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"It's very rewarding to him because it's a new family for him, and we care about him. I don't know how many millions that's worth."---Callaway Golf founder Ely Callaway, declining to put a price tag on his unusual endorsement contract with Betty Ford grad John Daly, which requires the golfer to stay soberEDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INSECURITY?

STATISTICS SHOW THAT inner-city crime is on the decline and that Columbia, S.C., ranks 98th among the nation's cities. But for the FBI, downtown Columbia is just too unsafe for its agents.

The bureau is looking to move to the suburbs, and Columbia officials and urban development promoters are in an uproar. Critics charge such a move by the 80-person FBI office would set a bad precedent and violate an executive order requiring federal agencies to give first preference to central urban business areas. In a letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh, the National Council for Urban Economic Development cautioned that "the strategy used in Columbia may become a trend among FBI office relocation projects."

The idea to abandon the Strom Thurmond Federal Building began when the General Services Administration decided to renovate the offices. The FBI was presented with 11 possible downtown locations in Columbia. But due to stricter security requirements after the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, a spokesman says no site met the new standard, based on potential terrorism and street crime.

Columbia is a safe enough town for the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Attorney's office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, which are staying.

Says BATF regional spokesman Earl Woodham: "If we can't deal with the criminal element...we're in the wrong business."EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Stan CrockReturn to top

STEVIE NICKS: PLEASE STOP (TAXIN' HAIRDOS)

IS GEORGE STRAIT'S COWBOY hat tax-deductible? Nope. How about Madonna's bustier? Only if she never wears it offstage. But performers could tap a gusher of deductions if singer Stevie Nicks wins her fight with the IRS. Last July, it disallowed $260,000 in expenses taken in 1991 by Nicks, singer with Fleetwood Mac, who perform Clinton anthem Don't Stop (Thinkin' About Tomorrow). Nicks is appealing to an IRS panel.

The Feds are traditionally hard on artists and media figures. It won't allow TV news anchors to deduct suits worn on air, because they could be worn to a cocktail party. Nicks' lawyer argues that $12,000 for hair and makeup, $43,000 for outfits, and other things should be deductible since they are associated strictly with Nicks's stage persona.

The IRS is mum, but experts say Nicks has a tough fight. "The IRS doesn't want to give up that kind of money," says John Mueller of consultant CCH. "It's billions of dollars if you talk about every artist's hair care and costumes."EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Roy FurchgottReturn to top

MEDDLESOME CHAP, THAT TONY BLAIR

AT THEIR RECENT SUMMIT, European leaders took comfort in the newly elected British Prime Minister's pledge to be a constructive player. But despite soothing words during the conclave at the Dutch seaside town of Noordwijk, expect to see sparks flying soon from the European Union. Britain's Tony Blair plans to push for changes in the EU toward an Anglo-American model that French President Jacques Chirac, in particular, resists.

Take Blair's appointment of Lord Simon, the retired chairman of British Petroleum, as his trade ambassador to Europe. Although Simon is an advocate of Britain's joining the European Monetary Union, he will seek to stomp out state aid to industry, such as that which Air France enjoys.

In addition, there still is a wide gulf between Britain and the Continent on issues ranging from companies' rights to fire employees to how big a role the state should play in the economy. Moreover, Blair is opposed strongly to the EU taking on a defense role alongside NATO, as France and Germany want.

On some issues dear to Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Blair is playing along. He isn't expected, for example, to block the new European treaty overhauling how the EU operates, which is due to be signed in June. But keep a lookout for regular squawks interrupted by only occasional cooing noises.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Stanley ReedReturn to top


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