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Metric freak

Norwich, Connecticut, May 14 (AP): Brent Maynard says he weighs 74 kg and is 169 cm tall. And if you ask him for directions, heíll give them in kilometres.

Maynard, a chemistry professor at Three Rivers Community College, is a champion for the metric system, a man who helped erect distance and speed signs in kilometres and whose goal in life is to see America ditch the standard system.

But in a country thatís hooked on pounds, gallons and miles, it is a lonely cause. Last October during National Metric Week, he sat alone in front of Norwich City Hall wearing a pro-metric placard and asking for signatures on a petition to get the US Postal Service to weigh and measure packages in metric.

Maynard, 52, a metrics fanatic since the age of 14, argues metrics is simpler because itís based on powers of 10 and more effective because the rest of the world uses it in business and in the military.

Fire crazy

Rockville, (AP): Two teenagers have been charged with setting fires in suburban Washington after they bragged about the blazes on MySpace.com. The 17-year-old schoolmates were involved in 17 fires in Montgomery County. Stores, vehicles, a bowling alley and two school buses were set on fire between January 20 and April 16. Investigators got a tip to check out the online social networking site MySpace.com, where they found photos and descriptions.

Sheep look

Cairo (Reuters): An activist dressed as a sheep presented a bouquet to the Australian embassy in Cairo on Sunday for banning export of live animals to Egypt. The temporary ban came after a film, shown on Australian television and shot at Egyptian ports and abattoirs, showed Australian sheep and cattle dragged off ships by their legs and ears and slaughtered within sight of other animals.

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