News In Brief


"I flipped it over and saw the name - Rodin," said Joan Comey-Smith. "I thought, 'I know that name.' " That was just before she paid $1.99 at a Fort Myers, Fla., thrift shop for a small drawing of a dancing girl. "It's got to be a copy," she reasoned. Still, she took her purchase to one of those TV antiques shows on which guest experts offer their opinions for free. The judgment: It's an original by Auguste Rodin, the 19th-century French artist best known for his statue, "The Thinker." She now plans to auction it for something closer to its appraised value - $14,000.


Jesse Ventura isn't yet off the hook for telling a whopper on his radio show last week. The Minnesota governor became fair bait after claiming credit for catching a large pike during the taping of an ice-fishing segment for ABC-TV's "The View." Ventura said a "gubernatorial command" made the fish attack his line. But a spokesman later admitted the pike was really a prop caught by a local angler.

What Americans believe the US's top priority should be

Democrats and Republicans agree that improving public education should be a top priority in 2000, as indicated in a national survey of 1,000 adult Americans last month by the Pew Research Center. But beyond the top five concerns, respondents differed sharply on what the nation's top priorities should be. While 70 percent of Democrats favored regulating health-maintenance organizations (HMOs), for example, only 45 percent of Republicans did. The survey results, with the percentage identifying each issue as a top priority:

1. Improving educational system 77%

2. Keeping economy strong 70

3. Reducing crime 69

(tie) Securing Social Security 69

5. Securing Medicare 64

6. Regulating HMOs 56

7. Dealing with problems of the poor 55

(tie) Providing insurance to uninsured 55

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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