Osman Ali Khan (1886-1967) was one of the world's richest men, but the seventh and last nizam of the central Indian state of Hyderabad was known as a miser who ate off a tin plate and used his jewelry collection's most valuable treasure-the 185-carat Jacob diamond-as a paperweight. Bought by the Indian government in 1995 from the Nizam's impecunious heirs, the collection, which is valued at up to $2 billion, goes on show this week at New Delhi's National Museum after decades in a bank vault. Highlights of the 173-piece collection include a seven-strand necklace made of 380 pearls, belts encrusted with emeralds and rubies, and a pair of bracelets studded with 270 diamonds.
Without Spam, wrote Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in his autobiography, "we wouldn't have been able to feed our army." The salt-charged, nitrate-packed pork-launched in 1937 by Hormel Foods-was a wartime triumph: from 1941, 15 million cans a week helped feed Allied forces and eke out U.K. food rations. Starting Sept. 15, the product's proud place in U.S. history will be on show at Hormel's Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. Visitors can watch Monty Python's Spam skit, take part in a trivia quiz, join a simulated production line and view old copies of Hormel's employee magazine Squeal.
New York City
Celine Dion may be staying at home, but the Quebec New York 2001 festival still aims to showcase the best of French Canadian culture and cuisine to its American neighbors. The 25-day festival will kick off on Sept.13, when six sailboats-which left Quebec City's port on Aug. 1-will dock in New York harbor. Events will include acrobatics from Cirque du Soleil, Robert Lepage's techno-cabaret Zulu Time and a Canadian film retrospective. Australian arts and culture are also on show in New York in October, with indigenous dance theater Bangarra and Booker Prizeşwinning novelist Peter Carey participating in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Down Under" festival.
Known as "Polynesia's first lady of song", Samoa-born jazz vocalist Mavis Rivers (1930-1992) found fame in New Zealand, where she was voted the country's most popular singer for three years from 1949, and in the U.S., where her first album, Take a Number, was nominated for a Grammy. To honor her memory, and inspire Samoa's young performers, the Pacific island's inaugural jazz festival will be held in Apia from Sept. 14-16, with musicians from Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji and free outdoor concerts at Tafatafu beach.