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COUPLE `PUTS BIG HAT' ON CONFERENCE

A Chinese husband and wife team who knitted a giant glove to support Beijing's bid for the 2000 Olympics have created an enormous hat to mark the World Conference on Women in the Chinese capital.

The hat has a circumference of 18 feet and stands 10 feet high, Shanghai's Wen Hui daily reported Wednesday.In Chinese slang, the expression "to put a hat on it" means "it's the best," the newspaper explained, and so the hat is meant to be a good luck charm for the conference, scheduled to take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8.

It took Luo Yuefeng, a popular science writer and medical engineer in Jiangsu province, and his wife, Chen Xuyuan, 98 days to knit the hat. In the process they used 43,569 feet of woolen yarn.

A total of 845,700 stiches went into the hat, which is now on display before being put up for auction in the Jiangsu city of Changzhou, the paper said. The money will go toward a women's and children's center in the city.

Beijing's bid to host the 2000 Olympics failed. The glove is a Chinese symbol of friendship.