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Etc...

There's no end to my talent

If you haven't heard, pop star Beyoncé Knowles is hard at work on a new release, expected to be in stores this fall. Here's her description: "It'll be a mix of vintage things with contemporary things.... [such as] fur with denim." Translation: The Destiny's Child star has signed a licensing agreement for a line of tailored jackets, sweaters, and other apparel for young women. She's designing the collection herself, too, in partnership with her mother, Tina, and they have named it House of Dereon, after her grandmother, a seamstress.

NBA transforms itself into a second 'United Nations'

The National Basketball Association has more of an international flavor than its name suggests. As the league opened its current season, 81 players from 35 countries outside the US were on team rosters. The overseas contingent, led by Serbia and Montenegro's 11 players, includes some of the tallest timbers in the league. Among them: 7 ft. 6 in. Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets, who is Chinese, and 7 ft. 3 in. Ha Seung Jin, a South Korean teenager who signed recently with the Portland Trail Blazers. The countries represented on NBA rosters and the number of players from each as the 2004-2005 season tipped off:

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Serbia and Montenegro 11
Brazil Croatia France Slovenia 5 each
Argentina Georgia Puerto Rico Russia Senegal Turkey 3 each
Canada China Congo Lithuania Netherlands Spain US Virgin Islands 2 each
Belize, Britain, Central African Republic, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Ukraine 1 each
- www.nba.com