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December 31, 1990|YEMI TOURE

Designs in the Desert: There's a Persian Gulf influence on the annual best-dressed list from the Fashion Foundation of America. Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, who wears the long, flowing djellaba , made the list as well as U.S. Persian Gulf troop commander Lt. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, usually decked out in camouflage togs. The survey of custom tailors and designers also listed Secretary of State James Baker and Connecticut Gov.-elect Lowell Weicker Jr.

Justify Your Fame: The year ended on a sour note in Italy for singer Madonna and Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona. They are among the least-loved people of 1990 in a Rome newspaper poll. Maradona is considered temperamental by some, and Madonna's erotic antics may have offended others in the land of her forebears. George Bush and Saddam Hussein also made the list. The unkindest cut: The paper ran a cartoon of the poll winners cavorting in Hades, presumably to one of Madonna's songs.

Street of Fame: Author Alice Walker has been honored in her hometown of Eatonton, Ga., with a street named after her. A monument on the courthouse square and a historical trail of sites in Walker's life may not be far behind. Some say the recognition of the Pulitzer Prize winner is overdue. "I think the Chamber of Commerce should have done this by now," said Robert Walker, the author's brother. "She put Eatonton on the map."

Short List: Practicing safe sex was dropped from the New Year's resolutions list of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, but not because the health statistics have improved. It's just that the institute wanted to make room for new ideas, institute head Don Powell said Friday in Detroit. Number 1 on the list for a longer life is to avoid "psychosclerosis"--a hardening of the attitudes. "That's not to say safe sex isn't a critical issue . . . but the mental health issues take precedent," Powell said.

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