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News In Brief


Perhaps you remember: An item in this space last November described a research study to determine whether penguins topple over backward while watching airplanes fly above them. Two British scientists traveled to sub-Antarctic South Georgia Island to check out such a claim by pilots with experience in the region. Well, they're back home now, and guess what they discovered. There may have been changes in the behavior of the flightless birds as aircraft passed over at varying altitudes and speeds. But "not one" of them fell.

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Four more days, and the winner of the Czech Republic's answer to "Survivor" will be known. Only, the contestants - originally eight men and six women - aren't fending for themselves out in some wilderness; they're cooped up in the 800-square-foot window-display space of a shopping mall where the public can watch them 24/7. The winner collects $7,000. Said a spokesman for the sponsor, a radio station: "Boredom is part of the game."

Police cited most often as community problem-solvers

President Bush's plan to make federal money available to faith-based charities is a rethinking - albeit controversial - of how to deal with social problems. Although it doesn't address the plan specifically, a new study by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change helps to put the initiative in a useful context. The survey of 1,830 adults considers how communities deal with issues such as illegal drugs and affordable healthcare. Cited most often among 15 possible problem-solvers were local police; the federal government ranked 14th. The percentage of respondents who viewed the following as effective problem-solvers:

1. Local police 58%

2. Churches, synagogues, and mosques 56%

3. Nonprofit organizations (Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc.) 53%

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4. Friends and neighbors 51%

5. Local government officials 43%

6. School boards 38%

7. Local businesses 36%

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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