SEPTEMBER 13, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 10This edition's table of contents
By HANNAH BEECH
SENTENCED. JAMES MAWDSLEY, 26, persistent British activist, to 17 years' imprisonment for smuggling pro-democracy leaflets into Burma; in Rangoon. Mawdsley, who was arrested twice before for similar activities, continued to pressure the country's authoritarian junta to step down--even at risk of returning to the capital's infamous Insein jail, where he spent 99 days in solitary confinement last year before being deported.
SENTENCED. JOHN "JUNIOR" GOTTI, 35, bumbling New York gangster who allegedly followed his father as boss of the Gambino crime family, to six-and-a-half years' imprisonment on bribery, racketeering and extortion charges; in White Plains, New York. While the elder Gotti eluded jail three times before receiving a life sentence in 1992, his son--nicknamed "Dumbfella" by tabloids--left piles of cash and a roster of Mafia members lying out for agents to find, prompting the father to remark that his offspring should not be imprisoned but instead "sent to the insane asylum."
DISMISSED. JANUSZ TOMASZEWSKI, 42, Poland's powerful Deputy Prime Minister, after failing to silence speculation that he collaborated with communist-era secret police; by Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek; in Warsaw. Tomaszewski, who also served as the nation's Interior Minister, became the highest-ranking official to succumb to a 1997 law requiring top politicians to declare any links they may have had with the ruthless pre-1989 police force--or face a prompt sacking.
SWORN IN. MIREYA MOSCOSO, 53, populist widow of Panama's three-time leader Arnulfo Arias, as the country's first female President; in Panama City. Critics have sniped that Moscoso, whose educational background includes a degree in interior decorating, could botch the Dec. 31 landmark return of the country's namesake canal into Panamanian hands. But Moscoso contends that state ownership of the key waterway will bring riches to the impoverished 36% of society that she has vowed to protect during her term in office.
ARRESTED. PETER ZINK, 43, purported American drug kingpin who topped the U.S. Marshal's "15 Most Wanted" list, after he was expelled by Guatemala as an "undesirable person"; in Atlanta. Zink, whose 11 years as a fugitive were partly spent giving tours of Mayan ruins to unsuspecting tourists, is believed to be the mastermind behind one of America's top cocaine rings.
DIED. ABDULLAH AL-BARADOUNI, 70, prolific Yemeni poet and folklorist, whose politically charged writings earned him the enmity of the nation's Islamic extremists; in Sana'a. A compelling champion of democracy and women's rights, al-Baradouni was thrown in jail numerous times for publishing poems that criticized both the nation's religious rulers and the military insurgents that ousted the clerics in 1962.
CHESS MATES: The International Chess Federation's world championships started recently, and even though they're in Las Vegas, still nobody cares. We asked some of the biggest names in sports what they would do to spice up chess's image, especially for easily bored Americans.
Bob Ley, ESPN SportsCenter anchor: Chess has a rich history of personal rivalry and quirky characters, and they need to publicize that aspect. Obviously, contestants should also wear those Lycra body suits, and I think the replay rule should be seriously considered. Frankly, I'm shocked it's not on pay-per-view.
George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees: I love the game the way it is, but the average fan is action oriented and isn't patient enough by nature to understand the true beauty of the game. I don't think it's possible to make chess more action oriented without hurting the very foundation of the game.
Vince McMahon, chairman of the World Wrestling Federation: I would start with a nice pyrotechnic display, add some voluptuous women to wipe the contestants' brows. I guess I would also add hard rock music in there somewhere and some physicality. Whoever loses would be hit with a folding metal chair.
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