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AND THE RIBBON WAS NICE TOO

So there was Miguel Angel Rodriguez, searching for just the right gift to give Astrid Fischel in honor of her wedding last weekend. Would it be crystal? Silver? How about a stylish piece of furniture? Then inspiration struck: He'd sign a decree turning the presidency of Costa Rica over to her for the day. The gesture allowed Ms. Fischel, his first vice president and minister of culture, to say she married businessman Eduardo Castaeda while - at least on paper - holding the highest office in the land.

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BUT CALIFORNIANS ARE OK

If you're a resident of Florida or New York - and proud of it - you might not appreciate the results of a survey of flight attendants aboard US airlines. The consensus of respondents asked by their union and Travel & Leisure magazine to rate their "most exhausting" domestic trips, was "anything with New Yorkers or Floridians aboard." There were "several hundred" responses.

Bluegrass state leads nation in rate of adult smoking

When it comes to smoking, Utah, with its largely Mormon population, lights up least, according to results of a new survey of Americans 18 and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the opposite extreme is Kentucky, with the US's most tobacco-dependent farm economy and lowest tobacco excise tax (3 cents per pack). The leading states in each category:

Highest percentage

Kentucky 30.8%

Nevada 30.4%

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West Virginia 27.9%

Lowest percentage

Utah 14.2%

Minnesota 18.0%

California 19.2%

- Associated Press

TO OUR READERS

The Christian Science Monitor will not be published Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25, a legal holiday in the

United States.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society