Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Albright flies back from Rome to deal with crisis

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, the US Secretary of State, who flew back to Washington urgently yesterday to address the crisis in the aftermath of the Africa bombings, had been in Rome on what was described as a "personal visit".

One, if not the main, purpose of that visit was to attend today's wedding at a castle near Rome of her department's chief spokesman, James Rubin, 38, and CNN's star foreign correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, 40.

The wedding is the culmination of a romance that began last autumn in Bosnia, where Ms Amanpour was on a reporting assignment.

It has been conducted in cities around the world, depending on the pair's professional responsibilities and international airline schedules.

The timing was a calculated gamble that the international scene would be quiet and neither would be be urgently required elsewhere.

Ms Albright - who has taken a benevolent interest in Mr Rubin's progress since he was her youthful spokesman at the United Nations - was one of a number of prominent guests, who included the head of the CNN television network, Ted Turner.

In the past week Washington gossip columns had speculated idly about what would happen if war broke out with Iraq or some other international crisis erupted on the eve of the wedding.

The bad news - for their respective organisations - is that it will go ahead.

The good news is that the honeymoon destination is ... Africa.