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Does a good-looking messenger make the message clearer? ALEK WEK is the fashion industry's current darling, scoring the cover of Elle and MTV's model-of-the-year award. And now both the U.S. Committee for Refugees and aid organization World Vision have signed Wek up to wake people up to the plight of displaced families in Sudan, her war-torn homeland. She spent her 21st birthday appealing for help for a country where more civilians have died unnecessarily than in the conflicts in Somalia, the former Zaire and Bosnia combined. And while Wek may not be able to list facts and figures, she has something the development pundits don't--apart from great cheekbones. She lived it. "My father passed away when I was 12 because we couldn't get medication for him," says Wek, who fled Sudan shortly afterward but plans to go back. "I'd like to have something to go back to."


JANE FONDA, never famous for her reserve, had to apologize to her adopted state last week after comparing Georgia to a Third World country. Addressing a U.N. function, she said that in northern Georgia, "children are starving to death. People live in tar-paper shacks with no indoor plumbing." This incensed Governor Zell Miller, who's from those parts. "Maybe the view from your penthouse apartment is not as clear as it needs to be," he groused. Fonda apologized instantly, saying her remarks were "inaccurate and ill-advised." Peachy.


Spring is upon us, and rap impresario SEAN ("Puffy") COMBS' sap must be rising. He decided to make love en plein air (but not, interestingly, with the mother of his newborn son). Alas, Combs, who thought he was enjoying the privacy of Donald Trump's Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago Club, had strayed onto the sand of the veddy conservative Bath & Tennis Club. A B&T member took offense at the frolicking and sent a club official to stop it; according to the Palm Beach Daily News, an unabashed Puffy blasted the official for "ruining his concentration." A spokeswoman said the incident was the work of impuffsonators. "In the past few months, several people have been going around saying they are Puffy," she said. "I know for a fact Puffy hates sand."


Somebody give O.J. SIMPSON some more rope, please. During a daylong interview in Los Angeles with Ruby Wax, Britain's most irrepressible American, Simpson went on about his wet dreams in prison and how "the availability of women now is more than ever in my life, which I find strange." (He's not alone there.) Out walking with Wax, Simpson was accosted by Angelenos to sign autographs and shake hands, while some told him they thought he was a killer. When asked if that hurt him, Simpson said no. As if all that weren't charming enough, at the end of the interview, Simpson told Wax he had a surprise for her. When the teensy interviewer opened a door, Simpson lunged out from behind it, made a few stabbing motions with a banana, then leered in extreme closeup into the camera. Somewhere, some publicist's cell-phone is ringing.