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News In Brief

SO SMASH THAT PIGGY BANK

Just try paying for your holiday-gift purchases with pocketfuls of coins and see what sort of reaction comes from behind the sales counter. In Ireland, however, the central bank is asking shoppers to do just that. It seems stores there are desperately short of coins with which to make change this Christmas season because people are hoarding an estimated 550 million of them, worth $34 million. Government mints could produce more, but they're busy churning out new cash for the country's transition to the euro in 2002.

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PHEW! THAT WAS A CLOSE CALL

The apartment building in Bisauri, Spain, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. But one tenant was still trapped inside, and there was no time to send for special nets to break his fall if he jumped from a third-floor window. What to do? Solution: position a garbage truck in the street below. This was done, and the man - perhaps holding his nose - landed safely in it.

Toys that concerned parents say definitely aren't for tots

Lists of toys (i.e., which will be bestsellers) abound at this time of year. One, from the Lion & Lamb Project, a national parents group, identifies 12 toys it says are too violent for small children. The items (in alphabetical order) and their manufacturers:

Bionic Commando Elite Forces (for Color Game Boy), Capcom

Bone Crunchin' Buddies, Jakks Pacific

Dragonball Z action figures, Irwin Toy

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Goldberg Smash & Bash Game, Tiger/Hasbro

Laser Challenge, Gotcha Extreme!, Toymax

Metal Gear Solid (for Color Game Boy), Konami

Metal Gear Solid, Revolver Ocelot, McFarlane Toys

Nerf WildFire, Hasbro

Pokemon Battle Stadium, Hasbro

Turok Primagen, Omniversal Annihilator, Playmates

Turok3, Shadow of Oblivion (for Color Game Boy), Acclaim

Wolverine Battlin' Bop Bag, Toy Biz

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society