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DO YOU SEE A PATTERN HERE? "This is one of the more fun things that can happen," an official at Memorial Hospital in Beloit, Wis., said after circumstances caused Mary Wadle's delivery first to be moved up, then delayed. As it happened, her baby arrived at 9:09 a.m. last Thursday, which was 9/9/99. Of course, the story wouldn't be complete unless Nicholas Stephen Wadle weighed in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces. He did. Since no room with the vital number on it was available, mother and son were given 2115, whose digits add up to - right - 9.

WE DIDN'T REALLY MEAN IT Flag-burning may be the most clichd form of political protest. But in Jakarta, children of Indo-nesian soldiers killed in East Timor applied a twist to theirs. They torched Australia's ensign to show anger over that country's heavy criticism of the way Indonesia has handled the Timor cisis. Then they offered the Australian Embassy staff a new one as a gesture of friendship. It was accepted.

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MindSpring rated best of big Internet-service providers In a recent national survey of customers of large US Internet-service providers (ISPs), MindSpring was ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction. The poll included the nation's seven largest ISPs, which account for over half of the nation's residential subscriptions. Three - AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy - were rated below the industry average and their scores were not released by J.D. Power and Associates, the California research company that conducted the survey. The four ISPs that scored above the industry average of 100 points - and the four factors cited by the highest percentage of respondents as the likely to make them switch their service providers:

Top-rated providers

1. MindSpring 118

2. Earthlink 110

3. AT&T WorldNet 107

4. Microsoft 103

Why people might switch

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1. Connection speed 81%

2. Price 68%

3. Ease of use 57%

4. Quality of e-mail service 51%

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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