News In Brief

JUST DON'T QUOTE ME In what may be the first reported case of its type in the post-impeachment era, a senior elected office-holder has staked out the position that political leaders may lie to the public with impugnity because President Clinton did and got away with it. Moreover, added new Premier Ndaweni Mahlangu of the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa: "I personally don't find it to be a very bad thing." Callers to local radio stations denounced him, and opposition parties are demanding that he be disciplined by the ruling African National Congress.

HEY, IT WORKED, DIDN'T IT? Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British Highways Agency view the nation's first express bus lane differently. Blair was keenly aware of public anger as his official car swung into the lane to escape a traffic jam, zipping by "thousands" of stalled voters - er, motorists - en route to a meeting. So aware, in fact, that he wants the lane erased. The agency doesn't, protesting: "So far, the results have been very good."

Poll names Tom Hanks most 'bankable' star in Hollywood A recent survey by the Hollywood Reporter newspaper rates a star's ability to guarantee film financing and distribution deals, as well as to attract audiences. Tom Hanks scored a perfect 100 in the ranking of 525 actors. Last year Hanks came in fourth. Julia Roberts was the lone woman in this year's top 10, and only three other women were in the top 20: Meg Ryan (16), Jodie Foster (18), and Sandra Bullock (20). Gwyneth Paltrow, this year's Academy Award winner as best actress, was No 21. The 10 ranked "most bankable" in the poll:

1. Tom Hanks 100.00

2. Mel Gibson 99.44

3. Tom Cruise 99.05

4. Harrison Ford 98.69

5. Jim Carrey 97.22

6. Leonardo DiCaprio 96.85

7. John Travolta 94.74

8. Julia Roberts 94.63

9. Robin Williams 94.44

10. Brad Pitt 94.22

- Reuters

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