People: Duvalier feels the pinch

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The Independent Online
AS Raoul Cedras and his henchmen contemplate life in exile, a fellow countryman could offer them advice. But the ex-Haitian dictator, 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, is keeping a low profile in his adopted home on the French Riviera. Reporters approaching his villa have been shooed away by his mother, Simone Duvalier. Baby Doc arrived in Cannes in 1986, forced out of Haiti after an uprising against the 29-year family dictatorship he inherited on the death of his father, 'Papa Doc' Duvalier.

The Duvaliers displayed fabulous wealth when they first arrived, flaunting big cars and patronising the top restaurants. But Baby Doc appears to have fallen on hard times. He now lives in an extremely modest villa with a broken fence, a scruffy garden and no telephone, because the bills were not paid.

THE FIRST deaf Miss America got a taste of her difficult task on her first day wearing the crown. Heather Whitestone, 21, a dancer from Birmingham, Alabama, told photographers to stop shooting pictures as she tried to read a reporter's lips. 'You keep flashing. You make it hard for me to see his lips. Can you hold on for a minute?' she asked. The press conference was the first of many for Ms Whitestone. Miss America usually travels about 20,000 miles (32,000 kms) a month for public appearances.

WHO says crime doesn't pay? While O J Simpson may not be profiting from his notoriety, defence lawyers, movie producers, book publishers, tabloids, souvenir vendors and even key witnesses are cashing in.

Little more than three months after Simpson's former wife and a friend were found lying in a pool of blood, a cottage industry has sprung up to feed America's obsession with the case. About 95 million viewers were glued to their television sets on 17 June as the football legend led police on a bizarre chase.

In the media frenzy surrounding the case, 'chequebook journalism' is flourishing, as scandal sheets and television programmes scramble for exclusives. The National Enquirer apparently offered dollars 1m (pounds 0.6m) to Simpson's friend, Al Cowlings. He turned the money down. But other key witnesses have sold to the highest bidder and some legal experts say it may have left their testimony irreparably tainted.

SOME people never grow up because they don't want to. Sophia Loren, 60 next week, says she has never voted because she is too young. 'Inside, I'm still 12 years old - I'm younger than my children,' she said, in an interview in Corriere della Sera newspaper's magazine. 'I have never voted because I'm under-age.' Her views would not be shared by her niece, Alessandra Mussolini, a granddaughter of Benito Mussolini and a member of parliament for the neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement. 'I adore her, but we never talk politics,' said Loren.

CHINA is set to discover whether gentlemen really prefer blondes. A state-run multinational has announced it has won the franchise to market Marilyn Monroe's image in the country. The China International Trust and Investment Corporation will hold trade shows to tender licences for the right to use Monroe's image on a wide range of products.

However, with copyright piracy rampant in China, only time will tell who really gets the girl; the legal owners or the buccaneers.

(Photograph omitted)

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