All in the name of science

Seattle � Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft Corp., has given the University of Washington $14 million for a computer science center that will bear his name.

The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering will open next year.

Other major donors include Allen's boyhood friend and Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates.

Total cost of the center is $72 million. Allen's gift brings private support to $37 million; $30 million has come from institutional and state sources, leaving $5 million to be raised.

Happy just to be nominated

New York � Even though Willie Nelson is up for two Grammys, he's not sure he'll be in the audience for Tuesday's ceremony in Los Angeles.

Nelson has been nominated for best country album for "Rainbow Connection," and best country male performance for the song "Marie."

He said his current tour might prevent him from attending. But even if he is free, the singer said he's still ambivalent about the ceremony.

"In fact, once you're nominated, I feel like you've won, and to try and pick out the best of these winners, to me, there's a little negativity in there," he said. "You've got five nominations and one winner, so you have one real happy person and four guys that's applauding politely. So just being nominated is enough for me."

Royalty row continues

Albany, N.Y. � The state's highest court announced Tuesday it will consider the case of record producer Phil Spector and the '60s pop group the Ronettes over millions of dollars in movie soundtrack royalties.

Last November, the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division upheld a lower court finding that Spector had violated his 1963 contract with the group and ordered him to pay $2.97 million plus interest.

The contract dealt only with royalties on sales of records, but Spector was accused of illegally keeping fees and making millions of dollars by selling the recordings for use as background music in movies and advertising.

The Ronettes, which included Spector's wife, Ronnie, recorded 28 songs for Spector's Philles Records from 1963-67. Their greatest success came with the chart-topping hit "Be My Baby."

Sheriff's auction averted

Baton Rouge, La. � A lawyer for Master P reached a last-minute settlement that allows the rap mogul to avoid selling his unfinished recording studio at a sheriff's auction.

Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, lost an attempt last week to stop the auction of the studio. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office had scheduled an auction of the property on Wednesday after a judge refused to annul a $190,165 default judgment granted to the project's general contractor.

James Holliday, Miller's lawyer, said he reached an agreement to pay the construction company $137,000 for unpaid bills and other costs.


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