People: Mixed fortunes for Winnie in ANC polls

IT WAS case of good news and bad news at the weekend for Winnie Mandela, whose political aspirations remain high despite her separation from her husband and her sacking last year from the ANC's national welfare department. The good news for South Africa's erstwhile Evita was that she was elected on to the executive committee of the ANC's regional department in the Pretoria-Johannesburg area. The bad news is that she failed badly in an attempt to become the regional 'deputy chairperson'.

Having failed to win a top post, Mrs Mandela was left with no choice but to stand for one of 21 'additional member' positions. She scraped in - 17th with 128 votes. Six new white members were elected ahead of her, in cluding Dave Dalling (194 votes), who only last year was serving in the white parliament as Democratic MP.

SPAIN'S monarchist press has been making much of the news that King Juan Carlos, who left for a trip to Israel yesterday, is also King of Jerusalem, a title that dates back to the First Crusade.

Spanish historians have traced its tortuous lineage thus: Baldwin I (brother of Godfrey de Bouillon) accepted the honour in 1100, and it descended to the kings of Aragon and Sicily, taking on particular significance with the re-conquest of the Muslim Moors in the 15th century. The triumphant Catholic kings, ancestors of Juan Carlos, adopted it as their own, around the time they were kicking the Jews out.

CHINA'S most famous dissident, Wei Jingsheng, maintained a relentless epistolatory campaign directed at the country's leaders from his prison cell, and now that he is free at last, his oeuvre is to see the light of day in the United Daily News of Taiwan and the Hong Kong paper Ming Pao.

'On TV you look more relaxed and fatter than when you were in Shanghai. I guess you have a better cook now' - thus he began a letter to Jiang Zemin, the Communist Party chief. Such irreverence got Mr Wei, an electrician, more than 14 years inside. His request for a pen and paper was granted in 1982, but he was told not to bother writing to his family because the letters wouldn't be mailed. So instead he wrote to the leadership, from Deng Xiaoping down - 60,000 words in all. He never got a reply. Despite the isolation of prison life, Mr Wei stayed in touch with politics, chastising the leadership for the Tiananmen massacre and for its preoccupation with 'stability' - aka repression.

'If things had always been 'stable' and 'ordered' human history would have stayed stuck at the baboons,' he wrote.

THE notorious 'Son of Sam', the serial killer who terrorised New York in the mid-1970s, has apologised from prison for his deadly deeds. 'I did take some lives and I'm very sorry for that,' David Berkowitz said in a television interview. He added that his aim, in killing six people, 'was to bring chaos to the city . . . bringing the city of New York to its knees and so forth, which was part of the plan'.

He left a note at the site of his sixth attack, a double murder: 'I am the Son of Sam.' He later told police 'Sam' was his neighbour Sam Carr, whose dog 'told me to kill'. Berkowitz is now described as a born-again Christian who uses prison pay-phones to buy Bibles to be sent abroad.

RELATIVES of the late Josef Dzhugashvili (better known as Uncle Joe Stalin) want to rebury the Man of Steel's corpse in a family vault in southern Russia if, as seems likely, his body is disinterred from the Kremlin wall. Stalin was born in Georgia, in South Ossetia, but his would-be rescuers, the Dzugayev clan, are North Ossetians - and hence Russians - who claim Joe's father was a Russian who Georgianised his name. 'The relatives got together and decided to try and bring back his remains to Vladikavkaz,' said Valery Salbuyev, a North Ossetian official. Stalin must be thankful that someone wants his corpse.

(Photograph omitted)

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