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NEXT TIME, CALL A LOCKSMITH Say this much for Sean Barry; he made the job of the police in Chandler, Ariz., much easier. Barry, a restaurant waiter, was fooling around with a pair of handcuffs at a private home in the Phoenix suburb and decided to put them on his own wrists. Oops, no key; he couldn't get them back off. So he phoned the local station house for help. A routine computer check before officers responded found an outstanding arrest warrant because Barry had skipped out of a court appearance. Yes, the cuffs were eventually removed - once he'd been taken to jail.

YOU HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE, TOO Heading to Britain to see the sights this year? Then it might interest you to know that - of the top 21 tourist attractions there - Buckingham Palace was ranked in a survey of earlier visitors as ... No. 21. Its public rooms were "sterile," reports the magazine of the British Consumers Association. Sniffed a spokesman for the royal family: "Buckingham Palace is not a theme park. It is also not a museum."

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Indiana city ranks No.1 in affordable-housing survey Kokomo, Ind., was the most affordable US housing market in the final quarter of 1998, according to the National Association of Home Builders' housing opportunity index. It measures the percentage of homes in a market that a median-income family there could afford. San Francisco ranked last. In the final quarter of 1998, families earning San Francisco's median income - $68,600 - could afford to buy only 19.9 percent of the homes sold in their city. In Kokomo, 92.3 percent of homes sold were affordable for families earning median incomes of $50,800. The index's top 10:

1. Kokomo, Ind.

2. Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis.

3. Baton Rouge, La.

4. Springfield, Ill.

5. Rockford, Ill.

6. Anchorage, Alaska 7. Binghamton, N.Y. (tie) Wilmington/Newark, Del.

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9. Utica/Rome, N.Y.

10. Des Moines, Iowa

- PR Newswire

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