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More than two hearts were enflamed as a couple became engaged on the night of Nov. 13 near Medford, N.J. The groom-to-be - we'll call him Clifford - bought enough bales of hay to spell "Marry Me Ruth" and paid $200 more to rent a plane. As he and the lady flew over the bales, friends were to illuminate them with car headlights. But the pals didn't arrive on time, so Clifford's brother, Ric, did the next best thing: He set the hay on fire. Fortunately for Clifford, Ruth saw the message and said "yes." Unfortunately for his brother, the flames also ignited surrounding vegetation. Firemen put out the blaze. But Ric was arrested, and Clifford had to put up additional money - for that other type of bail.

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If there really are Martians, the townfolk of Bedlington, England, would like them to come for a visit. The chamber of commerce there sought - and won - the US space agency's permission to send a CD-ROM guide to local attractions aboard its Mars 2001 Lander Mission.

Booking a commercial flight in Asia Dec. 31 will be tough

Most Asian airlines, despite claims of being Y2K-compliant, are cutting back flight schedules at the end of the year out of concern about computer glitches at home or at neighboring countries' airports. Last week, Thai Airways International became the latest of the region's carriers to cancel such flights, as government officials reversed a previous decision to fly boldly into 2000. Malaysia Airlines is the only Asian national carrier planning to maintain its full international schedule Dec. 31-Jan. 1. However, a final say on the matter won't be announced until Nov. 30. Asian airlines that have cancelled at least some scheduled flights shortly before or after midnight Dec. 31:

EVA Airways, Taiwan

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong

Japan Airlines

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Korean Air Lines

Philippine Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Thai Airways International

- Deutsche Press Association

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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