Medecin seeks new frontier

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Freed from prison in France, Jacques is now a Medecinsans frontieres. Medecin, the iron-fisted Mayor of Nice for 25 years, is starting life again in Uruguay, to which he fled in 1990. He was released two weeks ago and now lives in a luxury home near the Atlantic coastal resort of Punta del Este.

''Now, all I want is peace - and to be loved,'' said Medecin, 67, who was convicted of embezzling nearly pounds 2m from the Nice Opera and accepting pounds 520,000 in bribes. ''It was really tough,'' he told Associated Press news agency, referring to his time in prison. ''If you're guilty, a two- year sentence is nothing, but when you're innocent it's difficult to stand.''

He wants to become a citizen of Uruguay, ''where the people are marvellous'' - unlike in France, where he says he was treated ''like a war criminal''. The right-wing ex-mayor says he was the victim of a witch hunt by Francois Mitterrand. ''I've said goodbye to politics,'' Medecin said. ''I don't want anything to do with it. And I'm not seeking revenge.''

Thirty-eight Buddhist monks at Tharlam Monastery near Kathmandu have a new American ''boss'': Sonam Wangdu is from Seattle, Washington, and he is only four years old.

Tibetan Buddhists recognise the boy as Deshung Rinpoche IV, the reincarnation of a Tibetan high lama who died in Seattle in 1987. The youngster is now known as Trulku-la, the Tibetan term for reincarnation. His mother, Carolyn Lama, is an American Buddhist; his father, a Tibetan, died two years ago.Trulku- la, who was enthroned in Nepal aged two, returned to the Himalayas on Sunday with his mother - plus a collection of action figures and some Disney videos - to begin a rigorous education.

Ms Lama eventually will go back home to Seattle, and the monks will be responsible for the boy's care. She says she'll miss him but won't worry: ''He ordained most of them in his last life, and they love him. They've been waiting and waiting for him to come back.''

Russia's No 1 hell-raiser, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is targeting his country's youth in his presidential campaign. His misnamed Liberal Democratic Party is sponsoring a 120-concert tour by the hard-rock band Hell Raiser. ''I like youths jumping on the stage in their torn jeans, taking off their jackets and embracing each other,'' the flamboyant nationalist revealed as the leather-clad band members looked on quietly.

Mr Zhirinovsky's main rivals for the Russian headbanger vote, the Communists, have denounced rock music as a Western plot to corrupt young minds. But Mr Zhirinovsky sees it differently: ''Their songs are patriotic,'' he declared.

The pro-government Our Home Is Russia party seems to agree. During the parliamentary election campaign last autumn, it brought in Western acts in an effort to attract young voters.

Maryann Bird