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The petition needed just 3,700 signatures to become eligible for next year's general election ballot. Activists canvassed the city of 55,000 for months, soliciting residents to lend their support. Yet, the effort to turn Santa Cruz, Calif., into an official "hate-free zone" fell hundreds of names short - a victim, concluded organizer David Silva, of apathy. City council now will be requested to decree what can't be achieved at the ballot box. Asked for comment, Silva said: "They didn't exactly hate the idea, but they didn't exactly love it, either."

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Outside Paderborn, Germany, last week emergency crews were called out to make the highway passable again. No, it wasn't because of early snowfall. A truck carrying 16 tons of apples had overturned, covering the road with mush four inches deep. The workers used plows and shovels - but apparently not spoons.

Four 'Bible belt' states found to have high divorce rates

Nevada's divorce rate led the nation last year, newly reported Census Bureau data show. But four so-called "Bible belt" states - Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma - rounded out the top five. The divorce rates in these states were roughly 50 percent above the US average of 4.2 per 1,000 people. Why so many? Experts cite low household incomes (Oklahoma ranks 46th; Arkansas 47th) and a tendency for couples to marry at young ages. States with the most and fewest divorces per 1,000 people (data for California, Colorado, Indiana, and Louisiana were not available):

Highest rates

1. Nevada 8.5

2. Tennessee 6.4

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3. Arkansas 6.1

4. Alabama 6.0

(tie) Oklahoma 6.0

Lowest rates

42. Maryland 3.2

43. New Jersey 3.1

44. Connecticut 2.9

45. Massachusetts 2.7

46. New York 2.5

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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