SOB STORY His employees might be broke thanks to his company's creative accounting, but ex-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and his wife Linda are also feeling the pain. The couple claim they are nearing bankruptcy because their fortune is locked in worthless Enron stock. Hmm, sounds familiar
"To be very frank with you, how can we defend America?"
CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH,
Saudi Arabian royal, explaining the Saudi regime's concern about America's credibility in the Arab world
$640 billion is how much the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could cost the U.S. through 2003, according to Pennsylvania-based consultants DRI-WEFA
Two partially nude statues representing Justice and Law in the Attorney General's office have been covered because they made John Ashcroft feel uncomfortable
Celebrity photographer gets an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Hey, it's really not that easy to make Elizabeth Hurley look gorgeous
Canine voted favorite film animal. Marlon Brando had a strong early showing, but in the end they wanted something a little more human
Politico-wrestler to help write songs for a musical based on his life. Lucky you can rhyme "rebel governor" with "triple backbreaker"
Faux-spy told his second sequel's title, Goldmember, is too close to Goldfinger. Guess it's back to Man With the Golden Groin
Brawling boxer denied license, is being investigated for rape. We're contemplating giving him a regular slot on this list
Fiery Foreign Minister gets canned by Koizumi. Taking on the bureaucrats was bad, but questioning her boss's hairstyle was too much
Quit Bugging Me
By HANNAH BEECH/Beijing
China imports a presidential plane from America only to discover its interior is riddled with more listening devices than a Radiohead recording studio. Analysts expect trouble, but the Chinese government remains silent. What gives?
For one thing, U.S. President George W. Bush will be dropping by Beijing in late February, so now is not the time to throw a hardline hissy fit. But it's possible the government's real fear isn't international reaction, but domestic. When plans for the $120 million "Chinese Air Force One" were made public in 2000, citizens complained the plane was too expensive and wouldn't be made at home. To counter the criticism, Beijing announced that the plane's refitting would be done in China, not overseas. In fact, it was done in Texas.
That helps explain why the news was leaked by hardline factions within the PLA who want to soil Sino-U.S. relations and embarrass Jiang. The embarrassment has been as muted as the press coverage, but you can be sure the government learned one thing: always buy Chinese.
We Were Hobbits Once ... And Young
Lord Of The Sixties
As much as the marketing department at New Line Cinema might want audience members to forget, the megamovie Lord of the Rings has a history that predates Elijah Wood's hairy toes. Amid the cultural storm of the 1960s, American hippies put down their bongs, turned down the Hendrix and transformed an obscure three-volume fantasy by an Oxford professor into a counterculture classic. Rings-mania swept U.S. campuses, prompting TIME to comment, in the quaint parlance of the age, "The hobbit habit seems to be almost as catching as LSD." New initiates wore buttons declaring "Frodo Lives" or "Go Go Gandalf," while Ringworms, the trilogy's hardcore fans, learned the fictional languages Tolkien invented for his imaginary characters. Tolkien finally had to get an unlisted number after he'd been awakened in the middle of the night one too many times by brain-fried Bay Area hippies who just had to sort out the tangled lineage of Elvish Kings. You don't find nerds that dedicated today. Who needs to hallucinate visions of Frodo and his trippy friends when Peter Jackson's vision does it so well on screen? Of course, Jackson spent $300 million on the story?a vastly larger budget than that available to two earlier screen versions of Tolkien, both animated and released in 1978.
By NEIL GOUGH
DIED. INGE MORATH, 78, award-winning photographer and wife of four decades to playwright Arthur Miller; in New York City. Famed for her celebrity portraits as well as her extensive work in the Soviet Union and China, Morath spent over half a century with the Magnum photo agency. She produced more than two dozen books, including several collaborations with her husband.
DIED. HILDEGARD KNEF, 76, gravel-voiced German star of post-WWII era films who found later success as a singer in musicals and as an author; in Berlin. Perhaps best known for her role in Germany's first movie after the war, Die MÍrder Sind Unter Uns (The Murderers Are Among Us), the versatile blond leading lady went by the name Hildegard Neff in Hollywood, where she starred with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner in 1952's The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
DIED. ASTRID LINDGREN, 94, internationally renowned Swedish author of more than 70 children's books, including the now classic Pippi Longstocking; in Stockholm. Lindgren originally conceived the tale of the feisty red-haired heroine as a bedtime story for her seven-year-old daughter.
DIED. HAROLD RUSSELL, 88, American WWII veteran who delivered an Oscar-winning performance in the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives; in Needham, Massachusetts. Russell lost both hands in a wartime accident, and despite his lack of prior acting experience, the film's director, William Wyler, said he "gave the finest performance I have ever seen on the screen."
EXECUTED. HUA RUIZHUO, 29, former construction worker convicted of the beating deaths of 14 women; in Beijing. Hua reportedly targeted prostitutes, luring them to the city's outskirts before carrying out the murders and burying the bodies at construction sites.
ANNOUNCED. The marriage of Thailand's CROWN PRINCE MAHA VAJIRALONGKORN, 49, to SRIRASMI MAHIDOL NA AYUDHYA, 30; in Bangkok. On the advice of spiritual counselors, the couple were married secretly last year in an informal ceremony while wearing tracksuits and slippers.
MARRIED. CROWN PRINCE WILLEM-ALEXANDER, 34, the Netherlands' Prince of Orange, to MAXIMA ZORREGUIETA, 30; in Amsterdam. Despite an initial outcry when the prince announced his engagement to the Argentine last March, the couple has since found public favor and last week hosted a regal wedding party for 50,000.
BORN. To comic actor EDDIE MURPHY and his wife, NICOLE, a daughter, Bella Zahra; in Los Angeles. She is the couple's fifth child.
SENTENCED. LAI KWONG-KEUNG, 38, to two years in prison after he was found guilty of smuggling some 30,000 Bibles into mainland China for a banned Christian sect; by a court in Fuqing. The Hong Kong businessman's conviction was decried by activists and religious groups, and was upheld despite concern expressed by U.S. President George W. Bush.