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Hot air

Barring some emergency meeting of the Security Council, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Sir John Weston, can usually expect to have his New York weekends to himself. So what was he doing in the wee hours of last Sunday, propping up the wall of a corridor on the 36th floor of UN headquarters?.

It turns out that for two hours, between 11pm Saturday and 1am Sunday, Sir John was caught up in one of the more ludicrous diplomatic exercises ever to have been dreamed up by the UN. He was queueing for an early speaking slot for Britain when world leaders gather in June to discuss the environment, five years after the 1992 Rio Earth summit.

Britain did well, being fifth in the queue when speaking times were finally assigned at 9.30am on Monday. Sir John, though, was heard to snort later: "Never mind the air quality in the atmosphere, you should have been in that corridor."

Job for Eugene

Taking a holiday from his business career in Johannesburg, King Leka has returned to Albania to - what? Claim back his throne? Offer himself as president instead of discredited Sali Berisha? Just see what help he can lend? It is far from clear.

Reading how the 6ft 6in Leka towers over his Albanian bodyguards, who have not been nourished on South African barbecues, I had a thought: why doesn't the king send to his adopted country for some more imposing muscle, such as Eugene Terre'Blanche? The camouflage-clad white supremacist can make an impressive entrance on horseback, and he could use the money. Bailed last week on a charge of attempting to murder one of his black workers, he said he could not afford pounds 300. Even when the sum was cut to pounds 150 his supporters had to have a whipround.

Terre'Blanche would probably welcome a break from his legal problems in South Africa, and if he stopped a bullet intended for the king of Albania, one could argue that he was doing both countries a service.