People: Confessions too late for Rollins' wrecked career

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The Independent Online
THE tragicomic saga of Ed Rollins continues. Ten days after bragging to reporters how he fixed the black vote to secure a Republican victory in the election for New Jersey's governor, the man who was America's hottest political consultant is making one Stalinesque show trial confession after another in a bid to salvage the wreckage of his career.

'I thought about putting a gun to my head,' he agonised, saying he had fallen victim to a self-inflicted 'bullshit game'. In a mea culpa article in the Washington Post, Mr Rollins abjectly explains how he committed 'the sin of arrogance', the 'vanity of thinking you are more important than others'.

In short, as he tells it, he made up the story of bribing black church ministers to tell their parishioners not to vote on 2 November. But too late. Mr Rollins has already been sacked by several Republican candidates for 1994 races. Now NBC television is dispensing with his services as a political analyst. In a business where media exposure is all, that really is a disaster.

THE pretender to the Albanian throne, King Leka I, who showed up in Tirana unexpectedly on Saturday, has offered to return as king if the people vote to restore the monarchy. The Albanian government responded by ordering him to leave the country immediately, adding that his passport, stamped 'Kingdom of Albania', is invalid.

Leka was proclaimed king by Albanian exiles after his father, King Zog, died in 1961. His expulsion is 'an anti-national and inhuman act by a so-called democratic government', according to his court minister, Abedin Mulosmanaj. Leka now lives in Johannesburg - perhaps because his name sounds like the Afrikaans word for 'nice'.

THE poetically named Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival has opened in Guangzhou, and 'China's Oscars' are due to be graced with the presence of Richard Gere, the American actor known off-screen for his frequent criticism of Peking's human rights record in Tibet. Gere, who used a speech at the real Oscars to demand that Deng Xiaoping end Chinese brutality in Tibet, is to attend the Chinese premiere of Sommersby at the five- day festival. Gong Li and Zhang Yimou, the star and director respectively of The Story of Qiuju are also expected to attend, having been nominated as best actress and best director.

THE Speaker of Russia's disbanded parliament and loser of the last White House stand-off, Ruslan Khasbulatov, marked his 51st birthday yesterday inside Lefortovo prison. He was allowed birthday visits from his wife and his lawyer, whose job will be to save his client from serving two to fifteen years for allegedly inciting riots. Despite his problems, Mr Khasbulatov has not abandoned politics and is considering running for a local parliament.

THE long arm of French law is hoping at last to reach Jacques Medecin, the unorthodox former mayor of Nice, who is a fugitive in Uruguay. The Nice prosecutor, Paul-Louis Aumeras, has asked Interpol to arrest Medecin, who is wanted on charges of fraud, bribery and corruption, 'for fear he'll flee again'. The mayor is sanguine about the news. 'I'm happy where I am,' he said. 'I can't see myself at the age of 65 starting a life as a wanderer . . . Why should I move 200km away to Argentina, Chile or Brazil? To face the same problems in six months, in a year?' He would rather stay where he is because: 'I'm sure Uruguay will know how to protect me.'

THE film director Oliver Stone has already done Vietnam (twice), El Salvador and the Kennedy conspiracy; now he has turned his attention to General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former Panamanian ruler, so unphotogenic he was known as 'Pineapple Face'. Stone visited Noriega's successor, President Guillermo Endara, last week to discuss the film, which will presumably focus on Noriega's detention on drugs charges by what must have been the largest law-enforcement contingent in history - 23,000 US troops.

(Photograph omitted)

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