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Before you forward that private message from your boss to several co-workers, consider the possibility that he may hear about it. Thanks to a newly publicized security hole in major e-mail programs, your outgoing messages may be tapped.

Makers of the two of the most popular consumer e-mail applications scrambled to deal with the problem Monday, telling customers how to protect themselves.

Using a small piece of invisible programming code in an e-mail message, an e-mail's original sender can get copies every time the message is forwarded, including the comments added to the message by its recipients.

If an e-mail recipient disables the JavaScript programming language in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, or Netscape 6 mail, the added comments are no longer forwarded to the originator.

Microsoft has also made a software patch available for Outlook.

The problem doesn't affect people who use Eudora, America Online's e-mail program or Web-based e-mail, such as Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail.

A Netscape spokeswoman said a patch to stop the wiretaps will be available in several days.

Students suspend VW Beetle
from Golden Gate Bridge

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Upholding a 20-year-old tradition, engineering students from the University of British Columbia tethered the hull of an old, red Volkswagen Beetle on Monday to the railing of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that about a dozen people pulled off the prank in the middle of the night.

Bridge workers cut the 2-inch-wide nylon webbing and let the car drop into the water during the morning rush hour.

Every year, engineering students at the Canadian university hang Beetles from buildings and other places around Vancouver. This year, the students took their gig on the road.

Fog mostly blocked the televised sight of the VW, emblazoned with an E and a maple leaf, dang-
ling 100 feet above the water.

If found, the pranksters could be fined and ordered to perform community service. The penalties for such pranks increased after a 1996 episode in which actor Woody Harrelson and several other activists climbed one of the bridge's cables to protest logging.

High-cholesterol children
can diet safely, study says

CHICAGO (AP) -- Children with high cholesterol can be put on low-fat diets without stunting their growth or intellectual development, researchers say.

The findings stem from the last phase of a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute study of 663 children 8 to 10 years old with high cholesterol. The youngsters were followed for up to about 7 1/2 years.

Children with high cholesterol run a higher risk of developing heart disease in adulthood. But some doctors have worried that cholesterol-lowering diets would stunt children's physical and intellectual growth.

The researchers helped dispel those concerns in 1994, when they reported finding no harmful effects during the study's first three years. The latest results, published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, show the children continued to thrive through adolescence.

Man who had sex with teen
marries now-adult partner

SEATTLE (AP) -- An ex-teacher who spent nearly four years in prison for having sex with a teenage girl has married his former student.

Mark Blilie, 46, met Toni Pala, 20, when she was 13 and began a sexual relationship with her when she was 15. He married her earlier this month, six months after his release from prison, the Seattle Times reported Monday.

Blilie, who was convicted in 1996, was barred from contact with Pala, even after his release in 1999. But the two resumed their relationship despite the judge's order. When their relationship was discovered, Blilie was sent back to prison for five months.

After his release last July, a judge lifted the order, and the two re-established contact.

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