The homework assignment: Come up with background material for a debate in school on deterring nuclear war. So the teenager decided he might as well go to the logical source, his country's government. And he came away with just what he needed. In fact, Britain's Defense Ministry furnished a pamphlet entitled "Defending against the Threat," two leaflets - one on deterrence and one on arms control - and chapters four and five of the government's annual strategic defense review. Not that any of it was classified, mind you. Anyone, a ministry spokesman insisted, could obtain the same information on request. Oh, the student? Euan Blair, the eldest son of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie. The prime minister's office denied also that dad or mom personally interceded in the matter.

'Most influential' show biz women aren't show-stoppers

Naturally, superstar entertainers such as Madonna, Julia Roberts, and Oprah Winfrey lead the list of most influential women in show business, right? Actually, no - according to The Hollywood Reporter, which this week released its 10th annual ranking of females who do the most significant work in the industry. Madonna did make the list, but only at 42nd of the 50 on it. Roberts finished third; Winfrey eighth. The Hollywood Reporter's top 10:

1. Stacy Snider, chief of production, Universal Pictures

2. Sherry Lansing, chief, Paramount Motion Pictures Group

3. Julia Roberts, actress

4. Gail Berman, president of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting

5. Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Entertainment

6. Michele Anthony, executive vice president, Sony Music

7. Nikki Rocco, president, Universal Pictures Distribution

8. Oprah Winfrey, TV show host and chief of Harpo Entertainment Group

9. Judy McGrath, president of MTV Group

10. Carole Black and Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff, Lifetime Television

- Reuters

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