People: Libyan tales of love for a president

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The Independent Online
THE Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi who claims to be a 'mature leader' now, is making conciliatory noises towards the United States. 'In contrast to Bush whom I didn't like very much, and to Reagan, whom I used to curse every day,' he said, 'I love Clinton, really, I am very fond of him, and I am full of respect and admiration for his position on the Vietnam war when he was young.'

Colonel Gaddafi is turning his hand to fiction: 'Next month I will publish my first anthology of short stories,' he told the Saudi Arabian weekly Almajalla. The volume has a long and rather eccentric title, The Village . . . The Village, The Land is The Land and the Astronaut Commits Suicide. Which astronaut? 'Leave it to the interpretation of the reader,' said the colonel. We don't even know if the cover will be green.

THE AMERICAN GULF war hero Buster Glosson, who planned the devastating Allied air campaign against Iraq, has been reprimanded for trying to influence a military promotion board.

Lieutenant-General Glosson received a 'formal letter of admonishment' for having improperly leaned on three officers to stop a one-star general from being promoted to two-star rank. The letter will sit in Lt-Gen Glosson's file and is likely to kill his own promotion prospects.

THE ACTRESS Whoopi Goldberg has also shown clumsiness on the promotion front - this time with her Jewish-American Princess Fried Chicken recipe. Ms Goldberg, who is black and Jewish, was last involved in a row when she defended her then boyfriend, Ted Danson, who appeared in blackface at a party. Now she's offended Jewish groups with her spoof recipe.

It instructs: 'Send the chauffeur to your favourite butcher shop for the chicken. Watch your nails,' and 'have cook place chicken in dish in oven. Have cook prepare rest of meal while you finish your make- up.' The Anti-Defamation League complained that it showed insensitivity and raised ugly anti-Semitic stereotypes.

BACK IN THE ISLAMIC world, women are stirring behind the chador. Iran's first lady, Effat Marashi, has called for a stronger role for her sisters. Women had been treated as commodities under the regime of the Shah, she said, but have now found their 'true status to some extent'.

But her remarks do not herald a breakthrough for feminism. She told the Tehran Times: 'More time is needed for them to have higher achievements and occupy ministerial posts.' Mrs Marashi said President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was a 'relatively good-tempered husband' who avoided family responsibilities to devote himself fully to the revolution. 'I . . . tried not to burden him with the family's affairs,' she said. 'The entire responsibility of the children and the house rests upon my shoulders,' she added, leaving him free to fight 'for the cause of Allah'.