Pandora

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WHAT NEXT for Charlie Whelan after the Chancellor's spin doctor put his head on the block yesterday? It is well known that Whelan has a passion for football and, it is said, would love to get involved with the Football Association. Conveniently, the FA is currently in upheaval after the resignations of chief executive Graham Kelly and chairman Keith Wiseman. One Blairite wag suggested to Pandora yesterday that, if Whelan were to become the FA's chief, why shouldn't Gordon Brown's other top adviser, the aptly-named Ed Balls, accompany him - as the new FA chairman?

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THE LID appears to have come off Transport Minister Glenda Jackson's long-rumoured campaign to be Mayor of London. Her battle to win her own party's nomination, followed by the votes of her fellow Londoners, began in earnest in yesterday's Daily Mail with a full page profile of the MP for Hampstead and Highgate. Not long ago, the Mail's sister publication at Associated Newspapers, the Evening Standard, gave Glenda a rather poor "electability rating" as mayoral candidate, but yesterday she was said to "have achieved a great deal" and to be in "no mood to ease up on herself". Of the Mayor's office, Glenda was quoted as saying: "It's a job I would love to do, but we'll have to wait and see if anyone wants me to do it". A source close to Glenda told Pandora yesterday that the race was "all a question of timing; the successful candidate will be playing a long game".

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PANDORA WAS surprised to hear Andrew Marr, the political columnist, on Radio 4's Today programme exclaim, regarding the launch of the new European single-currency: "Britain has butted out." Hailing the birth of the euro as "the most important political and economic event since the falling of the Berlin Wall", Marr moaned: "Sadly, we have not been in there shaping this for our own national interests." However, Pandora's colleagues on this newspaper recall Marr taking a very different line in the past - including the period when he was editor of The Independent. "So what should decent, patriotic, but pro-European politicians do?" he wrote in December, 1996. "The first thing is, to create time and space for serious thought about the options facing us." More recently, in April 1997, Marr wrote that: "Major has been proven right, first in negotiating the single-currency opt-out, and second in sticking by his official line of `negotiate, then decide'." Aren't these exactly the policies that the Government is taking, which Marr calls "butting out"?

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PANDORA HAS a suggestion for England's batters as they face Australian spinner Shane Warne today in their bid to score 183 runs for victory. The Aussie player happens to be rather sensitive about his weight. At the opening of his own sports cafe in Melbourne earlier this year, when journalists questioned him about the fact that he seemed a bit hefty, Warne visibly lost his composure. In view of the fact that it was the Australians who invented the art of "sledging" - that is, vocally abusing their opponents - surely it would be fair dues if the England team were to toss a few choice remarks at Mr Warne.

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WHICH MODERN American artist produced the largest body of religious art? Andy Warhol (pictured), according to Jane Daggett Dillenberger, an art historian, left behind more than 100 "sacred" works, most of them daubed in the months leading up to his death, 12 years ago. In her new book, The Religious Art of Andy Warhol, Dillenberger reproduces previously unseen works, such as the painter's 30ft-long version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper, in which Christ and his disciples are accompanied by motorbikes, and another in which the holy feast is punctuated by the logo of a popular US brand of potato crisps.

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FANS OF Hollywood action films have been dreaming about this meeting for years, but when Jean Claude Van Damme came face to face with Steven Seagal for the first time, no bone-crushing kung fu kicks were launched - not a single karate blow struck in anger. In fact, the meeting took place on the Caribbean island of St Bart's last weekend, aboard the 168ft yacht belonging to producer Keith Barish, and, according to all reports, the two rival celluloid gladiators "got along fine". What a publicists' nightmare!

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