Originally created 04/23/04

People in the News



NEW YORK -- Sean John, founded by rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, has formed a joint venture with Zac Posen, considered one of fashion's brightest new stars.

Sean John is making a long-term investment in the growth of the Zac Posen label and the two companies will be equal partners, according to a statement released Wednesday. The deal allows Posen to remain creatively autonomous.

Posen is known best for his dresses - and his ability to draw celebrities such as Claire Danes and President Bush's daughter, Barbara, to his runway shows.

"Zac Posen is a true design talent that I respect and admire," said Combs, who serves as Sean John's chief executive officer. "He's got what it takes. And Sean John is going to give his company the opportunity to grow because we believe in him."

Posen plans to continue expansion of his ready-to-wear collection, which debuted in 2001, while developing an accessories business.

Sean John has annual retail sales in the United States of more than $450 million. The company plans to open its flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue later this year.

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IGANGA, Uganda -- Natalie Portman toured charity projects in Uganda and appealed to international donors to do more to help African women deal with poverty and the AIDS pandemic.

The 22-year-old "Star Wars" actress met Wednesday with women who have started small businesses with loans from the Washington-based Foundation for International Community Assistance.

"It is amazing and it is an opportunity to see women with such courage and diligence creating money from such little funds," Portman said in the village of Iganga, 80 miles east of Kampala. "It is giving hope. The women are resourceful. And it is amazing that the world is not capitalizing on this resource."

Portman, dressed in a creased long-sleeved white shirt, faded jeans and brown boots, met the owner of a small restaurant in a hot dining room, walled and roofed with rusty sheets of iron.

Naima Omar, a 46-year-old single mother of 10, used a $100 loan from the foundation to set up a shop selling fast food made from wheat. In four years, she has gone from poverty to earning an average income.

"I employed my children as waiters and one as a cashier, because I do not know how to write," Omar said. "I have progressed."

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DEARBORN, Mich. -- Jamie Farr's golf cart, a manuscript of Paul Anka's song "My Way" and White House reporter Helen Thomas' Olivetti typewriter will be displayed at an Arab-American museum set to open next year.

The Arab American National Museum and Cultural Center is being built in Dearborn, center of southeastern Michigan's 300,000-member Arab-American community. The $12.8 million, 38,500-square-foot building is scheduled to open in April 2005.

"In many ways, this is an institution whose time has come," said Ismael Ahmed, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. "It's our legacy we're giving to America."

Other items to be displayed include Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal's crash helmet, character actor Michael Ansara's boots and shoes worn by NBA star Rony Seikaly.

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RATON, N.M. -- Ted Turner is buying the old York Canyon coal mine property near his Vermejo Park Ranch and plans to get involved in the reclamation of the land, Turner's office in Montana announced Tuesday.

Turner Enterprises Inc. and Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Co. jointly announced completion of negotiations that will lead to the sale of the mine to a Turner affiliate.

"Vermejo Park Ranch welcomes the opportunity to consolidate assets on the ranch and looks forward to working with P&M on the final reclamation," Russell Miller, Turner Enterprises general manager, said in a statement Tuesday.

The mine ceased operations in June 2002 because of difficult geologic mining conditions, P&M spokesman Bob Johnson said in Colorado.

Twelve workers remain, but a small increase in staffing is expected for the final phase of reclamation.

Turner, a cable television pioneer, has substantial ranching interests across the West, including buffalo herds in New Mexico.