People: Leary's little protest goes up in smoke

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The Independent Online
THE LSD guru of the Sixties, Timothy Leary, is in trouble with the law again. In these 'politically correct' times, though, it's not for possessing hallucinogenic drugs, but for smoking a cigarette at the airport in Austin, Texas.

The former Harvard psychologist, now a writer and lecturer, acknowledged he could have avoided arrest but said he wanted to draw attention to people being 'demonised' by the politically correct. 'We were told by an official that smoke in the airport would get us a citation,' he said. 'So we did look for a policeman to check this out.'

Mr Leary, 73, allegedly lit up in front of a policeman while a companion videotaped the incident. Police said Mr Leary was given a citation that carries a fine. His latest arrest is one of Mr Leary's least serious. He was arrested several times after LSD was outlawed in the United States in 1965 and fled to Algeria in 1970 after escaping from prison. He was extradited three years later and released in 1976.

HE HASN'T smoked since 26 August, 1985, and Fidel Castro says he doesn't even dream about cigars anymore. 'I came to a decision that to really launch a campaign against smoking, I had to set the example and quit smoking,' he told the magazine Cigar Aficionado.

As a guerrilla leader, Mr Castro used to smoke in the mountains to celebrate a success or to console himself after a setback. In the first five years after he quit, he dreamt of smoking. 'Even in my dreams I used to think that I was doing something wrong,' he said. 'I was conscious that I had not permitted myself to smoke anymore, but I was still enjoying it in my sleep.'

The Cuban leader ackowledged he might light up with Bill Clinton if he and the US President ever meet. 'But first I would have to ask for permission from the World Health Organisation. I wouldn't want to lose my medal.'

NOW THAT Nelson Mandela has become South Africa's President, the nation is turning its attention to the First Lady question. 'The one burning passion Winnie Mandela has that she will never realise is one she shares with many women around the world: to be President Nelson Mandela's First Lady,' the Johannesburg Star said. Mr Mandela has kept his distance from his wife after separating in 1992. Now, many South Africans believe, the handsome, flirtatious President has, at age 75, the pick of the land.

But in the distant Transkei village of Cofimvaba, one woman is not interested. 'I don't regret at all that I will not be his First Lady,' said Evelyn Mandela, who was married to the young lawyer Nelson for 13 years and bore him four children. The most she sees of him now is the election billboard near her home. 'Who I voted for is personal,' she said, 'but I doubt very much that we would have voted . . . if it were not for Nelson Mandela.'

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