RETIRED. MIA HAMM, 32, after 17 years on the U.S. women's national soccer team, during which time she scored 158 goals--a record for men and women--as her team won two World Cup championships, two Olympic gold medals and legions of young fans; along with teammates Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett.
APPOINTED. WILTON D. GREGORY, 57, head of the Belleville, Ill., diocese and the first black president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; as the new Archbishop of Atlanta, signaling his continued favor with the Vatican; by Pope John Paul II. Gregory's leadership during the church's sex-abuse crisis included establishing a policy on how to respond to abuse allegations and a lay panel to help enforce it.
CHARGED. RON ARTEST, 25, STEPHEN JACKSON, 26, DAVID HARRISON, 22, ANTHONY JOHNSON, 30, and JERMAINE O'NEAL, 26, NBA players for the Indiana Pacers; and five Detroit fans; with misdemeanor assault and battery--and in the case of Bryant Jackson, a fan who threw a chair, an additional felony charge--committed during a brawl at the end of a Detroit Pistons--Pacers game on Nov 19; by Oakland County prosecutor David Gorcyca.
CLEARED. SILVIO BERLUSCONI, 68; Italy's Prime Minister; of corruption charges; after more than four years of court proceedings, ending the last of a number of trials involving the billionaire businessman since he entered politics a decade ago; in Milan. The court acquitted Berlusconi of one charge of bribing judges to influence a takeover battle in the 1980s and in another ruled that the statute of limitations had run out.
RECUPERATING. DICK CLARK, 75, veteran TV producer and ex--American Bandstand host; after suffering a mild stroke; in the Los Angeles area. He said he was hopeful he would be able to emcee what has become a holiday staple, TV's annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
KILLED. "DIMEBAG" DARRELL ABBOTT, 38, Grammy-nominated heavy-metal guitarist of the 1990s metal band Pantera; by a gunman, Nathan Gale, 25, who charged the stage during a concert in Columbus, Ohio, also killing three others before a police officer shot and killed him. Abbott, who was playing with his new band, Damageplan, was known for his short, explosive solos and for melding speed-metal with blues and other genres. Some witnesses said Gale was screaming at Abbott, blaming him for Pantera's 2003 breakup.
DIED. JAY VAN ANDEL, 80, billionaire co-founder of direct-sales behemoth Amway; in Ada, Mich. With his childhood friend Richard DeVos, Van Andel founded the company in the pair's basements in 1959 and built it into a worldwide network of individual distributors who sold cosmetics and furniture polish and earned a cut for recruiting others. In the 1970s the government investigated Amway, suspecting it was a pyramid scheme, but the charges were never proved. In 2000, it became part of a larger sales and business-services company, Alticor Inc., formed by Van Andel's and DeVos' families.
DIED. FREDERICK FENNELL, 90, conductor credited with inventing the contemporary woodwind ensemble; in Siesta Key, Fla. His innovative recordings for Mercury Records, starting in the 1950s, helped create a model for the more than 20,000 wind ensembles in today's music schools.