Glamour girl does her bit for the guerrillas

PEOPLE
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The Independent Online
Lending a bit of glamour around a military base in western Guatemala, Bianca Jagger has joined Jennifer Harbury, the American widow of a guerrilla leader, Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, in a protest vigil. Mrs Harbury believes her husband may be buried in a mass grave near the base in San Marcos.

Bamaca was reportedly captured and killed by the Guatemalan army more than three years ago. In March, a US congressman, Robert Torricelli, alleged that a Guatemalan officer on the payroll of the CIA had ordered the killing. The US acknowledged hearing that he had died in military custody and told Mrs Harbury his body may be buried in San Marcos. The army continues to block search attempts.

Guatemala's army has a long history of human rights abuses, and the Nicaraguan- born Ms Jagger has been an outspoken opponent. She and Mr Torricelli recently ended a two-year romance that began with that shared interest, but remain ''close friends and important allies".

Another US congressman, Bill Richardson, continued his lucky streak in international relations last Sunday, when he won the release of two Americans imprisoned in Iraq. His success in that and other diplomatic missions has been attributed to hard work, luck and an affinity for other cultures, attributed in part to his Mexican mother. "He recognises that our world is a very small place and you can't operate within a vacuum, within just the confines of our country," a spokesman says. Mr Richardson has helped to secure the release of an American helicopter pilot shot down over North Korea, obtained data on servicemen killed or captured in Vietnam, and softened up Raoul Cedras, the former Haitian dictator, before Jimmy Carter's successful diplomatic mission last July.

Hugh Grant's popularity appears greater than ever among forgiving female movie-goers. In France, a recent Paris Match survey showed 61 per cent of women polled would not call it quits if they found out their men - even those without an irrepressible grin and a floppy shock of hair - had been caught with a prostitute. Nineteen per cent said they would react violently.

Roseanne isn't French, but seems to be in the latter group. "I think women should be more violent, kill more of their husbands," the comedian told the New Yorker magazine. "I like the fight." She also attacked some of Hollywood's most prominent women - Jodie Foster, Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep - as ''just too middle-class white".

Which brings us to Newt Gingrich's underwear. Middle-class white is what we might surmise from his reticence on the subject. After the recent taping of an MTV show, Newt: Raw, in which the House Speaker discussed his views on a variety of subjects, he was asked that favourite MTV question, "Boxers or briefs?" "That is a very stupid question, and it's stupid for you to ask that question," he snapped. Bill Clinton, when asked the same thing a year ago, replied: "Usually briefs.''

MARYANN BIRD

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