NEWS MONKEY

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The Independent Online
PEACE IN KOSOVO. After his marvellous single-handed victory in Kosovo, it's nice to see that Slobodan Milosevic hasn't gone all triumphalist. His understated little speech about how he did everything right should stand as an example to other leaders. On the Nato side, we could expect a little gloating from the folks who said at the outset that air strikes alone would do the trick, except that no one ever did say that. Ironically, armchair warriors may yet get the ground war in Kosovo they've yearned for, although it will probably be against Russia.

EUROPEAN ELECTIONS. You don't know who you're voting for, and they don't tell you who won for three days - what sort of an election is that? No doubt many people didn't vote in the European Parliamentary elections because they knew they would be unable to stand the suspense, but the numbers will surely be higher next time, after word gets round how much fun it was. Whatever the merits of the voting system, on the important questions of a single currency and further European integration, the British people have sent the Government a clear message: we don't care.

AITKEN IN JAIL. As Jonathan Aitken prepares for a long hot summer banged up in tennis camp, his final humiliation must be that he missed voting in the exciting European elections. Despite the serious nature of his transgressions there seems to be a view that he has suffered enough, although it's unclear who holds it, or where it came from. We have only Mr Aitken's word that he has suffered at all, and we know what that's worth.

BELGIAN FOOD SCARE. After years as the contaminated food capital of Europe, Britain must now surrender the crown to Belgium, where they have managed to get dioxin into every conceivable foodstuff, including poultry, beef, pork, milk, eggs, cheese and chocolate. As Britons know and Belgians will soon learn, toxic food is quite a dubious thing to be world famous for, but then Belgium was previously best known as the birthplace of Plastic Bertrand, so they're used to it.

SOPHIE TO OBEY. The press has been rather catty regarding Sophie Rhys- Jones's intention to promise to obey Prince Edward, perhaps forgetting it would only take a quick abdication and couple of tragic skiing accidents for us all to be in the same embarrassing position. As Sophie swears undying fealty to her husband next Saturday, every member of Parliament, bar Dennis Skinner, should repeat this mantra: coulda been me.

VANESSA AXED. Last week the BBC axed Vanessa Feltz's troubled daytime chat show, quite literally while no one was looking. Ratings plummeted and never recovered after February's "fake guests" scandal. Clearly viewers liked the programme better the way it was, when they just made it all up, and were put off by heartfelt assurances that such deception would never occur again. No new projects for Vanessa should be considered unless suitably unscrupulous researchers can be found. TIM DOWLING

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