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Of Human Interest: News lite

By ELLEN BECK, United Press International   |   March 12, 2003 at 4:30 AM   |   Comments

TOPPLING SADDAM? BET ON IT

In true American fashion we no longer have to speculate on war with Iraq or toppling Saddam Hussein, we can get the actual odds on bet.

The Boston Globe says if you want to know the odds Saddam will be dead by June you'll find it's 1.5 to 1 up on BETonSPORTS.com, an Internet gambling site.

The odds are 2 to 1 he will be ousted by the end of March, says TradeSports.com and the likelihood of him in exile is 5 to 1.

For-profit Web sites have taken in millions of dollars in wagers on Saddam's fate, the Globe reports, adding some heavy hitters are paying attention to the numbers, including investment banks and the Defense Department.

Andrew Leigh, a student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, studied TradeSports and found its odds surprisingly good predictors of reality.


ADDING SPRINGER TO SENATE RACE

It could be an odd 2004 Senate race shaping up in Ohio as a survey finds Jerry Springer's name recognition is almost identical to that of Sen. George Voinovich but 71 percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of the talk show host.

When asked who they would vote for if the election were today and the candidates were Springer, the Democrat, or Voinovich, 77 percent chose the Republican incumbent and 16 percent Springer.

Springer, 59, floated the idea of a U.S. Senate bid in January and has said he was encouraged by what little support he has to date.

"Right now, there's been no campaign. Why would anybody think I'd be a good senator? If all they know about me is my show, I'm surprised it isn't at zero percent," he told the Enquirer.


HOLLYWOOD BRIDE RUNS UP TAB

An average wedding can cost around $22,000 but if you want to be a Hollywood bride, you better have really deep pockets in that designer gown, Bride's Magazine reports.

Start with a 11.58-carat diamond and platinum tiara for $75,000, a 21.36-carat diamond choker necklace for $65,000, a 6.57-carat diamond engagement ring at $233,000 and a 5.30-carat diamond bracelet for $16,586.

Tack on a custom coif by hairstylist to the stars Oribe, dental work to bleach teeth, laser hair removal, breast implants, the designer gown and accessories, and so-called Hollywood must haves of sunglasses, cell phone de rigueur and a pure-bred bichon frise sporting a crystal collar and leash.

The Hollywood bride's grand total -- $415,811 -- to walk down the aisle in style.


ST. PATTY'S LIBATIONS

If you are sick of drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day -- or more likely if you got sick drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day -- the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has a new libation menu this year.

While not beer, at least some of these cocktail mixes still can almost guarantee a trip to pay homage to the porcelain god the next morning.

The Grasshopper Martini seems tame enough, with vodka, creme de menthe and creme de cacao. There's the Green Apple Martini -- a bit more daring with its combination of vodka, sour-apple schnapps, lemonade and lemon-lime soda.

Irish Coffee is OK for the conservative partier but the mischievous leprechaun will want to try the Cup O' Gold with amaretto, very warm orange juice and a cinnamon stick.

Here's your holiday bar trivia -- St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in 1737.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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