People: Paul has whale of a time in Norway

COMPARING whaling to slavery, Paul McCartney said he disliked any people and countries that killed whales. 'Slavery was also an old tradition,' he said. 'I come from Liverpool and we used to sell slaves to the United States, so when the Norwegians defend the killing of whales with it being an old tradition, I don't buy it . . . It's out of date now - it is considered inhumane.'

McCartney made his comments in Norway, where he performed two concerts and where polls show more than 70 per cent of the people support hunting of whales by fishermen in coastal villages. Along with his guitar, the ex-Beatle brought an eight-minute film that included scenes shot in slaughterhouses as well as a brief sequence in which a whale was harpooned. Many in Oslo booed when the film started, but they soon settled down to enjoy the music. A few people from the right-wing Progress Party distributed leaflets outside the concert hall reading: 'Save the whales - for dinner'.

NOW THAT her husband is King Sihanouk, what will Monique's title be? She has been married to Cambodia's senior royal for 38 years, but when he re-ascended the throne last week she did not necessarily become queen. Her title in the Khmer language makes it clear Monique Izzi cannot and does not hold power, but leaves the direct English translation between 'queen' and 'princess' unclear.

The Khmer language has two words to describe the wife of a monarch, one if she has royal blood and the power to go with it - Preah Mohaksat Trayani, or Sacred Royal Queen - and another to signify a powerless position as the wife of the reigning monarch - Preah Mohaysay, or Sacred Royal Wife. Monique Izzi, with a French father of Italian origin and a mother of mixed Asian origins, was given the latter title. A palace statement said she is, in English, Her Majesty Queen Norodom Monique Sihanouk of Cambodia - but she is not the queen of Cambodia.

IN HER three days of congressional testimony about health-care reform, Hillary Clinton was widely praised for her thorough command of the subject. The one discordant note was a sharp exchange between Mrs Clinton and Dick Armey, a Texas Republican congressman. Mr Armey said he intended to make the debate as 'exciting as possible', to which Mrs Clinton replied, 'I'm sure you will do that, Mr Armey. You and Dr Kevorkian.'

The hearing room erupted in uneasy laughter and Mr Armey retorted with a smile: 'I have been told about your charm and wit, and let me say the reports on your charm are overstated and the reports on your wit are understated.'

'Thank you, thank you very much,' Mrs Clinton replied, laughing.

Mr Armey recently compared the reform plan's impact on the health system and the economy to Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan doctor who helps the terminally ill to commit suicide. Mr Armey, who has compared Mrs Clinton's scholarly writings to those of Karl Marx, said later, 'The First Lady is very bright and very able and very tough. I put this under the category of friendly repartee.'

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