FLAT EARTH

Drug barren

We were talking recently about the US seeking targets for its indignation more according to their inability to retaliate than to the gravity of their crimes. The latest example is the contrasting treatment of Mexico and Colombia.

Bill Clinton had to decide whether these two Latin American nations were co-operating with the US in its fight against drugs. Leaving aside the question of whether the US is doing enough to stop its own citizens taking the stuff, a lot of aid is at stake. In the end Mexico passed the test, while Colombia fell short - the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, praised the Mexicans for increasing the number of drug seizures and arrests, but said corruption "remains rampant at the highest levels of the Colombian government".

True, but it must have been a bit embarrassing when it emerged just how successfully the Mexicans had manipulated the authorities in Washington. On Thursday, just before Clinton was to take his decision, a top drugs suspect was arrested amid great fanfare; the same day another one was somehow allowed to escape, but that news did not get out until later.

Everybody knows, though, that it would be too inconvenient to "decertify" Mexico, a fellow member of the North American Free Trade Association, where American corporations have huge investments. Much easier to take on Colombia, which probably needs the aid more. The only problem is that it encourages no one to take the fight against drugs very seriously.

Voulez-vous?

What has happened to Frenchwomen's taste in men? A survey of more than 500 French females in Paris Match disclosed that the male they most fantasise having a one-night stand with is... Kevin Costner. I know it's none of my business but the list is depressingly conventional, with Costner being followed by Paul Newman (popular with the older respondents), Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford.

"Horrible discovery: they dream only of Americans," the magazine laments. The leading Frenchman, Francis Huster, an actor unknown to Anglophones, is sixth, and you have to descend to 12th place to find another: Alain Delon, who comes top with women 65 and over. Gerard Depardieu is 20th out of 20.

There are two English in the list - Hugh Grant (15th) and Daniel Day Lewis (19th, if you are allowed to call him English). Ho hum. I'm sure any survey of English or American women would be a lot kinder to Frenchmen than their countrywomen are.

Dutch treat

These days, whether you want to stage a Millennium festival or host the next Olympics, the first thing you sort out is your logo. The Dutch will be holding an EU summit this summer, just before their presidency comes to an end, and as a symbol to put on all the brochures, direction signs, guide's badges and associated paraphernalia they have alighted upon the statue of Atlas which adorns the royal palace in the middle of Amsterdam.

It was not until preparations had gone too far to be reversed that someone pointed out that the anatomically correct Atlas was also very popular with Amsterdam's many gay clubs and bars, who use him on their flyers. The stage seems to be set for some farcical misunderstandings worthy of Feydeau or La Cage aux Folles.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee