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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Dec. 23, 2002 at 5:09 PM   |   Comments

THREE WOMEN NAMED 'PERSONS OF THE YEAR'

Time magazine has named three American women, each of whom worked for a different company, as "persons of the year." The magazine has bestowed its prestigious yearly honor on the three for their roles in being whistle-blowers at their employers -- Enron, WorldCom and the FBI. Sherron Watkins was an Enron vice president. She's the one who wrote that letter to the company's CEO warning that the energy giant was headed for disaster because of shady accounting procedures. Coleen Rowley worked as an attorney for the FBI. She sent a memo to the national police force's director telling him about the way the agency "brushed off pleas from her Minneapolis field office" and that additional investigations were needed. And Cynthia Cooper burst the bubble at WorldCom, telling its board of directors that nearly $4 billion in loses had been swept under the rug. Time salutes the trio as people who did not seek the limelight or do what they did for glory. It calls 2002 the Year of the Whistle-blower. The magazine compares this year's honorees to the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike 2001's heroes, in the case of the three women, they were simply doing their jobs while seemingly caring more for the success and credibility of their places of business than those who were in charge.


POPE WARNS OF FLARE UP OF 'FORGOTTEN WARS'

In making his official end-of-the-year statement from the Vatican, the pope has warned of renewed wartime bloodshed. Speaking at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II, according to Vatican Radio, told a crowd that he fears that the threat of terrorism and flaring up of small wars can bring about global disasters. He again spoke of his concerns about another "war" going on -- the slow destruction of the environment by industrialized countries. For the first time in recent memory, the pope's annual holiday messages are not being delivered from the central balcony overlooking the plaza at St. Peters. He remarks have been scheduled to be held at ground level. Renovations in the papal residence made the changes necessary.


BIG APPLE'S DON IMUS, COUNTRY DJ?

Why would a mainstream Nashville music group name New York City's Don Imus as disk jockey of the year? Well, the answer really makes sense, and it is making for interesting press coverage. Nashville Skyline has declared Imus to the spot in its disk jockey category, even though Imus is not a country DJ and is on the air in a city that many people would not think is a country music hot spot. Amid all of this, Imus has campaigned for the "down-home" sound. What really proved this was a stunt that he pulled after the release of an album by the Flatlanders, a group with older singers and not much modern-day name recognition. Appearing on Larry King's nightly broadcast, Imus offered $10,000 of his own money to any big-city radio station that would play the album with enough regularity to force it into the Top 10 rankings. Two stations, one in New York City and one in Los Angeles, took him up on the bet. Now CMT says that in L.A. the music rose in the rankings and Imus sent the station playing it a check.


McGRAW MAKES GOOD ON PROMISE

Country singer Tim McGraw has made good on a promise of big-time Christmas bonuses for his partners in his latest project. When his newest CD, "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors" was about to be released, he told the band that if the album sold more than half a million copies in the first week of its release, he would give each a big bonus. The CD sold over 600,000 units. So, true to his word, McGraw handed out bonuses ... and some really non-traditional ones. Two members of the Dancehall Doctors got Harley Davidson motorcycles. Another band member got a classic 1968 Chevrolet Impala SS. Several got vintage Corvettes. Incidentally, the CD has now sold over a million copies.


BILLY GRAHAM REACHING OUT TO POOR PASTORS

Through Christianity Today magazine -- the flagship publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association -- the internationally known preacher is launching a campaign to help church pastors in impoverished churches in Latin and South America. Graham tells the ASSIST news service that he will be using the Internet to try to come to the aid of over 100,000 churchmen south of the border. Graham's group says that increasingly church leaders in poor countries have been reaching out through the Internet in order to try to get help for their local ministries. Believe it or not, even priests and ministers in the depths of the Amazon are able to occasionally get on line. It is estimated that up to half of the church leaders in that part of the world have intermittent Internet access. Graham has announced that his group will match every donation given to a special site -- christianitytoday.com/go/dci -- dollar-for-dollar. A Spanish-language partner of Graham's group is working in coordinating the online fundraising campaign.


HUEY LEWIS BACK IN THE NEWS

Veteran rocker Huey Lewis, sans the News, has gone back into the studio. Lewis has teamed up with Phil Vassar in a remake of his old hit song "Working for a Livin'" in a new version. Lewis and Vassar got the idea after appearing together on the same stage in Las Vegas several months ago. The country star told country.com that he had already been including the Lewis song in his concerts for some time. After making friends with Lewis, the idea emerged to go into the studio and do a new recording of the hit from the 1980s. Vassar says that working with Lewis was, in his words, "awesome."


UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 486

For a few days this week we're taking time to collect your New Year's resolutions. So, when you have time in the coming days, send us a list of the things you resolve to do or fix in the coming year. Send to comments@upi.com via the Internet, with PROMISE in the subject line.


RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 481 (BOWL)

Last week we asked if you watch any of the televised bowl games during the holiday season. Here, from a very random dip into the inbox, is a sampling of replies: More than 40 percent of respondents noted that they watched zero bowl games. Among the non-sports fans are RoyTW and RTM. The average number of games watched by those who do watch them is three. ANishimoto is among those who watch the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl and, of course, the Rose Bowl. JerryBJr adds the annual Blue-Gray game to the list. By the way, fans of the Rose Bowl will be happy to know that it's more than just a football contest. Since the weather is usually wonderful for the game and the parade, millions sitting in snow-bound cities watch them both. The Pasadena and Los Angeles-area chambers of commerce love it. NEXT: Your favorite balladeer. 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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