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REQUESTS FOR TV CONVERTER COUPONS TOP 4M

Americans worried about losing their television signals due to the approaching transition to digital broadcasting have requested more than 4.4-million government $40 coupons to help pay for special converter boxes. Beginning Feb. 17, the Department of Commerce will begin distributing them. On the same day, Best Buy, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart are expected to begin selling the boxes, the agency said Thursday.Full-power television stations will stop broadcasting an analog signal Feb. 18, 2009.

Heelys accused of lifting shoe design

Heelys Inc., the maker of wheeled sneakers whose shares have plunged 83 percent in the past year, was accused in a lawsuit of copying a design for shoes with video-game-style buttons. Fele Holding Corp. claims the $45 "Gamer" shoe, with non- functioning buttons on the side and the sole, violates its trademark. Fele, based in Miami, makes shoes with functional buttons that use global positioning satellite technology to alert police when a child is in danger.

Toy makers Flocke to polar bear cub

Berlin's celebrity polar bear Knut has to move over again. His Nuremburg counterpart Flocke has done more than just steal photographers' attention; puzzles, games and a soft toy in the image of the fluffy 2-month-old cub are ready for release. In the run-up to the Nuremburg Toy Fair, which opened Thursday, a number of manufacturers announced plans to release the first line of toys featuring Flocke, the baby bear rescued from her mother by zookeepers in January.

Bank offers online scan-and-deposit

Online banking service provider CheckFree Corp. is rolling out technology that could mean consumers will no longer have to go to a bank branch to deposit checks. Called Remote Deposit Capture, the technology lets people scan checks through their home computers and deposit them electronically has been around for several years, but it has been used mainly for businesses.

Las Vegas casino catering to Asians

Las Vegas' casino industry has long rolled out the red lanterns for high-rolling Asian gamblers on Chinese New Year. This year, MGM Mirage Inc. is literally giving them the royal treatment with a feast up to now reserved for China's official state guests. To prepare the repast, the casino giant flew in nine chefs, three managers and seven young female performer-servers from the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a revered institution that has served every U.S. president since Richard Nixon, and more than 1,300 heads of state.

Overheard

"Yes, we are focused on increasing revenue as one of our top priorities, but we are also committed to our core value of integrity. We can never sacrifice doing what is right."

Kennedy Thompson, Wachovia Corp. CEO, in a e-mail to employees on reports the bank helped fraudulent telemarketers

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