Pandora: Sven dashes North Korean dreams

As far as the millions of love-struck women living above the 39th parallel are concerned, the world knows only one impish, receding figure, with enough charisma to change the weather merely by his mood.

But anyone who followed the fortunes of the England football team from 2000 to 2006 of course knows different. So the rumours yesterday that Shir Shven of Svensska was flying to Beijing to have talks with the North Korean Football Association about the possibility of managing the team in next year's World Cup understandably caused quite a stir.

All too aware of Mr Eriksson's embarrassments in his recent short-lived spell as Mexico coach (a news reporter asked him if he liked chilli. He replied saying, "Yes, Santiago is a beautiful city"), Pandora calls with a useful glossary. Is the Swede aware of the following everyday phrases: "net-net-doul" (four-four-two); "haek-missile-shilhum" (nuclear missile testing)? Or the more obscure "ink wen" (human rights). "I don't know if Sven knows any of those words," says his management. "We've not been approached by the North Korean FA. Sven is currently in Nottingham, not in Pyongyang. There is no truth in any of these rumours."

If a heart breaks in a state where freedom of expression is outlawed, does anyone hear it?

Visionary leader beyond compare

Gordon Brown's announcement that, despite several tears in his good eye, his sight was normal provoked one Blairite backbencher to quip wickedly about the PM: "In that case his eyesight must be the only part that is normal." Rather reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh's remark, after Randolph Churchill had a non-malignant growth removed, when he said the surgeon had removed "the only part of Randolph that was NOT malignant". Poor Gordon at one time harboured notions of appearing a Church- illian figure. Wrong Churchill, it seems.

Will Dannatt get behind the booze cruise?

Incoming! Already a campaign for Tory "political gimmick" General Sir Richard Dannatt to be getting on with, as he resigned yesterday as chairman or the Royal United Services Institute to take up his new role with the Conservatives. For the man who earned praise when the publication of his expenses revealed he had catered for top military dinners with bulk buys from Wine and Beer World in Calais, will no doubt be furious at a Department of Health report, published yesterday, that threatens to limit the amount of alcohol Britons can bring into the country, and thus spell the end of the booze cruise. We called to see if the General is prepared to defend the right of plucky Brits to perennially invade the landing grounds of northern France, but he is not putting his head above the parapet.

No expense spared in conkers battle

Congratulations to Bob Russell MP, the winner of the inaugural Parliamentary Conkers Challenge in association with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. "People are saying it's a fix, as it was my idea to put it on," says the Liberal Democrat member for Colchester. But where was Ken Clarke? Surely a good moment to show off some of the prime specimens that surely grow in a garden lovingly tended with £4,733 of public cash? "Er, I don't think we'll be commenting on that," a spokesperson for the shadow Business secretary says.

The boys don't want to grow up

"Dom and I are essentially the same person," said Gavin and Stacey star James Corden, of his best mate and fellow History Boy, Dominic Cooper, when the pair turned up for the Bulgari Vogue party on Tuesday night. So which one is it whose chiselled six-pack wowed Mamma Mia! co-star Amanda Seyfried on the beaches of Skiathos? And which one is on first-name terms with the staff of the Chinese takeaway he lives above? "The same people, but in different bodies," he corrects. "Neither of us ever wants to grow up."

pandora@independent.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital