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Etc...

Wait 'til the ground thaws

There's a saying in law-enforcement: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. The reference to the prison sentence that usually follows a felony conviction may have factored into the thinking of a judge in Hanover, Germany, last week after a defendant was found guilty of swiping a $2,730 laptop computer. The usual penalty: six months. Ah, but there are other time-consuming means of punishment. So, at the victim's suggestion, the culprit was ordered to dig him a swimming pool - which ought to take about half as long.

Quit while you're ahead, man

Then there's Chan Kwok-keung, who's in jail after being acquitted of a theft charge in Hong Kong. Huh? It seems that as his trial ended he couldn't resist temptation and slipped away with the purse of a court staffer when she wasn't looking. She discovered it was missing and alerted colleagues, who followed Chan outside and caught him red-handed.

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Hoop dreams: Which NCAA teams are tops with fans

The anticipated outbreak of war is having a ripple effect far removed from actual conflict. Example: the annual college basketball tournaments that start this week. Organizers discussed, then decided against postponing it, but games may be bumped from network TV to cable. Meanwhile, pollster Harris Interactive surveyed more than 2,000 people online (and followed up with 480 of the respondents) to determine the most popular NCAA teams. The top five in men's and women's hoops, and their regional tournament seedings this year, if any (in parenthesis):

Men's tournament
1. Duke (3)
2. Michigan (not playing)
3. Illinois (4)
4. UCLA (not playing)
5. Kentucky (1)
Women's tournament
1. Connecticut (1)
2. Tennessee (1)
3. Michigan (not playing)
4. Duke (1)
5. Texas (2) - PR Newswire