Bits & Megabytes


Issue: "Arafat: The devil you know," Sept. 20, 2003

A new British sports car is fit for James Bond; it drives on water. Gibbs Technologies' $235,000 Aquada convertible can reach speeds of over 30 mph when running as a boat. Once the car hits water, its wheels retract and jets fire up to keep it running.

EarthLink co-founder Reed Slatkin was sentenced to 14 years in prison for running a nearly $600 million Ponzi scheme. He told investors they were making money, but never actually bought securities for his "clients" (who included actor Joe Pantoliano, model Cheryl Tiegs, and TV news host Greta Van Susteren). Mr. Slatkin must pay victims $240 million in restitution for the scheme, which did not involve EarthLink.

Northwest Airlines lightened its restrictions on on-board cell phones. Passengers can now make calls after landing, while the plane taxis to its gate. Northwest says the plan was tested and meets FAA regulations; other carriers may follow suit.

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South Korea's LG Electronics unveiled a new cell phone intended to attract devout Muslims. A built-in compass points out the direction of Mecca. The $250 phone will be marketed to Islamic countries in the Middle East, as well as Malaysia and Indonesia.

FBI agents raided three offices of WebMD, a prominent health site, as part of a federal investigation of a $5.5 million financial restatement in 1999. The New Jerseybased dot-com denies wrongdoing, claiming authorities used misleading information from two terminated employees.


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