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Arthur C. Clarke unveils "3001: The Final Odyssey'

Arthur C. Clarke formally released his latest novel, 3001: The Final Odyssey, in a brief ceremony Thursday in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. Clarke's novel concludes the space epic he began in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey, and his most famous creation, the psychotic computer HAL, a terrifying vision of artificial intelligence run amok in deep space. Clarke, 79, who has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956 and rarely leaves home, is a leading citizen of cyberspace. On March 14, he commemorated the fictional HAL's birthday with a live Internet "cybercast" from Sri Lanka. Clark's voice and image, at 4-5 images a second, joined a panel discussion at the University of Illinois' Cyberfest '97 in Urbana, HAL's "birthplace." At the conference, Clarke chose his preference for HAL's first words: "Good morning, doctors. I have taken the liberty of removing Windows 95 from my hard drive." Clarke, born in Somerset, England, predicted communications satellites in a 1945 article and has written more than 60 books, including the classics Childhood's End and Rendezvous with Rama.

"Martin' holdout ends:

Tisha Campbell to return

Tisha Campbell, who plays Martin Lawrence's wife Gina on the Fox series Martin, is returning to the series to finish out the season's episodes. Campbell walked off the show in November and she and HBO Independent Productions, the producer of the series, subsequently exchanged lawsuits. The announcement by the producers Thursday said only "all parties have resolved their differences. All other details are confidential." A total of 24 episodes were ordered for this season. With five still to air, Campbell's character will return for episodes airing during the May sweeps.

In other news. . .

+ Alexander Salkind, the last of the great independent producers who, with his son Ilya, made the hugely successful Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, has died in Paris. He was 75. Mr. Salkind died March 8 at the American Hospital in Neuilly, outside Paris. He had been hospitalized for a stomach ailment.

+ Actor John Heard (Home Alone) was convicted Thursday of telephone misuse and trespassing in a case brought by actor Melissa Leo (Homicide), his former girlfriend and mother of their 9-year-old son. He was acquitted of assault and harassment charges.

+ Tonight's Nightline profiles David Helfgott, the pianist who inspired the Oscar-nominated film Shine (WFTS-Ch. 28, 11:35 p.m.).

+ An hourlong documentary on Irish rockers U2 will air April 26 on ABC. The group's 14-month, 100-city international "PopMart" tour begins April 25 in Las Vegas.

+ NBC's Days of Our Lives will air its 8,000th episode today.

_ Compiled from wire, staff reports

Larger-than-life Oscar

With media members recording the moment, a 24-foot Oscar prop statue is raised by crane before being erected in front of Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles for Monday's Academy Awards.

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