgin, proprietor" - but he wants an apology. "They can't," he says indignantly, "stop me from using my name."

Newest trend for vacations: Keep them short and sweet

Over the past decade, Americans have shaved nearly a day off their average annual vacation time in favor of taking shorter and more frequent trips,

results of a recent study by the World Tourism Organization show. In fact, when it comes to time off, Americans are surpassed by much of the industrialized world. Long weekends now amount to more than half of all leisure travel in the US, which has led the travel industry to respond by offering more three- to five-day tour packages. Here's a look at the time off that workers worldwide average each year:

Italy 42 days

France 37 days

Germany 35 days

Brazil 34 days

Britain 28 days

Canada 26 days

South Korea 25 days

Japan 25 days

US 13 days

- Los Angeles Times

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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