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The O.J. Simpson trial and who knows how many made-for-TV movies couldn't have taken place without it. So now the commission that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department has decided it's time to find out whether the force's famous acronym also can be a revenue stream. The commission plans to license the logo by the middle of next year to the entertainment industry and clothing manufacturers in hopes of generating royalties. In time, especially via the Web, you may be able to own an LAPD badge or baseball cap.

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Up the coast in Oakland, that city's police were dealing with a financial issue of a different sort. One of them received a paycheck with a face value of $300,000 for two weeks' work. Another drew just $13 for the period. Several fire- and public-works department employees also were affected. The problem was blamed on inadequately trained clerks using - yup - a new Y2K-compliant computer system.

Roads to avoid if you don't have time for a traffic jam

A new study by the private, Washington-based American Highway Users Alliance estimates that a 20-year program to improve traffic flow at bottlenecks nationwide would prevent more than 287,000 vehicle accidents, reduce concentrations of exhaust emissions, and reduce delays by an average of 19 minutes a trip. The study also identifies specific metropolitan areas whose bottlenecks it rates as the US's worst. The top 10:

1. Los Angeles I-405 at I-10

2. Houston US 59 at I-610

3. Seattle I-5 at I-90

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4. Boston I-93 downtown (the "Big Dig")

5. Washington I-495 at I-270

6. Washington I-95 at I-495/I-395 (the "Mixing Bowl")

7. Los Angeles Ventura Freeway at I-405

8. Los Angeles Newport Freeway at Route 22

9. Los Angeles Santa Monica Freeway at I-5

10. Albuquerque, N.M. I-40 at I-25

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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