Call waiting

Muhamad Ismail has joined the ranks of parents whose children will dominate the use of the telephone in his house. That wouldn't be an issue except that, in his case, the phone is new. Not in the sense that it just came from an appliance store. New because it was only installed by the Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone monopoly last weekend. You see, the Dhaka resident paid the connection fee in May 1976, but the company "lost" his paperwork. Years of complaints led nowhere, until a local newspaper carried a story about his plight. Suddenly, Ismail's application was found. Alas, he's now retired and anticipates little need for the instrument anymore.

Check the pie bakeries

There are people who go through life cherry picking, and then there are the thieves who have been raiding the finest orchards in northern Japan this month - stealing 1.4 tons of the fruit, all between midnight and dawn. A police official suspects the haul has been sold on the black market because, "I don't think they are going to be eating all those cherries by themselves."

Once again No. 1: Sweden defends high-tech leadership

Sweden has held its world lead in using information technology to fuel economic, social, and technological growth, according to the IDC/World Times Information Society Index. For the past four years, the Scandinavian state has topped the annual survey of 55 countries by industry watcher IDC of Framingham, Mass. Almost one-third of the 8.9 million Swedes use Internet-linked home computers, cellphones, and personal digital assistants. The high-tech top 10:

1. Sweden
2. Denmark
3. The Netherlands
4. Norway
5. Finland
6. New Zealand
7. Switzerland
8. US
9. Austria
10. Canada - Associated Press

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