News In Brief


On the island of Gigha, off the coast of Scotland, Seamus McSporran has announced he's ready to retire. So what, you ask? Well, in a population of just 120 people, this figures to cause all sorts of problems. McSporran holds no fewer than 14 jobs - among them postman, constable, fire chief, harbormaster, school bus driver, taxi operator, insurance agent, innkeeper, gas station attendant, and undertaker. It is, McSporran says, "time to make way for a younger man - or men."


Catering company employee Pamela Crack was at home doing some housework in South West London when the phone rang. The caller: movie star Dustin Hoffman, and, no, he didn't have the wrong number. Hoffman was in her husband's taxi en route to do a little shopping and had just learned that she is a devoted fan. So he suggested calling her. No word on how long they chatted, but the experience left her "flabbergasted."

Southwest is first, United last in annual airline survey

In June, US airlines are due for a congressional review of how they're implementing a new consumer bill of rights. But if the just-released results of an annual study are any indication, the carriers have a lot of work to do. Based on Transportation Department data, the report found consumer complaints were up 130 percent in 1999 - and that on-time performance and denied boardings continued to be problems. In fact, only baggage handling showed improvement. How the report, which was compiled by two researchers from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Wichita (Kan.) State University, ranks the 10 big US airlines:

1. Southwest

2. Continental

3. Delta

4. Northwest

5. Alaska

6. US Airways

7. American

8. America West

9. TWA

10. United

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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