"He's got a little charm offensive under way with the Far Right. We understand that."
--Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry, on House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who hurt himself by suggesting a tax-cut delayEDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top
XANADU MAY GET XANADUMPED
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR Xanadu just won't do anymore? If you're Henry Kravis, you call Sotheby's and try to unload the dream house you had in a previous life with a previous wife. In 1992, when he was married to designer Carolyne Roehm, the financier built his eight-bedroom Palladian-style mansion on the Dominican Republic's southern coast. Called Westerly, the estate also has a six-car garage, two seaside dining gazebos, a pool, and tennis courts.
Trouble is, Kravis doesn't much use this palace. Friends say he goes there occasionally in the winter to play golf. But he is tired of the tropical climate and the place's Gatsbyesque grandeur. One friend calls it "gaudy, totally unlike Henry." Another says Kravis and his new wife, economist Marie Josee Drouin, prefer the rustic charms of their 4,500-acre Colorado ranch.
Westerly may not bring a good return for Kravis, who declines to comment. Friends say that he paid about $20 million to build it. It's on the market for $22 million. The northern coast is a hotter spot for the rich set, and Westerly's size makes the place tough to move. Luxury homes in his neighborhood, Casa de Campo, go for a mere $3 million or so. Christie's international property sales chief, Peter Kempf, predicts Westerly will take two or three years to sell.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top
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WE WILL CYBER-BURY YOU
RUSSIA'S MILITARY LOOKS LIKE an empty shell, unable even to defeat a ragtag militia in Chechnya. Strapped for cash, Russia is having trouble paying and feeding its 1.7 million troops. However, behind the scenes, Russia's military leaders are shaping a strategy that one day could pose a threat to the West: focusing its limited resources on R&D for "information warfare."
Western analysts say that Russia is anteing up for new generations of smart sensors and precision weapons. And it is working on viruses and other high-tech wreckers that can attack an adversary's civilian computers running everything from the financial system to telephones to utility grids. Even as it cuts outlays on conventional forces, the Russian Parliament recently doubled defense R&D appropriations, to $2 billion.
Moscow's stepped-up R&D program is a backhanded compliment to America's state-of-the-art military technology that performed so well in the Persian Gulf war against Iraq's Soviet-made weapons. If the amounts now flowing into military research turn into a flood once Russia's economy bounces back, the U.S. may have to really pay attention to its former cold war foe. For now, though, the White House says it doesn't view Russia as an adversary.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Stan CrockReturn to top
A NEW NABOB OF NAMES ON THE NET
DOT WHAT? LOOK FOR A SPATE of new suffixes for Web domain names. Right now, hamburger lovers can access www.mcdonalds.com. The most prominent of the 1.2 million existing names are ".com" for commercial, ".edu" for educational institutions, and ".gov" for government bodies. Later this year, the list will expand to include seven new names, including ".store" for retailers and ".nom" for individuals.
Significantly, these new names will be assigned by someone other than Network Solutions Inc., up until now the sole U.S. gatekeeper of Web addresses. Disgruntlement over how NSI parcels out names has led Digital Equipment, UUNet, the International Telecommunications Union, and other high-tech outfits to set up their own coalition to settle disputes, especially among trademarked brands. The members will individually O.K. new names.
NSI has let people register numerous well-known handles, such as McDonald's, forcing companies to buy the right to the names. But NSI says it still has many supporters and that it, too, is working on adding more names for cybernauts.Paul M. Eng EDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top