HONORED. RONALDO, 26, Brazilian football superstar; named by FIFA as World Footballer of the Year for the third time; in Madrid. Ronaldo scored both goals in Brazil's 2-0 victory against Germany in the final of the 2002 World Cup and was the tournament's leading scorer with eight goals.
RESIGNED. CHRISTOPHER GENT, 54, cricket-loving chief executive of Britain's Vodafone Group who rode the telecom boom and transformed the small FTSE company into the world's leading mobile-phone operator; in London. Vodafone chairman Lord MacLaurin said Gent stepped down over media criticism of his $19.8 million payout last year, when Vodafone recorded a $21.6 billion loss and its share price fell by a third. Gent's successor is Arun Sarin, head of Vodafone's U.S. ventures, who takes over in July 2003.
RESIGNED. TRENT LOTT, 61, Republican Senate majority leader whose recent remarks implied that he favored racial segregation in the U.S.; in Washington, D.C. Tennessee Senator Bill Frisk has emerged as the White House favorite for the job.
ARRESTED. WANG BINGZHANG, 54, U.S.-based Chinese dissident who disappeared in June with two other pro-democracy activists while in Vietnam; for spying for Taiwan and partaking in "terrorist activities"; in Beijing. China's Xinhua news agency said the trio were "rescued" in July after being abducted by an unidentified group, but the U.S.-based Free China Movement believes they were captured by Chinese agents.
SIGNED. HIDEKI MATSUI, 28, Japanese baseball superstar who recently left the Yomiuri Giants for the American major leagues; a three-year, $21 million contract with the New York Yankees; in New York City. Nicknamed "Godzilla," Matsui is the first Japanese power hitter to sign with a major league team.
FINED. GEORGE SOROS, 72, Hungarian-born financier, speculator and philanthropist; $2.3 million, over a 14-year-old insider trading case involving shares of bank Societe Generale; in Paris. A French court said Soros used privileged information about a takeover bid to make $2 million on the firm's stock.
CONVICTED. YIN QINGQIANG, 38, former Cornell University researcher; of stealing university biological materials worth more than $5,000 and trying to smuggle them to China, and of lying to the fbi; in Syracuse, New York. Airport security officials found more than 250 test tubes and petri dishes containing ingredients to improve livestock nutrition concealed in his luggage. Yin faces a maximum 15 years in jail and a $500,000 fine.
$700,000 is how much award-winning Chinese actress Liu Xiaoqing has been fined for evading $1 million in taxes
$250 million in bribes was pocketed by police officers in Bangladesh this year, according to a survey on corruption in South Asia
$25 billion a year is the loss suffered by traders because of piracy along Asia's sea-lanes, reports the International Maritime Bureau
100 armed guards will be posted on flights between Singapore and Australia in an effort to prevent terror attacks in planes
637 Chinese orphans abandoned by their Japanese fathers at the end of WW II are suing the Japanese government for $173 million in compensation
500 Middle Eastern men were detained in the U.S. after coming forward to register with immigration authorities; an estimated 3,000 men had been ordered to register by Dec. 16
1 million cars were sold in China this year—a 55.4% increase in purchases from 2001
Birds may be able to carry and spread the deadly Ebola virus, according to U.S. researchers. The virus, which kills 70% of those afflicted, was found to have a similar protein structure to viruses carried by birds