People: Iraqi double has bullet trouble

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The Independent Online
UDAY HUSSEIN, the son of Saddam who was appointed after the Gulf war to head Iraq's national sports committee and edit a new national newspaper, feared possible reprisals from his new high profile. So young Uday employed a lookalike, Lattif Yehiyah, to stand in for him on sensitive occasions to receive any bullet that may have been intended for the President's son.

Mr Yehiyah grew tired of his onerous role and skipped to Vienna, hoping for a quiet life. But as he was strolling by St Stephen's Cathedral one night, a black Mercedes drew near. Three shots were fired, hitting him in the leg. Was it, he must be wondering, Iraqi intelligence punishing him for deserting his post, or some dissident Iraqis mistaking him for Uday?

THE FORMER Philippines first lady, Imelda Marcos, is strenuously denying reports of a romantic involvement with her US lawyer, James Linn.

'I've not even finished yet with one husband. I have not even buried him yet and people are already speculating about me getting another one,' the 63-year-old former beauty queen snapped, and condemned the reports as 'part of conspiracy against the Marcoses'.

Could she be trying to deflect attention from a blizzard of legal suits charging her and her dead husband with embezzling treasury funds? Or perhaps she was miffed at the recent marriage of her only son, Ferdinand Jr (Bongbong), a British-educated playboy, to Louise Araneta in Italy.

The new Mrs Marcos is related by marriage to the Marcoses' political foe Corazon Aquino, and to make matters worse, Mrs Marcos Snr was not even invited to the wedding: she read about it in the newspapers.

IT IS reassuring to know that someone still holds fast to old certainties. Erich Honecker, the former East German leader whose trial for manslaughter was suspended because of his ill-health, has no regrets. On the contrary, he told guests at a dinner in Chile where he now lives that he remained faithful to the 'beautiful memories' of Communist Germany 'which speak by themselves of a project for a new, more just society'.

Such a contrast, Mr Honecker lamented, to the situation now in his former fatherland, stricken with what he describes as 'massive unemployment'.

MORE ON the Brazilian soap opera that is the surreal life of Fernando Collor de Mello, who was chased from the presidency for corruption: his brother Pedro says Fernando's wife Rosane, in order to preserve her marriage, threatened to expose the former president's alleged use of cocaine suppositories. Rosane blackmailed Fernando to keep their marriage together after he discovered she was having an affair with a government official, Pedro writes in his forthcoming book Coming Clean - the Story of a Fraud.

To stiffen her resolve, Rosane employed 12 armed guards to protect herself in case Fernando decided to take what Pedro calls 'sterner measures' against her. Pedro further describes how Fernando used voodoo to try to fend off his impeachment. 'Fernando, dressed completely in white, wheeled around the room in ecstasy - the dances were performed around sacrificed birds and animals, candles and a rum bottle,' he writes.

Fernando's riposte? He is seeking a divorce from his wife and says his brother is 'mentally unbalanced'.

(Photograph omitted)