Knock-out deal

Atlanta � Even if you don't make it to the movies to see the upcoming biopic "Ali" starring Will Smith, you may be seeing the real thing � promoting the Real Thing.

A two-year deal announced Wednesday calls for Muhammad Ali himself to appear as a Coke representative around the world, said Ali's agent, Bernie Yuman. Beyond that, Ali could appear in marketing and promotional events. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ali's first appearance for Coke came Tuesday in Atlanta, where he lit the Olympic torch and sent it on a 46-state tour to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Ali, who turns 60 next month, suffers from Parkinson's disease, but that will not affect his obligations to Coke, Yuman said.

The honeymoon continues

Los Angeles � Carol Burnett is spending time these days with new husband Brian Miller.

Burnett, 68, married Miller last month during a hush-hush ceremony. The couple appeared together last week at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington.

It's the third marriage for Burnett, who has three daughters with ex-husband Joe Hamilton, including actress Carrie Hamilton.

Miller, whose age Kelman wouldn't disclose, is a percussionist who plays with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Pantages Theatre Orchestra.

USO in Kosovo

Camp Bondsteel, Yugoslavia � Mariah Carey sang her hit "Hero" Tuesday for U.S. peacekeepers, who snapped pictures of the blonde star, clapped and cheered, and joined her in singing.

Carey's concert was organized by the United Service Organizations and Armed Forces Entertainment. Other stars, including Salma Hayek, have visited the camp.

The United Nations and NATO took control of Kosovo in 1999 after Western airstrikes forced then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end his crackdown on independence-minded ethnic Albanians, who are a majority in the province.

Thurmond still feisty at 99

Washington � U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond shook hands, passed out candy and flirted Wednesday as a parade of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate wished the 99-year-old Republican a happy birthday.

Wearing a brightly colored red, white and blue tie, the oldest and longest-serving U.S. senator sat in his front row desk as nearly every member of the body approached to provide birthday greetings.

"I love all of you men, but you women even more," said Thurmond, known for his fondness of females, as he accepted a round of applause from the senators. "I appreciate every one of you, especially you ladies. You are good-looking, God bless you."


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