BY HARRY RING
Drive a person to atheism -The Times of London reports that normally strong U.S. bible sales have suffered "an inexplicable drop that has left salesmen on their knees." Some publishers blame the slump on an asserted decline in moral values. Others attribute it to the recent elections.
Sharks and sardines - As officials of the Pacific rim nations in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) met in Manila, the Philippine government put up a big "welcome" billboard near the airport - strategically placed to camouflage an impoverished shantytown. Meanwhile Thailand's foreign minister dourly declared: "We do not want to see APEC turned into a pond where big fish eat the small fish."
...and small children - "Child labor, prostitution and slavery are rising around the world and 250 million children are working full time in the developing countries, double previous estimates, a United Nations report said.... In rural areas of the world more children die of exposure to pesticides than from the common childhood diseases." - News item.
3 strikes? You're hired - The East Palo Alto, California, police department, already beset by cop brutality complaints, hired Paul Ewing, who was fired from the San Jose force after beating one person, killing another, and allegedly battering his wife. Hit by protest, the East Palo Alto police chief accepted Ewing's resignation, but said he might rehire him in another position. Declared the chief: "Everybody makes a mistake.... He deserves a second chance to live a fruitful life."
Reading, writing and head-cracking - A high school in Peachtree City, Georgia, is hiring cops as substitute teachers. Officials say they'll wear civilian clothes, but didn't indicate if they'll be required to check their weapons.
The `values' gang - A California direct-mail outfit was peddling customized gay-bashing leaflets to right-wing candidates, with space to paste in the photo of a rival who is described as supporting, "The in-your-face agenda of the radical homosexual fringe." Sale of the flyer was dropped after gay rights activists got on the case.
Limit thy sins - In one isolated Irish county, the Catholic church is offering confession by phone. Select from a menu of spiritual services, including confession and absolution - $1.50 a minute.
Sip this one - The UK parliament is not slashing social benefits indiscriminately. For instance, a 6 [1=$US 1.68] million terrace cafe is being built at the House of Commons. That includes 20,000 for hand-painted tiles at 50 a tile.
Mr. Funnyman - Cable mogul Ted Turner confided to an
industry audience that some of the stuff he puts out stinks
and that he has compromised his "standards" for "the almighty
dollar." Apparently of a whimsical bent, he added, "That
bothers me. But not enough to do anything about it."
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