Just ignore that rattle, sir

Few, if any, world leaders are as heavily protected as Israel's prime minister. So imagine the surprise of his guards when they discovered that each car in his fleet had been riding for months on a frame whose front beam was cut in half. No, not in a sabotage attempt. The mechanics who sawed though them did so to install an undisclosed security device and just never repaired the damage . So, for now, Ariel Sharon and his entourage travel in backup vehicles. At no time, an aide insists, was Sharon in danger.

Fact or fiction: what moms say they want kids to read

A classic or two probably ought to be on every summer reading list - a point that 1,100 mothers made in a recent poll conducted by Country Inns & Suites, a lodging chain based in Minneapolis. Familiar titles such as "Charlotte's Web" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" highlight the chain's Children's Summer Reading survey, which asks mothers to select their favorites for children. The company tries to encourage guests to read by letting them borrow books free of charge. It donates $5 to the nonprofit group ProLiteracy Worldwide when a book is returned on a subsequent visit. The 10 titles that respondents said were their favorites for children:

1. "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White
2. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling
3. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl
4. "Goosebumps" by R.L. Stine
5. "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder
6. "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis
7. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
8. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
9. "The Boxcar Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner
10. "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume

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