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Etc...

I'd rather have the cash

When police in São Paulo, Brazil implemented a new government program to buy back guns from private citizens, they probably never expected a visit from ... we'll call her Maria. Depending on age and caliber, the program offers up to $98 for each weapon handed in. For Maria, the payday will come to $65,000. No, she doesn't have her own army. Her father was a collector, and after his death she hung on to his prize possessions because she didn't know what else to do with them.

Oh, no, I didn't!

A woman in Paarl, South Africa, would like some money back from the government, too. Notably, the 1890 gold coin worth $1,100 that she mistakenly fed into a parking meter because she'd left her eyeglasses at home. It bought her one hour. "I'm a usually careful person," she said. "I can't believe I could have done something like that."

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When it comes to jobs, no one matches Uncle Sam

If you created a pie chart of US employment by industry, which industry would get the biggest slice? Easily the government, which employs 17 percent of the American labor force, according to the latest data (for 2003) compiled by the US Chamber of Commerce Statistics and Research Center. The employment sectors with the percentage of the workforce engaged in them:

Government 17%
Education and health services 13%
Retail trade 12%
Professional and business services 12%
Manufacturing 11%
Leisure and hospitality 9%
Finance, insurance, and real estate 6%
Construction 5%
Wholesale trade 4%
Transportation, warehousing, and utilities 4%
Other services 4%
Information 3% - US Chamber of Commerce Statistics and Research Center