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NEWS AND BRIEFS : In Bermuda, It's the Water and a Bit More

May 20, 1990

If the drinking water in Bermuda starts to taste a little, well, out of the ordinary in the coming months, don't be surprised.

Because the island is in the midst of its worst-ever drought, plans are being made to import fresh water from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Bermudan government has contacted a Florida-based tanker company to explore the possibility of shipping water to the island from Canada if the drought lasts into the summer.

That's where the catch comes in.

The firm ships rum from Barbados to Halifax, but its tankers return to the Caribbean empty. Under the contingency plan they'd bring back drinking water for Bermuda.

And if it should taste a bit like rum, who's going to complain?

Dyeing to Know?: Ever wonder about the source of the colors in genuine Moroccan leather? Well, the yellow dyes come from pomegranate skin, dried and crushed and mixed with palm oil; the russet and fawn hues are derived from date kernels, while the red dye comes from poppy flowers.

Rials and Dinars: Those are the monetary units in Iran, and if you didn't know that, you probably aren't concerned that Tehran has been judged to be the most expensive city in the world.

According to the latest of those international surveys that compare cities by the cost of goods and services, the Iranian capital came in first for the second year in a row, largely because of an overvalued currency.

Tehran is followed by Tokyo and Libreville, the capital of Gabon in West Africa, according to a survey by Corporate Resources Group, a private consulting firm. Oslo remained Europe's most expensive city for the third consecutive year, followed closely by Helsinki, Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen.

Because of a continuous decline in currencies that tended to neutralize soaring inflation, Latin American cities rank among the least expensive.

About a decade ago, Buenos Aires was the world's most expensive city. Today it ranks among the cheapest, only slightly above Quito, Ecuador, which the survey said is the world's least expensive city.

Point of Entry: According to the Boston Globe, more than 40% of all living Americans--or about 100 million people--can trace their roots to an ancestor who disembarked on Ellis Island, N.Y.

Unbuckled: Wearing seat belts became mandatory for drivers in Italy last summer. By fall, Italians had devised a number of gimmicks to avoid using them.

One ingenious method was to wear a T-shirt with a seat belt printed across the front. Another, albeit less inventive, scheme calls for help from a doctor.

Pregnant women and those persons shorter than 4-feet-3 or taller than 6-feet-3 gain automatic exemption, but Italian drivers now can get exemption certificates for everything ranging from obesity, claustrophobia, respiratory ailments and--wait for it--skin sensitivity to seat-belt contact.

You can't keep a good Italian down, apparently . . . even if it could save his life.

Neighbors, Almost: One additional tidbit from Africa. Of all the 52 countries on the continent, Morocco is the one geographically closest to both Europe and the United States.

Bear Necessities: Scientists at the University of Sydney have developed a biscuit that they claim will replace eucalyptus leaves. This might not sound like much of an achievement, but zoos around the world are hailing the breakthrough.

The reason is simple: Koala bears live on eucalyptus leaves, specifically on the types of leaf that grow only in Australia. As a result, leaves have to be shipped out daily to hungry koalas worldwide, which makes exhibiting the animals an expensive proposition for a zoo.

If the bears find the biscuits to their liking, more koalas could go on display in zoos, and seeing them will not necessarily involve a trip to Australia.

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