Pandora

DID BRITISH intelligence agents use fake opinion polls to drag America into the Second World War? That is the allegation contained in Thomas E Mahl's book Desperate Deception, which tells the story of the British Security Co-ordination (BSC) unit to gain support for US involvement. Prior to Pearl Harbor, a key task of BSC agents was to manufacture bogus public opinion polls showing popular public support for peacetime conscription in the US. A reviewer of Mahl's book, quoted in The Washington Times, says that the surveys conducted "were all done under the influence of dedicated interventionists and British intelligence agents". Pandora called the Foreign Office to shed some light on the accusation and patiently awaits a reply.

TONIGHT SEES the launch of Paul Routledge's biography of Peter Mandelson at Politico's bookshop in Westminster. The book, Mandy, was reviewed in Monday's Evening Standard by Charlie Whelan, the Chancellor's former spin doctor and a victim of "Notting Hillgate".

"I can scarcely believe I am writing this review..." says Whelan, opening his piece with a mocking reference to the resignation letter of Mandelson to the Prime Minister. Further, he tells the reader: "When I first got wind of Paul's plans... I asked him not to do it." Tonight Whelan will get the chance to explain to Routledge just how much he regretted the book, as he is confirmed to be attending the Politico's launch.

THE SHOCK jock Howard Stern has Rupert Murdoch in his sights. The DJ, who makes his living from abusing anyone he can on his cult radio show, has taken offence at unauthorised photographs of him in the press, a number of which have been run by Murdoch-owned publications. Reports suggest that Stern's revenge is to hire a friend to trail Murdoch wherever he goes. Needless to say, Murdoch's people are not impressed with Stern, whose own stalker was last week sent to prison for two-and-a-half years. Howard Rubenstein, speaking on behalf of Murdoch, told the US press that Stern's man "better be prepared to travel the globe repeatedly". He'd better like Chinese food, too.

"TO BE perfectly honest, I thought we were doing a load of rubbish." That is what David Prowse, the British actor who starred as the body of Darth Vader (pictured) in the Star Wars films, recently told reporters about the original sci-fi saga. When Pandora called Prowse to find out more, the Bristol man set the record straight: "Everybody thought what we were doing was rubbish, even 20th Century Fox, until the special effects were added on."

In fact, Prowse hopes that there may be a chance to reprise his role in the later prequels of Star Wars but for now it's his health and fitness studio that occupies him.

"It's called Star Gym because of the famous people that have come here over the years," Prowse told Pandora. "People such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Albert Finney and Ted Heath; I used to train Heath you know." And the force is certainly still with Ted, that's for sure.

THE WOUNDS inflicted on Mia Farrow when Woody Allen left her for their adopted daughter Soon-Yi still run deep after eight years. Last night on US television Farrow recalled one winter's day when she came home to find Woody keeping their children occupied by throwing his hat and scarf into the fireplace.

"I said: `What is going on?' and he said: `Well, we'd run out of stuff to do.'" After recounting the episode Mia laments: "He just didn't have any idea."

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PANDORA WOULD like to pass on some information to British students thinking of working for a US congressman. A new guide to recruitment on Capitol Hill by Gary Alpert supplies some useful tips on deciding between a Democrat or a Republican boss. For example, for Drug of Choice it's marijuana for Democrats and Viagra for Republicans; for Best Actress, it's Ingrid Bergman for Democrats and Hillary Rodham Clinton for Republicans. But a special mention must go to the category of Favourite Pin-Up: Pamela Anderson Lee for Democrats and Margaret Thatcher for Republicans. You have been warned.

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