People: A starry night in Honduras

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The Independent Online
THE star-struck president-elect of Honduras, Carlos Roberto Reina, hopes to add a bit of glamour to his inauguration next month. Mr Reina has invited Jane Fonda and Sophia Loren to attend his swearing-in in the country's sleepy capital, Tegucigalpa, on 27 January.

'They are dreams that one would cherish,' he said in announcing the 'personal invitations'. Mr Reina, a 67-year-old lawyer and member of the opposition Liberal Party, said the actresses were favourites of his because of their concern for social causes. It was not immediately known if they would attend.

Ms Loren won't, if the Vatican's representative in Honduras, Luigi Conti, has a say. 'It looks like the moral revolution is starting off well,' he said sarcastically. Mr Conti complained that Ms Loren had tried to evade taxes in Italy, which would not be in keeping with Mr Reina's campaign pledges to battle corruption. The more saintly Mother Teresa was also invited.

THE ACTOR Mickey Rooney will make his literary debut in the spring in a unique venture with Carol Books, a New York company. Rooney's contract gives him no advances against royalties for his first novel; instead he will receive half of the profits from the book, Search for Sonny Skies.

'A celebrity name is a big plus when it comes to publishing,' said the publisher, Steven Schragis. 'Up to now the only way to get a celebrity author has been to pay big money up front. The idea of an equal partnership never got broached before.' He added: 'We are a mid-size company, and it is not easy competing against the giant publishing conglomerates. This is a way for a mid-size publisher to publish in the big leagues.'

Under the agreement, Rooney has equal control of the book cover, how the novel will be edited and how it will be publicised and sold. 'It also eliminates a lot of middle-men such as literary agents, which I happen to believe can be more of a hindrance than a help,' said the actor, 73, whose 1965 autobiography was a best-seller. His novel would be loosely based on the child stars he knew in Hollywood when he was one of them.

WITH the approval of the Gatt trade deal, the sleepless nights and the diet of poor food, coffee and Coca-Cola are over, happily, for Sir Leon Brittan, the European Union's trade negotiator.

'We started the real negotiations only a few days before 15 December, so we had to talk all the time,' Sir Leon said of the deadline for agreement. 'There was coffee and Coca-Cola. Usually the meetings took place in (the US negotiator Mickey) Kantor's office in Geneva, because the American office there is the biggest. But there were no good meals.'

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