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CALL THEM DOPES The prison guards in the Arctic city of Tromso, Norway, could hardly believe their eyes. Two men outside the perimeter fence were cutting a hole in it. Then they slipped through. Perhaps they'd done it on a dare? Nope. It seems the break-in artists were trying to retrieve narcotics they'd thrown over the fence to incarcerated pals, who hadn't found the stuff. Since the suppliers were so eager to be "inside," prison officials will make it possible for them to stay ... if a jury finds them guilty.

NOW, IT'S YOUR TURN Malcolm Cornwall doesn't consider himself cocky. He's just confident no one will prove him wrong. The Sussex University physicist has spent 35 years counting the pebbles on England's Brighton beach, helped by a mathematical theory, the order of magnitude. His total: 100 billion, give or take a few. Now, he's challenging the public to find otherwise. But at the rate of one per second, he says, it would take a person 2,500 years to add them all.

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If you bicycle, don't forget your lock in these cities

According to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report, roughly 1,100 bikes are stolen in the US each day. Law-enforcement officials say the major cause is a failure by owners to use locks - and that thieves often target college campuses, where students don't always properly secure their bikes. But locking the frame isn't enough in high-risk areas, adds Kryptonite Corp., the leading US manufacturer. It recommends cable locks for seats and other accessories. Using guarantee claims, the company compiles an annual list of the most bike-theft-prone cities. The top 10 for 1998:

1. New York

2. Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale

3. San Francisco/Berkeley

4. Chicago/Oak Park/Evanston

5. Philadelphia

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6. Washington

7. Boston

8. Austin, Texas

9. Portland, Ore.

10. Miami - PR Newswire

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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