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Aon's Ryan advances Chicago Olympic hopes

Chicago is one step closer to hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, with Aon Corp. Executive Chairman Patrick G. Ryan--who is also chairman and chief executive officer of the Chicago 2016 Committee--leading the effort.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Chicago over Los Angeles as the U.S. nominee to host the Summer Olympics.

Mayor Richard M. Daley said he was nervous as the USOC prepared to open the sealed envelope containing the committee's choice. On hearing Chicago was the winner, the mayor said he jumped out of his chair "like a little kid watching the Olympics."

The final decision on which city will host the 2016 games will be made in October 2009. Madrid, Spain; Prague, the Czech Republic; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo are among the cities expected to vie for the top spot.

In an e-mailed statement last week, Mr. Ryan noted: "We have secured a letter from an A+ rated insurance carrier stating their confidence in their ability to provide $500 million of insurance to augment the public guarantees that Chicago 2016 has received."

The identity of the insurer was not disclosed.

Devilish talk in logo case sparks $19M damage award

A Utah jury's verdict that four Amway Corp. distributors spread false rumors about competitor Procter & Gamble Co. by repeating the discredited charge that P&G's former logo was actually a satanic symbol has set up a devilish dispute.

The logo, which was dropped in the mid-1980s, shows a bearded man in the moon with a field of 13 stars.

Rumors circulated for years that the Cincinnati-based company was somehow linked to Satanism, and P&G hasn't hesitated to take those it believes defamed it to court.

In addition to providing P&G with vindication in its recent verdict, the federal court jury in Salt Lake City awarded the company $19.25 million.

This didn't sit well with a few of the jurors, who claimed that their peers arrived at the figure by multiplying the number of lawyers P&G had in the courtroom against what they thought lawyers made on an hourly basis.

The dissident jurors cried foul. Now, defense attorneys for the Amway dealers want the award overturned, holding that such mathematical legerdemain is unacceptable.

Not surprisingly, P&G has asked the federal judge who is presiding over the case to leave the award intact.

The judge has not indicated what he's going to do so far, but it seems safe to say that this is truly a case in which the devil's in the details.

Coverage dispute puts action star on sidelines

"The coolest actor in the world" evidently doesn't think insurance is so cool.

Action film superstar Chow Yun-Fat last week reportedly pulled out of filming director John Woo's "Red Cliff" in part because of conditions insurers put on making the movie.

Mr. Chow is best known as a handsome action hero who has portrayed a hitman, an honorable gangster and a gun-happy cop. He became a film sensation in Hong Kong before migrating to Hollywood.

It was John Woo's 1986 film "A Better Tomorrow" that established the careers of Messrs. Woo and Chow and launched a new Hong Kong film genre called "historic bloodshed" or "gun fu."

"A Better Tomorrow" is said to have done for its genre what "A Fist Full of Dollars" did for so-called spaghetti westerns.

Reports circulated last week that the 51-year-old Mr. Chow wanted out of "Red Cliff" because the script got delivered to him on short notice and didn't leave him enough time to prepare.

But moviemakers reportedly said they couldn't work with Mr. Chow because of unreasonable demands, including problems he had with a Hollywood insurer's opposition to certain clauses in his contract.

A mid-1990s Los Angeles Times article is widely credited with proclaiming Mr. Chow "the coolest actor in the world" even before he had made a Hollywood movie.

Third-base great Ron Santo goes to bat for health reform

Legendary Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo is helping Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hit home the need for health care reform.

The longtime spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, who played for the Cubs from 1960-1973 and with the Chicago White Sox in his final season of 1974, met with Gov. Blagojevich outside Wrigley Field earlier this month to promote the governor's "Illinois Covered" proposal.

Mr. Santo, 67, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 18, acknowledged the need for good health insurance to ensure that all Illinois residents have access to affordable health care.

"I have been fortunate to have good insurance and support over the years," said Mr. Santo, who concealed his condition during most of his playing career for fear he would be forced into retirement. Mr. Santo revealed his diabetes in August 1971 during a Wrigley Field "Ron Santo Day" celebration.

Mr. Santo, the first third baseman in Major League Baseball to hit more than 300 home runs and win five Gold Gloves, has had both legs amputated below the knee as a result of his disease.

Gov. Blagojevich's plan, introduced last month in the Illinois Senate, calls for revamping the state's corporate income tax structure to provide funds to establish a purchasing pool to provide affordable health insurance to state residents.

The plan also includes a pay-or-play component, which would require most businesses to provide health care coverage to their workers.

Contributing: Roberto Ceniceros, Mark A. Hofmann, Rupal Parekh, Joanne Wojcik