THIS JUST IN . . .
* Stop!--in the name of, well, it sure ain't love. Diana Ross was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport yesterday after allegedly grabbing the breast of a female security guard who searched her. Authorities slapped the diva--who objected to her own breast being touched in the search--with a warning and let her go, the Associated Press reports.
* The night before her divorce lawyers are scheduled to grill her estranged hubby's girlfriend, House staffer Callista Bisek, Marianne Gingrich will be showing the flag as a chairwoman of Tuesday's fund-raising dinner at the Capital Hilton for the Children's Inn at NIH. As for former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has also been active in the charity, "we didn't invite him," said Marianne's co-chairwoman Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell.
* Colombian President Andres Pastrana ordered his motorcade to halt at the Mall yesterday so he could participate in the "Capitol Hill Challenge," Kmart's race to highlight the war on drugs. It took him 27.64 seconds to drive a miniature race car around the specially designed track.
* We hear that Matt LeBlanc, Joan Collins and that fabulous Fabio will be at the National Italian American Foundation's Oct. 16 dinner.
* Frank McCourt's baby brother Malachy turned 68 Monday, and Tuesday at the Old Ebbitt Grill there was a birthday cake at the post-premiere party for "A Couple of Blaguards," now at Ford's Theatre. Malachy, who's playing himself in the comedy he and Frank wrote, told well-wishers: "It all happened one night when my mother and father got together. They didn't even mention my name. They said, 'Oh God!'--and nine months later I popped out."
SAVING HIS DAMSEL IN THIS DRESS
Stand-Up Guy Frank Gifford, defending the honor of the wife he wronged, crashed yesterday's Washington news conference in which a worker advocacy group claimed that Kathie Lee Gifford's Wal-Mart clothing line is still being manufactured in Central American sweatshops.
"I resent, sir, what you have done to my wife. You have assassinated her character," Frank scorched Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the National Labor Committee. In 1996 the group revealed the existence of so-called Kathie Lee sweatshops and this week broadcast the new allegations.
"I think we should think about the 13-year-old children . . . and what is it that needs to be done to stop these conditions," Kernaghan replied in the Rayburn Building committee room as assorted members of Congress listened. Manfully hitching up his trousers, tears of rage in his eyes, the 69-year-old Gifford shouted his wife's praise: "I don't know anyone, even you, sir, who has done as much to end labor abuse around the world!"
All of which should go a long way toward getting Frank back in Kathie Lee's good graces, since their marriage turned rocky after his 1997 fling with former flight attendant Suzen Johnson was captured on film by the Globe tabloid.
We tried unsuccessfully to get Frank on the phone, but the ever-available Kernaghan told us he knew something was up when he spotted Frank on the 7 a.m. US Airways Shuttle from LaGuardia, just two rows behind him. "As we landed and people were about to get off, he put his face an inch from mine, and he basically said, 'I'm here so I can be face to face with you and listen to the lies you've been saying about my wife.' " Kathie Lee's people, of course, have been vigorously denying Kernaghan's charges.
GO FOR THE BURN: TRUDEAU'S NAME-BRAND SARCASM
* Our neighbor Garry Trudeau--who draws that comic strip down there--has been devoting this week's "Doonesbury" to the latest presidential campaign scandal: that as a Yale undergraduate, George W. Bush took part in a fraternity hazing ritual featuring red-hot branding irons.
On Tuesday, "Doonesbury" published an actual photo of a delta-shaped flesh burn on the lower back of a Delta Kappa Epilson pledge--snapped in 1967 by Martin Oppenheimer, now a Washington portfolio manager, when he was working for the Yale Daily News. Bush was president of the fraternity known as "Deke."
"This week's strip isn't anything more than sustained silliness," said fellow Yalie Trudeau, though he conceded the possibility that he's "offering a perspective on George's youthful sadism." Bush campaign press secretary Mindy Tucker responded: "I cannot confirm or deny that George W. Bush was the rush chairman at the Deke house who blackballed Garry Trudeau when he went through rush at Yale." Nice try, but the sensitive Trudeau joined the poncy Fence Club, not the jock-dominated Deke.
CAPTION: Cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
CAPTION: W. Bush, subject of this week's, um, strips.