Time Picks China’s Deng Xiaoping as Man of the Year

--Time magazine named Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping as its 1985 Man of the Year, citing his “sweeping economic reforms that have challenged Marxist orthodoxies.” It was the second time that the 81-year-old patriarch of more than 1 billion people, the world’s most populous country, was named Man of the Year. He also won the title in 1978. Deng beat out several other newsmakers to win the honor, awarded annually since 1927 by editors of the weekly magazine to the individual who they think exerts the greatest influence--either good or bad--on world affairs. Other nominees considered by the magazine were Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, jailed anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela and Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof, Time spokesman Brian Brown said.

--When bickering fifth-graders at Harman Elementary School in Hanover, Md., threaten to take each other to court, it’s no bluff. Their teacher, Harriet Yellin, presides over a weekly half-hour classroom-courtroom, settling disputes while teaching the strict procedures of evidence, verdicts and sentencing. “It’s reduced the tattling and the hitting back. Kids just say, ‘See you in court,’ ” Yellin said. To get on the docket, a plaintiff must file a written complaint giving an account of the dispute, including witnesses. A boy convicted of hitting a girl was ordered to apologize; a youngster convicted of taking candy from a classmate was sentenced to give two treats to the girl and write an apology “in good English.” The boy in the candy case protested his innocence, but Yellin explained what adults know--no system is perfect. And, like adults, the students have brought so many disputes to court that there is a backlog. Next lesson: out-of-court settlements.

--Dogs aren’t exactly equipped to fight fires, but when it gets too hot for their puppies they can improvise. No one was at the Sandra Schrader home in Farmington, N.M., recently when a heat lamp in a storage shed toppled into the box bed occupied by Kako, a Queensland heeler, and her seven pups. The lamp started a slow fire, but instead of moving her pups, Kako moved the fire. Schrader said that when she returned home she found that Kako had dragged the burning blankets and papers out to the lawn and had pulled the heat lamp away from the bed.