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THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS

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* WINNERS: Black students. The percentage of them entering medical schools has more than tripled since 1968. The number of blacks enrolled in MBA courses has grown by 60 percent over a decade. The number of black law school students has increased by 60 percent since 1970. More than 50 percent of all black 17-year-olds were enrolled in college preparatory courses in 1990, compared with 37 percent in 1982. "If blacks continue to close the gap in SAT scores with whites at the same rate they have been for the past 17 years," reports the Journal of Blacks in Education, "black scores will catch up with white scores some time in the first half of the 21st century."

* WINNERS: City employees in Manila who can sing the Philippine national anthem. For doing so, they'll keep getting their annual bonus. Those who can't will lose that $111 a year by order of the mayor. Could Mayor Alflredo Lim, a former policeman, have gotten so tough on this score from having ordered so many criminal suspects to "sing"?LOSER: The image of the medical profession. Tired of being told its members make too much money, the American Medical Association decided this weeks to change the way it calculates doctors' incomes. From now on the AMA will lump the salaries of private practitioners with those of federal government doctors and young doctors in training, who make considerably less. Now if only the medical profession would juggle the books to lower the fees it charges.

LOSERS: Men with inadequate life insurance - for reasons beyond the obvious ones. After a survey covering six years, the American Cancer Society reported this week that such men are far more likely to die from testicular cancer than their well-insured counterparts. But the ACS doesn't say which came first - the lack of adequate insurance or symptoms that made it hard to qualify for sufficient coverage?

LOSER: The image of talk shows - if it's possible their reputation could be worse than it already is. Just ask Penn State University researchers Vicki Abt and Mel Seesholtz. Their new research indicates that by spotlighting taboo topics and unsavory guests, the talk shows make it harder for some viewers to distinguish between fame and infamy or between right and wrong.