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Living Today: Issues of modern living

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International   |   March 20, 2003 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

NEW MIDDLE EAST MAPS

With global attention focused on the Middle East, National Geographic has created and published a new collection of maps on the Middle East.

The National Geographic Atlas of the Middle East, for $19.95, is a comprehensive, easy-to-read volume of newly researched and updated maps as well as an in-depth look at the political and physical dynamics of the region.

The atlas has three sections: Nations, Regional Themes and History.

There is a treasure trove of information, data and history of the region.


TAKING A HYBRID TO THE OSCAR

Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams and Tom Hanks are just a few on a growing list of stars who will spurn the limo and take a hybrid or electric vehicle to the Academy Awards Sunday.

Celebrities are known for their designer opulence on Oscar night, but this year some are driving up in hybrids such as the Toyota Prius to demonstrate how each person can take a step to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Hybrids get more than 50 miles per gallon in the city and produce at least 5,600 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year than the average vehicle.

"Improving fuel efficiency and conserving energy is a critical part of creating a more peaceful and sustainable world," Susan Sarandon says in a statement.


SINGLE ADOPTION

Last year, nearly a third of adoptive parents in the United States were single women, according to the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Many of these women -- a majority in their 30s and 40s, educated and financially secure -- reach out to children abroad because adoptions in the United State favor couples.

Many describe it as "rewarding," "arduous" and "expensive," The Christian Science Monitor reports. Costs for international adoption can average between $15,000 and $25,000.

A domestic adoption averages $16,000, although expenses can vary widely. A federal tax credit that took effect last year offsets $10,000 in costs for both domestic and international adoptions.


FAST-FOOD CHICKEN

With 60 percent of Americans overweight, many fast-food patrons are looking for alternatives to the 760-calorie Whopper or 590-calorie Big Mac.

The April issue of Ladies' Home Journal, however, warns some chicken selections can be worse in the calorie department.

In a calorie, fat, cholesterol, protein and sodium chart of numerous chicken selections, the Tuscan Chicken from the restaurant Panera Bread totals 860 calories, followed closely by Boston Market's BBQ Grilled Chicken at 830 calories. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Wendy's has 300 calories.

Fried chicken sandwiches have more calories. Wendy's Chicken Breast Fillet sandwich has 430 calories while Kentucky Fried Chicken's Crispy Caesar Twister Wrap has 744 calories.

© 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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