News In Brief

'I wouldn't blame the fans if they didn't come back. Neither side is coming out of this thing looking good.' - Utah Jazz star Jeff Hornacek, after NBA team owners and players ended their lengthy dispute over salaries.

NOW, JUST YOU WAIT! There's no point in rushing into the new millennium, science-fiction author Arthur Clarke says. Clarke, probably best-known for the epic "2001: A Space Odyssey," feels so strongly about references to next year ushering in the new millennium that he has taken steps to set the record straight. From his adopted home in Sri Lanka, the British-born writer issued this statement: "Because the Western calendar starts with Year 1, and not Year 0, the 21st Century and the Third Millennium do not begin until Jan. 1, 2001." Although some people have difficulty grasping this, it continues, "we'll have had only 99 years of this century by Jan. 1, 2000; we'll have to wait until Dec. 31 for the full hundred."

THE DAY'S LIST Public-relations group rates 1998's biggest PR blunders The Texas cattlemen who had a beef with TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey are No. 1 on a list of PR gaffes committed last year, as compiled by San Francisco-based Fineman Associates Public Relations. Only Americans or US companies were considered. Blunders must have occurred in the US, have caused adverse publicity, and have damaged the image of the person or institution concerned. Fineman's top fiascoes of 1998 and its descriptions or comments: 1. Texas cattlemen: (who lost a $12 million libel lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey) - Helped to keep "the question of beef safety and industry practices [in] national headlines..." 2. National Basketball Association: (whose season was jeopardized by a contract impasse between team owners and players) - "Guys, you [threw] up bricks on the court of public opinion." 3. Internal Revenue Service: (after a baseball fan was threatened with a six- figure gift tax for catching a record-breaking Mark McGwire home-run ball) - "Reinforced [IRS] image as cold and out of control." 4. PGA Tour: (which sought to prevent disabled professional golfer Casey Martin from using his motorized cart in tournaments) - Undermined efforts to give the tour a more open and inclusive image. - PR Newswire

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