People: Left still alive and kicking in Brazil

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The Independent Online
AS WORKERS of the world keep their heads down in the face of the collapse of socialism and the surge of capitalism, the Brazilian left is aiming to buck the trend. The Workers' Party has nominated Luis Inacio 'Lula' da Silva as their candidate for presidential elections in October. The 48-year-old former metal worker and union chief has been far ahead in opinion polls for months. He has put fear in the hearts of the elite by hammering on about jobs, hunger, education, poverty and corruption in high places. Mr da Silva finished second in the 1989 elections to Fernando Collor de Mello, who resigned in 1992 amid a corruption scandal.

JAPAN'S kingmaker and the power behind the tottering minority government, Ichiro Ozawa, is under fire for his unhealthy mix of sex and politics, in a manner of speaking. Asked last week which of the political parties he would most like to include in a governing coalition, Mr Ozawa - not a man to mince his words - replied gruffly: 'It doesn't matter which woman you sleep with, does it?' Although the marital lives of Japanese politicians may not be exemplary, and the association of many party leaders with expensive geisha women is well known, Mr Ozawa's comments did not go down well with the feminist wing of the Socialist Party, who lodged a furious complaint. Too late: for the Golden Week holidays in Japan, Mr Ozawa has come to Britain, where it matters quite a lot whom a politician chooses to sleep with.

WHEN Yasser Arafat says he needs his own space, it's not just a Palestinian state he's talking about. At home, he needs his own room too. His wife, Suha, told the Egyptian government newspaper al- Akhbar: 'He still lives like a bachelor. He has his bedroom, and I have mine. We live as if we were separated.' Possibly hinting as to why the PLO leader may like to shut the door on his wife, she added: 'Of course we quarrel; then we make it up straight away.'

A STATUE erected by the Sri Lankan government to mark the first anniversary last Sunday of President Ranasinghe Premadasa's murder has not gone down well with his family. The slain leader's son said the pounds 23,000 statue was a poor likeness and recalled the ruling party's antagonism towards his family. 'The fact is that we were not consulted and there was zero input from the family,' Sajith said. The family boycotted the unveiling. Perhaps to avoid embarrassment, President Dingiri Banda Wijetunge didn't turn up either.

CAMBODIA'S King Norodom Sihanouk appears to be suspicious of being guarded by fellow Cambodians since being overthrown by his own royal guards in a US-supported coup in 1970. 'I am better protected by 25 North Koreans from the Democratic Republic of Korea,' the 71-year-old monarch said, referring to his foreign bodyguards. 'I have my national pride as a Khmer, but my experience and the experience of my brothers in Africa and South America is very bitter.' (Photograph omitted)

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