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IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A JOKE

Since last week's terrorist acts, what do you suppose airline pilots talk about in their communications with each other? Well, probably not the idea that one in India left for a colleague in the form of a cellphone message. The gist of it: In return for a substantial sum of money, Pilot No. 2 should join Osama bin Laden's ranks. Unhappily for the sender, he inadvertently placed the call to a wrong number, and it was quickly referred to police. Ultimately, the two were permitted to go after almost 10 hours of intense questioning.

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And I'm also a smart aleck

Then there's the otherwise intelligent ticket holder who walked onto a China Eastern Airlines flight at Shanghai, asking: "Does this plane have any terrorists on board?" When a stewardess said no, he replied: "Well, I'm a terrorist." As you may imagine, our man was not among the passengers when the plane took off an hour late after police searched in vain for weapons. He was still busy being interrogated.

After a day of remembrance, Americans flocked to movies

With no spectator sports to turn to, movie audiences hoping to take their thoughts off last week's terrorist attacks pushed box-office earnings well ahead of those from the same weekend last year, according to studio figures. The final tally showed the top 12 films earned $52.2 million, 37 percent higher than for the corresponding weekend in 2000. The top-grossing movies across North America last Saturday and Sunday (most theaters were closed Friday), according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Inc. and ACNielsen EDI, and their sales (in millions):

1. "Hardball" $9.3

2. "The Glass House" 5.7

3. "The Musketeer" 5.4

4. "Two Can Play that Game" 4.6

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5. "The Others" 4.5

6. "Rush Hour 2" 4.0

7. "Jeepers Creepers" 3.8

8. "American Pie 2" 3.6

9. "Rat Race" 3.5

10. "Rock Star" 3.3

- Associated Press


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