By Stephen M. Silverman
December 23, 2002 10:00 AM

ACCUSED: E! priestess Joan Rivers, 69, reputedly threw a hissyfit at a car rental counter in Manhattan last week, allegedly cursing and throwing a yellow marker at Dollar Rent-a-Car employee Griselda Santana, 38, the New York Post reports. Santana reportedly was treated for an eye contusion at Lenox Hill Hospital but declined comment after her alleged confrontation with Rivers, who did tell the Post: “It’s a tempest in a teapot, darling.” A surveillance tape showing Rivers and Santana inside the rental office is reportedly in the hands of police.

GRANTED: Paul McCartney has been granted his own coat of arms, which pays homage to the former Beatle’s career and his hometown of Liverpool, London’s Sunday Times reports. The crest features a liver, which is a fancy bird (which also appears on Liverpool’s seal). It’s holding a guitar in its claw. Four curved emblems resembling beetles’ backs reflect his career with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

NAMED: Three female whistleblowers were named Time magazine’s Persons of the Year on Sunday. Coleen Rowley, 48, Cynthia Cooper, 38, and Sherron Watkins, 43, were chosen by Time editors because “they were people who did right just by doing their jobs rightly.” Rowley was a FBI agent who wrote a scathing memo criticizing the agency for ignoring evidence that contained hints of the Sept. 11 attacks. WorldCom’s Cooper and Enron’s Watkins uncovered evidence of accounting fraud at their respective companies, which later went bankrupt. (Time, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.)

RATED: About 24.1 million viewers tuned in for CBS’s “Survivor: Thailand” finale, slightly less than the 25.9 million who watched last spring’s “Survivor: Marquesas” wrap-up, according to early Nielsen figures. Still, “Survivor” easily dominated the primetime ratings on Thursday, when used-car salesman and former soft-core adult film actor Brian Heidik, 34, was declared the $1 million winner.