Pandora

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NOT EVERYONE was thrilled to read The Mirror's sprightly interview with Charlie Whelan yesterday morning. Pandora was aboard the Docklands Light Railway approaching Canary Wharf, home of The Independent and other newspapers, when a hack sitting nearby answered his frantically ringing mobile phone. It was clear that the caller - whose name appeared to be "Dominic" - was in a distressed state. The hack on the train did his best to mollify him, finally raising his voice to say, "What Charlie said last Sunday was that if he did give any interview, it would be to us." At that point, the caller abruptly broke off communications. Soon the train reached the Wharf and the doleful-looking hack strode off reluctantly in the direction of the Telegraph group.

TONY BLAIR makes his third visit to Wales as Prime Minister today. His last visit was to Cardiff to meet Nelson Mandela, but this time he's going to North Wales where he will attend a Labour Party Q & A session in the Shire Hall at Mold. No doubt a prime reason for the journey is to support Alun Michael in his bid to become head of the Welsh Labour Party, in effect the first prime minister of Wales once devolution is complete. It's no coincidence that the powerful AEEU engineering union is holding a conference in the region on Saturday to decide whom they'll support for the job.

A FRIEND of Pandora's was treated to an "amusing" autobiographical anecdote by the author Salman Rushdie recently. Rushdie described a restaurant dinner he enjoyed with a group of friends in New York last autumn. At some point in the meal, the group noticed that the plump, infamous Monica Lewinsky was seated at a nearby table. Rushdie and his friends were overcome with mirth. Embarrassed and hurt, Monica turned to the group and asked whether they found something amusing. "Yes, yes, we do," they replied. Surely Mr Rushdie was not making fun of another person's public persecution?

POOR HILLARY Clinton. She's had to cope with years of ferocious Whitewater investigation and years of Bubba Bill's tawdry philandering. Now the First Lady has got a worse nightmare on her hands: the biographer Kitty Kelley is said to be preparing to write a book on Hillary, who already has the former Watergate investigative ace Carl Bernstein penning one about her. Kelley's past targets include Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and our own royal family - a book that was published in the US by Simon & Schuster. According to one source, however, Simon & Schuster are not thrilled by the idea of a Kelley hatchet job on Mrs Clinton. Apparently they are keen to publish the enormously popular Hillary's autobiography.

AS THE haute couture fashion shows open this weekend in Paris, all eyes are on the supermodel Kate Moss, who recently spent several weeks convalescing in a London clinic after "too many parties". It's Kate's 25th birthday and, according to one report, she will be the guest of honour at a Saturday- night party thrown by Donatella Versace in a Paris disco. According to another account, however, she is going off to Morocco to celebrate with her close friend Tarka Cordell, the handsome, wealthy son of the late music whiz Danny Cordell. There is also a chance she may meet up with her old flame Johnny Depp, who reportedly sent her a new BMW while she was in hospital. Pandora hopes that, however she decides to commemorate her quarter-century, Kate won't be put in a position where Tarka and Depp come face to face; last year a jealous Depp vowed to wreak a fierce revenge on Tarka if he should learn that Kate and he were anything more than good friends.

IT'S BEING hyped in the States as her "first-ever live television interview" but when Madonna (pictured) goes on CNN's Larry King Live programme on Monday evening, British viewers may just yawn. The fact is that Ruby Wax's in-your-face bedroom interview with Madonna, broadcast back in 1997, was as lively a view of the star as anyone could ever wish for - and far more entertaining than anything that the smug, craggy-faced Larry King is likely to produce.

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