A series of successes by recent mothers has prompted questions whether childbirth, far from spelling the end of a sporting career, can actually boost an athlete's performance. Paula Radcliffe has a sensational New York Marathon win this month, after having her first child in January.
United States wonder girl Michelle Wie takes on Japan's top male golfers again this week on her long road to the Masters, despite simmering criticism that she should mature first in the women's game. Wie missed the cut by one stroke at the ,2-million Casio World Open last year but vowed to do better this time.
Tiger Woods, describing himself as ''probably'' his strongest ever, vowed on Wednesday to go all out in his season-ending tournament this week and keep up the momentum into next year. The world number one, fresh from his runner-up finish at last week's HSBC Champions in Shanghai, is aiming for a record-tying third straight victory at the ,7-million Dunlop Phoenix tournament.
Director Shohei Imamura, who portrayed modern Japan's downtrodden in raw realism and eroticism and became the first Japanese to win the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes twice, died of cancer in Tokyo on Tuesday. He was 79. Imamura was often considered the top Japanese director since the late Akira Kurosawa.
Kim Jong-Il has no chance to see it, but thousands have flocked to an exhibition in Tokyo of happy family photos of a Japanese girl kidnapped by North Korea, fuelling anger against his regime. Megumi Yokota was snatched away in 1977 when the then 13-year-old schoolgirl was on her way home.
North Korea promised on Monday to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for pledges of aid and security, the first major breakthrough in more than two years of deadlock over the high-stakes crisis. The unexpected agreement also says the United States will respect the North's sovereignty and will not attack.
Delegates were engaged in last-ditch wrangling on Sunday over a proposed joint document aimed at breaking the deadlock in North Korean nuclear talks, but there was no sign of any compromise, and discussions will go into a seventh day. Failure to reach an agreement could force Washington to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.