OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE Silvio Berlusconi, head of an $11 billion empire with holdings in TV, publishing, retail banking and the AC Milan soccer club, is elected Italy's Prime Minister, overcoming the slings and arrows of a vitriolic press protesting widespread conflicts of interest
Rapper organizes U.N. Hip-Hop Conference for Peace, proves that despite sluggish record sales, he can still get in the news for something
Jordanian M.P. bites off part of rival politician's ear in a parliamentary brawl.
Twelve-year-old golfer is youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Maybe this will impress that totally hot guy in pre-algebra
R.E.M. singer admits to being constantly mistaken for John Malkovich, which is handy because he uses Malkovich's credit cards
SWEDISH ARMED FORCES
To cut overtime pay, Sweden will have a daytime-only navy. God help the Swedes if their shores are attacked by vampires in rowboats
Returns to TV with sitcom about a gay entrepreneur. It's about time: We're sick of all those shows about morose entrepreneurs
"I love this town."
LYNN HARRELL, American cellist, lauding New York City after his $4 million 1673 Stradivarius, left in a taxi, was returned by an honest cabbie
45%of Celera Genomics' fruit-fly genome map has errors, reveals a Stanford report, casting doubt on the company's larger venture, the mapping of the human genome
In a show of solidarity against a local council ruling, prostitutes in Cancun, Mexico have donned working uniforms—tight black shorts and yellow tops
Only in America?
HE COMES IN PEACE
Even before an interloper from the shores of Fistiana upset the delicate balance of power, it had been a bad week for Sino-U.S. relations, with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian planning a visit—er, transit—through the States, and China charging an American citizen with espionage. Then the entrance of a new superpower suddenly made that old bipolar paradigm seem as irrelevant as a WBO title belt.
The new tripolarity requires innovation: What does a rising nation do when confronted by an expansionist world power, a human-rights violator, a rhetorical bully who promotes physical cruelty and threatens even the airspace of his neighbors? China has clearly chosen engagement over containment as it allowed DON KING to bring a heavyweight championship card to Beijing this August.
For the Americans, this new alliance has caused a reappraisal of the previous opening-up to Don King. The boxing impresario had always been inscrutable, speaking a language of double and triple entendres—and quadruple negatives—that made his pronouncements the subject of devoted Don-ologists who conjectured as to the inner workings of his Cleveland leadership compound. That Beijing chose to appease King is a tribute to the Chinese commitment to the very ideals King best embodies: bare-knuckle capitalism combined with the stench of corruption. (King lured IBF and WBC heavyweight titlist Hasim Rahman by reportedly giving him $500,000 in $100 bills, a check for $4.5 million and guaranteed access to King's extensive guanxi network.) The title bouts feature Rahman fighting journeyman Brian Nielson, as well as EVANDER HOLYFIELD taking on John Ruiz. "Chinese are like flowers growing up in the fields that bring beauty to the world," King told a bewildered press. Then, with uncharacteristic prosy, King billed the event "Melee in China." (Newspaper editors did him better, choosing RAGING IN BEIJING.) This King-China alliance presages Cold War III or, as Don might put it, the Horrific in the Pacific.
Fights That Won't Happen—And Why
Punch-up in Pyongyang
Row in Mindanao
Quarrel in Qatar
Moppin'the Floor in Ulan Bator
SIMPLY BAD IDEA
Pugilism in Punjab
Ow! in Dachau
The New Cleavage
SOME OTHER PRIMATE SPECIES SWEAR BY IT
Trend Celebrities like hip-shaker Janet Jackson and soul singer Nikka Costa are wearing pants and skirts so low they're exposing thong straps, new expanses of belly and cleavage from behind
HOW IT STARTED The return of '70s fashion began pushing waistlines south, but pop stars have taken the hip huggers to new depths
JUDGMENT CALL Sexy? Maybe, but isn't this why we used to snicker at the refrigerator-repair man?
Annals of Motor Transportation
ASIAN VALUES What is it that binds Asia together? Long grain rice? Pegged currencies? Excessive humidity? McDonald's, free trade and air conditioning are eradicating those common cultural touchstones. And now the last great Asian unifier—thick, leaded, URBAN SMOG—is under threat by culturally insensitive Europeans. Last year, the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, with technical assistance from Denmark, introduced a clean alternative to the three-wheeled, polluting TEMPOS and TUK-TUKS that ply Asia's cities. More than 600 electric three-wheelers now operate in Kathmandu, and while they are cleaner and safer than their internal combustion counterparts, we mourn the passing of a little bit of Asia's heritage.
By NEIL GOUGH
DIED. JASON MILLER, 62, playwright and actor who won a 1973 Pulitzer Prize and Tony award for That Championship Season, of a heart attack; in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The play is based on Miller's experiences on his high-school basketball team, but he is perhaps best remembered for his Oscar-nominated performance as Father Damien Karras in the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist.
DIED. BRUNO CAVALIERI DUCATI, 96, architect, author, and last surviving founder of the motorcycle company that bears his name; in Ispra, Italy.
DIED. PERRY COMO,88, causal crooner whose career in show business spanned six decades; in Jupiter, Florida. (See Eulogy)
DIED. R.K. NARAYAN, 94, prolific novelist and author of short stories that characterized subcontinental village life; in the southern Indian city of Madras. Narayan was an early pioneer among Indian literati writing in English.
CHARGED. LI SHAOMIN, 45, U.S. citizen and business professor who had been detained in China for three months, with spying for Taiwan; in Beijing. Li is one of five Chinese American citizens or residents, mostly academics, who have been detained in recent months by Beijing on espionage charges.
CHARGED. ROBERT HANSSEN, former FBI agent, with 21 counts of espionage, for selling U.S. secrets to Russia for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds; by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia. PAROLED. PATRICK HENRY, 47, France's one-time "most hated man," after serving 25 years of a life sentence for the murder of a seven-year-old boy; in Caen. Henry's case is viewed as a major step toward the abolition of capital punishment in France, and his early release for good behavior has incited controversy over the commutation of life sentences.
By VIC DAMONE
PERRY COMO was one of the musical treasures of the 20th century—a star who illuminated several generations. And he was my friend. Without him, there would have been no Vic Damone the singer.
As a teenager, I worked as an usher at the Paramount Theater in New York City. My family needed every dime we could get to make ends meet, but I paid a dollar a week for singing lessons. I needed to know: Was I wasting the money? So when Perry headlined the Paramount, I decided to go for broke. Taking him up in the elevator, I asked if he would listen to me sing and tell me if I had a chance to make it.
"Sure kid, go ahead."
I stopped the elevator between floors and sang There Must Be a Way, one of his hits.
"Well, kid, you've really got something. Don't stop singing."
I didn't. Thanks to the miracle of recording, neither will Perry Como.