REDGRAVE BAILS OUT CHECHEN WARLORD
Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave has put up bail for one of Russia's most wanted men -- suspected Chechen warlord Akhmed Zakayev, the Daily Mail reports.
Zakayev, 43, was arrested as he arrived at Heathrow airport in London, but then Redgrave put up his $78,000 bail and said he would stay with her.
Zakayev is said by Moscow to be a key figure in the rebel Chechen government and is wanted for terrorist-related crimes, including murder and rebellion, the Mail says.
This sets up a messy situation for British officials over the expected request from Russia for Zakayev's extradition.
RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE
Earth might be in for some rapid climate change, suggests new research on atmospheric, marine and terrestrial changes at the planet's poles.
Scientists caution the evidence is mixed and the jury still out on whether we are causing the global warming, but new findings add credence to the theory the planet is experiencing an unprecedented rate of system change.
A University of Colorado study says the Greenland ice sheet melted in record amounts during 2002 while the Arctic sea ice plummeted to the lowest level since satellite records began in 1979.
Aerial photographs taken of an Arctic region in Alaska in 1949 compared with snapshots taken of the same region in 2000 show once mostly denuded of vegetation, the area now is peppered with shrub vegetation.
OZZY MOST BORING IN 2002
The Boring Institute's 19th annual list of "The Most Boring Celebrities of the Year" is out and Ozzy Osbourne is at the top.
"The most boring celebrities are people we could not escape, they're everywhere, we love celebrities, we lift them up, they have great wealth, an interesting lifestyle, and when they get in trouble -- usually self-inflicted -- we love that too," Alan Caruba, a public relations consultant who founded the Boring Institute, told United Press International.
Caruba said while the 2002 list was his most challenging, Osbourne was the easy winner because his MTV reality show is "proof that, by comparison, your family is fabulous!"
(Thanks to UPI's Alex Cukan in New York)
ONLINE SHOPPING HERE TO STAY
Lori Iventosch-James, who helped develop the Harris Interactive, Nielsen/NetRatings eShopping Report, says online shopping remains a tiny fraction of annual retail sales -- just 1.4 percent of total fourth quarter retail sales -- but it will not disappear.
"I see moderate growth," she told United Press International.
"Anything that makes life easier will continue to grow."
Clothing and apparel, flowers and greeting cards have joined the successful online sales trinity of books, CDs/DVDs and travel, after e-tailers improved Web site security and publicized their privacy policies to make consumers feel more confident about sending credit card numbers into cyberspace.
Research shows men use the Internet more to compare products and search for the lowest price while women are drawn more to established name brands they already trust.
Online sales were 34.4 percent higher in the third quarter and got a jumpstart during the Thanksgiving holiday week, increasing 41 percent from 2001.
(Thanks to UPI's Al Swanson in Chicago)