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


Barry sworn in as new mayor

One of the most remarkable resurrections in American political history was completed yesterday when Marion Barry, erstwhile jailbird, philanderer and crack smoker, was sworn in for his fourth term as mayor of Washington.

Less than five years after FBI agents used a former mistress to lure him to a hotel room and secretly filmed him taking two hefty puffs on a pipeful of crack, Mr Barry has again returned to office, this time with an appeal for divine assistance.

And there are many among Washington's 577,000 residents, particularly in the minority white population, who believe Mr Barry, 58, will need more divine help to succeed in what some jokingly call his "second coming". Not only does he inherit a city with arunaway murder rate and a $500m (£320m) budget deficit, he also faces a battle with the Republicans' new messiah, Newt Gingrich, the incoming Speaker of the House. Mr Gingrich has been muttering about giving Washington to Maryland, if the c ity cannot put its house in order.Such difficulties were ignored yesterday as Mr Barry celebrated his revived fortunes with 3,000 well-wishers.Mr Barry, whose kitchen cabinet was headed by the boxing promoter, Rock Newton, has yet to appoint all his offi cials. But eyebrows have been raised by his links with a spiritual adviser, the Rev Willie Wilson, who he plans to meet for divine help.