News In Brief

"it's over! over." the gang of crooks who moved in to rob a warehouse in Satka, Russia, was pretty sophisticated for a setting that's in the mountains 850 miles east of Moscow. Its members split into two groups, one acting as lookouts while the other broke into the building. They kept each other fully informed via walkie-talkie, although conversation was held to a minimum. Yet that's exactly what got them arrested before they could get away with the goods. Where did their plan go wrong? By using the same frequency as the local police. THAT'S A DISGUISE, RIGHT? But the Russians had nothing on a clumsy bank robber who was caught in a Vancouver, British Columbia, suburb. His mistakes: putting a nylon stocking on his head while waiting his turn in line; unrolling it over his face as he demanded money at knife-point; and choosing a bank only yards from the police station. IBM, Japanese firms top list of US patent winners in '98 Although six of last year's 10 top US-patent recipients were Japanese electronics giants, IBM was No. 1 for the sixth consecutive time. In the biggest single-year advance in a decade, Korea's Samsung surged from 16th in 1997 to 6th in 1998, according to the tracking firm IFI/Plenum Data Corp. Its ranking of last year's top US patent recipients and the number of patents credited to each: 1. IBM 2,682 2. Canon 1,934 3. NEC Corp. 1,632 4. Motorola Inc. 1,428 5. Sony Corp. 1,321 6. Samsung 1,306 7. Fujitsu 1,205 8. Toshiba 1,194 9. Eastman Kodak 1,125 10. Mitsubishi Denki 1,120 - Reuters

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