Pandora

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PANDORA HAS learned of secret arrangements to fly Muhammad Ali (pictured) from America to the Brit Awards in London next Tuesday. Pandora's spies have told her that Ali has been persuaded to turn up at the awards so he can help launch Jubilee 2000, the group campaigning to cancel Third World debt, a cause supported by many in the music industry. U2 frontman Bono is expected to take to the stage to introduce a video explaining the campaign. A compilation CD with various artists is also expected to be released later in the year.

PANDORA WAS surprised to see the latest circulation figures for women's monthly magazines. The results - out today - put Prima at the top, followed by Cosmopolitan, and close on Cosmo's heels is Candis. Pandora is a regular reader of women's magazines, but has never heard of Candis. She called the publishers, New Hall, and was told that Candis has been going for 37 years and is aimed at women aged 30-plus. "Candis is unusual because it doesn't mention sex," said the spokesperson. This is obviously a shrewd marketing move. After all, the most recent survey on the subject claimed that one in three women had no interest in sex. Pandora looks forward to Candis's next climactic move up the sales chart.

VETERAN HABITUES of London's Colony Club, the Soho hangout for thirsty literary types, are looking forward to some extra entertainment from behind the bar. As part of their 51st anniversary celebrations, the bar will be run by a celebrity couple. So far Damien Hirst, Suggs, Sarah Lucas, Alex James from Blur, Lisa Stansfield, Joe Strummer and Jay Joplin have all agreed to get behind the bar with their partners. They will all be given a guest list, which should encourage some new blood into the Bacchanalian surroundings. Shrewd proprietor Michael Wojas told Pandora: "It is a great scheme - on a busy Wednesday night we will get great bar staff for nothing."

THE VETERAN parliamentarian Tam Dalyell's effort to require any future military strikes against Iraq to be approved by MPs has run into a problem. Dalyell's Military Action against Iraq (Parliamentary Approval) Bill requires the Queen's consent because it deals with a prerogative power, in this case limiting the deployment of HM armed forces. To get the Queen's consent, Dalyell must first seek the approval of the relevant Secretary of State, George Robertson. This won't exactly be easy, as Dalyell confirmed when he told Pandora: "The Secretary of State and I are extremely angry with each other. He is angry with me because he thinks I am a nuisance. I am angry with him because he is involved in the ill-conceived bombing of Iraq."

MEANWHILE, DALYELL wins the Pandora award for best society put-down. At a recent engagement in his native Scotland, one hostess treated Dalyell's presence with a little too much awe: "Oh, Mr Dalyell, it's so good of you to spare the time... and you an MP, too. I'm sure we're all grateful you are here to entertain us tonight." Dalyell reportedly growled back: "Entertain! Entertain you? If you wanted entertainment you should have sent for Stanley Baxter!"

GENERAL SIR Michael Rose, former head of the UN peace-keeping force in Bosnia, was showing signs of an injury when he addressed the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies in London yesterday. But it wasn't a peacekeeping mission that caused his arm to be in a sling, it was a skiing accident. As he attempted to get some treatment for the injury at the Interlaken resort in Switzerland, one woman recognised him and said, "I hope this doesn't mean you can't make your speech next week. I was so looking forward to it." Pandora was glad that the lady was not disappointed.

WHEN THE dreaded dinner party question "And what do you do?" surfaces, many of us wish the ground would swallow us up. But some research published in the latest issue of Tatler shows that journalists are by no means the least reluctant to answer - with a respectable response time of seven minutes. Unsurprisingly, PRs come in at the quickest response time - less than a minute - while accountants and barristers are slowest to come clean, at 71 and 78 minutes respectively.

Do these professionals really take more than an hour to answer a simple question - and if so, do they charge

for the privilege?

Pandora can be contacted by e-mail at: pandora@ independent. co.uk

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