As you've no doubt heard, it is taking considerable time to restore the legal system in Iraq to something approaching effectiveness. But it's not fair to say that nothing is working. Take Baghdad, for example. While it is true that there's only one functioning civil court in the capital these days, it is actually quite busy. In fact, just since May 22 - not quite a month ago - Chief Judge Jamal al-Rawi has presided over more than 800 cases. The catch: Each required his approval of ... a marriage contract. Huh? Well, that's because it is the only service currently available from the understaffed judiciary. It may or may not be a commentary on postwar Iraq that before Saddam Hussein's regime (and the court system) collapsed, al-Rawi averaged about 20 approvals per month.
The intersection of two heavily traveled suburban roads between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - on one corner of which is a sprawling shopping mall - has been rated the most dangerous in the US by State Farm Insurance Co. in its 2003 evaluation. The carrier bases its rankings on the number and severity of accidents involving motor vehicles in the previous year. State Farm's 10 most dangerous intersections:
1. Flamingo Road and Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
2. Red Lion Road and Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia
3. Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia
4. 7th Street and Bell Road, Phoenix
5. 51st Street and Memorial Drive, Tulsa, Okla.
6. 71st Street and Memorial Drive, Tulsa, Okla.
7. 19th Avenue and Northern Avenue, Phoenix
8. State Highway 121 and Preston Road, Plano, Texas
9. Clearview Parkway and Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Metairie, La.
10. Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue, Sacramento, Calif.