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JABBA THE HUTT MAY BE NEXT The Rev. Peter Evans is a man of his word as well as a man of the cloth. The Anglican priest told reporters he'd find a way to attract more people to his church in the southern England town of Croydon. He did ... by striding to the pulpit dressed as Darth Vader and preaching a sermon on how the "Star Wars" villain eventually abandoned the dark side of "the force" and returned to a life of good works. He even handed out special lyrics, set to the "Star Wars" theme, for the congregants to sing as they would a hymn. At last report, three times the usual number of people now attend services.

NEXT YEAR, IT'LL COST $600 A farmer in central Belgium is almost $500 richer today because he didn't harvest all of his crop. Reports say bird-watchers, delighted at spotting a pair of rarely seen buzzards nurturing their chicks in the man's wheat field, asked what it would take to keep him from using his combine anywhere near the nest. Otherwise, they worried, the little ones wouldn't have time to learn to fly.

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Weekly hypes 20th-century sports-awards ceremony

Sports Illustrated has scheduled a Dec. 2 awards ceremony at New York's Madison Square Garden to honor the greatest athletes of the past 100 years, as selected by editors of the magazine. A news release says the two-hour event - to be broadcast live on CBS-TV - will showcase "the most impressive assembly of sports personalities ever" and include video clips documenting some of the century's most memorable sports moments. A full list of legends who are scheduled to attend the ceremony isn't yet available, but the magazine says it will include at least the following stars (sport of each in parentheses):

Muhammad Ali (boxing)

Arnold Palmer (golf)

Magic Johnson (basketball)

Billie Jean King (tennis)

Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey)

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Dick Butkus (football)

Peggy Fleming (ice skating)

Bill Russell (basketball)

Richard Petty (stock-car racing)

- PR Newswire

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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