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DAME ELISABETH MURDOCH, a lady of the old school, refused to invite Wendy Deng (pictured), her new daughter-in-law, to her 90th birthday party at the family's Victoria property. Pointedly, a place at the table was found for Rupert Murdoch's second wife, Anna.

THE BBC transmitted its first commercial this month. The 10-second spot for Claratyn, a hay fever remedy, hit the air last Monday on BBC's World Service after the pips for the 2am news. A BBC flack says the incident happened "by mistake" during a live transfer between studios.

DEMI MOORE has a new boyfriend: Oliver Whitcomb, a 29-year-old martial arts instructor. Whitcomb has moved into Moore's home in Idaho (one of those dull square states in the middle) and reportedly spent time with Moore in Aspen. Whitcomb has a disarming way with media; when asked if he and Demi were an item his firm reply was: "Don't ever call me again. Do you understand?"

WHODATHUNKIT? Conception of babies and suicides both peak in the spring.

COURTNEY LOVE has made it two in a row in Pandora's prestigious Celebrity Tantrum of the Week. The grunge goddess and her band Hole had just finished their first number at Bologna's race track earlier this month, when Love abruptly announced that she was stopping the show... until the 40,000-strong crowd sang the Italian national anthem to her. They emphasised their disinclination with "classic Italian hand gestures". "Fine," Love said. "I didn't want to perform here anyway," and walked off. A frantic interpreter grabbed the mic to explain the diva's request. The mischievous mob pretended to go along, but actually sang a footie chant which featured the line "Fa me la vede, fa me le tocca" ("Show it to me, let me touch it"). Love returned to the stage and finished the act, blissfully unaware of the deceptive serenade. Too bad she was on her best behaviour at Glastonbury.

"THE MOST glamorous period of a woman's life is probably between 30 and 45." - Couturier Antony Price in OK!

YOU CAN sponsor animals at the zoo. In some areas of the country you can sponsor a police car. Now the ultimate opportunity for product placement: in a pre-emptive public-private sector initiative, an Essex firm has offered to sponsor Nato weaponry. Long's Stationery Supplies wrote to the American ambassador offering to "partly underwrite the cost of ordnance providing we are allowed to affix our company logo (discreetly) to whatever bombs we have paid for". The firm bid pounds 1,000 to sponsor a cluster-bomb; pounds 1,500 for a laser-guided missile and pounds 5,000 for a Cruise-Tomahawk missile. The ambassador replied that "the opportunities for public/private partnership do not extend to lethal ordnance as this is felt to be inappropriate". So land mines and rubber bullets are OK, then?

THE NUMBERS say that the native language of 8 per cent of our planet's population is English - but it jumps to 56.5 per cent when you profile i/net users. (Global Reach International Online Marketing and The New York Times 1999 Almanac)

TREVA ETIENNE'S debut film, Driving Miss Crazy, hit the place spot at HBO's Short Film Competition in Acapulco this month. Etienne wins a year out "shadowing more experienced directors on motion pictures throughout the US". Once he's made his chops and got his props, let's hope our guy can shed some light on the 21st century. Shoot, Treva, shoot!

STUD OR DUD? The top 10 things women look for in men, according to the new Company: 1. a pulse; 2. sensitivity (but not too much); 3. thoughtfulness; 4. an impressive tongue; 5. GSOH; 6. a condom; 7. ability to use a wash- mach, deodorant and shower; 8. good looks (but not too good); 9. rhythm; and 10. depth.

GARY SHANDLING, comedian, on sensitivity (but not too much): "I'm sensitive; I cry too. But unlike women I know why I'm crying. At least I know it has something to do with the point spread."

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