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The Man From Moscow Now Has His Own Cover Story

December 27, 1987|DAVE JOHNSON

Two weeks after he and President Reagan signed a treaty to eliminate ground-launched medium-range nuclear missiles, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev was named Time magazine's 61st Man of the Year. Gorbachev, whom the magazine called "a symbol of hope for a new kind of Soviet Union," beat such runners-up as Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts in Central America. The Soviet supporter of glasnost , or openness, also beat two events for the title: the stock market collapse and the AIDS epidemic. The award is not necessarily an honor; Time selects the recipient solely on the basis of influence on world affairs. The magazine also called Gorbachev "a dedicated communist and a ruthless political opportunist" but said he brought hope that his country would be "more open, more concerned with the welfare of its citizens and less with the spread of its ideology and system abroad."

--Eleven-year-old Shena Johnson was on her way to her grandmother's house with Christmas presents when thieves stole the gifts and ran over her twice in West Philadelphia. But the plucky girl escaped serious injury, a suspect was arrested and she got the presents back. "It was the miracle of Christmas 1987," said Detective James Vales. "She got run over twice by a van and didn't get any bones broken--just some deep bruises." Shena was released after spending Christmas in the hospital. She and her brother, 10, had been waiting for a bus when a man jumped from the van and grabbed the presents intended for her cousins, police said. "She struggled with him, he pushed her back toward the van and then jumped back in," after which the van ran backward and forward over her legs, Capt. Stanley Puchalski said. Witness Talib Ahmad tailed the van more than a mile and hailed police, who recovered the wrapped food and toys in the van and arrested Tony Reid, 23, Puchalski said. A second suspect is being sought.

--Four workers at the LaSalle nuclear power plant in Marseilles, Ill., showed slight radioactive contamination during a periodic check. But the radiation "was of a type that's not at the plant," Commonwealth Edison spokesman John Hogan said. The culprit turned out to be meat from a caribou that the unidentified workers, who remain healthy, bagged on a hunting trip to Canada. Jan Strasma, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, said the caribou probably was contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in the Soviet Union.

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