Academy reward for French cardinal

PEOPLE: Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger

The Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, entered the ranks of France's immortals yesterday, taking his seat in the august Academie Francaise, the body that - among other things - guards the purity of the French language.

Mgr Lustiger raised eyebrows most recently when he agreed to conduct the memorial mass in Notre Dame for the late President Francois Mitterrand, an occasion much-criticised for associating a determinedly secular state too closely with the church. But he has a long association with controversy.

Born of Polish Jewish parents, he converted to Catholicism in 1940 at the age of 14, a fact that prevents some French Catholics from accepting him fully as French and attracts the opprobrium of some Jews, who have cast doubt on his motives.

His conversion has also been held against him by Israel, which last year omitted his name from a list of dignitaries invited to an ecumenical gathering in Jerusalem.

At the academy, Mgr Lustiger inherits the chair of the late Cardinal Archbishop of Lyons, Albert Decourtray. This week, Mgr Lustiger went out of his way to deny insistent reports that he had expressed an interest in the chair as soon as it became vacant.

"I have never sought any honour," he said. "I never made any statements or requests."

Robert Mugabe has never been one to fight his political battles on a level playing field, and now he doesn't need one anyway. He has been swooping around Zimbabwe by helicopter on the campaign trail ahead of the presidential elections this weekend, while his one remaining challenger, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, 71, relies on borrowed vehicles.

Laws passed by the Mugabe government give his party millions of tax dollars for campaigning each year, while Bishop Muzorewa's United Parties and other opposition groups get nothing. Independent newspapers have folded, some under harassment from the government. And as radio, press and television slavishly report the merest presidential platitude, the grossest untruth, they ignore Bishop Muzorewa, whose tiny campaign HQ does not even have a telephone.

Margaret Dongo, one of only three opposition MPs, says people should protest by refusing to take part in the election. Hence the sky-high helicopter bills. Mr Mugabe was advised that, unless he cracked the whip, he faced a somewhat embarrassing 15 per cent turnout. Last night even deeper embarrassment faced the president. Bishop Muzorewa threatened to pull out altogether, handing Mr Mugabe a walkover that left his power intact but his credibility in tatters.

Silvio Berlusconi is in danger of being deserted by Italy's "mammas". The 850,000 strong National Housewives' Federation, worried by what it describes as a tide of old and unqualified people who are continuing to dabble in politics and undermine female MPs, is threatening to throw its weight and muscle behind the centre-left Olive Tree coalition.

The "mamma" vote helped Mr Berlusconi's right-wing Freedom Alliance to victory in 1994, and he must be wondering how he can win back the hearts of Italian women.

He could do worse than consult Boris Yeltsin. The Russian president's wife, Naina, in an interview published n the popular weekly Argumenty i Faktyyesterday, says she has enjoyed 40 years of happiness with her husband despite his weakness for women in general as well as his wife in particular. "Of course, I sometimes felt hurt - he always was very gallant at parties and never spared a compliment to women," she said. "And they always notice him."

James Roberts

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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 General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup