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March 14, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ After 15 years of entertaining readers around the world, humorist Russell Baker says he has written his last ″Sunday Observer″ column.

″I did it for 15 years. That’s a long time to write a column with three weeks’ lead time,″ Baker said Sunday. ″Columnists tend to hang on too long. I wanted to call it quits before that.″

Baker, who announced his decision in a farewell column in The New York Times Magazine, plans to continue his weekday column for the Times and work on a book.

Baker’s daily and Sunday columns are distributed to about 400 newspapers across the United States and about 100 foreign papers, according to Kevin Delaney of The New York Times News Service. The weekday column appears twice a week.

″I’ll still be doing the daily column, probably longer than I should,″ Baker said. ″I’m 62 years old. You begin to run out of steam.″

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NEW YORK (AP) - Courtney Gibbs, the newly crowned Miss USA, says she’s tone deaf and can’t dance, which is one reason why she entered the pageant: It has no talent requirement.

″The Miss America Pageant has a talent division, and I really don’t have a talent that fits into any category,″ the 21-year-old Ms. Gibbs was quoted as saying in this week’s People magazine.

Ms. Gibbs, Texas’ fourth-consecutive winner of the pageant, said she hopes her talent is ″speaking, because I want to go into broadcasting, but you can’t do that for three minutes in front of the judges.

″I mean, I was a model for seven years, but I don’t think they’d understand me modeling clothes for three minutes.″

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EVERETT, Pa. (AP) - Officials in this small, south-central Pennsylvania community are waiting for actor Clint Eastwood to make their day by paying a 10 1/2 -year-old speeding ticket.

Eastwood, who is also mayor of Carmel, Calif., was driving west along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a frend’s new black Ferrari on Oct. 23, 1977, when he was clocked going 69 mph in a 55 mph zone, police say.

District Justice Marion L. Morgret of Everett said recently he stopped sending Eastwood collection letters and warnings eight years ago. He had the citation placed in his ″dead″ file.

Eastwood, known for his tough-guy roles in such films as ″Dirty Harry″ and ″Sudden Impact,″ was fined $53 and ordered to pay $10 in costs.

The actor’s agent, Lenny Hirshan, said Eastwood was on location in San Francisco shooting a movie and could not be contacted.

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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Jimmy Carter has vowed to support Nigeria’s drive to eradicate guinea worm, a debilitating parasite that permanently disables 12,000 Nigerians annually.

The former U.S. president, who arrived Sunday on an overnight visit to this West African nation, pledged the support of Global 2000, a private, non-profit institution founded during his 1977-81 presidency. The Atlanta-based organization funds health and agriculture projects in the developing world.

″Nigeria is the most heavily afflicted country in Africa. If we can succeed here we can reach our goal to totally eradicate guinea worm″ by 1995, Carter said during a meeting with the nation’s health minister, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti.

It is estimated that 2.5 million Nigerians contract the disease each year through contaminated drinking water.

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Eunice Kennedy Shriver has been selected to receive the 1988 Laetare Medal, one of the most prestigious awards given to American Catholics, the University of Notre Dame announced.

The university’s president, the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, said recently Mrs. Shriver will be honored for her work as founder and chairwoman of Special Olympics International.

″Inscribed on each Laetare Medal is the slogan, ‘Truth is mighty and will prevail,’ ″ Malloy said. ″Last summer, while hosting the International Special Olympics Games, the Notre Dame community saw anew an ancient Christian truth: Christ comes most often in the stranger’s guise.″

Mrs. Shriver, a native of Brookline, Mass., is the fifth of the nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the sister of the late President John F. Kennedy.

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - The Directors Guild of America has honored Bernardo Bertolucci with his second directing award for ″The Last Emperor,″ in what could bode a triple-crown award season for the Italian movie director.

Bertolucci, who in January won a Golden Globe for directing ″The Last Emperor,″ picked up the DGA award Saturday night in ceremonies held jointly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and in New York.

An Academy Award next month would make it a Bertolucci sweep. Only three times in the 40-year history of the DGA award has it failed to coincide with the Academy Award winner for best director.

The last time was in 1985, when Steven Spielberg’s directorial colleagues gave him the nod for ″The Color Purple,″ while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t even nominate him. The Oscar went instead to Sydney Pollack for ″Out of Africa.″

Other top DGA winners Saturday were Will MacKenzie, who received the TV comedy directing award for an episode of NBC-TV’s ″Family Ties″ called ‴A’ My Name is Alex″; and Marshall Herskovitz, who won the nighttime dramatic series award for his pilot for ABC-TV’s ″thirtysomething.″

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