Helmut Kohl, the former chancellor of Germany, had what you could call a really hot time last week while on a lecture tour in Israel. As we pick up the story, he was enjoying a little hospitality at the residence of President Moshe Katsav when a delegation of farmers arrived, bearing a selection of locally grown produce in honor of the Jewish holiday Shavuot. Katsav picked out a prime red chili pepper and – alluding to the financial scandal that cost Kohl his job four years ago – said he should offer it to his political enemies. But Katsav doesn't speak German, and Kohl, who speaks no Hebrew, apparently thought he was being invited to sample the fiery fruit. He took a generous bite. Within seconds, he turned red, gasping for breath and perspiring profusely. A presidential aide ran for a glass of water to extinguish the diplomatic misunderstanding.

2002's top sports figures: auto racing, tennis stars

Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and Jennifer Capriati, currently ranked No. 2 in women's tennis (after Venus Williams), are sportsman and woman of the year, respectively, as selected by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The Monaco-based organization each year makes its choices "to celebrate sporting excellence across all disciplines and all continents" in the belief that sport has the power to change the world. The 2002 winners, whose awards will be presented May 26:

Sportsman of the Year: German auto racer Michael Schumacher
Sportswoman of the Year: US tennis star Jennifer Capriati
Team: Australia's cricket team
Comeback: Croatian pro tennis star Goran Ivanisevic
Newcomer: Colombian race driver Juan Pablo Montoya
Alternative Sportsperson: Brazilian skateboarder Bob Burnquist
Sportsperson with Disability: Wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands
Lifetime Achievement/Sport for Good: New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake (deceased)
– PRNewswire

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