News In Brief

REALAXED ATTITUTDE Humorists in West Africa have found a new use for the initials GMT, which most people understand to mean Greenwich mean time. But because of the tendency of folks in one country there to arrive late for appointments, the letters also have come to stand for Ghana maybe time. Case in point: In Accra, the capital, the deputy minister of tourism called his staff on the carpet for reporting late to a seminar. But a week later his boss kept members of parliament waiting on the day they were to discuss the ministry's budget proposals for the next fiscal year.

JUST CALL HIM CLUELESS Next time you hear of police catching a criminal because he or she did something dumb, think of Kwok Chi-hoi. He's now in jail in Hong Kong for robbing a taxi driver of $425. The cops didn't even need to ask for a description of the culprit. He'd left his cell phone on the back seat, complete with an easily traceable number. And taped to it was a photograph of himself and his girlfriend.

General Electric repeats as 'most powerful' US company For the second straight year, General Electric is No. 1 among the nation's "most powerful" companies as ranked by Forbes magazine. So-called Forbes-500 firms are rated in four categories - sales, profits, assets, and market value. The "Super 100," or most-powerful, are the companies that turn in the highest composite scores. GE was benefited greatly this time around by its list-topping net profit - which rose more than 13 percent to $9.3 billion in 1998. The company was No. 2 in market value and No. 5 in both sales and assets. The 10 at the top of the new Forbes Super 100:

1. General Electric

2. Citigroup

3. BankAmerica

4. Exxon

5. IBM

6. Ford Motor

7. American International Group

8. AT&T

9. Wal-Mart Stores

(tie) Chase Manhattan

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