- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2000

And baby makes three

CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, married to State Department spokesman James P. Rubin, gave birth to the couple's first child early yesterday.

The baby boy, named Darius John, weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Mother, baby and father were reportedly all doing well.

The boy, born at 10:30 a.m. in Washington, is named after Darius I, a king of ancient Persia, who ruled between 521 and 486 B.C., according to a State Department news release.

Mrs. Amanpour's family left Iran amid the Islamic Revolution that toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Mrs. Amanpour, 42, who normally works out of London, gained celebrity status during the Bosnia war, which she covered for CNN.

In January 1998, she conducted the first interview to the Western press by Iran's reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, in which he called for an opening with the United States.

Mr. Rubin, 40, for seven years one of the closest advisers to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, announced last month he would suspend his duties at the State Department after the birth of the child to focus on his family life. He was planning to take a two-week vacation, then return for another two weeks before resigning, officials said.

The couple plan to live in London with the new baby.

Richard Boucher will take over the post after Mr. Rubin's departure.

Captain Gore

Now that he stands a fair chance of becoming our nation's next president, more people are paying attention to the amazing academic ascension of Al Gore, a mediocre student who classmates say liked to lounge around the college dorm eating junk food and occasionally smoking pot.

So how does one manage to carry a C average earned at Washington's elite St. Albans School into the hallowed halls of Harvard?

John C. Davis, retired assistant headmaster at St. Albans, tried explaining to Washington's other newspaper last week that Al was captain of his football team, and any "big boy" like Al was welcome in the Ivy League so long as he was a standout in football.

Prior to his death two years ago, Eddie Crane, longtime high school sports editor for the old Washington Evening Star, left his collection of sports files to an old friend, Gregory G. Paspatis of Alexandria, Va.

From Mr. Crane's files, Mr. Paspatis is able to produce handwritten varsity high school football records from the 1964 season, the year Al was team captain.

"Don't tell me Harvard thought Al Gore could help their football program," Mr. Paspatis tells us. "The St. Albans team in the fall of 1964 that Gore played on as a senior was 1-7. They were terrible. They only scored 59 points in eight games while giving up 210 points.

"It was no jock factory powerhouse by any means," he says of Mr. Gore's alma mater. "The Interstate Athletic Conference itself is regarded more as a sanctuary for the children of Washington VIPs."

Take note

The World Bank isn't sure what retaliation measures Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe might have in mind, but the public piggy bank is taking no chances.

A memo now circulating at the World Bank advises that Mr. Mugabe, under the auspices of national security, passed a special bill through parliament this month forcing all Internet and e-mail service providers to allow the government to view all communications "into and out" of Zimbabwe.

"Any person sending or receiving disparaging comments about the government, political, social or economic issues will have his service terminated and could face governmental reactions as times are very sensitive right now," the memo warns.

"Therefore, please DO NOT send us ANY information, articles, opinions, concerns, etc., that in ANY way refer to politics, economics, social or civil issues in Zimbabwe. Thank you for your cooperation."

Camel snarl

Congressmen and citizens alike did double takes yesterday afternoon as a herd of eight camels yes, camels paraded past the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

"I've never seen a camel up close," remarked the editor of one Washington magazine, stuck in the snarled traffic to allow the camels safe passage. "I wish my kids were here."

Two city street-sweepers closely followed the camel train, which belonged to the Royal Italian Circus.

Magna Caine

Michael Caine, who won the Oscar Sunday night for best supporting actor in "The Cider House Rules," will be welcomed to Washington next week by a host of British and American dignitaries.

We're told British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer and Lady Meyer will be on hand to greet Mr. Caine, who is special guest at a black-tie affair to benefit Salisbury Cathedral's new Magna Carta Building.

The new building will house the cathedral's original copy of the Magna Carta, the founding document of democracy.

Other invited guests to the April 5 Oscar-winner bash at the Capital Hilton include Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Among the fund-raiser's biggest raffle prizes: lunch at Salisbury Cathedral with Prince Charles.

Cheap logic

"I recently received your request for contributions," David Rollo writes in a letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. "I would really like to contribute to these noble efforts, but am unable to at this time due to the recent increase in gasoline prices.

"I was greatly dismayed to learn through numerous media sources that my Republican Party did not believe in repealing the 'Clinton Gas Tax' since it was 'so small and would not make a big difference' to most American families.

"I am sure you will understand when I inform you that I was planning on contributing the minimum of 'even $25' you requested until I applied your logic and realized this amount is so small it won't make a big difference in your efforts."

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