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Intriguing people for December 14, 2009

By Jay Kernis, CNN
Accenture CEO William D. Green appears with Tiger Woods after a 2008 tournament in Arizona.
Accenture CEO William D. Green appears with Tiger Woods after a 2008 tournament in Arizona.
  • Accenture ends sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods
  • Attack leaves Italian prime minister with fractured nose, broken teeth
  • Designer of 50-state U.S. flag dies at 67, Michigan paper reports

Editor's note: Every weekday, CNN focuses on a handful of people in the news. This is a chance to find out more about what they've done -- good or bad -- what they've said, or what they believe and why we think they're intriguing.

(CNN) -- William D. Green
After a six-year relationship, Accenture ended its association with Tiger Woods. The global consulting company becomes the first major sponsor to cut ties with the golfer, who admitted to infidelity and announced he was taking an indefinite leave from the sport.

The son of a plumber, Green, chairman and CEO of Accenture, told The New York Times in November that integrity and character are important to him. "I like taking the responsibility, but I had no idea about the spiritual part. The spiritual obligation to the lives of 177,000 people is a big deal. I'm a guy who had trouble being responsible for his own life in the early days, and now I've got 177,000 people that look up to me. That took a little getting used to," Green told the Times.

CNN: Accenture ending sponsorship deal with Woods

Accenture: William D. Green bio

Silvio Berlusconi
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spent the night in a Milan hospital after an attacker hit him in the face with a model of a cathedral at a Sunday campaign rally. Berlusconi, 73, is receiving antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers Monday, a doctor said, after the attack left him with broken teeth and a fractured nose. In recent months, Mr. Berlusconi also has faced tax fraud charges, protest rallies in Rome, allegations of hiring escorts and a divorce case from his wife of 19 years.

CNN: Berlusconi has fractured nose, broken teeth

BBC: Silvio Berlusconi profile

Michelle Rhee
The Washington schools chancellor made headlines last week when students in her school system showed progress on national math tests, D.C. being the only one of 11 urban districts to demonstrate significant increases. In June, Rhee fired some 250 young and tenured teachers for poor performance or failure to get a license, The Washington Post reported. On Monday, a Wall Street Journal editorial questioned why the Obama administration wasn't doing more to back her reform ideas.

Wall Street Journal: Who's got Michelle Rhee's back?

Newsweek: An unlikely gambler

Stephen King
The best-selling author and his wife, Tabitha, are donating $12,999 to help 150 soldiers from the Maine Army National Guard travel by bus from Indiana to Maine and come home for the holidays, according to the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. The soldiers are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan in January, the paper said.

Bangor Daily News: Kings paying way home for troops About the author

Robert G. Heft
In 1958, the Lancaster, Ohio, student designed and sewed an American flag for a high school history project. President Eisenhower chose Heft's design for the first 50-star banner to replace the existing 48-star flag. Heft died this weekend at age 67, The Saginaw (Michigan) News reported.

The Saginaw News: Flag designer Bob Heft dies at 67

What makes a person intriguing?

There are people who enter the news cycle every day because their actions or decisions are new, important or different. Others are in the news because they are the ones those decisions affect. And there are a number of people who are so famous or controversial that anything they say or do becomes news.

Some of these people do what we expect of them: They run for office, pass legislation, start a business, get hired or fired, commit a crime, make an arrest, get in accidents, hit a home run, overthrow a government, fight wars, sue an opponent, put out fires, prepare for hurricanes and cavort with people other than their spouses. They do make news, but the action is usually more important than who is involved in the story.

But every day there are a number of people who become fascinating to us -- by virtue of their character, how they reached their decision, how they behaved under pressure or because of the remarkable circumstances surrounding the event they are involved in.

They arouse our curiosity. We hear about them and want to know more. What they have done or said stimulates conversations across the country. At times, there is even a mystery about them. What they have done may be unique, heroic, cowardly or ghastly, but they capture our imaginations. We want to know what makes them tick, why they believe what they do and why they did what they did. They intrigue us.