People: French channel their all into fight against Aids

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The Independent Online
FILM stars including Catherine Deneuve and Liza Minnelli appeared last night in a marathon television and radio broadcast to heighten Aids awareness in France. In an unprecedented gesture, all seven television channels filled their screens from 8.50pm to midnight with programmes intended to help fight the spread of Aids and public prejudice. France has the highest number of Aids sufferers in Europe: an estimated 110,000 people are known to be infected with the HIV virus; the disease kills 15 French people every day.

One of the discoverers of the HIV virus, Professor Luc Montagnier, said last night: 'Awareness of the Aids danger has been too slow in coming, both in the media and in the political class. There has not been any mobilisation like today's'

THE only living American bullfighter, John Fulton, has made his last stand in Mexico after 40 years in the ring. Fulton, 61, had to combat prejudice as well as countless bulls. On retirement he said that if he were to start again he would change his name to something Spanish. 'They'd have no excuse but to recognise me for who I am. Perhaps I'd call myself Juan Gallardo' - the bullfighter in the film Blood and Sand.

PREJUDICE of the opposite kind is causing upset among Hispanic actors in Hollywood. The casting of non-Latinos in the film adaptation of the Chilean family saga The House of the Spirits has provoked calls for a boycott of the film by Hispanic groups in Los Angeles. Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder and Vanessa Redgrave star in the adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel.

Del Zamora, a Mexican-American actor, said: 'Right now, they (Hispanics) are not allowed to play the Anglo's part in significant roles, and they are not allowed to play the Latino's part either.'

ATTEMPTS by Mike Tyson, the jailed former heavyweight boxing champion, to pass the US equivalent of A levels - and lop three months off his sentence - have failed. Tyson, serving six years at the Indiana Youth Facility for rape, has failed his high-school equivalency test.

But the questions that stumped him might have knocked out most of us. They included: 'If the equation of a circle is x2 + y2 = 34 what is the length of the radius?'

Bert Sugar, publisher of Boxing Illustrated, said that anyone who could answer the maths questions 'could probably qualify as a nuclear scientist'. Tyson did well in reading comprehension, world history, language and social studies, but flunked maths. But all is not lost: he can retake the test every 90 days until he passes. At least he has plenty of time to revise.

(The answer to the question is the square root of 34 and refers to plotting a circle on a graph - xx plus yy equals rr, ie the square of the length of the x axis plus the square of the length of the y axis equals the square of the radius of the circle. All clear now?)

THE exiled former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier is on the run again. He has decamped from his villa in the South of France, leaving a lot of bills and is said to be living in the nearby villa of a mysterious British businessman.

Neighbours say Baby Doc has been reduced to offering his services as a jobbing gardener.

His fortunes have been in decline since he was kicked out of Haiti in 1986. No one knows how much he owes but he was recently fined 500,000 francs ( pounds 63,000) for failing to meet back-payments. His wife, Michele, left him, with their children, four years ago.

(Photograph omitted)