People: Barry bouncing back to his best

Claiming he has become a new man since his arrest in a cocaine 'sting' four years ago, Marion Barry has his eye on his old job as mayor of Washington. Mr Barry had a seemingly unshakeable hold on the city before the night of 18 January 1990, when federal agents burst into a Washington hotel room and arrested him after capturing him on videotape while he was with a former girlfriend and allegedly smoking 'crack' cocaine.

'Damn bitch set me up,' he was heard to mutter repeatedly about Rasheeda Moore.

Despite his six-month prison sentence, Mr Barry, 58, is still a hero to many poor blacks. The new Mr Barry has renounced alcohol, lives quietly with his third wife, goes to church, wears African- style clothing and represents Washington's most impoverished ward on the city council.

He faces an uphill fight for mayor in the autumn, and will have to rely heavily on black voters. 'He became a global embarrassment and white voters are not going to forgive him,' one analyst said.

A BLACK man living in an ordinary flat in the Maryland suburbs of Washington grieves over the bloodshed in his central African homeland and pleads for peace negotiations. Former King Kigeli V, who comes from the Tutsi minority, was deposed in 1960 when Rwanda was a UN Trust Territory under Belgian administration. The ex-monarch says he is making no claim to his lost throne. 'My call is for peace among all Rwandese,' he said.

Kigeli is appealing for a rescue operation, including more UN peace-keepers, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the 'pure genocide' unleashed in recent weeks. He recommended to Rwandan exiles in 1989 that they, like him, stay abroad and 'forget about returning forever'.

THEIR books are best-sellers but, musically, three Amer ican writers are known as the Rock Bottom Remainders. During a sultry rendition of 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin' ', Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, wielded a whip on the bottoms of her literary colleagues Stephen King and Dave Barry at a benefit concert for a children's charity in King's home state of Maine.

With the horror writer playing a black guitar with mother of pearl spiders on its neck, the Remainders performed such rock standards as 'Woolly Bully', 'Leader of the Pack' and 'Louie, Louie'.

THE disgraced ice-skater Tonya Harding also may join a rock band. She has been invited to become a member of the White Trash Debutantes, a San Francisco punk group that includes a 78-year-old woman and three male cross-dressers. The Debs have already written a song for their potential recruit: 'Don't Mess With Tonya Harding'.