People: LA mayor caught on hop as running-mate

IT MAY not be the most glamorous photo-opportunity, but politicians of all stripes seem delighted to be Bill Clinton's huffing, puffing running-mate on his morning jogs. Those who have accompanied the President on his three-mile runs from the White House to the Capitol and back say he moves suprisingly quickly for his size, starting out slowly and building momentum. And he has endurance.

Not so Richard Riordan, the Republican mayor of Los Angeles, who may wish he had stayed in bed rather accept Mr Clinton's invitation to run. Mr Riordan quickly tired and twice retreated into the van that trails the President on his jogging forays.

As the White House entourage neared press photographers waiting for a chance to snap pictures, however, Mr Riordan leapt out of the van and trotted up to Mr Clinton's side. But much to his embarrassment, the news media back home in LA shunned the pictures of him jogging alongside the President in favour of those showing him trying to outfox the photographers.

ON THE run in San Diego was a slimmed-down Oprah Winfrey, a surprise entrant in a half marathon. The television chat- show presenter said she enjoyed her first race even though she finished in two hours, 16 minutes and three seconds - nearly an hour behind the women's division winner. Ms Winfrey, who said she lost 50lb in five months of training, entered the 13-mile race under the name Bobbi Jo Jenkins.

A CHINESE actor is also feeling good about himself. Gu Yue, who has played Mao a dozen times in films, is a firm supporter of self-enrichment, a phenomenon sweeping China but loathed as bourgeois by hardline Maoists. Mr Gu was fiercely criticised by some newspapers for dishonouring the name of the Great Helmsman after insisting on a fee of 12,000 yuan ( pounds 1,400) for attending a ceremony marking the centenary of Mao's birth. 'I am not Mao,' Mr Gu said. 'Many other actors earn money by doing activities on the side, so I don't see why I can't either . . . I am not merely Mao's double, I am an actor of acknowledged talent.' Noted.

IF ONLY things were as straightforward for his dissident compatriot, Han Dongfang. Chinese officials in Hong Kong accused him of breaking a law during his year in the United States for medical treatment, but they claimed not to know exactly which law it was, Mr Han said.

'I asked which law I had broken which prohibits a Chinese national from going home,' he recounted. 'They said they did not know. They also said it was not necessary to explain this law to me, and that I should know what this law is . . . I said that if I had known what this law is, I would not have broken it. Now that I am told I am violating this law, I ought to know what it is and what the punishment is.'

FRESH from their South Pacific diving holiday, which they denied was a honeymoon, John F Kennedy Jr and Daryl Hannah are reportedly set to marry. The New York Daily News says Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is planning a 'dignified' ceremony that will not become a media feeding frenzy. The media has recently been feeding on rumours that Mrs Onassis is not happy about her son's choice of a Hollywood actress.

(Photograph omitted)