Sunday, January 02, 2000

Nation and World: 21 To Watch

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Without the benefit of a crystal ball or psychic hot line, here's a list of 21 people who are sure to make news in the 21st century:

        • U.S. POLITICS

        1. Bill Clinton — Battered by scandal and impeachment, the president's final year in office will help shape his legacy. He'll soon become the most prominent retiree of the baby-boom generation.

        2. Hillary Rodham Clinton — It's the first lady's turn to shine in the political spotlight as she's expected to officially announce her bid for the U.S. Senate race in New York. Mrs. Clinton embodies the trend of “late-bloomers” — women who take up prominent jobs after their husbands retire from prominent jobs.

        3. Rudolph Giuliani — The firebrand mayor of New York had tongues wagging last year when he cut funding to the Brooklyn Museum of Art for mounting an exhibit he deemed offensive and decreed that homeless families would have to work for shelter. This year, he'll likely face Mrs. Clinton in pursuit of a Senate seat that could bring his controversial style onto the national scene.

        Davidian inferno at Waco. One of the few original appointees of President Clinton still in the job, she could find this the final straw that forces her resignation.


        6. Kofi Annan — The U.N. secretary-general startled the opening session of the General Assembly last fall by saying national borders would no longer protect leaders who abuse people under their control. This doctrine could greatly broaden the U.N.'s peacekeeping role. “The 20th century has been the most murderous in human history,” Mr. Annan said as the century neared its end. “We must make sure the 21st is more peaceful, and more humane.”

        7. Jiang Zemin — The Chinese president gained membership to the World Trade Organization last year, but can he open up to trade and capitalism and still keep the Communist Party in control, without increasing repression?

        8. Ehud Barak — The prime minister of Israel is embarking on crucial peace talks with Syria, the first in nearly four years. And February has been set as a target to reach broad outlines of a final treaty with the Palestinians.

        9. Bashar Assad — Son of Syrian President Hafez Assad, he is widely believed to be in line to take over, though those plans may be challenged by other members of the clan or by military or political leaders.

        10. Crown Prince Abdullah — In Saudi Arabia, 75-year-old King Fahd spends much of his time out of the country after suffering a stroke and has already handed over day-to-day control to the prince, himself in his 70s.

        11. Vladimir Putin — Russia's new acting president is almost certain to win election in his own right as Boris Yeltsin's successor. Virtually unknown in Russia when he was appointed prime minister in August, the former KGB operative has seen his popularity soar in the polls as the country wages war against the breakaway republic of Chechnya. But when that is over, he will still face the confounding problem of bringing slow-moving Russia a free, prosperous economy.

        16. Alan Greenspan — Widely regarded as the most influential man on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve chairman will see his term expire on June 20. President Clinton is expected to ask him to stay on.


        17. J. Craig Venter — The president of Celera Genomics is leading the commercial effort to map all human genes. Celera is outpacing the government's Human Genome Project, gathering about 75 percent of the information needed to complete the map. The company hopes to put decoded genetic information in usable order by 2001.

        18. Dan Goldin — The NASA administrator will likely be under intense pressure to redeem the space program after a series of Mars lander mishaps last year.


        19. Pope John Paul II — Despite his battle with Parkinson's disease, the pope is determined to preside over what he has proclaimed to be a Holy Year in 2000. He'll turn 80 in May and will soon set the stage for a possible successor.

        20. Arthur L. Caplan — Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, he'll help act as a moral compass for researchers touting new medical breakthroughs in genetics and other areas.

        21. Steven M. Wise — The attorney will be teaching Harvard University's first course on animal rights this fall. As studies continue to measure the extraordinary mental capacity of many animals — chimps, in particular — we can expect to hear more about this emerging legal field.

        Nikki Kingery is the Enquirer's wire editor. Copy editor Phil Fisher and the Associated Press contributed.


People to watch in the 21st Century
Metro: 21 To Watch
Sports: 21 To Watch
Arts and Entertainment: 21 To Watch
Business: 21 To Watch
Food: 21 To Watch
- Nation and World: 21 To Watch