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NOT AS STRONG AS IT LOOKED Ever been to a museum and seen those "Please Keep Off" signs? Here's why they mean what they say: Experts at Canada's National Gallery in Ottawa may need years to restore a $35,000 exhibit entitled "Inquisitor's Dictionary" after it was smashed to pieces by a young visitor. The child climbed on the glass-and-wood piece for a better look, causing it to collapse. No injuries, but gallery officials were trying to decide how to explain the situation when they contact the artist, who's now in Spain.


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But an equally young British boy is a hero because he got a good look at a TV program that taught how to build igloos. He and his father survived a heavy storm that trapped them on a mountain hike earlier this month. Rescuers found them 17 hours later - cold but well - huddled in a structure they'd made from blocks of snow.

Tokyo, Hong Kong lead world in living costs, survey finds

Twice a year, cost-of-living rankings of more than 150 cities are prepared by Corporate Resources Group of William M. Mercer Cos., a global consulting firm. In assessing relative living costs, researchers consider a "basket" of goods and services that includes housing, food, clothing, utilities, transportation, and entertainment. In the current study, prepared last fall, the gap between the most- and least-expensive cities widened to 143.8 index points, compared with 114 points in a spring 1998 survey. Researchers use the living costs in New York (ranked 16th most expensive) as the base for their index, assigning the city 100 index points. The 10 most expensive cities and their relative costs expressed in index points:

1. Tokyo 165.50

2. Hong Kong 153.30

3. Beijing 152.10

4. Osaka, Japan 144.40

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5. Shanghai, China 140.30

6. Moscow 128.30

7. Guangzhou, China 121.20

8. London 112.40

9. Shenzhen, China 109.10

10. Seoul, South Korea 107.90

- PR Newswire

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