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News In Brief

SHE'S REALLY IN A BIG HURRY

A Japanese bullet train made history this week - only it wasn't for lightning speed. Passengers on the Tokyo-to-Nagoya run Wednesday morning may not have been aware - as they settled into their seats - but they were about to hurtle down the tracks under the control of Rieko Tsujiuchi, the first woman operator in Central Japan Railway's 36 years in business. Not that it mattered, but she'd been issued her license only the day before. She isn't, however, likely to be the last. Revisions in Japanese labor law last year opened the door to female train drivers, and other railways also are considering hiring them. Oh, the maximum allowable speed on the Tokyo-Nagoya run: 178 m.p.h. The trains leave at 3-1/2-minute intervals.

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Lockheed Martin rakes in the most Pentagon business

In releasing its annual list of top defense contractors earlier this week, the Pentagon said it awarded a total of $125 billion in contracts for aircraft, ships, weapons systems, and other needs in fiscal 1999 - $6.9 billion more than the previous year. Each of the first six contractors held the same position the year before, and No. 1, Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin, finished on top for the fourth straight time. The Defense Department's top 10 contractors over the last fiscal year, with the amount of business they were awarded (in billions):

1. Lockheed Martin Corp. $12.7

2. Boeing Co. 11.6

3. Raytheon Corp. 6.4

4. General Dynamics Corp. 4.6

5. Northrop Grumman Corp. 3.2

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6. United Technologies Corp. 2.4

7. Litton Industries Inc. 2.1

8. General Electric Co. 1.7

9. Textron Inc. 1.4

(tie) TRW Inc. 1.4

- Reuters/Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society