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The family channel?

the scene: St. Petersburg, Russia. The problem: too much TV-watching. The solution: cutting way back on the hours spent in front of the set. Sounds like what can happen in any family setting, right? Right. Except that the members of the family in this case aren't people; they're orangutans. Rabu and his mate, Monika, two of the St. Petersburg Zoo's prize attractions, produced their first offspring back in November. To promote good parenting habits, the zoo keepers came up with the bright idea of showing mom and dad videos of exemplary orangutan behavior. But the move backfired. Rather than growing closer, the apes soon became so engrossed in the tube that they ignored each other. They'll still be shown the videos, an official says - just not as often.

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West keeps setting the pace for US population growth

The Bureau of the Census has released estimates of US population growth for the year ending July 1, 1998. Once again, the West - with a population increase of 1.6 percent - was the fastest-growing region. The South grew by 1.3 percent, the Midwest 0.4 percent, and the Northeast 0.3 percent. While Nevada's growth rate slowed, it remained the fastest-growing state for the 13th consecutive year. California, the most-populous state, grew 1.5 percent, its highest rate since 1992 and well above the US rate of 1 percent. The fastest-growing states in each region and their percentages of growth:

West Nevada 4.1 % Arizona 2.5 Colorado 2.0

South Georgia 2.0 Texas 1.9 Florida 1.6

Midwest Kansas 1.1 Minnesota 0.8 Indiana 0.6

Northeast New Hampshire 1.1 New Jersey 0.7 Massachusetts 0.5

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