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SURE, I'LL TEST-DRIVE A BMW

As far as imported-car lovers are concerned, Wan Adnan Muhamad had it made. The judge, who presides in Penang, Malaysia, slid off the bench and behind the wheel of a new BMW 318i - to settle a dispute between buyer and seller. Ooi Phaik Ngoh alleged her purchase tended to swerve to the left. But the jurist had no problem keeping the car on course at speeds of up to 70 m.p.h. And, just to make absolutely sure, it was half an hour before he reappeared with the vehicle.

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Both sides had agreed to accept his findings, so it appears Ooi's suit is out of gas.

OH, LOOK, HE'S LEFT US A TRAIL

Here's another for the annals of not-too-bright criminals: This one stole a snowblower in the Milwaukee area - but on a day when the ground was covered with fresh white stuff. Police simply followed his footprints and the tire tracks from the owner's garage to a house seven blocks away, where the suspect was arrested. The thief had even stopped a couple of times to test whether the machine worked.

Ranking history's greatest at the art of communication

"It's not enough to have ideas. You have to know how to communicate them in a way that captures the public's ... imagination," said Adam Leyland, editor of PRWeek, a New York-based news magazine for the public relations industry. Earlier this week, the publication announced its ranking of history's 10 greatest communicators and awarded first place to Jesus, who, it said, "favored scattering his words, like good seed, over his audience." Four of the other choices are Americans. Nominations were submitted by readers and judged by the magazine's staff. PRWeek's list:

1. Jesus

2. Prophet Muhammad

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3. Martin Luther King Jr.

4. Winston Churchill

5. Martin Luther

6. Thomas Jefferson

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt

8. William Shakespeare

9. Abraham Lincoln

10. Aristotle

- Business Wire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society