Of Human Interest: News lite

ELLEN BECK, United Press International


Two Cleveland-area teens underestimated police by holding up a local bank using a ticking backpack, the Plain Dealer reports.


The 15- and 16-year-old fled with cash but the getaway was short-lived as they were arrested less than five minutes later, one block away. Inside the book bag was a wad of toilet paper and an alarm clock.

The heist began as the 16-year-old handed a bank teller a note that read: "Don't yell or scream. Sorry to spoil your day, but this is a robbery. If you press any alarms or buttons there is a bomb in my case that is wired through your computer system. It will blow us all up."

A bank teller handed the boy a stack of bills and he left, setting the ticking book bag in the front of the bank, thinking it would draw all the police attention. It didn't.


"President Bartlet" gets higher ratings than either President George W. Bush or former President Bill Clinton, a new study shows. Josiah Bartlet is played by actor Martin Sheen in the weekly NBC TV drama, "The West Wing."


"Although a fictional account, this show provides something to the American public that it cannot get from any other source: a vision of what it is like to be president on a daily basis," says R. Lance Holbert, an assistant professor of communications, who led the study.

Holbert's study involved 195 people, averaging 20 years old, who completed a questionnaire before viewing an original episode of "The West Wing." A second test was administered after the show.

Study participants gave Bartlet higher marks than either Bush or Clinton when it came to perceptions that they were men of principle who exhibited compassion and would fight for the ordinary man.


Dolly, the first cloned mammal, was put to sleep last week but will not be out of the public eye for long.

The British Broadcasting Corp. says Dolly will be stuffed and put on display after an autopsy explains what led to her declining health at age 6, about one-half the life expectancy for a sheep.

Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, where Dolly was kept, says she will end up at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, alongside another cloned animal experiment.

Professor Ian Wilmut, who led the Roslin team that created Dolly, believes Dolly got a progressive lung disease from other animals in a shared pen.



A chain letter sent to 23 friends ended with 160,487 replies in just 33 days for 15-year-old Shannon Syfrett of Mississippi, London's daily Telegraph reports.

It was a science project on the speed of Internet communication gone berserk -- each person who received the e-mail chain was asked to forward it to others. Syfrett, the Telegraph says, hoped in a month that she might receive a couple of thousand replies.

The paper says strangers sent e-mail from around the world -- one every 2.3 seconds. One said: "This is Floyd, a maintenance supervisor at the bottom of the world (South Pole)" and one from the USS Harry Truman, sailing off the coast of Iraq, said: "If it's not too much to ask, please pray for us."

Syfrett had to log and respond to each message -- but her computer crashed -- so aggravated e-mailers began tracking down her telephone number, calling to complain their messages were not being answered.

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