News In Brief


In Sunderland, England, merchant Steven Thoburn is in trouble for dealing in pounds ... and not the kind with the queen's picture on them. Thoburn, who operates a market stall, has had his scales seized by the trading-standards police and is being prosecuted for violating the metric system. It seems he has been selling his wares in ounce increments rather than in grams. What's more, he has thousands of signatures on petitions of support. His trial, believed to be a first in Britain for such an offense, is set for mid-January.


In the market for a good novelty CD? Then you may want to pick up a copy of one recorded in Thailand and due out next year. It features such cuts as "Happy Birthday to You" and "Chang, Chang, Chang." An ensemble of five performers play the angklung, a bamboo percussion instrument they shake in succession. No name for the group yet, but its musicians are a bit out of the ordinary. They're elephants.

'ER' is the No. 1-rated show for first week of TV sweeps

Television will be closely watched this month - and not just because of the election results. It's also a sweeps period, when ratings are used to set advertising rates. For the first week, NBC emerged No. 1, averaging 13.2 million viewers in prime time - followed by ABC, CBS, and Fox. The top 10 shows Oct. 30-Nov. 5, with the number of households (in millions) viewing each:

1. "ER," NBC 18.5

2. "Friends," NBC 15.6

3. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS 14.2

(tie) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Wednesday), ABC 14.2

5. "Monday Night Football: Tennessee at Washington," ABC 14.1

6. "Will & Grace," NBC 13.3

7. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Tuesday), ABC 13.1

8. "The West Wing," NBC 13.0

9. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Sunday), ABC 12.8

(tie) "The Practice," ABC 12.8

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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