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OCTOBER 25, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 16

Milestones
By STEPHEN SHORT

ARRESTED. GIANCARLO PARRETTI, 57, fugitive financier whose $1.3 billion takeover of the film studio MGM in 1990 and subsequent default on an $888 million loan from Credit Lyonnais nearly triggered the giant French bank's collapse; in Orvieto, Italy. Parretti, who was convicted of mismanagement, perjury and witness tampering by a Delaware court in 1997, had fled to Italy just before his sentencing. Last April, a French court convicted him of fraud and sentenced him, in absentia, to four years in prison. If Italian authorities allow Parretti's extradition to the U.S., he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1.5 billion fine.

DIED. AKHTAR HAMEED KHAN, 85, pioneering community development activist who created a legendary self-help program for a million Karachi slum dwellers; in Indiana. In the face of government inaction, Khan rallied residents around his Orangi Pilot Project in 1980, enabling them to construct their own underground sewage system. Over the years, the effort grew to include successful health and education programs and became a model for other Asian megacities.

DIED. WILT CHAMBERLAIN, 63, widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of the pre-Jordan era whose 100 points in a single game has never been equaled; in Los Angeles of a heart attack. "Wilt the Stilt" began with the Harlem Globetrotters in 1958 and, at 2.19 m tall, went on to dominate the National Basketball Association from 1959 to 1973, playing for the Philadelphia (later San Francisco) Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. After retiring, he starred with Arnold Schwarznegger in Conan the Destroyer and, in a 1991 autobiography, boasted of having bedded 20,000 women.

DIED. JULIUS NYERERE, 77, statesman who led Tanzania to independence from Britain in 1961 and served as the new nation's President for the next 14 years; in London. He made Tanzania a beacon of stability in a chaotic continent, though his socialist economic policies failed to bring prosperity. After his 1985 retirement, he became one of the world's most respected elder statesmen and had recently been mediating talks to end ethnic and political conflict in Burundi.

DIED. JOAO CABRAL MELO NETO, 79, one of Brazil's most influential 20th century poets; in Rio de Janeiro. As a child Melo Neto worked in the sugarcane fields of his native Pernambuco, an experience that inspired his celebrated poem Morte e Vida Severina, subsequently made into a musical that launched the career of singer-composer Chico Buarque de Holanda. Cabral also served as his country's ambassador to Colombia and Senegal and as a diplomat in Europe.

NAMED. CHRISTINE LAGARDE, 43, first woman to be named chairman of Baker & McKenzie, the world's second largest law firm, with 2,487 lawyers in 35 countries; in Chicago, the firm's headquarters. Lagarde was elected by an overwhelming majority of Baker & McKenzie's 548 partners, 91% of them male. A French national trained at the University of Paris law school, she joined the firm's Paris office in 1981 and made partner in 1987.

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