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The Independent Online
Hungary for noble affection

VISCOUNT Rothermere is visiting Hungary, I learn from the Daily Mail, which describes in many words how he presented the Budapest Festival Orchestra with a magnificent harp, hand-carved in Paris. (Relegated to a corner of the page was a small piece about the Prince of Wales, there on a state visit.)

The Viscount's generosity is the latest gesture in his family's long affection for Hungary. In the 1920s, the Viscount's grandfather, Harold Sidney Harmsworth, campaigned so energetically for Hungary's claim to Transylvania that the Hungarians gratefully offered him the crown. But the British government said he couldn't have it.

Bombing cologne

WAR produces strange ideas, but few as bizarre as a new scent launched in Belgrade and called 'Serb'. Two Serb designers have packaged their men's cologne - which has a 'freshly showered' aroma - in a bottle the shape of a hand-grenade embraced by a naked woman. According to the designers, Jovan Njezic and Aleksandra Djordjevic, the nude is trying to stop the grenade exploding.

Critics in Belgrade condemn this marketing offensive as an 'immoral' attempt to cash in on the war. But Mjezic isn't worried: 'We don't have to be ashamed, because everything vile has already been blamed on the Serbs.'

Flight of fancy

IN THE chaos of the Balkans, life takes on a surreal quality. Our woman on the front line is accustomed to wearing a flak jacket while crouching in the back of a noisy Hercules transport plane from Split to Sarajevo. She accepts there are no refreshments and that sometimes you are bumped off your flight because of a medical evacuation or artillery fire.

But what freaks her out is how this belt-and-braces approach is institutionalised into that most implacable of documents - a visa. There it is n her British passport alongside the Unprofor MovCon (movement control) authorisation: 'Maybe Airlines - Sarajevo'.

Losing their cool

THE glory days of the soldiers of Sierra Leone, who used to strut their stuff in T-shirts and shades, have ended. The government in Freetown, tightening up on discipline, decrees T- shirts and combat trousers must be worn with a uniform jacket.

Police will crack down on army drivers roaring through stoplights with rock music blaring from their vehicles. And sunglasses are banned except for medical purposes. Will the soldiers get a doctor's note saying they have to stay cool?