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DID WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP?

By all accounts, it was a party for the ages. In having such a good time, however, students at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., trashed an old house so badly that there is little choice now but to pull it down. The dwelling, adjacent to the local Civil War battlefield, was being leased by three of the students from the National Park Service with the understanding it likely would be demolished anyway. There were just two problems: The hosts hadn't sought an OK for the bash, and the park service hadn't announced its decision yet. So, even though the demolition is partly accomplished, the renters were billed $21,000 for the damage.

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BUT IS ANYONE LISTENING?

Question: In which of the world's cities are the most languages spoken? Answer: London. Researchers there have identified 307 mother tongues that are spoken in the home by at least 450 people - and there may be still more. The survey even found three London children who speak Abe, a language from Ivory Coast.

Which PC-maker shipped the most units in 1999? Dell

Worries about Y2K glitches appeared to have little overall effect on new personal-computer shipments last year. They rose 21.6 percent - to 43.8 million - in the US, as estimated by the market-research firm Dataquest. Preliminary data provided by the San Jose, Calif.-based company, which are similar to those gathered by International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass., put Dell Computer Corp. in the top spot for volume of domestic shipments - the first time that company has surpassed rival Compaq. The number of shipments (in millions) of all types of PCs except those linked to servers as reported by top makers last year, and the rate of growth that represents from 1998:

1. Dell 7.1 / 52.8%

2. Compaq 6.9 / 18.0%

3. Gateway 4.0 / 31.9%

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4. Hewlett-Packard 3.8 / 41.5%

5. IBM 3.2 / 9.6%

6. Apple 1.9 / 17.0%

7. Others 17.0 / 10.8%

- Associated Press/Reuters

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society