Pandora

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IS PETER Mandelson to be offered a column with The Guardian? Following a tip that the former trade secretary was about to find some gainful employment (other than being an MP, of course) Pandora rang The Guardian. A spokeswoman for the editor, Alan Rusbridger, declined to comment, besides saying that she could neither confirm nor deny the story. Meanwhile, Peter was incommunicado. If he is about to put pen to paper for The Guardian, he would surely hope to have a longer shelf life than Derek Draper, his former employee, did at The Daily Telegraph after his fall from grace.

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WHEN BARBRA Streisand enters the next millennium she will also enter the history books. Streisand has been offered "an eight-figure sum" to sing at the MGM-Grand Hotel in Las Vegas next New Year's Eve. Fans were expecting to see the singer at Madison Square Garden, in New York, for the millennium celebrations, but she has a "soft spot" for Las Vegas, according to a report in the New York Post. If Babs is going to get that kind of money, described as "a fee far greater than has ever been paid to any artist anywhere for a performance", she certainly won't go short of gambling chips after the show.

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THE AMBITION of Alun Michael, the Welsh Secretary, to become the prospective Labour leader in the Welsh National Assembly has forced the rearrangement of his son's wedding. The result of the contest between Michael and Rhodri Morgan, the Cardiff West MP, is to be declared on 20 February - the preferred date for Michael's son, Tal, to marry his fiancee, Mary. "We wanted to avoid a clash," Michael told the Western Mail. The wedding will now take place a week later. "I hope to have two enjoyable weekends on the trot," the Welsh Secretary added. Unfortunately for Michael, many of those who do know of any just impediment as to why he should not be Labour leader in the assembly have already spoken.

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AN EXPOSE of the Clintons' marriage is to be published in the May issue of Vanity Fair. Many of the juicier details arising from Gail Sheehy's epic account concern Hillary herself. Hillary's mother, Dorothy Rodham, who apparently fills her time listening to right-wing radio in her Little Rock condominium, tells Sheehy that she and Hillary "don't sit down and have those mother-daughter discussions". Such sobriety may explain Hillary's habit of imposing a "PG" rating on all news given to her by her staff. In the article, Betsey Wright, the former chief of staff to President Clinton, explains that Hillary receives "no sex, no late-night talk-show jibes, no facts about the scandal that might distress or distract her", adding that Hillary "is probably the only person in America you could tell a cigar joke to and she wouldn't get it".

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WORDS MAY come back to haunt ex-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura (pictured) who was sworn in as Governor of Minnesota on Monday. At the ceremony, Ventura was glowingly endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who co-starred with the new Governor in the film Predator. However, had Schwarzenegger read the remarks that Ventura has made about him in the forthcoming issue of the magazine USA Weekend, he might have preferred to bite his lip. Jesse doesn't seem to think that Arnie should follow his path into politics, saying that the muscle man actor wouldn't make a good president and adding: "Arnold's real interests are making movies and money. He probably has political interests because he sees how much money he pays in taxes."

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WHEN EARL Russell, the Liberal Democrat peer, received a letter from a company offering some preferential rates on photocopiers and fax machines, he knew something was up. Close scrutiny revealed that the offer was from Greg Downer, the Labour Party account manager at Ibex Office Systems, who added that equipment could be supplied to 10 Downing Street, Millbank Tower and the House of Commons. Russell puts it down to computer incompetence, but with reports that Tony Blair's Government may be about to offer the Liberal Democrats civil service help and access to confidential documents, Pandora wonders if this offer is the hardware side of the deal.

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