People: De Klerk said to be at the cutting edge of history

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The Independent Online
AFTER taking due credit for helping to make history, F W de Klerk has been accused of trying to rewrite it. The Johannesburg Sunday Times has accused South Africa's deputy president of censoring a draft of the official biography of the former president, P W Botha, and wiping tapes of cabinet meetings. The newspaper said F W, who succeeded P W as President in 1989, ordered that statements of a 'conservative' nature attributed to him in Cabinet discussions in the 1980s be cut.

'A number of potentially embarrassing statements by Mr de Klerk and other ministers have been reworked so as to expunge, paraphrase or dilute them,' the paper said, alleging that tape recordings of Cabinet meetings, on which the biography was partly based, had since been erased.

Mr de Klerk said on Sunday that changes had been made to the draft biography on legal advice. 'I reject the perception created by the Sunday Times that I was in some way trying to manipulate facts and suppress the truth,' he said. 'The Cabinet confirmed, soon after my inauguration, that recordings of Cabinet meetings should be used only for the compilation of Cabinet minutes and that they should then be immediately erased.'

ACCUSED of authorising bribes for tax inspectors and under house arrest as a result, Paolo Berlusconi, received a judge's approval at the weekend to move from his Milan apartment. Under the transfer order, the brother of the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio, is not allowed to leave a spartan seaside estate in Sardinia equipped with a mere 27 rooms, 11 baths, sauna and pool overlooking the island's exclusive Emerald Coast. He was reportedly sighted jogging around the grounds of the estate hours after the judicial decision.

The villa where Paolo is thought to be held is the largest on the estate, named after a monastery of the austere Carthusian order which was once on the site.

THE former UN secretary-general Javier Perez de Cuellar has been dividing his time between Paris and New York since retiring in 1991. But the quiet life appears not to suit him and on Sunday he virtually declared himself a contender for next April's presidential elections in Peru. The youthful 74- year-old told a gathering of about 1,000 people in a Lima shantytown that he was 'an independent man and would be an independent candidate'. If Mr Perez de Cuellar's early criticisms of his likely rival, President Alberto Fujimori, are anything to go by, the campaign will be as gentlemanly as an English village-green cricket match.

'We are going forward; I do not deny it, but not at the pace we should in order to resolve our country's problems,' Mr Perez de Cuellar said. Polls show Mr Fujimori leading him by 20 percentage points.

(Photograph omitted)