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January 24, 1997

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jimmy Cliff is working on a sequel to the 1971 cult classic ``The Harder They Come,″ but his old partner is trying to put him down.

The reggae legend and star of the original film is reportedly producer of a follow-up that begins shooting in March and stars Wyclef, leader of the platinum-selling rap group The Fugees.

The problem is that the rights to the story still belong to Perry Henzell, who wrote the screenplay to the first film.

``I have not sold the rights to `The Harder They Come II,′ so there’s no way he can do that,″ Henzell said. Cliff ``told me he was making a movie with The Fugees, which I have no problem with. But if the story has any semblance of `The Harder They Come,′ I will have to sue him.″

Henzell, in fact, is planning his own sequel. ``It’s great, better than the first, but the financing is nowhere in place,″ he said.

The first film was based on the real-life story of Ivanhoe Martin, a kind of 1950s Jamaican Jesse James. The movie, two years in the making, cost only $200,000, but won worldwide acclaim for Henzell and Cliff.

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PARIS (AP) _ France’s favorite rocker, Johnny Hallyday, scrapped the leather and long hair for an important gig Friday: receiving the Legion of Honor.

``My dear Johnny, it’s a great privilege for me to see you in a tie,″ said a smiling President Jacques Chirac as he greeted the 53-year-old singer, who sported a new, trim haircut as well.

Hallyday, whose real name is Jean-Philippe Smet, is little known outside France, where he introduced rock ‘n’ roll in 1959 with French versions of tunes like ``Tutti Frutti″ and ``Let’s Twist Again.″

Last November, some 6,000 French fans paid $2,100 each to follow him to a performance in Las Vegas.

Chirac praised Hallyday’s ``genius, sensibility, emotion and heart as big as a house. Someone who loves life, France, the world, the young as well as the less young.″

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DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) _ Fast-food tycoon Dave Thomas is taking it slow as he recovers from heart surgery.

The founder of and spokesman for Wendy’s burger restaurants underwent quadruple bypass surgery Dec. 20. The surgery reroutes blood around blocked heart arteries.

Thomas, 64, is recuperating in Florida, where he has a home, and may be ready to work on his next commercial next month. He makes a few business telephone calls a day and walks twice a day, Wendy’s spokesman Denny Lynch said Friday.

``No one’s rushing Dave into anything,″ Lynch said. ``He does check in every day.″

Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in 1969 in downtown Columbus, and the chain is based in this Columbus suburb.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Tonya Harding is willing to cross the globe to get back into competitive skating.

Harding is barred from competing for the United States, so her agent says the two-time Olympian is willing to skate for another country, such as Norway.

``They really like her a lot and with her blond hair and blue eyes, she looks Norwegian or Swedish,″ David Hans Schmidt said Thursday.

In 1994, the U.S. Figure Skating Association banned Harding for life from amateur competition after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Schmidt told the Oslo tabloid Dagbladet that Harding still remembers the great reception she got at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer and would consider skating for Norway in the 1998 Winter Games in Japan.

Olympic rules say Harding couldn’t compete for another country until three years after changing her citizenship, though that could be waived or reduced.

The idea is getting a frosty reception from some.

``I just think it’s silly,″ said Helge Ogrim, who covered Harding at the 1994 Olympics for the Washington, D.C.-based Norwegian News Agency. ``I don’t think Norway is desperate enough to recruit a convicted criminal from the U.S.″

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ On the golf course, Arnold Palmer always took the risky shot, the one between the trees instead of around them _ an attitude that won seven major championships and created an Arnie’s Army of fans.

He was just as aggressive dealing with cancer, and it looks like he’s come up a winner again.

``The doctor told me my cancer in the prostate was contained,″ a tanned, fit Palmer said Thursday in his first public comments since his cancerous prostate was removed Jan. 15.

Palmer, 67, said he will not be able to swing a golf club for another six weeks but plans to return to competitive golf. ``As for when, it depends on the rate of my recovery and the state of my game,″ he said.

He’s making definite plans for the Masters tournament, which starts April 10.

``I have every intention of being at Augusta,″ Palmer said. ``I plan to play.″

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