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When an emergency aid package arrives for North Koreans this week, it likely will be music to their ears - in more ways than one. To help the famine-stricken country, a South Korean charity bundled up a few predicable basics, like flour. But also rounded up was something quite out of the ordinary: at least 10 karaoke machines. They were collected by electronics traders who hoped to "contribute to inter-Korean reconciliation."

CAN'T READ 31/12/00

Thought the Y2K bug had been exterminated long ago? Apparently not. The computer glitch struck a Norwegian railroad company - a year late. None of the company's high-speed or express trains would start Dec. 31 because computers didn't recognize the date. As a temporary solution, engineers reset

'Cast Away' helps push box office to record year

The box office finished 2000 with a bang. During the final weekend, the top 12 movies grossed an estimated $128.5 million, up 24 percent from the same period in 1999. The finish helped push revenues for the year to a record $7.7 billion. But 2000 wasn't perfect: The box office sagged during the summer, and movie attendance is estimated to have fallen as much as 3 percent. The top films (in millions) at North American theaters for the extended New Year's weekend, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Inc.:

1. Cast Away $40.0

2. What Women Want 26.4

3. Miss Congeniality 19.2

4. The Family Man 16.7

5. The Emperor's New Groove 14.7

6. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas 9.0

7. Vertical Limit 8.3

8. Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000 7.3

9. Dude, Where's My Car? 5.8

10. All the Pretty Horses 4.9

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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