News In Brief

FYI, OK? How good are you at recognizing acronymns? Like, say, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)? Too hard? Then imagine what it would take to wade through the 702-page report by the panel that investigated the problems in opening Hong Kong's new $20 billion airport. The document contains 228 acronymns that readers are expected somehow to keep straight. Consider this sentence: "AA and FSD are arranging a direct line to be installed between FSCC and ACC so that, in the future, requests for ACC escort vehicle do not have to go through AMFSRC."

ELECTION RETURNS If a citizen talks his way into a voting booth twice in one election but afterward turns in only blank ballots, has he done something illegal? In fact, a Nashua, N.H., resident did just that recently, to point out "inadequacies in the system." First, he used his out-of-town stepson's name, then - hours later, after changing clothes - his own. The state is considering whether to prosecute.

Survey rates most popular sites on World Wide Web For the month of December, America Online, Microsoft, and Yahoo topped the list of the most-frequented Web properties - including sites under one "brand name" or consolidated under common ownership - according to Media Metrix Inc., a New York-based Web metering company. It estimates that 56.8 million people surf in the "total Web universe." The company defines "unique visitors" as the number of those surfers visiting a site or group of sites at least once over a period of time. Last month's top-10 Web properties and the number of unique visitors to each (in millions):

1. AOL Web sites 31.0

2. Microsoft sites 27.5

3. Yahoo sites 27.4

4. Lycos 26.4

5. GeoCities 19.0

6. Netscape 17.5

7. Excite Network 16.6

8. Disney Co. Online 13.6

9. Infoseek 12.5

10. 12.3 - Reuters

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