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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   April 30, 2002 at 2:14 PM   |   Comments

CLINTON EAGER TO SPEAK OUT ON MIDDLE EAST

Now that he is no longer in the White House, it must be difficult for former President Bill Clinton to no longer have an official public forum in which to discuss world affairs. The New York Post reported Clinton is eager to put in his two cents' worth in light of what's been going on the Middle East. There are now reports that Mr. Clinton will make what is called a "major policy statement" about the situation in that part of the world. And the statement could come as early as next week. The former chief executive now feels that enough time has passed since he left Washington that he can speak out as an experienced former president without meeting charges of trying to "tamper" with the current administration.


GRAMMY PEOPLE PICK INTERIM CHIEF

A Nashville-based record producer has been picked to serve as the interim president of the national Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences -- the Grammy People. The group says that popular music entrepreneur Garth Fundis will take charge until a successor can be found for C. Michael Greene. The controversial Greene resigned over the weekend. He had led the Grammy group for 13 years. According to the Los Angeles Times, he had several years left on his contract and may have gotten as much as $8 million as part of a severance buy-out agreement. In recent years Greene and Dick Clark have been at odds over exclusivity in performance rights for artists who had scheduled appearances on either the Grammys or Clark's own American Music Awards.


ACTORS GIVE VOICE TO POPULAR KIDS' HEROES

For years the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books have been a staple for adolescent readers. Now, in this "I don't read, maybe you better read that to me" generation, the owners of the novels have decided it's about time to let them be recorded as audio books. According to USA Today, two popular actors will be among the first to voice the exciting stories. Academy Award-nominated Laura Liney has recorded "The Secret of the Old Clock," part of the Nancy Drew series. Bill Irwin has narrated "The Tower Treasure," a Hardy Boys adventure. The books have been recorded in the style of the world of the 1940s, the era in which the original novels were set. Each of the audio books runs about 3-1/2 hours and sells for $18. Later this year six more Drew/Hardy books will be released in an audio version. Two will be on store shelves by June, two in September and two the following month.


VETERAN CONGRESSMAN HANGING IT UP

For 13 terms Congressman Bob Stump has represented his Arizona district, slowly rising through the ranks of legislators on Capitol Hill. Now Stump says he won't be making a 14th run for Congress. The popular Republican began his career in Washington as a Democrat. He gained national headlines in 1981 when he switched party affiliations. Currently, at the top of his power -- he's chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- he says he wants to return to "civilian" life. During his years in Washington, the 75-year-old Stump has gained a reputation as a frugal conservative. He has one of the smallest personal staffs on Capitol Hill and often is his own receptionist. Stump's longtime chief of staff says he will seek the Congressional seat this fall.


COUNTRY STARS WORK ON JENNINGS TRIBUTE

A group of well-known country stars is working on what will be a major tribute album honoring the late country "rebel" Waylon Jennings. Many of the late singer's closest friends tell country.com they are thrilled that RCA Records is taking the lead in putting the CD together. The recording company's venerable Studio B in Nashville was where Jennings did most of his early recordings. The executive producer of the compilation will be journalist Hazel Smith. Some 16 tracks will be recorded for the set. The music will be by a variety of artists and will be from several different musical genres.


UNIVERSAL MAY DO 'HEROBEAR' CARTOON FLICK

In a few weeks we may know whether Universal Pictures will take an option on the Herobear and the Kid series that is owned at Astonish Comics. If rights can be obtained, the Hollywood Reporter says that the movie studio would assign the project to Chuck Gordon's Daybreak Productions. The comic book series was created by animator Mike Kunkel. It's about a tot named Tyler who finds a stuffed white teddy bear among the belongings of his late grandfather. And, as you might expect, the amazing bear comes to life and he and Tyler set out on a series of adventures. The series has always dealt with realistic childhood issues, including school bullies, love and imagination. The publication says that the bear not only springs to life but becomes Herobear, a kind of polar bear superhero. Move over, Spiderman.


UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 322

Monday I attended a daylong conference of Canadian travel providers in Los Angeles. Personally, I've always loved Canadians and had great times north of the border. So, today's question: "Have you ever visited Canada? If so, what were your experiences?" Put CANADA in the subject line and send to survey@upi.com via the Internet.


RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 317 (SPEECH)

Last week we asked if you've ever had to make a speech and how it came out. Here is a random sampling of the replies: Peggy says that she really admires people who speak extemporaneously. She says the only speeches she's had to make were at funerals of friends and, at those kinds of places, there is a "support group" around. Robert in DC notes that he's good at public speaking. Robert, I kinda guessed that from the tone and texture of many of your e-mails. Cindy is among several who say that speaking at church and in church groups has improved their abilities. IMTU wonders if being able to sing or act in front of a crowd also qualifies. In my book they do. VOXEN says she had to speak at her high school graduation and her parents gave her a tranquilizer beforehand. Brenda is very vocal on this subject. Just the thought of having to speak nauseates her. Jean, though, says that she's been in love with speaking since taking a class in it in college. She says she guesses she loves the attention. Well, as someone who can't shut up, I fully understand. TOMORROW: More of your kind replies. GBA.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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