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THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS

LOSERS: Native American teens. Such youngsters are the unhealthiest group of adolescents in the nation, suffering from poverty, depression, substance abuse, suicide and health-related problems at a rate two to four times higher than the nation's average. This is a national tragedy.

LOSER: British magazine Punch. Dragged down by years of losses, the famous magazine will cease publication in April. Punch invented the cartoon when it opened its doors in 1841 and became an outlet for some of the world's most famous writers. Efforts to revive the magazine by vulgarizing its contents failed. The loss of Punch - at least the Punch of the older and higher standards - is a blow to readers. As one media expert said, people don't read nowadays, "they only graze."* WINNERS: Michigan triplets. At Armada High School in eastern Michigan, Christine, Catherine and Cindy Schoenherr, a set of triplets, have been named to share valedictorian honors at the school graduation. All three had a perfect 4.0 grade point average. All plan on going to college together, but their paths will diverge. Christine is interested in business, Catherine in computer science and Cindy in accounting.

LOSERS: Youthful television watchers. A study of preteen girls found that watching TV may promote obesity. That's no surprise. Other studies have found the same thing, hence the term "couch potato." But the latest work by a professor at Memphis State University also showed that girls mesmerized by a TV show actually burned fewer calories than if they had been lying in bed. Maybe because the brain cells were in a trance.

LOSER: The stock market firm of Salomon Bros. Inc. A clerk at Salomon Bros. made a computer error this week that sent the whole stock market lower. A computerized "sell" order of $11 million was inadvertently sent out as a sell order of 11 million shares. That translates to several hundred million dollars. The supposed sale sent the market into a small dive. The error was caught before all of the sale was completed, but a lot of it went through. Perhaps Salomon Bros., already accused of trying to rig Treasury bond sales, should consider another line of work.

LOSER: A county circuit judge in Florida. A baby girl was born in Florida last week without a brain, but with the brain stem that controls heartbeat and breathing, a rare but not unknown tragedy. Even artificial life support cannot sustain the baby very long. The parents wanted to donate the infant's organs for helping other babies. Delay will make the deteriorating organs unusable. But the judge refused to declare the child dead, citing the state's strict definition of death. No brain, but not dead?