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Do you call hot dogs "tube steaks?" Then you'll appreciate a move by the folks at the California Prune Board to modernize the image of their wrinkly snack food. They're asking the Food and Drug Administration to OK an "alternative name" that will have more appeal to consumers in the 35-to-50 age bracket. Prunes, the petition says, are widely viewed as "a laxative" for the senior set. The new term, if the FDA agrees: "dried plums."

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Trackers of the phenomenon - who you'd think would know - predict that, on Taiwan, mobile-phone users soon will outnumber those who use the traditional telephone. The government's statistics bureau says 1 in 2 Taiwanese already has a cell phone, with the rate growing by 15,000 each day. The traditionalists number 11.9 million; the cell-phone people 10.7 million.

First A-bomb use called the century's No. 1 news story

In a survey released by the Newseum and USA Weekend magazine, 36,151 respondents rated US use of the atomic bomb against Japan in World War II the "story of the century." They cast ballots in the Newseum in Arlington, Va., at its traveling exhibit, on its Web site, or by mail. The results were similar to those of a survey of journalists and historians released in February. Results of the public poll (with the ranking by journalists and historians in parentheses):

1. US drops atomic bomb (1) 1945

2. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor (3) 1941

3. Men walk on the moon (2) 1969

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4. Wrights fly first airplane (4) 1903

5. JFK assassinated (6) 1963

6. Penicillin discovered (11) 1928

7. US women win right to vote (5) 1920

8. US stock market crashes (10) 1929

9. New polio vaccine (21) 1953

10. DNA structure discovered (12) 1953

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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