Call it a quick fix

A couple of weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin made headlines around the world with what has become an annual tradition: a live, nationwide TV appearance in which he takes three hours' worth of questions submitted from all parts of his sprawling nation. For instance, he told his audience that he doesn't favor attempting to amend the Constitution in a way that would allow him to seek a third consecutive term after he leaves office in 2008. Less newsworthy, however, was what happened shortly after the broadcast ended. From a rural region came a complaint by a retiree that she had to carry fresh water home in buckets because of a lack of plumbing. Putin sympathized with her plight, and within hours $2.8 million had been allotted to deal with the problem and a work crew was on its way to her.

Mighty Trojan gridders not even close to win record

Maintaining a long winning streak in sports is never easy. Case in point: the University of Southern California football team. Last Saturday the Trojans, national champions or co-champions the last two seasons, had to erase an 18-point halftime deficit to defeat Arizona State, 38-28. It was their 28th consecutive victory. Friday they play host to the University of Arizona in Los Angeles before taking on Notre Dame Oct. 15 in South Bend, Ind. If USC wins these games, it still barely approaches the University of Oklahoma teams that won a record 47 straight in the 1950s. The longest major-college football winning streaks, with the teams and years, from the 2005 NCAA Football Record Book:
Oklahoma, 1953-57, 47
Washington, 1908-14, 39
Yale, 1890-93, 37
Yale, 1887-89 37
Toledo, 1969-71, 35
Miami (Fla.), 2000-03, 34
Pennsylvania, 1894-96, 34
Oklahoma, 1948-50, 31
Pittsburgh, 1914-18, 31
Pennsylvania, 1896-98, 31
Texas, 1968-70, 30
Miami (Fla.), 1990-93, 29
Michigan, 1901-03, 29

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