ENDED: A year-long fast by Sahaj Muniji, 65, on May 1. The Jain monk lived on just warm water since May of 1997. He broke the fast with a glass of diluted dal. His attending physician proclaimed him weak but alert after losing 65 pounds during the year. Muniji explained that his unprecedented fast was undertaken for personal purification and not to set a record.

DOUBLY HONORED:Swami Maheshwaranada, with the title of Sarvabhaum Jagadguru–"Spiritual Master of the Universe"–and as Mahamandaleswar (leader) of the Maha Nirvani Akhara [monastic order] in April at the Kumbha Mela in Haridwar, India. Swami heads ashrams in Vienna, Austria, and Rajasthan, India.

APPOINTED: Vidya Dehejia as chief curator of the Asian Art Museums of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. She has led a stellar career in the art of India since earning a doctorate at Cambridge University in 1968. She is now responsible for the galleries' South and Southeast Asia collection of 4,000 paintings, manuscripts, sculptures and metalware.

ARRESTED: A Chinese immigrant couple in Chicago, USA, for slapping their 8-year-old daughter. Angered by the girl's lying about the loss of a us$26 ring, they slapped her once in the face and several times on the arms and legs. When they went to a nearby park where the ring may have been lost, the parents were arrested for "domestic battery" by a police officer who observed the child's red cheek and streaming eyes. The parents face deportation if convicted.