- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2003

Album Lennon signed for his killer for sale

NEW YORK — The album John Lennon autographed for his assassin just five hours before the former Beatle was killed went up for sale yesterday for $525,000.

The copy of Lennon and wife Yoko Ono’s “Double Fantasy,” which sold for $460,000 four years ago, is being sold in part due to the recent frenzy of interest in Beatles memorabilia, according to the owner of the Web site selling the album.

Last week, Mr. Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to the song “Nowhere Man” were sold at Christie’s for $455,000 — more than four times the expected price. According to the site, the album’s cover and dust jacket contain the “forensically enhanced” fingerprints of the singer’s killer, Mark David Chapman.

Chapman shot the pop star outside the Dakota apartment building, Mr. Lennon’s Manhattan home, on Dec. 8, 1980.

Thanksgiving plan goes up in flames

ST. CLOUD, Minn.— Bill Fickett wanted to give his wife a break from the kitchen on Thanksgiving, so he offered to cook. His kind gesture ended up causing about $14,000 in damage.

“I don’t know how it happened,” Mr. Fickett said. “My wife just had a baby, so I said I’d take care of the turkey.”

He decided to try his hand at deep-fat frying a turkey. He borrowed a fryer and got directions from a friend. He bought a thermometer to make sure the oil didn’t get too hot. Mr. Fickett said he was heating up about 3 gallons of oil before the fire started. He adjusted the temperature to the recommended 350 degrees, then stepped inside to get the bird.

Next thing he knew, smoke was pouring out of the garage.

The fire was contained to the garage, which was destroyed. Mr. Fickett said it was insured.

U.S. says poppies double in Afghanistan

Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan doubled between 2002 and 2003 to a level 36 times higher than in the final year of Taliban rule, according to White House figures released yesterday.

The area planted with poppies, used to make heroin and morphine, was 152,000 acres in 2003, compared with 76,900 acres in 2002 and 4,210 acres in 2001, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said in a statement.

The new Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai, has not been able to impose its will in many areas of the country.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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