William J. Bennett, who was nominated by President Bush to be the nation’s first drug “czar,” has said no to cigarettes--kicking a two-pack-a-day habit. “I quit Tuesday--141 hours ago,” said Bennett, sucking on a mint, just before addressing a National Governors’ Assn. drug conference Monday. Bennett, a smoker for more than 20 years, vowed in January to stop after Bush nominated him to be the first director of the new Office of National Drug Policy Control. Bennett said then he believed it would be inappropriate to have a drug czar addicted to cigarettes. He describes kicking the habit as “a real character builder.” The Senate Judiciary Committee begins confirmation hearings on Bennett on Wednesday.
--Comedian Billy Crystal gave the city of Boston a $77,500 check on behalf of Comic Relief to help Boston’s homeless population. The contribution, presented to Mayor Raymond L. Flynn by Crystal and the organization’s president, Bob Zmuda, at the Boston City Hospital Shelter for the Homeless, is part of the $5.1 million that Comic Relief, a nonprofit organization that uses comedy performances to raise funds, has distributed to 23 Health Care for the Homeless project sites across the nation, officials said.
--The Irish apparently are hooked on fishing. Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey spoke of a “silly dispute” over fishing licenses at the annual conference of his Fianna Fail party and cautioned that it could provoke a general election. His government, which is trying to cut the national debt, introduced a $24 annual license fee in January, 1988, on fishing for wild brown trout. Angling clubs, upset by the government’s contention that the fee would be used for pollution control and the maintenance of fisheries, refused to pay it. The clubs say they, not the government, have seen to the restocking of rivers. Some of the 200,000 tourists who pour $72 million into Ireland’s economy every year have found many rivers and lakes closed to them because angling clubs have withdrawn their services, a Tourist Board spokesman said. Parliament is to debate an opposition party’s plan to replace the fee with a “voluntary development contribution” next month.